It was the recent comment by the PM Of India at an event in Seoul. While addressing a diaspora of Indian citizens, a very casual comment that was made, literally triggered off a storm amongst all Indians worldwide. Very simply stated, Indians before were ashamed to call themselves Indians, before 2014. Any person who was an Indian thought, what crime have I committed that I was born an Indian.

Now, I am not trying to propagate or analyze what the PM said. Whether he said it in jest or meant it seriously. I also don’t give a damn, as to what triggered the comment from the PM to state as such. What was he thinking about, only Mr. Modi knows and probably will know, in what vein the comment was uttered.

From my perspective, as I would like to pass a message to Mr. Modi, neither I, nor, am sure, that many Indians are ashamed to call ourselves Indians. To take for a fact:

Indian citizens are amongst the most respected where ever they have settled.
Indian citizens throughout the world have made a name for themselves, in many a field.
Most of the leading universities all over the world have learned professors who are Indians.
Indians have contributed not only to the societies and economies where they reside, but have also contributed back to their country of birth, in more ways than one.
Whenever India has needed help, it is these Indians who have come to the rescue, no questions asked.
Indians even though have left their country of birth and even where left their nationalities, still consider themselves Indians first.
You will find all Indian origin native nationals of countries, supporting India first in any sporting match.
Among the many other, it is still said very proudly, you can take an Indian out of India, but you can never take India out of an Indian.

Having said this, I am not sure, what prompted our dear PM, Mr. Modi to make such an offhand remark. To believe that people now consider themselves proud to be Indians after May 2014, at the very least, demeans the very ethos of every Indian, who has contributed not only globally, but also nationally. To state such would mean that all our:

Freedom fighters who laid their life down for “Bharat” were ashamed to be Indians until Mr. Modi came along.
We were ashamed to be Indians when the erstwhile PM of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi led a fitting reply to Pakistan in the 1971 war?
We were ashamed to be called Indians, when another PM, Mr. AB Vajpayee, gave a fitting reply on the Kargil War.
All the Jawans who lost their lives defending India from insurgents were ashamed to be Indians simply because they were born and died before 2014.
We were ashamed to be Indians, when we won the World Cup in Cricket, the Olympic Hockey medals, the Chess championships, simply because they were all pre 2014?
We should we be ashamed of our history, that spans centuries and has in its records the Cholas, the Mauryas, the Mughals, our monuments, all created pre 2014?
We should we be ashamed to have joined the Nuclear club, as that was by Mr. Vajpayee and not by Mr. Modi?
We should be ashamed of the Godhra incident, even though was fanned by religious fanatics?

The list could go on and on and if one tries to fathom as to what we have achieved since May 2014, to determine our pride, one would come a cropper. What our PM does need to realize is that people are not ashamed to be Indians simply because they were born after a particular year, or they have a particular PM. We are actually ashamed, Mr. Modi due to:

Not being able to protect our girl child, despite us progressing into the technological era.
Not being able to get rid of our caste system, despite the Constitution stating that every Indian is equal.
Not being able to give justice to our people, who spend an entire lifetime running after scrupulous lawyers and inefficient judges.
Not being able to provide good medical services to every Indian despite our doctors being amongst the best in the world.
Not being able to get rid of our quota system in education, which would allow seats to go vacant, but deserving candidates waste their year.
Not being able to give a better and a quality lifestyle, that pushes many to leave their shores.
Not being able to get out of the political influence system, which allows those with money to thrive, those without to suffer.
Not being able to provide clean drinking water 24 hours a day, even after 70 years of independence.
Not putting the country first, but creating dynasties of families that rule unabated, even at the cost of the very people who elected them to serve them.
Not living to the theory that we are the world’s largest democracy having a Government of the people, for the people, by the people.
Not putting India first.

Image Rights: India Times

Image Rights: India Times

My point is very simple. We may be ashamed to be seen as Indians some of the time, but many a time, we are proud to be Indians, as our cultures thankfully survive and outlive those few who are hell bent on destroying the very crux of what we morally and ethically stand for. If we are ashamed, it should be with ourselves, not at our history.

And if we feel proud, it is not because of a PM !

Interesting Article on Washington Post