As a software professional and a traveller and having travelled and lived in different countries in Asia, Africa and Europe i have heard about many different views about the indian culture and different perspective which sometimes differ from each other.I have lived in 5 major cities ( Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and chennai) and travelled across the length and breadth of India and with this blog i would like to end some of the common myth's that usually people have about india.
Disclaimer - I understand that talking about various aspects of a country of 1.3 billion and generalizing will be a difficult task and hence should only be considered as my personal views and disagreements are welcome. I believe this will help people who are not from India or are Indian's but have a one dimensional view about india.
Myth 1 ) India has a very hot and humid weather throughout the year
Truth - The middle and the southern part of India geographically is in between the imaginary lines of tropic of cancer and equator. Hence may,june,july are hot months in the areas around these lines. However not to forget that in the northern parts of india we have the Himalayan ranges. Not only it guards the country from the borders of China but also from the heat . The Northern states and terrotories of Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal , Uttrakhand, Parts of UP, Bihar, Westbengal ( Darjelling) , Sikkim etc are quite cold throughout the year wherein temperatures go down to zero degrees and also have snow showers. Also in the southern states their are many hill stations which are cold most time of the year, Like ooty in tamilnadu, Coorg in Karnataka, Munnar in kerala. To add, North and east of india has all the season's, Dec to feb - Winter, March to june - Summer, July to september - Monsoon, October to Nov - Autumn.Hence if you visit india, make your choices accordingly.Below is the image of the himalayan mountains throughout the year.
Myth 2) Indians speak one language
Truth - The Eighth Schedule of the Constitution consists of the following 22 languages –Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santhali, Maithili and Dogri. There are many other languages and dialects but these 22 made official. English is spoken by only 10% of indians which makes it 130 million people in india speaking english. Hence it may sound a huge number to many outside india but if we travel outside those corporate offices in india, people speak their own native languages and also businesses, and offices run with the same local languages.
Myth 3) India has only one source of income - Software outsourcing
Truth - As you can see the statistics over the last 10 yrs,contribution of software outsourcing to indian GDP is 7.5% on an average which is an increase from 5% in 2009. The sectors which contributes to india's Gross domestic product mainly are Agriculture, forestry & fishing , Industry and services.
Myth 4) Visiting any particular region of india is good enough to generalize India
India is a federal union comprising 28 states and 8 union territories,for a total of 36 entities.People of these 36 entities have different thought process, food habits, culture, languages, upbringing. Its like many EU countries combined into one or like various states in the US. Hence visiting any particular state of india shouldn't be used as a parameter to generalize.
Personality - If i distinguish personalities of different people of India by region. Southern states have people who are primarily very humble and soft spoken with high literacy rate. People from the west of india are the most patriotic ( Not saying other's are not but i said most). People from east ( where i come from) are primarily intellectual and have more inclination towards art,culture and literature. The people from the north where Alexander had stopped his conquest are mostly quite brave and outspoken. All these in my opinion evolved due to various historical events and other factors.
Food habits - Diet in east of india has primarily fish&rice. In North its indian bread ( chappati) and vegetables and also includes other non vegetarian items. In West its bread, rice , vegetables. In south its rice, lentils and vegetables and non veg.
Holy Cow - Yes beaf is banned in some parts in india (some parts do allow) as Cow is considered holy in India. I am sure people will respect culture as they do in their own country.
Clothing - For men, traditional clothes are the Sherwani, Bandhgala, Lungi, Kurta, Dhoti or Pajama. For women - Sari is something that unites the country.
Best minds - Again , gems are not found in a particular region, they are spread across different parts of the country, we will have to keep our minds open to spot it.
Religion - 75% people being hindu.20% Muslims and 5 % others.
Race - What is that ? Most indian's living in india do not have much idea about race. Main reason being there is only one race(Indian) predominatly who lives in india apart from outsourced bollywood dancers from europe,sports players from australia,students from northern africa.The race culture as in west thankfully doesn't exist but yes religion does.
Movies,sports & common festivals such as Holi, Diwali helps building the concept of Unity in diversity in India.
Myth 5 ) India loves cricket because of its colonial past
Truth - Just after the WW2 ended and india become a republic , basically around the year 1950's , the primary sports indian's loved was hockey,reason being india won the gold medal in 1948 olympics. Then in the 1960's came the football era with the likes of Diego Maradona and local soccer clubs evolved in India. Its only in 1983 when an inexperienced Indian team won the cricket world cup in England , focus shifted to cricket. Also many overseas marketing companies took this oppurtunity to use cricket as a tool to sell stuff in india and money got involved in cricket. Today india's cricket board is the richest in the world making this a lucrative source of income.So cricket is just not a sport, its a complete package and has nothing to do with colonization.
Myth 6 ) Indian software professional's are not applying brains as compared to their western collegues.
Truth - The people who join I.T are mostly young from 21 to 25 of age and are trained to follow instructions and respect the hierarchy culture. Hence meeting few of those young minds and drawing a conclusion will be an overstatement. Its a fact that indian professional's who have moved out of India and have a better pay grade and have gained experience are quite competitive.Also to add , as highlighted before, not every bright mind is working in Indian I.T industry which is not a high paying job atleast for the people based in india.Lot of india's talent choose other sectors wherein salaries have increased.
With that , will end the part 1 of myth busting blog here. If you have questions or queries, please do reach out to me , also do post your comments,like and share this blog if you find it useful. Thank you
By Aniruddha Biswas
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