We celebrated Independence Day on August 15.
Republic Day is more than four months away.
Most of you must be wondering why we are suddenly being so patriotic and talking about India.
Do we really need to wait for a special day to be reminded of our country’s rich heritage and culture, asks author and management guru Virender Kapoor.
Better still, do we need to wait for an international organisation like the UN or an expert to certify our merits, he wonders.
Be it medicine, arts or culture, India is a miraculous country that is constantly inspiring people from across the globe and touching their lives every other day.
Here, Kapoor, founder of Management Institute for Leadership and Excellence and the author of Winning Instinct: Decoding the Power Within and Innovation, the Einstein Way, tells us why we must take pride in our home country and its legacy, every single day.
1. Indian music
India has a rich tradition of both classical and folk music that date back to centuries.
Our songs, including some of the film albums of the 60s and 70s are high on content and our lyrics are phenomenal.
We have a wide variety of instruments and compositions too.
In the percussion, we have the tabla, sarod, tambura, mridangam; in wind instruments we have the flute, bansuri, shehnai, nadaswaram, each rendering a unique feel to the music.
When I was young, I used to be inspired by Bob Dylan and Cliff Richards.
Today, it is heartening to see international composers collaborate with Indian musicians and artists for a song. International musicians are using sitar and guitar in a song.
Composers like AR Rahman are working for international productions.
It speaks a lot about the importance of Indian music and regard for our artists.
2. Indian food
India is a land of diversities and we have countless flavours and delicacies which are unique to the state and area it belongs.
If the western countries take pride in their types of breads, we can boast about producing 100 different varieties of parathas, kulchhas, rotis, naans and appams from our kitchens.
If you were to look at continental or any western food for that matter, it is mostly bland because they use limited ingredients. You can have it for one day or one week and then you’ll want to try something else.
Back home in India, we use multiple masalas and ingredients in a single recipe. The addition of every masala gives a unique flavour to the recipe and most of our spices have high nutritional value.
The spices we use — turmeric, cardamom, black pepper — each have health benefits too.
Today, thanks to people like master chef Vikas Khanna, people in the western countries are taking special interest in Indian food and appreciating it too.
If you happen to travel the world, you’ll realise how popular our Bengali sweets are.
3. Indian films
Every year, we make about 1,000 plus films in more than 20 different languages. So what if our films have not won an Oscar?
Our artistes have won it for designing the costumes and music.
Our purpose, audience and reach is different from theirs.
We have come a long way since we made our first film Raja Harishchandra in 1913.
If we look at the entire package — our content, story telling and execution has improved by leaps and bounds.
The performances of Indian actors have been appreciated world over.
We have actors like Irfan Khan, Rajkumar Rao whose performances are at par with international actors.
Our films make crores of rupees too, which is why foreign investors and film makers want to collaborate with us.
We have made films on low budget with bold subjects and social messages as well — which is why our films are appreciated at international film festivals.
4. Yoga, pranayam and meditation
Like it or not, the credit goes to Ramdev Baba for bringing yoga into your drawing room and making it so popular.
In fact, the science of physiotherapy finds its roots in yoga. The postures, the techniques are all inspired from yogic mudras.
People world over are slowly realising the fact that if you spend 15 minutes of your day doing yoga, pranayam and meditation, you will cut your medical bills tremendously.
India is the birthplace of Ayurveda, one of the five elements of alternative medicine AYUSH — Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy.
Today, Ayurvedic medicines and home remedies are fast becoming the most sought after route in alternate medicine.
If you go to Germany, you’ll realise that Germans swear by Vicco products because there are no side effects.
The use of herbs and oils in Ayurveda rejuvenate the body and transform you into a healthy human being.
6. Unity in diversity
The next time you say how good and better the United States of America is, you must not forget that we are United States of India.
In America, they speak a single language across the country.
Can you think of any other country in the world that has so many different states and languages?
In India, the co-existence of the diversity in food, tradition and culture is a lesson for the world to see and learn from.
7. Managing more with less
Ever since we are young, we are taught to manage more with less.
Most of our students start their education with limited resources, yet we go on to become successful doctors, engineers and researchers.
We may not have a library as big as the Oxford which is believed to be the size of seven football fields, but we make the most of what we have in our home country.
We have produced people like Satya Nadella (CEO, Microsoft) and Verghese Kurien, founder of White Revolution who are ideal icons of excellence and success for the world.
8. High resilience
During our growing up years, we are taught certain values by our parents.
We know the importance of humanity, kindness, hospitality, tolerance and spirituality.
Despite the negatives surrounding us, and the deprivation of resources that most of us have grown up with, the strength of our values make us highly resilient.
This resilience is perhaps one of the primary reasons how we gifted Buddhism to the world.
It may be debatable that jugaad is a temporary and quick fix solution to problems.
According to me, jugaad is a skill to improvise and innovate already existent solutions.
Necessity is the mother of jugaad.
The word jugaad originated in Punjab when a group of people created a multi-function tractor in less than Rs 25,000.
The point is, jugaad is an Indian skill — of being street-smart and having the attitude to survive any difficult situation.