Guest post by B.T.Lowry

Dear-India

My dear India,

I’ve been meaning to write this letter for a long time. Don’t be alarmed. I still love you. But there are things I need to tell you, if this relationship is going to work out. You might not change. That’s up to you.

My words may sound pretentious and judgmental. So be it. But I need you to hear me.

Ever since I heard of you, I wanted to meet you. The way your people dress, with their colorful robes and swirling turbans. Their amazing cooking, with cone-shaped towers of powders—reds and yellows, sizzled into the juices of a subji. Or seeds of cumin mixed among cauliflower-parathas. Your amazing life and history, with philosopher kings and queens roaming your lands, bowing down to sages giving divine benedictions. Incarnations of gods and God have brushed their feet over your grasses. Green fields burst with bounties in your south, while the world’s tallest mountains form your crown in the north. Even as a child, some part of me always knew that when I wanted to learn what the deal was, spiritually speaking, I would go to you. Once I was done playing (I’m still not that serious).

In my teens, I finally met you.

At first I understood so little about you, although I was entranced by the incredible diversity of people, conceptions, and ways of life, all coexisting in you. I came to you mostly as a tourist. Over the decades I have come to know you a little better, though your every nook and cranny still holds mystery for me.

I’ve also been frustrated with you, yelled and cursed at your people for following a way of life not their own. For taking up the technology, infrastructure, fashions and media of materialistic cultures, without taking a moment to consider their benefits and demerits. Why should a man wear pants, socks, shoes and a shirt in a tropical climate? Why should those from a deeply spiritual culture emulate others?

Has modern Western culture been good for the West? The family unit has broken down. The environment is in tatters. People are depressed and angry. The bubble of those wealthy countries looks so sparkling and enticing to you, doesn’t it? Your people feel yourselves poor. But how long until that bubble pops? Your culture lasted thousands and thousands of years. America is only a few hundred years old, and already it’s falling apart. Why follow them? Your culture is old and deep. Why imitate gangs of youngsters still learning their way?

There are some more practical things I’d like to address as well. It’s important in a relationship to feel heard, and I need you to hear these things.

Like…

Why can’t your people drive in any kind of sensible way? They’ve adopted cars, which are a deeply flawed invention. But as long as they have them, why not adopt a logical system for traffic as well? High beams should be used when there is no oncoming traffic, otherwise you’ll blind them. Your turn signals are there for a reason. Dots in the middle of the road are there for a reason. You’ve chosen to have vehicles drive along the left side of the road, like in England. Why not stick to that? In a working traffic system, drivers hardly need to use their horns at all. They’re really for emergencies. In most countries, you could be in traffic for an entire day and not hear a single horn sounded. Can you imagine how much more peaceful that would be? The noise on your streets has made your people half-deaf.

Your traffic system runs in the same way as your country: impulsively and selfishly. No one has any faith in following a set of rules, to lead for a better outcome for everyone. “I want to go into that gap between two stuck cars right now, and I don’t care if it causes a traffic jam for two hours. I don’t even care if I’m in that jam. I want to go into that gap now.” This is how people think within your traffic, and this is how they think in business, the police force, and the government. Everywhere. “Never mind the greater good. I want what I want now.”

For God’s sake, clean the place up. There’s plastic everywhere. Plastic is not like ordinary waste. It’s a very, very stupid invention. To make something which lasts practically forever, and then manufacture it to be used once. You can’t dispose of it like you would normal waste. It’s making your country into a landfill. Actually the solution in the West isn’t any better; people waste far more, then hide it in holes in the ground for their children and grandchildren to deal with.

It’s really better not to use plastic at all. Some of your states have banned plastic bags. That is SUCH a good idea, and a beacon of good sense for the entire world. Yes, you can be a leader in the world. You are in many ways already.

Yet you’ve taken these things from the West without learning how to use them. In fact, these things were made in such a shortsighted way that it is hardly possible to use them well.

But these are my quibbles. In any relationship, there are things that will bug the other party. Bhagavan knows that I’m far from perfect.

These aren’t the things which really pain me about you. What pains me is to see you losing your deep and wonderful ways to stupid and superficial ‘culture’. What pains me is to see so-called holy men taking advantage of the general goodwill, naivety and respect that your people have toward men in saffron. Foreigners come with this naive respect as well, and they’re also taken advantage of. It hurts me to see your young people wearing T-shirts of dumb-ass heavy-metal bands which are already out of style in America, instead of dressing in the beautiful and meaningful clothes of their ancestors. It hurts me to see your people’s intelligence sucker-punched by the British education system, so that they think their own culture to be backward, while considering a shortsighted, spiritually blind, selfish consumer society to be the bees’ knees.

If you didn’t have much potential, all this wouldn’t bother me. I wouldn’t expect a crow to become a lion. But you could be so much more, and the gap between what you are and what you could be, is excruciating.

Oh India, you are more wealthy than anyone I know. Please, please, please, recognize this wealth and share it with the world. Who cares if your IT sector improves? Who cares whether your infrastructure catches up with the west? You are just serving foreign companies who are raping the earth. You were meant to serve gods and sages, not greedy corporations. Explore your own culture and resources. Protect the cows and land. Honor the real sadhus. Honor your holy books.

Think for yourselves.

Because I need your help. We all do.

me B.T. Lowry fell in love with India about twenty years ago, and has been in a troubled relationship with her ever since. He is a storyteller and filmmaker. While Tolkien and others rooted their Epic Fantasy rooted in Europe, B.T. Lowry roots his in ancient and modern India.

For free short stories and videos, check out my page http://www.storypaths.net.

 

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28 thoughts on “Guest post by B.T.Lowry

  1. By far, this is the post that describes my relationship with India to the T. The squabbles that oscillate between the deep roots of culture and tradition and modernization (which is taken to really well), is what it seems to me, all the time as somebody who visits the country often!

    Like

  2. Well, having been there. India in early 1970’s, the writing was on the wall then. Having just returned from a trip to the Philippines, this year. You might toss in blaring car horns and karaoke machines? Into the obnoxious mix. People are never content to follow one behind another. They have to overtake, like they just have to. Yellow lines and pedestrian safety vanish in the haze of car exhaust.

    Despite the chaos, though, the noise and the interminable bits of plastic dross waving at the side of the road. Like some demented tourist. It works. In the whole month i was there i never actually saw an accident. Either occur or soon after. So something obviously works for them.

    Cheers Jamie.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Three months a go, I visited India for the first time, it had been a dream of mine since I was an older teenager, so it took me almost 40 years to finally come to India. Immediately me and my camera fell in LOVE with India and it has the most special place in my heart. I do so agree with your words in your letter to India, it feels like I could have written it, yet my english as a second language isn’t nearly as beautiful as yours. I really thank you for writing and sharing this. If you feel like stroll through my recent posts about India on my blog. http://www.corneliaweberphotography.wordpress.com

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for your kind comment, though the thanks goes to B.T.Lowry, whose link you will find at the end of the post. He asked me to feature it on my page and I kindly did, as it fits in with my theme. But he is now in India, soaking up the good bits. A lot of us can agree with much or all of his expressions 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. An eye opener indeed !
    Thanks for expressing your feelings.
    Your expectations and suggestions are welcome.
    But then this is India and probably it takes ages for changes to take place.Probably people here are used to the ‘Karma’ philosophy and knew that their fate can not be changed since they have to follow the route laid down by the destiny.
    The problem is that country has many languages and culture each trying to score over.
    Thank you for your wonderful article
    India- Land of controversies & Ironies
    http://www.indiatimes.com/news/weird/12-things-that-prove-india-is-the-motherland-of-ironies-228540.html

    Liked by 4 people

    • The thanks goes to B.T.Lowry, who asked me to feature his post on my page, as it fits in with my theme and I did for him. He is now in India, soaking up all the wonderful aspects. His link you will find at the end of the post. But thanks for visiting 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, wonderful. It was a good thing then, that B.T. Lowry composed and expressed his sentiments about India. Many are relating to it. I always say that India is like another planet. It takes some getting used to the place 🙂

      Like

  5. It did not surprise me to read all that the author of the letter has to say – probably all the societies/countries or civilisations have almost identical problems.In case of INDIA – the oldest culture in the world has been the victim of external invasion repeatedly and for ceturies, ruled by Muslims, Moghuls and Britishers who tried their best to have their own beliefs, faith and religion entranched in this country.The original concept of Hindu culture has been distorted, time and again, by people with power and influence, mostly, for their own good.With education and inflow of modern technology, the young generation got influenced by , so called western culture – mostly blind imitation.Even today, in most parts of rural India, the people are illiterate, governed by their caste and many superstitions.The need of the country is to adopt modern views, methods and techniques without damaging the environment and the present Government is taking steps towards this. This is going to be a slow process but sure and steady.The basic and fundamental concepts and values of HINDU CULTURE is so strong that it has survived many many efforts and threats from within and outside. It is not easy, for anyone, to understand the present day complex scene of India and its culture.It is like trying to see GHEE in milk, curd or butter.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I hear you, though I wish that such an insightful comment would have been made directly to the author of the post, whose link is located at the bottom of it below his photo. I believe his intention of making a ‘guest post’ was to drive traffic and communication directly to his blog page. But anyhow, I understand what you are saying. This is Kali-yuga in which every country is affected by its influence, which unfortunately runs for 432 000 years, until the new yuga starts. So, if change is to come, there is time yet 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for sharing with us. Always love to hear someone appreciating My India, and constructive criticism is a good panacea for the many ills. With the ups we do have our downs and are trying to iron them out.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I, like many others, was impressed by the eloquence of Dr Lowry, who has a clear understanding of Indian culture and life, from his own experience and from his spiritual journey. I admire and appreciate the intent behind the original article, written as a letter to a beloved – his India – and the style with which he hymns his beloved country is beautiful and lyrical. However, it is in my view a mistake to take some specific criticisms and rail against the people generally (“why can’t you people drive like …..”). As many have pointed out, accidents are few and vehicles in my experience are ancient and held together with sellotape. Besides, chaotic roads and indifference to rules are rife the world over. Ever tried driving in Kabul? or even Istanbul? Chaos reigns there too. Likewise the plastic bag thing. This is everywhere, and in other countries worse. If waste creation and management are in the discussion, look no farther than the United States whose consumerist greed creates the most terrible waste issues. As for the evils of the developed world’s consumerism, and rampant corruption, this is no worse in India than anywhere else. Seen Nairobi recently? Been to Lagos? Russia, too, is steeped in institutionalised corruption. India may not be a paragon but it is hardly the originator of corruption. No; if you want to criticise this beautiful spiritual land, then do not praise its Hinduism : therein lies the evil of the caste system, so diabolical that it still causes countless, endless, avoidable suffering to people whose lives are blighted from birth. Go back a hundred years, two hundred, and see how slavery of black people institutionalised inhumanity. It is still institutionalised in India. This is where we must fight to purify this wonderful land.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you, but perhaps you could copy and paste your response to B.T. Lowry directly on his blog site, you will find at the end of the post, as that was his intention…. to have communication there. I don’t really know what to say on your comment, as the post in question is after all not mine. But I get what you are saying…

      Like

  8. Sir, the pleasure i got after reading your blog is inexpressible and I m runing out of words to appreciate you.Yes, we are struggling with the issues you have mentioned and it is really disappointing that we Indians are forgetting our own wealthy culture and runing towards the western culture.

    Liked by 1 person

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