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  Personal Statement

 

I was born in Mumbai in a middle class family to Mr. Anand Kumar Shrivastava and Mrs. Savitri Shrivastava. Mumbai that is popularly called mini India is also a cosmopolitan city. I studied in schools of Mumbai where we had children coming from all over India. This multicultural stock of Mumbai made me to joyfully tune with different temperamental shades and this has always helped me to feel as the daughter of India. Meet my Bharat family…

Studying with the children of Gujaratis – a community hailing from the west of India gave me a sense of how this vibrant business community gained culturally by maintaining harmonious public relations. They were millionaires but led a life of dedicated service to the country and society. Money was not to be earned for pleasures, was a fond wisdom with them. Their traditions were devised to serve these needs.

I recollect with a sense of pride that most of my teachers were South Indians, a community of India good in observing highest sense of social discipline. Being trained by them was to take exercises of self- discipline. To be a teacher was a ‘karmic duty’- (religiously ordained) for them and not just a vocation. They lived with a conscious knowledge of how society needs oneself and how one is beneficial to it. They led very simple lives to remain dedicated in their endeavours. They deliberately trained their children in good habits making them worthy in the task of inheriting the glorious heritage of India. Simple living and high thinking was their inspiration in life and dignity was to be observed as spiritual calling.

I have a fair image of good dealings with Maharashtrians – a community living in the state of Maharashtra. A hard working people, they had a sense of command over self. Historically famous for their defense strategies ‘next’ was a positive word with them. Not calculative of gains they submitted themselves to essential care of the task. Traditionally trained in simple truths they remained steadfast to it. Always ready to put a helping hand for work they completed task with proper initiative. They are the people who live with faith in fairness, nobility of purpose and equality of being. These people are found to safeguard rights in Unions.

A few Bengalis with whom one could interact in Mumbai gives one an impression that even an average Bengali is a keen intellectual. Hailing from the state of Bengal it is a culture that has given Indians forerunners in almost every field. They have given to India beloved social reformers like Raja Ram Mohun Roy who fought for women and Swami Vivekanand a freedom fighter. A race of fine tastes having devotion for knowledge they train their children in fine arts. They believed Arts to be a field of creativity that holds key to learning abilities for life.

Some of North Indian families that I got the opportunity to intermix were hard working people having genuine interest in India’s welfare. Very sensitive to social evils like Dowry problems and Discrimination against Girl child they regretted greater intensity of such evils in North India. Their solution to social evils was in renovating tradition with the help of enlightened perspective. A people who strongly believed that unity was fundamental to the existence of the nation freely mixed and communicated with others. They never showed any hesitation to use Urdu words- a language used by the Muslim population of India. This social setup that is rich in cultural mix explains why Mumbai could afford to have the biggest Film industry of the world the Bollywood.

Indian Christians formed a small group of people in Mumbai. They were widely respected and cared for their friendship. They freely intermixed with every community and were first to arrange for picnics and community gatherings.

Indian Muslims who comprised a fair share of the population lived like every Indian. They were looked upon as kin in the community and other communities freely solicited their treatments and career guidance. This is how I was groomed in the vast intercultural ecosystem that never treated anyone as alien. Spirit of togetherliness ruled every street of Mumbai. Every Indian was expected to earnestly perform two duties, one of tolerance and second, respect for other religious communities. These emotions of brotherhood and love for unity allowed Mumbai in Independent India to truly represent Indian spirit of unity in Diversity. The only regret I had in living in Mumbai was a severe bias against Girl Child. Teachers and fellow boy students mocked them at schools. I also suffered from a similar bias and was asked to leave 26th January – The Republic Day of India Parade of my school. Only boys played the band of the school and marched proudly while girls were unreasonably taught they were not capable of it. As a young child of twelve years I resented the move of the school bitterly but found oneself incapable of fighting with the entire social set-up and protest at that young age. History since then became a favorite subject because it showed models of reform against social evils. Since then I made my mind firm to invest in good education and seek empowerment through it. To my deep satisfaction with my study of reforms in History I have been able to transform the attitude of the society through my lectures and admonitions in writings that are published.

I left this intercultural society to shift to Jabalpur M.P., a town of elite. The wealthy and powerful were sure to dominate. As compared to Mumbai that was an abode for common man, Jabalpur was a place of classified people where one had only one identity Father’s profession. Taken to remorse I longed to see the true picture of India and read S.Radhakrishnan the greatest exponent of Indian culture and philosophy. To read him was to discover India in its true spirit. Radhakrishnan soon convinced me that Hinduism or Indian philosophy comprised the background of Indian cultural setup. And other religious movements like Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism were flowers of the same soil. The Hindus for cultural enrichment have for centuries appreciated this cross-culturalism.

To live in India is to be a part of this dynamic Hinduism that has changed a number of times through out the history of Indian civilization. Due to its exchanges with indigenous religious movements and world religions, India today owns enriched muliticultural and intercultural heritage. And I am proud to belong to this setup.

 

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