Mother India copy.docx - Mother India Wade Davis Sacred Places It is often said that India is more a state of mind than a national state a civilization

Mother India copy.docx - Mother India Wade Davis Sacred...

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Mother India Wade Davis Sacred Places It is often said that India is more a state of mind than a national state, a civilization that has endured for four thousand years as an empire of ideas rather than territorial boundaries. Time and again it has yielded to the onslaught of invaders but has always won in the end, absorbing foreign impulses and through the sheer weight of its history prompting mutations that inevitably transform every novel influence into something indelibly Indian. The country is a paradox of wisdom and folly, generosity and greed. It’s a land that invented monasticismyet passionately celebrates the sensual. Among the world’s most ancient civilizations India is one of the youngest nations. A sea of immense poverty it supports a prosperous middle class larger than the entire population of the United States, no nation produces more PhDs, and by 2010 cell phone use was increasing at a rate of 15 million subscribers a month. The motherland of Hindu and Buddhist, Sikh and Jain, it is home to ten thousand faces of the divine—Rama, Vishnu, Shiva, Krishna and Ganesh. And yet, having shown the world the universal possibility of non- violence, it remains a cauldron of unrelenting violence between Islam and other creeds. Thanks to India we reckon from zero to ten and use a decimal system without which our computerage would hardly be possible. Indians were the first to spin and weave cotton, gamble with dice, and domesticate chickens, elephants and mangoes. They taught us to believe in the coexistence of contradictions, and better yet to stand on our heads for good health. Landscape defines character, just as culture springs from a spirit of place. In India geography determines destiny. The soaring arc of the Himalaya, 1500 miles long with fifty peaks over five miles high. The rivers of life, Indus, Brahmaputra and Ganges, the Mother Ganga, considered by all Hindus to be the essence of divine grace. Heat is to India what rain is to England, and sunshine to California. The intense heat inspired clothing and attitude, even as it influenced philosophy. 1
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The annual monsoon, moist ocean air drawn from the southwest as summer heat rises over the entire subcontinent, the great cleansing rain, that washes away sorrow, bringing fertility to the fields and as much as 30 feet of rain to the hill towns of the Himalaya. With fifteen official languages, fourteen major language groups, and more than sixteen hundred distinct dialects the entire subcontinentis a cacophony of sound. The average Indian market is more wondrous and strange than any museum. The average village pulsates with more vitality, colour and scent than any carnival. Every day India bears witness to millions of small dramas worthy of Shakespeare, all enacted free of charge on countless stages beneath the laughter and sorrow of all the heavens.
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