I am proud to be an Indian and love its diversity. I have travelled around the world for my work as well as for fun. Every visit to a new country so far has only reinforced my belief that diversity energises life and living. I have visited more than 25 countries in life so far but yet to see the diversity which India has. We have 29 states. Each state speaks a different language and we have many dialects for each language.
We are a multi religious country and we have the freedom to follow any religion of our choice. Our culture and traditions are the rich heritage of the state we belong to and this interestingly many a time cuts across religions. We follow and celebrate festivals across the country irrespective of which religion we belong to because we think its our festival. The spirit of India is to be experienced to be believed.
I have lived in the south, east, north, central and west of India. I have never felt I have lived in a different culture or a different country in spite of the fact that each state in India is almost like a different country with its uniqueness in culture, language, food habits and so on. The fabric of India is it multi-ethnicity. You experience the benefits of multiple countries just by moving from one state to another. Many of the Indian states are bigger in size and population to many of the European countries.
Today it is common in many organisations to talk of diversity and inclusion. This is not only taken as an organisation wide initiative but also promoted in a big way especially in multinational corporations. Interestingly India as a state that has practised diversity and inclusion in letter and spirit right through its existence. We have no bias or discrimination against any religion, caste or ethnicity for any job. On the contrary the Indian Constitution has protected the rights of certain sections of society based on the principle of positive discrimination to provide them equal opportunity with the rest of the society to catch up in life.
In my view, diversity is much more than gender, ethnicity, nationality, caste or any such factors. It is the ability to think in multiple perspectives without any bias. It is our ability to proactively promote multiple view points on any subject. It is our ability to listen and speak up in society. As a citizen in the world’s largest democracy, I can proudly state that we have the freedom to do all this and guaranteed by the state through our constitution.
It may be unfair to state that this freedom is absolute. Nothing is absolute in life. Every right has an equal responsibility. So sometimes citizen and at other times the state administrators misuse their rights or responsibilities in this sphere. However, we have the balance of the executive, judiciary and the legislature to protect the rights of the citizens. When either or all of them fail, we still have a free media to be the conscience keeper.
It is this spirit we need to bring into organizations of tomorrow. We need to start laying the foundation in smaller social units of family and communities. It then spreads to society and then becomes easier for organizations to imbibe it. We all know that organizations are a mirror image of the societies in which they exist in terms of their culture. We cannot have the diversity spirit in a proletarian state.
Diversity is the confluence of ideas from all sources to evolve the best one like the colourful diversity of Mother Nature in the photo above.
Lets learn from the Indian spirit.
S Ramesh Shankar