"In India, even the exceptions reach millions" Nirad ChaudhuryWe have all heard at some point things about India that do not do justice to a country so rich in cultural, language, geographic and ethnic diversity that it has left the world with a millennial historical legacy.
India does not like generalizations, such is its heterogeneity that we could say that India is many countries in one.
We believe that many of the things they say about India provide a good deal of misinformation or lack of experience in India that leads to misinterpretations.
When it is said that "you love or hate India", which might seem true because it is as if India did not know the middle ground.
But the comparisons between your known world and what you find in India are useless, there are other times and other ways of seeing the same things.
It is said that in India when something is correct, the opposite is also true. A place of permanent dualities and contradictions.
We invite you to know what is behind in some of the most common myths and prejudices about India.
India: seeking for the Eat, Pray, Love route.Many of the travellers go to India in am attempt to reach meditation and self-discovery, in the style of the Julia Roberts' film. However, they must know that this is a country that tests all the senses and peace of mind, being able to carry out any to its limits. There will be times when you want to scream, cry and even move the return trip forward. Such intense it is!
It is a dangerous country, especially for womenIndia is a country with a huge population and a low crime rate. Although India has some cities, especially Delhi, which has a very bad reputation for the way they treat women, it has recently been aware of the issue of harassment and gender-based violence. On the other hand, it is a social system with contradictions: as regards foreign visitors, both men and women, the risk is almost inexistent. India is a very safe country compared to any other.India is extremely poorIndia has great inequality and a large part of its population is very poor. But it also has a large number of people who are among the richest in the world. This country is expected to become the second economic power by 2050.
The way of life in India is different from the western one, the religions that they profess make them look more inside themselves than outside, they worry less about accumulating things.
It is full of dirtIf we talk about personal hygiene, for the Indians it is vital. Water is a sacred element that purifies sins. All the time people are seen cleaning themselves, who does not have a bathroom will do it in a public tap or in the rivers. Personal hygiene is an essential part of Hinduism and Islam, the two most represented religions. On the other hand, in recent years, miles of public toilets with showers have been built Regarding the cleanliness of public spaces, it has improved significantly, although it is true that there is a long tradition of not counting spaces outside the home as places that must be kept clean. This could affirm that they are the consequences of the lack of civil education plus the lack of necessary services. But it is also a more complex issue with roots in Hinduism.In Hinduism the concept of purity rules everything. Thus, everything polluting (in terms of Hinduism) must be outside the body and by extension outside the home. If the dirty is on the street, it no longer affects the people of a home, according to these principles.
So to give an example, the kitchen is an extremely restricted area. If as foreigners we wanted to enter to help a Hindu woman with food, perhaps we will be denied, because they will see us as "meat" eaters, which is extremely impure.
For this reason the shoes must be left outside, so as not to contaminate with the dirt from the street. Even more, all body fluids are persistent pollutants, for this reason menstruation has been and continues to be a great taboo.
A traditional Hindu would not blow his nose with a handkerchief to put it back in his pocket. Therefore a used handkerchief in the pocket is considered dirty, but not the garbage in front of the door of the house. The notion of dirt is different from the modern notion.
Indians have no educationThere may still be a large number of people today who do not access a better education in deeper India, but the truth is that education is highly valued, everyone in India is aware of the only way to have a better future is through it . The poorest families will strive to give their children the best possible school education, while the wealthiest families will send their children to the best universities both in India and abroad.
The educational system in India is very demanding and competitive.
Cows are sacredYes, and they are everywhere! They can be seen wandering the streets, highways and even on the beaches. Cows walk fearlessly in front of traffic, go into shops or take a nap on a road, they can even snoop in your bag, so be careful.
The Indians do not say yes, nor do they say noOne of the things that most puzzles and irritates all travelers is the "great Indian head shake", the "nod". It is not a yes or no, it is similar to an "I don't know". However, it can mean different things depending on whether the movement is fast or slow, or the emphasis and expression of the face. Sometimes it is a real "yes" and sometimes a courteous "yes". It can also be "I don't know" or "whatever you want".
Keep in mind that Indians do not like to say "no" so they do not give a real yes. "Horn, please"In the back of the trucks you can see "Horn, please".
The traffic rules in India are not suitable for Westerners. Or rather, a Westerner should not dare to drive in India because the feeling is one of pure chaos. However, after traveling to India several times, I sense a kind of hidden system that prevents the long-awaited collision.
The horn is the system by which it is warned, either to approach, to stop, to turn, to pass, instead of signaling with lights.
For this reason, when one vehicle is behind another, you are encouraged to honk your horn. The problem is that it is not used in moderation and produces significant noise pollution. India is intense, isn't it?
India smells badIndia smells in many ways and with different aromas: curry, cloves, cinnamon, incense, oil, urine, fruit and everything mixed.
There are places with poor drainage systems but it is not everywhere or all the time.
Marriage is arrangedThe concept of arranged marriage in India can be difficult for foreigners to understand, because it works in a context where the concept of the individual is not fully developed or rather is subordinated to the well-being of the family.
Everyone has a family or belongs to a caste whose interests are above their own.
After marriage the son continues to live in his parents' house and his wife comes to live with the husband's family. There they will live and have offspring, forming an ‘extensive’ family between parents, children and their wives, grandchildren and more relatives.
From this perspective, marriage is not only a relationship between individuals but between families. Read: Love and marriage in India
The food is very spicyIndian food is very rich and varied according to the area, it is true that it also tends to be spicy. But there are many less "Indian" options and you must insist on asking "no spicy"
Family is the most importantIn Indian families, children receive great attention,.from early aged they learn that the integrity of the family unit is stronger than individualities. This means that young people do not seek a radical demarcation of their parents or feel compelled to face their authority to live in their own way.
This is so, regardless of the achievements and personal talents, an Indian will always have obligations on those who are "above" him and expectations of those who are "below" him. Hierarchy is an important part of Indian culture.
They are governed by a caste systemJust as the family is the fundamental aspect of the child's identity, the caste is the next circle of belonging. The values, beliefs, prejudices and commandments of the caste, as well as the perceptions of reality, become part of its mental structure and the content of its consciousness. The norms of their caste are those that define a determined action as correct.
The position of a caste in the social order is generally determined according to the criteria of purity versus contamination. A caste is considered high if its lifestyle is considered "pure" and low if its lifestyle is considered "polluted". The brahmin (priests) is considered the purest and an untouchable or “dalit” (outside the caste system) is the most contaminated. Caste determines a person's work activity and even their diet.