The Discovery of Understanding
By Kamal Sunavala

I discovered India in the Czech Republic. I stumbled upon the Czech Republic in India. Many times and in many places until I realised that I had discovered an understanding.

My next few articles are going to focus on the accidental discovery of India in the Czech Republic. In light of the fact that Indians are populating the world and are arriving in large numbers in the Czech Republic and more Czechs are now considering India as a must see, must do destination, I feel there is a great need for both countries to understand each other outside a tourist brochure.

Yes, India has the Taj Mahal. Yes, Prague has the Charles Bridge. India is an ancient country. The Czech Republic has an ancient history too. But the ties that bind are contemporary, intellectual, musical, artistic and social. The unexplored India surprisingly pops up in the Czech Republic, if one notices it. The unexpected Czech Republic amusingly appears in India, if one is familiar with it.

These articles are my contribution to an understanding not just of the similarities between Czech and Indian people and their cultures but to an understanding of who the modern Indian is and who the modern Czech is. And why it is imperative that they understand before they judge.

They say India is on its way to becoming a superpower. They say the Czech Republic is on its way to being the king of BPOs in Europe. When two countries are on the brink of something imminent and important, they need to understand more and judge less.

An Indian walks into a Czech bar and is a little taken aback by the staring. A Czech walks down an Indian street and is shocked by the crowds and noise. This is where they can both stop, think, understand and then respond. Not react.

I write this primarily because I have, in my own way, begun the process of understanding. I write this because I live in both countries and love both countries. I write this because there are many things I strongly dislike about both countries. And I write this so that others may also begin this journey of understanding in their own ways.

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