India, a country of 1.25 billion people, 29 states, 7 union territories and 1652 languages, stands strong as one of the most diverse countries in the whole world.
India is a conundrum to people across the globe. People come from far and wide to bask in the “spirituality” that this nation is all about. “Eat, Pray, Love” much?
But to truly understand India, one has to be an Indian. You have to be “not” overwhelmed by people, people, people everywhere; undauntedly take on the 10am traffic; devour the delicious and extremely spicy food with a straight face; bathe in the colours of Holi as if it were just clean water; bravely light dangerous firecrackers in your hand to show it off to your friends; watch 3-hour long Shah Rukh Khan movies and cry at the end without getting distracted even once; you have to have “Khichudi” on Durga Puja and “Biryani” on Eid – in other words you need to truly embrace India is all its glory and proudly claim yourself to be an Indian, with an inflated chest.
This country is an absolutely incredible place to live in. Here’s why:
Some of the most biologically diverse regions of the world are in India. The ecozones found in India vary from mountains to plain land; deserts to snowy valleys; marshy swamps to undulating grasslands. The flora and fauna of India are truly remarkable. India prides herself for harbouring animals like the Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian wolf, Bengal fox, striped hyena, golden jackal, macaques, mongooses and langurs.
Because of the nation’s extensive diversity, people’s culinary preferences vary widely. The Indian cuisine is known to be one of the richest in the world. It encompasses a wide variety of traditional and regional cuisines of native India. Owing to the wide variation in soil types, climates, terrains and cultures spread out across the land, the types of vegetables, fruits and spices grown and animals reared in different parts of the country vary widely too. From the spicy, robust flavours of Punjab to the subtleties of South Indian cuisine – there is an array of options to choose from. In India, your palate will embark on an adventure of its own!
- Family life
Unlike the system in the west, the unitary family system is not too popular in India. Indians prefer living with their families; they take care of their parents after they get old and sick. The sense of belonging and the thought of being close to one’s roots are still very dear to every Indian. Indians gave birth to the idea of ‘atithi-devo-bhava’ – that guests are equivalent to God and are firm believers of the same. They treat every guest with respect and devotion worthy of the Gods.
Punjabis, Bengalis, Marwaris, Guajaratis, Biharis, and Assamese – these numerous ethnic groups have their own sets of beliefs, conventions, customs and lifestyles. Different cultural groups in India dress differently, have different cuisines, talk in different languages and adhere to different customs. But, at the end of the day, they are united by their nationality. Lifestyles all across the nation vary widely, yet we are all one essentially.
- Cheap service
Poverty is a curse and a boon for the people of our country. The latter may be hard to believe and even shocking to some extent, but poverty has laid down the foundation for cheap labour and employment in the country. Now, whether that is economically beneficial for the country or not is rather debatable. But the fact remains that for the middle and upper classes, cheap labour arising from poverty has facilitated comfortable living unlike in first world countries where getting someone to do your household work or drive your car turns out to be quite expensive.
- Festivals of India
In a country with more than 6 major religions and about a million traditions, it is easy for one to lose track of the number of religious and cultural holidays. As a result of cultural amalgamation over the past few decades, celebrations are no longer restricted to that particular culture or religion – everyone celebrates each festival with equal joy and devotion as if it were part of their own culture.
During the five days of Durga Puja (the worship of Hindu goddess Durga), all communities come together and celebrate in harmony, regardless of all dissimilarities. Similarly, Diwali (the festival of lights) is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims alike. The sky on a Diwali night, lit up with fireworks, is truly a spectacle to witness.
Starting from Aryabhatta to Ramanujan, from Jagadish Chandra Bose to Amartya Sen, India has given birth to the brightest of minds in the world whose path-breaking work has given the world new direction; new perspective. The Indian Education System is primarily known for its competitive nature which does give the excellent students here an edge over those from other countries. Even today, most scientists, engineers, doctors and people working in other sectors abroad are primarily Indians. Today the CEOs of several top companies globally are Indians with the likes of Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai making it to the top in Microsoft and Google. Despite the competitive nature, living in India and being a part of the education system will give you or your children an edge over their peers outside.
A country with such diversity can never comprise of just one religion. It has people from more than 6 religions and is also the birthplace of four major religions in the world – Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and of course, Hinduism. As rightly mentioned in the constitution of India, India is a secular country and every person has the right to practise his or her own religion. Although a few extremist parties and fringe groups create unnecessary chaos from time to time, the society and the ordinary man welcome everyone with open arms.
- Richness of Culture
India is comprised of 29 States and 7 union territories. Over 1652 languages are spoken in the country with more than 645 indigeneous communities. Every state has its own official language and numerous communities co-existing in harmony. Every village in India has its own story, its own beliefs and own means of livelihood. Culture, as a tool, when used in the right direction, paves the way for a unique and prosperous lifestyle for these people where their tradition is preserved. In a world where countries are always on the brink of waging wars against each other and radical thoughts are on the rise, India is the ideal place to preach unity in diversity and to portray culture in the most rational way possible.
Tangible and intangible heritage preserved in the most natural way is what makes India such an interesting country. With the birth of so many religions in India and the past reign of numerous dynasties, India is the heart of heritage. While monuments and buildings undoubtedly contribute to the beauty of the country, the traditions of various tribal communities remind us of our past. Textiles, metal casting, wood-carving, handicraft and other forms of craft that have been developed using primitive techniques are practised even today by tribal communitites, thus promoting these places as indigenous cultural hubs.
10 reasons are too few to explicitly put in words why India is so great. There are a million more reasons why Indian life is truly spectacular. It is perfect in all its imperfections.