India: Around the world, creative style

Campaign asked leading creatives from advertising agencies across each of the six major continents to tell us about creativity in their culture and supply an image that illustrates their country's creativity at its best. Here we ask Sonal Dabral, chairman and chief creative officer, DDB Mudra Group to tell us more.

Sonal Dabral, chairman and chief creative officer, DDB Mudra Group

Steve Jobs once said creativity is all about connecting things. Connecting experiences and synthesising new things. This ability to "connect" underlines the fervour and flavour of Indian creativity. Connecting people, experiences, cultures and diversities could be why creativity flourishes in India.

India’s history and geography reveal a few peculiarities. Unlike the ever-exploring West or China, India was always the "explored". Others came, experienced India, mingled with her, conquered her people and settled in her lands. Khiljis, Persians, Mughals, Europeans: a continuous volley of alien stimuli merged with India’s indigenous people, necessitating the creation of portals other than formal language to learn and love. Songs, dance, art and literature became tools to speak with, creating newer, hybrid forms of art, some of which continue to line the fabric of Indian creativity today. The mix is amazing and beautiful.

India’s disparity in its own indigenous people plays a role here too. With numerous languages and dialects, the desire to preserve and propagate one’s own subculture into next door fuels the need to be creative. India is also abundantly rich with religions, mythology and spiritualism that strongly intertwine with everyday life, suggesting an emotional people who prefer mythos to logos – from invoking rain gods to painting entrances as a welcoming gesture to "good energies". This leaves a lot of room for creativity to flourish.

Creativity flourishes in India for another reason too. An unfortunate one. With close to 30 per cent of the Indian population living below the poverty line, people here have always struggled with resources. The result: an under-resourced majority who have to fend for themselves creatively. This is where Jugaad – the now famous brand of Indian creativity that stuns and puzzles the world – comes in.

Jai ho, Indian creativity!