For as long as I can remember, India has been a country of wanna-bes. Not said in a derogatory way at all. In fact I think we are among the most tenacious wanna-bes in the world and that is what makes us among the most successful communities anywhere we go. We always wanna-be – richer, more educated, happier, better, better dressed, etc. None of them are goals to be brushed off. But globally speaking we’ve also been hounded by the stigma of being part of the 3rd world. And that has created a nation that is too much a wanna-be.
In our recently developed zeal to not be less / behind / below / smaller / poorer than the west, I think we are losing some key aspects of our identity. We do not have to prove that we are no longer behind say, the US. That was one thing that struck me about the US and many other countries. Even countries that are not as developed. Most of them don’t spend time comparing each aspect of their countries and cultures with others. They are content and confident in themselves. I struggle to think of one example of an American friend saying “We are better off than those *insert random developed country people*”. They don’t care. They don’t care to compare themselves to the UK. Or to Japan. Or to Germany. If there is a specific topic that is being discussed at a convention – yes. But in general, day-to-day conversation, no.
IMHO the thing about insisting this is that we are assuming the identity of followers in the same game; one which was developed by the countries that are excelling at it. It is a game where we will never ever get ahead.
We are playing cricket. They are playing football. And we are wondering if we are catching up. If we have as many goals. We don’t and we never will. We are not traveling down the same road and that’s ok. Sure – grab some good things from them because they have had a longer time to develop those tools.
But I think it is most necessary for India to realize that if it is serious in its endeavor to be recognized as a world leader or a developed nation, to stop trying to prove that it is no less than others. Just be proud of where we have reached, keep striving to better ourselves and shut up about other countries. Really. It kills the soul to always want to be better than someone else when we are not even alike.