A Twitter friend asked, what is decidedly Indian?
There was no further context available, and after giving it some thought, I said – Sarees
A few other suggestions did come along, I believe: as my friend finally settled on Mughal Architecture as decidedly Indian. (Yes, she did add – go figure!). She has finally settled on “crowds”.
It is pretty difficult to identify what is decidedly Indian – given that food, culture, clothing, terrain and sensitivities change every 200 miles in every direction.
Personally speaking, Mughal Architecture exists in large parts of Asia, unless we refer to Indo-Saracenic Architecture. Still, it is not a decidedly Indian, because there are enough of other architectural styles which are fairly evenly spread across the country, which are quintessentially Indian. Even with Crowds, I’d think China would lead. (Though India leads China on population density: 29 vs. 75). Also crowds are more a city phenomenon?
I recall a talk we had with a few colleagues, a few years ago, as we were building a visual digital product that would be used by children in rural India. Someone mentioned that the scene would be “a typical Indian Village”. My very perceptive ex-boss, asked a very pertinent question – what does a typical Indian village look like?
There doesn’t exist anything called a typical Indian village. The vegetation, the construction of buildings, the dress, the climate, the greenery (or lack of it) varies – widely.
That is what is decidedly Indian. But it is intangible. You cannot take a photograph of diversity and label it as Indian. Because you can photograph people from various regions or people following different faiths. To capture the essence of diversity in a single image is very difficult.
For now, I leave you with this village in coastal Maharashtra; Decidedly Konkan.