We are of the generation that heard of the Emergency from our parents, the instability of the 90s passed by in gulping down milk and sniffling through games of vish-amrit. We were conveniently born decades away from the struggle that defined our country's independence, saw Gandhi only in the first pages of our NCERT books and think Coca Cola has been in our country since forever. We vote, but take our voting system with a handful of salt, democracy is another word and politics comes across as a farce, a comedy of errors if we would elaborate.
I came across a book that defined for me my country, at a time when defining myself seemed difficult enough. Below is an excerpt that seemed written for me and many of the people I know. Hopefully, it will urge you to pick up this trenchant piece of literature.
"There are many of us, but, among India’s multitudes, we are few. We have gown up in the cities of India, secure in a national identity rather than a local one, which we express better in English than in any Indian language. We rejoice in the complexity and diversity of our India, of which we feel a conscious part; we have friends of every caste and religious community, and we marry across such sectarian lines we see the poverty, suffering and conflict in which a majority of our fellow citizens are mired, and we clamour for new solutions to these old problems, solutions we believe can come from the skills and efficiency of the modern world. We are secular, not in the sense that we are irreligious or unaware of the forces of religion, but in that we believe religion should not determine public policy or individual opportunity.
And, in Indian politics we are pretty much irrelevant."
Pg 43 – Shashi Tharoor – “INDIA: From midnight to the millennium and beyond”