A Cup Of Tea Before I Go On

A Cup Of Tea

I have been a bit tardy of late, and thought of writing a whole post on the art of tardiness. But no. I have been caught up in stuff. Finally pushing to set up meetings to do business. Thinking long and hard about my photography portfolio. Coming to the end of the fantasy novel, and starting work on the travel book. What else? Oh yes… reaching the mid way point of one photography project, and I need to do research to write the words for a photo essay..

At some point, I need to really plan which photos I want to edit. No longer do I adopt the machine gun approach, so I am going to buy a notebook, to record the editing plan for each photo.

Of course, the deadline for filing income tax returns approaches fast.

Grand plans, grand plans! At some point, I must structure my time!

Anyhow, as I said many times, this blog started out as a staid corporate blog, before my plans started to unravel. I see a few themes starting to emerge – leadership, sustainability, hunger, peace and my occasional forays into whimsy. I think that I may start to become more and more acerbic, as I become older and more cranky.

However, our Independence Day is arriving fast.

We are an old civilisation, and a young country. We will turn, if my maths is correct, 77 years old on the 15th August. We were born on the 15th August 1947. In my view, the idea of an Indian nationhood was born in 1857, and started to flower in 1890 or so. We are a country of contrasts, and some people believe we are tied together by myths and legends, and the idea of India.

The Vedic religion that the Aryans brought in meshed with the religion of the Dravidians, some believe, and morphed into Hinduism. Some believe that the term Hindu came from the Indus River, which was called The Sindh River many centuries ago, and all of us living east of The Sindh were called Sindhus by the Muslims coming in from the Middle East, and this term came to be called Hindu down the centuries. True? I cannot comment, but I think that there is truth in it.

As the Mughals came in from Afghanistan, as the Zoroastrians came in from Iran, as the Christians came to the country, and as the Sikh religion was born, we became a country of many beliefs, and traditionally we have allowed them all – Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians to all fall into the melting pot. Things change.

We have three (or more) broad genetic groups – Aryan, Dravidian, Mongoloid. Do we accept our diversity?

We have over twenty languages, with different scrips.

How do you define us? 

We measure body temperature in Fahrenheit, and ambient in Centigrade. Distance is measured in kilometres, and height and area in feet and square feet respectively.

How do you define us?

We were born in a cauldron of violence in 1947. How have we fared since then?

We believe in freedom of speech, and yet the people at the bottom of the caste ladder don’t have that much freedom. Cry Freedom indeed. 

We produce enough food to feed everyone in India, yet we have one of the world’s poorest records in alleviating hunger. Whither development? 

Our leaders cry for the masses when they seek election. Their projects are all “pro poor”, yet those who become rich are a small number. What kind of leadership have we spawned?

We are the country of the Pancatantra, yet our modern education systems don’t open minds.

We are the country of the Kamasutra and Khajuraho, and yet we seem to be stuck in an old-school morality.

Pre 1947, India and Pakistan were one country. Yet, since then, we are essentially one people divided along the lines of hate and suspicion.

Who are we?

After having had that cuppa chai, maybe I should think about exploring some of these themes.

What say folks?



      1. London but a Mumbai girl originally and at heart – born in India, early childhood in Kenya, then mostly Mumbai and now London 🙂

      2. I lived in Bombay for about 10 years. I spent the early part of my childhood in Kenton, Harrow, Middlesex. Right outside London. I remember reading that you are in London! I lived part of my adult life in China and Singapore

      3. Very interesting indeed – we were due to move to Singapore this year but hubby dearest changed his mind! 🙂 Travelling makes for a rich and varied life!

      4. Singapore is a great place to live. You wear a suit in office, cause it is so cold. Then, you step outside into the steam room of Singapore’s humid climate!

      5. LOL! not sure if that is a good or a bad thing 😉
        I have visited it and yes it’s lovely but for now I am glad to be here in London as my son is at uni and even though I’m an empty-nester, it would still have been a wrench to move a continent away.

  1. Happy Independence Day to you Rajiv. The modern constructs don’t always meet the hopes and needs of the many. Being American, I know that to be true. Being American and a mutt with a splash of Irish, Norwegian, English, German, African, possibly some Swedish, certainly some Russian, and Cherokee Native American thrown in the mix for color, well, what you see is what you get. Whatever that may in fact mean. I’m not certain there are very many Americans with genetic singularity. I think that matters not a bit. Be well my Brother and I think that much is certain.

  2. As usual, I love the information in your posts Rajiv. I learned many, many things. Keep posting! 🙂

      1. Oh, there is a story behind the title, but it is a long one… “My Rollicking Adventures with Sheikh Hassan Ali Motusaheb Topiwallah of Dubai”! I will need to shorten it. There is a play on the two words “Motusaheb” and “Topiwallah”!

  3. Wonderful post about India. I home schooled my granddaughter last year. All you mentioned here reminded me of our World History about India. I have a friend who lives in Chenai . I love learning about cultures all over the world. Write on!!

  4. Ahh! All the contrasts and reading it all in such a short space gives me a headache! Yes, worth an exploration. Also had been wondering over the weekend if i missed your recent posts! Good to have you back.

  5. That’s a great looking cuppa and you have a lot going on there. The title of your travel book is certainly intriguing. Very pertinent questions and I look forward to hearing your take on these themes.

  6. Love the title of this post, so perfect as you sit back and see all that you’ve done and look up at all the things you need to do… And my favorite sentence (or half a sentence): “We are an old civilisation, and a young country” as that projects so much hope ~ and it is amazing that ground that has been covered over the past 77 years. The way you write, describe and see is in itself a great piece of history.

    1. Thanks! I hated history when I was a kid. When I started shooting places, that is when I started to read historical books. Fascinating stuff, especially when you have superb historical authors… These days, we are blessed in that regard

      1. Agree, there is nothing quite as nice as finding a well-written, interesting book about people/places/culture & life of days gone by. Cheers.

  7. Had been missing You, Rajiv, and seem to have missed this Your post in my Reader. …By the by, Wonder Just How people manage to go through so many ‘written’ posts to be able to comment on them meaningfully… Hm.

    As You say, WE have spawned our leaders.

    But then, Who spawned Us? That is where I dwell. …The Rightness and Wrongness of things comes under the catagory of Religion. Religious Leaders have formed Us. Rightly or Wrongly.

    And again, it is upon ‘Them’ to Correct things if they are Wrong.

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