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'India is not only a country; it's more like a continent'

October 30, 2013 08:59 IST

'India is not only a country; it's more like a continent'

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‘We have liberals here, we have conservatives. We have wisdom here, we have silliness. We are a motley gathering of every kind of people…

'What we have failed in is governance. If we have to change, we have to change the way we govern. For that we need a different set of politicians. The country has to be changed by new people,’ says Shazia Ilmi of the Aam Aadmi Party, in our special series where various Indians speak about their India.

I love lots of things about our country. What I love the most is the diversity in everything, the colours, the languages, the food, the terrain and the topography.

It’s not only a country, it’s more like a continent.

We have liberals here, we have conservatives. We have wisdom here, we have silliness.

We are a motley gathering of every kind of people. See the art here, see the culture here, there are so many kinds.

Where else will you find the kind of cuisine we have here? Every area has its own cuisine. See what fun we have with rice -- the pulao, the biryani, the tamarind rice, the lemon rice. Have you heard about so many varieties of rice in any other country?

We have done very well in the IT and services sector. Our people have very good skills. We produce the best doctors and engineers in the world. Our human resources are as good as any in the world.

Once at the Himalayas restaurant in North Boulder [Colorado], I once heard the boss of Hewlett Packard say, ‘Satyajit Ray and Pandit [Ravi] Shankar are very great, haven’t seen anyone like them anywhere else.’

You can go anywhere in the world to any school or college -- the Maths teacher there will be an Indian! All over the world our doctors and engineers are known for their hard work, commitment and sincerity.

What we have failed in is governance. The mismanagement of the economy is because of this failure in governance. Politicians are responsible for this mismanagement. Bad politics has led to bad economics.

Infrastructure is insufficient again due to bad governance. We have failed miserably in governance.

Our professionals are famous around the world for their good work, not for corruption. But the people here are known for corruption.

If we have to change, we have to change the way we govern. For that we need a different set of politicians. The country has to be changed by new people. Proper governance without corruption will make this country great.

Shazia IlmiShazia Ilmi is contesting her first legislative election in the upcoming Delhi assembly polls. A former journalist, she is also a spokesperson for the Aam Aadmi Party. 

Shazia Ilmi spoke to A Ganesh Nadar.

The complete series: Why I love India


Image: The Dal Lake in Srinagar.
Photographs: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters