Sunday, August 30, 2009


I was thinking about hippies today and realized that really they're just Americans who have adopted elements of Indian culture. I started going down the list of things I think make a hippie a hippie, and I came up with:
  1. Practicing yoga rigorously (not that stuff at the gym)
  2. Sympathy or explicit belief in an Eastern Religion (Hinduism, Buddhism)
  3. Belief in relative morality
  4. Pacifistic or non-violent bent
  5. Tendency to prefer natural remedies and cures over chemicals (exemplified in, e.g., ayurveda)
  6. A tendency to renounce the world (derived from the concept of sannyasa)
Notice how all of these ideas have roots in, or are affiliated with, India and Indian culture! Of course, there are fundamental differences, and [full disclosure: I'm Indian] I think hippies understand these ideas in more naive ways than Indians (epitomized by the hippie saying "Why can't we just all get along?"). But still I'm fascinated by the connection.

From my personal experience, I always thought Indian culture was confined to the Indian culture, mostly because no one around me knew anything about it at all. But now that seems not to be the case—and it makes sense. Although Indians and Americans have begun to interact only recently (beginning, chiefly, with Swami Vivekananda), the effects of this interaction cannot just vanish into thin air. I think today I found at least one of the effects.


  1. Ha ha no I haven't actually...

  2. Do the Indians also use cannabis? :)

  3. Indians definitely use cannabis... Chillums are, I'm pretty sure, an Indian invention.