Happy Independence Day, India!

It’s been sixty nine years since the British declared leave from India- sixty nine years to build our country as our own. Although I’ve only been alive for twenty two of those years, I’ve reflected on each with a sense of pride and patriotism.


You might not believe me-  or at the very least you may be skeptical of my sentiments. After all, nearly two-thirds of my life have been spent abroad. For many NRIs (technically ‘Non-resident Indians’ but more appropriately ‘Not Really Indian’), being Indian is just a tick on a form. It’s a personal observation I’ve made over the past fourteen years, so trust me when I say that I expect the skepticism.


Well, maybe it’s our upbringing, but I never lost the Indian in me despite being in New Zealand. I’m privileged enough to enjoy the best of two worlds in a fabulous Hannah Montana fashion (minus the blond wig and fame, sadly). But no matter how much I change my accent outside home, or use typically Kiwi slang (‘cuz that’s just how it is here, aye mate) my Indian side outshines the rest.


(It comes out on display in the lounge every year!)


Being Indian feels good. I don’t know if it’s the family or friends, food (or fumes!), but I’m always drawn back to India. It is said that the world is in India, and I can certainly see why! We have snow capped mountains and white sand beaches; over a hundred languages and skin colours across the spectrum; the spiciest curries and the sweetest mithais; mosques, churches and temples- all in the largest democracy in the world. It’s a pity then that we don’t appreciate it nearly as much as we should.


When I see India from a western perspective, it’s mostly negative. It’s a perspective conceived by a media that largely shows rapes and riots. When you hear more of India’s failings than her merits, you can’t help but see their point of view. Our colourful saris hide cries of discrimination and big buildings hide many mini Dharavis. And behind the ultimate Indian icon, Bollywood, is the battle to be fair and thus lovely. Nearly seven decades on from the promise of a better future and yet we appear to regress as much as we progress.


Therefore I have a proposal for my fellow Indians today: instead of only sharing quotes by Gandhi ji and pictures of our flag, let us embody the true essence of being Indian and all the positive that comes from it. Let not your grades worry you, nor let Deepika Padukone’s face intimidate you. Smile at the person you pass by in the bazaar instead of looking the other way. Stand up for the downtrodden and respect the Indian streets. We cry about our government but nothing is going to change unless we are the change.


Yes, I’m halfway around the world. But I’ll always strive to be worthy of my ‘rich and varied heritage’. I’ll wear Indian clothes, and dance to Bollywood songs. I’ll be the bai‘s friend and throw my litter in a bin. I’ll thank the rickshaw-wala and smile while eating gola. No country is perfect, but in my eyes, India comes pretty damn close to it. So on this seventieth anniversary of freedom, let’s celebrate our independence with our unity. Jai Hind!13913739_10153920405713037_3089646832803593572_o



19 thoughts on “Happy Independence Day, India!

  1. Being an immigrant always provides that sense of duality of belonging.Its like you were raised as a part of two worlds and your not always sure which one you truly belong to or which one is the most important.Sometimes naturally you side the indian cricket team over the kiwi one.Yet you will talk about how disgusting and corrupt the indian government is.Growing up as an indian in New Zealand,you naturally feel inclined to need to fit in.Having to change your accent,your indian habits and mentality etc to adjust to the lifestyle of being a kiwi really makes that sense of duality within us immigrants grow.Some will continue to their strict religious beliefs,the food they eat,the people they hang with etc.Some will only want to marry only indians.Some will come out of the closet and be with white people and other nationalities.Some will become so disgusted with their culture,that their embarrassed to be Indian.At the end of the day though,its our roots,its where we came from.No matter how much I disapprove of of the way indians treat their people,their environment,and how corrupt the government is,part of me will always know india is a home awaiting for me.

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  2. How can we forget our roots…. Our cultures have made us into the person we are. Proud to be an India. Well written Sinelle. Keep it up….👌🌟🌟🌟

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  3. Good write up Sinelle. So true as India is always portrayed in the negative.Articles like yours enlighten people about the beautiful country we grew up in.Keep the Indian flag flying high.


  4. Wow awesome ninu , gets in a realization of how lucky we are to be in this land and enjoy all of its diversity .Be in the midst of corruption and chaos but still unaffected and clean 😉 .Life sure is really beautiful out here there’s so much too see ,learn and explore . Feel blessed and proud to be born in India .

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  5. Very well written Sinelle. Such rich & mature thoughts from such a young mind. It’s great that you still cherish & appreciate all that Mother India has to offer. As you rightly said, no country is perfect. It’s just where we focus our attention on when it comes to our own birthplace. Great stuff girl.

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