November 30, 2014

A wonder that is India

If there is one book that every civil service aspirant is advised to read before starting arduous preparation for the toughest examination of India ,The UPSC examination also known as the IAS exam colloquially ;it is the book authored by A.L. Basham aptly called " A wonder that was India ".
It has been in print for past 50 years now and still serves as a stepping stone for foreign origin students of Indian history.

Though I am not a big fan of the book but I am choosing this as the title for my first post with a slight change in the title but that does justice to this land of wonders that I call my motherland. India is a country stereotyped in many ways  We associate ourselves very strongly with our religion.. I remember going to Varanasi ghats with my father as child and I was left wondering why the tourists visiting the country would pay money just to watch a Hindu funeral. But is it necessary to have stereotypes of a land as ancient , as living , as vibrant , as diverse as India .  As it happens with most 'silent' type kids there were things which I could not understand at that time and then there are things which I don't understand even now. Why people worship the idols for a few days only to be immersed in the river a few days later . Why the girls I could play with as a 5 years old child would not be allowed to play with the boys a few years later. Why the railways stations are so dirty despite the never ending  announcements seeking passengers co-operation in keeping them clean. Why the traffic man treats the blue/red beacon cars differently. Probably it was that time when I was dreamed of being in one such car.

Years later I have gained some understanding of my country. I have talked to travelers visiting India second time , just to feel what its like to be in a chaotic place . Ah... that feeling so elusive in their native countries. Tourists who want to leave India blaming some old wise man who suggested them to travel to this 'exotic' land but didn't warn them of the consequences of travelling to a country of 1250 million people where nothing seems to work at the first sight , at least not the way they are used to back home.India is a country with a civilization that goes back 5000 years from present and has retained many of its ancient charms despite numerous challenges and constant attacks on its territory.  India has perfected the art of assimilation without any loss of identity making her culture a kaleidoscopic mix that has no parallel in this world.    Continued.....


  1. Well written
    Will wait for some more to read

  2. Thank you Samita . I want to be a better writer 2 years down the line.