Here’s the deal… India is not a land of snake charmers. I have been living in India for the past 25 years (all my frickin’ life) and have seen exactly two snake charmers.
We are not all cab drivers or customer support or software engineers. Also, there is no language called “Indian”.
There is a growing resentment among Indians about the way India is portrayed in hollywood movies and about how the rest of the world perceives them. It’s very insulting (and sometimes funny) when Indians are stereotyped in popular culture. Its insulting because Indians are the most extremely diverse people that no one in their right mind should even (could even?) conjure up a stereotype.
There are hordes of foreign travelers who visit and even backpack around India. And they always accept humbly in their blogs, that in their brief stay in India, they barely scratched the surface in terms of understanding Indian culture or even what India is.
Here’s an account of India from an Indian:
When in India, if you move 400 miles in any direction, you will be in a place where people speak a different language. This is because each state in India usually has a different language spoken as the primary language. There are 29 states in India and 22 official languages, so go figure!
Along with a different language, you also get different art and dance forms, music, culture, literature, clothing, cuisine, wedding ceremonies, political parties, movie industries and celebrities and gossips about these celebrities in newspapers and magazines written in… you guessed it right – different languages.
Some of the world’s major religions originated in India – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. We have lots of religions and countless number of gods to worship. And we have several millennia-old religious texts with epic stories that would put LOTR and GOT to shame.
We have some of the highest snow capped peaks in the world, a desert, hill stations, blue water beaches and the wettest place on earth. The weather here is as diverse as the people on the land.
We have corruption and billion dollar scams. We have poverty. We have slums, but also the costliest house in the world overlooking these slums.
With a billion people, its not only the largest democracy in the world, but also the country with the highest number of young working population. The second largest foreign student population in US universities are Indians. What does Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Pepsi, Mastercard and lots of other companies have in common? Indian CEOs.
Medical tourism is a $3 billion business in India. People across the world are coming here to get affordable medical treatments at one-tenth the cost of the same treatments in US and UK.
I too have to humbly accept that I have only barely scratched the surface of what India is. But one thing is for sure, India is catching up and its catching up fast. The last two decades of economic growth at an yearly average of 7% is a testament to that. It will stop to be a third world country in sometime. When that happens, hollywood better have a plan on how its going to represent a billion people.
For the daily prompt: Diverse