Why are we lost?
I grew up as an Englishman in thought and belief, inside an Indian body. Just as the Anglo Indian education system was designed to produce. I knew much about England, and almost nothing about India, her people, languages, culture, art, science, history etc.
We were being groomed to lord over majority of our countrymen, scientifically, socially, economically etc.
Even our parents, adopted English as the primary language of communication at home. This proved to be a great advantage for our formal educational, social and business life.
However the drifting away from my native Hindi and Punjabi language had serious and adverse consequences on me, both as an individual and Indian.
Lost Wormhole Gurvinder
Soon after beginning my career in the family business, I realised that my brain processed all thoughts only in the English language.
When conversing in any other language my brain would translate the question into English, process an answer in English and then translate the answer back into the language of conversation say Hindi or Punjabi. This was cumbersome and annoying, often the context and much information was either lost or distorted in translation.
Virtually all intellectual, cultural and emotional doorways and paths to the fantastic, beautiful and rich, language, literature, science, art, music, culture and history of India's thousands of years old great wisdom, traditions and heritage were effectively closed to me. Not because I chose to but because of my language programming I had become by default a foreigner in my own land, careless and distant from my own people, Indian culture and traditions.
Since India's independence, large number of Indian elders, social, educational, political, business and government leaders led by academia and the media keep on denigrating India and Indians. They have convinced most of us that we were a third class people unworthy of respect. So people fled India, spiritually and intellectually and if possible physically. The desire to become a foreigner was not only accepted but embraced. We wished to be anything but Indian.
Most Indians confused India's problems as problems with Indians. With disdain for India who then would want to learn more about India and her many glorious and fantastic attributes?
As a former industrialist I had the good fortune to travel to and conducted business in 34 countries. The close interaction with people of various countries was an eye opener. Though language, skin colour, culture, etc. may be different, people everywhere were fundamentally the same. They aspired for the same things, security, liberty, a comfortable life with dignity, seek love and family, children, a home, health and success.
Each country and people had just evolved differently to adjust with their individual situations and suit their needs. We Indians were just as good or bad as other people and in many cases even better.
As a consequence of our negative and retrograde social conditioning, we Indians remain not only ignorant but worse still, lose the desire and ability to understand, who or what we are, both as individuals and as a people.
Adults are usually reluctant to admit even to themselves that they don't know about important things that are fundamental to them. Unless we acknowledge a situation, we cannot change it. I was troubled, both my situation and my cluelessness about what to do about it.
Luckily my wife Mohini and her extended family are deeply rooted in Bharat (the real India). I availed the full benefit of their wisdom. I embarked on a journey to know more about Bharat, I began reading, and conversing in Hindi, Marathi and Punjabi. I watched documentaries and movies, television, videos, and radio broadcasts, in Hindi and other local languages. I was unstoppable, after all I had 30 years of catching up to do.
Then I noticed something wonderful. As I gained fluency and confidence I had stopped translating our native languages into English and back while thinking and communicating. I was now thinking directly in Punjabi, Hindi and Marathi.
I formulated a theory that, the human mind is like a computer, it gathers data, stores it in various memories and processes data into usable information using a processor very much like a 'central processing unit' (CPU) which is at the heart of every computer. The CPU works using a language. In my case the language of my brain had been exclusively English.
My mind now it seemed had evolved to possess several CPUs, fully capable of handling different languages and cultures simultaneously.
The journey into my tradition, and culture, the bonding with my fellow people became enjoyable, highly productive and almost effortless.
With relief and joy I realised I was journeying back home. I realised that the core of my being was so very strong. I finally understood the wish my Uncle Manohar Singh ji had for me,
“I want to give you wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay.”
Written and Posted: March 2018 by : Gurvinder Singh
Blog Post: Why was I lost?