A taxi ride from Denpasar airport at Bali where I had arrived a short while ago was a revelation of a kind. The major road intersections had idols of Hindu gods and goddesses. Bali, an island state of Indonesia which is a Muslim country has temples, cultural shows and events with an overwhelming influence from India. I also attended a cultural evening where the ‘Ramayana ‘was staged by the local artists dressed in colorful and vibrant costumes.
The best seller ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert has the main protagonist, spending one part of her life in India. She carries the influence of meditation with her to Italy and Indonesia, where she travels.
The teachings of Mahatma Gandhi of adopting ‘a nonviolent’ path and vegetarian way of life greatly affected the world leaders like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela in spearheading the struggles of deprived ones in the USA and South Africa. Among the leading global celebrities who have given up eating animal products to lead a healthier life include former US President Bill Clinton, Hollywood actress Natalie Portman, former US Vice President Al Gore, heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson and TV personality Ellen Degeneres.
It is not unusual to be woken up early morning in a major world city like New York, London, Toronto or a few more by the chime of bells from a nearby ISKON, ‘Hare Krishna ‘ temple. Likewise, streets of cities as diverse as Tel Aviv, Bangkok, Melbourne, Tokyo and San Francisco boast of Indian restaurants like Tandoor, Gaggan, Shiraz, Nirvana, and Dosa on Fillmore satiating the gastronomic urges of people from all over. The number of stores that meet the ever growing needs of spices, Indian tea, and other herbal products is on the increase globally.
While undergoing training in Tel Aviv a few years ago, the training department decided to take the entire class for an Indian dinner in one of the finest restaurants in the city. Later they asked the restaurant owner to play the old hits of the Indian movies of yesteryears. The class danced to the foot tapping rhythms into the wee hours of the morning!
One of the kindest gestures I remember was an incident that happened long back in New York. I was a young Lieutenant serving in the Indian Navy and was sent for training in a firm located in Long Island, New York. On the last day, the company’s Vice President of the International Business asked me if I would like to join the company, as he was impressed with the performance and dedication with which the training was completed in a record time including the testing and acceptance trials of the equipment. I profusely thanked him and told him that I was just 4 years into the Navy, and there was no way I could be released! It is no wonder that many an Indian ranging from Indira Nooyi of Pepsi, Sundar Pichai of Google have become household names for their exemplary leadership skills.
There are many aspects of Indian culture that have spread on a global scale. From computer programs to curries, arts to yoga and self-realization, missiles and space programs and well beyond, the influences are all visible. The popular art of Henna leaves only a transitory impression but influence of India will leave an indelible impression for centuries to come on the human race.(bit.ly/2oQTj8q)