21 September, 2020

'Ok Tata' Truckland

The Indians' capacity to adjust and overcome is driving its society

Swapan Nayak
'Ok Tata' Truckland
Although it has been over 50 years, I shall never forget my first impressions about India. I was 22 when I landed in Calcutta one day in 1953. We were on our honeymoon, but it was really the beginning of my love affair with India. On that first trip, we discovered the country in a magnificent way, travelling in the "OK Tata" trucks—travelling this way on the roads of India is really the best way to discover this country. What struck me at first was its immensity. In Europe, we are used to small countries. But India is a continent in itself. With every 150 kilometres you travel you can change languages, religions, food. Suddenly you discover a mosaic of people, of trees, of colours. To me, that's the most extraordinary thing about India—to see such a mosaic in one country.

At that time, people in Europe, or even in America, knew little about India, and cared even less. Even some 20-odd years later, for example, when I approached my publishers with a book on how India became independent, they laughed at me. Their response to the book I...


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