India: A World in Transition

India: A World in Transition

India: A World in Transition

India: A World in Transition

Excerpt

Althought his book attempts to be an objective study of India, it has highly personal roots. When I went to India for the first time in 1949, I had no idea that I would someday write about it. Having never before been outside North America and Europe, I was utterly unprepared for an Asian culture. At first, much of India's strangeness repelled me. Yet, at the same time, I was attracted, partly by its many beauties -- of old buildings, of groups of women in colored saris, of easy graceful gestures, of the slow rhythm of bullocks pulling their creaking carts, a rhythm so good for a soul tired of the endless rush of automobile traffic. At a deeper level, I was also attracted by the Indians I came to know. They were outgoing and friendly like Americans. More than that, they had an unspoken expectancy that a friendship once established would continue indefinitely -- not vanish in the busy flux of life, as Americans so often expect and allow friendships to do. And many of them had a wonderful serenity and a way of accepting quietly not only the eccentricities of a foreign friend, but also any difficulties, either minor or major, within their own lives. Being with them created in me a profound feeling of well-being.

Gradually, this liking and respect for individual Indians stimulated in me an increasing curiosity about their land, their history, their culture, and the problems that modern India is facing. My Indian friends volunteered to tell me everything, and I listened gladly. But what they said always left much that I wanted to know unexplained -- quite naturally, since I especially needed to understand precisely the things they took so much for granted that they would not think of mentioning them. So, when I returned from my first trip, in 1950, I began reading voraciously about the country. And I have never stopped. The bibliography at the end of this book indicates the kind of reading I have done.

In 1956-57, in 1958, in 1960, and again in 1962, I went back to India. The more I came to understand, the less I minded any of the customs, ways, or other things that had bothered me at first. Just as one so often feels, in the case of a personal friend . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.