Friday, November 12, 2010

WHO IS AN INDIAN?

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one who does not speak the language I do.

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one who does not know the words of the songs I sing.

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one who does not worship the gods I do.

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one who does not say the prayers I say.

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one who does not go to the same place of worship as I do.

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one whose pilgrimages are different from mine.

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one who does not think the way I do.

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one who does not eat the food I relish.

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one who does not go to the same place of worship as I do.

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one who does not know the steps of my dance.

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one who does not read the book I read.

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one who does not tell his children the stories I tell my children.

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one whose festivals are not the same as mine.

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one whose wife does not use the cooking oil my wife uses.

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one whose children are not rocked to sleep with the same lullabies as mine.

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one who does not dispose of his father’s corpse the way I do mine.

Who is an Indian? An Indian is one who would not be seen dead in the clothes I wear.

Who is an Indian?

An Indian is one who tells me he is an Indian.

(Based on the reply given by Mani Shankar Aiyar to a member of the audience at the Hay Festival in Trivandrum on the 12th November 2010)

PS I confess that this exposition moved me to tears.

2 comments:

Balachandran V said...

Very thought provoking. You can reflect on each answer.
The picture of earth from outer space makes one feel like a citizen of the planet. Maybe if we stand outside India and look at ourselves, we might be able to see similarities more than the differences. Maybe if we shed our clothes as Hindu, Muslim, Christian etc and look at ourselves we will be able to see the common inheritance.

anilkurup said...

There are no Indians . Only disparate bunch of anarchist.