Regardless of being house to 1.4 billion individuals, the common Indian – as in a lot of the West – stays a sly, eye-catching engineer who wins the spelling bee and speaks in an odd tone.

India celebrates 75 years of independence from British colonial rule on 15 August, and Indian expertise and tradition has unfold throughout the globe – from yoga and spirituality to CEOs of multinational firms like Google and Twitter.

But simplistic depictions of the nation nonetheless dominate the minds of many individuals in North America and Europe.

Folks typically say flawed issues about India:

Indians aren’t synonymous with Hindus

Beginning with the fundamentals, India is a various nation with a number of main religions, together with however not restricted to Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. In line with the 2011 Census of India, roughly 2.9 million individuals additionally establish as atheists.

In India, language and tradition could change each 50 to 100 kilometers (31 to 62 mi), a two-hour drive from a easy “whats up” to “Namaste” to “Sat Sri Akal” to “Assalam Alaikum”. . Together with a whole lot of dialects, every state has its personal main languages.

Past the ‘Indian Accent’

In a rustic this numerous, it is unattainable to have an “Indian accent”—except you are speaking about chef Manish Mehrotra’s iconic institution that finds itself on the coveted “50 Greatest Eating places in Asia” listing. Is.

For the uninitiated, Mehrotra’s Indian Accent eating places have branches in New York, London and New Delhi, and provide “international Indian meals, not Indian Indian meals”, because the chef himself advised the South China Morning Publish in 2018.

In line with the 2011 census, English is the second most generally spoken language in India, for instance, it’s continuously used as a medium of communication between a Bengali speaker from the japanese state of West Bengal and a Malayalam speaker from the south. goes. Kerala State.

Apu Nahasapimapetilon – seen right here in entrance of the window – was a well-liked character on the long-running cartoon The Simpsons.

So whereas many Indians could not have “native speaker” proficiency within the language, you’ll be able to think about their horror when confronted with the “Apu pronunciation” of “The Simpsons”. American actor Hank Azaria, who has voiced Apu for the reason that present started in 1989, apologized “to each single Indian” and stepped down from his position in 2021 amid criticisms of racial stereotypes.

Not all Indians are vegetarian

The West sees India because the chief of the vegetarian motion. But whereas the proportion of vegetarians could also be increased than in the remainder of the world, solely about 30% of the nation’s inhabitants identifies with this dietary choice.

In line with the Nationwide Household Well being Survey for 2019-2020, round 70% of Indians eat meat or eggs in some kind, and round 7% eat beef.

Nevertheless, the ultimate determine could also be underestimated due to the cultural and political implications of accepting it in a extremely charged surroundings. Lately, the consumption of beef has been banned within the Hindu-majority nation, the place the cow is taken into account sacred.

Poverty porn will not get you further factors

Whereas Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” acquired India on the Oscars, it got here at a excessive cultural value. In line with the World Financial institution, poverty is definitely an on a regular basis actuality of most Indians, with nearly 60% of the nation’s inhabitants residing on lower than $3.10 a day.

However the visible depiction of his life on the massive display could also be seen as a romanticization of poverty for Western audiences – displaying congested streets, open sewers and malnourished youngsters by a sepia-colored lens.

Including a “white savior complicated” to assist poor Indians overcome their destiny—such because the Jon Hamm-starrer “Million Greenback Arm,” or Patrick Swayze’s “Metropolis of Pleasure”—solely takes away native individuals’s autonomy. , argues one thing.

Indian movie business isn’t just Bollywood

“Bollywood,” or the Hindi movie business, is commonly seen as the one consultant of Indian cinema. Beautiful weddings, beautiful dance sequences, and fascinating colours reinforce the clichés that lavish units, musical numbers and majestic gestures of romance encapsulate the essence of India.

Mural art by Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray in Kolkata, India

A mural of the legendary Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray as seen in Kolkata, West Bengal

However India produces movies in lots of languages, with a few of the largest gems being made in regional languages. From Satyajit Ray’s 1955 Bengali-language movie “Pather Panchali” to this 12 months’s Telugu-language epic drama “RRR”, which collected $90 million in its first week of launch, it’s clear that the Indian cinematic universe is huge and rising. Was.

India shouldn’t be your land of self-discovery

Hermann Hesse’s iconic 1922 novel “Siddhartha” was an early introduction to Indian spirituality for a lot of Europeans regardless of years of colonial invasion of the subcontinent.

Over time, this attraction has grown into a world development and hundreds of foreigners journey to holy cities like Rishikesh and Haridwar for a style of yoga and the choice drugs system of Ayurveda.

Woman walks on a bridge over the Ganges with a Beatles mural behind her in Rishikesh, Tehri Garhwal district, Uttarakhand, India

A lady walks the streets of Rishikesh, a holy metropolis visited by the Beatles, depicted on a mural behind her

However whereas the Beatles and Julia Roberts movie “Eat Pray Love” could lead some to consider that they may obtain nirvana on the streets of India, many residents are distant from the paranormal and superstitious picture pervaded in well-liked tradition.

indian meals diarrhea

Lastly, India’s range is finest portrayed in its delicacies, which is proscribed to simply curries. Transferring past “rooster tikka masala” and “naan bread” – which interprets to “bread bread” – the nation has a gastronomical map that may compete with complete continents.

From multi-course wazwan of Kashmir, litti chokha of Bihar, and pork vindaloo of Goa to kangshoi of Manipur, lal maas of Rajasthan and pandi curry of Karnataka, it could take items of paper to listing Indian dishes.

plate of wazwan

A person holds a plate of wazwan, a standard multi-course meal in Kashmiri delicacies

Whereas using spices could not swimsuit all tastes, the frequent Western depiction of Indian meals as one thing that’s indiscriminately spicy or “all the identical” shouldn’t be solely problematic, however downright flawed.

In an more and more well-connected world, many of those stereotypes at the moment are being known as on the Web for what they are surely: archaic. In the meantime, the worldwide neighborhood has additionally proven an elevated want to be taught, as individuals spend extra time enhancing their intercultural information and competencies.

Edited by: Brenda Asiravadappan



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