Thursday, July 10, 2008

Who am I?

When I look around myself, these days, I feel a loss of identity. There is nothing around me that I can connect to, nothing that I can relate to. I systematically dislike religion and maintain that it is a load of bullshit. My culture, I have come to disrespect. What is there to respect in a culture that is full of discrimination (caste), exploitation (gender inequality) and conformism (patriarchy). Even ideas that Bollywood movies tout as tenets of Indian culture repell me. Respect for elders, that's just a load of patriarchal bullshit. It prevents people from taking responsibilities for their lives and making free and independent choices.

My people do not produce any science or technology. We borrow all of it from others and use it. Whenever we are faced with problems we do not sit down and solve it, we run to find instances of the same problem in another nation and then try to implement the solution that they have implemented.

I do not wear clothes that my ancestors wore or variations thereof. I do not speak a language that my ancestors spoke or variations thereof. I do not read books that are written in my own country. I do not watch films made in my own country. I do no believe in ideologies that have origins within my nation.

Who am I, really? What is my identity? Will I ever feel a sense of pride in what I am?


  1. I could not agree more and put it more poignantly than you already have. Sometimes really it is such a disappointment to belong to such a place. But I beliee that the last ray of hope has not to go out of sight. Our generation is making some progress, although not as much as I would like, but still, they are coming to realize these things like you and me for instance. And realization is the first step towards change. Lets hope and make sure that the generation 20 years from hence would be proud of us.

  2. @ Richa - I don't know. I wanted to say a lot more but it didn't come out very well. Take festivals, for example. I don't believe in religion, hence religious festivals don't make sense to me. Yet, I like the cultural part of festivals. I like the getting together of the entire family on Diwali, I like the celebration of family happiness that it becomes. Yet, without the religious part, how much sense does it make? And it pains me to know that my kids would probably not even know what the religious part of it was. There's heritage being lost each second and I want to yet don't want to cling on to it.

    That, I believe, is the fundamental crisis of our generation.

  3. I was passing your post as a "conflict-of-interest" and then I read it from head-to-toe. Then I felt sorry for your taste and interests. Our religion and our culture isn't a load of bullshit! I love my religion. I like my culture and 've respect for both, unlike you!

  4. @ Soumyaranjan - Ah, if only you had the time to read the blog more fully. I consider myself an amateur indologist and have a deep interest in indian history and culture, especially ancient India. And I do feel a sense of pride in my heritage. I also happen to believe that Hinduism is probably the sanest religion in the world. I have read much about Indian philosophy and follow it keenly.

    However, that was not what I was talking about. It is hard to explain.

  5. I smell a kind of prejudice in this post of yours...:)
    I agree that all that u have called bullshit in this post is bullshit indeed to some extent but then its only a matter of our perspective....(a glass half empty is also a glass half full kind..)
    i mean there are just 3 points i would raise here (though this discussion can go on and on as we know :)) :
    1. If YOU cant make sense of out religion, isn't it your problem? I mean there are many ppl still who do see some sensible practices in the religion.

    2. Even Romans, Egyptians and Chinese don't necessarily wear their traditional clothes...exploitation is everywhere though in a different form may be....conformism is nothing but what we call respect and it should be followed only upto a certain extent even as per our so called holy books (remember mahabharata?)......more than half the countries do not contribute to the world's technological development....the Indians do so quite a bit though....I can't think of any other nation where people always sit and solve problems...that's just being idealistic...and yeah we have done so when the need has been a lot of of times in the past if not in present...but then the future is in your hands....if there are shortcomings WE are the ones who should take the responsibility to overcome them....
    Yes dear, the country has changed a hardly do or follow half of those things that that father at your age used to but that's the case with most developing nations after all and it doesn't mean that you no more belong.....
    Leave alone everything else....just think this least you are not a part of those generations that have suffered from famines and malnutrition in Africa, at least you are not a part of a nation which might be rich because of its oil reserves but where you would have been the 35th child of your father roaming with a wife whom only you could see, at least you are not a part of a culture where no religion exists to be explored at all, at least you are not a part of the people who have lived under domination for ages, at least you have a past and at least you can dream of a future.....think about it..:)

  6. 3. Do you really think that 1.2 billion people could have survived and prospered till date had this nation not had anything at all to be proud of? I know there's lots to be ashamed of but then if you want to change the system, you can only do so by being a part of it. I don't think that all those people who don't feel a sense of belonging are helping the nation's cause either...

  7. I choose to differ from your thoughts - not the disillusionment you feel, as the others have contested. I, in fact, rather strongly agree with that and feel much the same way.

    I do not agree with your sense of lack of identity. You feel that way because you do not conform. If you did - to culture, religion, nation - you would not face this dilemma. You would identify yourself with what the others have done and said, and adopt their, thoughts, ideals and identities. Since you refuse to blindly accept that is proclaimed to be your own (and it is a brave thing to do), you see farther than the boundaries created. Who says that your identity should be in sync with your nation's. Isn't that yet another form of conformism?

    In this day when we have access to so many more thought processes and ideologies, we are able to choose the best (or rather, what suits our stomach) from around the world - ancient or modern, eastern or western, virtuous or vile, depending on our tastes, interests and convenience. The identity is still there, but it's not collective, it's individual. You are the only one who is responsible for your identity and you are the one who has to answer for it.

    It's a tougher task, no doubt, and will lead to periods of disillusionment like these,as is always the case when we have the freedom to choose and the choices are endless, but then it is probably not suffocating like being forced to adhere to one set of customs without question.

  8. I hate to be witness to a political circus where the centrestage is held by an issue that has nothing to do with the people, i hate the way the media is dictating what people should like, i hate growing up in a society that increasingly compromises its spine for 'modernity'; i try to relate to the culture, but its actual form disgusts me and the mutated one is better not talked about. I hate watching on television, parodies of what we might call religion. I hate being a part of a system that has no room for non-conformism. I hate listening to people who say 'my generation is supposed to make a difference'

    Is there an echo in here :)

  9. @ Swetank - I think you've best understood what I wanted to say. I agree with your view point. However, don't you feel a sense of loss at what we are leaving behind in this mad rush to choose for ourselves. It is merely a nostalgic sense of loss, but loss nevertheless.

    @ Aneesh - Ah, you are talking about something completely different. And actually we can make a difference, if only we can figure out how.

  10. Yes, I do. I do feel nostalgic, and a sense of loss, but that again is not limited to India, or my ancient culture. I feel a similar sense of longing for Roman, Greek, British, American, European and Russian history/culture - ancient, medieval, renaissance, modern, the 1960s, 80s, even 90s. I miss the good in everything that as been. No, somehow I do strongly feel a part of the world as a whole as against just India. That feeling of belonging to the world is much stronger, I don't know why.

  11. We make awesome food. The best food known to mankind. We should seduce all known life forms with our food and take over the world.

  12. @ Swetank - I see. I feel particularly nostalgic about India. I guess I'm not that attached to the rest of the world.

    @ Ankit - That's true. If nothing Indian survives at the end of the world, Indian food definitely will.