Palimpsest.

Jawaharlal Nehru, in his “The Discovery of India” calls India as “an ancient palimpsest on which layer upon layer of thought and reverie had been inscribed, and yet no succeeding layer had completely hidden or erased what had been written previously”.

Yes, India is certainly that even today, after 68 years. We are suddenly the new kid on the block and the world is beginning to take notice. Despite that new veneer, we are still, in many ways the ancient India and if you look carefully, many of our antiquity shows through.

Many books and articles in respected magazines have been written on this phenomenon and I do not wish to prolong my readers’ agony.

The point of this post is that I am an Indian and am very much like a palimpsest. This is driven home to me every time that I am confronted with something new in my environment and my old values/beliefs/prejudices etc come to the forefront. Be it a new gadget, a new approach to old problems or a new relationship, the way to tackle the new is conditioned by those not fully erased impressions from the past. Very often I find myself stopping an automatic response, because it is not the appropriate one for the present, but something registered deep inside made that response come to the surface.

Does this happen to my readers I wonder.

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