Why it's imortant to value Indian Culture...


Stress on recognition of cultural roots 

It is time families evolve from being mere residents to becoming citizens: Pavan K Varma

Middle-class has put the country on the world map: R. Kannan

CHENNAI: A range of topics, including the forgotten Indian culture, the practice of aping the West and the socio-political participation of middle-class families were debated at a discussion on ‘The life and times of being Indian' here on Friday.

Diplomats Pavan K.Varma and R.Kannan talked about the cultural richness of the country and stressed the need for people to recognise their roots. Mr. Varma is India's Ambassador to Bhutan and an author. Mr. Kannan is a political officer with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo and also an author.

“Mediocrity has seeped in”

Opening the discussion with the post-colonial situation in the country, Mr.Varma said mediocrity has seeped into our civilisation and underscored the need to understand what it was to be Indian. Calling the middle-class, socially insensitive and self-obsessed, Mr.Varma said the families have built a citadel for themselves and it was time they evolve from being mere residents to becoming citizens. Contradicting the argument, Mr.Kannan said the middle-class has put the country on the world map by participating in large numbers in the development of information technology. Lower middle-class, on the other hand, were finding even the everyday life a struggle.

On his book ‘Anna: the Life and Times,' Mr.Kannan said there weren't many biographies on southern leaders and their contribution to the Indian political system has been hardly known to the world. While the Indian bureaucratic edifice was very much solid, it was important to analyse how the cultural richness of the country declined, he said.

“Greatness overlooked”

Referring to his book ‘Being Indian,' Mr.Varma said works such as ‘Arthasastra,' ‘Vyakaran,' ‘Natyasastra' and ‘Upanishads' were testimony to the greatness of Indian minds, but they were conveniently overlooked by the people of today. “You can't be a great power by just producing a few engineers and doctors. How many of us know even the most popular Indian writers and historians? Many of the Bollywood films and songs are straight lift-offs from Hollywood. Strengthen your Indian roots and then take global wings.”

The discussion was organised to mark the second anniversary of the Indian Immersion Centre.




Several Indians are deeply concerned about why literacy rates in India are still so low. Making a point of asking English-speaking Indians to guess what India's literacy rate in the colonial period might have been. These were Indians who went to school in the sixties and seventies (only two decades after independence) - and it was amazed to hear their fairly confident guesses. Most guessed the number to be between 30% and 40%. When they were suggested that their guess was on the high side - they offered 25% to 35%. No one was prepared to believe that literacy in British India in 1911 was only 6%, in 1931 it was 8%, and by 1947 it had crawled to 11%! That fifty years of freedom had allowed the nation to quintuple it's literacy rate was something that almost seemed unfathomable to them. Perhaps - the British had concentrated on higher education ....? But in 1935, only 4 in 10,000 were enrolled in universities or higher educational institutes. In a nation of then over 350 million people only 16,000 books (no circulation figures) were published in that year (i.e. 1 per 20,000).



A very good posting worth reading.

 This is the reality what has happening today. Really “Mediocrity has seeped in”. It is unfortunate that we do not heed to our culture.

In the British period science was on the peak, Kolkata and Chennai was center for science. One more thing I observe is that out of total magazines//newspapers published in India around 90 to 95% used to be in English i.e. for around 5 to 10% English speaking/literate people around 90 to 95% good magazines/newspapers are there/available and for 90% of the people only 5 to 10% magazines are there. There is even difference in standard/quality also. Journalism has turned into mere a profession and sensation.




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