About a year and a half back or even more perhaps, there was a report by a panel commissioned by foreign media to do a comparative study of manners followed by different nationalities. The report had declared that Indians had no manners. Stung by this I wrote a blog in Word Press as to how manners and etiquette as dictated by the ancient Indian culture were quite different from the manners built up by the ‘developed countries’ which had neither the culture nor the history of our country to boast off.
The blog really stirred up hornets’ nest. Believe me, I am still receiving comments on my blog __even nearly two years after I wrote it. No day would pass when there was not a hit or two or comments from someone or other_ either Indian or non Indian. While the non Indians were too happy to endorse the report pouring out all their pent up venom, Indians tried to share my views though secretly admitting that there was some truth in the report.
Finally, fed up with all the non stop correspondence and my patriotic side unable to take any more, I declared all correspondence on the subject closed and announced that no further comments would be entertained.
But, nevertheless, the hits and comments have continued as before.
When such is the case with my old blog, the topic I am going to discuss now is, I am sure will invite the wrath of all the people_ Indian and non Indian and will render them highly voluble online.
The occasion was an International Sanskrit meet in the national capital New Delhi. The venue was the prestigious Mavalankar Auditorium near Raj path. The auditorium had been a venue for many national and international seminars, music concerts and other cultural items by well known artists.
Being an avid student of Sanskrit and also residing quite close to the auditorium, I felt I should not miss this rare opportunity. So I decided to attend the Sanskrit meet as a visitor if not as a delegate.
On the day of the meet, I entered the impressive hall and found an august gathering. There were delegates from Germany, Mongolia, United States, Europe etc in addition to Sanskrit professors representing Indian universities and highly learned Sanskrit pundits representing religious mutts. The pundits were quite conspicuous with their tufts and red bordered thin white cotton dhotis from Melkote.
I was highly impressed to see that some read papers and some gave extempore speeches, all in Sanskrit, our divine language. After soaking up all the high funda and feeling very proud of my motherland, I stepped out in the lunch break to go home.
As I entered the road, what do I see? A row of pundits squatting on the roadside to attend the call of nature! I was shocked at this blatant demonstration of Indianism by the pundits in front of the impressive auditorium and all the foreign delegates. Having come from the rural background, they must have felt uncomfortable with the state –of- the- art toilets in Mavalankar Auditorium.
Well, that was India for you.
Incidentally, the rural folk here believe that depositing their bio- degradable body wastes in the open, separated from each other’s is more hygienic than using the bacteria-infested toilets which cater to hundreds of people!