India — home to the world

A quick peek into the history of our country and one thing stands out – all who came here loved the country and they never wanted to go back home! Why?

August 09, 2010 08:59 pm | Updated November 13, 2021 09:48 am IST - Chennai

To many visitors, India became their home. Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

To many visitors, India became their home. Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

A very long time ago, no one outside the Indian subcontinent thought of the region as a single country. It was made up of many small kingdoms. The region was, as it is today, huge.

In fact it was even larger because it had not yet been divided into Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. It had many different kinds of trees, rivers and mountains. Certainly no one who had not been born in India believed it was a single space belonging to a single people. No one had travelled from one end of the land to the other. People who visited India naturally thought that it was not a single country because it had so many different languages

Yet there was something about the land.

Everyone who came to India at that time felt the same way about the land and its people. They were not chased away. No one tried to fight with them. To many visitors, India became their home. Many of them never thought of returning to their homelands.

Thousands of years ago the Romans came looking for spices and silk. They did not stay on but they gave their gold coins and took things from India. In those days Rome ruled the world. But they never tried to rule India. The Greeks came to North India. They did not stay in India but the Greeks and Indians exchanged many rare books and ideas about buildings.

Later, the Arabs came to trade with the people of Kerala. At that time it was called Malabar. The Arabs brought horses and rare gems. No one in South India had ever seen a horse before! Some of the Arabs liked India so much that they never returned home.

A great Chinese sailor named Zheng He said that what he saw of India was perfect and that he did not want to change a single thing he saw. On his return from the Gulf of Arabia when he fell ill on board ship he said that he wished to be buried in the sea by the west coast of Malabar.

Next came the Turks and the Mughals. They did not come as friends but as conquerors and robbers of our wealth. But then something happened. When they set up kingdoms they no longer wanted to fight with Indians but became friends. They began to look upon India as their home. They learnt our languages and began to dress like Indians.

Some time later the Parsis came to Gujarat. They too were welcomed. Some years passed and visitors from Europe arrived on the coasts of Southern India. They were Portuguese, Dutch, French and English. All of them saw a land they thought they could conquer and possess. All of them wanted to rule India. They did not succeed for very long.

The longest foreign rule was that of Britain. It lasted a 180 years altogether…a very small span of time in the calendar of our country.

What do we understand about this ?

There is something special about our country India. No one who comes to the country wants to go back to their homes.

Why do you think this is so?

Our country is very hot, so it cannot be that the climate is so pleasant for visitors! It is crowded and not very clean in some places. Yet people do not want to go away!

Why?

This is because the people of India are friendly and peace-loving. For many many years people have said that about us. So you too must take care to keep India peaceful and welcoming.

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