This was supposed to be a comment to Nakul’s [[http://nakulmandan.blogspot.com/2005/07/hypocrisy-is-it-just-indians.html | post on hypocrisy]]. But it became fairly long so I though I’d make it a post unto itself and leave the link in the comments.
I will comment on the original article that was behind the post later; I first want to comment on some of the things Nakul said in his post.
I will concede that each society has its own notion of a //God//. But labelling all such notions as //idol worship// is shortsighted. It might be the case in India (though I don’t think even that holds true). Further, all notions of God are not about //personification// (against, most are, but not all). And finally, simply because //YOU// have not felt or seem //him// doesn’t mean others have (just to be clear, **I haven’t**). To me, the definition of God is a very personal concept, and tied close together with your values, beliefs and faith.
Something that might be seeing and believeing for me, might just be stupidity for you. I don’t believe human society is at a stage where one can give an unambiguous quantifiable litmus test for God. That would be the end of philosophy. Anyways, coming to the point — I don’t think its all bullshit. I sincerely believe that some people do believe and have felt what they think God might be. And I say good for them!
You were not //just born// here — you were born and //brought up// here. Now **that** is something you can’t just ignore. You probably don’t realize it now, but I’m sure as hell you will when you go to London in a few days. I agree that people make too much of a big deal about brain drain. And I also agree that with each passing day we are becoming part of a larger society. All that is fine and I have nothing against going outside India looking for a better life (I think it just comes back to India in better ways if that happens).
All I’m saying is that there are many things that are part of you, your core values and beliefs that are in part simply because you spent a substantial portion of your life in a specific geogrphical portion of the earth. And that you don’t necessarily //owe// anything to that land or its people, but just spend some time thinking about things like how life would have been had you been born 50 years before Independence, or how things would have been had you been born in Africa or Europe or America or Spain for that matter.
There are fanatics and extremists everywhere. But feeling passionate about one’s country is neither irrational nor hypocritic. Its something to be proud of.
** Hypocrisy **
I wouldn’t go so far as saying that its a //human// trait. But its definitely a //societal// trait. For that matter, I find glaring examples of hypocrisy here in the United States every day. Women here got voting rights only in 1920 I think. And in the 300 years of US Congress, there have been only [[http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/history/h_multi_sections_and_teasers/Photo_Exhibit_African_American_Senators.htm | five African-American senators]]. Compare that to the vivid (though chaotic) representation in Indian politics. Despite all the talks of liberty and equality, your color is still something you can’t forget. I could go on an on.
But I think in the original article the writer was a bit too biased (or exaggerating to bring out the point). What I worry more about is that over the last 2 years (and going on) there’s an increasing dichotomy of societies in India. Microcosms of societies have formed in and around the metros (Pune, Bangalore included) while the majority of rural India gets left behind. What they do see however, is cable TV, internet and bollywood. The combined forces of these three media can be devastating, without appropriate education and exposure.