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Misleading reports about Indians throwing their babies

August 24, 2009

finalHave you heard about babies being thrown from roofs for their own good as some kind of traditional ritual? My guess is that you haven’t, unless you read about it in the last year or two in some foreign publication. There have been  news stories about this baby throwing “ritual” abroad and the impression created is that this is a traditional Indian ritual.

It was when Shefaly sent me a news clipping from the Daily Mail (UK) that I became aware of this so-called ritual. While the article does say at the start that “This particular ritual took place in the village of Harangal, Parbhani, in India’s Maharashtra,” it goes on to add that this “…annual event, which is thought to have been followed by Hindus and Muslims for nearly 700 years in the belief the fall ensures good health and prosperity for their families”. This together with the headline “Horrific baby-throwing ritual in India where toddlers are tossed from roof for good luck” are all meant create horror and disgust in the minds of readers. It is not meant to inform.

This is what Shefaly said when she sent the link:

Although this article appears in a tabloid, the tabloid is read by the masses here and opinions are formed about entire 1 Billion of Indians based on the crap they constantly write.

S0-called respectable newsites also circulate this sort of nonsense, calling it a ritual that “Indian villagers” follow. On the CNN newsite last year they said:

In a ritual that would terrify most mothers, Indian villagers have cheered as screaming babies were dropped from a 50-foot temple tower…

Most “Indian villagers” would be surprised to hear of such a ritual, and I am not talking just in India, in Maharashtra state too. CNN mentions the  village as Musti village in the district of Solapur, Maharashtra, but the article ingenuously clarifies that “it also takes place elsewhere in the country, mostly in smaller villages, on special occasions.”

I was quite sure that this ritual is rare in India, and not just today in 2009, but from the beginning of  Time. Had people even heard  heard of it? I hadn’t, but then I was city-bred.  I called up some relatives of mine who live in rural Maharashtra (my mom’s side has farmers)  and none of them knew of it. I called up a blogger, Suda, who is originally from rural Maharashtra, and asked him as well. He hadn’t heard of baby-throwing, although when asked his mom recalled that it was an isolated practice which took place in a few villages in the heart of Maharashtra.

I wish the foreign media had bothered to explain this fact, and had also mentioned that India is a diverse country with different ethnic groups. If something happens in one village, it need not happen in the village next-door and certainly not in a village a thousand miles away. The news reports should also have clarified that “baby throwing” is unfamiliar to the vast majority of Indians. Ninety-nine point nine percent of them.

Misleading reports fuel racism. This article on baby-throwing has given rise to a fair number of racist comments. Some readers got so carried away that they compared this practice with female circumcision/genital mutilation in Africa, while others who are not racist, defended India and felt that westerners should look into their own cruel practice of male circumcision. And even readers of the Daily Mail have compared it to male circumcision. But hey, male circumscision is widespread and even female genital mutiliation is not an unusual traditional practice in some African countries. But baby dropping is extremely unusual in India!

A commentator asks why the western world does not dig into its own colonial and cruel past:

And you also used to take half caste children from their families and force them to assimilate in hopes that their race would just disappear. Which was a failure by 1910 but didn’t actually end until 1970

A comment on the Daily Mail article, probably by a disgruntled and angry Indian says:

You have more child abuse in England with all your peadophiles and wicked parents raping and killing little kids than in India. Sort out your horrible culture and mind your business.

Angry and retaliatory words which are a reaction to some racist comments, but these retaliatory comments (some by westerners, some by Indians) are few and far between. Most readers condemn, blindly believing that Indians throw their babies from rooftops! While on this topic, it is necessary to mention that the practice of Sati, where widows throw themselves on their husband’s pyre, is an ancient practice which used to take place in some parts of India, but today it is rare.

I know we shouldn’t be surprised when India gets slammed for something it hasn’t done, because we seem to have a reputation of being a primitive society. The evil practices here, like female foeticide, dowry, and child marriages have created this impression. The good things about India are rarely highlighted in the west, and if they are, it’s all about economic development. The fact that there are a lot of good things about Indian society, like for example the closeness between family members, the feeling of community, and the child-centricness of families, but these things are ignored by many westerners. Probably these seem to be the contradictions of India that the West cannot understand. It is never easy to understand any society, be it an eastern one or a western one.  There will always be contradictions, because societies are complex and evolving, they are dynamic and alive. All societies have their value systems, their ethics, and all societies have their double standards.

What is saddening that even as India tries hard to rid itself of its evil (stern laws against child marriages, dowry-taking, domestic violence and female foeticide) the  western press doesn’t seem to highlight this. So while it may not see India as a land of snake charmers and elephants anymore, it does seem to see India as a backward, primitive society.

Today when the world has become a smaller and flatter place, where people of all races mingle, misinformation that creates distrust and hatred is to be condemned. Britain in particular should be careful as it is a virtual hotpot of different races.

Related Reading: British teens and Indian parenting
The disadvantages of British Rule in India
Is Britain as multi-cultural as India?

India is a multi-cultural multi-racial country
What I love about being Indian
Humans love to form ghettos

The difference between the East and the West in pictures

128 Comments leave one →
  1. vasudev permalink
    August 24, 2009 2:24 pm

    nita
    seems true, unfortunately! read about it last year.

    http://indiatoday.intoday.in/index.php?issueid=&id=54470&option=com_content&task=view&sectionid=4

    Yes, ofcourse it is true. That is where it happens, a few villages in sholapur district. It is not an “Indian” ritual. – nita

  2. Vinod permalink
    August 24, 2009 3:17 pm

    Nita, this may help
    (Link to video)

    Vinod, I am deleting the link to the video as it makes my site difficult to load for those on dial-up. Plus it is an extra link which affects my page rank. Usually I allow links if they add to the post but most people do not know that every link on my site and in my comments affects my site rank adversely. However I still publish links, even in my main posts, but I try to avoid them if the are unnecessary. I had come across several videos but deliberately did not post them. In any case the issue in this case is the misleading news reports. Seeing videos of horrific scenes is of no use to this post.

    • Vinod permalink
      August 24, 2009 4:29 pm

      Nita, I should have read your article more carefully. I thought the thrust was that it did not happen and the news articles were completely false. That is why I posted the link.

      But now that I get the thrust of your post, give my sobering view of journalism standards, I don’t feel so bad actually. If I compare the way the muslim world gets covered by the press in the world, India gets royal treatment.

  3. ThinkingIndian permalink
    August 24, 2009 3:47 pm

    Oh no!
    The Daily Trash…errrr…the Daily Mail is indeed read by the masses, although everyone I know loves to pretend to trash it in public.

    But I’ll have you know – there are a few ( very very few) smart people in many western countries who laugh their heads off at CNN ( pathetic populist sell-out) and Fox news.

    I recommend Al Jazeera TV’s Listening Post for balanced media coverage. That and reading analytical sites on the Net.

  4. August 24, 2009 4:07 pm

    Frankly,I have never heard of this before though I have travelled widely to rural Maharashtra.But it could be partly true.We do tend to observe some such rituals,especially in the rural areas.

    that’s true BKC, in rural pockets these things can happen. – Nita

  5. August 24, 2009 4:23 pm

    your blog looks so interesting and a very good time pass,i welcome you to my blog and leave your valuable comments,i like to add you in blog roll.
    may i get a place in your blog roll….

  6. August 24, 2009 4:24 pm

    Hi Nita,

    This news was covered in India today or headlines today (some Indian news channel) just a few days back. This ritual of baby throwing was from the first floor of a mosque. The babies that are thrown are caught on a thin cloth held on its edges by 4 people.
    Along with this, a few other rituals were also covered – toddlers allowed to play with live scorpions, using school children for some bike stunt n things like that.
    It is our news media that is more crappy than the west.

    I don’t have a very high opinion of our own media either NP. However, I am not sure if they said it was an Indian practice and that it happened in Indian villages as a whole. I am not at all against reporting the truth. Unsavoury incidents should definitely be reported, but no misinformation. Our media too is not anything great by these standards, but in this particular incident I don’t think they said it happened in India as a whole. However I may be wrong here. – Nita.

  7. Lakshmi permalink
    August 24, 2009 4:30 pm

    You say ‘closeness between family members’, but isn’t that universal? It’s not specific to India. And as India has a horrendously high incidence of child abuse, most of it within the family, and has a culture of silence especially around sexual abuse of children, I would hardly classify India as ‘child centric’. A country where millions of children are on the streets, and in bonded and other forms of labour and in brothels and in lousy orphanages — is not exactly ‘child friendly’.

    Lakshmi

    Lakshmi, I am not denying what you are saying, but our society is full of contradictions. I have in fact written a lot of posts on India’s cruel attitude towards children, but if we talk of normal, (not dysfunctional) families, I do believe our society is child-centric. A lot of the abuse takes place because of the poverty. For eg. child labour, which is almost non-existent in developed countries. If you take an average Indian family, our culture is child-centric. Individualism is frowned upon. I know children who sleep with their parents even when they are 12, I know children who go out with their parents, who rarely go out alone. Parents in India go out iwth their kids usually or with family. -When we compare, let us compare a family of similar living standards in the UK and India, and see how they behave towards their children. If a family sells their child so that others can be fed, well, a family in the UK in these circumstances can do it too. – Nita.

    • Lakshmi permalink
      August 25, 2009 10:58 am

      Child sexual abuse is prevalent across classes in all societies for one thing, and not just the poor. For another, when you judge a society you do not count the number of familes who are not abusing their children. We need to look at statistics (ours are horrendous) and the question is what have we as a society done, and what has the government done. Very little. Because child labor and trafficking is a billion dollar business and the nexus spreads across politicians and the police. And the illiteracy and lack of healthcare. I don’t think we have an excuse. To talk about families that are not abusing their children is extremely self-centered.

      Lakshmi, I share your horror about the child sexual abuse and other child abuse, but I do not see Indians as being abusive of their children, I see them in fact very attached to their children and loving them beyond limits. In fact I think Indians tend to love their children a little too much, to the extent of spoiling them (for a selfish reason probably as they expect to be looked after in their old age), and yes I see it even amongst the poor. And I never said that child abuse happens only amongst the poor! I said child labour, one example of child abuse, happens amongst the poor. I think child abuse happens in dysfuntional families, dysfunctional in some way or the other, either economic, or psychological. This is my opinion, and it may be different from yours but I fail to see it as self-centered. Feeling this does not take away the horror of child abuse. I feel this and I feel strongly about child abuse which you will realise if you read all the posts on my blog on this issue. – Nita

    • Sachin permalink
      September 4, 2009 6:25 pm

      I would hate to critcise India in terms of the developed nations, but it is not true to state that Indian society is “child centric”. It is as much child centric as much as it is “gender neutral” towards women.
      Children are largely brought up in distraction and taught to “obey and respect their elders”. We are a semi fascist society when it comes to children. In public transport, in social functions, in daily life scant attention is give to children; where they will sit, where they will eat, where they will sleep….all of it just does not matter…”arrey baccha hai, so jaye ga na” is teh normal refrain.

      On teh otehr hand I have first hand knowledge of how child centric nations such as Spain, Netherland, Germany, New Zealand, Australia are so very severe on formally protecting and caring for children and their rights.

      The lack of love and affection in Indis has very little to do with poverty, because in truth the poor (especially tribal communities) are extremely affectionate and caring for their children. The real horror are the middle and upper middle classes; here we can see routine verbal and physical abuse of children.

      Reputed public schools and boarding schools make physical abuse of children (ragging) an essential aspect of “growing up, becoming a man”- they glorify such aggression against the weak. This anger and aggression is handed out from husband to wife, parents to children, teachers to children…and the chain continues and is a product of rampant FEUDALISM is our culture and social norms.

      These feudal attributes are strictly enforced in our daily lives where children are taught to piss and shit anywhere, children are expected to look after their elders (and not the other way around), the rich are abusive and rough on the poor, those in big cars honk and aggressively push aside those on bikes or pedestrians, the politicians, police and adminstration routinely violate all pinciples of human rights and dignity with impunity…all this eventually stems from a society which is ruled by bullies which eventually translates into immense child abuse. India is a country which justifies and perpetrates immense, immeasurable, raging daily violence against children.

      People are frustrated with their unhappy lives where it is such a struggle just to survive, we are fractured and caste ridden, religiously divided, linguistically broken, and hammered by a vicious uncaring rapacious government…and instead of fighting against the incompetence of governance and demanding more democratic and accountable governance. Instead of confronting the government agencies for better services etc, a large section of people in India have chosen the path of cowardice and they choose to take out their frustration on their children, women and the poor.

  8. ThinkingIndian permalink
    August 24, 2009 5:13 pm

    Current FYI:
    CNN today showed child brides in India…quoting some unnamed Indian “TV producer with 74 million viewers” !!! …now we know why some Americans ask why whether we have heard of refrigerators

  9. ThinkingIndian permalink
    August 24, 2009 5:16 pm

    And that old footage of babies being thrown from a roof onto a bedsheet was shows 2 years ago

    • August 24, 2009 5:20 pm

      Thanks for your comments ThinkingIndian. You are spot on!! :)

  10. August 24, 2009 6:03 pm

    I have seen this on News Channels too (I cannot remember which one though).
    They showed the complete video covering the whole ritual, how they throw (rather carefully drop) the babies from the roof (1st floor, I guess) on to a bed-sheet which 4 people are holding as a safety-net below, so that the baby doesn’t suffer injury. For them it is some holy thing to do, some ritual, something that would bless them and for us and for the rest of the world, well well well…

    yes Jagmeet, it is supposed to be done in good faith. I guess in ancient times these things were done, and they are certainly not as bad as some things which are deliberate crimes. – Nita

  11. August 24, 2009 6:30 pm

    Nita, You are right.Western world should highlight India’s progress instead of these practices.

    thanks Rashid. I agree. – Nita

    • Lakshmi permalink
      August 25, 2009 10:53 am

      The progress that 20% of our 1 billion has made? Only middle class Indians can ask that. The world does see the other 80% as dominant. And isn’t it?

  12. August 24, 2009 7:30 pm

    how come nobody’s avatar is visible? Generalization about a whole country just on the basis of some ritual being practiced at some village is bad. I guess they wanted to show India in a bad light intentionally.

    yeah, maybe to feel good about themselves! And those people don’t have avatars! :) – Nita

  13. August 24, 2009 8:06 pm

    Its funny , this sort of perception(i.e. that Indians are like this) is of say a person , more fiction than real. For all our beliefs and rituals put together, you will not be able to find one person who follows them all.

    I have heard friends who have gone on student exchange programme tell us that “they think there are Elephants on our streets and snake charmers on the street corners” , pity, unfortuantely for these romantics, my generation might be the last(from the urban areas) which can recall such sights.

    We read about drug abuses and smoking in the west, in fact many people here have such a narrow view of “westerners” that they are seen as the “devil”(and I now discover that it runs deeper than I thought..college shows you these things). Maybe this is universal, maybe we fear that such things “might take over the world”, that xenophobia , racism are invoked as a form of self-defense.

    And of course we should also look at the various “divisions” within the country. In school , though you could hear people say” he is a North Indian” or things like that , it was always within the limits..but I do find that people aren’t lets say sweet in their language. And then there is the economic divide and the social divide. College has been enlighting in these respects. It shows me how much more is there to be done..the irony is of course I study in a college based on Swami Vivekanada’s principles.. I wonder where we stop making sense and start feeling threated.

    And to conclude , everyone thinks that others are bad. Wonder when we will ever find the right neighbors.

    Vishesh, you have brought out a very good point, that in India we too categorize westerners. I agree with you whole-heartedly on this issue. Their society is as complex as ours, somethings to admire and some things not. – Nita.

  14. August 24, 2009 9:11 pm

    Nita, I am afraid I have to disagree with you here. One cannot simply take a few pieces of journalism and declare that India is depicted badly. If indeed India is depicted ‘badly’, on most occasions it is completely justified. We as a society do not care for our marginalized and destitute, and if it takes someone else to point this out, I think it reflects more on us than them.

    It is true that the west does not care for India’s diversity and likes to homogenize and categorize India, but I think we do the same to many other places. And I also feel that middle-class Indians have a great inferiority complex that they know so much about the west, but the west chooses to stay ignorant about them. But the fact is, that it will remain that way until we become a civilized, decent country. We want to be ‘recognized’ for our Bollywood and IT without making sure that our kids dont have to beg on the streets.

    I remember this stanza from a 50’s Hindi song,

    देख लो कही ग़म न रहे, कही ग़म न रहे
    रौशनी कही कम ना रहे, कही कम ना रहे

    सारे संसार की आँख हम पर लगी
    अपने हाथों में अपनी लाज हैं

    In 60 years of swaraj, the middle class of India has not been able to ensure that roshni reaches everyone. The middle class has no honor because it could not protect the dignity of the masses. Now the eyes of the world are upon India like never before, and the truth is rightly being exposed.

    P.S: This is not aimed personally at you at all, you are one of the few that has the courage to say the truth.

    Vikram, there is nothing really in your comment that I disagree with. Though you may feel that you are disagreeing with the post, I think that your comment is simply an additional/another insight to the issue. Which I am always grateful for. – Nita

    • August 25, 2009 3:23 am

      Nita, have to agree with Vikram on this one. I too, read about this long time ago in the Western press. My question: why did I not read about this in the Indian press first?

      As for tabloid news, the old adage still works: Dog bites man, not news. Man bites dog, News!

      I think neither the Western press nor the Indian press have a mandate to “project” a society one way or the other. They are supposed to report the truth dispassionately, But yes, context is crucial and we need that in every story.
      In reading Western press reports about India, their contextualizing is gratuitous (and erroneous) for the most part. But I have seem some serious attempts to rectify that.

      Hopefully our own press — which is often represented here as highly nationalistic — will also do a better job.

      Snigdha, perhaps you didn’t read about it in the Indian press because it wasn’t considered a big enough story, we have a lot of bride burnings and the like here to report on! And well, as commentators have pointed out, it was reported on tv and print, and well you and me missed it! And I have no problem with factual reporting, but I have a huge problem with erroneous reporting and I guess I am more critical as I am from the media myself. I think there is no excuse for any publication to make wrong statements, specially those which can incite racial hatred. In India we are very careful about that and any accusation like this which tars a whole race or community is swiftly dealt with. In fact I would say that we are quite over sensitive to statements which affect communities as a whole and I guess this has happened because we know that we have to live with other. Or rather we accept each other as part of the same fabric. Its how one looks at it. – Nita

      • August 26, 2009 4:05 am

        Nita, I think we are agreed on the fact that media coverage on anything needs to be comprehensive and factual.
        But specifically speaking about this story, I went through all your links and I have a few observations: Reading the tabloid story, I didn’t get the impression that the reader should believe that all of India is like this. That reflects more poorly on the reader than on the story. Yes, the format is tabloidish, but then it’s a tabloid. The story, however, specifically mentions the places the photos were taken. And people’s reaction to it is totally up to their perspective on the ritual. Many of us in India do not agree with circumcision of baby boys and we say so. But it is a practice in several communities (now some doctors here say it is actually healthy) and there is an ongoing debate about this. That doesn’t mean that people who disagree with the practice should not speak up about it. I don’t think by mentioning one ritual, it reflects badly on the entire community. Yes, from the comments it is clear some people think of themselves as high-and-mighty but then they are that way not matter what we write. Such stories just give a fillip to their way of thinking, I think. There are a lot of such crazy stuff happening in the West, too, and they do get reported.
        Second, the PhillyD.tv link. I wouldn’t take it seriously. He’s not mainstream media. He’s a youtube show producer.
        The one that DID bother me was the CNN report and as you RIGHTLY pointed out, they say things like, ‘it happens in other villages’ without giving specifics, which, I agree is totally unacceptable.

        (What I would really like to see in this reporting is what doctors have to say about the effect of this practice on children. That, of course, is another matter.)

        About our own Indian media, well, Nita I was a part of it too (and that too mainstream media) and some day may return to it. I feel just as passionately about good reporting. But I will have to disagree with you that we are more careful about reporting about communities. We avoid it because we are afraid of the consequences not, necessarily or always because we see the demerits of such reporting. I have seen first hand how some “trend” stories are done. Reading it makes you feel that almost everyone is behaving that way. We, too, need to be honest with our reporting.

        • August 26, 2009 6:41 am

          Snigdha, here I disagree. It is quite clear that the impression created is that the story is about India. I have quoted the bits too, where it says that Hindus and Muslims have been doing it for 700 years. The CNN also says so specifically, by talking about Indian villagers. I think any person, intelligent or not, would get the impression that the story is about India and Indians. The comments clearly reflect this, and I think we cannot assume that the writers of the comments are dumb. In any case, dumb or not, the truth is that such articles do fuel racism. The reporting is clearly wrong. And if the commentators don’t agree with it its fine, but many of the comments are clearly about India and Indians, and not about the practice. It is not a question of the intelligence of readers because people there do not know that India is diverse. Also the point is not that it is a tabloid or not, the point is that people read it, and it creates mistrust between communities. Also this cannot be compared to reporting in the west, about western rituals. If you can give me one example where they say that a certain bizarre practice happens in the UK amongst “Christians” or “Britishers” do it, then I will be surprised indeed.
          And whether our media reports more accurately because of the fear of legal action or reader action is not the point. Even abroad they do stuff because of legal action, this is normal. We should not be idealistic here and think that the media (which is simply a corporate) will stick to its ideals and principles without laws and fears, nowhere in the world will this be so.
          Also, the foreign media has misreported this baby throwing thing, and more than anything I think it is a mixture or racism and ignorance on their part. Indian media is not so bad when reporting about foreign events, because as I mentioned in a reply to a commentator, Indians are more aware of the west and whats going on there, rather than the other way round..

    • Vinod permalink
      August 25, 2009 8:13 am

      Vikram, a hat tip to you for this great poignant comment on middle class India.

  15. Naveen permalink
    August 24, 2009 9:51 pm

    I suppose you did not yet look at the article in Times UK- “India to launch cow urine as soft drink” and in Time magazine “Killing for ‘Mother’ Kali”. I read similar stories quite often in one newspaper or the other- generalizing and attacking some culture or other. First make a mockery, then breakdown and destroy traditional societies. George Orwell might be rolling in his grave.

    • vasudev permalink
      August 24, 2009 10:36 pm

      naveen
      i remember during bjp rule there was indeed this research going on about the curative properties of cow urine, chiefly aimed at curing some forms of cancer. it is pertinent to point out here that some temples in kerala have the ‘panchagavyam’ (5 products of cow) as a prasad and one chief constituent is cow urine apart from dung, ghee, milk and curd . quite regularly one picture that comes out about india is that of a man in bihar or up drinking cow urine, straight as the cow urinates. but carter’s prize winning photo of a starving ethiopian child and a waiting vulture should not depict the condition of an entire ethiopia!

      • vasudev permalink
        August 24, 2009 10:37 pm

        regret: read that as sudan and not ethiopia please!

        • Naveen permalink
          August 24, 2009 11:41 pm

          Vasudev,
          Some things to consider here:

          Another news article reported that millions of dollars of NIH ‘scientific’ research in the US confirmed that ‘Maggots and leeches can heal wounds quicker’. A company is already trying to develop ‘technology’ to grow maggots and leaches and also got its first round of funding. Is the news reported with the same sarcasm as ‘urine cure’? -No.

          And you know what else they found much recently: honey has medicinal properties. It acts as a blood purifier and acts as a wound healing agent -it seems. I thought we already knew it.

          • vasudev permalink
            August 25, 2009 11:27 am

            naveen
            i agree totally. however it is to our own misfortune that we are ashamed of our customs. most of the times one finds indian heads nodding vigourously to western criticisms of indian ways. as long as indians cannot get over their snake charmer/street conjurer ego, indians can never find courage to believe in things indian and defend it. yes. including child dropping, child burying also. while these are age old customs we have never tried to do scientific research on these things. instead we run and hide under the window curtain and give sly peeks. indians are a vain people and that is how we have been brought up. we cannot stand up to a scientific community and say ‘i don’t know’. it would be equivalent to committing intellectual harakiri. instead we bluff and become the poorer for knowledge. as long as we are like that we won’t expose that in ayurveda the leech treatment plays an important role to heal wounds by removing bad blood. leech also is traditionally used in piles treatment. medicinal properties of honey, tulasi, and all herbs and such products although long known through ayurveda, is seeing some light of the day now due to baba ramdevji. fortunately he is an international celebrity! otherwise we indians would have laughed at ourselves and made self-mockery except only if some westerner came along to proclaim that the ash smeared on the forehead had brain cooling properties!

            • Naveen permalink
              August 26, 2009 9:19 pm

              I thought I will make one more point here just to make sense of my previous claim. Inuit people in North America were historically mocked by the main stream press for their culture of eating raw flesh and blubber- with absolutely no carbohydrates. And this seemed to violate the food pyramid that the mainstream so much loves. Suddenly a strong urge to bring them into the ‘modern’ culture evoked and their eating habits intervened with ‘refined’ flour, sugar and oil. Now Inuits have one of the highest burden of metabolic diseases. Today, after the damage is completely done, they found that Inuits have a different physiology with larger livers (Gluconeogenesis) to cope with their raw protein diets and living conditions. And they undersood that the whole intervention was a deadly mistake. Did they learn anything from the whole experience? -No. Now there is a new drive to intervene their health with an insulin drive (not food intervention this time). Would they leave anyone alone? I doubt.

  16. Gori Rajkumari permalink
    August 24, 2009 11:04 pm

    I’d like to make a comment from a “western” point of view.

    I’m a US girl born and bred to immigrants…my parents family came over with some of the first settlers. German, Irish, Welsh. They mixed with one another, they married the American Indian already here. They thrived and grew and lived. Just as they did in their home countries. And they brought traditions with them, or created their own. And now, here we are in 2009 and we do not look anything like we looked in the 1700’s. Nor do we practice the same traditions. Things have changed since we became free from England.

    But we committed our own atrocities and still do to this day. No country is free of that.

    I think what saddens me the most is the perception as a people that we have in other countries…especially those of the Asian countries. Everyone believes and understands that family in Asian cultures takes precedent over most things. And I believe that they also feel that they hold the corner stone on that. I also know that other countries do not believe that we are family oriented at all or that our version does not meet their standards. My thoughts on that is just that we do things differently. My family (and those of my friends) were very close. Most in our neighborhood were the same. But our parents let us go out and play, or ride our bikes around the block….within limitations. And there were punishments if we misbehaved. And we were taught to respect our elders and our traditions. All things that India or any other country has, we had too in our own fashion.

    It’s just that the bad things are what people always want to see. The East see’s our crime and violence. The West hears about boy child selection and forced marriage or bride burning. The East hears about our child abuse. The West hears about child slavery and poverty. But they do not see the laws we both enact to protect our people and children. They do not see the people who work hard everyday to follow those laws or work within them. They do not see the everyday person on the street saying “That is not RIGHT!!!”. They see what the newspapers print. What the TV shows. What is in the Movies and TV shows. And these are more bad than they are good.

    I liken it to this….I once asked my Husband if all Hindi Soap Opera’s had truth in everyday living in India. He asked me if our’s did. I answered that in some ways they do but never to that extent or with such drama or to such extremes. And he answered that the same is true in India. Women there do not cook with all their jewels on, nor do they scheme constantly against new brides or servants. Men aren’t always getting possessed by evil female ghosts bent on revenge, nor are there a lot of women from snake tribes fighting with their female relatives to marry a human man (to these he laughed).

    I think that this is the major cause of the problem. We believe what we see, and because the human race is tribal and afraid of things that they do not understand or that which is different from themselves, it’s easier to believe the bad things to protect ourselves.

    I chose to become friends with people from other country’s and society’s. I chose to understand them and learn from them. Because of that, the veil was lifted and I no longer saw just the “bad parts” version of who they were or where they came from. I learned that they were just like me. Humans living their lives. Loving. Learning. And trying desperately to do what was right by their standards.

    Perhaps, if we as a WORLD stopped reading/listening/watching such “crap” and started talking to the people….we would all feel this way.

    • August 25, 2009 7:26 am

      Hullo, and thanks for your comment. I share with you the admiration for the work values of the west, as well as their belief in individual rights. You see, individual rights always come at the cost of something, and that is often community. When I said that in India community is more important, I have not really said that I like it. So you see, it is a delicate balance that we as individuals have to keep. India tilts on one side and the west on the other, but each family can keep their balance if they wish. But I do agree that in India people often believe that the west is one big bad evil thing, but I can assure you that I don’t. Also, here our media does give a fair amount of good press to the west, far more than the west gives to India. As Vikram called it, maybe it is an inferiority complex! :)

    • Vinod permalink
      August 25, 2009 8:28 am

      I chose to become friends with people from other country’s and society’s. I chose to understand them and learn from them. Because of that, the veil was lifted and I no longer saw just the “bad parts” version of who they were or where they came from. I learned that they were just like me. Humans living their lives. Loving. Learning. And trying desperately to do what was right by their standards.

      This is exactly what I hope for to happen if Indians and Pakistanis get to know each other.

      • August 31, 2009 2:55 am

        “This is exactly what I hope for to happen if Indians and Pakistanis get to know each other.”

        Vinod, my friend. As Gandhiji said, “one must be the change one wants to see in the world” – how about moving to Pakistan and working on increasing this Indo-Pak mutual understanding which is so close to your heart? :D
        As they say, “walk the talk” – write about your experiences of living in Pakistan and share with us your progress of friendship and mutual understanding. But one caveat – this “mutual understanding” has to include topics other than cricket, kebab, curry and Bollywood. ;)

  17. August 24, 2009 11:26 pm

    This is sort of generalization is definitely harmful. Esp when they come out in tabloids, as most of the people who read them may not be very well informed in the first place. And to tar the whole country with the same brush is really sad.
    I was once asked by a client( who is supposed to be educated and well traveled, if not to India), whether we had ketchup in India!

    At the same time, we have our own prejudices. I have known people who run down westerners as ‘these goras know nothing’ or they have no values or culture.. I think some amount of generalization happens everywhere.
    But our Indian press is not so patronizing towards the west, while the western press is definitely more patronizing. Most documentaries on India would pick up dirty galis and buzzing flies.. sadly..

    you are absolutely right Smitha. Its one thing for people to tar the west with the same brush, and another thing for the media to do so. Our media does not do what their media does. nor does our media, sensationist as it is, tar whole communities. They will be lynched if they do it!! Why, vague words are used like “other community” even while reporting facts. – Nita

  18. August 24, 2009 11:43 pm

    Yet another case of Western ignorance.. nd the funny part is tht they believe, we r ignorant.. such crap will keep cuming.. noone can stop it.. lets walk on our path of developmnt nd let the ignorant dogs bark :)

    • August 25, 2009 4:24 am

      I see many guys dropping on my blog frm here.. i hop not 2 c whos this abusive prsn.. let d dogs bark was jus an expression.. no intntion of abusing any1. so kindly ignore d use of unsuitable language..

      Vipul, best that you use moderation. I have these problems off and on too. – Nita

  19. dina permalink
    August 25, 2009 1:25 am

    this seems practised in Northern Karnatak and some parts of AP. TV9 Kannada has covered this many times, even i have seen this on AajTak regarding Southern Maharastran practice….TV Telugu covered I saw involved Muslims throwing their baby. I have seen many such programs on TV9 kannada and Telugu which involves throwing baby, putting/bathing baby in hot oil, hot water, etc. i am not sure of the extent of practice but by TV9 coverage, it looks it is very rampant in rural N.Karnataka.

    thanks dina for the info. Did not know it happened in parts of northern karnataka. But unless we get a link we cannot be sure what the news report actually said, where it actually happens. – Nita

  20. Dev permalink
    August 25, 2009 8:21 am

    Nita, I agree with you that lot of times western media portrays India as black and white, more black in fact, rather than something much more complex than that.
    I think the media, more and less, is same everywhere. I was once talking with this Professor who is an authority on cross cultural issues. He said that stereotyping and just seeing one part of the coin is a basic human tendency, as it makes our world view simple and easy to tackle with. Because it needs much more courage and effort to really dig deeper and try to untangle the complexities.

    Dev, I think when it comes to stereotyping the western press stereotypes India more than India stereotypes the west. The reason I think is because we Indians know far more about the west, often travel there for our education, and english speaking people run the english press. People who are familiar with western countries. I find a great more ignorance on their side. – Nita

  21. Vipul permalink
    August 25, 2009 9:52 am

    Hi Nita,

    Some very good comments here.
    I wanted to add another perspective – Hypothetically, say I read a small article stating that in certain parts of east Africa, children between 2-5 years old are fed snake venom in order to build up their immune system.
    Irrespective of the publication (Economist or the Daily Mail), my immediate train of thought (honestly) would be along the following lines:
    “These folks are really weird and screwed up – These guys are just far far behind – The region, in general, is a mess and nothing will change that – In any case, not my problem”

    Irrespective of the validity of the article, or the rarity of actual occurrence, my immediate thoughts would still be the same. I might be applying a broad brush, and I might be doing a disservice to the region – but frankly, I don’t care! I’ll just move on to the next article.

    My point is that the way Indians look at, say, east Africa, is similar to how the West looks at India. Most of them don’t care!

    Whether we like this situation or not is irrelevant. We certainly can’t make them care. I think India has a long way to go before the overall picture of the country changes in the eyes of the West. Whilst we get there, we’ll have to accept that the West will have a broad brush approach in its characterization of India. It is important that we correct any misrepresentations where we can, but not get bogged down. Otherwise, it’s just a sign of inferiority complex (as Vikram suggested above).

    • August 25, 2009 12:51 pm

      Vipul, thanks for that perspective. Yes, I think misrepresentation of India needs to be corrected immediately as I firmly believe that misreporting creates and fuels racism, making it harder for people to adjust abroad. Neither do I agree with those Indians settled abroad who condemn India unilaterally, those who embrace western ideas without understanding what India really is, and without seeing the good. I know many Indians settled abroad who sneer at Indian customs or slam India for something it is doing without realising that the west would probably behave worse in the same circumstances. All said and done, I think India treats its children well, if you look at the issue deeply. Sure, we have as many as 40% of kids who are abused in India but a lot of these stats happen due to slavery and child labour. The average normal Indian family is child centric. We do not let our babies sleep alone or cry their heart out, we think of the kids before breaking up, grandparents take care of the kids unlike in the west, and we don’t leave our kids with strangers and so on. The west doesn’t understand this. They read stupid stories like the baby throwing rituals and they look at the stats, and they come to their own erroneous conclusions. These misconceptions in the west have to be dealt with.

  22. Lakshmi permalink
    August 25, 2009 10:49 am

    Both this article and response by Indians is I think typical. Partly because I live in the west, and partly because I feel this way, I think every case of child abuse of any form should horrify. It does in western societies and they constantly try to empower the system in new ways to fight child abuse. But in India nobody really cares. Somebody pointed out that this practice of child throwing really exists. But typically Indians get aggressive that western media publishes it. I’ve never seen Indians get outraged by the abuse itself. Which I think is characteristic. Personally I think the point is what are we doing to stop this? I don’t care that it is the western press that has published this.

    Lakshmi, I wouldn’t care either, if it was the truth. This post is about the fact that they have said that Indians as a whole are doing this, and I object to this strongly. If they reported it truthfully, like I think the Indian media has, then it is a different matter. Also I disagree with you that in India no one cares about child abuse. I think we care a lot about this. I believe that we do care about our children. The only problem is that that we care so much that when we hear of it it disgusts us so much that we go into denial. I think Indians care about their young far more than western nations, even though we don’t have half the laws. But then, it is just my opinion and I have no stats to bear this out. It is simply by observations, seeing my domestic workers starve, but give the little food they have to their kids, it is my opinion after seeing my neighbor slog from morning till night so that thier child can go to an expensive school, it is after seeing a friend mortage his flat so that his son could study in the US, it is after seeing parents go bankrupt to pay dowry….and I can think of a hundred more things. But no stats to prove that Indians love their kids desperately. Relationships between husband and wife are sacrificed, but the parent child bond is sacred. parents stay in miserable marriages, partly for the kids. Child is the centre of the universe and the family in India, and a lot of studies have actually proved this. – Nita

    • August 25, 2009 11:27 am

      If someone’s religion asks “of” them to do a particular thing, and you do not approve of it, all you can do is try to remove ignorance and not follow that particular dogma or probably spread the word. Even if you are outraged by something, if it is what their “religion” asks them to do, they would have full faith in doing it. If you accept it, Pluralism, it is called. If you revolt it, that would be an Exclusivist approach.

      But, as societies progress and people become aware and more educated, they come to realize that certain practices (Child abuse, Sati-burning the bride, Bali-killing to get blessed, Dahej-dowry) are not right, and should be abolished. But this happens by “self-realization”. You would not barge into someone’s ritual in which (s)he has full faith and ask them to stop because you have a different view-point. You can report it, you can try to convince, and you can make-up your mind NOT to follow it or be a part of it.

    • Vipul permalink
      August 25, 2009 11:52 am

      Lakshmi – The key is baby steps.
      I dont think the sense of ‘horror’ is in any way lacking within the educated Indians – when such events occur. India is a very poor country, and that affects the educational levels, social attitudes as well as ability to make changes. The west itself has gone through these changes overtime – remember the Dickens’ portrayal of children in the Victorean era. ‘Empowered systems’ of the west are well funded machines working in societies with a much higher level of education and awareness.

      In the US, you are not allowed to take a new born out of the hospital unless you come with a car seat! To compare that level of sophisticated care to a country like India would be mistake.

      I’ve been living in the West for ten years now and during my initial visits back home my reactions were mainly that India will never be like the west. That lead to a sort of detachment – I started to look at India as if a Westerner!
      Overtime I realized that comparing India to the west outright was a lost cause, and that I should focus more on the progress, albeit in baby steps, India is making.

      • Vinod permalink
        August 25, 2009 12:41 pm

        I dont think the sense of ‘horror’ is in any way lacking within the educated Indians – when such events occur. India is a very poor country, and that affects the educational levels, social attitudes as well as ability to make changes.

        My gut tells me that there is a point there of anthropological significance worth exploring. Vikram, my friend, any thoughts on this?

        The line from ‘life of Pi’ comes to mind – “Man can get used to anything”. Perhaps over time a society that has been witness to horrifying conditions and repeatedly seen efforts to eradicate it end in empty promises at best just learns to live with the conditions. That is the only way to continue with life – by desensitizing oneself, as a society – without falling into a pit of hopelessness. The downside is that such an attitude can lead to a complete abandonment of any consideration to such issues even when opportunities to remedy conditions present itself. The whole issue is so deeply buried that it no longer moves anybody – like some kind of collective desensitizing and amnesia.

        • Vinod permalink
          August 25, 2009 12:54 pm

          I watched Slumdog Millionaire in US and many in the audience (some were my colleagues at work) were shocked that a part of humanity lives in such conditions. They were seeing such conditions for the first time in their lives!! When walking out, an old white lady asked me whether what was depicted was true. She was in utter disbelief. I don’t think this reaction among westerners speaks about the higher quality of their human concern. Living in conditions of economic prosperity and insulated from the harrowing conditions of the rest of the world, they grow up to think that what they experience are what everybody elsewhere gets too.
          As far as individual westerners and individual indians are concerned – they are the same. I know of heroes in India working to alleviate such conditions in society. Vikram once posted a link of such heroes. If we cared to look we will find such heroes in any place.

          Thank you Vinod for this comment. One of these days I am going to bust the myth that Indians are not philanthropic. I have collected some links to prove just the opposite. Unfortunately our media does not report on this much but yes we have many people and organisations working tirelessly for the upliftment of the poor. We feel, and we feel strongly, even though we have one hundredeth of the money that people in the west have to give away. – Nita

        • August 25, 2009 12:57 pm

          Vinod, you have highlighted a very very important point. I have read of this “stoic” behavior in societies where there is immense suffering. The de-sensitisation can happen with extreme poverty, extreme suffering, even in times of war, and it can also happen due to lack of information, ignorance and illiteracy.

          • Vinod permalink
            August 25, 2009 1:35 pm

            Just to give everyone a poignant illustration of how social conditions affect social attitudes to suffering –

            Have you heard of the ‘Mussalmanner’ syndrome? It’s not a medical phenomenon actually. It is German for muslim-like behaviour, perhaps sharing common origins with the Urdu ‘Mussulman’. You will never guess what this is. ‘Mussulmanner’ was the label used by the jews in the concentration camps, who hadn’t yet been reduced to crawling on all fours, to derisively refer to those who had been reduced to that – because they resembled the muslim prayer in prostration.

            Does it mean that jews are insensitive people? No. These are coping mechanisms in human behaviour. We too can make jokes about corruption in ou society and even of begging children.

            How’s that for social attitudes conditioned by suffering around?

      • Lakshmi permalink
        August 25, 2009 1:06 pm

        India has become a lot richer in the last 18 years. This money is visible only in the spending power of the middle class and the malls and resorts that cater to them. There’s more money in the coffers. Shouldn’t it show in better schools and infrastructure? Western nations were like this, but they changed. And when they started universal healthcare and education they were poor too – after the world wars. Far poorer than India is now.

        Why isn’t India doing that? Of course the new education bill and the rural healthcare bill are the first solid steps that India has taken. But ‘caring’ has to translate into statistics. Otherwise it means nothing. We are talking about a society and how it transforms itself. We are not talking about goodness in individuals.

        • Vipul permalink
          August 25, 2009 1:35 pm

          Of course the statistics are bad – at a point in time. India is not a developed country. That notwithstanding, I am certain that most humanitarian / social indices have however been improving in the last 15 years. Remember, in population terms India is 20 times UK and 4 times US. I do not in any way absolve our govts for their bureaucracy / corruption due to which improvements have been a lot slower.

          Not sure about the western world being poorer after WWII comment. Remember, the history of the west has a lot to do with their prosperity. The US represents the biggest land grab on the planet. When you have such a large piece of land, large natural resources, few inhabitants and may I add free ‘slave’ labour in the 19th century it doesn’t take much to become prosperous. Of course, in no way am i taking away anything with the huge progress the US has made since the world wars led by education, innovation and science. That said, making the first million dollars is difficult, converting a million to 10 million isn’t.

        • Vinod permalink
          August 25, 2009 1:52 pm

          Western nations were like this, but they changed. And when they started universal healthcare and education they were poor too – after the world wars. Far poorer than India is now.

          Lakshmi, the world wars lasted for 8 years. The developing world was colonized for centuries!! And many of these European nations had the luxury of recuperating from the World Wars while still holding onto the colonies with the draconian administration in place. Surely that should count for something!!. Britain’s 18th century industrialization was funded by the plundering of West Bengal by the East India company and slavery in Africa. It was this plundering that for the first time gave Europeans the calories they needed to overcome their basic struggle for life. Without the daily struggle for food alleviated, human societies and civilzations cannot begin to make inventions. Inventions are luxuries for societies. It has to be preceded by a class of people who do not have to toil for their daily food. When the East India Company head (can’t remember the name) visited Muzaffarabad he said it was very much like London!! This was before 1750.

          And about healthcare and basic education, Saudi Arabia provides a far better standard, and an affordable one, notwithstanding the disagreeable elements in it, than the US on that. Healthcare in the US is in tatters. If you don’t have health insurance, you are screwed upside down. Atleast here, the poor can walk into a clinic and get some kind of attention. Over there, the Big Pharma have taken control of healthcare and made it exclusively for the rich – just exaggerating to make a point.

          • Vipul permalink
            August 25, 2009 1:58 pm

            Ditto!

          • Vinod permalink
            August 25, 2009 2:07 pm

            When the East India Company head (can’t remember the name) visited Muzaffarabad

            Or was it Murshidabad…if only my memory served me well…

            • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
              August 25, 2009 4:23 pm

              Vinod,

              It is Murshidabad. Muzaffarabad (the best-known of many towns of that name in the Subcontinent) is the capital of the Pakistan-occupied part of Kashmir.

              The “Head” of the East India Company “before 1750″ that you refer to would in fact be its “President”, located at Fort William (Calcutta). However, the statement about the grandeur of Murshidabad, which you quote, is most likely from Clive who, after the defeat of Siraj-ud-Daulah at Palashi (Plassey), became the de facto Governor of Bengal. He is reported to have written, “Murshidabad is as extensive, populous, and rich as the city of London, with this difference that there were individuals in the first possessing infinitely greater property than in the last city.” Indian Records Series 1756-1759. by S. C. Hill. (London: John Murray, 1905).

              • Vinod permalink
                August 25, 2009 5:34 pm

                Vivek, thanks. You’re the man!

          • Lakshmi permalink
            August 25, 2009 3:13 pm

            The world wars left those nations in shambles, even Britain. At a time when these nations could ill afford to provide universal education and healthcare, they did, because they knew they had to develop human resource if they were to develop as a nation.

            I never said the US healthcare system was ideal. But it’s nowhere as bad as India’s and India’s is nowhere near anything acceptable.

            • Vinod permalink
              August 25, 2009 4:06 pm

              Have you heard of the El-Nino famines that hit India in the 1790s? Do you know the estimates of the number of deaths from those famines? Do you know the cause of those deaths? Do you realize how many centuries backward colonialism put the Indian (and African) economy to? Do you realize what such economic impacts have on the social consciousness and esteem? There is something that few are able to grasp – Wretchedness in economic conditions does lead to wretchedness in beahviour and attitude at a social level.

            • vasudev permalink
              August 25, 2009 4:55 pm

              lakshmy

              in the swine flu post i remember chrakan recounting an american’s experience of how they waiting for hours together just to see a doctor in a camp, a medical camp which is a once in a blue-moon affair. i am not knowledgeable about american health care but could only draw my conclusion from what charakan indicated. it seemed to me that american health care was also not all emcompassing and in that respect at least in india we have govt dispensaries with actual doctors. i believe in india fresh doctors have to sign a bond to serve the rurals for 5 yrs or something.

              lakshmi
              somehow i am unable to accept that indian healthcare is nowhere near anything acceptable. you might know that medical tourism is coming-up in a big way in india. also that many americans and other foreigners turn to india for major surgeries because here it is done at 1/10th the cost. besides, apart from govt sponsored and charity sponsored free or highly subsidised hospitals we also have reputed 5 and 7 star hospitals in this country.

    • Lakshmi permalink
      August 25, 2009 1:01 pm

      Sorry, but it’s a society we are talking about, not individuals. And it’s statistics that count. No parent wants his child to be without education or healthcare, and yet millions go without in India. India does not care; that does not mean that individual parents do not care – but that counts for little.

      About the article being misleading – I agree that needs to be corrected.

      If you mean the government is corrupt and does not care, here I agree. But if you talk of society, then I disagree to some extent. Individuals (and this is not just parents) comprise a society and there are many in India today who are working for these social purposes and doing good work, even though they do not have the job security or good bank balances. Unfortunately our political system is not doing good at all, it is in shambles. Its all a vicious circle really. – Nita

      • Lakshmi permalink
        August 25, 2009 3:09 pm

        These individuals you are talking about are not empowered, and that’s the problem. I don’t say we have a dearth of well-meaning people, but the power lies elsewhere, and these power structures are determined by the character of a nation.

        The government is responsible for building a modern society. And it is the collective mindset of the people of the nation that makes this government function as it does. When governments have failed the people as India’s has, it does reflect on the Indian people.

        If the Indian middle class clamored for basic infrastructure, and human rights, it would become a reality. The political system of a country and its people are cannot be dichotomized like that. They may seem to be separate entities to us, but in truth they reflect each other

        If you say Indians care about the underprivileged and we have this mess, then ‘caring’ doesn’t mean anything at all.

        • Vinod permalink
          August 25, 2009 4:09 pm

          these power structures are determined by the character of a nation

          Quite true. And to add to that line of reasoning, character of nations are formed through the prism of history. You cannot ignore the effect of colonialism on India and its people.

        • August 25, 2009 7:59 pm

          Lakshmi, you have analyzed the situation very well. Broadly, the Indian middle class just doesnt care, and it never has. Till recently it did not clamor for anything but now it does, but those interests still dont coincide with those of the masses. But we must not take this simply for granted, but understand why, and how this can be changed.

          I think we do have an opportunity with the section of the middle class entering the 30-40 age group. Collective action was perhaps difficult so far because of linguistic differences, the lack of a strong national identity and inadequate communication networks. Now we certainly have a pan Indian middle class that speaks English, reads blogs and has a strong sense of Indianness. Lets see what we can do in the next decade or so.

          • rags permalink
            August 25, 2009 10:01 pm

            Vikram, dunno why you have to take it out on the middle class… India’s middle class is like any other middle class in a transitional country.

            “Till recently it did not clamor for anything but now it does, but those interests still dont coincide with those of the masses.”

            Could be because this indifferent middle class that you’re talking were themsleves the poor class just a decade ago…

            • August 25, 2009 10:08 pm

              rags, thanks for saying that. I was not sure what to say to vikram. But all I want to say is that I admire the Indian middle classes. I do not think they are indifferent, precisely because they were not well off a decade back. Every person does not have to do social work to prove himself/herself. They have to work hard and build this country and I think they are well on their way. However the Indian middle classes cannot be compared to the middle classes in a developed country. They still struggle, they lead a hard life, struggle to educate their children, pay the bills, and dream of the Nano. They have no social security, no medicare. Hats off to the Indian middle class. They will take this country forward.

            • August 26, 2009 1:10 am

              Rags, I think this article will help you understand my point of view,

              http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2007/09/indiasmiddleclassfailure/

              I will also quote a comment from my blog,

              “There were other areas in which the interests of the dominant coalition, of which the urban middle class constituted an important part, hijacked the policies of the state, to the enduring detriment of those for whom the policies were supposedly formulated. In the Constitution adopted by free India in 1950, Article 45 provided for free and compulsory education for all children under the age of fourteen. The middle class of India had always accorded great importance to education and this statement of intent could not but have had their support. However, their demand was not for basic education which they had already acquired, but for higher education. It was their pressure, notwithstanding the importance given at the policy level to primary education, which led to a most remarkable and improper growth in higher education. Given that resources were both scarce and finite, such a growth could only have taken place at the cost of other educational priorities. Not surprisingly, today India sends about six times more people to the universities and other higher educational establishments than China; however, roughly half of India’s population is illiterate, while China’s adult literacy rates are close to 80 percent. In fact, there is little doubt that the lopsided development of education in India is directly linked to the structure of Indian society and that the inequalities in education are, in fact, a reflection of inequalities of economic and social powers of different groups in India. The educational inequalities both reflect and help to sustain social disparities.”

              I can go on and on, but the truth unless the middle class gets its act together and actually genuinely vests itself with the well-being of all Indians, they have no reason to be proud of themselves as a group. Obviously individuals within this class do spectacular things and make great sacrifices but in the long term that means very little.

              • August 26, 2009 7:16 am

                Vikram, the article is flawed, although it does make some good points and has taken the care to go into depth. It’s blaming middle class Indians for the failure of Muslims within it is one example. I have in fact written on this issue myself and explained it. I can dissect other things in the article too, and explain that today people from all castes get the opportunity to study. The prejudice of the middle classes is not stopping them. There are also job reservations and reservations in educational institutions, in some states as much as 70% but yes it is the poverty which is stopping them, not upper caste people from the middle classes. Yes the middle classes are not politically conscious (although athe trend of middle class people trying to start up parties has already started), if one has to generalise, and yes they often lack civic sense, but I see the Indian middle classes as a vibrant, dynamic force (and has people from all castes), and as I explained in a previous comment, they struggle for their daily bread, they have no security. Even then many people from this class are involved in social causes. I think it is best to come and live in India and observe things instead of believing an article, which although it has facts, the analysis is simply an opinion.
                To dismiss this group and say that they contribution means little is I am afraid a little startling. It is not just spectacular contributions one is talking about, but how people behave in daily life. For example a middle class woman who sits under a tree in a slum and teaches children. Or the overwhelming response of middle class india to the Teach India campaign. Or about a neighbor of mine who is putting her maid’s child through school. Or a lady I know who does not have enough money to buy a vehicle, but she has adopted a poor orphan. We can see hundreds of such incidents of the middle class people whom you so casually dismiss.

                • Dev permalink
                  August 27, 2009 1:19 am

                  Nita, loved this comment of yours. :)

              • August 26, 2009 6:55 pm

                Vikram,

                Is this “middle class” a monolith that thinks and acts in the same manner on all issues?
                Why is it the burden of the “middle class” – which may have lifted itself out of poverty recently – to tackle social problems and poverty, and why should this “middle class” be held responsible for any existing poverty in India?

                BTW, you should mention upfront what framework you’re using for your analysis.
                ————

                Looks like everyone gets agitated by some problem, and finds a scapegoat to hang the millstone on. For some, it’s the government that’s the problem; for others, caste; for some, class; religion; rich people; “middle class” – and as soon as that particular entity comes around and changes, milk and honey will start flowing. :)

              • August 26, 2009 6:59 pm

                “Till recently it did not clamor for anything but now it does, but those interests still dont coincide with those of the masses.”


                Vikram,
                Who are these “masses” you speak of?
                And why should someone’s interests coincide with the “masses”? In what way? Who decides to make those interests coincide with the “masses”? You? :)

                • Vinod permalink
                  August 26, 2009 8:19 pm

                  Amit, you may want to educate yourself on the methodology of sociology. You may find a lot of your answers there.

                  • rags permalink
                    August 26, 2009 9:53 pm

                    Vinod, for the ignorant ones like me do you mind explaining what relationship the methodology of sociology has with Amit’s questions? Thanks.

                  • August 31, 2009 2:42 am

                    “Amit, you may want to educate yourself on the methodology of sociology. You may find a lot of your answers there.”

                    Vinod, and become an intellectual elite and a snob, and alienate myself from the masses that Vikram so dearly loves? No thanks. :)

                • Vinod permalink
                  August 26, 2009 10:12 pm

                  I’ll try, Rags. Although I have no grounding in sociology..except a bit through Hart’s legal positivism. There are philosophical disagreements on what a ‘social fact’ is or whether there is such a thing. But a ‘social fact’ is something that forms the Groundnorm of sociology. For something to be a social fact, it is sufficient that there be broad patterns of behaviour. It is not necessary to have a monolithic social pattern. If that be the case then sociology as a field will not take off at all. Hart’s sociology based jurisprudence can be discarded. But academia does not have such a requirement. Many terms in sociology do not have precise definitions. They are always accompanied with a penumbra of uncertainty. So does the term ‘middle class’. If sociology were attacked for this vagueness, we might as well wound up the subject as a field of study.

                  My comment was in relation to this question of his –

                  Is this “middle class” a monolith that thinks and acts in the same manner on all issues?

                  • Vinod permalink
                    August 26, 2009 10:15 pm

                    I will also refer Amit to the ‘later-Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language’. I think that will go some way in answering questions of his like –

                    Who are these “masses” you speak of?

                  • August 26, 2009 10:23 pm

                    Vinod, what you say is right, but you see Amit’s question was more rhetorical if I read him right. He was basically questioning Vikram’s idea of blaming the middle classes. As you yourself have pointed out somewhere in the comments, the Indian middle classes have just come out of poverty and well, they have done so through the dint of hard work and struggle, and even then they do not have the good things that the middle classes in the developed west have. They don’t have free education, because it is not possible to put your kids in govt. schools, even the poor try and not to do that unless they have no choice. the new middle class struggles to earn its daily bread, sturggles for everything. I do not think you disagree with this Vinod. I do not think that this middle class should be blamed. It is the rich who can be blamed, but not the middle classes. Not in my eyes at least. But I think I am repeating myself and its time for bed anyway.

                    • Vinod permalink
                      August 27, 2009 7:15 am

                      I get where Amit is coming from insofar as it is a sceptical look at Vikram’s point. But I think one needs to be aware of the philosophical limits to that scepticism, lest we end up discarding many fields of knowledge.

                      I could clearly contrast his response and yours to Vikram. You were disputing the findings of the thesis without disputing the foundational definitions of such studies whereas he was doing the latter, along with some very poignant and respectable ethical questions .

                    • August 31, 2009 2:48 am

                      “Vinod, what you say is right, but you see Amit’s question was more rhetorical if I read him right. He was basically questioning Vikram’s idea of blaming the middle classes.”

                      Nita, you got it.
                      Where did this burgeoning middle class come from? Seems to me that Vikram wants poor people to become more affluent so that they are not poor anymore, yet is critical of those who were poor yesterday and have joined the middle class today, unless I misunderstood his comment.

                • sreekumar permalink
                  August 26, 2009 10:22 pm

                  The masses would be those in the, 38% or more indians not getting the minimum required calories (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8214061.stm), 40% of indians without access to electricity, those without any household water supply and sanitation etc.
                  While this is the state of the masses, the middle class are clamoring over power outages and water shortages. They are crying over potholes on roads causing bumpy rides.
                  The indian middle class is not ready to put up with any minor discomfort. They want the governments at the central, state and local levels to deal with their problems instead of working on providing the bare necessities to the majority of the indian populace. They want higher education and LPG cylinders to be subsidized, but are unhappy at fertilizer subsidies and free power to farmers. They find the one time farmer debt waiver scheme bad economics, but the concessions and subsidies offered by modi to Tatas Nano project as clever economic development strategy.

              • vasudev permalink
                August 26, 2009 8:37 pm

                sorry to disagree with your commentator vikram. if so then i would be happy to have back the 6 lacs i pay annually as ‘tax deducted at source’ while having to take a sizeable amount as bank loan for the higher education of my daughter who, despite being a bright student, has to thank no government for doing her a favour by giving her subsidised seat just because we happen to be of the open category. looking at the monthly tax deductions my wife has started demanding compensation, which given a choice, i would have readily given the 6 lacs to her for percievable differences she makes to my life while the govt seems to be no where improved on any front in its endeavours but adds insult to injury by charging cess and toll taxes as well apart from service tax, professional tax, education cess, flood relief, famine relief, earthquake relief, pm’s relief, party tamasha relief, polling freebies relief, and what not.

                you may feel that i am ranting and raving but no. i am actually chagrined by the opinion expressed that the middle class do nothing to contribute to the general upliftment. as fas as i am concerned my tax money should also be spent for the upliftment of the poor and their children instead of being used for kickbacks and party sociology.

                for now i will leave it at that while i do some quick ‘pranayamas’.

                • August 27, 2009 7:28 am

                  Vasudev my friend, in a country with average income of Rs. 45000 per year, you are wealthy enough to be paying Rs. 6 lakhs in tax. And you still want the government to subsidize your child’s education.

                  And you were trying to contest my claims about the Indian middle class :)

                  • vasudev permalink
                    August 27, 2009 10:13 am

                    dear vikram

                    it caught your eyes, set your critic in motion, did it not? the figure was expected to do only that much.

                    yes my dear friend. i pay that much tax annualy and yet you tell me that the average income in india is only 45000 bucks? so where is my tax money going? i seem to be contributing 50000 bucks/month to the govt and yet you say the middle class so nothing?

                    forget my income. i am but poor as compared to those of the middle class who earn 10 times more as salary. even they contribute 33.3% income tax.

                    my next question is quite rhetorically sarcastic, if sarcasm can bring out what i want to say:

                    “ask not what you can do for the nation, now ask what the nation did for you”

                    as regards the subsidised seat, you did not get my point or probably you conveniently want to avoid understanding it. (wink)

              • rags permalink
                August 26, 2009 10:12 pm

                Vikram, thanks for the article. A good analysis of the Indian middle class. Will make a more detailed comment when I have the time.

  23. August 25, 2009 10:59 am

    GOSH!! 8O Is there a way to get back to these news media under some law or something?? This is absolutely disgusting! Grrrrr…

  24. ThinkingIndian permalink
    August 25, 2009 12:24 pm

    This can be your blogheader ;)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/djbriane/2790950732/sizes/l/

    CNN, Fox a k a The Hitl*r Channel, many others are pathetic jokes.

    It’s always up to you, the individual, to decide who’s pushing the news you *don’t* want.

  25. August 25, 2009 1:35 pm

    I don’t see some of the rituals – especially dowry reducing anywhere in India, except a few decent families. These days, every marriage at least has a small car displayed proudly outside which is given from the bride’s side! Certain hopeless traditions are rooted in us.

    I agree to your point that the western media should not generalize things, but when the western people care only about sensational stuff, that’s what their media will give. It is their problem, at the end of the day!

    Destination Infinity

    DI, I guess the people themselves have to be convinced before these kind of practices are abolished. – Nita

  26. August 25, 2009 1:55 pm

    I guess it was an isolated incident as shown in Headlines Today.
    Indian media did generalize Australia as a whole as racist (especially HT, which ran tickers like “Auzzie Racist??” etc) when there were attacks against Indian students there.
    I guess the foreign media did the same in this case.

    xylene, yes in this case the Indian media did go overboard didn’t they. But you know what, I have heard from some people that there is some amount of racism in Australia. Not just in one town, but in other places in Aus as well. – Nita

  27. vasudev permalink
    August 25, 2009 2:37 pm

    wonder how those babies thus thrown/dropped from a height escape serious spinal injuries? even though not immediately apparent, the ill-effects might manifest later on? am also not able to get a clue on what good fortunes and whose good fortunes? it is not clear whether the baby’s fortunes get improved or whether it is done for the parents good luck. if the later then it is as satanical as the baby-sacrifice for attaining wealth. which then shows india poorly.

    link below connects to some of the native american healings. i understand some or all of it are now banned.

    http://www.garynull.com/documents/nativeamerican.htm

  28. August 25, 2009 4:29 pm

    Every nation is *slammed* for many things. Foreign visions of the different peoples of the earth are often biased and grotesque [and those tabloids are really just trash.]

    When people read that the Germans are all Nazi or Italians all members of mafia, I think they can tell what is truth and what is exaggeration in oder to increase sales.

    In any case, and in my [not always easy] experience with different folks, when in contact with foreigners one cannot avoid racism and bias. It is part of human nature. One has to get over it, not feeling touchy and preserving one’s tranquil sense of dignity.

    Man of Roma, true this is a part of life, but all of us must do our little bit to alleviate the misconceptions. We should not just accept it. – Nita.

  29. August 25, 2009 6:52 pm

    I saw this on CNN morning news and I was surprised they said it is prevalent. I knew this was happening in one particular village in Maharashtra and nowhere else. They generalized it to many villages in India! WTH!

    Yeah, WTF!!! That’s the spirit Shilpa!! – Nita

  30. wishtobeanon permalink
    August 25, 2009 7:24 pm

    Nita, I am glad you posted this article as it is read by millions of people and like you said, such news and articles about other cultures tend to fuel racism and stereotypes.
    By the way, has the ritual been banned or stopped?

    • August 25, 2009 9:17 pm

      thanks wishtobeanon, I think its very important to tell the truth as it is, particularly important when it comes to places who are not familiar with India. I have found misreporting even in The Economist, a revered mag (I too love it) because stuff about India is not always written by those who understand Indian issues. About the baby throwing, sure there has been some talk of stopping it, but I doubt that anyone will do anything. From the govt’s point of view, it is that they have other more horrendous stuff to take care of, but also the fact that the villagers won’t listen anyway. Education of the masses is most important, because I am sure that the villagers don’t even know that they are harming the children.
      The comments in this post have taken another turn, more about whether India is doing something about its poverty and child abuse, but I have a more positive take on the issue. However I don’t believe that it is the English speaking crowd per se is (or will) showing any interest in changing India like Vikram said, I think a part of it is, but I think the grass roots people who really make the difference are not typical english speaking types. India has a lot of unsung heroes. I firmly believe that India has a conscience, whatever others may believe. Living far away makes one feel that nothing good is happening in India and I think it is time that I started highlighting these smaller achievements. I want to make a list of all the wonderful people there are in this country, hundreds and thousands of them, who are helping India. Every drop counts, and it is not necessary that one has to do something huge.
      p.s. In fact I am sure that every one of my readers who lives in India knows at least one person who is doing good work, and you are welcome to tell me about this person. Maybe I shall do a post, asking people to write about the person who is making a difference, however small.

      • Vinod permalink
        August 26, 2009 3:45 pm

        Living far away makes one feel that nothing good is happening in India and I think it is time that I started highlighting these smaller achievements

        I can testify to the efficacy of this strategy. A childhood friend of mine, who unlike me stayed in India, never rushes to the defence of India when it is criticized. What he does is simply talk about the little right things happening in India – the new roads, bus services, the development schemes etc. After hanging out with him for a few hours, India starts to look good.

  31. August 26, 2009 12:57 pm

    Thanks for mentioning me ;)

    I think this post should reach more and more people in West. Indians know when to believe in a thing and when to laugh at it. Can we export some *common sense* to West?? :D

  32. August 27, 2009 12:02 am

    @ Nita : I disagree w/ you, It is an “Indian” ritual because it happens in India. Its just that India is far too diverse for anything to be distinctly called “Indian” in the sense that there are very few things that are pan-indian in nature. So yeah it is Indian. In any case I would not emotionally defend India on a discussion board in an online version of any newspaper etc.

    The truth is the western people know all too well what India is about and they are able to see the country more objectively and without prejudice than Indians are. India is some sort of a mix between sub-saharan africa and the kingdom of brunei. That is how it is, there is no standardisation .

    I wonder what the government of your state has done to stop the baby bouncing, I think as far as my memory goes I remember seeing a TV report on it years ago…..

    Trust you to say this! :) – Nita

  33. August 27, 2009 7:25 am

    Amit, of course the middle class is not a monolith when it comes to native tongues, region and even religion. But there are other criteria by which it is certainly monolithic, prominent among them being speaking English, having disposable income and subscribing to post-independence pop culture, which is based around cinema, TV and cricket.

    Yes, the middle class does have to shoulder a lot of blame for the mess India is in today. Notwithstanding outstanding individuals and some organizations, like Nita herself says, they are distinguished in Indian public life by their lack of civic sense and lack of political consciousness. Are these not serious flaws ?

    Do you realize what penalty the poor of India have to pay for this lack of civic sense ? The middle class can bribe itself out of truant teachers, poor schools, corrupt cops and babus. But the poor have to bear the brunt of an ineffective, neglectful and corrupt state.

    India’s poverty and injustice embarrasses the middle class but does not anger it, that is why the state can get away with this neglect.

    • August 27, 2009 7:47 am

      vikram, I realised that you are talking of the upper middle classes, but I am not. To me a typically middle class person lives in 2 rooms, is lucky to own a two wheeler, has no home to call his own or is paying through his nose some bank loan to get it, a man who is debt because he has a daughter to marry and he had to fund his mother’s treatment of cancer. Even the middle class christians do not come under the category of english speaking middle class persons as they usually speak their native language although they are more proficient with english. if we have to take the definition of the middle classes seriously, it is important not to take the top 10% layer of the middle classes and call them the middle classes.

      Anyway, I am just pointing out to you that your definition of the middle classes as english speaking is not how I define the middle classes. I do not consider myself middle class although I do fall into the upper middle class if one goes by income. I do consider myself as someone with middle class values, because I think the middle class has values. Some double standards, yes, but values all the same. I do not think the middle classes as corrupt at all, if one has to take it as a class. By the way, studies have found that the poor pay the most bribes!! I think when it comes to values, let us then talk about our values as a nation, but even then the subject is too complex.

    • Vinod permalink
      August 27, 2009 11:14 am

      Although I am constantly conflicted about middle class India, the dominant impression in me is one that Vikram speaks of – only concerned about getting land, houses, cars, salary perks, fixed deposits, promotions, gadgets and girls with a vainglorious superiority complex over the others in the subcontinent and the Chinese and an sychophantic inferiority complex in relation to westerners.

      Nita, something about being at a distance brings out the ugliness of middle class India very strongly.

      But I am realizing that middle class India is willing to learn. Although they come out of India with an exaggerated national pride over shared myths (and associated denials) about their history and society, they are willing to change and do the right thing. It is only that which keeps my optimism alive.

      Vinod, I think you should look at the middle class from the point of view of how it is defined. I never think of the middle class like that. The class of people you talk about are a small percentage of the middle class. Yes, they may be vocal, but they do not constitute the majority of the middle class. For me the average middle class person works hard, they have values, they sacrifice everything for their childrens’ education, they save, and so on. This is the real middle class, the majority of them. Some are poorer than others, some a little better off if they have been working for 25 years. A small percentage reaches the upper middle classes. The middle class is like a pyramid when it comes to income level and I am surprised at your impression. After all we talking of definitions aren’t we. – Nita.

      • vasudev permalink
        August 27, 2009 12:57 pm

        vinod
        are you having some misgivings now? you think you should have opted for indian rupees and not sing dollars?

        • Vinod permalink
          August 27, 2009 1:37 pm

          Vasudev, you can’t resist getting personal, can you?

          • vasudev permalink
            August 27, 2009 3:39 pm

            nothing like that vinod. i was getting confused that people in glass houses were themselves throwing stones…

            • Vinod permalink
              August 27, 2009 8:47 pm

              Vasudev, grow up.

              • vasudev permalink
                August 27, 2009 11:48 pm

                thnx vinod. these parryings won’t get us anywhere. please have a relook at your comments. if you felt offended by my comments i would request nita to remove them immediately. on the other hand, i am willing to explain why i differed with you in the views you expressed. even though they may hold immense value as stand-alone opinions they are likely to be contested strongly in the current discussion. no hard feelings dear friend. only a difference of opinion.

              • August 28, 2009 12:17 am

                I got surprised reading Vinod and vikram’s views … Indian economy is growing because of middle class it is the middle class and poor families who are helping indian economy to grow like this and the india will become a economic superpoer in comming years due to these classes.

                ” the dominant impression in me is one that Vikram speaks of – only concerned about getting land, houses, cars, salary perks, fixed deposits, promotions, gadgets and girls with a vainglorious superiority complex over the others in the subcontinent”
                A upper middle class, the business class and Elite were always busy how to evade the tax and its the middle class who contribute to the ex-cheaquer that too in the country like india in volumes.

                In india the rich could also enjoying the telephone call per 40 paise or even less its possible only because of the middle class and poor.Just check how many 10 rupee recharge cards were sold by mobile companies in india.

                India strength is a mix of poor,middle,upper-middle,business and elite class combination of societies.Due to these combinations of classes we are having bollywood,industrial labour,executives and so on.

                Thats why we should respect all people and shouldn’t be taken back by the views/rituals of some conservative middle class people.The reason Nita posted this article i feel she wants to convey that this ritual is just practiced in one village of india and this ritual is not for entire length and breadth of india.

                If we observe some rituals in west like one in germany we will be surprised.In Germany a bachelor who is unable to get a girl will clean the streets in the village while people throw everything on road so that the person cleans it and gains attention that he is single.How it is ..? but its just a ritual and nothing to think that what foreigner’s will think about this..?

                In India after the delivery of the kid if the kid doesn’t cry we beat the kid with hot water and make the kid cry .. this is again a practice due to a valid reason.

                My neighbour’s girl who is from a middle class but wanna behave like upper class as she is only daughter so no financial worries.she is in her 11th class.I asked her …How is the school & how is she doing.Her complaint is everyone is wearing salwar kameez and i am the only one wearing modern dresses (skirts). So, she feels she is with middle class people and she is not enjoying well in school with the company of her fellow students.. I got surprised what to say ..? Her parents also encourage her as they want to see her daughter as soon as possible as upper class ..:)

                Their is nothing to hide in our culture just enjoy it…and extend equal respect to everyone.Their is nothing to feel shy for middles class people or one’s culture/cutom/ritual.

                • August 28, 2009 12:28 am

                  Nita, i heard about this..This baby throwing happens in one village in a mosqe in rajasthan.I had seen in Aaj-tak.But it is limited to that village only.Though its a muslim beilef but local hindus also belive in this ritual.

                  Nothing to shy away from this ritual.Infact you can see the video in Youtube & Current. The throwing is done by a expert on to the blanket holded by people.It will make the kid to be brave.But all this happens under rural expertsSo, no harm.

                  If we observe in west how they throw their kids in the swimming pool..we dont throw like that and majority of indians dont know how to swim.So, for every ritual there will be a benefit.
                  But the main poin is not all one billion indians do this.. Its limited to a small village.

                  • vasudev permalink
                    August 28, 2009 10:07 am

                    kumar

                    surprised to know that they throw kids into the swimming pool. i still smart when i recall my past experiences of full body landing into the swimming pool when what i intended was to knife dive. it is like you hit a real brick wall with your full body! in comparison the indian child throw seems to be scientifically better designed not to hurt too much.

  34. locutus83 permalink
    August 27, 2009 4:26 pm

    I have observed that the Western (read European and American) news media tend to present and portray third world countries like India primarily using two methods:
    1. Objective, investigative, factual and analytical commentaries and documentaries (a la Mark Tully and many in the BBC)
    2. Bizzare, shocking and horror-inducing news items (like this baby throwing incident)

    The first category of news generally involves an investigative journalist/team who/which ventures into the real “heartland” and observes and records events first hand. Such news items generally deal with real rampant political, social and economic issues and widespread cultural practices prevalent in a region. (eg. the plight of sex-workers, the desparate state of garbage-collectors,problems of child labour, child trafficking, untouchables, vanishing atrisans and craftsmen due to globalization, effect of SEZs on farmers, aftermaths of communal riots, etc.) It may also deal with positive socio-economic changes that are taking place in a region – especially with respect to committed social workers who are bringing about a change, and innovative government schemes. These news items are presented in an objective and sympathetic manner, and the root motivation is deep curiosity and a desire to understand and inform the “other”. This sort of news opens the real face of one society and culture to another. The SENSIBLE, EDUCATED Westerners form their opinions based upon such news items. It also sometimes helps the society being portrayed (like India) to introspect; and brings awareness and self-knowledge about facts and issues that may have been ignored or brushed aside.

    The second category of news is typically meant for titillation, and for poking fun. The key motive is mirth and to a certain extent humiliation. “Man marries dog in Tamil Nadu” “Babies thrown off roof for good luck” “Woman married to tree in Orissa” “Baby playing with Cobra” (actually you will find many such items on Youtube as videos, where you will have a bunch of Western and Pakistani juveniles having a laugh and poking fun at Indians and Indians crying hoarse that these “events” do not represent the real face of the country. Regarding the baby throwing incident – I saw this particular piece of news on Youtube a year back.)
    In my opinion, we should not get unduly worked up and angry about such news items and the reactions to these since it is only the JUVENILES, and the IGNORANT and RACIST foreigners who will paint the picture of an entire society based upon such one off incidents. Their opinions do not really matter, since such people do not try to really investigate another society in full, including the good points and the bad points. They are full of pre-conceived notions, prejudice and bias, and presenting India’s “good” points will have NO EFFECT on their “opinions”. A typical example of a vewpoint floating amongst such enlightened people on the internet: “Indians (Hindoos) are ugly m****rf***ing pieces of sh*t! They drink Cow Piss and bathe in holy Cow Urine!!!” All this just because there was some obscure one off video of someone endorsing cow urine products in Gujarat a few years back. I can only shake my head and laugh at their levels of ignorance and stupidity! There is no point getting insulted, arguing with such people and trying to convince them.

    I feel we should focus on the REAL issues facing our society and work towards making our country a better place to live. We should INCORPORATE Western standards and ethics and work towards improving ourselves, but should NOT BOTHER about their opinions, especially when it comes from the ignorant juveniles. Most of us are intelligent and mature enough to separate the grain from the chaff! :-)

    locutus83. thanks for that comprehensive comment. I agree with everything you say, but at the same time want to add that misinformation should be corrected. Yes, the majority of the racists will not believe anything, but a few will! But yes you are quite correct in saying that there is no point getting agitated. – Nita.

  35. Naveen permalink
    August 28, 2009 3:49 am

    I remembered Katherine Mayo’s polemical attack on India in 1927 with her book “Mother India” and Mahatma Gandhi’s response to it. I thought it is relevant here:

    “This book is cleverly and powerfully written. The carefully chosen quotations give it the false appearance of a truthful book. But the impression it leaves on my mind, is that it is the report of a drain inspector sent out with the one purpose of opening and examining the drains of the country to be reported upon, or to give a graphic description of the stench exuded by the opened drains. If Miss. Mayo had confessed that she had come to India merely to open out and examine the drains of India, there would perhaps be little to complain about her compilation. But she declared her abominable and patently wrong conclusion with a certain amount of triumph: ‘the drains are India'”.

  36. vasudev permalink
    August 28, 2009 9:30 pm

    instead they should focus on why ‘matrimonials’ (web sites/paper ads/tv channels/radio jingles etc) are a multi-million dollar business in india (or should i say multi-billion?). do they have anything to equal this?

    or why india is one of the least amongst world nations in divorces?

    • rags permalink
      August 29, 2009 8:03 pm

      Because Indian women are really pathetic in standing up for their own rights.

      • vasudev permalink
        August 30, 2009 1:12 am

        rags. i think that is oversimplifying the problem, if you think there IS a problem. i see none. i see none because marriages aren’t just a femalish affair. they are very much a malish affair too and it takes two to clap and say: “hey! let’s quit. we’ve had enough!’

        now that does not happen too often in india. simply because indians bring up their children differently (as nita had pointed out earlier). the child sees his/her own parents as examples and learns to cope with its own life’s ups and downs because the parents seem to be doing it so well. and that is how in indian society the closeness with which we treat our children by actually exposing our strengths and weknesses to them actually become learning grounds for endurance and exhilaration. they have seen their parents caring for each other, loving each other and fighting with each other, have experienced their pains of being on a cheese of and then coming together to yet another ride of joy and pain. when one has experienced these and taken training from one’s parents/relatives etc one learns how to cope with small differences. besides, we always have had the counsel of our elders who sense things much better and earlier than we do. they intervene and avoid things from going out of hand. here beating a child to bring him/her onto the right path does not invite police force into your house nor does it get you a penal sentence or get your child into state care. one learns from living life traditionally and not state dictated. there is a difference and hence if you do not see as many divroces or if you see only 1/50th of the divorces then you know it is not happening due to true parenting and involved upbringing.

        • Abdullah K. permalink
          November 2, 2009 9:50 pm

          Beating a child and making him unconditionally obey elders sows the seeds of sychophancy, which is reflected in the way Indians are reluctant to question authority and revolt against bad government. Basically, the ‘chalta hai’ attitude.

      • Vinod permalink
        August 30, 2009 6:55 am

        Vasudev, I have seen both what you’ve said and what rags said happen in real life. But this is what I see – the wife is coaxed by all her relatives to compromise and give into what the husband wants. The “example” set to her is that of her mother and the extent to which she compromised. Indian women are socialized to be nincompoops both before and after marriage. Nobody utters a word to the guy other than some meaningless “resolve this soon”. I’m with rags on this. Indian women are just not assertive enough. No wonder Indians shudder at the thought of marrying Singaporeaan women. Many of them have openly told me that women here are badmaash. What they mean is that they don’t get to wag their chauvinism without consequences. These women are not going to lie down and roll over.

        • vasudev permalink
          August 30, 2009 7:51 pm

          vinod.

          what i have seen is a matrilinear society as exists for the kerala nair community. the woman does not go out of her own home after marriage. hence maybe they have a better life as compared to societies where women have to go to the husband’s home after marriage. however, from old explanations, many husbands in nair families have faced harrassment at the hands of wife’s relatives because they actually become part of wives homes. especially olden days men had very few jobs and those who were unemployed were looked down upon. one can draw a parallel from that.

          women who do not have good jobs generally get harrassed by the husband’s relatives. todat women have good jobs and they may not allow themselves to be harrassed.

          my current read is ‘men are from amrs and women are from venus’ by john gray. i think it is a good book and worth reading because one may find many solutions to simple matrimonial issues which can save a marriage.

    • Gori Rajkumari permalink
      August 30, 2009 8:33 am

      vasudev….

      I’ve read some of your comments here and am quite surprised that someone who makes so much money to pay such high taxes, can be truly so ignorant about the west. Not everyone throws their child into the swimming pool and most of the times this is older children who are begging to be be tossed in. Not thrown and not from anything higher than a parent standing by the side of the pool.

      I think what made me the most annoyed was your high handed comment about how much money is being made from matrimonial sites in India and how there is a very low divorce rate. 1) America (and other country’s) also have multi-million dollar online match services. 2) Why are you so proud of the low divorce rate for your country when you know that women are still having to fight so hard for her general rights? The problem is not that people learned so wonderfully from their parents, it’s that people are afraid of what the neighbors are going to say if they should get a divorce. Or that the women, for years (if not centuries) did not have a voice to speak out the injustice she had to suffer once she was married. Or the husband was ashamed to admit that his wife emotionally or verbally abused him (blackmail). These things happen all to often and you hear of it more and more frequently in Indian News, NOT American ones. Yes, America has a high divorce rate….but for no other reason that each person has the right to live a happy life and if he or she can show a court that they have done everything in their power to obtain that and then ask for a divorce because it became clear that it was impossible…what problem should anyone have with that?

      The difference between you and I is this. While I know that these things happen in India, I also know that there ARE people who watched their parents struggle, learn, grow and love each other and therefore learned from it….just as much as I know there are people staying together who are miserable and afraid of what their family/neighbors will say if they divorce.

      From your comments, I’m thinking you only want to see the bad side of places other than India.

      Your comments are just another example of something drawing conclusions and make assumptions based off of what he/she reads in the papers, see’s in the movies or watches on TV.

      • vasudev permalink
        August 30, 2009 7:29 pm

        Gori

        let me put your doubts to rest.

        india taxes 30%. so i should make around 20 lacs gross, which is not much since i have seen middle class salaried income touching some few crores/annum.

        on the ignorance part: yes. i do not read news papers nor do i watch tv (stopped doing both due to their negative reporting). but i do read a lot and can finish a book everyday.

        as regards the child dropping into the swimming pool, i do not care if they drop it from a height or jump in alongwith it. man is an intelligent creature and he/she can easily understand what is the actual truth (being a swimmer myself i can know the truth but i may not wish to give the benefit to a pompous society which looks down upon all else. so let them be tagged as the ‘ignorant-pompous-swimming-pool-child-droppers’. shall we say that the entire us is like that or all the westerners are like that? no need to prompt me).

        regarding my poor knowledge about the west, i haven’t stepped out of india anywhere other than to singapore. although my portfolio demands travelling abroad, i hate flying long distance, get restless beyond an hour into flight and feel claustrophobic. so i send my juniors who are quite happy to oblige me. all the same, i do get to meet many of them (who, from different companies, travel to india every month on various business assignments) in my office since they have work with me (they are vendors). we discuss things openly, are good friends, keep in touch on the email and chat with each other occassionally on the phone. sometimes we do talk about society, family issues etc, while having tea in the tea-room. let me assure you: many of them think india has a strong family bond. let me tell you what one of them said:

        we bring up our children differently.
        beyond 20 we can even tell them to go away.
        our children aren’t very responsive. they think differently. we cannot scold them beyond a certain point. sometimes we feel alienated from them. they can even land us into jails.

        as regards women’s general rights, i think this is an imagined thing. i have not seen anything wrong with my parents family. nor my grand parents family. i have seen the women asserting themselves. i have had a most understanding father and grandfather. i have only seen them giving in quickly to their women. i haven’t seen them having any major differences. now you say women in india are suppressed. i do not deny it but the truth is, one is generalising as much as the western media reported the sholapur baby dropping incident as a regular happening thing in entire india.

        america has a huge divorce rate (as much as 48.5% of the solemnised marriages in comparison to india’s 1.1%). the divorce becomes rampant when one is selfish to the point of not facing one’s family duties other than seeking personal comforts. besides, india IS a suffering country. here people have to struggle for every penny. while an electrician in the us may easily charge you 120 dollars/hour of engagement, in india an equivalent electrician may not even get 120 dollars as salary for an entire month putting in 18 hours/day. so there is a major economical gap and one cannot just take the case of a few pampered indians screaming for divroces and how bad the family life is. let me assure you, irrespective of class and affordability, every indian woman and man tries to live for their children. i have seen wealthy ladies personally escorting their children to and fro school, albiet in fancy cars (but they do make the effort).

        yes. mostly the indian children watch their parents. especially girls are quite observant. girls liken their husbands to their fathers and may get cheesed of if the guy isn’t in tune. sometimes this might lead to matrimonial clashes but it is for an intelligent pair to adjust and grow. if they cannot adjust, they should decide to part.

        i am not india-centric. at many places in this blog i have severely criticised india and welcomed the western world’s achievements. the point is, i endeavour to speak with reference to the main topic and bring in views that, to my humble understanding, can have some debate wrt.

        above all, i thank you for your comments. i feel happy that you read all that and put in your own views to counter. quite humbly let me confess: i may have my views but it does not mean that i do not endorse the views expressed by the others. and you must see my reply above only as an explanation to why i have my views. there are no accusations. thanks.

        • Gori Rajkumari permalink
          September 1, 2009 11:54 pm

          Vasudev,
          Your most recent comment to showed me the extent of your knowledge not only to your own culture but to the west culture as well.

          You speak in terms of what you have witnessed within your own family, and while your family sounds just both morally and ethically, you cannot honestly sit there and say that your small sphere of knowledge extends to not only the entire Indian culture but also to the whole of the United States.

          Having a few contacts who are American, does not give you an exact idea of the people nor does it give you any authority to judge us indiscriminately. You have essentially, proven my point of ignorance when it comes to viewing and understanding a culture other than your own. I have at least spent time in India. You’ve never stepped foot outside of India.

          To begin my argument to your points, I would like to start with your statement that you have seen some middle class people in India making “some few crores/annum”. I spoke to my husband about this and he wanted to know exactly what part of India you are living in. The median family income in India is approximately Rs.4500 a month. By its conventional definition, the middle class includes families whose incomes lie between 75% and 125% of the median. Families with monthly incomes over Rs.6000 are thus above the ‘middle class’ line, and families earning more than Rs.8000 or 9000 a month are certainly among the top fifth of the nation. So, by this information (provided by the Indian government no less), I’m wondering if you realize you are quite wealthy by India standards.

          Being an ‘ignorant-pompous-swimming-pool-child-dropper’ myself (as I gather you view all Americans), I can at least say that I do not know the breadth of all interactions in my own country or that of India’s. I can at least acknowledge that I know only what I’ve witnessed, read, researched, watched and heard from my friends, colleagues and relatives. Both of whom are either American or Indian. I then understand further that this is not a cause for me to judge as all of it is limited in its information.

          Here is what I can say about the statistics you pointed out. Let’s view those shall we?
          United States Divorce rate is 48.5% and India’s is 1.1%. However, let’s dig a little bit deeper into this statistic.

          The most current male population between the ages of 15 and 64 in India is 381,446,079 (as per the CIA Worldbook Census – https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/in.html). The most current male population between the ages of 15 and 64 in the US is 102,665,043 as per the same source.

          Now, let’s pretend that all those men are married. That’s a pretty long stretch as Indian men almost always marry and men in the US do not. According to our own census about 65% of males in this category are married. However, I could find no data on this for India, so for the sake of argument let’s just say that they all marry.

          If you take those two figures and do the following calculation:
          India: 381,446,079 x .011 = 4,195,906.87
          US: 102,665,043 x .485 = 49,792,545.86

          Now, our divorce rate does not appear to be so overwhelmingly different from India’s. It’s still a substantial amount, but nowhere near what it seemed before.

          Let’s take it a bit further.

          India has been a free country since 1947. That is only 62 years in order to reestablish her own rules, laws and governance. To dispel the evils that were done to her by another country, India has had to make great strides in order to become the growing world leader she is today. That however, does not change the fact that there is much to be done in India with regards to Women’s rights and Child Labor Laws. I think everyone reading this blog will agree that more is needed.

          =======================================
          Now read this entry from China Women’s Federation (http://www.womenofchina.cn/focus/marriage_and_family/5166.jsp):

          The US: People fear divorce more than marriage.

          About 59% of America’s population of 300 million is married. Although over 90% of American adults look forward to married life, divorce rates are still very high. During the 1950s, more than 90% of married couples would stay together for ten years or more, but in the 1990s, this percentage has fallen to below 50%. In recent years, many older adults have been getting divorced after they turn 60, or even 80 years old.

          American experts says that there are many reasons for the rising divorce rate, including people’s longer life spans, new generational values, and the growing economic independence of women. Another reason is that it is extremely easy to get divorced in America. In recent years, as the economy has struggled and jobs have become harder to find, younger.

          Americans are not willing to marry so quickly and those who are married are not so quick to divorce.

          India: Divorce rate twice as high as ten years ago

          In India, there are no formal statistics concerning divorce rates due the large rural population and incomplete records, but it is widely acknowledged that the divorce rate has greatly increased.

          Young couples divorcing are a major reason divorce rates have risen. The phenomenon of “family group marriages” is also noteworthy. In rural India, marriages between families are quite common. For example, the brothers of one family marry the sisters of another family at the same time. In a situation like this, once one marriage ends in a divorce and leads to deep enmity between the families, all the marriages are likely to end in divorce.

          According to a recent survey, the higher a woman’s educational level, the less she cares
          about getting a divorce.

          =======================================

          If you evaluate this further, you will see that with education, economy and changing society rules, divorce rates fluctuate (in both America and India). America has had MUCH more time in which to change than India has. This is not necessarily a good or bad thing, it’s just a fact.

          Here is my suggestion, visit the US. Get to know some of her people. Read more literature on the American people. Become more informed about our society, morals and family structure and THEN give your opinion. This is something I’ve already done. I believe that there is much in India that the world could learn from in order to become a better place in general. But I also believe that there is more still that India needs to do in order to grow…and not just economically.

          And being an intelligent and open minded individual (as well as NON Pompous fool) I understand that there is much more learning and understanding that I need to do as well.
          I just try not to judge other’s based off the limited (and sometimes biased) information of that person’s culture or country.

          My father taught me this…. “Knowledge is Power but Understanding is Key”.

          I too, welcome your comments. You’ll excuse me if I sometimes am a tad argumentative, but as you said, everyone’s opinion has worth and value. By expressing them, we learn and grow.

          • vasudev permalink
            September 2, 2009 11:40 am

            Gori

            One prime tool used in debates is offensiveness, including personal attacks. I like your continued offensiveness. It increases the will to fight!

            I do not know when you migrated outside India but the India today is very rewarding in salaries, prompting many NRIs to return and also encouraging highly qulified indian professionals to seek employment within India instead of seeking their fortunes abroad.

            Now let me explain what I understand about the middle class in India.
            By middle class what I mean is the class of people who aren’t in the league of the Ambanis and neither in the league of the pedestrain owners. There is such a class of people in India. We further qualify them as upper middle class and lower middle class (again i have no wish to qualify them based on the income boundary). However, from your definition i might have just made it into the upper middle class or whatever. however, the truth is many of these so called upper middle class indians are a new breed who, even ten years ago, were in the lower middle class or lower class. quite a few of my class mates earn in crores in the pvt sector (being ceos/svps etc). i am not in the pvt sector and although quite senior in post i do not get the salary of the pvt sector. i did not know 20 lacs/annum looked so huge to you. surprisingly nowadays i find professional graduates in india at the prime young age of 21, starting at a handsome 35 thou + whereas i (also an engineering professional) started at a single thou about 20 yrs ago. it is because of the it and other business expansions, fdi investments, real estate boom etc in india that the salaries have increased so much. during my time there were hardly any engineering colleges but today i find that indian states have an average of 100 engg colleges. at 45000/yr you aren’t really describing the middle class in india. maybe the class below the middle class.

            As regards the culture part, many years ago i was the india correspondent for an american site which was chiefly made up of war widows and us ex-marines. I learned a lot during my days with them. Sometimes I wondered at the hate the americans had for their incursion driven leaders and their military adventurisms. I am also well exposed to the way in which these foreign cultures are forcing India into a corner, so much so that indian in india is fast becoming a non-entity. maybe you aren’t aware of all that.

            I have already explained about the child dropping. I do not understand why you could not take the cue?

            Nice stats about the divorce rates. Too good that you did the calculations. I must give you the marks here and please accept my heartiest appreciation. Maybe I need to have a relook at the underlying thought and study it further.

            there is a difficulty though! yes. when one looks at actual figures they do not look much different but my dear: we should not forget that the percentage system was devised with this very purpose in mind. that we do not look at mere numbers but we also look at what they are wrt. does a good job of relative referencing, this percentage and percentile system. but all the same let me once again thank you for all the details you dug out in defence of your stand on divorces.

            i will revert back to you in another post once i have time to look at all that excellent work (regarding american culture/divorce etc) you have done in detail. and then we may have yet another interesting discussion (or debate).

            Bye for now, thanks and let’s meet again and HAPPY ONAM!

            • Gori Rajkumari permalink
              September 2, 2009 11:18 pm

              Vasudev,
              I was at a complete loss to understand what you meant by offensive and attacking your person. So I went back and reread my previous comment numerous times in an effort to find it. The only thing I could find was that you may have misunderstood because of how I worded two particular passages. Let me guess and you then say if I’m correct?

              “You speak in terms of what you have witnessed within your own family, and while your family sounds just both morally and ethically……”

              After rereading this, I thought you might perhaps have taken it incorrectly? I probably should have written Fair instead of Just. Or maybe made JUST in capital letters….but I didn’t think about it because I meant it as I said it. Your family does sound just. I can’t judge from anything other than what you say. So, from what you say, they sound like fair and just people.

              “And being an intelligent and open minded individual (as well as NON Pompous fool) I understand that there is much more learning and understanding that I need to do as well…….”

              After rereading this I thought perhaps you may have thought I was saying that while I am NOT a pompous fool, YOU are. This was not what I meant at all. I was very clearly stating that I am NOT a pompous fool as you yourself had called me (and all the US people) from your previous comment. I do not know you personally and therefore refuse to judge whether you are pompous based on a few comments made by you. I simply was stating that I am not one.

              From Vasudev “as regards the child dropping into the swimming pool, i do not care if they drop it from a height or jump in alongwith it. man is an intelligent creature and he/she can easily understand what is the actual truth (being a swimmer myself i can know the truth but i may not wish to give the benefit to a pompous society which looks down upon all else. so let them be tagged as the ‘ignorant-pompous-swimming-pool-child-droppers’. shall we say that the entire us is like that or all the westerners are like that? no need to prompt me).”

              Did I misread this? Were you not saying that the US is a pompous society who looks down upon all else and should be tagged as the ‘ignorant-pompous-swimming-pool-child-droppers’? Please excuse me if I am wrong, but this comment of yours, taken literally, is offensive and a personal attack. Seeing as how I did not do this in retaliation (other than saying that you may be ignorant to some facts….and we all are to some extent and I admitted that so it’s silly to think that is some malicious personal attack), my feeling is that you are projecting your own behavior on to me. From what I can tell, you also have a flair for using incendiary and generalized comments that may not exactly reflect what your actual beliefs are. That can be found in this comment from you “as regards women’s general rights, i think this is an imagined thing”. I don’t believe someone educated would actually believe that women all over the world don’t still face issues with their rights. Including India.

              With regards to your comments regarding salary behavior in India, I agree more with your most recent comments. There are levels of “middle class” and the pay ranges are extraordinary. But I based my comments from yours. You said that “i have seen middle class salaried income touching some few crores/annum”. I have never seen an instance of the actual definition middle class reaching those sums. This may be possible for HIGH middle class bordering on rich….but never so of the actual middle class. Not yet anyway.
              If you weren’t being facetious about learning more about western culture and the people in the US, then I applaud you. I think it’s an excellent thing for people to continue to learn more about things that they are not intimately familiar with. Basing judgments and opinions on limited knowledge or experiences is never a good course of action. Continuing to enrich your opinions with more detailed and first hand experiences is always good. While I agree that most Americans have a Love/Hate relationship with their politicians….I charge you to find one country who’s patriots are NOT in some way unhappy with their government or politicians. And I must also say that basing your opinions on conversations with people from the US Military is not the foundation for a knowledgeable opinion on the US culture or people in general. I’m not sure about India, but I know that in the US it takes a certain type of person to join the military and their views are sometimes more critical or extreme when compared to your average US citizen who is NOT in military service. I have many brothers, one of which is a Lt. Colonel in the Marines and highly decorated. I admire him and am in awe of him…he is a very good man. However, his views on many things are extra critical and strict. We disagree frequently on what daily civilian life really is…as his views are based off his long military career and in some ways I think he has lost touch with what it is to be a civilian in the US. Most of my friends who have a military career are the same way.

              Might I suggest two books to get you started? One is a collection of essay’s about early American Life and how it has grown. It’s called Homelands: A Geography of Culture and Place across America (Creating the North American Landscape) (Hardcover) by Richard L. Nostrand (Editor), Lawrence E. Estaville. The other (and please excuse the name…but trust me it’s a good book and one that I have read) is: U.S. History For Dummies (For Dummies (History, Biography & Politics)) (Paperback) by Wiegand (Author). Both can be found on Amazon.

              Ultimately, what I’ve been trying to say all along is that no one knows the depth and breadth of another society unless they have directly interacted with people from all walks of life within that society. And even then the perception cannot be complete. What one person represents does not necessarily equal what all represent or even what the people in his/her own household represent. Understanding that essentially, we all want the same things and have the same needs (Love, Happiness, Acceptance, Growth, Faith, Food) is the first step in understanding why people behave the way they do. That goes for next door neighbors as well as neighboring country’s.

              And to wrap things up, in regards to divorce in the US. Yes, I agree that it is high. And as an intelligent individual, I’m further aware that in some cases the cause for the divorce is negligent; however I’m also aware that most of the cases are not. The everyday divorce in America is usually due to irreconcilable differences which by legal definition means: Differences between spouses that are considered sufficiently severe to make married life together more or less impossible. Another reason, and just as common, is abuse. Either emotionally, physically or mentally. Since the advent of Women’s Liberation, the divorce rate in the America has increased. Generally speaking, the man was the only one who sought divorce before this (although there were exceptions). However, once the women had more rights, their ability to say that they would no longer take abuse of any form or that the couple had inconsolable differences, the amount of divorces in the US increased. The US is not a society that thinks “Oh well…it’s too hard, let’s quit”. Read the US history and you will see how hard she has fought for her rights, privileges, and independence. That same battle is being waged in the US today just as it’s being waged in India.

              I look forward to your future comments with relish.

        • Gori Rajkumari permalink
          September 2, 2009 1:11 am

          Vasudev,

          One other thing that bothered me about your previous comment and that I had forgotten to mention…and let’s be honest…my last comment was a novel, was these two statements from you.

          “America has a huge divorce rate (as much as 48.5% of the solemnised marriages in comparison to India’s 1.1%). The divorce becomes rampant when one is selfish to the point of not facing one’s family duties other than seeking personal comforts.”

          Regarding Indian marriages and how Indian girls view them….“Sometimes this might lead to matrimonial clashes but it is for an intelligent pair to adjust and grow. if they cannot adjust, they should decide to part.”

          How is it possible that you can allow one rule of thumb for one set of people or culture and not allow it for another? How is it selfish on the behalf of American couples who cannot adjust to divorce and NOT selfish for Indian couples?

          • vasudev permalink
            September 2, 2009 11:46 am

            Gori
            Let me appreciate you and give a pat on your back. You WERE novel, if that makes you feel happier.
            coming to the point, please do not mind paragraphs, syntaxes, sentences, starts, ends, grammar, wordings etc. in my comments. what i had said was in general to all situations but maybe they were strewn here and there.

            • Gori Rajkumari permalink
              September 2, 2009 11:26 pm

              Perhaps then, it would be wiser to structure your comments before posting them so that people do not misunderstand your meaning or intentions? Just my opinion from previous personal experiences. :)

              And yes, I am a NOVEL person…in the adjective form of course.

  37. August 29, 2009 12:53 am

    Please read one more such news story. This one : http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25573550-5006785,00.html

    It has one line in the report that says: Indian blogs have taken an increasingly hysterical tone in recent days, with one even suggesting “Australians in India should be dragged on to the streets, stripped and beaten so badly they forget their names. That’s the only way to teach these thugs and criminals.”

    Try using Google Advanced Search to locate which blog exactly said this. You will get two – three media reports stating the same, and they also give credit to the above link of The Australian.

    Is there a conspiracy against Indians in Australia as well as Britain media?? Whatever, but the above mentioned experience clearly shows how lies are openly published out of the reporter’s heads in the media of the developed countries!

    Ameya, I am surprised to hear this. That there is no such blog but someone has reported it! In any case, even if some blog screamed that Australians should be beaten up, a blog is an opinion of just one person. For the Australian media to become hyper because a blogger is saying this is amusing. – Nita

    • August 29, 2009 8:40 pm

      Yes, I did email The Australian regarding this. I asked them to please reply me the details as I have been trying to locate the blog myself!! NO replies from The Australian.

  38. September 3, 2009 2:57 am

    Actually I have heard about baby-throwing before. Not once, several times. I also saw it on television once.

    I am not sure if it happens in Maharashtra but it certainly happens. :( And yes forming opinion of India based on one report is futile for a land like India which is full of contradictions.

  39. nancy wolf permalink
    July 9, 2010 12:54 am

    could it be that the “Michael Jackson” incident where he held blanket over the balcony was influenced by this tradition since he was very well informed of other peoples cultures? just a thought…

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