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We are like that only…

March 19, 2009

Read the earlier version…welcome to India….

The CIA Factbook about India has a lot of information about the do’s and don’ts while travelling here. But then, from what I understand that’s mainly from the US perspective about India. Having lived all my life in this country, here are some things about India…

1. A citizen has the freedom to practise the religion he/she chooses. Yet, conversion of religion is banned in certain parts of the country.

2. According to the Hindu Mythology, there are around 30 million Gods and Goddesses. So, you are bound to find a temple almost at every corner of the road; sometimes right in the middle of the road.

3. If you are lost amidst the chaos of Indian streets and scorn the idea of a temple having been built in the middle of the road, understand that there has been phenomenal growth in the population. Hence it shows today. It’s not a result of bad town planning.

4. India has the largest number of HIV+ infected people in the world. Yet, sex is still a taboo.

5. The President of the country is a lady. The most powerful person in the country today is a lady. Yet, women don’t enjoy the same status as men here. Equal rights to women is still a distant dream, although the situation is improving.

6. Homosexuality is a crime according to Indian Penal Code. This part of law hasn’t been amended since the 19th century.

7. India is one of the largest markets for Cosmetics Industry. Oh…almost forgot to add, there are 400 million+ women apart from Aiyshwarya Rai, Frieda Pinto, Mallika Sherawat, Bipasha Basu, Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai, Medha Patkar and few other models here in India.

8. Guests are almost equivalent to God, according to a saying here in India. But don’t be surprised if that principle isn’t adhered to. I think, it was primarily used in tandem with people from the same community, religion, caste or a sage.

9. Caste is still a major factor in our lives. While it does bring people together, at times this factor does more harm than one could fathom.

10. People are religious here. But at times, they confuse the principle behind religion, philosophy and spirituality.

11. We have had a reputation of being a very tolerant society which has accepted all religions, cultures and traditions. But since the beginning of 20th century, there have been incidents of extreme violence in the name of religion. Indo-Pak partition, the aftermath of Indira Gandhi’s assasination, the demolition of Babri Masjid and its aftermath, the riots in Mumbai, riots in Gujarat, riots in Orissa are a testimony of such intolerance.

12. Some people are very insecure of their existence and faith. They fail to understand why it’s important to live together as a society. And they would go to any length to imbibe their doctrine. The atrocious acts of Sri Rama Sene and Bajrang Dal are glaring examples of such heinous activities.

13. Terrorism is the biggest problem India has been facing for the past several decades. We haven’t found a solution to it. So all that remains is dead bodies everywhere.

14. India is not a land of Maharajahs, snake charmers and elephants anymore. I haven’t taken a ride on an elephant ever!

15. Tourism is not the major source of revenue for the entire country. Although it is for certain parts in the country like Goa, parts of Uttaranchal, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh. So, don’t be surprised if people look at you with curiosity when you travel across some other parts of the country.

Finally, there’s a lot more to India, than the impression you have from Gandhi or Slumdog Millionaire. Lose yourself in the chaos of Mumbai local trains, or the bylanes of Chandni Chowk. Be treated like a Maharajah in exotic locations. Ahhh…I know so little about India. Maybe you should tell me more about what makes India special. 🙂

All said and done….hope you have a great trip here. Welcome to India…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 23, 2010 1:28 am

    Great and useful information here, thank you for sharing. I have just come back from two months travel in India and have written a lot about it in my blog if you’re interested.

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