I am proud to be Indian… Sort of?

| April 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

This semester, I decided I would take yet another class on South Asia. As someone who has never truly learned much about the history that made her people, it was enlightening to understand the region more, colonialism and all. Most classes I would be proud about how far the subcontinent has come along, I would call my mother and tell her how cool it all was, and beam when she told me that at this point I probably knew more about India than herself.

Then along came my class a few weeks ago. Our professor reminded us that while India has developed oh so much, the patriarchy is prominent and the religious fighting is brutal. I remembered the brief time I lived there and recalled how dangerous taking a rickshaw alone could be and how angry I was every time I read the newspaper. I was disappointed; I thought the pride I had been building for the country of my ancestors was undeserved.

When do we draw the line between pride for a culture and recognition for all the terrible things that might be happening in that culture’s country of origin? History has a tendency to be a culmination of crappy things that several countries and actors have done and what the present seems to show is that the world is still mostly a culmination of crappy things. Does that mean that I can never be proud of my Indian origin?

In fact, can anybody be proud of their culture or origin if History constantly reminds us of the wrongdoings? How do we draw the line?

photo credit: mlbariona Colored powder via photopin (license)

photo credit: mlbariona Colored powder via photopin (license)

I struggle to admit that I am proud of where I am from. I may not be religious, but the colors in Holi still elate me. I still claim the symbol of “Om” as mine and “Namaste” is still a word I do not want made into a pun. However, I have no problem ranting about some of the legislation in India; I will loudly and boldly claim my aversion to the sexism in that country.

I think it is time I realize that my origin is not a dichotomy. It is as fluid as the sarees that draped my mother that one Diwali. I can love a culture, a region, enough to take pride in its beauty and strive to critique and fix its flaws.

History has had terrible moments in its past and it will have more terrible moments in the future. Let us try to create some positive impact to that so one day those flaws turn into something, anything, that we can all be proud of.

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featured photo credit: Kumar nav Happy Independence day via photopin (license)

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Hansika Ramchandani

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Hansika Ramchandani is a Junior double majoring in History and International Relations. She loves it when you laugh at all of her [not] funny jokes and accept the fact that she needs yet another cup of coffee.

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