Can a Foreigner Feel at Home in India?

by Sharell शारेल on January 25, 2012

in Adjusting to India

I’ve previously written about whether or not it’s possible to become Indian.

This video shares some very interesting perspectives from foreigners on what it takes to fit in here and become an insider, and whether or not a foreigner actually can.

The best comment: “Act like the cow… go like the cow… be the cow.”

40 people like this post.

© 2012, Diary of a White Indian Housewife. All rights reserved. Do not copy and reproduce text or images without permission.

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{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

Chanakya January 25, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Yes a foreigner can feel home in India. Lacs of Nepalis, Bangladeshis, Tibbetians have made India their home and are considered as fully Indians. In fact there is a very active movement to carve a state for Nepali-Gorkhas in India. If that happens, it would be the first time in the history of world that a country has made a state for the immigrant of another country.

So, if foreigner can consider India their home, they would likely be accepted here. Tom Alter is Indian for me as much as Anna Hazare. It depends on the mutual efforts. Initial resistance from the natives to accept foreigner will eventually end if there is continuous and consistent interaction and intent.

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Manny January 25, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Pretty good Chanakya.

IF a foreigner acts like a foreigner he would be treated as one… if he/she becomes Indian like, they would be treated like every other Indian. Rude and abnoxious! :)

But thats true everywhere… Even here in the US, if you act and behave like an Indian, they would assume you are from India. But if you are here and talk like an merican, you would be treated like one of their own.

When I lived in Turkey, I used to speak Turkish reasonably good and I noticed how people treated me like a normal Turk unlike how I was treated in the beginning. Although Turks are polite by nature (in Turkey) they were more inqusitive of where I was from etc.. but once you speak their language, they will talk about them Yabanji (foreigners) to you like you were not one yourself!

:)

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DA January 26, 2012 at 5:45 am

I am sorry but I am not sure I agree wholeheartedly that all foreigners are are welcome in India. The Nepali’s , Bengali’s from Bangladesh or Tibetan have a unique advantage, they have grown up with Indian culture along with their own and it makes their life much easier in India compared to most foreigners . But instead of close cultural ties time to time people from Nepal and Bangladesh face extreme opposition in India. In the early 80s thousands of Nepalis and Bangladeshi were killed in the North East part of India just because they were not Indian, The Gorkha’s fought for their autonomous state in Darjeeling because the West Bengal govt treated them pretty poorly after independence although they were born in India and call India their home.
However its not all bad, most Indian people are very welcoming to foreigners and they do not intentionally do any harm to anybody just because they are from different cultures.

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aayush January 27, 2012 at 7:20 am

quite a few foreiners have felt at home in india, and i am talking about caucasians.
it just takes a lot more time. around 10-15 long years. and its easier if its a small town, as people get mixed up quite easily there. but sadly, most expats don’t live in small towns an think its hard to mixup with indians.

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Chanakya January 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm

DA,

I would like to know if Nepalis, Bengladeshis or Tibbetians are considered as ‘foreigners’ by you or only people from western countries are foreigners. Culture of Tibbet and Nepal, except for religion, has nothing common with a Indians of any states so I don’t know what kind of cultural similarity and benfit you are talking about. Even if the reason you gave are correct, you can’t discredit Indians for accepting technically foreigners as Indians.

We even have Gorakha regiment in our army ? What more do you want?

If thousand Nepalis and Bangladeshis were killed in North-East in real, which I doubt highly, It may not happened because they were not Indians, but because they were illegal immigrants. There is a difference. Indians welcome legal foreigners not illegal immigrant who take away all the benefit of an Indian citizen through fake ration-cards and voters-id. Still there are lacs of illegal immigrants from Bengladeshis. I am not sure if any western country would welcome those illegal immigrants. I would call Indian and WB government very soft on Gorkhas when they ‘Fought’ for their state. In any other country they would have been thrashed very badly and crushed for starting to disintegrate the country. That is the friendliness of Indians, my friend.

We have given shelter to Tibbetians at the cost of our relation with China, which even America don’t dare to mess with. And still our friendliness is seen with suspicion. Actually there is no medicine for suspicion. I know there are thousand shortcomings in India but still sometimes I can find something which is very noble, good and unique in India for which I feel proud and this is one of those things. But I wish if Indian government had shown similar courage for the plight of Kashmiri Pundits and Tamils in Srilanka.

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DA January 28, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Chanakya I can’t quote so replying in paragraphs
Bangali’s from Bangladesh , WB and Tripura have almost the exact culture other than one group that predominantly follow Islam and other parts follow Hinduism. Nepali’s people brought up with Bollywood and Indian culture also most Nepalis can speak Hindi but of course with an accent. And no I don’t discredit Indians as one of the friendliest people in this world.
Gorkha regiment started by the British Indian Army and it remains as a part of the British Army till date. Similarly the Indian Army also acknowledges them as a part of their regiment after the independence.
Any Bangladeshi that came to India before 1971 and settled in India has the rights to become Indian by law. Are you aware of the social movement which later became infamous as Ulfa movement in Assam in the early eighties, obviously they wanted to throw not only Bangladeshi and Nepalis out but any Indians who speak Hindi.
By the way legal immigration to India is almost impossible, you only get a short stay visa unless you have a job or married to an Indian. And once you’ve finished your job you are not welcome to stay in the country. So I am not sure about your legal and illegal immigrant arguments. Most people living in India (Tibetan etc ) came to India illegally and later gained residency by special immigration law.
As I said India is very welcoming to most people and gave many millions of people security and freedom despite those people coming from different cultures, for example Chinese in Calcutta , Afghanis and Tibetan in Delhi and Srilankan Tamils scattered all over South India etc etc.
FYI India is not the only country that is welcoming to immigrants but there are many countries that are built by legal or illegal immigrants. And I am not talking only Australia Fiji or Trinidad and Tobago’s. Half of Jordan’s population are illegal immigrants. And I am going to surprise you by naming Brazil. Please do research and let me know how many millions of Chinese and Japanese people arrived illegally to Brazil after 1900.

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Anuj January 25, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Nicely made video. I enjoyed it.

Yes, indians and caucasians are racially different. But there is also a huge indian population that looks chinese(nepalis living in india, assamese, manipuri, nagaland etc etc).

I think a lot of foreigners confuse themselves by dressing up in indian clothes thinking that it will ward away stares and attention. Caucasians are still rare creatures in india. Indians will stare regardless to fulfill their curiosity.

The foreigners just need to be themselves. There is no way they could avoid adopting some indian cultural habits in the process of living in india.

About the video, the aussie dude said it sort and simple; live here and familiarize with the locals. True, the word “indian” has an ethnic element.

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Kaighla January 26, 2012 at 12:34 am

I loved his comment about the toilet paper fight in Varanasi. Monkeys nearly broke into my room there, too.

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Sharell January 26, 2012 at 9:17 am

I got harassed by monkeys in Varanasi too… and bitten in Rishikesh!

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Ocean January 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm

In the video below, on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show,Jimmy and Kunal Nayyar (plays Raj in the popular show ‘Big Bang Theory’) talk about monkey problem in Delhi and he calls them organized mafia and
other bad things :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPJgWgAg6Ps
(Jimmy Kimmel Live part 2 – driving, monkeys and elephants in Delhi)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tt-vBzWCT70
(Jimmy Kimmel live part 1 – general introduction )

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christina January 26, 2012 at 3:09 am

Thanks for sharing that video. I recall in one of your blogs you had stated how straight forward Indian people are. They ask how much money you make and what do you do for a living.
I am a nosey person and I always want what to know what people do for a living so they can afford a trip to India. To afford 6 month stay out of the year to live in India for a long peroids of time. That Russian man whose been to India for 121 times, that stoner dude who has a cell phone and goes from job to job. sigh

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Anuj January 26, 2012 at 11:28 am

I had actually cornered my firangi colleague over this question. He had friends and relatives of his who traveled to india regularly. The interesting part was that they would travel for 3 to 6 months at a time; starting from south to nepal etc etc. These segment of travelers are usually rich kids.

Then there are those middle aged travelers who come for a short visit who photograph everything they see; shops, gutters, chawls etc etc. My colleague was talking about how indian shopkeepers inflate their rates thinking these travelers are rich when it is almost the opposite.

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Cris en la India January 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Most people in the video are here just as tourists so how accurate their opinion can be?.To be an insider, here and anywhere, you need to live in a place for a long period of time.

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marloes January 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I feel like an insider when i am there, only if I would learn some language it would be even better i guess…but maybe it helps everyone around me is indian…. even we talk about “foreigners”….haha

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Biraj Debata July 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Maroles First of all I would like to introduce myself to you, Hello my Name is Biraj Debata. i am an Indian National. I am an Male. I am 35 years old. I am Married. I am from India. I am Working as a Senior Software Engineer in Port Authority Of India.I am from a Political Family. My Mobile number is 09776028714 in this number you can call & talk to me & My Email-Id’s are {( radhakant.b.debata@gmail.com ,radhakant.biraj.d@hotmail.com & rbdrbirajdebatarbd@yahoo.com )} you can send me your Reply’s on these email-id’s. Look i am Interested in helping Any Foreign Personal in starting a Business here in my State in INDIA. So it is my request to you if you could help me in providing my details to any foreigners as you might be knowing lots of them ,since you are also from foreign and if you are Interested in starting some business in India than i would be happy to help you.

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Padparadscha January 26, 2012 at 8:59 pm

The cow advice does seem sensible. IMO the 2 persons who look the more at ease with India are the 2 mens in white shirt, the one with a tweed cap who talks about the cow and the one with a diamond earring and a stoned look.

Then I like the strange one who just flirted with Indian girls. He seems confused and would benefit from reading this blog !

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Sharell January 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I wonder if the flirting was mutual though…. some how, I doubt it! ;-) Hee hee.

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Pranav January 27, 2012 at 3:15 am

Interesting perspectives. There is a fair bit of discrimination in Indian culture, not just towards foreigners, but also amongst various ethnic groups within. As a person from a western culture, I think you will find some answers by reading the book White Mughals by William Dalrymple – in case you haven’t already.

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Pepper January 27, 2012 at 5:04 am

Very interesting. Just a few days ago I was having a similar discussion with a few people. Is it possible for an Indian (or any foreigner) to become truly American?

I think ultimately, a lot depends on the kind of person you are. I don’t see any uniform answer anywhere. There are diverse perspectives. In my opinion, it is harder for a non Indian to become Indian. Not as hard for an Indian to become a real resident of the Western country he is living in. I could be totally wrong of course. This is just my opinion. I say this because India, a lot of times is difficult to understand. The social fabric is even more complex. It takes a long, long time before you get there. The West on other other hand, is simpler. Everything is direct. There are fewer complexities. Then again, this is just my opinion.

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Bronwyn February 1, 2012 at 11:56 pm

I agree with Pepper: “the social fabric is more complex.”

The longer I live in India, the further I understand it and feel comfortable in it… and the more I am aware of my foreign-ness.

I will always, always be a foreigner in India, because my roots are in Canada and that was my previous life experience. I think people can acclimatize and ‘adjust’ and enjoy the Indian experience, but it will never be an Indian experience as an Indian would have it, but the Indian experience through the foreigner filter, because of all those layers that Pepper mentioned.

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Manny February 2, 2012 at 8:16 am

Pepper,

No matter how long an Indian lives in England and assimilate, he is not going to be an Englishman. Same for Japan. No matter how long and Indian or an Englishman lives in Japan and assimilate, he is not becoming a Japanese. Same goes for German or Dutch or Italian.

But immigrant countries like Canada or the US or Oz is different.

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Vani January 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm

My aunt has a German daughter-in-law (DIL).

Very eager to fit in, she willingly agreed to stay with her in-laws after the wedding. The first few months were definitely a challenge for both my aunt and the DIL. While aunt was shocked to see the DIL sunbathing on the terrace, much to the delight of the teenager next door. DIL could not decide how to react, when a visiting relative casually walked into her bedroom, had a short nap and walked out after thoroughly inspecting the contents of her wardrobe.
Now DIL has accepted the quirks of her Indians-in-law, and her in-laws have stopped choking on their food whenever she decides to walk out wearing a skirt.

India has always been a melting point of multiple cultures from times immemorial…everyone can feel at home in India provided you give her a chance to do so.

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Sharell January 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm

While aunt was shocked to see the DIL sunbathing on the terrace, much to the delight of the teenager next door. DIL could not decide how to react, when a visiting relative casually walked into her bedroom, had a short nap and walked out after thoroughly inspecting the contents of her wardrobe.

That’s hilarious, Vani! :-D But oh so true!

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Vani February 1, 2012 at 11:15 am

:) :), yes it is hilarious, we used to have a tough time keeping a straight face whenever aunty used to narrate the escapades of her daughter-in-law. But today (after almost 8 years) she prescribes a firangi bahu to all her friends who have a son of marriageable age!

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Sam January 27, 2012 at 5:38 pm

To be treated as a part of another culture, I think you would need to know the language and behave like one. Nepalis, gurkas, tibetians have blended well because they usually pick up the local language and looks-wise you really cannot differentiate much. But Europeans and Americans are easy to spot. Many Indians still act nice and be courteous. If there is constant staring and a complete change in the way of life I doubt if someone can feel at home.

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I Am That January 28, 2012 at 1:49 am

Sharell your skin colour makes you stand out, yes, in a beautiful manner, from an indian pov. But you are not that much different to the girls from Kashmir. So I think its in the walk. Indians tend to walk a bit differently. You get that, and you could really pass off as an indian:)

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Melanie@MysticalIndiaTravel January 28, 2012 at 5:15 am

Well, as a foreigner who has lived and will continue to live off and on in India, I would say NO, we will never really be Indian. But it’s not because Indian’s wouldn’t accept us, it is because we won’t accept ourselves.

My experience was a very steep learning curve, it is all about letting go. Letting go of everything I knew, every way I have learned for the world to work, from turning up on time, to invasive personal questions, the heat, the noise, but once I was able to muster up a great deal of patience and just relax everything was easier. And it is all worthwhile.

I believe foreigners can learn to embrace all that is wonderful about her (India), and then they can start to feel at home in India.

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Sharell January 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Your experience sounds totally like mine! It really is all about letting go. It’s the only way to have a shot at contentment and happiness here. And it is totally worthwhile. :-)

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Helen January 28, 2012 at 6:27 am

I absolutely loved this video! It really resonated with me- having been around my second family a lot recently (who are Indian)! I hope one day I won’t feel entirely like a foreigner in India, but who knows!

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Chanakya January 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Hi, Are you the same Helen I loved having a discussion with ?

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Sharell January 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I think you are thinking of Helene.

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Chanakya January 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm

My bad, I missed the “E”. Thanks for clarifying. :)

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Anand January 28, 2012 at 8:49 pm

The question is non-specific. What does it mean “Insider”?
There are too many angles to be thought of.
I do not think be the cow and act like the cow is even a good comment about being an Insider. I am surprised that Sharell picked it as the best comment. Maybe it is the most amusing one but walking slowly in traffic may also get you killed or maimed. So its just a funny comment. [No i am not offended by the cow reference :-) ]
My understanding of this is that one should be able to speak the language of the land, spend enough time on the streets, be able to survive in harmony on the streets of a land like India to feel a part of the culture. Even then he or she may not feel assimilated in the culture. A major hindrance would also be the way the foreigner looks.
Let us face it, a blonde blue eyed white lady is not going to be an ‘insider’ even if she dresses Indian, walks Indian if there is such a way, or talks Indian.
The more i write about this the more i think that the question is unclear.
On an unrelated note, this is a cool blog and i am going to subscribe to it.

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Sharell January 28, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Hi Anand, I did pick it because it’s funny! I think the guy was implying, adopt a “chalta hai” attitude and don’t be bothered by what’s going on around you. :-) So, good advice all the same for feeling at home in India. The problem with many foreigners is they’re too “uptight”. (Or, so I’ve been told anyway)!

Glad you like the blog.

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Francis November 19, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Hi Sharell,

I am trying to reach you but couldnt ……… help me with your email id

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Sharell शारेल November 20, 2013 at 9:59 am

My email address is on my contact form. I don’t get much time to respond to emails though.

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ASG November 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Hi Sharrel,

Khaha tee tum?? I thought you were preparing to welcome a “little guest” in your home.

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Sharell शारेल November 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I’m on an unofficial blogging break. I’ve been feeling more peaceful when I don’t write here and have been devoting my time to other things. Sorry!

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vinod November 23, 2013 at 2:18 am

Good for you Sharell.
Some areas of blog have become so vicious! I would understand why you would want to keep away.

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Sharell शारेल November 23, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I’m glad you get it. There is that big issue, coupled with some intrusions into my personal life, which have made me want to take a step away from it indefinitely. Ultimately, I’ve always written this blog for myself more than anything, so there’s no point continuing when I feel like it’s a bother more than it is rewarding. I would rather devote my time to my paid work, which I love.

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Murali January 29, 2012 at 1:13 am

After reading this post, I started looking at cow videos and came across this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGxe7VK0jhg

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BBD-Lite January 29, 2012 at 1:45 am

Hmmm I feel that it is pretty much impossible for a foreigner to ever be accepted as an Indian by Indians (the way someone can become American/British/Canadian), no matter how well he speaks the language or assimilates… and I think that’s true in all countries where immigration is or has not been very common. The more people that actually immigrate to India, the more accepting Indians will be of them.

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Chanakya January 31, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I humbly disagree with the assumption that it is impossible for a foreigner to ever be accepted as an India. I have a very lively and natural example. An Italian, Miss Antonia Maino(Now, Mrs Sonia Gnadhi) who was married to Ex-PM Mr Rajeev Gandhi is a prime example of the possibility of a foreigner being accepted as Indians. She has not only been accepted as Indians but holds the post of one of the most powerful lady in India and world. Both as Indians, not Italians. So it may be a bit difficult to be accepted as Indians but its not impossible.

I once again say that Indians in whichever country are still called Indians and not Americans/British/Australians. It is true only for official purpose. Actually if we are messing with God, if he ever wanted all people to be together why would he have made them look so differently.?

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BBD-Lite February 13, 2012 at 4:10 am

Okay, I will grant that it’s not impossible but near impossible, especially for the majority of foreigners in India who don’t look Indian. About Indians (or Latinos or Koreans) in places like the U.S or Canada – your looks certainly define your Ethnicity (and always will) but not your Identity. If you make an effort and assimilate well you will be accepted as one of their own, while in India I still think that’s not true (at least for the time being).

Off topic – I believe in evolution, so if one group of people look different from another it is a result of adaptation, not because they are not meant to live together… Over millennia people migrated all over the place and their physical features developed in response to their environments.

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Coleman January 30, 2012 at 11:22 am

I don’t know if I’ll ever be totally accepted, or ‘become Indian’ — there are too many other influences creating my identity! But as an American living in India, I do feel very at home, because the people I know here are so kind and welcoming. I think the advice others have given here is so valuable — if you want to feel at home, do what your neighbours do! Among other things, I would suggest going to a temple in your neighbourhood regularly, and getting to know the other people there. It’s important to be part of the community and participate; living in India isn’t just occupying space.

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Manny January 31, 2012 at 3:03 am

Good advice Coleman.

That works for all countries.. When I lived in West Africa, the desies used to hang around other desies… I had tons of local friends from Nigeria and Ghana and had more fun. Same thing when I lived in Turkey… I learned to speak the language and had even more fund with the locals.

Here in the US, not all but many desies find their own ethnic clan (Thelugu Klan, Mallu Klan, Bong Klan, Tamil Klan) and hang around. I have desi friends here too..but I also have other friends. It’s lot more fun.

The Ferangs/Expats in India who probably complain about living in India would most likely be Ferangs/Expats who hang around only with other Ferangs/Expats.

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Norse January 30, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Interesting views on fitting into Indian society. I guess I do not buy much of it. Besides being very much aware, that I am a guest here and is inclined to show respect and acceptance of the present human and cultural diversity and abide fully the law of the country, then I choose to be very much Me. Which is a male from Scandinavia. One of the original Vikings by heritage.

The video is a kind of cute. A little confused too. However I liked the humor. Thank you for sharing, ;-))

I have been fortunate to encounter other cultures, human diversity and even very different world views. Encounters that always have had an impact. So is the case of India.

I have learned from and very much appreciate the sense of community, sense of religion and sense of family, that is very core to every Indian’s daily “being”.

It has no sense to use logical thinking here and run big comparison charts between your country of origin and India. However it does make sense to openly take in present reality of doing things.

I am here as a guest and not an imposer of my world view. There is always issues that you do not fancy that much. So be it. Like I am a little surprised by how women fare here. In India too women are getting the rawest deal. Not a big revelation, however true.

Gender injustice is a main course for poverty. Poverty is about lacking opportunities and power. I am surprised that domestic violence and murder is so much a daily issue encountered digesting online and print news or getting the family gossip.

One new gender discovery here is, what I choose to call “the Astronaut”. A male character so far removed from coping with reality and engaged in saving the World per se.

Though married never gets around to taking care of or being present for his family – including the children – or not even providing one rupee to the common household. Left entirely to the wife to make ends meet. Who suffers, however stays put because of obligation to the wider family(arranged marriage) and her love for the children.

Never encountered that male character before(Maybe my upper class bearing is the issue here. A comfortable upbringing mostly engaging your own kind).

I have during my stay in India personally encountered 5 cases. Heard of other similar cases. Spanning different religions and social class. Two in my own family here. Luckily the two women are very capable, very clever and have made it on their own. Too accomplished having a professional high power carrier. Bless the Women of India!

In other ways I do feel lucky experiencing India. Very lucky and fortunate! Love being around. Each encounter across this engaging country is a present to mind, soul and digestion.

I love the spicy, very creative mixture of tastes.

I appreciate very much the kindness and the ever surprising generosity bestowed on me in every encounter by so many citizens of India. The video present that experience too. Thank you!

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Amit Kumar January 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Now that Indians are becoming more materialistic and foreigners are into yoga and spirituality, I guess there is a common meeting ground between India and the west. However, if one is averse to a totally new culture and way of life, then they’re better off watching a few India videos on Youtube. The only downside is, you might not be able to catch me on Youtube! :D

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GOCAnandhan January 30, 2012 at 9:41 pm

The first thing that hit me when I watched the video was “Is that Borat dressed as a Russian?”
(New to this site. No offence meant racially or otherwise. Couldn’t help it.)

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viksdes January 31, 2012 at 6:27 am

Can a foreigner feel at home in india..quite possible, can a foreigner become an Indian , well tehy can get an Indian nationality but culturally it would be very difficult. In the end do we have a definition really about what an Indian should be like ? as this is one of the most heterogeous societys, not only language or religion wise but also socio economically..

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Mary January 31, 2012 at 8:14 pm

I think you emailed me but it got put in my junk mail folder and I inadvertently erased it before I could even read it! Sorry :( could you please re-send and I will keep an eye out for it? Thanks! Mary

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Shiriki February 1, 2012 at 8:02 am

Hi Mary!

Look for an email from me!

Thanks,
Shiriki Tauro
Blog Moderator

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Kay in India February 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Would definitely depend–I’m Canadian by citizenship and Nepali by origin [though most people here always assume Nepali = east asian looking, I look pretty Indian] and I get treated mostly like an Indian who’s returned from abroad.

I think it also depends where–there are lots of foreigners who feel at home in Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore and even Hyderabad—but Delhi is a different ball game. There are many Indians who are uncomfortable in this region!

Language is another factor: I’ve noticed that in Mumbai, you can easily get away with a hindi/english mix. In Delhi and NCR, it’s once again, a different ball game. While all family and friends of ours are english speakers, domestic staff are generally not. Luckily, we’ve hired a maid and driver who are from a Nepali background / Indian citizens from Assam.

I don’t think though that language is as important as attitude–I feel at home in Hyderabad even though I don’t speak the regional language. I still somehow have managed to communicate with the domestic staff in my husband’s [ack, getting used to the word] dad’s house. My Indian born and bred husband [ack] despises Delhi / NCR and could never feel at home here–though he loves living in Hyderabad and Mumbai. I have a colleague from the Northeast who also says that he has never felt at home in Delhi even though he is Indian.

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indo May 15, 2012 at 4:36 am

I think what the question is actually asking is if Indians will allow foreigners to join in spiritually on a cultural level and be accepted on this level.

I think Indians have had a very bad experience with the English and the Mughals before them–what many non-Indians don’t realize is the amount of practices and understandings and schools of thought that were forcibly stopped, it will take a long time to restore Dharma.

First Indians will have to become Indians.

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Anil June 9, 2012 at 1:04 am

Sincerely speaking, this is very stupid question. This is why:

Indians are indians because they are indians.

But Australians are australians because they seized a continent from its natives. It would be as indians invading china, killing a chunk of the chinese population and then these invader indians begin to call themselves indians.

How can non-indians become indians? It is a simple and easy question and you should know this answer. Non-indians can become indians by invading india, kill a chunk of its population to submission and then the non-indians can call themselves indians just as they have become australians, americans, south africans etc.

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Sharell शारेल June 9, 2012 at 9:36 am

I see, from all the recent comments you’ve made, you really have a big issue about the west! The British invaded Australia a couple of hundred years ago, as they did many other countries. Since then, people from all around the world, and all different cultural backgrounds, have settled in Australia and call themselves Australian. Australia is a multi cultural country.

The Mughals invaded India, ceased control, and stayed, didn’t they? India probably would still be partly controlled by the Mughals if the British hadn’t come and defeated them. Which brings us to this part of your arguement:

Non-indians can become indians by invading india, kill a chunk of its population to submission and then the non-indians can call themselves indians just as they have become australians, americans, south africans etc.

It didn’t work like that did it, because the Indians eventually kicked the British out!

Besides, this whole way of thinking of yours is just t0o narrow for my beliefs. I believe in reincarnation, and I also believe that we reincarnate in many identities and cultures. I doubt very much that I’ve always been Australian, or even white! It’s simply my current identity in this incarnation. Hence, I really don’t see the point of being fixated on past events, and identifying myself with them, when I’m not even aware of what my identity might’ve been at the time!

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Anil June 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I find it very disturbing that the aussies and the americans have so easily accepted that they have invaded and taken a continent from the natives. You need to understand that “others” in this world view the west very suspiciously(as a colonial race) and it isn’t unjustified.

Allowing other ethnic groups to settle in Aus or US(as a share in the booty) is not going to change the fact that it is a seized continent. eg, the australian indians(NRIs) might have a favourable view of australia but it won’t influence the local indian view which sees the “goras” as a colonial race.

The british who seized india from indians had to fight the sikhs in the anglo-sikh war and the hindus in the anglo-maratha war. Before the british arrived, most indian kingdoms had actually started to recapture the lands back from the muslims and the later was loosing ground. As a result, when the british arrived, the muslim kingdoms allied with the british which began a war between the hindu/sikh kingdoms against the british/muslim alliance. The british-muslim bonhomie continued until the 1857 jihad also known as 1857 mutiny which officially ended their alliance.

Indian history and what actually happened is very different. The indian side(gandhi, nehru etc) were trying to prevent a bloodbath between the indians and the british in lieu of independence through diplomatic means. The indians didn’t kick the british out; they “asked” them to leave. You see, controlling a huge region requires a lot of resources(manpower, money and material). During WW2, england had diverted all its resources to the war which meant the loss of its colony in india. It was a matter of survival against a determined enemy(hitler) whose might attached the armies of the US, russia and most of europe.

I find the hindu concepts interesting too. But believing in it is a whole different matter.

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Sharell शारेल June 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I find it very disturbing that the aussies and the americans have so easily accepted that they have invaded and taken a continent from the natives.

This is a complete fallacy, at least as far as Australia is concerned. There has been a public apology from the Australian government for what happened to the aboriginals, and the Australian government and courts have allowed for native title land claims — that is the Aboriginals can reclaim the land that was taken from them. A special tribunal has been set up to facilitate this.

http://www.nntt.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx

At the same time, why should a body of people — Australians — be blamed for something the British did hundreds of years ago. It’s ridiculous to live in the past like that. If you had a relative that committed a crime a couple of hundred years ago, I wouldn’t hold you accountable and blame you for it today!! And I wouldn’t expect you as an individual to take responsibility for your relative’s behaviour!!

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Anil June 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm

A “public apology” for seizing a continent? Wow!!!

Anyway, the reclaiming of lands sounds really promising. Can you give me a tentative percentage of the land mass of australia which is owned by the aboriginals?

In india, I can say that the indians own atleast 95%(if not 99%) of the lands of india.

>95% of indian parliamentarians are indian.

>90% of the doctors, teachers, accountants in india are indians

All of the military tanks, fighter jets and ammunition are in indian control

All indian nuclear weapons are controlled by indians

So really, what sort of part and scale do the aboriginals have in and over australia?

Do you understand the gravity of seizing a continent from its natives? I don’t think you do. A lot of the races in the world judge another race by looking at its history. What a race does in its history is a proof of what it’s capable of.

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Sharell शारेल June 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm

No, I can’t give you statistics sorry, as I don’t have them. If you do some research you should find answers.

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Anil June 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm

I don’t have to do that cause I would like an answer from you.

I’ll make an assumption. If i say that the aboriginal population own hmmm… 20% of the land mass of aus, would you agree?

20% participation in aussie politics?
20% participation in australian army?
20% doctors in australia are aboriginals?

That’s 1/5th participation. Should I consider that the aboriginal population has a 1/5th stake in australia?

Let me know if I’m aiming high.

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Sharell शारेल June 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm

I don’t know the answer, and I don’t think going to the effort of finding it for you is the best use of my time. Sorry. Debating on this is way outside the topic of the blog post and not something I’m interested in.

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Tamasha the Choto Rani September 1, 2013 at 11:54 am

All human beings came out of Africa.
Therefore should we all go back to Africa?
This land is MY land ’cause I got here first is ridiculous since we all originally came from Africa.
Sorry, but IMHO we are all ‘ethnic humans’ & citizens of the world.
You can’t apply the morals & values of 100′s of years ago with today’s modern morals & values.

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Chanakya June 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm

“Before the british arrived, most indian kingdoms had actually started to recapture the lands back from the muslims and the later was loosing ground. As a result, when the british arrived, the muslim kingdoms allied with the british which began a war between the hindu/sikh kingdoms against the british/muslim alliance. The british-muslim bonhomie continued until the 1857 jihad also known as 1857 mutiny which officially ended their alliance.”

This is what I call “Kori-Bakwaas”.

The fact is that in 1857, most of the Sikh, Maratha and Rajputana fought on the side of British against the revolutionaries like Nana Ji Peshwa, Rani Lakshmi Bai, Bahadur Shah II, Tantya Tope, etc..

Please don’t spread rumors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Rebellion_of_1857

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Priya I. Mandal September 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm

If only I had better words to appreciate this post! An incredibly interesting video! And being an Indian I found it very very interesting to see India from the eyes of foreigners. I appreciate their comments, be it negative or positive. I respect their views.

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Jacques December 13, 2012 at 10:38 pm

You should be making a video with Africans lets see. It’s easy to mingle with Caucasians, most indians have a weird look on Africans and I wanna know why. Thx

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jay August 30, 2013 at 10:53 pm

We Indians love to believe the world loves us. Sorry, not true. A majority of foreign nationals on business here, cannot wait to run back to where they came from.

Even if they mouth the cliched “We love indian food”, “What a rich culture”, once you are on intimate terms with them, they will tell you exactly how they feel about India. They tolerate it with great difficulty.

If you are African / look African, NO, you will not feel at home in India. You’ll be spat at, beaten, suspected of selling drugs. Even educated literate people in malls will treat you terribly.

If you are from a European, Asian country where English is not spoken, you will be ripped off by restaurants, cab drivers, rickshaw drivers. That’s hardly ‘welcoming’ behavior. Indian men, even those with better education, think western women are an easy lay.

Also the hygiene, sanitation issues, lack of manners, intrusiveness of us Indians, crumbling infrastructure, slow internet speeds, terrible transport system. It’s a huge put off.

You have foreign food chains here, but the staff cannot speak standard English or any foreign language; menus are only in english. Important buildings, public transport does not have signs in foreign languages that would go a long way towards making foreign nationals feel at home. The law enforcement personnel (police) cannot even speak English, leave along a foreign language.

My fiance is from the Far East. He is not uppity at all. But he is utterly traumatised by the filth, the time wasting chalta hai attitude of the average Indian ‘professional’, the lack of food options for foreigners even in Mumbai, the poor quality merchandise being sold in stores, the lack of civic sense. Thankfully he spends a lot of time in Mumbai where where are a limited few stores that sell foreign foodstuff. But there again either from thailand or china, and some stuff from Japan. He is from none of these countries.

It is the rare foreign national who feels at ‘home’ in India. Indeed there is very little effort on our part to make life and business easier for them.
Besides regional languages, all banks and essential services should offer customers the option of hearing messages in French, Korean, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, German, Arabic.

Every Indian school kid should have to learn one foreign language. This will give us an edge over China that left India light years behind.

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Kartik September 3, 2013 at 8:50 pm

HI sharell

I am an australian PR holder and now working in INdia for an MNC company since 2 years now. I have assimilated quite well to the western ways of life without losing my culture and what is astonishing is that INdia is still backdated to some extent and have a flawed concept of the Whites. I want to settle down in Australia or the US with a white gal and i am quite open to that.

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Chris November 22, 2013 at 6:24 pm
Sharell शारेल November 23, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Some of my firangi bahu friends have watched it and haven’t been particularly impressed. I don’t watch much TV and our TV isn’t hasn’t been working for a while (the subscription needs to be renewed) but I might check it out at some stage!

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