I recently started reading books by Amish Tripathi, and the whole mindset I had about our Indian culture made a tremendous shift. I always thought that India is a diverse country wherewith so many religions and outdated laws. It’s a country where women are not treated well; education is at its worst state, the LGBTQIA+ community is not accepted; leaders try to divide us based on religion and whatnot.
Yeah, well, the picture of today’s India is somewhat similar to my above description. But it turns out; we were not always like this. Most Indians blame Mughals and Britishers for our current reality, but I feel we still have the potential we had in ancient times. I believe that we have to knock some sense in today’s Indians that we are not uncivilised barbarians, but we are much greater than what we think we are. So here are some reasons I am proud to be an Indian:
The world’s first University was established in Takshashila in 700 BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education. It’s ironic that now Indians want to go to other countries to study when the first University in the world started in their own country.
We know that our current education system is monotonous and doesn’t introduce us to the real world. But our gurus emphasised having their classes outside in nature and debates on every topic was a way of their teaching. The value of critical thinking was encouraged and I believe that is the reason Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus, Yoga, Ayurveda (the earliest school of medicine known to humankind) originated in India.
We all know the Kamasutra was written in India by Vatsyayana Mallanaga. Surprisingly, it is the same time when catholic churches were being established and at that time, talking about human intimacy was considered sinful. Although today we relate Kamasutra with sexual positions, in reality, the purpose of writing the Kamasutra was to find your inner strength and to know how to pleasure yourself and your partner.
The Kamasutra doesn’t just talk about human intimacy between a man and a woman; it is about pleasuring your partner, which can be of the same gender as well. When the whole world was against the transgender community, Indians included them in the Vedas. And not only that, the founder of the Chandravanshi clan was a transgender person. It is the most powerful line of rulers India ever had. And for reference Lord Krishna was a Chandravanshi.
Shashi Tharoor had famously mentioned in his UN speech that there was a time when India contributed to 35% of the world’s GDP which is more than how much the USA is contributing to the world’s GDP to date. We were so rich and hence we were invaded for centuries. But despite that India never invaded any country in her last 1,00,000 years of history. Some people might say that we are weak; I would proudly say that we were noble and had moral values.
Our ancestors have written 3 million Sanskrit manuscripts which is more than the rest of the ancient world combined. This is not a joke; the number of manuscripts of a country gives you an idea of the knowledge production of that culture. Greece, which is the mother culture of Europe, has around 20 to 30 thousand manuscripts. So you can decipher the extent of knowledge we have.
This was to remind us that there was a time when we were unconquerable; we had values and knowledge. We still have the power to be that kick-ass, most powerful country in this world. But we need to start believing in ourselves and our culture and stop fighting with each other. After the 11th century, India became weak because of the inner conflicts which exist to date.
Our life decisions make a huge difference. And change is a slow process, so the decisions we make today might not benefit us, but it will benefit our next generations.