India is surely a fascinating country. I was born in India and lived here until I had to move away. I never understood how special this country is until I had to leave. Now that I have been away, I can see it from an objective lens and truly appreciate it.
There are many things that the world can learn from Indians and our culture. If I had to write all of them, this would be a 100 hour+ article.
To keep things short, here are the top three lessons the world can learn from India.
Family is important
In India, the joint family system is quite common and has been for many years. It is common for grandparents, parents, and their children to live together. While in many Western countries, this can be seen as a threat to privacy and one’s freedom, there are actually many benefits of living in such a system.
Until I was three years old, I used to live in a joint family too. We had to move away from Agra to Delhi because of my father’s job but going back to my grandparents’ home every summer was something I looked forward to throughout the year.
In my grandparents’ home, there was never a moment I was bored. I was also surrounded by my cousins and aunts and uncles. There was also someone to talk to, someone to do something with.
When I grew up and moved away from India, this was something I sorely missed. In many countries, people move away from their families as soon as they are eighteen. And I am sure it’s fun, but there are also so many disadvantages to such a lifestyle.
You have to worry about your rent, you also have to hustle to keep yourself going. So many young people get into debt simply to survive. You are also more prone to feeling alone. Sure, you have friends to have fun with but no one can love you as your family does.
Even if you don’t have a family, Indians like to make a family out of strangers. We don’t call strangers by their names, we refer to them as a brother, sister, uncle, aunt, or some other relation. In our culture, the sense of community is really important.
(Also read: 5 Benefits Of Learning A New Language)
Unity in diversity
India is the second-most populous country in the world. There are over a billion of us and the population is diverse. Unity in diversity is often an expression used in India. If 1.3 billion people are going to live together, we have to learn to cooperate somehow!
Every few kilometers you travel, you will hear a new language or eat a new dish. The idea of Indian food is popular outside of India. But the food in these restaurants rarely depicts the true flavors of India. We don’t just eat naan and curry, we eat pav bhaji and puttu and thukpa and so much more. It’s not even possible to eat every variety of food that is available in India. You have to spend your entire life traveling to different cities and villages just to try the delicious food.
While we are talking about diversity, we also have to talk about the different religions in India. There are Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, and more religious communities living together peacefully. In my father’s village, people of different religions celebrate each other’s festivals. They all live together peacefully trying to make the most of their lives.
Sure, the politicians and the religious leaders try every now and then to disrupt the harmony for their own gains, but in many cases, the common people continue to spread love.
So far, I have talked about the good things about India. But there are many unpleasant things about the country too.
Life in India is difficult, there is no doubt about that. We don’t have as many comforts as people in Western countries usually do. Only 2.2% of the population owns a car. There are power outages. There are areas where there are water shortages. Natural disasters are common due to India being a seismic risk zone and intertropical convergence zone.
Most Indians suffer from problems people in Western countries don’t even know about. There are many poor people living in the country. The pandemic has been specifically harsh on these people. The unemployment rate is high. The second wave of the pandemic made our healthcare system collapse.
But we’re recovering. Like we always do. We find a way to find happiness even during dark times. And I am sure we’ll recover from the pandemic too.
(Also read: Feeling Behind In Life? Read This)
There are many stereotypes about India. When I moved abroad, I quite struggled with that. The media usually portrays India in a bad light. They paint it as a smelly, poor country where you’ll get scammed.
If it’s not that, they portray it as a country of cows and sages where you’ll find enlightenment within a week of stepping outside the airport.
India is both and at the same time, it’s neither of those things.
India is not a perfect country. But then, no country ever is. It is complex. There are many bad and good things about the country. It depends on you and what you choose to learn from it.
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