September 2, 2013
By Gracias1996 SILVER, Bradenton, Florida
Gracias1996 SILVER, Bradenton, Florida
6 articles 3 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
Lao Tzu

My name is Maryam G. I was born and brought up in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, but am originally from India. Honestly speaking, I didn’t have much idea of how the Indian culture was because I was basically surrounded by the Arab culture. So I grew up feeling that Arab culture was more important and superior to me than the Indian one.
Well, back then, I did respect the Indian culture but I didn’t have any sense of pride towards it. And when I started studying in higher grades, I realized that a lot of things such as poverty and racism were taking place in many, in fact all, cultures.
Inspite of reading a lot about other cultures, the only culture which caught my eye was India being this, India being that. I started thinking that living in UAE was way better than living in India. This made me to respect the Arab culture all the more. I never realized all this ‘drama’ going on in my head until one day, when I was 8th grade, my parents started telling me that India was also a great place to live.
When I went to school the next day, the first period itself, my friends said similar things- that India has an amazing geography and places to live. I just laughed at them, though it was weird, and walked away. The periods after took a long time as though it took forever to finish. The last period came and I went up to the teacher to submit my homework. She had asked me whether I understood what I did. I just nodded my head thinking that it was some kind of joke because I had straight A’s and a teacher wouldn’t be stupid enough to ask something like that, even after knowing me very well and how I do in studies. When I turned around to head back to my seat, I felt goosebumps all over my body when she referred by saying that Indians are like toys who nod their heads in a very strange way, such that they look like lost puppies.
That minute, I couldn’t concentrate what was happening in class. I was physically present in class but completely mentally disturbed. It was obvious that I was an Indian and not an Arab. But then I thought to myself as to why can’t we all live in brotherhood and respect each other’s differences rather than hurting another person’s feelings.
The Arab culture does a lot of these prayers and fasting which can be tiring at times compared to Indian culture where they do what they want because India is completely diverse in culture. Everyone does what they want, bring up a good number of population and thus, a culture is established.
India’s culture was so complicated to me when I was kid. I was so narrow minded that I thought I should belong to the Arab culture so that I could avoid studying all the diverse cultures in India. But when I started growing, I started thinking more practical- why was it that I loved the Arab culture so much. Probably because Arab culture didn’t have much differences between them? Well, I didn’t know what else to think of at that point of time.
I was walking down the school corridors that evening when my teacher called me and told me to redo the whole homework. I asked her the reason but she said that I shouldn’t argue with her because she knows better.
When I returned home that night, I went to my room and instead of concentrating on my homework, which was unnecessary because it was obvious that everything was right, I was thinking why on earth a teacher would do something like that. My mind then became like a dim bulb that just turned on. My thoughts turned to what was in reality. Racism is not only in the Indian culture but in the Arab culture as well and infact in all other cultures. Yes, Dubai was a great place to live in but India ran in my blood, it was the culture which I belonged to. Dubai did have people who were very polite and helpful but India had intelligent ones too.
I finally completed my 8th academic year still with the confusion of cultures in my head.
But when I entered 9th grade, I felt myself liking the Indian culture more, probably because I used to “hang out” with my Indian friends. People started talking differently, about how India was, though some of them had never even visited there. And for the first time, it hurt me, all those words they were saying and I actually went up to their faces and said,” Whether you like it or not, India is my country and I shall always salute it. As you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t criticize want you don’t see.” This definitely left them speechless.
I realized so much after this. Though India has been prone to foreign attacks for centuries, it is neither just a chance nor a sheer miracle that the country has still, till today, maintained old traditions and, most of all, her culture.
Also that nowadays, especially due to globalization, the world we live in is multicultural where one culture is ‘interesting’ than another. But this doesn’t mean that we should forget where our identity lies, where our home is.
My parents have been role models in helping me not to forget my true identity. We have these talks of culture and I have learnt that India’s cultures can be diverse but what really runs in me is just “India” and I shouldn’t be ashamed to be called an Indian.
When I was reading one of my history books, the first line quoted by an Indian leader said, “Have a sense of pride in your motherland. Just as your mother has given birth to you, so too the land has given birth to you.”
And now residing in America, I definitely respect the cultures that are present here. But I take pride in saying that India will forever be the culture I belong too, whether others tease me or not. I completely believe in the words another person quoted, “One should respect his motherland, his culture and his mother tongue because they are givers of happiness.”

The author's comments:
You should always love your motherland.

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