Why do westerners look down upon India?
Maria Wirth, works at Freecie.com
Answered Dec 6, 2015
I don’t have the impression that westerners generally look down on India. Apart from a section of the populace who hold fixed racist views and look down on everyone who is not exactly like them, there are many who are interested, intrigued by India though they don’t know much. Whenever I tell strangers in the west that I live in India, there is usually great interest, and when I praise India, there is openness – except from those who consider themselves ‘better informed’ through media. Like a woman in a bus next to me asking “But what about the Hindu fundamentalists?”
My impression rather is that there is still certain goodwill towards India which the media tries hard to destroy. Especially the campaign “Indians are rapists, because their (Hindu) culture demeans women” after the Nirbhaya gang rape was unfortunately a big ‘success’. It did change the perception of India, as the campaign was so massive and relentless that it reached down to even local papers and now almost everyone considers himself “informed” that in India rape is rampant. It confirms those with racist views and confuses the others.
I can only guess why there is this attempt to put India down. On one hand, the Churches, which are politically and financially powerful, have an interest to demean India to ‘save’ and convert Hindus. They naturally don’t want the positive aspects of Indian culture to be known.
On the other hand, the western liberals may not like that Indians have generally a better image than Pakistanis, whom they had fostered all through the cold war and with whom they still seem to have cozy relations. So they try to ‘correct’ this positive image of India and media is a powerful instrument to do so.
Generally, the intellectual caliber of Indians is acknowledged. I happened to be in Germany when Mangalyaan went into Mars orbit and it came big in news, and people were highly appreciative. But I have absolutely no idea why Germany makes it difficult for Indian students to get work visa. After all, Germany keeps stressing that its workforce needs to be increased. It just shows that Germany doesn’t know who is good for it.
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Ben A. Wise, lived in India
Updated Mar 1, 2016
For many people who come from the west "development" is paramount and tantamount to the well-being of a nation, and to its status in the world. So what is meant by that term? In this answer I shall interpret it as I understand its usage by mainstream politicians, etc--as referring to the quality of infrastructure, availability and accessibility of services that are considered basic such as electricity, potable water, sewage, internet, how civilized people are when it comes to driving and waiting in the queue, etc.
These things are important. Everybody should have access to basic amenities and conduct themselves in a thoughtful manner. No one is debating this.
The problem arises when India- and other similar places--are regarded with myopic vision, excluding other parameters that conduce to well-being in a way that no well-paved road can.
Every country has something special to offer. Every country has a history, heritage, and tradition that poise it to offer something unique to the world.
India has given much to the world--discoveries and breakthroughs from the sciences all the way to the spirit. And it has still much to give, to contribute.
It is easy to look down upon India if all you can see is how nations are "clothed" and not what's in their hearts...
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