Sanjeev Kotnala: Searching for the Indian within

08 Dec,2021

Sanjeev KotnalaBy Sanjeev Kotnala


I only know of two truths in life. One is birth, and the second is death. Rest all is uncertainties and probabilities in between- a result of upbringing- society- expectations and experiences. The third truth is more of a given, not acquired and which matters to me that I am an Indian. An Indian in hopefully one India. I was taught, and I learnt well. Region and religion do not matter. Sex and gender matter a lot more. Do have dreams, and dreams can be realized. Result, patriotism and being nationalistic was not forced. It was a default version- ingrained in the DNA.


It was then that one was innocent till proven guilty. The intent at times counted more than the result. Karm Kiye Ja– was the motto. Upparwaala Hissab Rakhega– was the belief. Life was so much simpler.


During Eid or Dassera or Gurparb or Christmas or Chhat Puja, one was never alone. The festivals were of India, and every Indian celebrated them, and there were not too many Indias.


I grew up where majority and minority were the way to decide which movie to watch or which cricketer performed the best. It was well before the voices started raising, and people talked of many India. And the politics of conversation and conversion took an ugly turn. I was not angry. Many India survived and flourished with one Indian. And I believed there is still one Indian. I am confused and no longer sure anymore. I am not sure If I can speak for others or speak for myself without thinking twice or inviting the wrath of interested stakeholders.


No, I cannot blame the media and social media. Yes, there are offending messages, volatile verminous voices, skewed agenda, but then the Indian should, could and would understand. Or so I thought, and I am confused where I should never be confused.


It is foolish to suggest there are two or three India. In reality, there are many more Indias than one can ever count or know in a lifetime. Rich and vibrant. Polarised and differentiated with language, rituals, region, religion and necessities dictated by life. Soft and hardened. Inclusive and exclusive. Secular and non-secular.


They all existed in sync and maybe cohesive chaos because of one Indian. The idea of One India. The intense emotions remained entrenched in every tradition. And there was one Indian.


I am not sure what has happened or when did it happen. But I am unsure and confused.


A secular Indian is trying to sound communal and a communal Indian trying to act secular. A majority feel threatened, and the minority equally feel threatened. Co-existence, the fundamental pillar of inclusiveness, is threatened. There is fear and distrust, and it can be felt. It seems for many, there is just one way, their way.


India can fight being radicalized if there remains one Indian.


India can fight the biases, skews and polarized information, emotions, and knowledge.


If there is one Indian.


An Indian is no longer blind to reality but in love with the nation.


An Indian is patriotic to the core, co-existing with all the differences.


There cannot be anything more confusing.


That there are many India in one and one Indian in many.


An Indian that trusts and voices what causes him concern for the nation. For the future and for the present.


An Indian happy with diversity and responsibly allows tolerance.


An Indian that questions but is willing to live with disagreement.


Still agree to disagree with others.


An Indian never comprised its heritage, pride, thoughts, and future.


An Indian that lives and thrives in a multitude of India.


An Indian who knows that being One India is like the heart and mind of many India.



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