Diversity in friendship

One of the most fascinating things in India is its rich culture, heritage and diversity. I was blessed to be born in a family where my father was in central government service. We got transferred almost every 3 to 4 years and thereby transgressed the length and breadth of our beautiful motherland.

I was born in Trichy. I grew up in Kolkota, Jabalpur and Chennai. Then I have worked in Bhilai, Indore, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and now Mumbai. Every part of the country has taught me something. The place, the culture, the people and the traditions have fascinated me.

What has fascinated me most is the diversity in the friends I have in life today ? I have friends from the north, east, west, centre and south of the country. I have friends from various religions – Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhist and et all. The beauty of India is its imbedded diversity.

After having worked in a corporate for many years, I find it interesting when many multinational organisations take diversity as a priority. India is blessed with diversity as an integral part of the nation. I have seen this physically and in spirit when I started my career in a public sector undertaking in central India.

We had people from almost all states of India and representing all religions, castes and communities. We all worked as employees living and working together. There was never a sense of discrimination or divisiveness. This may be equally true for all central government offices.

The concept of India is the essence of diversity. It is ingrained in the psyche of all Indians. We live in 29 different states. Each state has its own language and culture. But we all merge into one when it comes to India. Sports is a great reminder of of our diverse culture.

If you take any team sport, you will find people from all states and all religions. Although there is no reservation for team selection but it is evident that the best performers in that sport come from different parts of the country.

The diversity of friends have made me whom I am today. They have honed my skills and made me respect and learn from everyone around me. They have made me realise that meritocracy cuts across states and religions.

We are able to appreciate the food choices and festivals celebrated across the country. This has been possible because of the diversity of friends and colleagues I have lived and worked with throughout my life.

It has made me realise that in a way diversity is an attitude of the mind. The way we treat people around us. The way we respect differences. The willingness to be challenged by anyone or everyone around you. When you have people in your team who come from varied backgrounds including state, language or religion, they bring with them a wealth of diverse experience.

As in the photo above, diversity in unity is embedded in the Indian ethos.

I am grateful to God for blessing me with a set of diverse friends. They have moulded me into who I am today. I would be grateful to them throughout my life. They have shaped my career. They have made me a sensitive human being.

Let diversity shape us always.

S Ramesh Shankar

11th October 2018

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