Rimi, one of the favorite commenters of everybody who reads my blog, has agreed to engage in a cross-posting exercise where I list all the myths about India that I have accumulated based on my own culture’s current fascination with India and on an equally strong and just as limiting vision of India here in North America. Rimi will be so kind as to address these beliefs one by one on her own blog.
Then, if she is so kind, she will make a similar list of Bengali stereotypes about Russian speakers, and I will get a chance to address them here.
We know so little about countries east of England and west of Pakistan, and Bengalis in particular have such a rosy vision of Soviet Russia, that we could all do with a little first-hand education .
So it feels like a little mutual education is in order.
Here are, then, the stereotypes I have recently heard about India:
- It’s a country where many people live in the streets but only because they choose to. The government offers them apartments of their own but they refuse because they enjoy living in the streets.
- Every homeless person in India receives coupons for foods that are enough to cover everybody’s minimal needs.
- Before marriage, an Indian woman can wear anything she likes. After she gets married, she can do it, too, but all Indian women choose to wear saris instead.
- Sexual enjoyment is a value promoted by Hinduism.
- The Indian government does all it can to break down caste barriers but the dalits resist these efforts.
- People in India have no use for Western medicine because they have Ayurveda medicine.
- People in India are always happy and content with everything because that’s in the nature of Hinduism.
- Of course, not everybody in India practices Hinduism. There are also Sikhs who are very feminist. And also Muslims who keep causing trouble and organizing terrorist attacks. There might be a Christian here and there but they are not a significant community.
- All Indians are very patriotic and proud of their country. Here is Rimi’s response to this idea.
- When people in India decide to get married, it is often more important to consult their astrological horoscopes than to meet the future spouse.
- From early childhood, Indian women are taught the kind of dancing that makes their chest look bigger and helps them find sexual fulfillment.
- Drivers in India are really reckless and never even stop to think about safety.