Is India Still India?

Is India Still India?

This weekend I watched a Hindi movie called "Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na" (Whether you know… or not). I don’t normally watch many Bollywood movies, but a long time ago my wife wanted to watch one so I added it to my Netflix video rental queue. 

While watching the movie it felt a bit like culture shock. I have become so used to the typical Indian melodrama, but this was quite different. As I watched the movie it seemed as though every aspect of it: the people, the locations, the way people dressed and talked was all hyper-westernized. It was filmed in what I am guessing is Mumbai, but I don’t think I saw a single scene in which you could really tell that it was India. It was as if India was white-washed in trying to not to actually show Indian culture. Just the rich, "modern", and so-called sophisticated people. It seemed almost as if the Indian people were ashamed of who they were and wanted to look like something different. 

I started to wonder if it was just this movie or if I have been gone from India so long that everything has actually become overly "westernized" (which I mean in the negative sense!) It makes me think of the parallel of being a Sikh and of maintaining our unique and noble identity in contrast to people wanting to change their appearance in order to fit in and be "cool" or "normal."

It reminds me of the time when I was in Delhi many years ago in Kurta Pajama Bana in a fast food place and at the next table over all the people were trying so hard to be like Americans. Here I was an American who, dressed in simple cotton looked like an Indian in many ways and they were trying to go the other way.

I also thought about the matrimonial ads of people highlighting their "wheat-ish complexion" as if being white/light skinned made them superior in some way. If you have dark skin then you are called a "blacky" (which is  not a good thing.) It’s no wonder that some Indians seem  so predjudiced about some of my African-American Sikh friends with their beautiful black skin.

I know it’s inevitable that eventually the different cultures will all mix, but as someone who lives in a Western country I see the negative side of it which is so empty and filled with unhappiness. American culture has so much sexual influence in every aspect of life. Relationships for many seem so superficial and not based on anything concrete. Divorce is rampant. Kids are having sex sometimes even before they are in their teens. Your status is all about what people think of you (e.g., how popular you are, how you look, etc). When guys look at a girl, all they can think about is sex. Women become sex objects for men, and women use their sexuality to manipulate men and sell their respect for attention. It’s a downwards spiral towards emotional drama and pain. 

Ok, the movie wasn’t bad. It just made me really wonder if India has become so far gone that the youth of India have fully adopted Western ways, which to me is sad and scary. My son is now going to school in India and as I think about visiting him, I wonder what I am going to see there and how India has changed since I last was there.

For me the downfall of a society is to adopt these Western traits. It’s sad to see. America is a consumer society, rampant with waste, fast food, obesity and more health issues then one can name. What ever happened to the old culture of America and India that was respectful, courteous and helpful? It seems the negative sides have taken over and are taking their toll. 

I suppose it’s one of those things that is such a strong force, like a cultural tidal wave, that there is no stopping it. Time will take it’s course and the consequences of such lifestyles will come to light. I suppose it’s just part of God’s plan. Sometimes things have to get very bad in order for people to be able to wake up.

Personally I would rather not learn the hard way through the hands of time. It’s at the end of one’s life that one wishes one had done things differently or had led a happier life.

All these things around us are just temporary and are distractions from the essence of who we all are and from understanding and living our destiny on this planet. Without a spiritual practice as the center of your life you are just riding aimlessly on the emotional roller coaster of life. Then life becomes a drama, not a Dharma.

40 Responses to “Is India Still India?”

  1. Simran Kaur says:

    Waheguruji Ka Khalsa Waheguruji Ki Fateh. Gurumustuk Veerji don’t worry….it’s not as bad as you think. Yes ‘westernization’ is often used as an excuse here in India for ‘moving with the times’ or ‘keeping up with the rest of the world’. But within us, Indians will always be Indians (both in a positive sense as well as negative!). It is certainly a much bigger challenge to grow and evolve spiritually in such a superficially judgemental society, especially if that involves maintaining a very distinct physical identity. But our country and it’s soil is and will always be blessed and holy.

    So I think it’s all about maintaining a balance between the world outside you and the world inside you……and being aware through it all. It’s easy for the youth to give in and flow with the tide but on the other hand we are so fortunate to be born in this great land which provides so much inspiration, guidance and blessings of the Masters. So it’s a matter of personal choice and the kind of upbringing and values that you have been given.

    What you saw in the movie, like you said yourself, could have been anywhere in the world, but unlike anywhere else in the world, the children of India will always have their rich culture and spiritual heritage within them……even if sometimes that can lie hidden under the garb of ‘cool’ western clothes……….But it’s still there, even if you can’t see it.

  2. japna says:

    ssa ji ..

    every word of what you’ve written is true.
    people in india , in their quest to become modern are becoming western.and this is the way bollywood’s going too, i feel sad when people appreciate movie’s like ‘love aaj kal’ , they send out wrong messages to the youth of the country,and encourage them to behave in ways which don’t abide by indian culture.
    the scene in the metropolitans is even worse.
    i guess all that can be done is to play one’s part . the rest we’ll have to wait and watch .

  3. Harpreet Singh Khalsa says:

    Waheguruji Ka Khalsa Waheguruji Ki Fateh
    I have been reading all sorts of articles, talks and blogs about india or Indian culture recently. I am a sikh, born and brought up in india. I have just finished my master,s degree and in that process have visited and stayed in almost every region of india. I have just felt that we people in Indian have moved and advanced way past the Indians staying abroad. Mostly people come to india with a fixed state of mind and see things what they want to see. People come to india and when they return back they post pictures in their photo albums, named india, In these albums are pictures of slums, poor people and all the negative aspects and they proudly display them to the world. But Sadly for them, they just ignore the new developed india, maybe because it hurts their ego. I have found, most Indian staying abroad, hardcore ‘PENDU’ or DESI or i would say ignorant, but certainly this does not imply to everybody. Modernization is just not limited to English accent
    I read this blog and totally disagree with it. People living abroad, wants India to remain stagnant so that they can have both sides of the coin. When the want to live a western lifestyle, they can go outside india and when suddenly they have that traditional feeling, they look down to india. I had seen the movie a long time back. Yes, definitely it springs some surprises for Indians staying abroad because it clashes with their basic mindset about india. But for us, it life as usual. The movie showed the normal prevailing college culture in india. Yes it is very disappointing for people staying abroad, who were not able to see poverty or slums or something like that because that is what they want to see in india.
    So i just request everybody to shed their ignorance about india and open their eyes to the new emerging superpower. I agree with the fact that there are some very basic problems in india. But let us try to understand both sides of these problems rather than highlighting them and telling the whole world that how much desperate we are, to promote and highlight the weaknesses and problems in india.
    This response is just a general response and is not directed against the author. I am just talking in general and sharing my experiences. Sorry, if you find me harsh.

    • Ranjan Sharma says:

      Very emotional and patriotic but well thought and well written response. I have lived in India and overseas and tend to agree with your comments that we overseas Indian tend to live in past. Sorry we can't change it! I have noticed during my visit to Fiji, the Indian there still have mindset of early 1900's India and have well well maintained those old traditions.

      • Gagan says:

        First of all forgive me if i use hard words . And yes , India is not that India which people living abroad think of . It is well developing and modern now . All this is progress . I agree that with modernization there come some bad parts too . But with old traditions the situation was even bad . We indians are not ashame of our culture . Instead , we are improving our culture , with what everyone calls modernization . Why one leaves India and goes to abroad ? It's not because they are ashamed of their culture . Study , job , home – in short, development is the main reason . That is what happening in India , We are like this because we are progressing . .

  4. Kanwar Singh says:

    I will believe in the hope of ‘progress’ of China and India if and when they do something about the poor state of their domestic human rights. That is a marker for truly valuable modernization. So far all they seem to do is import all the trashy ideas that we’re sick from here and figure out how to do it for half the price. It may well be that in fifty years, many ordinary (non- wealthy) people will look back and feel they gave up more than they really got in exchange for modernization.

  5. Navpreet kaur says:

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

    To me westernization means that society is becoming monotone, kind of like a melting pot, but at the same time people are becoming more accepting of one another’s cultures, which at the same time are becoming more similar (if this even makes sense!) It is kind of a paradox that I see being played out in Canada. Punjabi’s, Middle Easterners, Bengali’s (I hope I spelled those right) etc. are more accepting of eachother, but at the same time their culture’s are adopting more of the western way of thinking, dressing, eating, and therefore are becoming more uniform.

    It is surprising to me that, while the culture in India is starting to blend with the western culture (which is kind of taking the world by storm as the world becomes more global), there are still so many different types of lifestyles still at play. For example, nomads on camels still walk the same streets that motorized vehicles ride on…. there are still people who pull rickshaws… and there are still people who don’t have automated machines and do everything by hand.
    This makes it seem that there is a big disparity between the “rich” and the “poor”. I have to be honest, I question whether the rich want to build an America in India, and leave all of the negative things behind.

    This opinion is my perception of India through media, and I’m sorry if I have offended anyone who lives there.

  6. Sarib Singh Khalsa says:

    There is so much more to America then the triviality we see in popular entertainment. It’s easy to get carried away looking at the state of things on TV and in movies and think all is lost, but what makes America great far outweighs the nonsense.

    It is easy to look back and say “what happened to the old culture”, every generation throughout history has done it. But you miss what is positive and great about today when you do that.

    An interest in “western” ideas that goes deeper then pop culture can yield many positive things that India and many other countries could benefit from. Our cultural perspectives on corruption, equality, liberal education, public service, municipal infrastructure, historic preservation, appreciation and funding for the arts…. the list goes on and on.

  7. Anhad Singh says:

    thank you for posting this!!!!!!

    Bollywood used to have its own charm….once upon a time. What happened?

    And in many ways, Indian-Western culture is a lot worse than actual western culture because of the media. People on the other end of the world try to ‘keep up’ with what they think is the norm for westerners, but in fact, it’s really not as exaggerated as the media portrays.

  8. Leah says:

    The skin color thing has been around for way longer than recently, since before the colonization of India. It was part of the original basis of the caste system. This is not a “Western” thing they are adopting. It just happens to mesh with a parallel problem in the West.

    As for the rest, India is in no danger of not being India. It’s too big and too very much itself. But India is made up of humans, and it’s never going to be some kind of idealized place. It has good things and faults just like anywhere else. It’s not “more spiritual” than anywhere else. That’s the trap Westerners fall into in idealizing India. India can’t give you spiritual enlightenment. That doesn’t come from your environment or a given place. You have to do the work yourself.

  9. Baldeep Singh Dhariwal says:

    Waheguru ji ka khalsa Waheguru ji ki fatheh,

    Our brother has expressed an opinion which is similar to my own. It is possible to have economic development and wealth but still hang onto your roots and culture, the two do not have to be mutually exclusive. When i visited Hong Kong earlier this year it was striking how such a modern and advanced society such as that in south China still have pride in their culture. They wrote all their signs in traditional chinese, spoke chinese (considering the British ruled this as a colony until 1999 English is not that widely spoken!) and followed their traditional customs e.g. temple worship, feng shui, manners, superstitions, medicine, cuisine. Contrasted with Indians who seem to be contented to blindly ape what they see in the west in the name of progress! Travelling around the Punjab seeing all the signs written in English it just doesn’t work, (kartar in english is not the same as kartar in gurmukhi) stick to Gurmukhi guys, many people have fought hard and died to establish and preserve the Gurus language.

    An interesting article I read in an English newspaper (I reside in England) commented that the only reason people imitate western culture is because of the wealth of Europe and the Americas and that in the long run people will start to be drawn towards eastern cultures and myscticism as China and India become major economic powers that overtake the west, people will adopt their values, courtesy, respect, family and spirituality in place of western consumerism that will be interesting to see…

    apologies for the overly long post! Waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh

  10. Singh says:

    Sat Sri Akaal Gurumustuk Singh ji

    Thanks for posting this article. I totally agree with you on this. India is not the same India. India is not becoming western but its situation is even worse than any western country. Just see any Indian News Channel, you will see what’s happening in India, there is so much of greed(for money, sex), corruption, hatred, superstitions, discrimination in the name of religion, upper and lower castes, color, regionalism etc.

    Becoming super power is not making nuclear weapons or dominating the world, but its all about providing the basic amenities to the common people, contrasting to the present situation where people can’t get enough power for their homes, or water to drink.
    We all see one thing as for how it is to us, if you are rich enough to buy a power generator or water, you would never complain about power cuts or water shortages. So a better idea would be to look at a situation from others point of view. Is everybody happy in India ?
    Also, people are proud of being born in India, so what’s special in that, everybody is. Americans are proud to be born in America, Europeans are proud of themselves, that way Indians should also be, but have they done anything for their country ? for what they should be proud of. Then people say it hurts other countrymen ego, when they see India becoming modern. I ask all those people, are they really modern enough to call other people “Pendu” or rustic. The so called Pendu people still have their traditional values/culture alive in their hearts. And they don’t want to see their daughter or sister in half-naked clothes.

    And coming back to you gurumustuk ji, majority of Indian Sikhs are not real Sikhs anymore, for what they do and practice is everything that is condemned and prohibited by our gurus, with all those empty rituals that belong to other religion which is in majority in India. You will be shocked if you reckon how many of the Indian Sikhs are “Amrit-dhari.” I also read an article regarding the movie “Ocean of Pearls” in which a Sikh cut his hair because of his career. But in India itself, you will see people calling themselves as Sikhs, but they don’t look like a Sikh by any means. Its not because of their career, but for looking like an Indian Movie Actor and doing everything an actor does in such movies.

    So what’s our duty is to try keeping ourselves away from this “maya” and live our life as told by our gurus – true and sacred. And always remember this that we all will die one day.

    waheguru ji ka khalsa, waheguru ji ki fateh

  11. Harpreet Singh Khalsa says:

    Waheguru ji ka khalsa
    Waheguru ji ki fateh

    I am so surprised by one of the comments made “majority of Indian Sikhs are not real Sikhs anymore” . How absurd. So now people ,if you want to be called a true sikh, you have to come out of india. ha ha. Well there were few things which i thought must be cleared up. Well Sir , first of all i wanted to know that who gave you the right to decide who the real sikhs are. And to be a real sikh, according to you, we have to migrate outside india and live as second class citizens. Bravo! If you are so much into traditionalism, why are you staying outside india. This is just double standards.
    You guys prefer to stay in a westernized country, follow their styles but go on shouting about india all the time. Leave us alone for a minute and look at your country. And yes we are proud to be an indian and not like some of the people staying abroad who considered being called indian, racist.
    And sir, this naked culture is a part of your country and not our
    . A humble request to you sir, stop watching so many movies and news channels and come out and see the real truth

  12. Barinder says:

    We ‘prefer’ to live outside of India because there is too much corruption in India and hardly any human rights or unity between people. If India wants to progress and keep up with western countries…then at least try to run the country like the smart westerners do….rather than just trying to dress and talk like them. Generally we are spoken to with respect in western countries so when I go to India with my family I get a bit shocked at times when people sometimes don’t have a lot of respect for each other. My opinion is based on what I’ve seen and heard about Punjab. I don’t know what the rest of the country is like. Despite this I always look forward to visiting the land our Gurus once walked on.

  13. Jaskooner Singh says:

    You know there is a modern India now, just like there is a modern China. We had a form of communism and socialism in India for 60 years which just froze our community. Now that India is opening to the international order we can see the great wealth that is forming. In addition to this is the free flow of information. This means that new ideas of doing thnibgs will compete with the old. I welcome it. Culture is a living thing. Our global culture is modelled on America, its a global culture that accepted by many without prejudice. Its not about being ashamed of being Indian. We have been imprisioned in a decaying poltical edifice for 60 years and now, hopefully, this openess will give some competition to the satraps that run India and wash them away. Greater openess is good.

  14. same difference says:

    jo dekhoge vahi dikhega. jo dikha hai usse dekhi gayi chij ke barein mein kam pata lagta hai, dekhne wale ke barein mein jayada lagta hai.

  15. Amrita Kaur says:

    i completely agree!

  16. Gurjeet Singh says:

    I really don’t know what you expect from ”India” and the word “Indians”. Let me give you a very good example, Punjab is just a part of India. If you visit Nothern India this does not mean you can generalise “Indians” to be falling into a specific category of being workoholic and earning their livelihood with agriculture, so to speak, write an essay. It is nice that you wanted to wear Cotton and everything but it is a big judgment when you talk about “Indians” being westernised and behaving like Americans ! I would go with the very first comment with Simran Kaur as she speaks some of my mind. On the other hand I can also understand that you want to probe the reader’s mind and gain some insights. India is very diverse and so are the people living in India. India is a land of mysteries, at least being someone born and brought up in such a diverse country I wouldn’t dare to talk like you do living some place else.

  17. Balraj Singh says:

    I’m not surprised at what you noticed in that film my friend.
    About 10 years ago while studying in India I formed the opinion that we Indians were confused about the very word ‘modern’ because we were embracing everything ‘western’ and called ‘modern’. Things have only gotten worse since. I have lived in Australia for the last 10 years and everything I go back to India, my opinion only grows stronger.

    Here’s an example, You go to Chandigarh (supposedly the most modern city of Punjab – that’s if you consider it a part of Punjab), and try talking to someone in Punjabi..! You’ll be labelled ‘desi’. So someone talking in Punjabi is desi or low class, If you can speak Hindi, you are somewhat acceptable.. and if you know English well enough, you’re cool. Same goes for clothes, food, places you go to.. almost every aspect of life.

    It makes me sad to see what we have become. As far as the bollywood movies go, I have pretty much given up on them. I only watch a hindi movie if I hear from somewhere that it is good.. and even ‘good’ doesn’t always mean I will like it. The amound of nudity and stupidity in most of these movies is just sad. They call themselves bollywood movies, but as observed by Gurumustuk Singh, there’s nothing Indian about them.

  18. Harpreet Gill says:

    Harpreet Singh Khalsa Ji

    “I have just felt that we people in Indian have moved and advanced way past the Indians staying abroad. ”

    Indians abroad rediscover their roots to be me more authentic, rather than try an emulate and fight for left over scraps in official post-modern western culture

    “Mostly people come to india with a fixed state of mind and see things what they want to see.”

    People see what is there, if every single city and town in India has open sewers and a multitude of beggars, thats what one sees

    “People come to india and when they return back they post pictures in their photo albums, named india, In these albums are pictures of slums, poor people and all the negative aspects and they proudly display them to the world.”

    80% of the Indian population live of less than 2 dollars a day, 60% of the inhabitants of Mumbai live in slums, poverty is the the norm in India, poverty is the lot of the majority. The poorest people in the West get goverment handouts equal to the livelihood of dozen middle class Indian families

    “But Sadly for them, they just ignore the new developed india, maybe because it hurts their ego. ”

    India with a population of 1.1 billion has a real nominal economy of 1.25 trillion, a western nation like Canada with just 33 million population has real nominal economy of 1.6 Trillion. Canada with a population base of just 3% of Indias generates greater GDP. India is not developed.

    “I have found, most Indian staying abroad, hardcore ‘PENDU’ or DESI or i would say ignorant, but certainly this does not imply to everybody. ”

    Most Pendu/Desi Indians living abroad have probably read a couple of dozen to a couple of hundred books. Its not alot, but they have some conception of the world around them. Most Indians in India have never even picked up a book not directly related to their studies, while often there parents are illiterate. FYI in some west countries 40% of adult population has university education. A MASTERS DEGREE OR EVEN A PHD MEANS NOTHING IN 2009.

    “Modernization is just not limited to English accent”#

    English accent is everything, I dont agree with it, but its fact. No one in west cares what you look like, what race you are, how you are dressed. BUT THEY CARE ABOUT THE ACCENT. You speak in a dodgy INDIAN-ENGLISH accent, NO ONE WILL TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY.

    “People living abroad, wants India to remain stagnant so that they can have both sides of the coin.”

    People living abroad want India to have
    1. Proper sanitation
    2. All india average of 30% illiteracy eradicated
    3. All india average of 30% extreme starvation level poverty eradicated
    4. Per capita Income of atleast Mexicos level of $10,000 as opposed to India $1000

    “So i just request everybody to shed their ignorance about india and open their eyes to the new emerging superpower. ”

    India is not an emerging superpower. India has 1/10 of the exports of china, 1/8 of the foreign reserves, 1/4 economy, 1/10 of the industrial capacity

    If India disappeared tomorrow the world would not notice. If China disappeared the World system would collaspe.

  19. Harpreet Gill says:

    Gurumustuk Singh Ji
    The 200 million evangelical christian americans live pretty decent lives. Divorce can be a good thing, If 2 people after many years together decide to go their own ways, differences develop, better than being stuck in a loveless unhappy rut in your later middle life/twilight years.

    Most Europeans have several committed monogamous relationships in which they may have children. Psychologist says this is best way for women to be happy, afterall Scandavian countries where this is most prounonced aren’t exactly unpleasant places to live. People are happy in northern europe without any religion.

  20. Anil says:

    Please give me a break. I am an indian, and what do you expect that we still are snake charmers. I mean come on you see a movie that is 1.5 years old and you are shocked at what? its honesty or new breed of directors. I have been to mumbai and the modern youth is exactly like that so you say we are westernized ? Please this the sensibility of any urban youth. (Talking about the movie) and the movie was very good. You never said about its emotional contents or the good screen play . PS watch Dil Chahta Hai, if you want an eye opener. ( DCH was made 8 years ago and depicted present indian youth perfectly.

  21. Harpreet Gill says:

    Ok Anil

    Dil Chahta Hai

    “……… the movie in which all the characters are, without exception, from RICH or UPPER-MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES”

    “The characters are depicted as UPPER-CLASS with LAVISH HOUSES and DESIGNER CLOTHES. They attend art exhibitions and performances of Western opera, and TRAVEL OVERSEAS AS A MATTER OF COURSE”

    Yes Anil that is perfect description of Urban Youth in India

    I wonder why the UN says that 40% of all city dwellers are malnourished! And is particularly bad amongst children.

    SLUM DOG MILLIONAIRE shows real mumbai and the modern indian youth .

  22. Singh says:

    Sat Shri Akaal Ji

    Religion is a way of life, how you live while you are in this world, today’s human being is so busy and obsessed in modern lifestyle, that he doesn’t take into account the spiritual way of life.

    When humans developed their brains they created society and some rules to live in harmony, like marriages – one man can marry only one woman, for the rest of his life, have children just with her, to make the life cycle going.

    If the so called modern society doesn’t accept this, and start living (without marriages) and having children with more than one person in their lives, IS THAT GOOD ?

    A relationship is all about compromises, if you are not ready to make any compromises, can’t we say that, that person is not mentally sane.

    What religion tells us is how to forgive, how to control our emotions. And in this case, how to make up to a relation, if we are not happy with that relation.

    Apart from wife, can we change your mother and father ? or even our son/daughter, If we are not happy with them? Its just that we have blood relation with them and not with our wife, but isn’t that unfair?. If we can make compromises with our blood relations, why not for our wife, the woman who left her parent family, just to be with her husband, for the rest of her life. That implies to Women as well. I don’t think PSYCHOLOGISTS might have answer to that.
    Furthermore, there is no divorce thing in some religions including Sikhism, these religions ensures in committing a life long relation of husband and wife just like other relations, and be aware of our responsibilities towards them.

    Are Non religious people either westerners or eastern really happy? I don’t think so. They might look happy but they are not, we’ll realize that if we look deeper into their lives. And its not their fault, they have accepted the society, which they have seen and have grown up in, nobody told them or made them aware of the things that make difference to their lives, since even their parents don’t know the same for themselves. So what lessons of wisdom will they pass on to their next generation?

    The present day society is going on a wrong path, so its only the religious values that makes us humans aware that what should be the right thing to do in any situation, and what’s not. If we don’t have a wise person to rectify our mistakes when we are wrong, how will we come to know whether we’ve made a mistake or not? And for Sikhs, it is our GURU who gives us that knowledge and understanding to review our lives. GURU teaches us what we haven’t done right and what we have to do, in every situation of our earthly lives.

    So we should all move together, eradicate our differences and collectively make our present world a better place to live, for us and our future generations to come.

    Sorry if I hurt anyone’s feelings, as I don’t want to teach anyone or tell them if they are right or wrong, but I just wanted to tell what I personally feel. If they agree with it, I will be happy otherwise please forgive me.

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

  23. Jaskooner Singh says:

    Hi Harprret,

    This is your comment ‘Most Europeans have several committed monogamous relationships in which they may have children. Psychologist says this is best way for women to be happy, afterall Scandavian countries where this is most prounonced aren’t exactly unpleasant places to live. People are happy in northern europe without any religion…’

    Psycologists say this is good for the women but it is most certainly not good for the children. The rules of the family are their to protect children not the mother and father, Marriage can be a life sentence for the parents but it so that you don’t casually dump your children later on. People in north europe are protestants. They do take their religion very seriously if you read their history. They exterminated all the catholics and now have a homogenus society. They also have strict controls on alcohol consumption :D so they do not get too happy.

  24. Mrugesh says:

    Here, there are two sides of coin. People here t in awe of Western culture. The person who speaks English is considered more cultured and smart than the person who speaks in mothertongue. white skin is considered more beautiful. Western clothes are considered stylish. Indians have a HUGE inferiority complex when it comes to west.

    But on the other side I see those NRI (non residential Indians who I also call non reliable Indians) speaks about how they love their country and culture. Lol if they really loved it, why did they left India ? Please live in this country than only you get the right to speak about it. You yourself has left the country for your own good (being selfish and not thinkin about how much this country needs you) and now u r advising us on how to live ? We have not left the country. We still are living in the same culture. We are working for our homeland, we are paying for it.We love it.

    any NRI (non reliable Indian) has no right to speak about India.

    I am sorry.

  25. P. Gill says:

    I don’t know if India is still India….but the pinds of punjab are still the pinds of punjab.
    Having been born and brought up in the USA it was a huge shock for me when i went to india as a grown up for the first time in 2006. my contemporary generation(cousins etc) living in cities like chandigarh, ludhiana are more “American” than I am. they go out, party, date, dress in minimal clothing which has been a NO NO growing up here within our sikh community. I could not identify with them at all and I am sure they thought i was “desi” “pendu”
    However, visiting cousins from small villages I felt more at home- the culture, the traditions are still present and something i could identify with.
    as for bollywood movies- well all bollywood movies are targeted for NRI audiences as this is where they make the most money. unfortunately the film makers don’t realize that if all american indians wanted to see such sleazy stuff..we can catch a hollywood flick any day.
    the bollywood history is an evidence that majority of the overseas hit movies have been -ddlj, gadar, hum aapke hain kaun have remained the norms of indian culture.

  26. Nishit says:

    Mr. Harpreet i think u have some figures which even Indian Government doesnt have lol….why look at poverty look how many people are der in forbes rich list from India ?? well every year in top 10 5 are Indians ….Mumbai is still d financial backbone of Asia pacific ….in recession also only one country grew and dat was INDIA…..I live in Australia but I am proud to be an INDIAN…..have u been to any slum ?? if ur so worried abt slums and poverty why dont u do something rather den writing all dis crap on a blog? wait till 2020 INDIA will show d west and second class overseas living Indian slumdogs what INDIA is…JAI HIND JAI JAWAAN…..

  27. Rohn says:

    Mr Nishit

    Don’t take out your frustration on other people here, i read this blog, this blog is all about expressing your feeling, without arguing, what Harpreet said was according to the facts, HOW CAN YOU SAY “India” WILL SHOW THE WORLD IN 2020 ?? What will it show ? And how can you dare to say Overseas Indians are second class Slumdogs, U live abroad right?? why don’t you go back to your country, if you are so irritated. Why did you left your motherland ? If every INDIAN gets an opportunity to leave India, the whole country will empty out, because everybody is just dreaming of foreign lands like anything, and don’t ask why, you better know that, see the condition of the country. i’ll tell some of the things, to name some:

    * Indian CBI works under political pressure, its proved now. So rules are only for poor not for the rich.
    * On festivals like Diwali, people make duplicate milk products to make adulterated Indian sweets and sell it to common people, ie poisoned sweets. Do they care about festivals ?
    * Last month there was a news of supplying animals blood in hospitals to transfuse to humans by putting wrong labels on it, do they care about human’s life ?
    * You can’t get any Government work done with giving bribe. I know that for myself.
    * China is intruding into India every year and occupying Indian land in eastern India, And Indian pathetic Army Chief is saying, ” China didn’t intruded more than what it does every year, so no need to fear.” hahaha, is that what the Army Chief of the next super power is supposed to say ?
    There are so many things to tell, far beyond the relevance of this blog. So please don’t be in the dreamworld, and see the reality

  28. Harpreet Gill says:

    Mr Nishit

    Rich Indians are nothing to brag about. They are oligarchs ruling over Indias modest (compared to India population base) primary, secondary & tertiary industrys

    India the second most populus nation on earth has a modest 6 companies on the fortune 500, India largest commercial concern “Indian Oil Corporation” is not even in the top 100

    The Ambanis company is not even in the top 200!

    Laxmi Mittal is NRI, his company is headquarted in Luxembourg……no where near India

    India’s IT backoffice is nothing to brag about

    Tiny Czech Republic a nation of 11 million has a trading profile that matches india, especially in IT. Czech Republic IT exports equal Indias, Czech Republic total exports are worth the roughuly the same as Indias

    India makes on barely 1% of World Trade & 2% World IT market

    Who cares about Azim Premji

    On the list of cities by GDP Mumbai is number 37. In the asia-pacific (excluding Japan), Sydney, Melbourne, Shanghai and ofcourse Sinagapore, Seoul & Hong Kong are the cities to be reckoned with…….Not Mumbai

  29. Dulbindraj says:

    Although I reside outside of India I would like to offer a neutral opinion on all this. Facts remain clear that the middle class in India is enjoying its lifestyle better than those living outside of India. One example is that an average Indian middle class/ upper class family has servants, maids, and drivers whereas an average middle class Indian family living outside of India cannot afford these luxuries. Another example is that majority of married Indian women in India don’t work and the indian husbands are the ones who work and provide for the entire family. Whereas Indians residing outside of india don’t have this option as the lifestyle is expensive for one person to support. In India average Indian has more spending power than average Indian diaspora. India has been ranked at the third place in global foreign direct investments this year, following the economic meltdown, and will continue to remain among the top five attractive destinations for international investors during the next two years, according to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in a new report on world investment prospects titled, ‘World Investment Prospects Survey 2009-2011’.Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow to India was US$ 3.5 billion in July, 56 per cent higher than US$ 2.25 billion in the same month a year ago, according to the Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Anand Sharma. FDI equity inflows amounting to US$ 10.532 billion were received during April-July 2009.India’s FDI inflows touched about US$ 7.016 billion in the April-June period this fiscal. The country has attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) worth US$ 2.58 billion in June 2009, an eight per cent increase over the same month last year as against the FDI inflow of US$ 2.39 billion in June 2008, according to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). The FDI inflow in May 2009 was US$ 2.1 billion.While the services sector comprising financial and non-financial services attracted US$ 1,855 million in April- June period of the current fiscal, computer software and hardware sector garnered about US$ 239 million in the said period.In 2009-10, during the April-June period, Mauritius has led the investors into India with US$ 3,369 million worth FDI, followed by the US with US$ 813 million and Singapore, US$ 372 million.The Government on September 8, 2009, approved nine FDI proposals amounting to about US$ 15.39 million, including High Mark Credit Information Services, whose FDI proposal is worth US$ 4.74 million. The FIPB has also cleared a proposal by Ramboll Singapore involving an FDI of US$ 4.54 million, to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary to provide engineering consultancy services in the field of oil and gas.Other proposals that have been cleared are UK’s Ramboll Whitbybird Holdings, Amann Sewing & Embroidery Threads, Rescal S.A.S France, Housing Development Finance Corp, and Marconi Telecommunications. Six applicants, including the US$ 24.67 million-FDI proposal of Network18 Media & Investments, have been advised to access automatic route.
    Earlier, the government had cleared 10 foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals which will bring in US$ 229.67 million. The largest FDI of US$ 153.31 million will be brought in by Essel Group-promoted DTH service provider, Dish TV India through issue of foreign currency convertible bonds in collaboration with foreign investors such as Afro-Asian Satellite Communication Ltd, Delgrada Ltd and Lazarus Investment Ltd.A trade facilitation body UK-India Business Council (UKIBC) survey has ranked Pune as the most suitable place for British investments in India. The survey report, titled ‘Opportunities for UK Plc in Emerging Cities in India’, also rated eight other cities—Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Goa, Indore, Kochi, Nagpur and Vadodara—as the most conducive destinations for UK investments in India.The Indian retail market, which is the fifth largest retail destination globally, has been ranked the most attractive emerging market for investment in the retail sector by A T Kearney’s annual Global Retail Development Index (GRDI), in 2009. A recent Ernst & Young study predicts Mumbai and Bangalore to be the next global centres of investment along with Shanghai.On the other hand once India starts to progress all the human rights violation will forgotten and ignored by the rest of the world. European countries or America will not pressurise India for its human rights violation because economic policy (trading among countries, bilateral ties, and etc) always outweigh human rights. India’s political system is among the most mature in the world, but it is juxtaposed by real human rights concerns that are quite severe in nature. Among the gravest, is the continued impunity from prosecution of the hundreds of right-wing Hindus that took part in pogroms against the minority Muslim community in Gujarat. Besides Gujarat, there are ongoing concerns of unlawful killings and other human rights violations in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir as well as incredible levels of violence by both security forces and armed opposition groups in the northeastern states of Assam, Tripura and Manipur. Torture, meanwhile, is endemic to all of the police forces in the country and there is a lack of will to prevent torture.

    Thus, Amnesty International remains concerned about the impunity, unlawful killings and endemic torture that culminate to make India a grave concern for AI and the human rights community.
    This does not mean that I support this step but I am just pointing it out.

  30. Harpreet Gill says:

    Dulbindraj Ji

    Excellent point about middle class indian families and disapora Indians. But Diaspora Indians have picturesque cities, towns to walk around in, whereas even Mumbai national park is being encroached upon by thousands slum dwellers. Middle class family in Ludhiana may live the high live in the ‘kothi’ but still has open sewers and beggars two inches outside the front gate. The live in true western style surburb in Indias Gated communities i.e, without sewers/beggars/traffic/pollution cost around £2,000,000 or $4 million dollars or god knows how many rupees.

    As for your extensive FDI list, my God.

    Lets say the TOTAL FDI in 2009 will be $50 billion dollars, NO lets just say including everything you listed and more from all other sources India get $100 billion in foriegn money invesment.

    $100 billion a year equals to less that $100 dollars per Indian, thats nothing

    If india was Sweden, or Czech Republic then all that FDI you listed is awesome. But india is not a nation of 10 Million, or even 100 million but 1.1 Billion.

    All that FDI you listed worked out per capita head probably comes to nothing as I think all your figures probably do not add up to $20 billion dollars, thats less than 20 dollars per indian head

    So in conclusions

    Excellent if your country is Norway with 5 million population, Great if your country is Australia with 20 million population, Still pretty good if your country is Russia with 150 million population………..and so on……or even brazil with 200 million people…………….but terrible if your population is 1.1 billion/1132,000,000 expected to exceed chinas by 2020, and probably hit TWO BILLION by 2100 because indian fertility rate is still far above replacement level of 2.1 children per woman

  31. Teg says:

    I think you portray the situation quite correctly. Unfortunately Indians are aping the worst of the western culture instead of the values of rule of law, ethics and tolerance for others. The mass murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent Sikhs by Indian security forces and Government sponsored mobs and complete lack of justice is unheard of in modern western societies. There is very widespread difference in the poor and rich and hundreds of millions live in squalor and poverty. India is hiding its truth of the REAL India and what we see in the media is artificial urban situations far removed from the hunger illiteracy, exploitation and corruption.

  32. sukhwinder singh says:

    Hi all , all i know abt india is, as i have been to europe for 7 yrs, now am working in india, wat i come to know is we dont have any system here, from thehead to the toe every thing is corrupt. you can not trust the system, there is no law. all you need is money or political links, n you can do wat you want. an innocent and common man has to wait for yrs and yrs to get the justice, as you know anti sikh riots victims, no one has been punished by the courts, even after 25 yrs, more then 250000 sikhs were killed on the road sides, not just this in recent years how many Christians were killed n raped, how many Muslims were killed, and along side i want to draw the attention to the media as well, i have not seen any news regarding Christian killings on the TV. wat does this mean, media is biased, they are not working as they sh,d. The money, govt. is spending on ruining the minor communities, they can better utilise it for the welfare of the society ,you see wat is happening in punjab. kind of policy the govt has for punjab, drugs and all, all by the govt.for destrying sikhism. how can one serve the country, unless one can trust the system, hopeless india.

  33. Harpreet Gill says:

    Just for some perspective about how modern or spirtually enlightened india is in 2009

    “Two million slum children die every year as India booms”

    Nearly two million children under five die every year in India – one every 15 seconds – the highest number anywhere in the world.

    World Health Organisation figures show India ranks 171st out of 175 countries for public health spending.

    ….the country still lags behind other developed countries, with only 0.7 hospital beds per 1,000 people compared with a global average of 4.

    But even in the capital, Delhi, where an estimated 20% of people live in slums, the infant mortality rate is reported to have doubled in a year, though city authorities dispute this.

  34. Rochelle says:

    Gurumustuk, I understand your frustrations with the problems we have in America and “Westernization” in India, but do try to keep things in perspective. I don’t think you can get a well-rounded idea of either culture simply from Hollywood or Bollywood movies and television. Yes, in many ways America is more secular, but at the same time it has a strong conservative streak, and many spiritual people as well (some radically spiritual–have you seen the documentary, “Jesus Camp?”). I’ve spoken to many Indians who come to realize after spending time in the U.S. that our culture there is much more complex than what they’ve seen in movies and television.

    The Bollywood movie you saw I think is not a good representative of what India is. In fact, I don’t think it’s a good perspective of Bollywood movies in general. There are still a number of Bollywood and regional movies that come out each year that shows “traditional India” (or at least some parts of traditional India). Many Indians still revere their culture as the best in the world, to the point of ignoring its many huge problems. I even read an article on that subject in the Hindustan Times many months ago.

    Despite America’s cultural problems (and I think no country is devoid of them), I still plan to move back to the U.S. and raise my daughter there rather than in India. Having married into a North Indian family, I’ve seen how difficult life is for women in this area, and how few choices they have in life, unless their family (and later their in-laws from a traditional arranged marriage) choose to allow them more independence and freedom in their lives. Maybe this is more common in Delhi, but here in Punjab and Chandigarh, old traditions abound, and many of my husband’s female relatives are not very happy with their lot in life, as they deal with husbands and in-laws who treat them badly, and sometimes force them to abort their unborn daughters. I want my daughter to grow up learning that she can have choices in her life without interference from a host of relatives, that she can choose not to marry if she wishes (and can marry who she wants if she does choose to marry), and have the opportunity to build a career and live on her own if she wishes (it’s unusual to see single young women living on their own in India, and is not very wise due to high crime rates even in “good” neighborhoods).

    I have to say that the U.S. government system, while not perfect, is many times better than here. It’s taken us 2 1/2 years just to register our marriage (finally completed this past Tuesday), due to the high bureaucracy and corruption in Indian government and its tendency to get involved in private matters it should not.

    I hope no-one is offended by my comments, and I realize there are also good things in Indian culture, but my personal experiences here has strongly informed my decision about what would be best for our own family. I truly believe there is much more to America than the problems you’ve mentioned, and is not representative of the whole of either society. Though it’s a cliche, I truly believe that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

  35. Harpreet Gill says:

    Today only 7 percent of Chinese children under age 5 are underweight, whereas the figure for India is 43 percent. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, which most people assume to have the direst poverty statistics, the average child-malnutrition rate is 28 percent.

  36. Hanif says:

    This is indeed India! The land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendour and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genii and giants and Aladdin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of hundred nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of traditions, whose yesterday’s bear date with the modering antiquities for the rest of nations-the one sole country under the sun that is endowed with an imperishable interest for alien prince and alien peasant, for lettered and ignorant, wise and fool, rich and poor, bond and free, the one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the world combined.
    Mark Twain

  37. We also started to watch a Netflix Hindi Bollywood film several weeks ago. It seemed very unrealistic to me as the main characters all were very wealthy and as western as possible. The dancing was not at all graceful, very suggestive with women in scanty clothing. Everything seemed to be about superficial values, really very boring, so we switched it off. I haven’t been to India, but If that’s what it’s like, I can’t imagine that I’d ever want to go anywhere outside of a gurdwara sahib..