What is the general perception about India and Indians around the world, before and after people visit India?
Raagul Nagendran, CSE Undergrad | VIT University
I am of Indian origin and I live in India. This is a small real life encounter of a group of tourists on a foreign land (Austria) with a person, who changed the entire opinion we had about our country. This post is not the result of me trying to increase the GDP of our country by attracting tourists. This is an incident that will stick to the bottom of our hearts to constantly remind us of our humble and historically rich roots.
Our tour group had finished the day's plan for local attractions and had about 2 hours on our own till it started getting dark. Some of us decided to hop on a tram and travel around the city and get a grasp of it’s urban beauty. We boarded the tram from the nearest stop, reached the final stop, roamed around for a bit, and then we returned to the tram station. We then started chatting in our native language, waiting for the driver of the tram to arrive (Note - India has many native languages, in our case it was Tamil). The driver came walking towards us and when he was just about to board the tram, he stopped. All of a sudden he came near us and greeted us saying "Are you Indians?"
Needless to say, we were a bit surprised. He then cleared our doubts as to how he recognized us. He said that he recognized our language. Maybe we were initially shocked on hearing that, but much more was yet to come. He then started chatting with us about our states, our languages, our culture, our dressing sense (especially about saree!) and about our freedom struggle and the path of Ahimsa that was started by Mahatma Gandhi. We happily talked with him about all of our ethics and culture.
After sometime, he said that it was time to start the tram. We all boarded the tram and our journey started. But this time, all the scenery was a blur. We all were too happy to find out a foreigner so much interested in our way of life and our rich history.
When our stop had come and it was time to get down, we all pooled in our money to pay for our tram ride. When we tried to give it to him, he humbly refused to accept
it. All he said was something similar to this -
"Gandhi educated the whole world about non-violence and Ahimsa. And you people are from his land. This is my way of saying thank you to all of your people."
We were dumbstruck.
We tried many times to pay him for our ride, but in vain. Finally, realizing we were delaying him and everyone else in the tram, we thanked him from the bottom of our
heart and wished him good luck for his future and parted our ways.
Almost everyone I met, thought I was from Middle East or Spain.
Here are few things I have been asked about India and things they think they know about India (repeatedly):
1.Is it very dirty? When I compare it to Denmark, I can say India is sinking in garbage and so on
2.Is it a Muslim country? No, we are the largest democracy
3.Why are you not dark skinned? India has a huge variety in skin color
4.Are you Hindi (religion as well as nationality)? No, Hindi is a popular north Indian language and Hindu(ism) is a religion
5.Do you like Denmark? Would you like to stay or go back? I love Denmark, but i love home little more than that
6 What kind of power plants are there in India? We have all kind. Yet, most of power comes from coal plants
7 Have you ever seen snow before? Does it snow in India? Well, at least, at my place it snows way more than Denmark
Common perception about India:
1.India is conservative
2.Everyone eats spicy food
3.Overpopulated and poor
4.Bad roads and pollution
5.No one thinks Indian men are rapists
6.Britishers looted India
7.India is far, almost everyone got this one right
8.Indians are intelligent
9.People know about India-Pakistan tension and are fully aware of who is wrong who is right
10.We have huge population
11.We are all vegans, people here don’t know difference between vegetarians and vegans
There perception is almost same, even after they have visited India. It’s just all their doubts about poverty, garbage, population, pollution, etc., gets confirmed.
Nisarg Pandya, A proud Indian.
We all remember the recent controversy over Coldplay's song “Hymn For The Weekend” with some calling it a “stereotypical” portrayal of the country. Well THE
British Broadcasting Corporation(BBC) has again sparked up the critical issue.
On 17 April, BBC released a video documentary on its website titled,?"What happened to India's snake charmers?
YES YOU READ IT RIGHT.
The 3 min 55 sec video had the following as its description,Many in India now regard snake charming as an offensive stereotype that's out of place in a modern nation.
But what happened to the charmers themselves once the ancient tradition was banned?
They admitted that Indians take the issue as an offense but this is what they did on the next day.
"Hingis wins Wimbledon doubles final."
"Hingis won the US open doubles titles"
"Hingis does it again."
Dear BBC, it is high time for you to come out of the colonial era and stop stereotyping other countries.
Perhaps a single Google search would help you out.
I would like to end this with an epic comment i fount on internet: 'Snake charming died in India after all the snakes left in 1947'.
BHARAT MATA KI JAI.
Rick Cormier, Author of "American Baapu: India Through My Eyes
I'm an American who wanted to see India my whole life. I was mostly fascinated by the religions and culture of India.
By age 60, I hadn't made it there and I figured I never would. Then, in 2014, we helped out a young Bengali woman who was stranded overnight in an airport during her
first visit to the US. We saw to it she reached New Mexico safely. We became such close friends online that she began referring to us as her "American parents". When
she announced her wedding in Kolkata in 2015, she requested that her American parents be part of her wedding party.
When I announced our planned return to India in 2017, my unofficially-adopted Indian sons and daughters all insisted we stay at their families' homes. So, in October,
2017 we spent 33 days with five families in three states in five different cities: Jaipur, Kota, Ujjain, Indore, and Amravati.
So... To answer your question, my perception of India has less to do with religion and cultural differences and more to do with the kindness, generosity, and
hospitality of the Indian people. My wife and I were made a part of these families. We may have been tourists in 2015, but we were there meeting our FAMILY in 2017. If
it wasn't for the cost of the airline tickets, I'd be there now celebrating Holi! We hope to return in a year or two, this time adding Pune and Bangalore to our
itinerary, because I have loved ones there, too, who I have yet to meet.
To read the same story from the perspective of?Neha Photani?, one of my dear Indian daughters, go to:?从
https://www.quora.com/What-is-th ... =d788c738&srid=zDqs
Book link:?American Bapu: India Through My Eyes
If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has
found solutions, I should point to India.
These are the words of?Max Mueller, a German Scholar?who had extensively studied and sometimes (mis)interpreted ancient Indian texts.
If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.
French scholar Romain Rolland
India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our
mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India
is in many ways the mother of us all.印度是我们民族的祖国，梵语是欧洲语言之母：她是我们的哲学之母；母亲是阿拉伯人，是我们大部分数学的母亲；母亲，是布鲁人的母亲。 在基
Will Durant, American historian
India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.
Hu Shi,?former Ambassador of China to USA
After the conversations about Indian philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense.
W.Heisenberg, German Physicist
Our present knowledge of the nervous system fits in so accurately with the internal description of the human body given in the Vedas (5000 years ago). Then the
question arises whether the Vedas are really religious books or books on anatomy of the nervous system and medicine.(‘The Vedic Gods’)
B.G. Rele, Jewish writer
The surgery of the ancient Indian physicians was bold and skilful. A special branch of surgery was dedicated to rhinoplasty or operations for improving deformed ears,
noses and forming new ones, which European surgeons have now borrowed.
Sir W. Hunter, British Surgeon
The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity is of wonderful structure, more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than
Sir William Jones, British Orientalist