What is the first thing that comes to your mind when someone says India? Do we think of it as the land of the Gods, the land of spirituality and religions, the land of colours and festivals, the land of spices, the land of diversity? Or, do we think of poverty, hunger, malnourished people and corruption?
We are a small population when compared to the whole world – what we think of our country is an informed, experienced notion. What about all those countries out there whose only interaction with our nation is that of watching ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ or reading of Gandhi and the Taj Mahal?
Spreading out our wings, we asked people around the world of how they viewed our country and the response we got was overwhelming (and also funny, in some cases!) and eager.
Tobis Wilczeck, Canada
India seems to me a very interesting country – a place that I would definitely want to visit. I think the people are generally really nice. The western people get to see a lot of India in movies like Slumdog Millionaire and other documentaries. This is generally what shapes their view, which is, poverty and hunger. Personally, the way I see India, right now is particularly shaped by the growing ‘economic-apartheid’ due to segregation that is going on in big cities, similar to favelas in Brazil – basically slums and rich areas segregated from one another. This segregation, I think, is a major problem, not just for India, but for the entire world.
Kerstin Lang, Germany
When I think of India, I think of many colours, many flavours and spices, the Bollywood film industry and music. I also think of India as one of the most populated countries on the globe with great religious diversity. When I worked in the UK I met many Indians and I got the impression that India has become a very modern and young country but still remains traditional regarding the role of family and women. In Germany, India is also considered to be one of the biggest and fastest emerging markets globally.
Anna Meyer – Switzerland
Everyone around here knows Mahatma Gandhi and the Taj Mahal but sadly, at the moment, I think there are worse things that come to mind when we think about India – like poverty and the violation of women’s rights. On the contrary, we have heard a lot in school that when one travels to India the people are very friendly and open. I don’t know if that’s true.
Nick – USA
I think India’s economy is growing very quickly and that the US will be doing more trade with them over the years. I also know a lot of people from India who have come to study in the United States, so it seems like more people from India are getting advanced degrees from really great schools. India definitely has a noticeable presence in the US.
Tucker – USA
I think India is a very important country, with a fascinating and exotic culture that goes back hundreds of years. It has an interesting history as well. One of the things I would look forward to seeing in India would be the old architecture of famous monuments or sculptures… Sadly, I don’t think Americans know enough about India to stereotype the country. Many Americans find India to be very, very exotic and consider it difficult to live in because the cultures are so different. However, one thing that Americans find intriguing about India is the fact that Hindu religion discourages eating beef, since Americans eat a lot of meat in their diet.
Riccardo Ronzani – Italy
Italians have a lot of stereotypes about India and Indians:
– Everyone in India wears a turban
– Everyone use elephants instead of cars
– Slavery is allowed
– The language is “Indian” instead of “Hindi” and nobody speaks English
– You cannot buy street food because if you do, you die!
– Indians cannot differentiate between a fork or a knife or a spoon and everyone eat with their hands
-there are only very very very rich people and very very very poor people
-that Indian girls are hot (all of them).
Alíz Gosztola – Hungary
The way I view India is really great, however most of Hungarians judge it pretty badly. Personally, I think India has so many things worth having – the culture, the people and the surroundings! I love the colours, the warm-hearted people and their conduct. I have friends from India and all of them are really nice with good intentions.
As for what Hungarians believe about India – there are three issues – poverty, under-development and the fact that women do not have rights. Lots of documentaries show frightening pictures of homeless people, begging for money and uneducated children.
Also, people believe that India has a lot of environmental pollution. It is also known for repression and a vague idea of how the women in your country only give birth and do housework. I guess all of this sounds harsh but people here have a stereotypical view of India which I really wish to change by coming to India and prove that your country is not appalling at all.
For a European like me, India makes me dream. It is a big country with a huge population – so many people allowing the mixing of different cultures. According to me, their common evolution led India to achieve what it is today. We notice many different religions, varied cooking, many festivals – it is like a making a movie which is constantly evolving. Each state, each region of India is different to the other but it is united together and united, they grow in a way that makes so many of us dream.
Leosam – Philippines
Most of the people in my homeland think that India strives hard against poverty – financially and in health. Indians are perceived to be harmful and unfriendly. Personally, I believe that India is just a different world with people living with a different view towards life. I began to look closely at different nationalities and I met an Indian girl on our Post-Stay Camp in Japan. She was almost the opposite of what I had been told Indians were.
Through her, I fulfilled my curiosity for India. I learned how India was the birthplace for Hinduism and later Buddhism, I discovered how India had contributed so much to history, science and language. I discovered the various, innumerable dialects that India had when I saw the Indian rupee note. I have watched some of the Indian films like My Name is Khan, 3 Idiots, Every Child Is Special, etc. The more and more I read about India, I realised that Philippines has also adapted a lot from Indian culture. I guess in the end – it’s just about how ignorant we can be and how much we can experience and enjoy if we open ourselves to new cultures and backgrounds.