Indian at Heart, Global in Spirit

“India is a country where every religion, finds a home.”– Annie Besant

If you don’t have time to travel the entire world, then travel to India and you’ll find the world’s essence accumulated within that one country. Rich in heritage and culture, spanning over a period of more than 3000 years and witnessing the blend of numerous customs and traditions, India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Therefore while traveling to India, even the airports show a fascinating display of artworks. One of the specifics as I may mention, is the airport of Mumbai; decorated with pieces of artworks and artifacts from every corner of India, it beams with one line: “Indian at heart, global in spirit.” Being an Indian I couldn’t agree more, this feeling of carrying the nation wherever we may go is overwhelming and powerful at the same time.

As quoted by Martin Luther King Jr., “To other countries I may go as a tourist, but to India, I come as a pilgrim.” The Indian empire has always been vibrant and a home to those in search of something. Dr. A.L. Basham, in his authoritative “Cultural History of India”, has rightly stated that, “While there are four main cradles of civilization which, moving from East to West, are China, India, the Fertile Crescent, and the Mediterranean, India deserves a larger share of credit because she has deeply affected the religious life of most of Asia. She has also extended her influence, directly and indirectly, to other parts of the World.” Be it the dancing Buddhas of the Gandharva school of art influenced by the Greeks, or the great legacies seen in the temples of North and South India, or the practice of Yoga in pre-Vedic times at Harappan and Mahenjadero and across Northern India, we have been empowered by the nations around us just like we have empowered them.

“Vasudhaiva kutumbakam”, a Sanskrit phrase and a very popular Indian belief meaning, ‘the whole world is one single family’ connects us to parts of the world and people we have never known. Thus, no matter where we may go, what we may eat or how we may talk, once an Indian by heart, you’ll always be an Indian. Let your spirits travel the world but as they seek comfort, may they find peace on the soil of India.

As we dig deeper into the roots of our culture, we find that we have created a lot of beneficial practices but the most useful of them is the practice of ‘Yoga’. It started at the very beginning of the Indian civilization and its roots can be traced back to the era of Lord Shiva. It is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’. Practicing yoga means forming a balance between the mind and the soul and removing the clouds of ignorance that hinders one’s soul to connect with another. It may have originated in India, but it’s equally important to the rest of the world because of its impact on individuals.

India being home to several religions, promotes the concept of intercultural understanding. We are home to Muslims, Hindu, Christians, Sikh, Jain, Jew, Buddhist, Zoroastrian and many more, living together in harmony. Despite the differences, an intercultural understanding exists.International education is being delivered to the national schools and as this continues to prevail, our country aims to make students aware of both the international and national education. I believe the need for intercultural understanding should be an important part of the present education system.

In this globalized world, we cannot thrive as a country if we were to stay solely rooted in our nation. As I say this, I encourage every enthusiast to move forward to the different and new opportunities the world has to offer and embrace them as they would have in their city. Let’s make our nation proud by taking our culture to different places. And as we do this, let’s not forget who we truly are: Indians, no matter where we go, always Indian at heart. Having belonged to a nation that is so rich in diversity and one which draws strength from its past, the charm of this culture should not be allowed to get lost amidst this hustle bustle of modernity.

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