India is a place where i happen to be born, it is my country, and my identity. Wherever the world i go, i am an Indian. And i want to clear some stereotypes about India
1) Tigers do not roam in Indian streets. In fact at the rate at which poaching is going on, you would be lucky to find a tiger in a forest.
2) India is not just a land of nawabs, maharajas and beggars. It also has a very strong, educated middle class, who are like the middle class in any other nation. Most of these middle class people, work in Govt offices, factories, software companies, MNC's, universities. I belong to that Great Indian middle class.
2) Not all of India is a hot country. No other nation has such diversity in climate. The southern part of India is humid and hot, the northern part of India is hot and dry. The Himalayan states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal have a cold and temperate climate. The Western states of Gujarat and Rajasthan, have a desert kind of climate.
3) Probably one of the few countries where you can find the Alps( Himalayas), the Sahara( Thar Desert), the Congo(numerous forests) and the Riveira( Goa) all in one place. A place of natural diversity and beauty.
4) India has 26 languages, 320 dialects and no two states are alike. Yet it has managed to be united still, unlike Europe where countries keep splitting, and Africa, which has become a collection of tribes rather than countries.
5) Indian men are often portrayed as sex starved frustrated beasts, ready to pounce on women, and especially foreign woman. There have been deplorable cases of rape and assault for sure, but not every Indian guy is a sex starved maniac. India is not more dangerous than S.Africa or Afghanistan when it comes to women.
6) Indian women suffer from many problems sure, like female foeticide, rape, gender discrimination. But things are changing for the better. A considerable number of Indian women go to work, run businesses, are CEO's of companies, drive buses and trains, fight in the army, fly planes, teach, nurse. In some cases they form cooperatives also. And there is a strong feminist movement in India still.
7) Not all Indians are curry eaters nor all Indians are vegetarians. Yes many Indians do not eat beef, but thats only the Hindu community. Indian Muslims and Indian Christians do eat beef. Even in the Hindu community, while many communities do not eat beef, they do consume other non veg items like poultry and meat. In the Eastern states of West Bengal and Orissa, fish is a staple item of diet.
8) Notwithstanding Gujarat,2002 and the Graham Staines incident, India still remains a secular country. Muslims have more rights in India, than in any other Muslim majority nation. This is a country which has had 3 Presidents from Muslim community, where the missile and nuclear program was headed by a Muslim, where a Jew and a Christian headed the defence forces. This is a nation where 3 Muslim actors- Aamir, Shahrukh and Salman are the top most heroes, and a Muslim headed the Indian cricket team. Walk into any MNC in India, and you find Muslims, Christians, Hindus working side by side. Yes we do have our prejudices and biases, but show me one nation in the world which does not have it.
9) While India has the Moral keystone cops indulging in moral policing, most of em are jerks seeking 15 minutes of fame. They are certainly not like the Taliban, which simply executes people who do not believe in it's warped sense of the world.
10) To date India has never invaded any country, but it has always given a fitting reply to any nation that tried to attack it. The Indian Army has been rated as one of the world's most disciplined army, and even in war torn areas like Iraq, Bosnia, Somalia, the Indian Army always earned respect. Because they built bridges with the local people.
11) Not all Indian movies are song and dance affairs. There are directors like Anurag Kashyap, Vishaal Bharadwaj, Nagesh Kukunoor, Madhur Bhandarkar, Maniratnam, Ram Gopal Verma who are equivalent to the best anywhere in the world.
India is not the world's most perfect country. We have our own issues and they are many. But we certainly are not an exotic nation of tigers, elephants and maharajas. We are a nation that is trying to achieve a balance between tradition and modernity, between order and chaos, between the old and new. And on top of it, we have to deal with caste, class, language and regional differences.
I request all people in the West to look at India as not just an exotica place, but a country filled with living people. We are just like you, we also have the same dreams and desires like you, we also suffer from same problems. As an Indian, i only want to ask one thing, please dont look at our country as exotica, we are asking you to understand our problems and our issues.
India is my country, and i love it.
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