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What it means to be Indian

I underestimated the furor that would erupt over the Mangalore pub thugs. Since the initial incident, the chief ministers of two or three states have come out against “pub culture” and “boys and girls” going out together hand in hand, saying that pubs are not part of “Indian culture.” And India's English-language newspapers have treated us to a nearly daily rebuttal — up to and including the Mail Today's sponsorship of "A girl's got a right to party" night at the popular Turquoise Cottage swill-and-singalong bar in New Delhi last night.

So what IS part of Indian culture?

Child marriage and sati, or women as prime ministers and CEOs?

IT innovations or bureaucratic inefficiency?

A ban on sex education in schools or the 1001 positions of the Kama Sutra?

Burning Christian missionaries or tailor-making yoga for Muslims?

Gandhi's temperance or Devdas's debauchery?

Trafficking women for prostitution or beating them up for socializing with men on an equal footing?

These are the sort of questions that those who would define “being Indian” need to ask. Or they could just leave people alone to define it for themselves.