We are haunted by our past… sixty year-old ghosts linger in our consciousness. We remain frozen in old arguments, in old mindsets. As the world looks in awe and heralds us as the future of the globe, laying across our shoulders a wealth of labels that proclaim us as ‘superpower’, as democratic brother, as ideological equal – we remain that new-born child of colonial folly and wild-eyed optimism. Or rather we return to that child that we had lost in the intervening years of restrictive quotas and frustrating wars, as the early hopefulness with which we declared ourselves as ‘Non-Aligned’ became meaningless in the face of the hard realities we were unwilling and unable to cope with.But this post is not here to talk about our past. It is about the present, the pulsing, changing, charging India that is we now live in. We look around us at the change that overwhelms, overshadows, and engulfs us, yet we remain outside observers, detached and somewhat bemused by it all.

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Who is it that can define India? Who dares proclaim us anything? Who lays claim to us?

Listen to the endless stream of talkshows leading a chorus of self-congratulation, read the endless editorials that bring up the oft-mentioned belief 60 years old that the Indian nation was as imaginatory and ephemeral as our African cousins, that we would tear apart at the seams, along a million different dividing lines whether they be linguistic, racial, ideological or religious. There were a thousand factors working against our survival, and yet here we are.


Now What?