Indian stereotypes about foreigners: “They don’t know anything about our culture”

Stereotypes of Indian people about foreigners are very strange, not quite realistic, but for some reason, most people believe in them. Today we will talk about the stereotype “Foreigners don’t know anything about our culture”.

This stereotype partly refers to another one, “Foreigners are not like us” (about this stereotype you can Read Here), but most often used by aged women.

A story like this happened to me last year:

I was traveling on a Delhi-Jaipur train (4-5 hour sitting train), alone. Tickets for the train were bought online. And in the system there was some kind of error, the place indicated in my ticket was bought by another person as well. More precisely, one of the members of such family: a 50-60-year-old couple “with a child” – their 25-30 years old son, but he wasn’t treated as an adult by his parents, what I, unfortunately, see in India sometimes. I arrived before them and sat down. When they appeared, the woman began to argue with me.

An elderly man was also sitting opposite to me and after checking the documents by conductor which left to solve out the problem, a man tried to help me. But the woman, although she knew that it was not for the whole trip, that in 10 minutes everything would be settled, sat herself and made her son to sit down (and not her aged husband, which is strange for me), she could not just stop and calm down, even without me replying back. My husband messaged me not to get up until the situation will be solved, because we both know that it’s not unusual for some Indians to try to fool foreigners as well.

Woman, realizing that I was not going to get up, began to complain to elderly man about me in Hindi. She thought I didn’t understand what she was saying. And she said the following: “These tourists, they do not know anything about our culture!”.

I did not answer, although I regret it, but I did it exactly because of Indian culture (otherwise I would for sure, in India I do feel pressurized to shut up and say only “positive things” being a foreigner and a young woman, both). Honestly, I do not like women in India who cover their arrogance with culture and believe that they have the right to judge and gossip about anyone because of this (once I was also pushed hardly and intentionally by an elderly woman on vegetable market just because she wanted to come on my place – and again I couldn’t reply anything – because of “Indian culture” and “respect to elders”).

I regret that I did not say that it’s hardly possible that Indian culture teaches to disrespect young girls, to gossip about the people, especially in their presence. Although it must be admitted that for elderly women in India this is quite normal – to judge, especially young people, as for women in general in any country that have not worked all their lives, because their attention often almost completely switches to gossip, judgment and fear. Just in India, there is much more aged women like this comparing to Europe (not counting the youth).

However, it was strange to me that according to Indian culture, again, she made her adult son to sit down (he wasn’t injured or so), not elderly husband, instead of asking her son to give the seat to a girl for 10 minutes being a gentleman – that what a mother would expect of her adult son in my country. And no, it’s not like I needed it from him – I had a right to be there, but I was feeling disrespected by her drama – it would be ok if the situation was about the whole trip or my mistake, but not like this. Her son, by the way, would not even dare to help me himself in front of her, because then he would just turn her drama towards himself already.

Her son and her husband did not say a single word, despite the tough patriarchy which is constantly spoken about in India, many elderly women here are quite tough and controlling, according to me, even more than Russian women (I am from Russia and Russian women are considered to be tough). By the way, if I had told this woman that I was not a tourist but was married to an Indian, her attitude towards me would be even worse (how Indians say themselves, that women are the ones who treat other women in India worse than men do). But at first she would be very surprised that I was traveling alone in a train in that case (this is not considered safe among Indian women). This is all despite the fact that many Indians are convinced that they perceive guests as gods. For some reason I do not want to learn such things from Indian people and don’t want to associate arrogance with Indian culture, even if it would be really a part of it.

Picture is taken from: https://www.iol.co.za/news/opinion/an-open-letter-to-indian-mothers-in-law-9684077

To read about the stereotype “Foreigners are not like us” please Click Here.

To read about the stereotype “Foreigner girls are easy” please Click Here.

To read about the stereotype “Foreigners are rich” please Click Here.

To read about the stereotype “Foreigner girls do not know how to cook” please Click Here.

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