Let’s Talk About Indian Stereotypes

by Sharell शारेल on August 3, 2011

in Culture Shock in India

Post image for Let’s Talk About Indian Stereotypes

For foreigners, the cultural clique of India is difficult to initially see past — ashrams, snake charmers, elephants, holy cows, chaos, beggars. These are images that frequently come to mind when people think of India. Yet, for Indians who know there’s so much more to their country, these stereotypes are often frustrating.

Over at my About.com India Travel site I’ve addressed 10 Popular Indian Stereotypes, and whether they reflect reality.

If there are any particular Indian stereotypes that bother you the most, there’s a section at the bottom of the article to share your views. So, get it all off your chests people!

Photo: www.flickr.com user particlem

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© 2011, Diary of a White Indian Housewife. All rights reserved. Do not copy and reproduce text or images without permission.

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{ 234 comments… read them below or add one }

wikitheeks August 3, 2011 at 1:12 pm

“For foreigners, the cultural clique of India is difficult to initially see past — ashrams, snake charmers, elephants, holy cows, chaos, beggars. ”

Sharrell, many foreigners go to Indai for the ashrams. Snake charmers are a legitimate profession, they provide entertainment and earn their money that way. It is nice to see elephants in the streets sometimes, they are beautiful and kind creatures, and its good that cows are not being slaughtered by the millions in India for their meat.

I realize that you are a “business woman” and your initial beginnings in India were in modern nightclubs with people who like to listen and dance to western music and drink alcohol, and that is the current ex-pat set that you hang out with Mumbai as well, but for many other people, these aspects of India are actually seen as a positive.

There’s no reason for any Indian to be frustrated by these things and try to cover them up and say, “India is full of modern air conditioned malls and restaurants and bars that serve meat and alcohol” because nobody goes to India to shop in a mall, the entire world has those things, they are nothing special.

However ashrams are unique to South Asia, snake charming and elephants in the street are also unique. These are actually things to be proud of, not the things that are just like every other country such as nightclubs.

As far as chaos, yes, India is too chaotic for most people’s tastes, including mine, I’ll admit that.

Beggars? I don’t look down on them. They are disenfranchised and need money to live just like the rest of us do.

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Sharell August 3, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Hey, I love snake charmers and the like, and so does everyone else who comes to India for its uniqueness. :-)

But no, my initial beginnings in India weren’t in nightclubs. I was a tourist like everyone else around Rajasthan, Agra, Varanasi. This was over 10 years ago. . As for now, I don’t hang out in the expat scene at all.

Anyway, let the discussion continue…

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Sharell August 3, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Oh, as you’ve probably seen from this picture, this is how much I love snake charmers!

http://www.whiteindianhousewife.com/2009/07/the-crazy-things-i-do-in-india/

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Sharell August 3, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Snake charmers are a legitimate profession, they provide entertainment and earn their money that way.

Actually, that’s not the case anymore. The government banned it in the late 1990s. True! It was due to protests from animal rights groups.

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wikitheeks August 3, 2011 at 2:01 pm

How are the snakes being abused? Anyway, someone asked me the difference between an expat and an immigrant and I had no answer. What is it?

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Sharell August 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Someone once told me that the difference is that an Expat has a visa to be in India. An immigrant doesn’t. Since I don’t have/need a visa, I guess I’m an immigrant! ;-)

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Mohit gupta August 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I found out the answer of this question on another Blog.

EXPAT: Rich , Highflying , Living in Posh , Expat-Exclusive Areas

IMMIGRANT: Middle Class , Living in Middle class locality , simple job ( In Short , Sharell ;) )

Also when a person from High-Income country goes to a Low-Income Country , He become an EXPAT

And when a person from Middle/low Income country goes to a High Income country , he becomes IMMIGRANT.

:) ;)

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Sharell August 3, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Except I live in an upper class locality that’s popular with expats and returned NRIs — although in a simple bungalow rather than a posh apartment! That said though, we didn’t move here cos it was an expat area.

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Abdullah K. August 9, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Expat and immigrants mean the same thing. Expat is a term used by first world foreigners to make themselves look better than second and third world foreigners. It is a form of immigrant apartheid, a way of saying “I am a more sophisticated and classy foreigner than you”.

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Emma August 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Tongue in cheek comments about who uses each term aside…

You’re an expatriate of Australia and an immigrant of India.

Expatriate means, literally, “out of fatherland”. It refers to the act of emigrating.

It’s all about perspective. If you call yourself an expat you are talking about yourself from the perspective of “I am no longer in my homeland”, whereas if you’re calling yourself an immigrant you are talking about yourself from the perspective of “I was not born in this land”. Which is probably part of the root for the whole “white jetsetters call themselves expats” situation (speaking of stereotypes).

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V.G. August 4, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I’m studying International Relations at my university, and I hear this question asked a lot.

Politically speaking, immigrants are those who settle in countries with no intentions to return to country of origin – i.e. moving from a poor country to a richer country (not necessarily a Westernized country, just richer than the country of origin.) When you state that you are an immigrant, it is implies you shifted counties for a better life.

Expats are simply those who live in countries with no intentions to stay permanently. This includes people who moved for the culture, change of lifestyle, and short-term obligations.

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Siddhartha Kumar August 17, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Emma,

Your picture kinda looks like a renaissance or baroque painting. It has this intriguing aura. Is that real or a gravatar caricature?? Needless, to say you look very attractive in a mysterious renaissance way!!

Just a sucker for beauty! :oops:

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veeeeeh August 17, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Why is my screen gleaming or glowing. Is someone drooling so bad!
Build a dam and don’t let it reach my keyboard, cos its a office lap top.

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Siddhartha Kumar August 17, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Veeeh,

Hahah! That is just my style!

My women friends and my yank gori gf actually find my flirtatious refulgence to be devastatingly charming!

I actually dated this beautiful French woman for a while. The only reason she agreed to go out with me was because I was bold enough to walk up to her in a party and whisper softly to her that she looked like a Modigliani painting! !

That’s it , she was all over me the whole evening!!

It helps to be charming! As they say, you attract bees to a hive with honey and not vinegar!!
:)
:wink:

So, how are you doing? I see that you have maintained your deep, intellectual, insightful posts !

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veeeeeh August 17, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Good to hear from you Sid. Yeah, Sharell’s blog is a good distraction from work, especially on the slow work days.
life is good and in pursuit of happiness.

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Sangeeta September 22, 2011 at 10:01 am

Snakes are deaf, they are put in dark wicker boxes and kept starving for days so that they raise their hoods and “dance” to the movement of the flute. Oh and since these are venomous cobras their fangs are removed. Since there is no legislation and the charmers are either too poor or too apathetic to give 2 hoots (pun?) about their snakes, they are not taken to vets or de-fanged the “nice” way.

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an environmentalist August 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm

It’s true, snake charmers cannot prove that they did not catch their snakes out of the wild and keep them in captivity – it is a violation of the Wildlife Protection Act (not that I have ever seen the Forest Department do anything about that)

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Manpreet August 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Cows…. Not in Chandigarh !!!! :)

Indians are bad drivers – I particularly dislike this one. . Checkout the video below. No accidents, no one got hurt , no irate drivers/riders — I GUESS WE ARE THE BEST IN WORLD :) ;)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjrEQaG5jPM

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V. G. August 4, 2011 at 5:01 am

Indians being bad drivers is an unjustified generalization. There are bad drivers in every country. However, I can argue that India needs a better road system. That’s where the problem starts.

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Sharell August 4, 2011 at 6:57 pm

I think people also need to follow road rules. I stood at the main roundabout near where I live the other day, and watched in disbelief. Instead of giving away to the traffic on the right, they just head straight through and almost cause accidents. It’s part of the reason why I’ll never drive in Mumbai. I just can’t! The traffic is all over the place and totally unpredictable. When we were back in Australia and I was driving, my husband was freaked out by the speed. But I told him, people follow the rules and aren’t just going to cut in front of you like India! ;-)

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V.G. August 6, 2011 at 4:11 am

Man, oh man, I can definitely imagine your hubby freaking out. Funny!

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Amruta November 14, 2011 at 2:59 am

Its fun, the traffic in India, rather traffic in general. Gives you the feel of the city that you are in. Yeah they cut in front of you, but that’s not jsut in India. I have been driving in NYC, London and Bombay. Its all about being aggressive, because in cities most people don’t have time to linger around and dodge kangaroos!

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Sharell November 15, 2011 at 12:32 pm

because in cities most people don’t have time to linger around and dodge kangaroos!

Huh? This post is about Indian stereotypes, not Australian.

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Mohit gupta August 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Sharell ,

“For foreigners, the cultural clique of India is difficult to initially see past — ashrams, snake charmers, elephants, holy cows, chaos, beggars. These are images that frequently come to mind when people think of India.”

That is unfortunately true.But who are those people?Why are they so ignorant about India.I mean this is age of Google and if they can’t use that properly only they are to blame for these stereotype.

I did a google image search of India and mostly it were pictures of India’ majestic heritage buildings like India Gate , Kutub Minar , Taj Mahal , etc..
I never even a one picture of snake charmers , elephants , etc.Where do they get these stereotypes from ?

I was once offered a job in Kinshasa , Congo.I did a search on net and I was able to get the picture how it would be live there.
Africa have image of a Hungry , Poor continent but in fact many countries have Per Capita Income more than countries in Asia and even in Europe.

Of all the capitals of Countries , I have visited , Paris was second after Delhi , where I found biggest numbers of Beggars.From this I could have stereotyped that Paris is a city full of beggars.But that is not true.That was my place-specific observation as I visited mostly tourist places there.

This is how we create stereotypes ! ;)

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Sharell August 3, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I never even a one picture of snake charmers , elephants , etc.Where do they get these stereotypes from ?

No doubt advertising, pictures in guidebooks, documentaries etc.

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Sharell August 3, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I should add, it’s like when Australia is sold to the world with images of kangaroos. Some rather ignorant people think kangaroos even hop down the streets in Australian cities!

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MOJOJO August 6, 2011 at 6:46 am

I am one of them, SHarell, I even imagined you riding a Kangaroo..

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Sharell August 6, 2011 at 10:25 am

I’d like to. I think it would be fun! But I eat them instead. ;-)

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MOJOJO August 6, 2011 at 5:57 pm
MOJOJO August 7, 2011 at 7:12 am

:/

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wikitheeks August 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I see snake charmers and elephants every time I go to India and I quite like both. Why are Indians like Mohit ashamed of them?

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veeeeeh August 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I remember one incident as a kid, one of my class mate who had a pen pal friend abroad, took his picture in front of Vidhan Soudha in Bangalore and sent that as the palace where he stayed.

He got a big wow from his pen pal, who wanted to know all about the elephants and camels he used.

That was funny.

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kay August 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm

One of the stereotypes that bugs me a lot is a mix of a) Indians are poor and b) Indians are super traditional

Yes, most people in india are indeed poor. However, there’s a huge 100 million market of relatively wealthy people, and probably a 50 million market of super rich people. 50 million is bigger than Canada’s entire population. 100 million is one third of the US’s population. The traditional part bugs me as well because I was born an Hindu and I’m most likely classifiable as a non practising Hindu at the moment–we’re not all traditional. My Indian fiance’s parents are divorced and happily married to different people and my [future] mother in law isn’t a woman who is remotely traditional in any way. Heck, we played Taboo [with shots for wrong turns!] at their place in Juhu the last time we were there.

Another stereotype that irks me is when people think all Indians are Hindus. There are Muslims, Christians, Zoroastrians, Animists, etc. My fiance’s step dad is Christian, he’s from Kerela.

One of the stereotpyes [though I don't know if you can call it that] about Nepal that irks me is when people equate Sherpa with tourguide. Sherpa is an ethnic background and last name, not a profession!

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Sharell August 3, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Yeah, the super traditional one is misleading too!

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Mohit gupta August 3, 2011 at 3:47 pm

“Indias are poor” is not an stereotype but its a hard-hitting fact.

What should we think of a country whose per Capita Income is just US $ 1300 ?Many countries in Africa have better standard of living than India.

100 Million wealthy people leaves us with another 500 million poor people.Also that is not something to hide from world.We are working on that front.

Indian people are super traditional.That is also a fact.Not all , but most and by “most” I mean around 95%.Even super rich people in Delhi are SUPER-TRADITIONAL and I know many of them.

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chiranjib November 30, 2011 at 7:05 pm

There is certainly a basis to poverty stories but when You do per capita income calculations, invariably the unit of choice is dollar.

But from what I gather in amazon or other e-shopping sites things that cost about 50 $ ( like books) in amazon costs about Rs 250 in indian translations; so in reality the true comparison will be 1 $= 5 rupees or around that while the official conversion rate is 1$=50 rupees that is why our per capita income looks so low.

Anyway,I think India can serve as a model for EU to see how people of varying ethnicity and languages.

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kay August 3, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I’d disagree with the 95% stat–at least for people from the upper-middle and upper socioeconomic + educated strata. I live in Gurgaon, Haryana and I do agree that there are some super rich and super traditional people here but I wouldn’t exactly put them in the educated group.

From my experiences, the delhi crowd isn’t traditional (at least super traditional). the mumbai and hyderabad crowd that I’ve met (upper-middle, upper, and educated again) isn’t traditional either. Then again, my experience may be different than yours. Still, from what I’ve seen, I don’t buy that 95% of super rich people in Delhi are extremely traditional.

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Mohit gupta August 3, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I meant 95% of whole Indian Population is still traditional.And by “Traditional” , I don’t necessarily mean”Religious”.But for a big population of India , these two terms can be used alternatively.

Ok , not 95% but at least not less than 90%.That still leaves room for 10% that is 12 crore people to remain “Non-traditional” and its a big number.

I also have to understand what you mean by “Non-Traditional” when you talk about the crowd in metros.For me anyone who is following traditions of his religion , society , family is traditional.It has nothing to do with hi/her going to Pubs/Bars or dating etc.That is a lifestyle issue.

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cagey (Kelli Oliver George) August 3, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Good one, Sharell! I am not sure where to start with this. I hate that when I tell people I am married to an Indian they assume these things:
1) He speaks English with a thick, lilting, sing-song accent
2) He is Hindu and speaks Hindi
3) He drives crazy and fast
4) He bobs his head when he talks
5) He converted to Catholicism for me.
6) That he came to India to escape poverty
7) Is a cheapskate always looking for a deal

My well-spoken, Cradle Catholic husband doesn’t speak Hindi, doesn’t bob his head, came from a middle-class family, is free with his money and drives slower than my grandma!

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Sharell August 3, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Goodness, are you sure he’s a real Indian then? :-P I totally understand how frustrating it must be for you though.

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cagey (Kelli Oliver George) August 3, 2011 at 9:17 pm

DNA tests are pending. ;-P

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veeeeeh August 3, 2011 at 9:31 pm

@Cagey
Sarcastic as ever Cagey. You might find his DNA affected by Pink floyd!

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wikitheeks August 4, 2011 at 2:38 am

@Cagey, “I hate that when I tell people I am married to an they assume these things: …2) He is Hindu…”

Why would you “hate it” that they assume he is Hindu? India is after all “Hindustan” and Hinduism IS native, indigenous religion of the region and still majority religion there. I would rather think that you would love it that they assume he is a member of perhaps the world’s most ancient and resilient religion?

It is nothing to be ashamed of. Or do you think it is?

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Kalyan August 4, 2011 at 11:20 am

I guess what Cagey meant is, stereotyping is frustrating. You are Indian, therefore you must be _______, fill in the blank. Similarly, you are from south, you must be madrasi or blacks are __________, whites are _______, but you can’t define people that way. Every one has an unique identity.

That is the problem with us humans, we like to think we figured out something, and put things and people in a category/box.

Here is a funny one, I am handsome, and people expect me to be super nice. Lol

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Sharell August 4, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Here is a funny one, I am handsome, and people expect me to be super nice. Lol

Or super arrogant! ;-)

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cagey (Kelli Oliver George) August 10, 2011 at 3:30 am

Yes, exactly, Kalyan.

I could care less whether he is Hindu, Catholic or whatever. I get tired of folks wanting to put him inside of a predefined box where he doesn’t belong. It has nothing to do with shame.

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TAMASHA! August 4, 2011 at 9:42 pm

@wikitheeks & cagey-
Most Americans don’t even know what a Hindu is. I think that is evident in the post 9/11 aftermath when many Hindus & Sikhs were harassed & mistakenly thought to be Muslim or ‘Middle Eastern’.
I was also flabbergasted when talking to a lawyer acquaintance of mine that didn’t even know what Hinduism was nor that it is the predominant religion in India. He was really blown away when I told him 177 million Muslims live in India also. I’ve had similar experiences with quite a few of my professional peers. Manny said once on here that Buddhism is cool in the US, Hinduism just doesn’t exist.
I guess just because we live in the ‘Information Age’ we can’t expect people to be any smarter.

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Mohit Gupta August 9, 2011 at 8:19 pm

There was a survey by a popular TV channel CNN in America.What they asked from Average Americans were range of some regular question and were completely surprised by the answers they got. Like..

1. Tell the name of a country whose name starts with “U” and answers were “Europe” , “Utopia” , “Urasia” , “Yugoslavia” and even Utah .They couldn’t recall name of their own country “United States of America” ..it was strange and also funny..

2 What is the currency of the Britain? “British-Dollar” , “British” , “Queen Elizabeth’s’ Money ” , etc were among some of the answers..

3. What religion people of Israel follow ? “Israeli Religion” , “Catholicism” , “Islam” , etc..

4.Which country is going to be invaded by US ,next and answers included almost every other country in the world like India , Pakistan , Iran , Italy , Korea , Newzealand but none of the people could locate these country on the map of world.

5. Who is Tony Blair ? “Skater” , “Linda Blair’s brother” , etc

6.What are Hiroshima and Nagasaki famous for ? “Judo and Wrestling” was the hilarious answer.

7.Which states does the term KFC come from ? “Hmm No Idea” and do you know what KFC stands for ? “Kentucky Fried Chicken”. ?

8.How many Eiffel towers are there in Paris ? “TEN” was the answer.

9. What is Al-Qaida ? “A terrorist organization of Israel and its president is Yasser Arafaat ” and “Its a wing of Mosanic order”

I am giving here the link ..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Csfu_P50x5U

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wikitheeks August 10, 2011 at 3:53 am

And yet yoga is so popular and everyone knows that it stems from Hinduism, not Islam or Buddhism. Many Sikh men wear turbans so some people associate that with Islam for whatever reason. A Sikh designed a T-shirt, “I’m Sikh, Don’t Freak”. Of course liberal Desis were offended and demanded to know why he was basically saying, “Don’t harrass me. I’m not a Muslim. Harrass Muslims instead”. Which was not the point of the T-shirt. I guess they wanted him to wear a T-shirt saying, “I side with my Muslim ‘brothers’. Nobody should harrass them.”???

Islam is lucky that so much attention is being focused on it lately. Hopefully it will get that entire system to reform for the better.

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j August 3, 2011 at 7:00 pm

a ‘foreigner’ might consider the Indian experience as incomplete without riding an elephant or meeting a snake charmer who in their own countries would surely be taxi drivers! I recall your post on how bollywood portrays white women,and if it irks them, it bugs us too.

as for the post,butter chicken/tikka is India’s export to the world,majority of Indians are ‘uneducated’ coz they lack fluency in english or have a thick native accent that sounds weird,getting a surprise reaction even when they converse in fluent english abroad.
India is a poor country (illiterate therefore?)and ‘indian Politicians’ are corrupt. Poverty,illiteracy and corruption are interrelated.

and if you think ‘God is everywhere’ and in everybody,you should have no difficulty believing in 330 million gods in India as per hinduism.
it took me a decade’s stay in the US of A to know that grass was always greener on the home turf.
so here sharell,
‘i got it off my chest’.
what a relief!!!

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Sharell August 3, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Hi J, glad you feel better. :-) As for Hinduism, I think it’s the way to go. It’s definitely the religion that resonates with me the most!

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MOJOJO August 6, 2011 at 8:28 am

Why Hinduism, Sharell? What’s wrong with Christianity?
And What about Islam???

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prithviraj33 August 3, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I see you have you included a pictures of my brethren here :)

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Sharell August 3, 2011 at 8:16 pm

To be honest, Rajasthan is my favourite place in India. But don’t go getting a big head! ;-)

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TAMASHA! August 3, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I think the image of India as the land of snake charmers, elephants, tigers, etc started with Rudyard Kipling’s books.
My favorites as a child were ‘The Jungle Book’ (Rikki Tikki Tavi rocks) and the ‘Just So Stories for Children’ (I can still recite The Elephant’s Child by heart)
”Scuse me,’ said the Elephant’s Child most politely, ‘but do you happen to have seen a Crocodile in these promiscuous parts?’

Yes indeed, O best beloved…………

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Annie August 3, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Hi Tamasha,

Just like you, I really loved ( and still do ! ) the “Jungle Book Story”.
My favorite ” evil ” characters are Kaa, the snake and Shere Khan, the tiger.
It’s only when coming to India that I realised that Kipling had given hindi names to his characters aka Baloo = bear ( in hindi ), Shere = tiger, Akela = lonely, Colonel Hathi = elephant etc …
Recently, I got to know about ” Kipling Camp “, a very posh and expensive safari camp in Kanha park ( Madhya Pradesh )
Located in a privately own natural reserve, it comes with its own elephant star ” Tara ” ( meaning star ) in Hindi.
Kipling’s Jungle Book story has been inspired by these pristine and still wild forests of Central India.

http://www.kiplingcamp.com/tara.html

I’ve always been attracted to elephants : they are such awesome and powerful animals. Lord Ganesh, the elephant God is also my favorite deity. I love his debonaire and gentle figure.
He is the God of the new beginnings and the remover of obstacles.
He is the protector of the house too.

Long time ago, in the past, elephants were the sole property of the rajas & maharajas.
These kings had huge elephants’ quarters in their palaces and dozens of mahouts to take care of the animals.
The kings often parade on elephants during festivals but also enjoyed to go hunting on top of them.
In her memoirs,Gayatri Devi, the late maharani of Jaïpur, describes her childhood’s happy years when she was going for walks on top of her favorite elephant. It impressed me when she wrote how much she enjoyed to lie down on his head, between his huge ears and smell his skin …
Elephants were also used at times of war ( just imagine what a charge of these powerful beasts might have looked like ) & also to entertain people during elephant’s fights organised at the raja’s court.
If you go and visit Udaïpur’s palace, you’ll come to meet a dummy of the famous horse Chetak wearing an elephant’s trunk mask when going to the battle field …

Nowadays in India, the elephants’ lives are more than often very sad and tough.
Some are used to carry the bridegroom at weddings. It costs about 1 lakh to hire an elephant for just a few hours ( 1 or 2 )
Then some others do carry tourists up to Amber Fort near Jaïpur.
I must confess that I really enjoyed that short ride together with my niece but these animals are not treated well. A few years ago, one of these elephants went wild and berzek and killed his mahout and seriously injured the tourists he was carrying on his back at the time.
Then the rides were stopped for a year or two …
But money is a powerful incentive, and the elephants’ rides are again organized there.
Normally, an elephant needs to take a daily bath which is simply impossible in Rajasthan.
In South India, some other elephants are used to bless pilgrims or devotees at the Temple’s entrances ( in exchange for money of course)
Follow these links to learn more about the plight of India’s elephants :

http://www.groundreport.com/Opinion/Plight-of-Temple-Elephants-in-South-India/2929905

http://delhimagic.blogspot.com/2010/04/controversial-elephant-ride-at-amer.html

In Rajasthan, they are still traditional communities who earn their living by working with wild animals : like the kalbelias and the saperas = snake catchers / charmers.

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Piu August 4, 2011 at 5:16 am

Actually Thailand and Sri Lanka qualify better as land of the elephants. They have elephant orphanages there, and give them a lot of care.

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veeeeeh August 4, 2011 at 5:46 am

@Piu

There is one Lady chief minister, who probably was advised by some astrologer, at least that’s what the rumor is.

She mobilized annual camps for elephants of the state, who were to be taken to some camp for medical rehabilitation.

But the process of transport of these elephants was not done by trained or sensitized folks, and I think one elephant died on that account.

Here too we have Politicians using taxpayer money , only the astrologer has to perhaps prescribe them to hold such annual camps for Elephants.

Elephants are big for Thai culture.

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TAMASHA! August 4, 2011 at 10:05 pm

The first time I ever came to Nepal we visited the Chitwan Hattisar (Sauraha Elephant Breeding Centre) in the Terai. Lawsuits are infrequent here in Nepal so you can actually walk amongst the Mom elephants & their babies in the breeding centre nursery. Visitors are given bananas to feed the elephant babies. Well to make a long story short a certain baby elephant (about the size of a Tata Nano) by the name of Narayani Kali (daughter of Sashi Kali) decided she like me so much that she picked me up & carried me with her trunk. Ms. Narayani Kali carried me on her head (with my butt upside down in the air) for about 100 meters, it took 3 mahouts about 45 minutes to finally get her to let go of me. Wham! She dropped me flat on my back. I’ve never had such a great chiropractic adjustment in my life! I’ve never laughed so hard in my life either. Our tour guide said it was a blessing. That’s when I knew I wanted to live in Nepal! ;)

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Annie August 5, 2011 at 1:43 am

Great and memorable experience, Tamasha !
I love your account of it !

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MOJOJO August 6, 2011 at 8:34 am

baby elephant~tata nano
Ha ha ha ha..

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veeeeeh August 4, 2011 at 5:07 am

We grew up collecting bottle caps of Limca or thumps up to get some jungle book stuff, including Jungle book

And of course Mowgli brings back the good old nostalgic memories with his “chaddi” song.

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Annie August 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Surrealistic but true : INCREDIBLE INDIA !

Officials in New Delhi have injected microchips into snakes used by snake charmers in a bid to regulate the basket and flute performers who have long been a favorite with tourists in India.

The chips, which contain a unique ID code, will effectively act as name-tags, allowing officials to ascertain whether individual snakes have been registered by their owners, Delhi’s forest department chief Deepak Shukla said Wednesday.

India implemented laws in the late 1990s proscribing the commercial use of wild animals, including performances with live snakes.

In Delhi, the state government offered an amnesty for charmers in 2003 but only 10 came forward to register their combined stock of more than 40 snakes.

It was these animals that were tagged with the microchips in Delhi on Monday and Tuesday.

“There are many charmers who did not accept the amnesty and they will be punished if they are caught now with snakes that do not have these electronic chips,” Shukla said.

The tagging process was carried out by Goa-based snake expert Nitin Sawant, who injected the chips into the tissue of 42 snakes, including king cobras, common cobras, rat snakes and one red sand boa.

“The idea behind this entire program was to stop the random collection of fresh snakes by these traditional charmers,” said Sawant, adding that many of the animals he tagged were in poor health.

“I told these charmers to give up their profession because they are not capable of looking after their snakes,” he said.

The wildlife legislation has emptied most large cities of snake charmers, although a small number can still be seen around major tourist sites in places like New Delhi, risking arrest as they cajole foreign visitors into taking a snapshot for a small fee.

Animal rights groups say snake charmers are cruel impostors who use physical abuse to train the reptiles to move to the sway of their flute-like instruments.

The entertainers generally rip out the snakes’ fangs and feed them milk, meaning the animals are unable to catch prey and die when returned to their natural habitat.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/04/13/india-microtags-snakes-snare-illegal-snake-charmers/#ixzz1TyoeBnvM

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Sharell August 3, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Wow, learn something new everyday! 8)

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Annie August 3, 2011 at 9:28 pm

There is an extraordinary legend about the Indian elephants …
Read how the elephants came to live in India …

The Legend of the Flying Elephants

“In the beginning of time, the skies were filled with flying elephants. Too heavy for their wings, they sometimes crashed through the trees and frightened other animals.

All the flying grey elephants migrated to the source of the Ganges. They agreed to renounce their wings and settle on the earth.When they molted, millions of wings fell to the earth, the snow covered them, and the Himalayas were born….”

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Mohit gupta August 4, 2011 at 12:07 am

That is new and interesting !

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prashanth August 4, 2011 at 4:26 am

…and then came the flying frogs. They renounced their wings and it snowed, but it didn’t turn out to be Himalayas, but China….The frogs couldn’t fly anymore. So, the Chinese ate ‘em all! :P

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MOJOJO August 6, 2011 at 6:58 am

@Prashant: LOL. :)

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MOJOJO August 6, 2011 at 7:24 am

and then came the flying pigs from India. They too renounced their Indian wings and it caused a hailstorm, and this time we had Pakistan.
Pigs are fine, there..

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Annie August 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm

You are misinformed Mojojo !
Pigs remained in India where they thrive eating rubbish and bathing in the gutters !

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MOJOJO August 6, 2011 at 3:38 pm

You are misinformed Annie..
Pigs roam freely in Pakistan, they are thriving there..
being the national animal of Pakistan, helps too..

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Annie August 6, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Of course, they just cross the border and enjoy the same conditions of living there !
Bonus for them in Pak might be that they want be killed for their flesh … while in India I was very surprised to see people eating pork ! When you see where they live, you’d better not even think about eating pork meat there !

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MOJOJO August 6, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Whatever, You are the Pig Expert.

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Amit Desai August 7, 2011 at 2:57 am

Annie,

Have you ever wondered why ‘white’ pigs are considered suitable or edible compare to these black pigs?

What is significance of the color here: white, as clean, and black, as dirty??

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prashanth August 7, 2011 at 4:26 am

[Quote]Pigs remained in India where they thrive eating rubbish and bathing in the gutters ![Quote]

@Annie

What you are failing to understand is that it’s natural for the pigs to do that. It’s instinctive that they like to ROFL (replace F with M or S, where M stands for Mud and S for shit). You are judging it from how humans should eat that…Well, if you understand the Pig with empathy/sympathy (LOL), you will get to know that they would very much like to freely roam around and let their hair down and have a party in the shit, rather than being locked up in a clean prison and later systematically executed. Anyways, systematic (painless) execution of those animals is better than brutally killing ‘em. If it wasn’t for ‘Artificial Insemination’, there would be no pigs in the world now.

Disclaimer: I’m not a strict vegetarian and I’m not against the people, who eat that.

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Piu August 4, 2011 at 5:04 am

Maybe yourself and the others have covered them; heres some I collected from a certain First world country:

I lean towards agreeing with the following stereotypes:
- All indians are vegetarian; my majority veggie friends completely monopolized any get togethers we had, us poor non veggies were left in the battleship sidelines, I agree with this one
- All married indians have arranged marriages; the couple never knew / saw one another before the GREAT WEDDING, and the marriage was arranged by the PARENTS
- While there are many hindu gods, Ganesha is the ONE AND ONLY GREAT HINDU GOD. The other gods are small fry and unknowns.
- All indians hang out with their parents more than their silbings or peer age group, and live with them 24×7. Maybe I am the exception to this ?

Heres some others:
- Indians are middle eastern
- For touristing: Visit the Taj Mahal and then GOA !!

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Manny August 4, 2011 at 6:52 am

The worst stereo type many in the US has is that India is ruled by Hindu fanatics. That Religious Hindus are ruling the roost and calling the shots. They are clueless that religious Hindus are at the receiving end of non religious Hindus.

:)

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Manny August 4, 2011 at 7:06 am

There was an article in the Huffington Post about an Indian Minister of health saying that Homosexual was a disease.. His name was a Muslim name. And he was a minister in the congress left part.

But the overwhelming response to that article at Huffington post was how Indian Hindus are fanatics and anti gay and what not.. this went on and one. Untill yours truely had to set those clueless American lefties straight!

LOL :)

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Kalyan August 4, 2011 at 11:05 am

Isn’t homosexuality a disease, like that doctor said? Oh my god what would happen to India and its population if the disease spreads?

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Kalyan August 4, 2011 at 11:01 am

Funny no one mentioned about the great Indian rope trick.
I was asked once, does every one sleep outside in the open, on their terrace?
And also if monkey’s roam around freely(For this I had to say yes, and I was proud of it). Well we, Indians give freedom to not only humans but all the animals to roam freely among-st us :-).
That all Indians are vegetarians.

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Pragyan Mohanty August 4, 2011 at 11:37 am

I was visiting Denver officially . when my colleagues came to know that i had an arranged marriage. They all were shocked. Most of them thought i am “Amish”. Now they think all Indians do arranged marriage and i have to tell them its not the fact.

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Kalyan August 4, 2011 at 10:46 pm

I thought Amish marriages are setup as well. Where for dating, they are lead into a bedroom, lie beside each other and talk, then they get married. :-)

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Pragyan Mohanty August 4, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Another View is Bollywood is all about songs, dance and colors.

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prashanth August 4, 2011 at 1:52 pm

To find out more about the stereotypes, start typing “Why are Indians….”, “Why are Americans…”, etc and Google will suggest you with what people are thinking.

Here’s something: http://google-tale.blogspot.com/2009/09/interesting-google-suggestions.html

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Hélène August 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I wonder what it is that makes India ?

From a foreign point of view, you see documentaries, you read articles, you visit places etc and you think you are learning about India. Then you speak about what you think you know with “Indians” and often you find out that they don’t know what you’re talking about. Because you actually learnt a little bit about Gujarat and a little bit about Orissa, a little bit about kanthaa, a little bit about a certain kind of yoga ,a little bit about tamil food, a little bit about theyyam… all of this is India, but you don’t find all these things everywhere in India…

For example I know practising hindus who eat beaf (but not cow) and are strictly vegetarian/vegan twice a week for devotion.

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Piu August 4, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Chaos.

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veeeeeh August 4, 2011 at 7:21 pm

but there would be a strange order in the chaos – welcome to a paradox called India

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Shelley August 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Great article Sharell, I think you covered a lot of the stereotypes I even had before I backpacked through India, then moved here.

I think a lot of these stereotypes can be tweaked or obsolete depending on where you live in India. I am in Hyderabad, and Hindu’s make up only a small percentage of the population. From what I am told it is about 40% Muslim and then the rest are Christians, Hindus and other. So I think adding to number 8 on your list you could also add that India is a multi-cultural society with all kinds of religions and cultures and not all of the population practice Hinduism, and that it depends on what region you come from.

Even I was pleasantly surprised at how educated people were here, and even now i am studying my MBA from a great University here in India, and that is the one stereotype I have to quash with my friends and family back home. My mother-in-law and father-in-law have 3 masters degrees combined, and husband’s grandmother is a doctor. And in my family, I am the only one even attempting a masters.
Also many people think that no one speaks English here, or have accents like Apu from the Simpsons. My husband has more of a British accent than that of the “stereotypical” Indian.

When I first moved here I was a corporate trainer in a big American company and I used to teach a class on stereotypes. I divided the class in two and one group came up with their stereotypes of western culture and the other came up with what stereotypes western culture has of India. We came up with a lot of the same things your list mentions, plus more. It was quite an enlightening class, and taught us all a little something. It taught me also what Indians think about us. It was fun to quash some of those stereotypes on both sides.
It would be interesting if you did an a blog post on Indian stereotypes of western culture.

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Mohit gupta August 4, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Shelly ,

“I am in Hyderabad, and Hindu’s make up only a small percentage of the population. From what I am told it is about 40% Muslim and then the rest are Christians, Hindus and other.”

That is actually a stereotype about Hyderabad.Though Muslims have good percentage there but still Hindus are in majority.Please go through following statistics..

“Hyderabad is a metropolitan city, whose residents are adherents to a wide range of religions, predominentally Hinduism (55.40%), Muslims (40.17%) and others including Christianity (2.13%), Sikhism (0.2%) and Jainism (0.4%)”

55.4 % is not a small percentage by any means.Rest of your post holds true.

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Annie August 4, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Hi Sharell,

I’m getting sick and tired of the abusive ad hominem comments posted by some people on this blog. Here is the definition of abusive ad hominem =
Abusive ad hominem (also called personal abuse or personal attacks) usually involves insulting or belittling one’s opponent in order to attack his claim or invalidate his argument, but can also involve pointing out factual but apparent character flaws or actions that are irrelevant to the opponent’s argument. This tactic is logically fallacious because insults and negative facts about the opponent’s personal character have nothing to do with the logical merits of the opponent’s arguments or assertions.

Please do something about this ! Enough of this daily shit !!!
Thanks !

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Sharell August 4, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Oh god, again. Honestly Annie, I’m sick of it too. Sick and tired and stressed. How many times do I have to tell people not to behave this way on my blog — and they DON’T LISTEN. It shows they have zero respect for me, for other readers who don’t want to read their crap, or for the purpose of this blog. And they have been warned many times. I totally agree with you, enough. Posts by certain people will be going straight to the moderation queue now. And no further discussion will be entered into about it.

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prashanth August 4, 2011 at 7:15 pm

If I was included, I only want to justify that I was trying to stop someone from posting incessantly and intruding into each and every topic, displaying cultural/moral superiority. Anyways, peace and out! :)

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Mohit gupta August 4, 2011 at 7:48 pm

And I was just replying to those “unsolicited” and “improper” advice’s of “Changing Profile Picture” , “Lessen and Shorten your posts” ,”Take English Classes” even when I was not bothering anyone and most of my comments are addressed to Sharell and are rarely include abusive words like”Idiot” , “Stupid” , “Moron” , etc..

I mean shall I have to ask other commentators for the length and number of my posts? Shall I have to ask other commentator which in which topic/post I should post and which not.That is never going to happen.I have already rested my faith on Sharell and will follow her each and every instruction and accept her very decision on every moderation activity.

I mean why people, who don’t become tired calling themselves “Liberals” are liberal enough to my conversation to Sharell or any other commentator.I try my best not to offense anyone and that is why I have stopped addressing people.I just post post my comments without taking any name.So as to stop any confrontation.

Why do they have to intrude in my personal space and put hurdle in my right to express ?Why do they bother if I spend 24×7 , 365 days here on Sharell’s blog and post long and innumerable posts.Can’t they just ignore me and my posts?

This is my point of view and it should be know to people who are bothered about me and my post , so that future confrontation are avoided , Sharell.

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Sharell August 4, 2011 at 8:49 pm

will follow her each and every instruction

This is the issue, Mohit. You haven’t — you’ve continued to fight when I told everyone to stop fighting. There will be no fight if people don’t respond to each other like has been going on. Hence, the reason why all your comments are now being moderated, and will continue to be.

Why do they have to intrude in my personal space and put hurdle in my right to express

This blog is a public space, not personal space. Therefore, we all need to be considerate of that. If you want to post what ever you want, go get your own blog!!

Can’t they just ignore me and my posts?

Not everyone wants to have to sift through your posts, which are just being arguementative etc. I don’t even want to. So, I ignore them until someone comes along and complains. And now I’ve had to take stricter action, because obviously you’re not curbing your behaviour, despite how upset and annoyed I was just a few days ago. It disappoints me about such lack of consideration, and people just thinking my blog is their playground to behave how they want. :-(

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Mohit gupta August 4, 2011 at 9:42 pm

” you’ve continued to fight when I told everyone to stop fighting”

Are you kidding me. I didn’t even say single abusive word and was mostly responding and defending myself.I am not here to fight anyone.I love the blog.I like to express my view.But If somebody bother me , can’t I respond to that.And I am NOT so disappointed or upset that you failed to see who did actually start all this , first , because I am aware that its too much of a work for you.

————————————————————————–
“This blog is a public space, not personal space. Therefore, we all need to be considerate of that. If you want to post what ever you want, go get your own blog!!”

That should be applicable to all.Even in public places , we all do have right to express our personal opinion , if its relevant to the topic.And my comment where all that started was relevant to the topic where I mentioned some of the stereotype which I found on Google.I am not going anywhere.I am here to stay.And I have no problem in being in moderation que .It really never irritates me when I am in que for security-check , if that is for the safeguard the interest of all concerned , including me. ;)

————————————————————————–

“So, I ignore them until someone comes along and complains”

That is basic Human tendency , which I surely lack.

————————————————————————–

“It disappoints me about such lack of consideration, and people just thinking my blog is their playground to behave how they want.”

I surely don’t lack that consideration and that’s why I try to be courteous to even people like “P” who always start their comment with an Abuse like “Idiot’ , “Moron”.Also if you look in to the past it was me who actually inspired your for active moderation.So I definitely don’t want it to become a playground.

I want to give a advise to all the commentators here not to advise me on ‘English-Coaching” , “Length” and ‘Number” of posts.If you can’t understand my language , I will write in your mother tongue but spare me of the unsolicited advice’s and abuses , because even after being at the receiving end of that ‘Attitude” , I am getting all the blame.So if you are not comfortable with me then please don’t bother me , I won’t bother you.

Because , I really want to be on this Blog without my every post being moderated.

But

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Sharell August 4, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Sigh. Well here’s a stereotype for you all — Indians are arguementative! I think there’s a lot of truth to that. Don’t see any foreigners bickering amongst ourselves on this blog . ;-)

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TAMASHA! August 4, 2011 at 10:09 pm

@Sharell-
‘Don’t see any foreigners bickering amongst ourselves on this blog’
That speaks volumes doesn’t it?
;)

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Mohit gupta August 4, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Well ,

People behave when they are in a foreign country/Blog.And that is a fact.They take it easy at home.

“GHAR KI MURGI DAAL BARABAR” , we don’t say without a reason.

To see “Foreigners” bickering each other , refer to Huffing ton post website and same other website. I was surprised to see the level of courtesy they were showing to each other.

;)

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Nik August 4, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Your racist remarks are a lot worse than any of the bickering that goes on here, so don’t feel to good about yourself :)

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Kalyan August 4, 2011 at 11:08 pm

Isn’t that a compliment. We all could become lawyers, better yet darn good ones. What happens if you put an american, an aussie and an Indian lawyer in a room and lock them up?

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Kalyan August 4, 2011 at 11:05 pm

@Mohit, Not trying to be mean, rude or anything like that here but, what Sharell and others are trying to say is that, please be subtle in your comments. Please express your views but when it comes to a particular comment which might rub others on the other side, lol, refrain your self or try to polish it. Nobody likes to read a bad comment or a nasty one about themselves.

I think doing that is an art, for example, saying “Shut the hell up” is bad it might offend lot of people, but saying “What ever you say, cracks me up, lol” or “When you talk, it reminds of my chemistry teacher” etc. Being diplomatic might go a long way I guess.

Well, don’t kill the messenger just yet.

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Kalyan August 4, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Let me also tell you a real story. When I was in school, during a break in a class, I drew my friends face on the board, he was little chubby with glasses. I drew it made some people laugh and then erased it, well, erasing wasn’t done properly I guess, the next class was Chemistry (I don’t get along with my chemistry teachers), she was really thin and wears glasses. She saw what was on the board, she thought it was her face on the board apparently, and picked the class naughty boy to confess. Why would he, he didn’t do it, it was me right ;-). She said unless he confess, she wouldn’t teach the classes for the reminder of the semester and would complain to the principal and walked out.

So what is the moral of the story?

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prithviraj33 August 4, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Mohit, I think it would be best if you would take the arguments to the forums. Create a post about the issue you have there. That would be the most polite thing to do. And you are not banned from the site like Prasad was, so all the blame is not being placed on you. I actually think Sharell and Tamasha like you.

After wikitheeks leaves I think it will definitely calm down here as it did last year.

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Sarah August 4, 2011 at 7:53 pm

I posted a long comment (about “smells”) on the About site and now realize it’s best suited for your blog. Would you mind moving it and responding to it here? Thanks!

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Sharell August 4, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Hi Sarah, I’ve approved it over on the other site. It should be visible there soon. Then you can copy it over to here if you want. Thanks!

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Shelley August 4, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Mohit: Thanks for clarifying, I’ve been told, but never looked up the facts about stats here in Hyd. Regardless, Hyderabad is very multicultural and has several religions, I just thought it is a stereotype that people think that India contains only Hindu’s.

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Raghavan August 4, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Stereotype number 1 on your article irks me a lot actually. I was actually surprised on a recent trip in Europe I was in a bookstore and picked up a children’s book on the world and they had shown the map of the world depicting something visual about each country inside their map, for example: Africa had African elephants shown in the continent, US had statue of liberty on it and India well… it had a small caricature of a snake charmer charming a cobra in it. Now when a child in that western country sees that or is explained that by his parents or teacher, I was wondering is that what he or she learns about India ???
I have been asked in the US by Americans about the dirt and cleanliness and also the cows which is ok but it irks me when they think that all of India is unclean or filled with just cows and buffaloes. One even asked me if there were cars in India?? Oh Well!

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Annie August 4, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Hi Raghavan,

About 4 years ago, India had organised a wonderful exhibition here in my homeland Belgium. I was still teaching at the time and took my 4th grade pupils to the exhibition and then, we all spent a wonderful day in the museum workshop getting to know better about India.
The kids learn to write some letters of the devanagari alphabets, played with puppets, dressed up like Indians ( learning how to tie a turban or dress in a sari, there was a cooking class too and what they loved the best were how to play karom, pretend to be snake charmers when playing the flute to which was attached a plastic snake.
They learnt about hinduism too and their favorite god was certainly Ganesha. They were showed how to do puja ( using kumkum, lighting diyas, learning the symbol behind the offering of the light etc…
But they also learnt about the other religions in India : islam, jainism, budhism, christianity …
It’s been a wonderful experience for us all ; they learnt about the different Indian Gods and their stories, about the Ramayana and I made them read some stories from the Panchatantra.
By the way, do you now that these Indian fables have inspired the French Jean de la Fontaine to write his famous fables ?
” My ” pupils have managed to surprise and amaze their parents at our Xmas Fair that year when they entertained the visitors with an Indian bazaar complete with a make shift Ganesha’s Shrine, a quizz about the Indu’s Gods, Bollywood songs and dances etc …
We made people taste samosas, and also saaf and supari.
We also had pamphlets about places of interest in the subcontinent.
As well as the well known Chitra books comics written in French.
The kids were enjoying reading them, stretched on a large carpet we had put on the floor.
There was also a workshop where visitors could learn how to draw ” kolams ” and color ” mandala ” etc …
I’m happy I had this opportunity to offer my pupils and their parents a memorable insight in the life of India.

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Raghavan August 5, 2011 at 12:04 am

Hi Annie,
Nice to hear that you are from Belgium, me and my fiancee Jenn only recently returned from a fun Euro trip and Brussels was our first stop. We did not find much to do there but I have to say Brugge was beautiful and we totally adored your country.
I believe I saw this book in a shop in Belgium or Netherlands..I can’t remember, but a casual glance showed me what I mentioned in my post. I am glad the kids in your class got to learn a lot of great things about Indian culture. I was answering to Sharell’s post as to what irked the most about the stereotypes, I find the snake charmer part irksome because I feel there are better ways to represent India.. for example: The Taj Mahal or the Himalayan mountain ranges or even Tigers.

The Indian community does it’s part in spreading knowledge about its culture and traditions through such exhibitions and I had gone to a few in the US but I am not sure as to how much it really helps ppl in that country understand. Most westerners are very surprised to learn that India has made strides in the Industrial world too. I guess every country has it’s stereotypes so I can’t speak much about just India.

I just wish they did not have a snake charmer to represent us, thats all. There is much more to India than snake charmers as you probably found out 4 years ago :)

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Annie August 4, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Hi Raghavan,
About 4 years ago, India had organised a wonderful exhibition called ” Tejas, 1 500 years of spiritual energy ” here in my homeland Belgium.
I was still teaching at the time and took my 4th grade pupils to visit the exhibition. It allowed us to spend a wonderful day in the museum’s workshop where my pupils were offered the rare opportunity not only to discover India but also spend a full day living the Indian life.
That’s how the kids learn to write some letters of the devanagari alphabets, played with puppets, dressed up like Indians ( learning how to tie a turban or dress in a sari, there was a cooking class too : we learnt how to make lassi, pulao rice and cook chapati.
What they loved the best was learning how to play karom, pretending to be snake charmers when playing the flute to which was attached a plastic snake, making lotus flowers, drawing kolam, applying mehendi on their hands … etc …
They learnt about Hinduism too and their favorite god was certainly Lord Ganesha .. They were taught how to do puja ( using kumkum, lighting diyas, learning the symbol behind the offering of the light etc…)
But they also learnt about the other religions in India : islam, jainism, budhism, christianity …
It’s been a wonderful experience for us all ; they learnt about the different Indian Gods and their stories, about the Ramayana and I made them read some stories from the Panchatantra.
By the way, do you now that these Indian fables have inspired the French Jean de la Fontaine to write his famous fables ?
Later that year, my pupils managed to surprise and amaze their parents during our annual Xmas Fair & bazaar in the school when they entertained the visitors with an Indian bazaar complete with a make shift Ganesha’s Shrine, a quizz about the Indu’s Gods, Bollywood songs and dances etc …
We made people taste samosas, and also saaf and supari.
We also had pamphlets about places of interest in the subcontinent.
As well as the well known Chitra books comics written in French.
The kids were enjoying reading them, stretched on a large carpet we had put on the floor.
There was also a workshop where visitors could learn how to draw ” kolams ” and color ” mandala ” etc …
I’m happy I had this opportunity to offer my pupils and their parents a memorable insight in the life of India.

But two years later, when I tried to repeat the experience in India this time : organizing an exhibition about my homeland, I wasn’t as successful. Many Indian collegues just didn’t turn up with their classes and made it very clear that they didn’t give it a damn to learn about my country. It left me with a bitter taste in the mouth and I realised that I had been very naïve in believing that people might be interested in my own culture. The reason ? The main one probably is the way people in India perceive Europeans and also the pride most Indians do attach to their own ancient culture.
If you read the comments left by many Indian readers on this blog, you know what I mean.

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Raghavan August 5, 2011 at 12:12 am

I did not get the last part of your post…sorry to hear that. Me and my fiancee had the pleasure of tasting traditional beers of Belgium while there and it was truly great. We also got a peek into Belgian culture strolling through Brugge.
On my last day in Belgium I was amazed to see a shop for collectibles for TinTin comics. TinTin is one of the best and only comics I grew up reading as kid and I was truly happy to be in the homeland of TinTin. I also read Amar Chitra Katha comics growing up.

I am glad that us Indians have a great culture and history but I am also open to learning about other cultures. I do not constrain myself to only Indian culture and traditons. :)

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Annie August 5, 2011 at 12:54 am

Thanks for your appreciation of my little country’s own ” treasures ”
Yes, Tintin is one of our best embassador !
His adventures have recently been translated and published in Hindi !

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prashanth August 7, 2011 at 5:57 am

@Annie

Why did Tintin go to to Tibet, when many other Belgians went to Congo? (Remember ‘Heart of Darkness’?). BTW, what’s your opinion of Congo?

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prashanth August 7, 2011 at 6:01 am

Oops! I just looked up on Google and it says that Tintin was also in Congo. Anyways, I would like to hear something about Congo, from you. :)

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Kalyan August 5, 2011 at 2:42 am

Hi Annie,
Sorry to hear that. Probably some of us, Indians have become too busy to smell the roses. It depends on where you have organized this wonderful thing. Catch them young, is the new mantra, did you do this in a school, or a school fair? Well I guess, you can’t sell milk to people who are allergic to milk.

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Annie August 5, 2011 at 11:40 am

Hi Kalyan,

I had organised the exhibition on the grounds of one of the best and famous private schools in India !
That’s why an I was so taken aback by the reactions of disdain of some of my fellow Indian collegues ! Jalousy ?
That’s my best bet ! I came from across the dark sea, me, a white single and independant woman … an oddity in the very traditional and conservative rajasthani society !!!
I reassure you I had some wonderful feedback from their students who managed to sneak in to visit the exhibition on their own and left heartwarming comments of appreciation in my golden book.

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wikitheeks August 5, 2011 at 11:52 am

Prithviraj is a proud Rajasthani male. He may be able to answer your questions, Annie.

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Annie August 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I already have the answer to my question, Wiki.
Since then, I have lived 6 months of the year in the heart of Rajasthan and totally immersed in the rajput society.
I even have a rajput rakhi brother and he has coached me a lot about the ways of thinking/worshipping/behaving of his people.
Both of us belonged to complete different universes and it still amazes an puzzles us how we came to meet one day, and learn to appreciate each other’s and try to share our culture, ways of life and beliefs. He too, coming from a segregated society, when he was living in Europe was exposed to cultural shock … Living among the expats society here, he and his wife were really happy to escape the multicultural business world to have the opportunity to meet Belgian people, getting to know and learn about our ways while being appreciated for sharing their own culture with us.
Never before did my Indian brother have the opportunity to discuss some pretty personal feelings with a female friend.
He was very shy in the beginning and very surprised at my straightforwardness and assertiveness but slowly he opened up and felt more comfortable discussing some subjects with me.
At the same time, he warned me about this when interacting with Indian people for they have a totally different set of mind and in this society, women have to keep a low profile.
What makes me sad, is indeed that when living in Rajasthan, I have to adopt completely my fellow women friends behavior to protect not only my reputation but most of all his.
Gossiping there is a terrible plague … And people will always interpret your words, attitude or behavior in the worst possible way ! One has to be aware of that and act sensibly !
However, when in Europe, we both learned a lot from each other’s culture : it has not been easy sometimes for both of us but we always have had respect for each other’s beliefs, culture and ways of living.
We have manage to cross the bridge and meet half way.
We both are fully aware of our differences but aren’t we all unique characters and that’s what makes the world so interesting.
That’s the way a multicultural society should function.
No need to say that both us come from an educated background and it helped a lot.
The problem arises with uneducated people, ill prepared for crossing the gap.
It requires time and care for the transplatation to be successful.
One doesn’t make it in just one day or even one century !
It a slow and never ending process …

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wikitheeks August 5, 2011 at 4:01 am

Annie, many well-meaning liberal multi-culturalists like yourself who take an interest in other cultures naively believe that people from those cultures are openminded and mutlicultural too, and will reciprocate. This is the problem European countries are now facing with immigrants who do not wish to assimlate or give and take but rather expect the governments and people of their new homes to coddle them and their cultures, even if some of the customs go against the very fabric of what made those European countries so successful and worthy of immigration in the first place.

Wake up multicultural liberals! Many of the people you are allowing into your countries may not be as multicultural and liberal as you.

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Annie August 5, 2011 at 11:18 am

Hi Wiki,
Indeed this is the biggest challenge the multicultural societies in the West are confronted to.
I’m an elementary teacher Wikitheeks and I believe education is the key to a better world. I’ve been trying during all my career to teach my pupils the virtues of open mindness, respect for each other and oneself as well as tolerance.
It also started with a genuine interest in other people’s cultural habits and believes as well as a good knowledge as well as pride and acceptance of one’s own roots.
We all belong to the human race, we all share the same planet, air, water and sun. We all have the same dreams : living happy and loved.
The universal problems are called greed, selfishness, arrogance, discriminations of all sorts,racism …
All civilizations around the world have been confronted to the same demons throughout the centuries… It’s our duties as teachers to teach our students to teach them the similarities between them by making them aware of them, drawing parallels between our different cultures and ways of dealing with our problems and difficulties.
I agree this is a HUGE challenge for the 21rst century people.
Either we’ll manage to live and work together OR we’ll destroy ourselves and it will be the end of OUR common shelter !
Will we succeed ? That’s the question !
Hindu tradition says we are living in Kali Yuga …
This isn’t a good omen !!!
But it want prevent me from trying to build bridges us all.
This is also the purpose of Sharell’s blog and she too is working hard on her dream. Want you agree or why then would you be reading her posts ?

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Amit Desai August 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm

wikitheeks,

The very essence of multiculturalism and open-mindedness is to support and encourage other cultures’ beliefs no matter how contradictory they are to your own. It’s not multiculturalism to force (or brain-wash) other cultures to assimilate or to be ‘multicultural’.

For example, if you are really a multicultural person in the West, you don’t expect Muslims to be multicultural, rather you support all Islamic beliefs. If you expect Muslims to be multicultural and give up their Islamic beliefs, you are purely a bigot in the guise of multicultural person.

The truest multiculturalism is in SUPPORTING others’ beliefs, NOT IN FORCING EVERYONE TO BE MULTICULTURAL or to assimilate.

Multiculturalism is surely one of the noblest ideal, and hence it is going to be least successful just as other noblest ideals were.

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Annie August 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Hi Amit,

Multiculturalism is NOT about supporting or demanding abandon of one’s religion and cultural habits !

It is about acceptance and respect of our differences and yet finding common ground to live and work together.

I agree it’s a HUGE challenge and maybe an impossible dream for many.

Indeed to achieve it, the efforts and flexibility must come from both sides :

The immigrants ( in their chosen country of adoption ) and the adopting country.

And yes, in Europe we have opened our borders to the world and indeed are now paying a high price for our generous behavior.
We shouldn’t have accepted people obviously unprepared to live in a totally different ” world ” and who just came as economical refugees wanting to take advantage of all what we had to offer but not giving anything in return and demanding more and more different & special rights !

In that sense, yes, we have been very stupid and naïve.

On the other side, since we are all living now in the Global Village, we are condemned to learn to live together or … die !

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wikitheeks August 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Multiculturalism, as you described it above Amit, is not noble but rather pure idiocy. I never “support and encourage other cultures’ beliefs no matter how contradictory they are to your own”, why on earth would I ENCOURAGE someone’s beliefs if they go against my value system of human and womens rights? At most I might have to tolerate such backwardsness if the laws of my country require that I do, but I most certainly would not encourage them.

This is why multiculturalism will fail. All cultures are not equals. All cultures do not believe in child’s rights, women’s rights or human rights in general.

Immigration should be based upon compatibility, not that every 3rd world person “deserves” a slot in a progressive European country just because they were born. Nor should these countries be using tax payers’ money to support these people. Let them learn the language, assimilate and WORK.

What is the point of immigrating to a good country if you continue living in the same backwards manner of the bad country that you left?

When I want to see women covered from head to toe in black like a ninja then I will go to Mecca! There’s no reason anyone should be dressing like that in Switzerland!

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Annie August 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Approved !

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veeeeeh August 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm

@Wiki

This I have mentioned in my earlier comments too that People from Muslim world go the free environment of the west and start demanding or working for creation of the same political and social society that they left in the first place.

You can see the context of American Immigration as a good example of how different ethnic groups and cultural groups behave after immigrating to US.

It was easy for Europeans to get under the big umbrella of the US and formulate their culture derived from British, Germanic and Cajun cultural assimilation.

Even other European cultures had initial problems assimilating into it, for social, cultural and economical reasons.

Irish, Italians, East Europeans did assimilate into the Evolving American culture.

But what about the cultures which have taken anti west stand at its core!

Even the Chinese and Vietnamese integrate after few generations. But the cultures which have strong anti west stance at its core find assimilation difficult. They try to retain their cultural identity for as long as possible and at times favor living together to form a sizable population which can create the social environment as close to their parent cultures.

I have talked with Iranian cab drivers, one of them I mistook to be a white guy from his accent. He said that I am living here fro 26 years, and tried learning the American Accent. Others intentionally don’t learn that accent, and would speak in the Iranian accent, for they think speaking in that accent is good.

Even Indian sub culture takes few generations before they assimilate into the American multi cultural environment completely.

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Amit Desai August 5, 2011 at 4:07 pm

@ Annie,

I claimed the same thing as you did using different extended meanings. As a part of multiculturalism, if you accept and respect other beliefs, you are indirectly supporting those beliefs. This is also the only common ground: Accept/respect/support.

@ wiki,

This is a two way interaction in its essence. Immigrants from poorer counties, which are also less multicultural, go to Europe/North America to earn the BIG BUCKS. They don’t necessarily go to Europe or U.S to give up their beliefs and become European/American from the word go.

Another factor is that immigration can not be strictly based on compatibility as compatibility is not ONE PACKAGE that people carry around.

For example, many intelligent doctors from India may be smart and useful for the American economy. But that doesn’t mean all these doctors would be open-minded or multicultural in American sense. On the other hand, many English teachers in India may not be very useful in an English-speaking country like U.S, but they may be more conscious about multicultural shit.

So should U.S invite people it doesn’t really need just because their one particular trait is compatible with Americans? Similarly, should American reject intelligent Indian doctors and computer scientists just because they are more religious or traditional in Indian way?

It’s desirable if people do as Romans do when in Rome. But is it desirable to enforce or expect the Roman ideals in a multicultural country? If every immigrant acts and lives like European, then the Europe ceases to be multicultural, doesn’t it?

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veeeeeh August 5, 2011 at 9:22 pm

I don’t think Europe is as Multi cultural as America. Europe is the place where nationalism was born and nations carved out on the basis of Uni Cultural society.

Being Un cultural has brought social and economic peace to extremely unicultural countries like Scandavian countries.

And if you look back into history, you would see that geographical isolation actually worked out for countries like England, Japan and America.

But the fact is that other non isolated cultures evolved by the interaction with other cultures. And the best example of multi cultural country are large countries like india and China in the Asian context.

I can see two distinct models for co existance of multi culturalism in an country

1) Define homogenous umbrella under which all others have to stand. They can have thier own culture distinctiveness in private but the cutural rules of engament are defined in the public domain. This would be the model followed by the USA.

2) A heterogenous fedral association of different cultures – The best example is India.

History clearly indicates how Multi culturalism helped countries like America.

History also indicates how uni-culturism has historically brough social peace to Nordic countries.

And the forces of uni- culturism and cultural facists will always be in conflict with other cultures in that region for dominance.

Most of the geographically unisolated, old and large countries are infact multi-cultural. And few new ones like America.

Its the Political doctorine that makes few exploit differences in the multi cultural environment to move closer to the power. And such political doctorine is usually coupled with high societal control philosophy, which means that it can Extreme right, Extreme left or facist forces.

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Abdullah K. August 5, 2011 at 10:37 pm

If you think of Europe as a single geographic entity, then it far more multicultural than the United States. In Europe, nationalism and multiculturalism are mutually exclusive – there are hundreds of cultures spread across over 30 sovereign nations. It makes sense for Europeans to be nationalists, since every European is native to the land he or she represents – unlike the United States where almost everyone originated from a foreign land.

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veeeeeh August 5, 2011 at 10:45 pm

I agree with you on that. But unfortunately Europe is highly fragmented. But they have visionary leaders who are atleast trying to unify Europe economically and slowly integrate them politically (Which I doubt!)

I would rather see each nation differently with reference to cultural dimension of being Uni-Cultural or Multi-Cultural.

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Abdullah K. August 5, 2011 at 11:52 pm

A politically and economically integrated Europe is an unrealistic proposition. If it were to happen, Europe would end up like India, where a few non-productive states drag down the entire country.

wikitheeks August 6, 2011 at 12:21 am

Amit, I am not talking about the US or Indian doctors who immigrate here. They assimilate just fine, like most immigrants to the US do and have always done. I’m talking about the negative transformation that various European countries are undergoing due to an influx of extremely backwards and unassimilating Muslim immigrants who do not work but live off of tax payers money with a sense of “the kafr owes me” and do not contribute anything of value to their new societies whatsoever. They are a drain on the system at best and a criminal element at worst. In addition to that even ordinary moderate Muslims who were born in the UK and Europe are being influenced by a radical ideology the encourages them not only to reject the values of Western Civilization but to reject even their ethnic values if they happen not to be Arab in nature.

India also has this problem.

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Mohit Gupta August 5, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Multicultural-Societies are the price of Globalization.

And it works both way.It benefits both host countries and immigrants.

The Idea of different cultures living with each other without retaining their own cultural and social trait is an Idealistic and Hypothetical Scenario.

At most people will agree to live with each other without much friction or without being concerned about other cultures.But an Idealistic-Tolerant-Inclusive-Multicultural society doesn’t really exist.

Take the example of France.As a western country , it can be considered as a fairly liberal society.But they put a ban on Burqa which is worn ‘willingly’ by merely 2000 muslim women in France.

As any women has the right to wear tank-top , micros , etc similarly , in an Idealistic Liberal society , a women should also be able to wear Burqa.As expected there never was a Burqa-Walk” anywhere to support the “Right of Women to wear what they want”. This is classic case of double-standard.

And this implies that even the “Definition” of “Freedom” and “Liberty” shall be derived by those who are in power and what they think.

Multi-cultural Societies are actually a Compulsion rather than Choice.If ever , different cultures were possible to exist together , why would they have been “different’ in first place.??

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Annie August 5, 2011 at 6:50 pm

@ Mohit,

If I follow your reasoning when you wrote :

” The Idea of different cultures living with each other without retaining their own cultural and social trait is an Idealistic and Hypothetical Scenario ” ( sic )

then, dear Mohit, India should not even exist these days !!!

Now regarding the right of women to wear a burqa …
This ” devise ” has been imposed on women because you poor men could not control yourselves and as if you men were the victims of these seductresses.
So the veil is supposed to protect the women from harassment and rape … but …
I came across this disgusting video of young Saudi guys harassing fully covered women on the street.
They are shamelessly groping the girls private parts.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=b7000259ab
Is it the strict gender segregation that has been turning young men into sex crazy animals ?
You are talking about double standard : but, Mohit this is what you advocate yourself : on one side, you imprisonned the women behind veils, preventing them from their freedom of movements while you men do enjoy total freedom while at the same time working very hard at convincing the women that it is for their own good !!!
Shame on you !!!

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Mohit gupta August 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Annie ,
Dear Sister ,

Two days ago you complained that you are SICK of the “ad hominem” attacks which resulted in deletion of many posts and banning of some people from this Blog,That was fine.

But Now you yourself are resorting to those tactics.

e.g. You Said “you poor men could not control yourselves”
“you imprisonned the women behind veils.”
“Shame on you !!!

Above all accusations come under “ad hominem”
That is the double standard , which I have to deal with first.But I am not very optimistic if this response will appear here because it shall be deemed as “Fighting” , so , cut it.

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Tamasha the Choto Rani August 5, 2011 at 10:06 pm

@Mohit -
“you poor men could not control yourselves”
“you imprisonned the women behind veils.”
“Shame on you !!!

This is NOT ad hominem abuse or a PERSONAL attack. No one was PERSONALLY ATTACKED in her statements.
Here is are examples of ad hominem abuse/personal attacks-
“You can’t believe Jack when he says the proposed policy would help the economy. He doesn’t even have a job.”
“Candidate Jane’s proposal about zoning is ridiculous. She was caught cheating on her taxes in 2003.”
“X is idiotically ignorant [of politics], so why should we listen to him now?”

Just for the record- Gratuitous verbal abuse or “name-calling” itself is not an ad hominem or a logical fallacy.
It’s simply not appropriate to this blog & uncalled for.

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wikitheeks August 6, 2011 at 12:12 am

“As any women has the right to wear tank-top , micros , etc similarly , in an Idealistic Liberal society , a women should also be able to wear Burqa.”

This is why I’m not a liberal.

“And it works both way.It benefits both host countries and immigrants.”

How does having a bunch of backwards immigrants who do not want to assimilate, squating in your country and living off the dole “benefit” the European people?

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Mohit Gupta August 9, 2011 at 7:07 pm

“This is why I’m not a liberal.”

Do you really have the authority to become or act as “Liberal” pr “Conservatives”.

Let me put it this way.Unless you are in a position to make drastic changes in Laws of your country , your “wish” don’t really matter.

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Abdullah K. August 4, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Stereotypes exist because there is some level of truth in them. I don’t find any of the stereotypes as offensive as Indians find them – if I had those in my country, I’d have exaggerated them to for a comical effect. Indians need to get over their colonial hangover, that everything western is sophisticated and classy while everything Indian is crude and embarassing.
 
Morveover, Indians are not free of the blame of stereotyping either – they have some of the most vicious stereotypes of people not only from other countries, but other parts of their own country as well. What you soweth is what you recieveth, ay?

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Mohit gupta August 5, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Correct ! Numero Uno Answer !

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Manny August 5, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Very well put! I concur.

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wikitheeks August 5, 2011 at 11:49 am

Annie, you say, “It’s our duties as teachers to teach our students to teach them the similarities between them by making them aware of them, drawing parallels between our different cultures and ways of dealing with our problems and difficulties.”

Its also a duty to point out the significant differences, especially when those differences clash with the progress that your own culture has made. All cultures are not compatible. Wahhabi Islam for example is NOT compatible with the gains in civic culture, human rights and women’s rights that Western Civilization has made over the course of the last couple hundred years. By opening the flood gates of immigration to people who are living as if it is still Medieval Times or the era of the Prophet has proven to be disastrous for Europe.

”But it wont prevent me from trying to build bridges us all.”

A bridge is meant to be walked over to and fro from both sides. European countries have bent over backwards for their immigrants and extended a welcome hand, and goverment handouts. Still there is a portion of immigrants who refuse to walk over the bridge and assimilate.

Multiculturalism cannot go one way. Its a 2 way street.

Thankfully, Europe is beginning to wake up to this idiocy of one way multiculturalism and a number of countries are re-thinking their immigration policies.

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Cherry August 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm

If we were talking about keeping Sweden a white majority country, I would agree with you. Yet if you’re talking about Britain, then I would disagree, mainly because of colonialism.

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Manny August 7, 2011 at 2:07 am

I am waiting for Britain to go Sharia! I am looking forward to it. The lefts contribution to UK.

:)

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wikitheeks August 7, 2011 at 4:57 am

Manny, precisely why I am not a “leftist”. I value Western Civilization too much to want to see it flooded and taken over by backwards people who cannot get their own damn countries together. Now they want to make the good countries just as bad as their’s also? What is the point of migrating? Stay where you are and wear niqab.

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Manny August 7, 2011 at 5:50 am

Why would you attribute the Islamist culture of Sharia to all other non western non Islamic people and cultures?

Why not be precise in your bad vs good? Why use real bad to tarnish others using broad brushes?

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wikitheeks August 7, 2011 at 8:05 am

Manny, I don’t tarnish all with same brush. If you read again you will see I said, “stay where you are and wear NIQAB”.

Neither do I mind moderate Muslims who assimilate. In European countries and UK, Sikhs and Hindus don’t have as bad as a reputation as Muslims because they assimilate and work. There is a big problem in UK however with the Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslim communities who remain backwards and don’t assimilate and feel they deserve to reap all the welfare benefits without contributing anything of value to the UK.

Sweden is also facing many problems with its Muslims immigrants, as are other countries.

These countries are TOO KIND and TOO LIBERAL.

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Manny August 7, 2011 at 8:09 am

I am with you. Particularly about the UK. Islamists in the UK have carved a Talibani enclave for themselves. and the “Liberals” in the UK seems to take pride in their “accommodation” These lefty jerks are the same all over. The curse!

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wikitheeks August 7, 2011 at 4:54 am

Cherry, the British Empire no longer exists. Current Brits are not responsible for any wrongs their ancestors may have perpetuated against anyone. This is the problem with White Liberals – they suffer from “white guilt” or “post-colonial guilt” or “liberal guilt”. Its silliness. UK simply does not have enough resources to take in all the world’s poor Muslims and house, feed and provide them medical care from the tax payers’ dole. Poor Muslims should stay in their own countries and make them better so that when Brits need a place to immigrate to, they have more choices.

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Manny August 7, 2011 at 5:53 am

That is correct. Islamists who wants to spread their Islamic sharia law is eviI in my eyes. I totally understand that. But if Sikhs wants to live their conservative lifestyle (But have are not trying to impose their Sikh culture on others are fine with me).

So why are areshole leftists using the evilness of Sharia desiring Islamists to be meat up on conservative Sikhs and Hindus and others?

Are you not capable of discrimination of evil vs innocence?

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Manny August 7, 2011 at 6:00 am

That should read “So why are areshole leftists using the evilness of Sharia desiring Islamists to be beat up on conservative Sikhs or Hindus?”

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Amit Desai August 5, 2011 at 12:12 pm

“…Multiculturalism cannot go one way. Its a 2 way street…”

It’s MULTI-culturism, so it is MULTI-way street.

A 2 way street is called BI-culturism, where you would say, “if you accept my beliefs, I’ll accept yours”.

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Annie August 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Today, I want to share with you a passage of the ” Srimad Bhagavatam ”
describing the fight between Good and Evil.

This is the universal question :
How come that evil exists ?
Why was it created ?

It would be interesting that readers of this blog who belong to different faiths, cultures and traditions would also share their views and explanations.
It will be very quickly obvious that the story behind Evil and Good is a universal one.

So, here is the hindu one :

According to the hindu scriptures, the dark age of Kali ( Kali Yuga ) begun with the death of Lord Krishna.

THE HAUNT OF KALI ( from ” The Srimad Bhagavatam ” )

There was great pain in the heart of King Parikshit since he saw the influence of Kali increasing day by day.
He wanted to fight with Kali, destroy him and restore to the earth her past glory when his grandfather ruled the earth.(…)

In the Kali Yuga, man can be said to practice Dharma only by the observance of Truth.

NB :
Dharma is a complex concept which could be translated by a man’s duty involving Penance ( Tapas ), Cleanliness ( Shaucha ), Compassion (Daya) and Truth ( Satya )

King Parikshit said :
- ” This Kali is trying to kill truth and replace it with his weapon, untruth.
My mother Earth is weeping.
She is comparing the golden age when the Lord walked on her with the days to come when sinners will rule over her.
But be without fear.
I’m going to kill Kali.” ( … )

The king took up a sword in his hand and rushed towards Kali.
But Kali dropped at the feet of the king and begged for mercy.

Parikshid said :
-” You know that I will not hurt you now that you have fallen at my feet.(…)
But you are a dear kinsman of Adharma ( which could be translated by ” unduty ” ) and so I command that you should no longer be here; you should not exist in the country where I rule.
I cannot brook your presence.
Once you are given a chance to stay, your many companions will join you : avarice, untruth, theft, unrighteousness, hypocrisy, quarelsomeness and, in short, all that is ugly and hateful.
I don’t want any of you in my kingdom. ”

Trembling with fear Kali said :
- ” My lord, the entire earth is ruled by you. Where can I go ?
God who created good has also created evil which is just the shadow of good. I have to exist somewhere since I have been created.
Tell me where should I go and I will obey you. ”

The King thought over his words and said :

- ” What you say is right. You can go and thrive where the name of the Lord is forgotten. You can go where there is gambling, drinking, lustfulness and the desire to kill. ”

Kali said :
- ” Point out to me a single spot where all these are present and I will go there. ‘

- ” Gold”, said the King.
” Gold will propagate avarice, untruth, arrogance, lustfulness, ruthlessness and hatred. These five will be the places and so, gold, will be the place where you will be allowed to live. ”

Kali went away from there to the places mentioned. ( … )

The words spoken by Kali are worth studying.
He says that he is also created by the Lord and so there is a purpose behind his creation.
Kali is made to live in places where thoughts of the Lord ( aka God ) is absent.
The Lord Himself is forgotten. True enough.
But as Kunti ( cf ” the Mahabharata ” ) said adressing herself to God :
- ” Give us missfortunes all the time so that we may think of You.”
Man is lost in the enjoyment of worldly pleasures.
If he is a success in life, he ascribes it all to himself and not to his good fortune. Never. However, if and when troubles come, when man is in distress, then the mind become pliable.
Suffering melts the hardened core of the ego.
When something is achieved the ego comes forward and takes credit.
But when there is failure, the ego must necessrily be pushed to the background and humility makes its appearance.
The ego surrenders itself completely admitting defeat and the Lord who is present in the heart always shines resplendent.
It is in trouble that thoughts of the Lord come to the mind and Kali meant this, perhaps, when he said that there is a purpose behind his creation.
People will walk in evil paths and forget the Lord completely and Kali helps them in this.
But the backsliding is really to save the soul.
When they are hurt and sorely tried, men will turn their minds towards the Lord and be saved. This is what Kali means when he says : ” Evil is but the shadow of good “.

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MOJOJO August 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm

So this is what ranting is all about..Cool!

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Pratik August 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Question: does the ” land of kama sutra” qualify as a stereotype or is it just a one liner used by indian guys at bars?

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Annie August 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm

It’s just one liner used by people whose brain is located below the waist !
Alas, there seems to be many of them among the readers of this blog …
Obviously sex being their major preoccupation, they should better stick to surfing on specialized sites and sign out here !!!

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wikitheeks August 5, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Indian guys use the “kama sutra” line on non-Indian women? I thought it was used by NON-Indian guys to pick up Indian women. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had White guys use that line on me. “So, do you know all the positions in the Kama Sutra?” or “Is it true that Indian women are experts in Kama Sutra?” Etc.

Needless to say, they didn’t get laid. Not that night anyway, ;)

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Amit Desai August 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm

“…I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had White guys use that line on me. “So, do you know all the positions in the Kama Sutra?” or “Is it true that Indian women are experts in Kama Sutra?” Etc…”

And did you respond to those white guys by getting naked and showing them different positions? Did you actually show them that Indian women are indeed expert in Kama Sutra?

Or you just acted like a virginal-Indian woman, “Oh, hato ji, choro ji, abhi nahi, sab dekh rahe hai.” :-P

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Annie August 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Whenever one comes to India, he/she would at some time be offered a copy of the ” Kama Sutra ‘ by some Indian souvenir shop keeper with bright burning eyes …
But in India, Kama, the God of love, is perceived in a totally different way.
Do you know about of the story of Kama, the God of love and how he was burnt to ashes by Lord Shiva ?

For tantrics, making love is a spiritual path of ecstasy.
Thousands of years ago, people had achieved a high degree of awareness and an alchemical formula for converting what we know as sex energy — called by many names such as Chi, vital force, soul, etc. -using it to enter into a state of Divinity. Their spiritual philosophy held sexuality as a divine rite and an expression of union or yoga.
Contemporary society considers neurosis and deviant behavior normal, no more a problem than the common cold. Our present social and cultural structure supports separation and has created division among individuals and nations, manifesting in violence, war and in general a world of perversion, devoid of beauty and love. Western (and now even Eastern) culture uses sex for manipulation–sexy models being used to sell cars, soap and other products–while at the same time suppressing sexual expression.

Tantra says we can celebrate life when the idea of separation, or otherness, disappears from the body and mind, allowing people to meet on all levels of consciousness–physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual. In fact, Tantric partners often consider themselves “soul partners.”

Tantra, the art of spiritualizing your sexuality, offers practical tools to transmute fear and attachment into love and universal power. Jealousy, possessiveness, guilt and other negative emotions that drain your life-force energy, drop away.

While most fundamentalist religions–even Eastern, Moslem and Christian philosophies–focus on the elimination of sensual pleasures, Tantra welcomes the full expression of bodily pleasure, recognizing that in the body is hidden the “bodiless,” or the spiritual. The body is only layers of invisible energy in form, and it can all be awakened if we let go to the sexual energy.
So, that’s what perhaps Khajuraho Temples are advocating …

Love in Khajuraho art and in Indian tradition of Thought

Khajuraho temples have hundreds of sculptures portraying various positions of coition and love making – a long and languished kiss; an unlocking excited embrace; the passionate male removing his partner’s garment or she herself doing it; female, bitten by Kama, tossing and titillating or even the mukha-maithuna, as treatises call it; female partner riding her male by herself or assisted by others so that his organ penetrates into her with fuller pressure and to greater depths; male doing intercourse from behind, a typical posture of animals in coition; a yogi, a disabled, a bearded divine and other unusual players being engaged in coition; and, even animals being made the partners of the game, things which the modern mind would consider obscene and vulgar. Was it so also with the ancient man or with the man of early medieval era? perhaps not. The known traveler Ibn Batuta, whose travel memoirs have been a great source of Indian history, records to have visited Khajuraho in A. D. 1335. According to him, temples were always thronged by crowds of mahantas and common devotees. Obviously, people those days thought of sex and love differently.

The Vedic Brahmanism – Shaivism and Vaishnavism, favoured family life and deified instinct of sex as Kama and the female in union with him as his consort Rati and held them in great reverence. Buddhism advocated renunciation and Jainism to its extreme. The Indian art vision was not, however, subservient to metaphysical principles of any of these faiths. The art tradition perceived temple as the microminiaturised manifestation of the cosmos. Cosmos is the manifest form and the outer frame of the Formless Supreme Who pervades it without and enshrines within. In exact analogy, the outer frame of the temple is the material manifestation of the cosmos, and as enshrines the Formless Supreme within the cosmos so the deity does within the temple – sanctum sanctorum. Obviously, this outer frame should have all that the cosmos has – all its passions, emotions, instincts, frailties, or even perversions.

Hence, it is least surprising that Jain temples at Khajuraho have as much abundance of sex panels as have Brahmanical temples. The tradition may be traced back to Ajanta and in early Mithuna sculptures of Gupta art. Ajanta does not have scenes of coition, kissing or embracing, but in sensuous modeling of its female figures even this religious art is not far behind. In Brahmanical temples of Khajuraho, this aspect is more thrusting. Brahmanism divided life into four stages – artha, money, kama, sex or love, dharma, right path, and moksha, salvation and prescribed that one might neither attain right path nor salvation unless passes through the stages of artha and kama.

Vaishnavism further widened the cult. It perceived love and creation as God’s prime attributes. Hence, in human love Khajuraho artists discovered reflection of God’s divine act. Shaivism conceived love as enlivening energy generated by union and interaction of male and female generative factors. Shaktism seems to have inspired the Khajuraho art most. Kaul Kapalika sect, a Tantrika expansion of Shaktism, emphasized that body was most intimately linked with mind and soul and, hence, the factors that motivated the body and charged inherent energies also charged and elevated mind and soul. Kapalika tantrikas believed that sex, instinct to love, Kama, was body’s integral part, or rather its enlivening strength, major source of motivation, which charged in sexual union prepared body, and thereby soul and mind, for harbouring all pleasurable sensations which finally led to parmananda, state of transcendental ecstasy, when ego disappeared and self united with and merged into universal or cosmic self, and yoni-sadhana, methodically performed sexual union using principles of Yoga, was its most appropriate instrument, and Khajuraho, perhaps, its best laboratory.

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veeeeeh August 5, 2011 at 9:43 pm

@ Annie

I deeply appreciate your understanding of the Indian philosophy. Its much better than “I” based definition of Indian philosophy here or anywhere else. It also makes me realize that we as a society have lost our traditional core philosophies and values.

This I think started when men started twisting the traditions to suit them and with more emphasis on “I” , his ego.

One of the first such manipulation was when they made a classification system based on “Work” as birth based social classification. According to vedas, a shudra can become brahmin by reading vedas. But in the modern society, how many could??

Even the petty quarrels and abuses that you see is driven by ego or “I” .

Its really sad, that we have joined other so called “Old civlization” and have started defining being “Anti west” as being “indian”. We truly have lost connection with our history and core values that created this beautiful and progressive culture.

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Manny August 6, 2011 at 5:40 am

Lets see…So Multiculturalism is not good for Europe but its good for India? This is like the Pope’s position..that Europe is a Christian continent but India should be “secular”.

Hmmm….

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Raj August 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm

I think from time and time again Europe has proved directly/indirectly that they will remain very unwelcoming to anything which is not “theirs” I am living in Europe and millions of immigrants have left since recession in 2008 however anti-immigration is still a very Big issue . . . this anti-immigrant feeling is basically fulled by brown journalism mainly tabloids!! Its a very sad part that even if you are white and dont follow Christianity you would be wiped our (as in Second world war). And Germany could have very well got away with it if their target would have been Jews . . .but the mistake they did was they attacked white Countries as well!!!! I mean in short the reality is very very hard to swallow . . . Its like when The Europeans went to “New world” it was ok to destroy their culture, language, religion, tradition and their God cause that was inferior (not European) and when they went to Africa same continued . . . when they came to Asia . . . the Buddhist, the Animanist , The Muslims, the Hindu must give “space and priority” to their culture, language and religion etc” but when a small minority from africa, asia goes to Europe . . .their cultural heritage is in danger!!!! clearly clearly a double standard!!! Lets history takes its own course and do the justice as it always did it in long run!!!!! Peace!!!!

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Manny August 6, 2011 at 6:54 pm

The Vatican’s position is that they insist that the EU constitution should state that EU is founded on Christian principles and values. Basically EU is Christian. Why do you think they had no problem in taking in Easter European countries in so fast into EU. But gave cold shoulders to the NATO loyalist Turkey.

And this same Vatican has the gal to come to India and insist that India should be a “Secular” country.

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wikitheeks August 7, 2011 at 4:40 am

As a Hindu I would much rather live in a Christian majority country than a Muslim one.

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Manny August 7, 2011 at 7:59 am

So would I.

But I would rather live in a moderate Muslim country like Turkey than live in a right wing evangelical Christian Bible Belt.

:)

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Mohit Gupta August 9, 2011 at 3:12 am

As a Human , I will live in any country if it doesn’t interfere with my personal life on a daily basis , it doesn’t really matter if its a Hindu , Muslim or Christian or Buddhist country !

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wikitheeks August 9, 2011 at 3:29 am

Great! So the British Empire and a few Euro powers had colonies all over the world a loooong time ago so now the entire world should just roll over and allow Wahhabist Islam and Saudi Arabian culture to take over!? Funny how these Muslims and their Islamophile friends never point out that Europeans are not expressing any problems with Hindus, Sikhs, Jains or Buddhists. The Muslims and their cheerleaders want Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists to feel like “persecuted minorities” in the West also and to side with them, but are Muslims ever willing to reciprocate and side with Hindus, etc in these countries? They should take a clue from us, stop taking free government handouts, stop wearing clothes that scare children in public, stop having so many kids, stop committing so many crimes and get off their asses and WORK!

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Mohit Gupta August 9, 2011 at 4:05 am

Christianity is “Essence” and “Reason” of all Modern European cultures and Countries.

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Abdullah K. August 7, 2011 at 2:17 am

Europe is secular, far more than India is. Don’t read too much into the Catholic Pope’s bumbles, most Europeans consider him a joke. As for Turkey’s admission to the EU, it gets ‘cold shoulders’ because it not only had a history of being unapologetically belligerent towards Europe (read Ottoman history) but also its close proximity to the Arab world would open Europe to uncontrolled illegal immigration.
 
Eastern European countries faced similar resistence during their initial years getting admitted to the EU. Eventually they were admitted not because they were so called “Christian nations” but because of the US plan to expand NATO to Russian proximity. Christianity has very little political pull in Europe.

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prashanth August 7, 2011 at 4:31 am

Spot on, Mr.Abdullah!

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Raj August 9, 2011 at 2:20 am

Nope Mate!!!

I have been living in Europe for last 15 years. Well when you say that “Christianity has very little political pull in europe” thats only in case of “front facade” yes thats right that Church do not control the society as much as they did 200-300 years ago and thats the reason you can find expensive mammonth size old churches on almost every corner . . .sometimes many on the same street. The reason why Europeans turned away against churches was “overselling of God” and trying to have “absolute control” over the society. However, The Govt and Church can compromise or accept low turn our in churches, atheist or turning away from religion . . but they can never accept any other religion as this will consider “accepting someone else culture”.

Religion has been used as a tool for subjugation and cultural contest purpose and it is continuously being used in the form of “AID” “Charity” “NGO’s” “missionaries”!! and That is the very reason that “islamophobia” is so prevalent in Europe, so that this religion can be demonized and it doesn’t takes roots in european society . . . cause to a fair, unbiased intellectual Islam is more reasonable and convincing. However the Sad part is that the world is divided on the bases of, race, language, culture and religion . . . which should be thing of celebration . . . definitely not for fighting!!! (and yeah I am not a Muslim)

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wikitheeks August 9, 2011 at 3:12 am

“cause to a fair, unbiased intellectual Islam is more reasonable and convincing” LOL! Islam is just as silly, if not moreso, than Christianity. And I do hope the Europeans succeed in keeping at bay. If “islamophobia” is prevelant in Europe, it is not without good cause. Islam is a many steps backwards for womens rights and human rights in general. Northern and Western European countries are liberal and secular. Islam is not a culture that blends well with the liberal and secular. Especially the type of Islam that is being propagated these days that inspires Desi Muslim women to wear long black cloaks and cover their faces. There is nothing progressive, Desi or even Islamic about that. It is Saudi Arabian culture. Desis and Europeans have no business adopting that whether they are Muslim or not.

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Mohit Gupta August 9, 2011 at 4:15 am

Any women regardless of her religion and country has same right to wear Burqa as any other woman has the right to wear minis , micros , tank-tops , etc..There can’t be two definition of “Freedom” and “Liberty” !

“Freedom” and “Liberty” , in its true sense , should give women the right to wear what they want(including Burqa) but should not necessarily mean wearing certain kind of “Liberal” Clothes.

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wikitheeks August 10, 2011 at 1:13 am

Mohit, where are your reading comprehension skills? I’m talking about the face covering. It is NOT Islamic. It is Saudi culture. Non-Saudi women who adopt it are making a POLITICAL STATEMENT, not a religious one. And you know what? When Saudi women leave Saudi? That veil COMES OFF. They CAN’T WAIT to take off those oppressive clothes and LAUGH at non-Saudi women who adopt it.

All Muslims are not Saudis but come from a wide variety of cultures that have their own dress. Face veil should be made illegal. One woman did not even want to take it off to get her photo taken for drivers’ license. One must be identifiable and humans identify by face. Any covering of the face should be made ILLEGAL. If someone wants to wear a scarf around their head, I have no objection.

Don’t be naive. The black face covering is a socio-political ploy disguised as “freedom of religious expression”.

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Mohit Gupta August 10, 2011 at 2:41 am

Face-covering is not just Saudi-Culture.It has evolved over a period of time and various country.

In fact I don’t even want to get in where Burqa was discovered or what Saudi women actually think about it.I am even almost sure that you have not met a single woman from Saudi in all your life , so all you statements about Saudi women seems hypothetical.

My point is very clear and precise that I may/may not find a Burqa-wearing woman very attractive or liberal but that ‘opinion’ should not come in way of her freedom to wear it.
That is the real “liberty”.

Saudi women are not living an oppressive life as most of people like you think.Apart from ‘dress’ , ‘drink’ , ‘date’ and ‘driving’ issues they have much freedom to do what they want , most importantly they have freedom to choose and dump their life-partner when and where they want.That is why Saudi Arabia is having biggest divorce rate in the world.

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wikitheeks August 10, 2011 at 1:45 am

@Mohit, “Any women regardless of her religion and country has same right to wear Burqa as any other woman has the right to wear minis , micros , tank-tops , etc..There can’t be two definition of “Freedom” and “Liberty” !”

Oh really?! Do I have a right to wear what I want in Saudi Arabia?

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Mohit Gupta August 10, 2011 at 2:27 am

When did I say that Saudi-Arabia is a liberal and free country ? Did I ? No ! Because it doesn’t give women the right to wear want they want.

By same standard , France is also not a Liberal and Free Country , because women are not free to wear what they want !

I am supporting the cause of women-rights here and still you have problem.I don’t know why.

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wikitheeks August 10, 2011 at 10:02 am

Is there any claim to “liberal” or “free” in any document connected to the founding of France, and if so, in what context? Those words don’t mean a thing without context. One can also claim “freedom” to have sex with a child, would any “free” or “liberal” country approve it? On the contrary, it is a crime and even has a pathological name “pedophilia”. You are not good at debate.

And I am not a Liberal myself so I don’t support any liberalness that will support wearing these horrible black veils and scaring children in public.

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Abdullah K. August 10, 2011 at 11:58 am

@ Mohit Gupta: Your debate is weak, using burka laws to compare the freedom of France vis. a vis. Saudi Arabia doesn’t cut it. France is free as in “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights” (Declaration of the Rights of Man, Line 1) . Wearing the burka is not a right since it is not only a tool of oppression of individual women by the society but it also hampers social integration and creates security issues. Turkey, a Muslim majority country banned the burka for the same reasons.
 
By the way, if a woman divorces a man in Saudi Arabia she has only one choice – to go back to the house of her parents and live as a divorcee for the rest of her life. Thats not freedom.

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Mohit Gupta August 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm

My debate being weak is not even an issue.Freedom of “Muslim Women” or “Minority woman” is of utmost priority in defining if a country is liberal or not.

And if you think that Burqa is not ‘right of women’ and is just a tool to oppress women that your personal opinion and won’t get any supporting voice from majority of Middle-Eastern women.

Turkey will do anything to get a permanent seat in EU.Banning Burqa in universities and public offices was just a part of that game.

And no , Saudi women don’t remain divorcee for whole of their life.Who told you that.By the time their divorce application is filed , they have already in touch with their ‘future-partners’.People have some much stereotype about Saudi.That is very strange and funny also.

Mohit Gupta August 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm

If you are not Liberal then why did you support Slut-Walk ?That was all about liberty and freedom of women.Isn’t it double standard ?

You are taking the discussion in a wrong direction mentioning ‘sex with children’ , etc and at the same time , you are doubting my debating skills.That is interesting.

Ok , my debating skills may/may not be of very high level.But here , I am stating a truth and truth need mot a debate to prove its credibility.

Children may well be scared seeing girls and women who are overtly made-up with minimal dressing.Don’t you care about those children? ;)

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wikitheeks August 11, 2011 at 1:14 am

Mohit, you are throwing around (western/english)terminology without knowing the meaning. There is no connection between liberalism and liberty in the context you are using them. Indians like you copy and paste and “ape the West” without having any clue what they are talking about or doing.

Do some reading up on these terms; classical liberalism, post-modern liberal, and “liberty” and then get back to me when you have it all unscrambled. Til then I am not going to respond to your comments anymore if they contain “liberal” “freedom” and “liberty” in them.

And send those full frontal photos as well.

Mohit Gupta August 11, 2011 at 2:30 am

OK. I got it!

So you are one of those “Non-Indians” who “ape the west” but can’t understand English.

Tell me what is your mother-tongue.I will write in that and will definitely try my best to prove how mis-informed and mis-placed you are in the blog.

In my dictionary “Liberty” , “Liberalism” , “Post-Modern-Liberalism” , “Pre-Independence Liberalism” , “Post Independence Liberalism” , “Wikitheek’s Liberalism” , Mohit’s Liberalism , “Falana Liberalism” , “Dhimaka Liberalism” are synonym of each other and literally reflect each other’s view with different name.

There is simple and single definition of freedom that everybody is equal and should have basic freedom to earn his/her “Roti” wear his/her “Kapda” and live in his/her “Makaan”

You can call my language as “Shitlish” and me a “Drunkard” ..but my views on equality of women are not going to change.

And yes , as Prashant said , you have still not couriered your pink chaddis to us guys so how can we send our full frontal ? Send them soon . ;)

meandmythinkingcap August 10, 2011 at 7:46 am

I did ask the same thing once in a blog and one kuwait girl gave me gali and I became “most hated person” within a week across muslim gals all over middleeast and also all over malaysia.
http://sunshinekuwait.blogspot.com/2011/05/muslim-women-opressed-are-we.html

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Mohit Gupta August 10, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I think the testimony of this girl is enough to clear doubt of people like wikitheeks and you who paint culture alien to them in bad light even when they have not contacted with them in real life and don’t know anything about them.

In the words of some wise girl.

“If a girl is free to show her body ,
why should she not be free to cover it.? “

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Abdullah K. August 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Islamophobia is a term invented by Islamists to vilify the attempts of well meaning people trying to defend our civilisation and all that we have achieved since Renaissance. Most European ‘Islamophobes’ do not hate Muslims as people, rather they resist the attempts of Islamists to force their culture and regressive lifestyles on their host countries. I don’t see how letting your culture barbarised is any cause for celebration.
 
As for the Christian NGOs and missionaries, thats an American and British thing, not European. Europeans aren’t too involved in the business of religion.

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Cherry August 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Well, I am Indian but have never heard of those stereotypes. Most of the time, non-Indians aren’t even aware what the main language in India is. They ask me if I speak “Indian”, which inspires a chuckle. I don’t get many Indian stereotypes because “I don’t look very Indian”. I actually do, but due to terms like white and black, people assume I’m Italian white or spanish because my skin is a lot lighter than most Indians. I have an uncle living in India who often gets mistaken for a “Parsi” because he also has light skin and has been mistaken for white while he was abroad. I think a lot of Western people believe Indians have one specific look so when you don’t fit that stereotype, they become confused. I’ve been asked about my ethnic background by virtually everyone I’ve met. I wish people would just mind their own business because I’m not always in the mood to explain why I “look white”.

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MOJOJO August 6, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Why do you look white?

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Manny August 6, 2011 at 8:02 pm

LOL :)

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Amit Desai August 7, 2011 at 1:17 am

She has a monthly subscription of ‘fair and lovely’.

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MOJOJO August 7, 2011 at 6:51 am

LOL ;)

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prashanth August 7, 2011 at 5:44 am

Well, I don’t wanna judge the whiteness of Cherry, but I do understand what he/she means. Many Europeans get confused about my nationality too, as they expect Indians to be small, short and not well-built, which I’m not (although I’m born with a tan :P ). There is a Punjabi guy (runs a successful Italian Pizza delivery shop) around where I live and he is white like Cherry ( :P ) and can easily fit the Meditarranean (Spanish/Italian/Greek/Turkish, etc) or North African stereotypical look.

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wikitheeks August 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Prashanth is tall and well-built?! We need proof via full frontal photos or no cigar! We’ll make you Mr. March for Men of Sharrell’s Blog 2012 Calendar. Nik will be appearing in pink chaddis as Mr. February (Valentine’s Day, Hello! I love you), and I’m giving Mohit the honor of being Mr. Happy New Year January (with permission of his wife, of course).

I’m slotting Veeeh in one of the summer months since he’s so good at keeping cool.

Manny is, dare I say it – too short? (unless he makes up for it elsewhere ;) …)

Sharrell hasn’t as of yet voluneered her husband.

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prashanth August 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm

@Wikifreak

LOL….I would volunteer for your noble cause, but then you have to send me your pink chaddis. :P

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Manny August 10, 2011 at 8:54 am

I am short.. I am like 5’6.5″

LOL :)

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Sarah August 7, 2011 at 6:04 am

Indians Smell
I always wonder why nobody addresses this issue. I lived in NYC for a few years and there was an area known as “little India” or (as my New York friends used to call it) “stinky town.” Body odor was unbearable. I don’t know if Indians don’t use deodorant or their smell is so strong that it gets through it. About six months ago, I visited India. I was expecting unbearable body odor, but I found that the city itself stank even more. The smell of urine, cow feces and rotting garbage was everywhere. How do you deal with this as a foreigner? Did you just get used to it? I found myself gagging half of the time I was there. At breakfast time at the hotel, half of the tables were talking about the same thing.

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Annie August 7, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Sarah,

You might not have been aware of it, but Indians do bath everyday.
They even do it before having breakfast and are always very surprised to watch us for exemple having breakfast BEFORE taking a bath or a shower.

The BIG issue in India is that there is no garbage collects like in the West hence people throw everything out on the street and let it rot there but the INSIDE of their houses is always spic and span !

Public toilets are very rare and I do agree with you, most of the time terribly filthy and stincky !

Hygiene is indeed a BIG issue especially in the cities but if you go in rural areas, you’ll be surprised to see how people do keep their premises very clean and well maintained !

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veeeeeh August 7, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I live in the rustic parts of the country. I did my education there and had to travel in the bus which took 1.5 hours to travel 19 km (One way)

Folks at villages do take bath in the morning and evening, but they work hard and don’t use any deodorants except probably using talcum powder as anti perspirant.

Its hot out there and folks do manual labor. And these folks are jam packed, some virtually hanging from the bus doors and windows.

You can smell dung, all kind of vegetables, animals and birds being transported. I could live with these smells but if someone wears cheap ithar, its unbearable.

If i find travelling in the congested rustic bus such a torture on my senses, I can imagine what a guy who have culture of using perfumes and deodorants and from the place where you don’t sweat would feel like.

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veeeeeh August 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I always thought that Body odor was the equivalent of Pheromones in the Humans.

When did marketers change it as something undesirable?

And I have heard few females making statement that they like the scent of sweat!

@ Tamasha – your expert statement on this pls.

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wikitheeks August 8, 2011 at 1:20 am

Pheromones and body odor are 2 different things. Sweat can smell sexy in small doses LOL. When people eat very spicy food on a regular basis then the odor does seep out from their pores. I should know because I’m one of those smelly Indians! What we have to do is take extra precaution. Deodorants only mask the smell, a layer of chemicals over a layer of bad smell. The best thing is to frequently wash under our arms throughout the day and stay dry. In India this is not possible for those who work hard in the outdoors.

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prithviraj33 August 10, 2011 at 1:52 am

You aren’t Indian, why do you keep pretending to be?

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Abdullah K. August 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I don’t think the poor and rural Indians are what Sarah was talking about, but the middle and upper class Indians who could easily afford deodorants and don’t have to labour in sweaty conditions.
 
If thats the case, then perhaps Indians find the smell of other Indians attractive (which is probably why they don’t notice it or make an issue out of it). For people who aren’t used to this smell, that spicy scent can be overwhelming (in a very non-attractive way).

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Abdullah K. August 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Indians do smell funky, especially in the hotter parts of the country which has to do with the amount of spices they put in their food I s’pose. Most Indians don’t notice it though, they’re probably used to it. It isn’t something very talked about as its considered rude and un-PC to do so. (I’d probably be stoned if I was caught saying something like this in real life).

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Amit Desai August 7, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Sharell,

What was wrong with the “do I give a damn” comment? In all honesty, I still don’t give a damn.

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Annie August 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm

For those interested in learning about Indian Traditions in Beauty and Health, I recommend reading ” Almond Eyes, Lotus Feet ” by Sharada Dwidevi and Shalini Devi Holkar.- ISBN 978-0-06-124653-1
Here is the review published by Sheila Sivanand in the ” Readers’ Digest India ” :
The book is written in the first person, in the words of an unnamed chatty older royal with whom we explore the various rituals of a princess’s upbringing.
The combination of personal memoir, rituals, natural healing and herbs is completely riveting.
Superstition, astrology, omens and celebrations are scattered throughtout.
We read about elaborate cosmetic recies, henna designs, the art of waving garlands, styling hair, perfume, jewels and deress as well as a multitude of techniques and potions to keep well and stay beautiful.
All these came under the custom of sola sringar, the 16 arts of adornment.
There are poetic descriptions of the Sharad Poornima ceremony when the palace women would dress in white, wear pearls and silver and expose all their jewellery and kitchen utensils to the light of the autumn moon.
This was also the night when the kajal was made, believing that the moon’s cooling rays would impart special qualities to the eyeliner.
There are few books in English on this subject , which makes it rather a collector’s item, one that would ensure that time-honoured recipes and methods would not vanish forever.
Of course, some the readers here will object that the book describes the life and beauty secrets of High Caste Ladies and princesses…
But one must now that even in the country side, people have been relying and still are on the same natural products offered by Mother Nature in India.

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Annie August 8, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Interesting …
This article was sent to me today by an Indian friend.

BRIBERY : CULTURE OF INDIA

Indians are Hobbesian.(culture of self interest)
Corruption in India is a cultural aspect.
Indians seem to think nothing peculiar about corruption .
It is everywhere.

Indians tolerate corrupt individuals rather than correct them.

No race can be congenitally corrupt.
But can a race be corrupted by its culture?

To know why Indians are corrupt, look at their patterns and practices .

First:

Religion is transactional in India.
Indians give God cash and anticipate an out-of-turn reward.
Such a plea acknowledges that favours are needed for the undeserving.

In the world outside the temple walls, such a transaction is named- “bribe”.

A wealthy Indian gives not cash to temples but gold crowns and such baubles.

His gifts can not feed the poor.
His pay-off is for God.
He thinks it will be wasted if it goes to a needy man.

In June 2009, The Hindu published a report of Karnataka minister
G. Janardhan Reddy gifting a crown of gold and diamonds worth Rs 45 crore to Tirupati.

India’s temples collect so much that they don’t know what to do with it.Billions are gathering dust in temple vaults.

When Europeans came to India they built schools.
When Indians go to Europe & USA, they build temples.

Indians believe that if God accepts money for his favours, then nothing is wrong in doing the same thing.
This is why Indians are so easily corruptible.

Indian culture accommodates such transactions morally.
There is no real stigma.
An utterly corrupt politician makes comeback, just unthinkable in the West.

Second -

Indian moral ambiguity towards corruption is visible in its history.
Indian history tells of the capture of cities and kingdoms after guards were paid off to open the gates, and commanders paid off to surrender.

This is unique to India.

Indians’ corrupt nature has meant limited warfare on the subcontinent.
It is striking how little Indians have actually fought compared to ancient Greece and modern Europe.

The Turks’ battles with Nadir Shah were vicious and fought to the finish.

In India fighting wasn’t needed, bribing was enough to see off armies.

Any invader willing to spend cash could brush aside India’s kings, no matter how many tens of thousands soldiers were in their infantry.
Little resistance was given by the Indians at the “Battle” of Plassey.
Clive paid off Mir Jaffar and all of Bengal folded to an army of 3,000.

There was always a financial exchange to taking Indian forts.
Golconda was captured in 1687 after the secret back door was left open.

Mughals vanquished Marathas and Rajputs with nothing but bribes.

The Raja of Srinagar gave up Dara Shikoh’s son Sulaiman to Aurangzeb after receiving a bribe.
There are many cases where Indians participated on a large scale in treason due to bribery.

Question is:
Why Indians have a transactional culture while other ‘civilized’ nations don’t?

Third -

Indians do not believe in the theory that they all can rise if each of them behaves morally, because that is not the message of their faith.

Their caste system separates them.
They don’t believe that all men are equal.
This resulted in their division and migration to other religions .
Many Hindus started their own faith like Sikh, Jain, Buddha and many converted to Christianity and Islam.

The result is that Indians don’t trust one another .

There are no Indians in India ,there are Hindus ,Christians, Muslims and what not.

Indians forget that 400 years ago they all belonged to one faith.

This division evolved an unhealthy culture.
The inequality has resulted in a corrupt society,

In India every one is thus against everyone else, except God ­ and even he must be bribed.

Think of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, she bribed Mr. Manmohan Singh by offering him Prime Ministership & what she got in return?
May I say Rajas, Kalmadis, Dixits, just to name a very few.
What Mr. Manmohan Singh expects in return a place at Raj Ghat.

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veeeeeh August 8, 2011 at 11:08 pm

@ Annie

Its an intereting perspective and peep into our ethos which seems to be very tolerant of bribing.

The classical example in the usage of bribe would be when British moved deep into the Mysore territorry, Many Fort keepers on the way did not fire thier guns and surrendered.

Infact Tipu Sultan must have been shocked to see them at Sri Rangapattannam , as they managed to move is so deep into his kingdom without any red flags or information about them marching in.

Infact most of the time, it was not the lack of the fight, but the presence of a traitor that led to the downfall of the Indian kings against their fights or their inability to present a common front due to the sheer lack of unity.

Making offering at the god’s alter has been one of the essence of all Pagan and oriental religons. The tradition of giving gifts in the far east is well known and so is the rituals of the offerings.

One can argue that in indian context, the corruption exists in the gevernment sector alone. In private sector it would be called tip anyways.

The corruption is due to the lack of systems , transparency and the mind set of the common man who equates a governement babu to a gora sahib. Its sheer lack of law enforcement and social awareness that is causing this problem.

If I use the cultural and religious analogy to analyse the behaviour or extend it to the other facets of life, I would conclude that christians would do all sinful acts because they can go back to church and repent. Should this analogy be used for all the chistian atrocities that we see in the history?

I know that offering god 11 coconuts as a bribe is not going to work, for deep down i know I really don’t own a thing and I can’t offer something that really is his creation and does not belong to me.

Indians make temples in the US or other places, because its very easy to get donation for making temples.

Unlike other religious institutions where they do not have to give reasons to the people to contribute. And its clearly the prerogative of the institutionalized religion to use it the way that would help them spread the religion and create demand for the religious services and associated products.

religion is a business, one isorganized and invests in the infrastructure for distribution and geographical coverage.

other is an unorganised business, it just opens a shop.

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Raj August 9, 2011 at 4:20 pm

You are right . . . Its a universal fact that corruption increases with the prosperity . . . and it must and can only be checked by “former corrupts” . The Indian as a Society is that it wasn’t ruled fairly by some “so-called iron fist” and that’s why their are parallel laws, rituals etc just at a distance of 100 miles. A very reasonable answer to it was given by a intellectual. Suppose You have a dozen son’s you have their upbringing in 12 different ways, like one live with king, one with thief, one with businessman, one with priest, one with butcher and so on after a while if they meet will they even have dinner on same table?? answer is NO!!!. What we call “Unity in diversity” is biggest joke!! If a nation has to exist, it must have something common amongst its subject.

and for The bribe culture. I think its not happened in one day . . .It existed withing our society irrespective of religion, race etc . . .afghans and Pakistanis are as corrupt as Nagas of Nagaland, or Hindus and Buddhist of India or Sikh of Punjab. The reason is we never set our priority right . . . in our movies, news, tabloids etc rich are shown as “ultimate winner” and the whole society has become “wanna be like them” and from their it started . . . Their has never been and Lenin, or Mao or some Robinhood who could go after the ultra rich and distribute amongst poors!!!

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veeeeeh August 9, 2011 at 8:03 pm

hey Raj

I would rather say that corruption in the public life decreases when prosperity increases.

Every nation has equal propensity to be corrupt and its purely decided by the social interactions and transactions , and the behavior they reinforce positively or negatively.

If you see, the young people in the west work at places and get tipped for better service and performance. This transaction clearly reinforces positive performance and better service.

In India, you get tipped when you stroke someones ego by saluting him or making him feel of higher status.

The Indian behavior does not reinforce an undesirable behavior, prompting many to take bribe as a validation of their superior position. Indian society unfortunately links the nature of work with the social status and is addicted to affirm ones position over others.

And corruption is a reflection of process variables that negatively reinforces corruption in the public life

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veeeeeh August 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm

*does reinforce*

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veeeeeh August 9, 2011 at 8:07 pm

*reflection of absence*

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Abdullah K. August 9, 2011 at 1:00 pm

@ Annie:
A very accurate observation, Annie. For the middle class Indians of whatever faith, religion seems to be the end-all and be-all of their existence. It defines their culture, eating habits, attitude towards life and even to an extent, their family and social circles.

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Mohit Gupta August 9, 2011 at 7:40 pm

That is most simplistic way to define Indian culture.

A Bengali middle class people distribute “Fish” as “Prasad” NAVARATRA , a festival dedicated to the Goddess Durga.
And North Indian middle class people don’t even eat “Onion” during Navaratri Festivals.

Here two Middle-Class Indian societies have totally different eating habits even when they follow same Religion.
So , to say that everything in India is defined by religion for Middle class Indians is too simplistic to be true.This is one more stereotype about India.

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Abdullah K. August 9, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Both these actions related to eating are rather peculiar and religiously motivated. So the original point stands – Indians let religion dictate much of their life – including eating patterns.
 
Orthodox Christianity dictates that its adherents fast on prescribed days, all of which adds up with over 3 months a year. But ask any random Orthodox Christian in Europe and see if he/she fasts or even knows about the fasting days.

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Manny August 10, 2011 at 7:57 am

Sharell is such a geek. :)

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Manny August 10, 2011 at 7:58 am

OK..that was an Iphone test message…posted in the wrong thread. Hmmm… :P

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veeeeeh August 11, 2011 at 1:31 am

For all those folks who look at ideologies in continum scale and in absolutes, you might find it difficult to comprehend that idealogies like Liberal conservitism exists.

For all those who see the world, ideas and morality in terms two absolute direction, look at the link to see the list of Political idealogies. A right leaned political entiry can also have welfare based political stratetegies.

I definitly get confused when folks use stereotypes for Political Idealogies as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_ideologies

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Nik August 11, 2011 at 8:26 am

Public Service Announcement for the comments section:

WIKITHEEKS IS NOT AN INDIAN SHE IS A CARIBBEAN BEHMANAH.

She pretends to be Indian and comment on Indian things which makes little sense, it is like a Venezuelan commenting on Spanish culture without ever having been there!

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Mohit Gupta August 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Its not a breaking news but routine thing. Adjust with it. ;)

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Amit Desai August 11, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I was wondering whose comment was it? Was it yours?

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Mohit gupta August 11, 2011 at 8:55 pm

I , now , really don’t care to see if my comments are deleted or published.I believe in doing right things without expecting anything in return taking inspiration from Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta which tells us..

‘”कर्मण्ये वाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन
मा कर्मफल हेतुर्भु मा ते संगोष्तव कर्मणि “

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Sharell August 11, 2011 at 10:35 pm

It was Wikitheeks.

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Amit Desai August 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Grammar error. I’m scared to comment now.

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Zoya August 17, 2011 at 12:09 am

She actually has a valid point and her post makes a lot of sense.

http://sunshinekuwait.blogspot.com/2011/05/muslim-women-opressed-are-we.html

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Siddhartha kumar August 17, 2011 at 4:34 am

Sharell,

I think you need to invite Russell Peters as guest blogger here to efficiently point out Indian stereotypes !!!!

I just saw his green card tour and performance at O2 arena in London, You tube. Check it out . His take on Indian stereotypes is hilarious !!

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Manny August 17, 2011 at 6:34 am

His take on white trash Canadians and Chinese and everyone else is equally hilarious!

;)

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Sharell August 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Sid is back! Haha, that’s a good idea. I love his work. 8) So darn funny, and spot on.

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Siddhartha Kumar August 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Be a man ! Hahah!

Alllo! (Head rolling!)
Cheap indians , that is a great caricature
His take on arranged marriages and arranged gay marriages

Monty Python had a great take on chinese-indian fights in a kitchen shared by an orthodox Indian vegetarian cook and a eat every creature chinese hyper-carnivore cook!!

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Siddhartha Kumar August 18, 2011 at 12:50 am

Sharell,

Some of the most irritating indian stereotypes :

1) Indians being presumptuous about other Indians. Many indians (especially expat Indians) when they encounter other Indians abroad automatically assume that they obviously have lots in common! If one doesn’t fit their presumptuous definition of what an Indian “must” be like , that’s when they get to be hostile, mean and spitefull!!

2) It is amusing to see Indians walk up to other Indians in bars, restaurants, in the street and chatting them up with no concern for personal space or privacy and just forcing themselves and their “Indian-ness” on you!!

3) It is very irritating when they assume that an Indian from Calcutta or Delhi would have lots in common with an Indian raised in London or Edinburgh or New york and they expect you to behave like them just because they are from the same gene pool!!

4) Indians from india can be incredibly noisy, loud and obnoxious. I am exactly the opposite. I am a quiet , reserved , painstakingly well-mannered polite type.

5) Indians from India have lousy table manners! It is so incredibly annoying to be seated close to grunting, snorting , chomping indians ! Oh, and their use of cutlery, fork, knife , etc is appalling. Of course, in Indian restaurants they completely let loose and behave exactly the way Indians do in some hole in the wall chaat place in an Indian back alley!

6) Have you ever experienced Indians in theatres or cinema houses, symphony concert halls or opera houses or a musuem? If you hear cell phones going off right in the midst off a concert or loud , obnoxious chatting going on, you can bet it is due to a gang of insensitive, obnoxious, loud-mouthed, ill-mannered Indians!!

7) Oh, yes, the ill-mannered old Indian habit of jumping ahead of people queued up for a bus or a taxi or a train or elsewhere with no concern for other people.

Jeez, the list goes on and on……

Fact !!!! Most of the negative stereotypes of Indians are actually true !!

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Mohit gupta August 18, 2011 at 1:54 am

You are absolutely correct !

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Sharell August 18, 2011 at 9:41 am

This comment made me laugh! 8)

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siddhartha Kumar August 19, 2011 at 2:57 am

Sharell,

Talking about Indian sterotypes

I think all Indians must be required to see Peter Sellers’ film, “The Party”

My favourite Monty Python skit is about an ultra-orthodox south Indian Brahmin vegetarian cook sharing a kitchen with an “every creature-eating”, hyper-carnivore Chinese cook and the hilariously bitter arguments that ensue !! Hilarious !!

indian :vy, vy , vy do yooo hav to kook dog meat in vegetable dish?

Chinese:no meat make indian man stoopid!! Be a man !

Indian: you are a barbarian , you eat monkee.

Chinese:Yu stupid, you pray to food I eat!

Indian: Moo goo gai pan stinks!

Chinese: Curry make indian stink !!

etc, etc, etc

:lol:

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Rohan September 4, 2011 at 1:37 am

After readings tons of blogs and watching many serials with few indians here and there let me tell you a few

1) Indians have a strong and dirty body odour ,smell like curry(hate this one cause i dont)
2) we love cows
3) we eat curry all the time
4) we are terrorists
5) we all get arranged marriages
6) people are nerds
7) when it comes to cricket we are as good as wild animals

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Manny September 4, 2011 at 10:42 am

OK that’s the good stuff… Now, what are the bad stuff?

:)

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Rohan September 6, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Bad stuff, well…
They are swarming into britain and brownifying it unfortunately and since they are stereotyped as terrorists who knows they may end up blowing nick griffin

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