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More ‘salad bowl’ than ‘melting pot’

Updated Thursday, 14th September 2017
Madhavi Kapur watches an episode of Indian School, and celebrates the multicultural nature of Indian society.

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A spinach salad

India is a variegated society. The coexistence of so many different value systems, religious beliefs, language groups becomes an interesting study for students of sociology or for observers of society.

This coexistence is not always peaceful. There have been awful violations of human dignity in the recent past in Gujarat, Kashmir…yet Indian School showcases how most of India lives, a ‘salad bowl’ not a ‘melting pot’. Each community preserves its unique flavour, rubbing off on every other community, all the elements in this vast, deep country contributing to a crunchy, fresh, sweet and spicy combination.

One of the advantages of polytheism is that there is always the possibility of one more god, one more way of looking at life. In the ‘poly’ approach we can agree to disagree, and maybe both of us can even be right.

Why is this episode called Spiritual Journey? I suspect because of the Indian stereotype: India is a spiritual place. Is it? I have my reservations about that and I wish Lion TV [the production company which made the programme] had not reinforced that stereotype. I believe that all places are spiritual. How can they not be? How can one country or region have some kind of monopoly on the ‘spirit’? Every place has its spirituality, as well as its ugly side. Let’s not glamourise spiritualism and make it into a commodity in the globalised marketplace.

  • Madhavi Kapur wrote exclusively for us in support of the 2007 Open University / BBC co-production Indian School.



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