As an American, and therefore European descendant, this quote from Amitabh Kant’s Branding India clearly knocked me off my rocker: “India and China have the natural resources that European consumers want and do not have…Europeans can no longer rule with guns,”. But as I crawled back up to my perch, I opened my mind ever so slightly, cracked it open for a hint of light to come in, and see that it is true. Kinda.
True in the sense that naturally, India is diverse and therefore has more to see and do. Comparing countries is what we have been taught not to do, so I shall not compare and deem one more naturally beautiful than the other. But I will say that this concept is why I have been so intrigued by foreign tourists in the United States. Besides our obvious awesomeness, naturally we have much less to offer to foreigners coming from luscious landscapes of Saudi Arabia or camel rides through the desert in Egypt. Obviously foreign lands are luxurious to us because they are different, and vice versa, but for me, I just don’t get it. After seeing California, I can say with confidence that Dallas, only because it’s my hometown, is nothing but homes, schools, and malls. We don’t have a lot of culture that people can walk around and admire. And that’s how I interpreted this.
What I loved about India was the presence of so many cultures in one. Just looking at our itinerary of cultural tours of mosques, forts, palaces, temples would show how eclectic the mix of architecture is, the remnants of so many diverse rulers and empires in India throughout the course of its history. What was so amazing from an American’s perspective is that all that architecture remains. Coming from a country where new is relished, homes are renovated and rebuilt after mere decades, makes these centuries-old artifacts of past rulers that much more interesting. It is so noble and intriguing that rulers left remnants of those who had been there before them, and perhaps is what encourages the culture of India to be so fluid and flexible to diversity.