I'm not picking on Indians. Anyone who has never left their home country will have this same issue. But, because I'm not Indian and have chosen to expose myself to India, spend time there and write about India, I see a lot of this. It is sometimes difficult for me to understand because here in the US, if we see a problem with our country, or even something we don't like, we are the first ones to talk about it, criticize it and then do something to try and fix it. I don't see this coming from Indians and I know there are cultural differences but to a pardesi it gets TIRING fending off comments about how great and perfect India is.
As an outsider, it is much easier for me to take an objective view of what I see in India. My views are not tainted by patriotism, love for my friends and family or the general denial that most Indians are famous for. Now, for those of you who are Indian and read this blog I must warn you to leave now if you can't imagine there could be anything in your country that doesn't work efficiently. You won't like what I'm going to say - I guarantee it. Thankfully this warning is not needed for the majority of my Indian readers. They are both educated and have enough common sense to realize that problems are not resolved by ignoring them. At least not all problems.
I'm really enjoying this new generation of Indians that are standing up for what is right. I'm not happy with how they have came into the picture (because of the rapes, eve-teasing, etc.) but I delight in watching them make a stand for a better India.
Back to my point. The majority of Indians I've encountered will argue with you till death that anything negative you say about India is not true. Their view seems to be that because they are satisfied with how things are around them that all of India must be doing well and not need changing. Of course, they would also swear that the things other pardesi's, expats and myself have experienced are rare.
This is simply not true. None of these things are rare. There's hundreds of pardesi's with ties to all parts of India who are experiencing the same thing. So where does the problem lie when we are trying to communicate with each other (the pardesi's and the Indians)? It lies in the lack of knowledge among Indians who have never left India of how other countries operate. Basically, they don't know what they are missing because they've never been exposed to it.
It's not wrong. But, arguing with people who have seen both worlds is futile. It's narrow-minded. It won't get you anywhere and it certainly is not beneficial to India. Fortunately there are many Indians who are willing to hear what people say, research for themselves and look for ways to improve the India they love. It's not easy, I know I've been through this myself with America. You didn't think my husband thought America was the perfect place did you? If so, you're wrong.
There were some problems he pointed out to me that I never realized were problems. I had to be open to this and it's hard to listen to. I knew America had issues that needed fixing but I didn't realize some of the things he would point out. Also, because of how I grew up, there were a few things he pointed out that I easily agreed with.
So while you may not agree or you may not understand, try to be open to the possibility that things can be better outside of India. Some things won't. There are a few things India is better at than other countries but you can't be perfect in every way. It's not realistic. It might suit you, but that doesn't mean it's the best.
One place is your healthcare system. Medical tourism is done because it's cheap, not because the quality of care is better. This applies to many countries and not just India. America's healthcare system is extremely expensive. My doctor's visits cost $250 for 15 minutes and I don't see an actual doctor (it's a physicians assistant). Prices are significantly higher in bigger, more popular cities. Compare that to India where a visit to a western-educated doctor cost me about $5. My surgery I had cost $2300 in India. In the US the same surgery would have been $16,000. People do not come to India for the quality of care, it's for the cheap prices.
Another place you need improvement is your traffic system. Look at how many people die just on the Rohtang pass alone because the road can't handle the traffic. I've seen video of how people drive along the road and they're not always concerned with safety. In Amritsar traffic was awful. Men getting mauled under the big trucks because there's no order to the traffic. Women knocked off the back of motorcycles and injured. People don't have to suffer and die like they do. The traffic system could use some serious improvement. (I will say thought that around the embassy and diplomatic areas of Delhi the traffic is significantly better than anywhere else I've been in India. It's not bad to travel through that area at all.)
Pardesi's don't tell you these things because they hate India. We're not bashing you or your country like many perceive we are. Yes, sometimes our tone seems negative because of our own experiences. Our voicing these issues is not a reflection of our thoughts or feelings on the entire country. It's our view of where we see improvement is needed. We speak from experience. While you may feel what is already in place is fine, we see where it could be better.
If you're Indian, share your thoughts with me on how you feel when a non-Indian criticizes something about India. Also, have you been to any other country besides India?
For my pardesi readers, what other things have you noticed that the Indians you interact with don't like to hear you talk about?