The effect I am talking about here is a lack of a unified national cultural history in the Indian context. The lack of marker points down the memory lane of the 60 years we have been independent. These marker points ought to have been produced on the artistic radar had we not been such a hugely divided society. Subjectively speaking, the only field which does tie the Indians together and makes them forget the petty divides of religion or economic status seems to be cricket. And as expected, the silent jubilation, the subdued enthusiasm which wells up the eyes of my father when he talks about the 1983 victory is the same with any person who had the fortune of being a part of history at that time. It does not matter for him if he is from Southern India or Northern India or Eastern or Western. These are the marker points I am talking about. Events in the history of national consciousness which make its citizens feel a greater sense of bonding among themselves. Sadly for a country as diverse as India, we as a population have proven to be woefully inadequate at identifying/producing those unifying experiences.
America, even though its a relativey young society, nevertheless boasts of a strong artistic tradition (atleast in the 20th century) which is shared evenly among its people. Experiences ranging from the rocknroll era of the 60s to the advent of blues and jazz and rock and others. A rich Television culture which seems to have deteriorated now but which used to be much more intelligent and informative and humurous back in the 60s to the 80s (I have been watching reruns of the great Johnny Carson, letterman, family sitcoms like Bewitched etc.). A tradition of various sports (the choice of the sport notwithstanding). A movie industry which produced some really great works before it got infested with talelntless freaks. A decent tradition of literature and a brilliant culture of science and technology. The achievement of America does not necessarily lie in reaching these milestones but it lies in building a national character which identifies and takes pride in all this. Not as segregated people but as citizens of the same country.
It must be noted that I am not demeaning any culture, far less pitting Indian against American. If anything, I have always maintained that Indian culture has had far more depth and beauty than its American counterpart. But I feel sad if I have to think of 5 events in Indian history when I felt sort of proud and happy at being a citizen of India rather than being a Northie or a UPite (the wars not counting) and I find difficulty stating even 2. Its both sad and amusing at the same time when I read the comments on a Johnny Carson video. People from remote areas of the country, in their 50s and 60s, share a collective nostalgia about him starting back in 1962 all the way upto 1992. Its refreshing to read the sentiments of the middle class, middle aged Americans on the video of Don Mclean singing about the Chevy. I wonder if there is anything we as Indians can remember so fondly.
To wrap it up, I understand that language is but one of the most important factors involved here. I understand that diversity has played its part here but thats not the point. There has to be a set of causes to any effect. What I am sad about is the effect.