It’s not rare to see a group of people just ‘chilling’ out. With a joint in one hand and ‘sutta’ in another, these people dress up like they care least about the world- haywire hairstyle and a very unorganized dressing style.
Such people in popular culture today are generally called ‘hippies’. Hippies who are uncaring and plain waste to the society but in reality they are part of a tradition that was started way back in 1960’s and it is the hippies who have kept it alive and going in India.
Hippies Are Just Hep
In mid-1960’s hipsters living in New York were ‘honored’ with the term Hippie by Herb Caen, who was a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle. They lived in their own communities, listened to psychedelic music (PINK FLOYD, I hear ya!) and explored various altered states of consciousness by consuming LSD, cannabis and psilocybin mushrooms because marijuana wasn’t there yet!
Hippies eventually became just travelers who renounced the world, roamed around until they found their peace.
Hippie Culture is Very Much Indian
Time Magazine in its article wrote that it was the Indian concept of ‘sanyas’ that is the true ideology behind hippie movement. It also noted that the spiritual teachings of St. Francis of Assisi and Mahatma Gandhi also influenced the early hippies.
Although the Hippie movement started in the United States it soon engulfed the entire world into the life of insaneness and uncertainty because what could be better than living a life you yourself did not know the end to.
By late 1970 pretty much every hippie in the world realized that the ultimate destination to their hippie-ness is finding peace in India. Undertaking a land journey that went via Baghdad, Tehran, Kabul, Peshawar they crossed into India. Benaras and Goa emerged as two favorite spots for these hippies.
The idea that Indians lived beyond the American mainstream attracted more and more hippies during that time so much so that a large number of them decided to stay back. Goa till today has a hippie market and serves as a hotspot for hippies coming to India.
Hippies of India
The culture declined after the 1970’s because of the Yom-Kippur war, Iraq-Iran conflict and the invasion of Afghanistan. But India had already witnessed a new culture on the rise and became a safe haven for several hippies.
Kasol, Kodaikanal, Almora, Varkala, Manali, and Gokarna have emerged as tourist destinations for hippies. Good quality stuff at cheap rates- who wouldn’t want to go?
Some may call them outcasts and some lost but hippies are protectors of a culture that once took the world by storm.
Image Credits: Google Images