I am proud being an Indian. But, for what reason? Is it because I am a creation of the Indian soil? Or is it because the Indian soil has brought me up? The reason of my pride is that my country, India, makes Sarvabhaumik Swikriti (universal acceptance), Sahishnuta (forbearance) and Sahansheelta (tolerance) the basis of identity of her inhabitants. Furthermore, I am proud being an Indian because Ahimsa (non-violence), in its true spirit, is indoctrinated as the supreme value in day-to-day living in India. Along with universal acceptance, forbearance and tolerance and non-violence are also well-assimilated in the way of living of Indians.
On the strength of these values, India accorded refuge to all those who became the subject of atrocities and were oppressed in their own respective continents or countries. Without any caste-class, creed, colour, gender or religion-community based discrimination, India adopted all those who reached to its land for the purpose of taking shelter. This is the foremost subject of pride for me and crores of other like-minded people.
I am proud being an Indian, because my country granted refuge to those Jews who became victims of atrocities of the Romans and after the destruction of their holy place of worship in 70 AD, reached the Indian soil for shelter. They not only got refuge here forever, but also the permission of earning their livelihoods. Deprived of freedom in their motherland of Iran, Zoroastrians (Parsis), reached India in the Seventh-Eighth Century AD to take refuge and Indians accepted them with joy. It is a long list of such refugees. The names of several human groups and tribes are there in that list, who, attracted by the Indian soil, reached here during the last four thousand years. I am proud being an Indian, because the blood of all the continents of the world flows in the veins of India.
I am proud being an Indian because not only so-called high families-born great men, sages and saints have added to the honour and pride of the country, but Maharshi Valmiki and the so-called low families-born Saint Ravidas, Mahatma Kabir and Bhakta Sain too have added to India’s honour and her cultural dignity. They too have contributed towards the glorification of the country’s benevolent past. Along with Maharshi Vashishtha, Vishwamitra, Mahavira, Gautama Buddha and Nanak, Dravidian Rishi Thiruvalluvar added to the honour of the nation. Moreover, so-called Shudra-family born Saint Tukaram is no less remembered than any of his contemporary saints and sages in propagating humanism. In every age, people were born to ascertain and reaffirm the basic ideology of the Dharma, ethics and the universal unity to the masses.
I am proud being an Indian, because seeds of democracy have been in existence in the social, political and economic structures of this country for ages. The large-scaled welfare of people has been in the centre at the time of taking decisions. Mutual discussion, harmony and co-operation have been the basis of implementation of decisions. India is the largest democracy of the world today. Freedom, one of the foremost pillars of democracy, is the ornament of the citizens of India. Everyone has the right of freedom of speech here. In this regard, India is not behind any of the democratic nations in the world.
It is India that allowed Benazir Bhutto to present the case of civil liberties of her compatriots on its land. It is India that provided opportunity to Asma Jahangir of Pakistan to gather support and co-operation on the question of human rights violation in her country. It is India that accords freedom of speech to Taslima Nasrin, a social writer from Bangladesh. The whole world knows that Dalai Lama has been staying in India for decades and from the Indian soil, he struggles for the freedom and rights of the Tibetans. Pro-democracy leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest for years in her own country, received people’s support in India. Being an Indian, my pride multiplies when I take into cognizance the history of inhabitancy of followers of almost all chief religious communities of the world on the Indian soil, with their respective traditions and values co-existing in harmony.
Being an Indian, it is also a matter of pride for me, that even when in many parts of the world human civilizations were in their primary state, divinity and law of cosmic unity found acceptance in India.
The source of all visible peculiarity is the human divinity. Therefore, a human being has been accorded the supreme place in the creation. Everyone, no matter to what particular religious community or class she/he belongs, is an equal possessor of that divinity. It is the result of this very recognition, that on the basis of her/his religious community, creed, colour or class, not a single human being from any part of the globe had been denied entry to this land. All got opportunities for their progress and welfare in India.
Thus, on the whole, I can say in brief that the reason of my pride being an Indian is the basic spirit and the principles of India. It is possible that many may not agree to my brief opinion about the Indian way. But, the true Indian way is the one of universal acceptance and tolerance. It is not conservative, narrow or restricted. The spirit of India is comprehensive and harmonious and devoid of discrimination. Isolation, detachment, fundamentalism and narrowness have no place in the true Indian way or the vision. We have to take pride in what India stands for and what India possesses, i.e., love and peace for all alike.