It goes without saying, that India is a young, developing country and has a long, long way to go. But that doesn't change the fact that we're a nation worth reckoning with. Just like we have things to learn from the West, there's plenty that we can teach them too!
Here are just a few things that the West could learn from India:
No matter what the problem is, we always find a way to hack it. So much so, that jugaad is now recognised as an invaluable lesson to the world!
2. Frugal living
Tell an Indian you need to buy something, and he (or she) will show you a better bargain for it. Our constant need for better deals makes sure we get the best value for our money, ever!
3. Our 'don't waste' approach
What do you do when you finish your bottle of Coke? Chances are you use the pet bottle to keep water in the fridge. We find an alternate use for nearly everything in our lives - from plastic bottles to old clothes. The lesser you waste, the lesser you need in your life!
4. Our kickass strategy games
Did you know that Chess, Carrom, Snake and Ladders and Ludo are all games that originated from India? As did outdoor games like Kho Kho and Kabaddi. Indians know how to keep it classy when they want to chill.
5. Our language-learning skills
With over 22 officially recognised languages (that too, excluding the dialects and minor languages!) the linguistic diversity in our country is just insane! As a result, most of us grow up speaking multiple languages, and learning even more during our lifetimes. Which in turn, is enough mental exercise to make us rather smart .
Our vast and ever changing landscape, the major climatic changes in the country as well as cultural and linguistic diversity force us to adapt to new surroundings and unfamiliar situations. Being as we are, pros at doing jugaad work, we always find a way to make ourselves fit in - be it within the country or abroad!
7. Our deep philosophy and spirituality
Four of the world's major religions; Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism originated in India. Our rich philosophical heritage is definitely something the world could learn from.
8. Event management
The largest peaceful gathering in the world - the kumbh mela - is held in India. Apparently, in 2013 a whopping 80 million people participated in the ceremony. What's more, we've been doing this for centuries! Anyone who has roots in this country can easily vouch for their event management skills, thanks to the numerous festivals and ceremonies we all participate in all through our lives.
9. Our multiculturalism
India is one of the most (if not most) culturally diverse countries in the world. With the kind of variety we house within the country, from languages to food to religion and whatnot, maintaining an approach of "unity in diversity" is no mean feat!
10. Finding strength from the community
We've all had lots to say about the nosey auntyji who was dying for an opportunity to criticise us; but the same neighbourhood uncles and aunties become a formidable source of strength in tough times. In times when friends are more virtual and less real, there's definitely a lesson for the West here.
11. Having a great time without any gadgets at all
Remember the American blackout in 2003 when 52 million people were affected by a massive power outage? In comparison, the Northern Grid failure India suffered in 2012 hit nearly 620 million people (!). As a developing nation, power failures are a part of our reality to some extent, but hey, at least we don't let them hamper us even a little bit!
12. Vegetarian dishes that are actually really tasty!
I'm saying this as a hardcore, non-veg loving Bengali. There is nothing to this world like a little palak paneer (or whatever it is you prefer).
13. Diversity at the top
Of the 67 years of India's Independence, 17 of the years was ruled by a woman Prime minister. We have also had a woman President. 5 of the 13 Presidents were non-Hindu. In comparison, the U.S. is yet to have a woman President in 239 years of independence, and found its first Muslim President in Barack Obama.
14. Our refugee policy
The UNHCR recognised and commended our refugee policy, stating that India sets an example for other countries in her generous gesture to those who ask for help at all times. When we say "atithi devo bhava" we really mean it.
15. Scientific innovation on a shoestring budget
India fosters a culture of frugal innovation that is helping her grow right from the grassroots. Just last year, we managed to send off the first successful operational mission to Mars and that too, on a budget equivalent to the Hollywood movie Gravity!
16. The right way to clean your ass
Water > paper. Period!
17. Looking beautiful in just a piece of cloth
Be it saris, dhotis, shawls or lungis; Indians have nailed the art of carrying unstitched garments with elan.
18. Respect for the elders
Us Indians are brought up on some solid sanskaar that the West surely could take some pointers from!
19. A habit of reading
According to a survey conducted by Russia, India ranks highest worldwide as readers, clocking in an average of 10.42 hours per week!
20. Celebrating a bustling democracy in it's enormity
We are the world's largest democracy. In 2014 we conducted the longest election in the history of the country. With 814.5 million eligible voters, this was the largest ever election in the world. And believe it or not, we managed to pull it off successfully. Amazing, isn't it?