UX Designer Niki Chau wanted to know more about Indian Design, and that got me thinking. Steve Jobs came to India, Mark Zuckerberg came to India, a million others came to India…and they all were inspired. Why?
I look around me, here in Pune and anywhere I travel in the country, to see what it is that inspires people; what does India have that is inspiring the world? If you travel to other parts of the world, these things become very clear the moment you land, and they are usually very well articulated and printed. In India there are a few places known for temples, some for rituals, some for handicrafts, but nothing that would inspire someone to do something.
We Indians know there is nothing really that can be called ‘Indian’ culture. A few rich Indians hold on to certain food, textiles, and rituals and claim them as their culture, but if you go deeper and look into the lives of millions you find nothing. A majority are adapting clothes, food, music, and rituals from all around them and changing at a very rapid
speed…they are not holding on to anything. Language, food, clothes and even rituals are changing all the time, so much so that recently at a wedding I saw people dancing to the music of a film that hasn’t been released yet! Think about it…pizza and Chinese are the most popular takeaway food choices here!
The more I think about it, the more I believe that it is this ‘nothing’ part of the culture that is inspiring. It takes time to understand that you need to shed all you believe in, all your notions of identity, and merge into
this something that’s happening to become Indian. It is this ‘accept all and reject nothing’ that is inspiring. It is almost as if India is the cultural black hole. All around us we have cultures that are preserving, holding on to what they believe they are…and here we are in India, changing and ready to change at every moment, not holding on and not building on what we have.
We don’t let anything escape, and anyone who encounters this truth becomes an inspired person, someone who can see through the patterns of set cultures.
Sudhir Sharma, Editor-in-Chief