Misconceptions about India and Indians abound, fed by the stereotypes created by foreigners, and the myths about themselves projected by Indians. In Being Indian, Pavan K.Varma demolishes these myths and generalizations as he turns his sharply observant gaze on his fellow countrymen to examine what really makes Indians tick and what they have to offer the world in the 21st century. Varma's insightful analysis of the Indian personality and the culture that has created it reaches startling new conclusions on the paradoxes and contradictions that characterize Indian attitudes towards issues such as power, wealth and spirituality. How, for example, does the appalling indifference of most Indians to the suffering of the poor and the inequities of the caste system square with their enthusiastic championing of parliamentary democracy? The book also examines India's future prospects as an economic, military and technological power, providing valuable pointers to the likely destiny of a nation of one billion people. Drawing on sources as diverse as ancient Sanskrit treatises and Bollywood lyrics, and illuminating his examples with a wealth of telling anecdotes, Pavan Varma creates a vivid and compelling portrait of Indians as he argues that they will survive and flourish in the new millennium precisely because of what they are, warts and all, and not because of what they think they are or would like to be. This book, which will stimulate reflection, discussion and controversy, is a must read for both foreigners who wish to understand Indians and Indians who wish to understand themselves.
Penguin Books India
21 Mar 2005
Indian Subcontinent and Singapore only