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'I like the Indian people's sense of hope and optimism'

Last updated on: January 31, 2014 12:50 IST

Image: School girls in Kanzalwan, 160 kms north of Srinagar.
Photographs: Fayaz Kabli/ Reuters

'The thing I love most about India is the people. The people of our country have very big hearts and very broad shoulders. They are very hard working, very entrepreneurial and very generous of spirit...' says banker-turned-politician Meera Sanyal in's special series where well-known Indians speak about the India they love.

For me the thing I love the most about India is people, people, people.

I like the Indian people's sense of hope and optimism. Despite the cynicism in their lives, whether you go to towns or villages or cities, they hope that the future of their children will be better.

I also love the values -- not in the religious sense -- that the people of India cherish. Indian parents will do anything to give a good education to their children.

These observations came together for me on a series of journeys I have undertaken in the last few years. My journeys to the villages of the country, my association with women across 120 villages to help them get financial assistance were one of the wonderful experiences of my life.

When I said the people of India have very big hearts and very broad shoulders, it is based upon my experience of interacting with them.

People who had very little, really very little, very poor people, living in tribal areas, forests showed great generosity of spirit.

I have spent most time working with women and I have lot of these memories and photographs, which are like a stream of pearls, which, whenever I feel low or depressed, lifts my spirit when I revisit them.

The abiding characteristics of the Indian people are hard work, generosity of spirit and entrepreneurial drive.

The dream I have for India is very simple. I dream of an India where every child can fulfill her/his potential, but works hard for it.

I don't see an India where people are dependent on charity or someone else. I see a proud, dignified, independent India where people work hard -- and Indians do work really very hard -- to achieve their potential.

I have given up my job and career not for politics, but to help create enabling circumstances that empower people to build their lives by working hard to achieve their worth.

I think that is what people of our generation owe to the future generations.

Meera SanyalMeera Sanyal resigned as the chairperson of the Royal Bank of Scotland in India, to join the Aam Aadmi Party. She contested the Mumbai South seat as an Independent candidate in 2009, but lost. She is the President, Liberals India for Good Governance.

Her father the late Admiral G M Hiranandani, was a gallantry award-winning naval officer.

She spoke to Prasanna D Zore.

The complete series: Why I love India