“What I like about India”



On the plane to Goa at the weekend I read a story in a newspaper about a 13-year-old English boy who had fathered the baby of a 15-year-old teenage girl in the UK. Alfie Patten’s voice had not yet broken and his son had been born after one night of unprotected sex. It reminded me of several things I don’t miss about the UK and like about India: the breakdown of family values being one of them. Sex education is widespread in English schools; I am not even sure if it exists in India. But, I am yet to see a teenage single mum in India.

The expectation and pressure on men to lose their virginity starts in the UK at 15 or 16 whereas in India no such pressure appears to exist and many men in their 20s are virgins, it seems.

In the UK I only need to show up at a mall in, say Leicester, in daytime and the stiletto mini skirt wearing dyed-blond haired brigade of teenage boppy mums are everywhere, prams in toe, chewing gum. Teenage pregnancies in the UK are the highest in western Europe. The worst part is that it is the mainly poorly educated lower social economic strata – the council estate residents – who are breeding like rabbits, often because a single mum gets pushed up the waiting list for a council house, whereas a woman without a kid has to wait in line.

Meanwhile, the educated posh set who might bring their kids up well and give them a proper education, are not getting pregnant and if they are, it is when they are 40.

This is causing problems for employment as there is a dearth of young people to be waiters, labourers, builders and plumber, creating the influx from Eastern Europe and is rather worrying for the future genetic pool of the UK.

The same problems cannot be seen in India. I have been astonished at how well-behaved young people are and how respectful they are towards their parents and elders.

When I interviewed students in Mumbai about their views on kissing in public and they were all against it because they were concerned it would offend elders. I cannot imagine any British teenager being the slightest bit concerned about their parents’ view on anything.

In India too everyone seems to get married: it is rare to meet anyone over 30 who is not. In the UK the Bridget Jones brigade of single men and women is on the increase. There is no organised system for people to meet their future partner as there is in India. The era in the 1960’s when men would marry women they had met at the local dance on a Friday is well and truly over. Noone asks anyone to dance in nightclubs anymore and if you go to an evening class, you can be sure most people are over 50. Hence the proliferation of speed dating and online dating…

I will never forget soon after arriving in India how I had to interview eight housewives: I asked each of them diligently whether they were married and whether they had children, sometimes in the reverse order. I was surprised to find the housewives were all married with two children.

When I asked one woman if she was married after she said she had kids, she looked horrified.

The reason I had (naively) done this was because, in the UK, if you interviewed women 40 plus you could not make any assumptions. It was likely one would be at least single mum, one a divorcee, one married without kids and at least three with kids but unmarried in live-in relationships. If they had children, you could make no assumption about their surnames as they may have been fathered by different men.

This may have all contributed to the hooded gang and anti social behaviour culture. Gangs of youths roam around the streets places like inner city London or cities in the Midlands – aged anywhere from 12 to 18 – they may brandish knives, are often on drugs or alcohol and apparently it is all because they come from broken homes, where their parents might be drug addicts, alcoholics, or simply unemployed.

These gangs take over neighbourhoods on a Friday and Saturday night randomly beating people up, slashing car tyres and smashing up property. In nightclubs you find girls collapsed on the floor or vomiting in  the sinks; I have never seen this in India. Girls in Mumbai that go to bars and clubs never get so drunk they collapse and most teenagers seem to be at home studying.

The worst offence they ever commit is to sit for hours being noisy in Café Coffee Day or Mocha. Drugs are also rife in the UK, dealt directly outside the school gates in many London schools. Not so here. The work place is also preferable in India. It feels more like a family. Everyone stops for lunch, often eating in a group, sharing gossip and news.

In the UK most people wolf down a sandwich in five minutes alone in front of their computer screen and go back to work. Bosses are also civil to you here, even if you make a mistake. Not so in the UK where you can expect to be called up and screamed at down the phone…

Finally, and most importantly, I prefer Indian men. English men are too contained in that British stiff upper lip world they inhabit: Indian men are more emotional and perhaps more honest…

(This blog was written by Naomi in Goa, where she is currently on vacation.)

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  • Ankur Gupta

    Naomi mam,
    I’m a regular follower of HTblogs but read your post for the first time and I just loved it. A very thorough “analytical” job accomplished by you in comparing the Indian society and its English counterpart. It provided a good insight into the socio-cultural problems UK is facing. This write-up truely portrays that teenagers here still value their tradition and respect elders. Looking forward to reading more such interesting and thought provoking posts on this space.

    [Reply]

  • umesh

    Dear Naomi,
    It was very pleasant to learn your views about India, Indian teenagers, houswewives, some aspects of our society as regards marriage system, respect towards elders, social values, earnestness of Indian men, at a time when we are fast copying or trying to copy the west. Then it is well said that grass is greener on the other side, as far as we people are concerned(namely Indians). I am bit surpised that you still think positively of indian men despite your encounter on facebook as reported by u earlier. Thanks a lot.
    umesh

    [Reply]

  • Sandeep

    hmm… despite all the arguments and explanations, I still somewhere, deep under feel that it’s one of those ‘ The grass is greener on the other side’ situations. Anyway, experience is what everyone wants before settling to conclusions. So, an Indian wants to see how the western system works for him/her and vice versa. Nevertheless, some thought for the brain and a feel good for an Indian guy like me. :)

    [Reply]

  • Pankaj

    Well, this is what i like about you Naomi. You are an honest journo.

    Well most Indian men (educated) are well behaved. And most Indian people are very emotional by default. This is mainly because we live with our families throughout our life and we do have a great bonding with our family members and relatives. You learn a lot about the value of emotions when you live with you family members.

    I think the reason why Indian girls (or all youngsters) are more civil is because of the social system in India. Parents and elders are supposed to be respected and if you don’t, then society is up against you. Getting drunk, having babies at a young age, having sex before marriage and all that stuff carries a big social stigma. Well now all this good civic behaviour is not always by choice though but our social structure does work regulating our behaviour to a good extent.
    Well I would like to disagree with you on the point that Indian employers are better behaved. I think Indian employers do shout, yell and get mad at you. Maybe you get the advantage of not being shouted at because of being an expat (becaue we don’t shout at our guest, usually).

    Peace Out :)

    [Reply]

    ipsita Reply:

    hey thanks..you make me so proud..to be an Indian………i love my country.

    [Reply]

    Naomi Reply:

    That’s interesting, your comment as to people getting shouted at…actually that side of life was far worse in the UK than here…In fact bullying is rife in most English workplaces, especially newspapers…editors are notorious bullies there. I wonder if being an expat makes a difference…what I do know is that shouting at people is most unproductive ,especially in a creative profession,like mine…I have never understood why bosses indulge in it…In the UK I have worked in places where there is sense of fear…tthe office is dominated by a fear culture and noone performs well and creative thinking is zapped…There has always been a tendency for British bosses to resort to this. The best bosses are people who bring out the best in their staff.

    [Reply]

    Pankaj Reply:

    Well Bosses are the same everywhere Naomi. Maybe Japanese and American bosses are a bit different but they also have their own polite ways of bullying their employees. Indian bosses can very well yell and shout at anybody (can be really abusive also at times btw).
    N ya, you do get an advantage of being an expat in India (bt ya HT might very well be an exception).
    n ya i agree with you on the point that you do need more tolerant bosses in creative professions coz u cnt b creative wen u r scared of your boss because he shouts.

    Anyways hop u having good time in Goa.

    Peace:)

    [Reply]

    izzy Reply:

    hey Goa is nice only if u get 2 know right people and go right place, corruption is in every part of the world its not gonna change so people just have to live with it, I am from Goa and lived there 4 16 (n go goa every year) years and now I m planning to come back to may home land . Just recently Goa got a bad name, nt there so many villages in Goa who leave their door open and go out 4 shopping.

    Richi Reply:

    true that drinking, drugs, sleeping with the every guy you date is becoming common in India, still the values have not changed completely. We still fear our elders. How many of us would publicly show off our boyfriends or girlfriends. Maybe its fear but there is also guilt. We’ve been brought up in such a way that we are hesitant to try out things that has been drilled into our heads as the “wrong and unethical”.
    The thought that you’ve to go back home at the end of the day keeps you sane and acts like an invisible boundary line which you do not cross. How many cases of underage pregnancies would you hear in India as compared to UK.
    there is a dark side to the Indian Metros, but which city doesn’t. Its just how dark it gets….. I don’t think we’ve reached the pitch black darkness yet. the fear and guilt give a single stream of light changing the black into shades of grey.

    Deb Reply:

    The invisible boundaries also extend to just holding hands if you’re from one of the urban villages or just outside metros. Or to something like just talking – if you’re a youngster in one of the villages maybe just 50 miles out of Delhi, more so if the opposite number happens to be of a different/’high’ caste. Haven’t we all heard of ‘honour killings’.

    Raj Reply:

    Naomi,

    Nice article.

    1) Please visit some of Indian Metro’s Private Schools (Start with Delthi – DPS, Modern School, Amity International etc.)

    2) Do you remember the MMS scandal that happened in DPS couple years back?
    Recently another MMS scandal in our reputed business schools.
    And what about a gang rape of a DU girl happened in the Dhaula Kuan Area in Delhi.

    3) I have with my own eyes seen in south delhi (Chanakya puri area) school girls & boys bunking classes and even school girls smoking. Please do visit Chanakya Puri.

    4) Also, recently read that in Ahemedabad, there are doctors (plastic surgeons) who are offering services like vaginoplasty….and there are lot of young girls who want to ‘fix their virginity’ before they marry!! I did not even know that its possible!

    5) And yes, please do watch some Hindi TV serials especially from the production team of esteemed EKTA KAPOOR (Balaji productions). These serials are showing all kind of relationships (Man having two wives, Man spending night with wife’s sister etc. etc.) These are being telecast in the prime time (between 8 – 9 p.m.) and kids are watching them.

    I think the Indian Society (I am talking about only Metros and other big cities) is definitely loosing its culture and values. It has started from the Metros and will go down to cities / towns and villages too.

    6) Also, visit some socializing sites – ORKUT.COM…..you’ll come to know how indulged the Indian youth(both boys and girls) is becoming.

    7) Also, keep reading the “Lifestyle Column” on times of india.com site:

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/4159623.cms
    This newspaper is being read by millions of youth everyday….look at the weekend paper too.

    As you know, we have had 5000 years of heritage/culture…so it will take some time before a major part of the society is damaged.

    From Wikipedia…..
    Estimated Indian Population is : 1.1 Billion
    Estimated UK Population is : 60 Million
    Estimated London Population: 6 Million
    Estimated Mumbai Population : 14 Million.

    I don’t think it is sensible to compare these two places one on one.

    Actually, ultimately it all matters in what circumstances, which environment, which conditions you are living in. You could be lucky to have a good boss, good friends, good neighbors etc. But there are all kinds of people in this whole world including India and UK.

    8) Let’s wait and watch..I am sure that 20 years from now….you’ll see a completely changed Indian society.

    9) Also I would recommend you to watch some indian movies:
    ‘Mixed Double’ – shows about wife swapping
    ‘ Dostana -new’ – shows about homo sexuality.
    ‘Girlfriend’ about lesbians
    ‘Kya Kehna’ – about pre-marital pregnancy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kya_Kehna)

    there are lot of such movies and I am sure they do depict some outlook on the Indian Society.

    10) It is just a matter of time….since we have a strong cultural background it will take more time to get the society infected and damage….but the seeds are sown already!

    Good Luck!
    Raj

    Naomi Reply:

    1) Why are you suggsting I visit these schools? What will I find?
    2) What do you mean by MMS scandal?
    3) I can well believe it. But it doesnt sound too scandalous.
    4) Now this is shocking. But the most shocking element is that these girls feel they have to reverse their virginity in order to get married. What double standards that a woman is under such pressure and a man is not? Does a man do this or is his virginity ‘not testable’? Why is it so important a woman must be a virgin upon marriage and not a man? Equally the fact such an operation exists is scandalous. Also that so many girls are doing it suggests that there are two sides to Indian society – what women appear to do (their public face and face their elders see) and what they actually do
    5) Wow, haven’t watched these mainly because I watch nothing other than the news on TV…But now I will do, if my Hindi permits me to understand them…sounds fascinating..I thought these shows were about stupid daughter-mother-in-law disputes over the vegetables…..looks like they have been spiced up since then…
    6) and 7) OK will do both. I agree on the population comparison point, being unfair to compare the two countries, but do feel sometimes that “population” becomes an excuse in India for things not being right….9) I had heard that wife swapping was rife in Chandigargh but have no idea if it is true

    10) You seem pretty cynical about the future of India when it comes to culture and values, which is really sad. I can tell you, at least, in my view the breakdown of values here is not yet anywhere as bad as the west and there are some strong family values intact and sexual promiscuity isnt as widespread as in the west, even though it does exist in some pockets…

    Raj Reply:

    Thanks for your response, Naomi,

    I was just telling you to visit these schools to see how the modern young Indian youth looks like and behaves.

    MMS scandal was the video clip of a DPS school girl performing oral s_ _ to her class mate. That clip was sent as MMS on mobile phones all over the country. It was a shame.

    Again, reason I was telling about Chankaya puri was to tell you how the Indian values are being broken down by these young boys and girls.

    About things going on in Ahemedabad are shocking to me too. It is definitely double standards. Obviously, as u say, a man’s virginity is ‘not testable’. So this is something only forced upon females and again its a shame. Dual standards.

    Also, Internet is a killer. Even school kids have access to computers/laptops and internet….and believe me..even at a tender age of 10-12 they are watching things online which are not supposed to. I have a first hand experience on that when my niece (11 yrs) was caught watching something indecent on you-tube.

    But the thing is, because of the fear of getting caught by their parents, they won’t do it in homes and try to do it in internet cafe’s or at their friends places…but you cannot stop them!

    Do watch movie ” Kya Kehna”..its nice and talks about pre-marital pregnancy.

    I am cynical and at the same time angry also about the way we are loosing our culture/values/tradition.
    Sometime back I watch a show on T.V where some celebrities (one of them was Mr. Mahesh Bhatt) were discussing about ‘Making Pornography Legal’ in India. Believe me, I was SHOCKED to hear that discussion. They were so freely and openly talking about porn. Having such a show on a National T.V itself shows where India is headed to.

    Obviously, due to high population, it will take some time to get the ‘Visibility’ of such events. Also, as someone rightly said, lot of things in India happen ‘behind the closed doors’.

    I still think that it is the blessings of our elders and faith of some true devotees of God that we are able to keep our values and traditions alive at least to some extent.

    Let’s see what happens…Time is the best healer.

    Regards,
    Raj

    Anusha Reply:

    Hey Naomi, thanks for liking India.

    We have sex education only in record. there’s a chapter in biology and a chapter in moral science books. teachers hurriedly say a line or two and run off to the next chapter. Parents don’t discuss it either. We are confined to the knowledge of our siblings, friends, books and internet(if we have an access).

    Education and economic standards are not the basis of social behaviour here. It is the social structure as pointed out by many. plus India is diverse. the social structure is community driven. 9 out of 10 youngsters abide by the rules. and 50% of these do so only infront the elders, at the back they enjoy their freedom. At the same time, their freedom has limits. The limits very from person to person.

    ofcourse the rate of such things is quite low here. your analysis is true for the cities, small cities. but if you talk metros and big cities, they are places where the youth comes mainly to enjoy life ‘that’ way. the situation is worse for women in villages, n undeveloped regions.

    and it takes 20 years to understand the social structure. so you better don’t trouble yourself.

    Ishmart Alec Reply:

    the point on biology classes is so true. Our teacher was petrified of talking about contraceptives when we were in college!!! she gave us a half hour lecture on how we should behave when she explains contraceptives beore finishing off the topic in less than 15 mins!!

    Also, none of the teachers actually named the parts of the body while in school. the fact that we knew all about it is another matter altogether.

    Ishmart Alec Reply:

    also i noticed words such as a.s.s or c.r.a.p are blanked out by HT’s blog. If a media house itself is uncomfortable with such usage of words, what do we expect out of people

    Ishmart Alec Reply:

    oh yeah, and rates triple if you are white and have an accent. of course, in pound terms its nothing but still !!!

    [Reply]

    Ishmart Alec Reply:

    Well, I wouldn’t blame you Naomi for all the stuff that you’ve written in this post. When it comes to interaction with expats, most of us, including me try to tone it down or paint a pretty picture. We always use the “culture and tradition” crutch to explain stuff. Just remember that things like these are open secrets and no one talks about it. No girl will come up to you and tell you the time she was drunk and passed out, puked or probably did manager. Chances are sometimes everyone might know that a girl was pregnant or aborted once but will never talk about it, especially if you are around.
    We all know about the MMS scandals around the country. So many more go unreported. Bottomline: All the stuff that you said about youth in UK, happens here. Not that its something to be proud of. Only its never spoken about, or if it is , then not in the way you spoke about the youth in UK.

    Confused…………………………what to say, we are like this wonly!

    Sunny Reply:

    Hi Ishmart, i agree, that in India many crimes against women go unreported because of fear of backlash from the society.

    But friend, do not contradict yourself, you said “you tone down or paint a pretty picture “, but in this thread are you really toning down….???????????? Ismart, you forgot, this is Naomi’s thread..

    Yaar, MMS clips are said to be scandals because its India, we still consider it wrong thing…
    In UK, MMS clips are termed as simple MMS clips, they are termed as fun clips……
    Confused……….. what to say………….

    Hey friend 1 advice, please start respecting good things in your culture, and as an individual do something worthy to preserve it, rather than just equating a UK and an Indian youth.

    Naomi, liked some good things about India, then why are you trying to make her realize that no we are not that good, as you think…………..

    No offences Ishmart, dont take it personal…… :-)

    I was just trying to say that we as Indians in general, start praising our culture if somebody oppose it, but when a foreigner like naomi, is praising our society, why are we contradicting her………….???

    Confused……….. what to say………….

    Ishmart Alec Reply:

    Sure, the “toning down and paiting a pretty picture” was for the bunch of people who made naomi have misbeliefs about how nice we are. I should have made that clear. We always do that in front of guests or “foreigners”.

    Naomi liked some things about India which she believed to be true. If you read through the conversations in this thread, no one seems to agree with that. Of course there are good things about India. But no point in agreeing with something that not true at all. dont you think?

    The only MMSs that are wildly popular are the ones with sex, gaalis and what not. So yes, MMSs ‘in India’ are scandals because they have always been that only. rarely has someone made news for an MMS other than scandals.

    “WE as Indians” should start calling a spade a spade and accept the reality. A foreigner like Naomi deserves to know (if she is interested that is) the real deal instead of a rosy picture. Just as she was honest enough to admit about something wrong with her society, we should be honest too. But again, we are like this only.

    confused… we all are.

    Deepinder Singh Reply:

    Well Said Richi…..

    RB Reply:

    Naomi,

    “This is causing problems for employment as there is a dearth of young people to be waiters, labourers, builders and plumber, creating the influx from Eastern Europe and is rather worrying for the future genetic pool of the UK.”

    Do you have any independent 3rd party data to support both of the above – dearth of eligible waiters or the genetic pool being in jeopardy in the UK? Is yes, pls share…thx!

  • Tushar

    Indian men are well behaved….HA!! Of course they are to you. Because you’re from outside. Same logic for the boss being nice to you. Vacation in Goa. What is it with expats running off to Goa at every excuse… sorry but there hasn’t been an exception till date. Is it the booze or the drugs????

    I think the teens in India that you have been referring to have been careful while talking to you. There are tons of examples of boys beginning to smoke, do drugs and drink from school, girls ******** around the moment they are in college. Just that all this information is never spoken about in any of the discussions or interactions….. don’t mean to stereo type but 3 years in call centers have broken all my belief in the ‘idealness’ of the Indian Youth. The only difference is most of this is done behind closed doors, one room shacks on the outskirts of the city or better still, staircases of most of the call center buildings (since most of them work nights and there is rarely anyone there). I am not speaking off the hand, all of this is first hand account.

    [Reply]

    Pankaj Reply:

    @ Tushar
    I agree with watever u said buddy bt dude think for a moment, how many people are doing that? How many Indians work in call centers? Hw many people do drugs? Moreover after considering the fact that we a Billion people living in this country which is perhaps larger than the total population of the entire western Europe. It’s the propotion that matters and not just the figures.
    I still think our youth is better behaved (proportionally) as compared to the western world. We are discussing the general preception and exceptions would always be there.

    N about Goa thing even cn say that thr has nvr been any exeption about expats’ attraction towards Goa. Maybe that’s the only cool place that they knw in India. They probably need to explore better places in India….

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    Shaitanya Reply:

    Pankaj, its not a question of how many are doing it but how many have a desire to do this. The call centres are a world where a lot of the other social restrictions are weakened, and kya karein, mahaul hi aisa hai… That is the real test – how people behave in the absence of moral policing. Not to say there is anything wrong in two consenting adults doing what their instincts lead them to. On the contrary, I am surprised at the hypocrisy on this – for holding hands in public, two sets of rules apply – one if you are married and one if you aren’t. It seems we are willing to tolerate moral policing of the unmarried couples, and couples being married is taken is a good excuse for a media bashing of the moral police. Indians seem confused as a people about whether we want to live in the 19th century or the 21st.

    [Reply]

    Pearl Reply:

    Naomi,
    Most thinks you mention as good in Indian culture (respect for elders, emotional honesty, a certain sense of restraint) are all true, broadly speaking. But that does not mean we don’t have the same problems that you mention. I admit that drug and alcohol intake is concerned — use is quite limited or restrained in the latter case. We don’t need riot police to control pub goers on weekends or yobs from trashing cars after every cricket match, and people normally don’t piss in their pants from being drunk.
    But one has to make a qualification here, the people you mention are those living in council housing would perhaps be the social equals of our slum residents — only that even the poor in UK are better off. The people you have been meeting could be mostly middle class — with the exception of those in slums. Middle class values are the same — give or take a few details here and there — all over the world.
    The family support system has its drawbacks and benefits — one does not need to find a partner simply because one is lonely. Drawback being that one is not allowed often to express ones individual desires.
    “This is causing problems for employment as there is a dearth of young people to be waiters, labourers, builders and plumber, creating the influx from Eastern Europe and is rather worrying for the future genetic pool of the UK…” what does this mean?? I am really alarmed when people talk like this. The diversity you see in India is a result of a varied gene pool. It has its problems — clashing cultures etc — but overall its a good thing since it makes you tolerant to differences.
    As far as courteous men and bosses are concerned, I think you are getting the royal treatment. We Indians have not overcome our fascination with white skin. It’s still a status symbol to be out with a memsahib.
    Overall I think men in UK are certainly better behaved, so are work places. But Indians bring a degree of warmth wherever they go — but it can also get claustrophobic for some. Depends on what you want.

    Pankaj Reply:

    Agree buddy, the questions here is not how many want to do it. Youth is wild everywhere bt what keeps a check on Indian youth is our social structure. Though as i said earlier, we are not well behaved by choice bt because we have to.
    Well about the hypocrisy thing, yes we are a bunch of hypocrates. Now this hypocrisy is again the result of conservative social structure that doesn’t let us do things freely.
    The thing that disgusts me the most is the so called moral police trying to talibanise our lives.

    Well ya nothing wrong in two adults consenting to do what their instincts lead ‘em to. But still you won’t see too many teenagers with babies in India. n not even girls behaving too wild in clubs. People who claim that they see such girls very often, i wonder what clubs do they go to coz i’ve never witnessed such a thing. N btw m one hell of a club freak.

    albert Reply:

    This is a ridiculous post. Educated Indians hardly have any kids at all while cabbie drivers have 8 or 9. It’s actually worse here than in the west. And you’ve never seen a teenaged mom in India? Are you serious?

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    Naomi Reply:

    Hi, have I am afraid not seen a teenage mum. Are they in the rural areas? My post was comparig city like in the UK with metros here…. As for your comment on cabbies, I have no problem with how many children anyone has – eight or nine is welcome (I am not communist)….I do have a problem with underage sex though, esp when it leads to pregnancy. I also have a problem with the alcolohol and drug fuelled anti social behaviour that exists in the UK.

    Nandini Reply:

    “In the UK I only need to show up at a mall in, say Leicester, in daytime and the stiletto mini skirt wearing dyed-blond haired brigade of teenage boppy mums are everywhere, prams in toe, chewing gum.” — Prams in tow? It’s R P or nothing!. But I wait for every update on your blog.

    R.Kannan Reply:

    Albert is correct that the population growth in uneducated and poor classes is higher than in educated communities. This appears to be the pattern all over the world. In India the reason is that the poor find having more children advantageous as there are more earning hands. Children’s earnings are more than what they cost (food/clothing/shelter etc) as the poor rarely send their chioldren to school.

    Naomi Reply:

    Im probably going to be blogging about this trip to Goa next week. …(needed to spend some time here before putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard so to speak..!.)It seems like, from what I am reading though, that Indians disapprove of Goa as a holiday destination..Why is that? We are told by holiday companies and travel agents to come here and you are saying not to. Why? Just fyi it is my very first trip here, so it’s not like I knew what I was letting myself in for, nor am I a regular,…..but I will be writing about what I think of the place, but why are you both so disapproving of the destination?

    [Reply]

    Tushar Reply:

    hey didnt mean to disprove. just that its so predictive. we just know that if an expat comes here, he/she is definitely going to Goa. Indians don’t disprove of Goa, just that more expats (read americans and europeans) go there rather than India. Goa, is a kool destination if you plan to booze and do drugs. But not for clean kids like us, unless of course we are willing to stick out like a sore thumb in a group.

    Pankaj Reply:

    oh my intention was not to disapprove the place. It’s adecent place. It’s just makes me wonder why every expat wants to go to Goa without an exception. I mean you wont find Indians so crazy about this place. People like Goa but its not the ultimate holiday place. Actually the place is notorious amongst Indians because of it’s drug culture and rave parties (a hippie paradise though).
    Personally i like other beaches better i mean the ones in Maharashtra itself. Maybe expats are not aware of ‘em. Not your fault.
    Hope you having good time Naomi… Keep it up!

    Peace:)

    Swati Reply:

    Read your blog for the first time and am really happy that someone from UK is so sincerely trying to know about my country.
    As far a Goa is concerned, most travel agents tell tourists to go there because that place has been developed for the purpose. You will find free booze, drugs and club culture there which could be very similar to the environment tourists have back home.
    But, if your aim is really looking at India, forget Goa. Go to other places and you will realize how within a few miles culture and values are different. New Delhi, the capital of the country is not much of a clubbing city. The way people treat you in Delhi is different from the way they treat you in Goa or Mumbai.
    Goa is a good place, but to know about India you will have to visit each and every place as all are completely different.

    Naomi Reply:

    Wow Tushar, Please tell me more about Indian youth and what they really get up to. Which call centre did you work at? Are you saying there are also unwanted pregnancies here?….

    [Reply]

    Tushar Reply:

    Well, my views on the Indian youth (i feel old now) are limited to first hand experience in almost all call centres in India (this was when i was a college fresher jumping jobs). YES, there are unwanted pregnancies, more than often, drugs, alcohol, boss SHOUTING AT YOU. I cannot name one, since all of the call centres I have worked with have the same pattern of behaviour and i am not generalizing. And these discussions are ONLY held with familiy, close friends.

    Of course, my experience is limited to the call centre industry. As the discussions in this blog go, i am beginning to believe that its more widespread than i thought. does it sound like i am talking about a disease?? i dont mean to

    [Reply]

    Izzy Reply:

    hey Goa is nice only if u get 2 know right people and go right place, corruption is in every part of the world its not gonna change so people have to live with it, I am from Goa and there 16 years and now I m planning to come back to may home land . Just recently Goa got a bad name, nt there so many villages in Goa who live their door open and go out 4 shopping.

    Ishmart Alec Reply:

    Yes there are unwanted pregnancies here. ….tons…. most of them never reported and no one knows except the girl and the doctor maybe….. Indian youth are just like others everywhere… just socially tied to customs and traditions…. so all of it is done underground..c.all centers are the newer mediums through which they get to act like adults ….remember most of the call center public is between 18-25.. the best formative years of yourl ife in terms of your career, education and social standing.

    [Reply]

    xyz Reply:

    @Tushar: Agreed, but I’m not really sure if it’s rampant in the Indian middle class. As Naomi said in one of her other blog posts, the extreme rich or extreme poor have always been free of the moral obligations, especially the one followed by the middle-class. And that is the case even in Europe, especially in the UK.

    [Reply]

  • piyush

    hi naomi
    this is the first ht’sblog, i am reading. i am indeed impressed by your analytical skills.
    it is actually insightful to know the problems uk is facing.India has just been able to avoid those problems as of now because of children living with their parents till they are in their 20’s atleast and due to that value system can be imbibed even more.
    however only aspects you need to know more are indian bosses (bcoz bosses r same everywhere) and the honesty of indian men

    [Reply]

    Tushar Reply:

    I rest my case.

    [Reply]

    piyushnarain Reply:

    Hey Naomi,
    Jus happened to stumble across this blog of yours…to say the least I am quite surprised to read it from a Britisher things like you wrote….maybe you are yet to meet some young moms in India(of course it’s quite related to socio economic conditions).

    Also, your opinion on Indian men seems to have been taken quite nicely by some blokes…I am just wondering how would a brit react if they read this piece if yours.A lot of your experiences seem to come from instances in Mumbai…try dating a Delhi guy…it will be interesting to hear from you then.

    Happy hunting..i guess!!

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    I think this piece is a bit simplistic. I’m a South African who recently spent a month travelling through India and now live in the UK. I think social benefits and general wealth in Britain have created quite an indulged society at both ends of the economic spectrum – but I don’t think India is a bed of roses either. I love the country and would return in a flash, but as a woman travelling on my own felt very much at a disadvantage. Nowhere else have I been as harrassed as I was in India and felt I was often judged quietly for not being married and not having children. I dressed conservatively and respectfully but my chest was leered at upon almost every turn. I imagine there is plenty of illicit sex and marital and non-marital rape going on and drugs, well, you’ve read Shantaram, haven’t you? India is undergoing massive economic and societal change – it’s bound to be taking strain under the pressure.
    I’m quite disapointed by the racism inferred by your gene pool comment. It sounds like something from the Daily Mail. If you ask me, it’s the often the brightest and best who move from one country to another in search of opportunity, and in that

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    (sorry, pressed a button by mistake) respect Britain can be pleased for the new genes.

    sagar Reply:

    I do agree with whatever you have written Naomi. But what Pankaj pointed out is exactly true as well.
    Indians are shy and reserved so they normally are not open to discussing matters concerning sex or talking about their previous relationships.
    They respect their elders,yes, but then they simply have to. Most of us are scared to go against our elders. You see unlike in the West where young people move out to live alone as soon as they are able and working we Indians continue to live with our parents and family. Now this has its own share of pros and cons.
    As far as teenage sex is concerned, just have a look at the number of scandals arising in India. From what I can see, its clearly on the rise and is quite a concern.
    Indian corporates do exist like you have mentioned and I hope they stay like that.

    The fact that you think so highly about India is very pleasing. Yes India is a great place, I love it but then I feel that you still have much left to see and observe in here.

    Deb Reply:

    Hmmm. The leering (and, for my black friends, simple staring) is something even my friends and colleagues from abroad complain (or,at least, talk) of when in India. This is in spite of all our so called respectfulness. As if it’s just restraint (by social traditions, and the presence of people) by another name – repressed by force. Sorry about (some of) your experiences, Anna.

    Naomi Reply:

    Err…I have tried (unsuccessfully) to date A Delhi guy. What would happen if I did?

    [Reply]

    Pankaj Reply:

    Hard Luck Naomi. I wud suggest you to date an ousider who lived in Delhi. Might b lucky.

    Gud Luck:)

    Ishmart Alec Reply:

    *probably did the manager

    Alok Reply:

    You might wanna try Bangalore. Quite a bit of the expat population.

    Rotsa Ruck!!

    Ishmart Alec Reply:

    by the way, Mumbai guys aren’t that bad either.

    [Reply]

    Naomi Reply:

    Why do you suggest I date an expat? Why can’t I date an Indian?

    Prabhakar Deshpande Reply:

    I was in England and my landlord used to complain just like Naomi is doing…..

    But I quite liked England…..

    Except I was scared to step out of house on day of football matches…..

    Ishmart Alec Reply:

    Yeah! exactly. Date an Indian. :) Seriously, I am still to see a serious relationship that a lady from US or UK had with an Indian Guy. Dating, maybe yes. But when it comes to a real relationship or worse still…. marriage and all the heavy stuff, suddenly (including me) the guys become all Indian and want to marry an Indian girl only. No offence. Its just that way it is. maybe there might have been a few dozen odd couples like this. But overall, its not really even a trend so to call. Is that why majority of the expats here go to Goa? Because of the huge expat population? LOL

    Sahil Sachdeva Reply:

    cos he is most likely to not marry you out of respect for his parents. like in your other blog entry. come to think of it, this entry kinda encompasses all the problems you wrote about in all your other dating and relationships related entries, only sugar coated. the moment u take personal life out of it, it all seems wonderful, freaky huh?

    m sorry m just unusually grumpy this morning. m sure u ll find a open minded indian guy with open minded parents. believe me there are quiet a few. odds might be tough, but eventually u ll win, stick at it.

    reena Reply:

    yeah! I agree ,
    The regret is, things are changing and too fast for me to digest really,
    Blame it on globalisation, more worldwide communication,
    and most of all kids going abroad for higher studies after leaving school, they imbibe well and fast.
    I remember just worrying about studies and carrier , at least till school, but not so now, lot of things for kids to think about like clothes, peer group compatibility, girlfriend/ boyfriend, pocket money, holidays list is endless.
    They are still abiding by the social / parental rules,but for how long is the question?

    Naomi Reply:

    Well, from what the others have written, it appears my impression of Indian bosses could be wrong/coloured or maybe HT has exceptionally good bosses, who knows! BUT tell me about Indian men. Are you one ie an Indian man and are they dishonest?…(English men can be , now Im wondering if the same as with bosses, men are the same the world over…?)

    [Reply]

    Tushar Reply:

    do i see this as turning towards that singles discussion again?

    [Reply]

  • Saima

    @ Tushar
    I agree with you, completely. We idolise the western culture, and hence the value systems are diminishing. It wont be long before we also have instances of teenage single mums.

    @ Pankaj, all what Tushar explained is not restricted to Call Centres only. Instances such as these are common everywhere. The younger generation living in the metros and the bigger towns are falling prey to such things.
    Our youth is better behaved no doubt about it, but it wont be too long!! Even now, in schools instances like these are on a rise. Kids want to be all grown up and for that they are willing to experiment., and go to any length
    I know a number of girls/boys who belong to small towns, who come to metros and just completely forget the values of their ’small-town’ families. I often wonder how these poor parents would react if they found out that their ’small-town’ daughters/sons are sleeping around with whoever they can lay their hands on.
    Go to any pub/disco, one can see a different world altogether. Shortest clothes possible, girls getting drunk and losing their senses, guys taking advantage of that, then making out in a corner. All this is just too common now. It wont be long before the smaller towns also succumb to this type of an environment.

    [Reply]

    Pankaj Reply:

    Hmmmm,,,

    Well how often you see girls making out in a corner of a club? Well i guess i’ve been to clubs more than a 100 times at least bt didnt cm across such an instance. i would love to see though.
    Well the issue here is not sleeping around or drinking in a club. The issue is getting drunk n mis behaving. That happens in India as well and definitely is on the rise. But hw much? How many people go to club n hw many of them misbehave? i mean if you compare the percentage its minimal. Which is not the case in UK or other western countries.
    People do follow the western culture to a certain extent in India bt what’s wrong in that? Going to a club doesn’t mean u a loose girl or a guy is uncultured.
    Why do we expect every Indian girl to behave in a way dictated by us or a bunch of frustrated people?
    I don’t see anything wrong if a girl is wearing small clothes. It’s her choice and who r we to decide what she shud wear?
    N about the youth from small towns coming to cities: I still think they might be behaving wild or anything bt they do behave properly in front of their parents and elders.

    [Reply]

    Saima Reply:

    “The issue is getting drunk n mis behaving. That happens in India as well and definitely is on the rise.” precisely my point Pankaj…i have nothing against short clothes or pubbing (if i had there wudnt be any difference between Muthaliks and me!!).. A girl can wear the shortest clothes and still remain dignified.. the point is people misbehave under the influence of alcohol more often than not…and trust me from what i have seen, misbehaviour of such kinds are mushrooming…

    I am saying that the percentage is definitely lesser as compared to our counter-parts in UK/USA..but it wont be long..be western in thinking and mannerisms but one shouldnt forget their values..Most of the people i have come across have certainly done that.. . Aping Western Culture without application of mind is wrong.. Get drunk, but don’t misbehave with some one and don’t loose your dignity…thats my point..

    [Reply]

    Pankaj Reply:

    hmmm,,, Precisely…

  • DJ

    There are many things apart of course from the ones you’ve listed that show advantages of an X society over a Y one. There are certain advantages in the Indian set-up and there are other advantages in the British system; relative merits. One thing that is though surely an advantage here is the way the larger society looks down on young people who avoid or are not good at taking care of their parents and elders. Sons and daughters or daughters-in-law who abandon their parents or are rude to them find themselves isolated and generally do not get anyone’s sympathies. The other thing is your last line about liking Indian men; now that’ could lead to a slightly complex situation for you. I mean rather than being single in the city and looking for love you might actually end up waking up in the morning and finding some hundred admirers waiting for you. But then it’s never a problem handling too much love. And yeah, the Bridget Jones syndrome is catching up fast in India too, the number of men and women who marry in their early and late thirties is rising by the day…

    [Reply]

    Varsha Reply:

    Hi Naomi,
    Sorry, but you come across as a little unaware of realities..
    You say that there are a lot of teenage mothers especially in the poorer strata of your country..well, I suggest you drive a little out of the main cities of India..I guarantee you will see millions of teenage mothers out there.

    I think its a little unfair for you to compare the lower – uneducated section of one society with the middle-educated section of another and then make judgements. I think you are showing a bias (quite typical of middle class indians) wherein you simply overlook the millions of poor people of India and the social problems they face which include teenage pregnancies, drugs, sexual abuse, etc.

    The only difference is that poor indian kids do not go to clubs..coz they cant afford to.

    [Reply]

    Deepinder Singh Reply:

    Dear Naomi,

    It was very nice reading to your Blog, and getting your views. I totally agree with your analysis. I have been to London, quite a few times, and i have found teenagers- are a real frustrated lot. I made 3 teenage friends during my journey. And in my interaction, it was clear they had no clue what they are going to do next in their life.
    One startling instance i remember to show the difference between UK teen and an Indian teen,
    My friend was walking down Oxford Street, and he was intentionally pushed by 4 teenage girls, just for fun. They were all totally drunk. They laughed at him. But when I tried to protest , they shouted and warned us that they will call police if we say anything to them.
    Can anyone imagine this thing happening in India…….??????? But these things are common in UK.
    So much guarantees and powers in the hands of teenagers have given them too much liberty and free time. That’s why they indulge in unlawful activities.
    Reason for this problem in teenagers of UK in particular and western world in general is: The social security they have, means whether or not they study or do job, they will never have to sleep with their stomach empty. This social security provided is a boon for old age people, but it has become bane for teenagers. These teenagers have taken everything for granted. So, practically there is no compulsion among them to grow in a job or in a business.
    Plus the culture of families going to church together has now being replaced by everyone going in their own direction.
    Also, their parents cannot even scold them, due to the fear of police complaints.
    As far as India is concerned,
    Strong family, religious and moral values are still existent.
    The things the youth of Indian metros are doing, is doing with their choice, if there are involved in live in relations or going to pubs, its a democratic country, every individual has the right to do what they want. But atleast the youth here has some or the other educational or business plan in their minds. .
    And, the good thing is the tolerance, respect for elders, respect for all religions, respect for teachers etc are still very much part of a college going student’s life.
    If they are having intimate relations or smoking or boozing, but in general they are doing in the parameters of the law. Indian youth knows what they are doing and they have not taken everything for guarantee. Young people here in general abide by the law, and they still have the respect for all in their eyes.

    Crux of the matter is, if young, fresh, multi directional blood will not be given right directions by their parents or teachers, the young people will always try to experiment everything- both good and bad.

    [Reply]

    Varsha Reply:

    the incident you mention about your friend being pushed by 4 girls..In India it happens the other way round…here girls are very frequently pushed and harassed by boys, I and my friends (all indians) have experienced it a no. of times (In case you dont know “eveteasing” is the number one passtime of most indian boys. A friend of mine got nearly pushed under a bus by some college guys out to have fu

    Also, Most indians do not abide by the law..Infact most indians seem to think that the law is an ***.

    Tushar Reply:

    touche

    Shaitanya Reply:

    Ouch!

    Deepinder Singh Reply:

    @ varsha.. First of all, the topic which is being discussed is the teenager problem….And not don’t make statement like: ” Most Indians do not abide by the law..In fact most Indians seem to think that the law is an ***.”
    Every country has its own problems, India is suffering from corruption, lack of basic amenities etc, but lets just concentrate in this thread on problem of young people only, and do not generalize all Indians.

    Ya! in this eve teasing problem, i agree with you. It is a very serious concern. I hate those guys who do this, even had many fights with them.
    And these incidents are generally done by guys who have free time, and not intereseted in their studies or have no job..
    But Now, just imagine, if every teenager of India like a teen from UK, has a free license to do anything and all have social securities, and every young guy in India has total free time and no1 is interested in jobs and studies ………….. just imagine every young guy has a completely secure job, money…..If this case happens imagine the frequency of eve- teasing incidents.??
    In India the problem is different why these things happen, Its because of less people getting quality education.
    and if there is eve teasing happening in India, then atleast some people are protesting, like you and me.
    In UK, the teens have practically full rights to do anything, they can even put their parents in jail.
    Can u imagine in India, a 15 year old boy putting his parents in jail.
    See i m not saying In India, everything is fine, but when we compare teens of India and Western world, the situation in India is far better in comparison.

    And Varsha, in my college days, because of my group, no1 ever dared to tease a girl. There is still some respect left in Indian youngsters, for their parents, siblings, teachers, women, old people,…

    @ For all, for better comparison, have a trip to UK, live their for few days…. And i m damn sure, u all will feel proud to an Indian.

    Varsha Reply:

    no yaar deepender, what you are saying is absolutely wrong! first you say dont generailize about all indians.,..then you generalize all people in the UK saying that they all have a lot of free time and no interest in jobs and studies..isnt that what you are saying? and how many kids in The UK actually put their parents in Jail?? arent you exaggerating?

    Anyway, if parents beat and abuse their kids (which happens in India too) , there is nothing wrong if the kids complain to the police..not all parents are loving and protective of their kids.

    I just dont agree with you when you say the situation is better in India..you know friend, the problem is that we guys tend to brush everything under the carpet..whereas westerners talk about their social problems more candidly..so it seems like they have more issues..but the fact is that not only do our youth have “west-imported” problems we also have our own ‘home-grown” societal problems to deal with.

    Deepinder Singh Reply:

    Hi again Varsha, Its nice having a healthy discussion with you !!
    See friend, i never generalize UK teens that all are involved in wrong things, but i stick to my point that they have loads of free time because of full social security provided to them, As far as kids sending their parents to jail things are concerned, this is not a exaggeration, these incidents are very common. ( My source: daily reading of Guardian newspaper).
    I have my personal experiences with me of UK, similar to your experience of India.
    So, there is no end to our discussion which is better, because we both have seen only 1society more, is’nt it?
    Both societies have their share of problems, and the problems are totally different.
    So i think its better for this thread, lets talk only the Indian society.

    1 suggestion for all of us:
    i think it would be good if we can discuss issues in Indian society , and how we as citizen of this nation can help.
    Lets give solutions, rather than just saying about problems..
    What say Varsha & all…?????

    Varsha Reply:

    I have tried a lot to think about solutions to our myriad problems, but they are not easily solved are they?

    One thing that comes across from all that you have written (correct me if..) you seem to imply that people indulge in anti social behaviour when they have social security and free time..so would your solution be that we should take away social security from people?

    also, Is a person who has free time bound to indulge in hooliganism? I have a lot of free time nowadays, will i automatically turn anti social, cant I use that free time to be constructive? I am sorry i didnt understand correctly..

    Listen my only argument is this…there is actually no such thing as a “western” problem and an “indian problem”….issues like child abuse, drug abuse, alchoholism, disrespect of elders, misogyny, teenage pregnancies, abuse of minorities like gays .these things happen everywhere in the world…

    But you can judge a society by how it deals with the perpertrators…the developed nations of the west ensure speedier and more transparent justice to victims.we on the other hand just dont care that much, preferring to act ignorant or blaming the victims themselves..wont you say that they are better then??

    My solution to these problems is …….well take the first step…and the first step always is admittance, to admit that we have deepseated problems,,and not adopt a holier than thou atttitude whenever we talk about different cultures.

    Deepinder singh Reply:

    Hi Varsha, First of all, i am not saying that because of social security and free time, it will definitely lead to anti social behavior, ….
    Also, By social security, i mean more to do with the laws prevalent in UK, which gives good rights to teenagers, but there are practically no checks and regulations to stop the teenagers to misuse it. See rights are important for any democracy, but there needs to be some checks and regulations to stop their misuse.

    On a lighter note U said ” i have a lot of free time …. will i ……..turn anti social, cant I use that free time to be constructive?………..”, dear friend if you are doing some constructive work, then that time is not a free time.. :-)

    To substantiate my point that too much free time in a person’s life is not good, we can see examples of all the rioters, hooliganism etc, Are’ not they done by people who have no constructive work or job in their hands.

    Yaar 1 more thing, have you had personal experience of some years in Western World??? If not then how can you be sure about their transparency in Justice ?

    As far as admittance is concerned, i personally admit and we all must admit the problems in India ,and for the betterment of India

    Varsha, if you still are not convinced with my reply, we can talk through our mails, mine email is sunnyniec@mail .com
    You can mail me your opinion on this topic, so that we stop our 1 to 1 discussion,
    My suggestion, wts your take on this…
    Hope to see your opinion (opposite to mine) in my mail box soon….. :-)

    Deb Reply:

    That puts things in a little bit of perspective. I have heard complaints from a taxi driver (of south Asian origin) in London that his son is going astray because he doesn’t have to toil. I’ve also seen on TV how some youth in Germany prefer to stay unemployed as the doll is quite comfortable. So maybe there’s a point there. As for us Indians, it’s a dog-eat-dog world, and whoever doesn’t succeed is sure to get trampled under feet (unless, of course, you’ve the security of a super rich dad/mom!).

    Pranav Reply:

    Naomi,

    This is the first time I have seen such precise comparison from a Brit in this context, and despite your background, still preferring India in this context is more than appreciated. Agreeing with you on every point you have mentioned, goes without saying. You have set a great example of how we all can truly appreciate aspects of cultures whether we originally belong to them or not. I guess this gives us even more of an impetus to appreciate, accept/reject and practice some of the amazing aspects of other cultures, be it that of the UK or any other region. I am sure that this article has taken a huge step towards dissolving the boundaries, lessening arrogance and opening the minds and eyes of many people subscribing to unique cultures that exist today.

    Thank you so much for a wonderful article.

    Pranav

    Varsha Reply:

    I have never lived in the UK, but I have some experience of life in the western world…I know that there is transparency and justice in the west coz that is something everyone knows..
    There is a reason why India is called one of the most corrupt nations of the world (every survey and index says that) .. there is a reason why european nations are called the cleanest and just nations..again I dont have to live in a country like Denmark for instance to know that they have better systems over there..

    I am sure you have never lived in ..say.. Africa..but do you have no idea of what life is like over there?? cmon..

    Anyway, back to this particular topic…of social security and how it screws up peoples life (thats what a lot of people over here seem to think)

    Suppose, you (deepender) were not a middle class person, Suppose your parents were poor and couldnt afford to give you a decent education….would you prefer to live in a country like India that gave no social security to people lik you..

    Or would you prefer to live in a society like in UK, where there is “dole”/ social security..that you guys think is the root cause of so many problems…

    I bet you would choose the latter..to hell with teenage mothers..

    Anyway,, the UK government has realized that they have a problem on their hands and have started a program to cut teenage pregnancies by half in a couple of years…

    We on the other hand will do almost nothing to solve our countrys problems..

    Deepinder singh Reply:

    Hi again, by the way i have lived in Nigeria for 3 years, i was there as a teacher. :-)
    The condition there is very tensed. The kidnapping there is as common as anything. Practically no law and disorder.

    Now back to social security which i was explaining, you are again getting me wrong,
    Social security in UK means security of Food, Shelter, Education and practically no punishments for teenagers.
    I am in favor of secure future for teenagers, But I am only against the full freedom that is given to the teenagers, without any fear for law.

    Yaar, in UK in particular, or US in general, you know what happens there, after age of 14-15 years, the children are told by their parents to go from their homes and earn their own livelihood. Thus, practically separating kids from their parents at the age of 15 years. Now these kids generally go into live in relationship. This is western culture buddy. :-)
    I do not like this culture, this is my personal opinion. i may differ from you.

    At present i am not having a very good paying job in India, but i would prefer my children to grow in India, because after living in 2 continents: Africa and Europe for a decade, i have really realized how beautiful is my Indian society.

    Now back to problems in our society, i feel disheartened how corruption, child abuse, crimes against women, communal tensions etc are on rise.

    If everyone present here really loves India, then lets just concentrate on our problems and give solutions how to improve our society.

    My personal suggestion, first of all we all should go to vote. In last elections, only 16 percentage of young voters, voted.
    Then get ourselves involved in local area issues.
    Start questioining every doubtful area of government by using RTI act.

    MORE Solutions in your mind:… Shoot them here.

    varsha Reply:

    Well, listening to all that you have said….I am beginning to understand that you love to stay in India, not because of any other reason, but the fact that you are Indian and feel some emotional bonding with the country…

    Its like every kid saying that his mother is the best/ or his father is the strongest…no logic really …just sentiments…..and one thing I realize is that one can never argue with emotions…..

    I still dont agree with you when you say that Kids “over there” have little fear of the law….I still maintain that Indian youth are probably far more lawless than any other region…It is very much a part of Indian culture for parents to teach their kids to fear god but not the cops..(thats the truth) …..There is some merit in what you say…that kids over there get their independance too early…….again…over here the opposite is true…..kids stay dependant on their parents for a long long time…dependant on them to pay school fees,college fees, get them a job, get them a life partner, or any important thing that forms a part of adult life…..Its not alway respect/ love that forces families to stay together here…a lot of times its just dependance….

    I think what Naomi was talking about was only teenage single mothers….and I merely pointed out that we have millions of teenage mothers in India as well, only they have a “married” tag..so she shouldnt go overboard singing paeans about indian culture..our problem with teenaged mothers is far more serious than that in the UK…..and she shouldnt compare the poor of UK to the middle class of India (wouldnt you agree?)

    When I think of solutions to the various problems ..i will most willingly share them with you..Otherwise I think the two of us have taken up enough space on this page really :-)

    Deepinder Singh Reply:

    Right Varsha, its better to stop getting one on one discussion, otherwise HT people will ban us from their blogs…. :-)
    There is no end to our discussion, i guess as none of us will agree to other person, we both have different points of views…. :-)
    1 thing still boggles me, is how always you are so sure that kids in UK are less lawless than kids in India?????? i guess you not been to UK,
    one more thing, you talked about independence,…….
    But yaar also are you in favor for a 15 year old teenager to earn his or her own livelihood…? Well i am not, i think a person should be atleast 18+ to go out for earning money ………….
    this is my personal opinion, and we cannot fight on opinions also….. :-)

    So, lets sum up our discussion by saying ” We both love India, but both of us have different views on the contemporary Indian society”

    If still any thing to say on your views (contrary to mine… :-) ) please mail me at sunnyniec@mail.com Lets give other bloggers good space also……… ;-)

    Deb Reply:

    Varsha I guess you’re talking of married young women when you talk of millions of teenage mothers out there. Marriage age in India is alarmingly low, by tradition more so in rural areas, so that would be the effect.

    [Reply]

    varsha Reply:

    Yes, Deb, Exactly…I am talking of married young women..but teenage pregnancies are teenage pregnancies…Does the fact that the underage girl has a married tag make the situation any better??

    If a 15 year old girl is “married”, before she has kids, does that make us more “cultured” as a society, would you say we have better “family values” coz atleast she is not having sex before marriage.. That would be so “westernized” and “immoral”

    I only tried to make one point to Naomi – which is that you cannot compare the lower class of one society to the middle class of another..

    Ankit Bahri Reply:

    Hey Naomi
    You surely know how to win the hearts of ur indian readers ;) Well i am sure most of us would agree on what all you have written. I have always believed that even though globalisation has brought hints of western culture in India but the the Indian culture is and will always be strong enough to retain its identity. Culture is the main difference between the west and the east (not just UK). Yes we can never do anything to hurt our parents. I would like to take the example of a tv program on star world “Moment of truth”. I was just shocked at some of the answers they gave regarding their parents and siblings. Things which we can never even imagine, they are admitting to a live audience!! It show that they value money more than relationships and THIS in itself is the main difference between the two cultures.

    Also i am sure that not many indian readers would have been surprised by reading that many of us dont loose our virginity till mid 20s. Thats a common fact here and again it has something to do with the culture and family values (and sometimes lack of opportunity!). The children are well tought here in those terms. I feel the biggest disadvantage that our country has is to openly talk about sex education and STDs. A lot of awareness is necessary regarding these topics. This i believe is one of the setbacks of our culture. We are still shy of discussing these sensitive issues because we would feel awkward.

    Deb Reply:

    (Apologies for the delayed response)
    Sure, Varsha. I’m not one for condoning or legitimising teenage pregnancies on grounds of marriage – after all, at least the health & psychological effects of both are the same. Esp. as such marriage of women below the age of 18 are not even recommended by the current law in India. I’ve been associated with a child-focused INGO for some years, and we’d worked to create awareness even in rural societies on the need to delay marriages at least til the legal marriage age.

    My earlier comment was only meant to clarify to Naomi the different context of teenage pregnancies between UK and India.

    Deb Reply:

    And while on it, Naomi, beware of your possible suitors! Many Indian men can be completely charming before marriage and metamorphose into comprehensive MCPs after. A ‘girlfriend’ has a completely different image (“rocking”) in many men’s mind from a ‘wife’ (“sushil”, meaning something like ‘homely’)! All the best (:-).

    [Reply]

    Naomi Reply:

    I presume MCP stands for male chauvinist pig….Are you married to an Indian man out of interest? Or what makes you say this?…….I have always preferred ‘Latin’ men like say Italians/Greeks and I will now add to that Indians, who are prepared to admit having emotions….like they might cry, they will express their feelings, they might shout….they basically get emotional…I prefer it to the stiff upper lip, emotionally repressed British male. However, it is possible that the flipside of this Latino male is the chauvinism. For example in the UK it’s perfectly normal for a man to change the nappies, do the washing up, child-sit, basically undertake the same chores as a woman…Would an Indian man do all this?? Or is this another completely new blog topic I need to undertake!?

    [Reply]

    K Reply:

    Well, i think Naomi, that men are the same everywhere.
    Its the society and social acceptance for bad behavior in the culture/mass media that lets out their inner ‘beast’ in some cultures and manages to channelize it towards a better society in others.
    Unfortunately, in India we seem to learn the bad habits much more quickly than the very good ones that we can learn from UK and other countries.

    Deb Reply:

    Sorry for the delay in response – didn’t visit this entry after the comment. Firstly, I’m not married to an Indian man – I AM an Indian man (‘Deb’ is not the short form of Deborah or something, it’s just the short form of an Indian male name).

    As you rightly admitted, the flip side of the Latino type is chauvinism. And for the Indian male (the non-metro at least, and some metro types as well), there is a thin line in the transition from chauvinism to aggression to abusiveness. So while I can understand your impatience with the stiff upper lip types, tread very cautiously with the emotionalism of Indian males.

    Caveat: my observations are gleaned not purely from first hand experience, but while watching many other families. And I didn’t have a girlfriend (unless you include the very brief period of going around with my prospective wife before the wedding, while it was already being ‘arranged’, the first contact between families having been already made – I met my wife first time at my in laws’!).

  • Satish Kelkar

    Dear Naomi:

    A nice article. Respect for elders is ingrained in the Asian mindset. However, with the passage of time, “joint” families are disintegrating. This was the core strength of the previous generations. More and more couples live as “nuclear” families now, with both husband and wife working to afford a reasonably comfortable lifestyle. Just prior to crossing the threshold of “teenhood”, youngsters (both boys and girls) love to experiment (curiosity? peer pressure?) – alcohol, maybe not drugs, a bit of necking and petting. As space is generally at a premium, more amorous permutations are severely restricted. Happens in India too. In the West, it perhaps happens more! But generally, youngsters in India have their feet on the ground and a steady head on their shoulders — for this phase passes too. I’ve lived in London for some time. have seen people sleeping in the niches near shops after they had downed their shutters, all their possessions in a pram. Saddened me immensely. The Salvation Army doles out hot food to these unfortunate dispossessed people. The present global recession is going to take a heavy toll on the sanity and well-being of families across continents. India is no exception. In such depressing times, the fabric of the family’s togetherness can be stretched to breaking point. Its back to frugal ways and a cut-down in unwanted expenditure, especially plastic debts. We all evolve, as we all must. Life, after all, is experiential. This too shall pass…….Good writing, Naomi…. Keep up the good work and get pats (not whacks) on the back for your efforts from Indian males !!!

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  • Shobhit

    Naomi,

    I’ve just started with HT Blogs and its always good to read something different, and yours is one.

    Just to give a small background I am an IT professional based out of London so what you just described above seems all so relevant. I am an expat here in UK, so I can attempt to see what you see in India.

    To me the cultural difference between India and UK is a result of how relationships are perceived. When it comes to India since day one we are born we were cradled into our granny’s arms and brought up in a fashion where you are not just for yourself but you are for a family. You live , laugh, eat, annoy , fight, love, care all of it together. You know even if its no one its your family to fall back on, I am not only speaking of parents but your siblings and even distant cousins.

    UK has a different heritage, where being on your own is important. So, its made sure that kids are aware of it when growing up. Everything evolves around your own calibre of doing things i.e. being on your own to earn,to find a place, etc which makes them not so involved with families later. here I am not speaking of everyone but a few families and friends I’ve met.

    Both of these approaches have their own pros and cons, where an Indian every now and then lets go of his priorities in order to balance his family. On the other hand being on your own draws you apart from family sometimes.

    I find it very interesting to discuss these topics. Good that we can speak here.

    Later!

    [Reply]

    Naomi Reply:

    Hi That is a very succint way of describing some of the differences between Indian and British society, thank you. It’s interesting because probably, like you, I was not aware that my society was such until I moved here. In fact, whatever society you are brought up, you kind of think is normal and how the whole world is until you live in another society and realise it is not.)Actually being an expat in another society, esp on a different continent, as you and I are doing, is harder than in looks. I know that many aspects of my society, that I had thought were normal, in India are not and it’s hard coming to terms with realising that the way you are thinking or behaving iand have always thought and behaved is csuddenly onsidered abnormal in the place you are living. That makes you then analyse your own society and that of the one you are in. The worst part is that many people in the new place you live in know nothing of the society you are from (they have only a superficial knowledge) and so you feel quite alone. Im sure you are having similar experiences to me, albeit in the UK. For this reason, I think more people should travel and live overseas as it helps build bridges and global understanding.

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  • Markques

    Hi Naomi,
    I am impressed with your blog but you have not been tanned(about India I mean :-) . Weather you accept or not Indian men are cheaply voyeuristic but in couth way. Also I would like to tell you that these may be the last good days you are seeing of India. I do not see it last very long, reason being most of our youth take all that they see of west in media as hip. If they see if some western celeb licking his/her partner’s feet in public they would do the same. They do not show much reasoning while doing such stuff. To top it when 80% of India pub goers are under 18 years. I how many countries have you seen a minister (women) giving a call to youth to fill pubs (“pub bharo!!”) . As such Indian society is largely hypocrites. This is true with the media too. The way they choose the issues, speak are more “Delhi-ish”. I mean they seem like totally disconnected with the ordinary people of India. Who grew among the power corridors of capital totally fake, rich spoiled educated from high class colleges with no order . I wish you do a blog on it. Stay away from Delhi move to a ordinary town or a village spend a couple of months and then observe our media guys in Delhi. You will fall laughing! I am sure. They look to as jokers most of the time even though I am from Hyderabad. But you are surely innocent I wish you saty that way :->

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    Markques Reply:

    Hi Naomi,
    I am impressed with your blog but you have not been tanned(about India I mean :-) . Weather you accept or not Indian men are cheaply voyeuristic but in couth way. Also I would like to tell you that these may be the last good days you are seeing of India. I do not see it last very long, reason being most of our youth take all that they see of west in media as hip. If they see if some western celeb licking his/her partner’s feet in public they would do the same. They do not show much reasoning while doing such stuff. To top it when 80% of India pub goers are under 18 years. I how many countries have you seen a minister (women) giving a call to youth to fill pubs (“pub bharo!!”) . As such Indian society is largely hypocrites. This is true with the media too. The way they choose the issues, speak are more “Delhi-ish”. I mean they seem like totally disconnected with the ordinary people of India. Who grew among the power corridors of capital totally fake, rich spoiled educated from high class colleges with no order . I wish you do a blog on it. Stay away from Delhi move to a ordinary town or a village spend a couple of months and then observe our media guys in Delhi. You will fall laughing! I am sure. They look to as jokers most of the time even though I am from Hyderabad. But you are surely innocent I wish you stay that way :->

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    Raj Reply:

    And one more note..in my hometown of Madurai, Tami Nadu, trash talking among men and boys was very common. Every sentence would likely be laced with the most vile language. However, men never approached women and boys never approached girls. In fact, during my three year stay in Madurai between 1976 and 1979 I never spoke to a girl or woman other than my mother and sister. I left Madurain in May 1979 and spoke to a woman outside my family for the first time in three years during a stopover in London on the way to the US..and got into trouble with the National Front folks who almost beat me up and I had to run at tremendous speed to my hotel for about seven blocks!

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  • Jyoti

    Hi,
    I am first time reader of your blog. I m touched by your way of wrtitng about India and it’s culture.
    I profoundly blieve that the clututre in India is far better than anywheree else in the world.
    The best part about our culutre is our FAMILY. I gave up my dream run in comapny to just make sure that my father will be healthy. So, there are so many people who sacrifice threir life to jsut make sure that thier family does not suffer.

    Jyoti

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  • Deepinder Singh

    @ Jyoti: I agree with you

    Yaar, in UK in particular, and western world in general, you know what happens there, after the age of 14-15 years, the children are told by their parents to go from their homes and earn their own livelihood. Thus, practically separating kids from their parents at the age of 15 years only. It will never happen in India. Now these UK kids have no one to show them the right path in their teens, they are on their own. Plus laws in UK, gives them practically full freedom to do whatever they want and without fear of laws. So at 15 years they generally go into live in relationships, start boozing and smoking without fear of their parents. This is western culture buddy. :-)
    I do not like this , this is my personal opinion. i may differ from some of you here.

    At present i am not having a very good paying job in India, but i would prefer my children to grow in India, because after living in 2 continents: Africa and Europe for over a decade, i have really realized how beautiful is my Indian society. i have realized how good it feels, when your son touches your feet in the morning, how satisfied you feel when your daughter is doing prayers in the early morning.

    We Indians can learn from Japanese society, Japanese people are the most technologically advanced people, yet they are still very much associated with their roots. We can be modern in our thoughts but with our cultural values intact.

    Now back to problems in our Indian society, i feel disheartened how corruption, child abuse, crimes against women, communal tensions etc are on rise.

    If everyone present here really loves India, then lets just concentrate on our problems and give solutions how to improve our own society. At the end of the day, the onus to improve India is only on us.

    My personal suggestion, first of all we all should go to vote. In last elections, only 16 percentage of young voters, voted. Now imagine if all 250 million young voters will vote in next general elections??… This will make the politicians, sit back and listen to the realistic demands of young and generally educated Indians.
    Then get ourselves involved in local area issues.
    Start questioning every doubtful area of government by using RTI act.

    Friends MORE Solutions in your mind:… Shoot them here.

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  • Sandeep

    I am sick of all the discussions on culture suddenly. Culture is never constant. It reflects the values and practices people have at that place and point of time. Leave us alone. It’s high time that everybody stops judging what is Indian and what is not. We are almost borderless now. ‘Media’ – yeah, right – the thing through which every part of the world is connected is our culture now. The LOCAL Culture is for books and some activists who want to take advantage and also for those who don’t want to. Anyway, follow it if you like it. You are not living for the society. For God’s sake don’t bring it up in every discussion. It’s so typical.

    [Reply]

    Sunny Reply:

    huuhhhhh Sandeep jee……… angry young man… talking like a revolutionist..

    Well, Sandeep, Culture is never constant as you said, but friend it evaluates with time, taking good things about contemporary world and leaving bad things thanks to revolutionists .
    And culture how much it evaluates, it will always have its basic properties with it forever. For eg, Indian culture has been for past 5000 years, but still the basics of family values, parents and teacher respects are very much part of current Indian culture, isn’t it ?

    As far as bringing culture in discussions, we have to bring it as the topic here is very much related to culture.

    It would nice on your point, if you give your views, without just directly demeaning others views…

    [Reply]

    Sandeep Reply:

    No! I am not only talking about the people discussing here but Naomi as well. I know its a bit late to post that view of mine. In any way, I didn’t demean anyone’s views. I am trying to put across that culture isn’t something that can be contained or written down by a few set of words. What you might think of as a value today might be a courtesy tomorrow or even a passe. You can’t decide what is going to happen tomorrow. Try living today. Why is it that I always see 40+ guys talking about Hindutva and Indianisms. Are the youth not concerned? No, they don’t really care. They are much more involved in their careers or lives. Well, there can be exceptions but not those who talk about this. As a young man, I don’t give a damn what religion or region my next door neighbour is. I behave just in a way that I don’t offend others. The basic human nature is survival instinct.

    Anyway, without digressing much, my point is there are no borders. Consider your home. You and your family members have a way of life. It can be very unique and different from many others around you. So, you feel possessive about that environment. Now, consider your colony or street, they may have a certain way of living compared to other parts of the same city. You may also feel that it is special. And now take the city… you get my point, right? So, we are all part of a single entity. All the borders are drawn by us. You cannot control what others think. They are too many! We’ve a population of 6 billion on the earth.

    As far as the values you’re talking about, everyone in the world agrees with what we Indians do and also do the same but in a different way. May be the Europeans don’t stay with their parents as much as we do but have the same amount of respect and value for them. I just don’t want to be an Indian. I’m also a citizen of this planet.

    So, coming to Indian culture… hmm.. For the past 5000 years, we’ve been invaded or rather accepted every other immigrant (:P) into our country. Never did we oppose any of it as I know like a protest or a revolution . We opposed only those who tried to extort us. Why should we be cruel about anything western or non-Indian now? If they are not Indian, let them be today. Tomorrow, if at all they engrain in our lives, it will be for the next generations.

    I don’t know if I should mention this but as shown in ” The Last Samurai “, which is almost based on facts, the emperor wished that everything should change to western style. He did and they are one of the most advanced countries now. And they do have a culture now which is strictly Japanese with western nuances. Ours is a democracy and let everyone feel free about what they have to do. And our constitution grants us the cultural rights as a fundamental right. Who is anybody to tell me which culture I should follow?

    How did I sound revolutionistic by the way???

    P.S: I am proud of being an Indian and I love certain aspects of Indian culture.

    [Reply]

    Sunny Reply:

    You love certain aspects of Indian culture; i love all aspects. ….. :-)

    Friend no one is saying you to follow a particular culture.. You were on your own saying don’t bring culture into this discussion, Well this discussion is all about Indian culture; isn’t it ?

    To correct your facts ” In Japanese culture, still no western nuances are seen; they not even making English as their official language” But still they are the most advanced society of the world. See Japan is the front runner in this globalized world, but still they are intact with their culture.

    To be modern and advanced you do not need to get yourself mesmerized by western world.

    You talking about 40+ guys talking about Hindutva and Indianisms ; I do not agree; I personally follow religion and in Temples i can see most of young people.
    See, when i said revolutionists, i did not mean literally but said because of your radical and one sided views on Indian youth.

    Now to history of India, Indian culture comprises of culture of Dravids, Aryans, Mughals and many more; But not of Englishmen because English people came here and never settled here forever as compare to other societies.
    We just took 1 thing from English society and that’s English language (nd cricket also :-) )
    I am not against any non-Indian thing, at present its a globalized world, and to grow we have to be tolerant and friendly to all peoples of this world, ……………………. But not on the cost of forgetting essence of Indian Culture……..

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    Markques Reply:

    Mr. Sandeep,
    Who asked you read this? Why waste your time writing that you hate?*-)? Try to look like a philo? To me you appear to be dope who woke up to react:->

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  • KS

    Hey Naomi
    While I commend you on your analysis and sympathize with the problems that UK faces (having become the teenage-pregnancy capital of Europe), I will have to disagree with you on Indian culture or Indian men for that matter.. India is a country of contrasts, and while I love it, I do feel it is full of hypocrites.. perhaps you have been lucky so far to have met the nicer people in India, but things are not that rosy.. the amount of problems faced by India, and I am not talking about terrorism, are immense..

    1. yes, there is no pressure to lose your virginity in India, there is a definite pressure to maintain it.. however, the sexual frustration that results from it (or from the fact that Indian men don’t know how to respect women) leads to so many sex-crimes, not even 50% of which get reported..

    2. agreed that it’s hard to find any 40 yr old single working mums in India, but its even harder to find 22 yr old single girls who r not working or 35 yr old working mums.. which is to say, that independence among women is still limited to very very urban parts of the country..

    3. respectful Indian teens? you are kidding, right? are we talking about the same bunch of people who in a large group of 50-odd, in 2001, assaulted (tore clothes) countless no. of women outside a school in Meerut (U.P.), in broad daylight btw.. or who grew up to assault 2 NRI women on New Years Eve in Mumbai.. or the same people that in a group of 11, recently, gangraped an MBA student from Noida? these are just some instances, the national papers (and even some that aren’t reported) are rife with numerous other examples…

    4. it’s better to have a broader outlook towards premarital sex and let teens have consensual sex, rather than having sexually frustrated men raping and assaulting women all year round… and now, these “saviors” of Indian culture seem to be presenting the actual Indian culture.. by beating up women in public and disrobing them in cities like Bangalore in broad daylight..

    5. Being an Indian expat in US, I see how indian guys behave or get all worked up and crazy the moment they see a white or asian girl walk by.. let’s just say it’s embarrassing and shameful..

    so, yes thanks for “liking” India, and congrats for having had a rather safe and pleasant experience in India, but things are not as rosy as they seem to u at the moment.. and to be honest, I hope you never find out the truth..

    [Reply]

  • KS

    However, that is not to say that things are just bad.. there are a lot of good aspects about India and Indian culture.. but honestly, I am scared about visiting any place in India with a girl.. even with my sister/cousin.. I don’t know who we might be attacked by-the forces of Indian culture or some group of teenaged and 20 something hooligans..

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  • http://www.asankhana.blogspot.com notyet100

    lot of hot discussion goin on here
    Naomi u rright india people are still afraid of their elders ,they do show respect but now when i see teenagers i am shocked i eman the look so mature,grown up and act as if they kow everythin,..;-)not like us ,we were quiet innocent when we were of their age,..good or bad i don knw,..but ya kids are not the same as they were before..:-(

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  • Deepak

    You must live in La La land. No teenage pregnancies. Well the father and brothers just kill the girl. They call this barbaric practice Honour Killing. Ambala has a very high incidence of abortions for unmarried girls. Instead of spreading lies I feel we should educate our children

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  • Aghori Girl

    Having lived in India, I agree with what you are saying Naomi – but half.

    India is famous for “eve teasing”. And I was shocked to experience almost daily when living there.

    India still has child marriages in villages. Many domestic workers in middle class Indian homes are from villages and have been married by age 14. Let’s not forget the acceptance of spousal abuse, the dowry system, so many things.

    But yes, I have found educated middle class youth in India to be much more respectful than here. However, what about all those dudes roaming the streets, speaking dirty language and harrassing women? Blank Noise Project and the Pink Chaddi Campaign were not created for nothing!

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  • Aghori Girl

    Actually, let me clarify, the youth of India are more respectful to their parents, in general. Not neccessarily to everyone.

    [Reply]

  • vinod sahu

    mam
    It’s very good articles of you.in this blog you compared indians with citizens of U.K. your thoughts for indians is right.indians know about their socialism,emotional,their behavior,honesty.it is 100% correct that indians are not intrasted in live in relationship.It’s the culture of india that diffrentiated it totally from u.k.
    In india, when child born,the parents of her try to that our child be as like god ram,god krishna.They try that her child gain good charecters from each every and member of his family.From bigining the family mamber of child wants that our child become a good person but it is not possible in other contry.
    In india teenage are not free from home,they have to learn about her limitation and their duties, teenage also understand his responsibilities.
    vinod sahu

    [Reply]

  • Aghori Girl

    “From bigining the family mamber of child wants that our child become a good person but it is not possible in other contry.”

    What bullsh*t!

    This Vinod Sahu sounds like an ignorant fool.

    It’s not possible to be good and raise good children in other countries???!!!

    I was raised outside of India and I am good. I know plenty of good people who are not Indian and I know alot of a**holes who ARE Indian.

    You seem like a prejudiced, ignorant fool.

    [Reply]

    Deb Reply:

    Hey Ahori Girl, chill. The comments of Vinod Sahu exhibit in full view his ignorance & prejudices, true. As you may’ve noticed from the language used (and I’m no puritan or language-snob) should’ve told you that the person is from outside of the metros (again, no pejorative intended), where people are largely as insular as perhaps, purely from what I’ve heard, the inner US states.

    So while it’s not good for the Sahus to remain mired in their ignorance (hopefully they would be illuminated once they come into the larger discourse), their voices also need to be heard, if only for us city-dwellers to realise how disconnected some parts of the populace are from the reality. The very fact that Sahu is writing this comment points to nothing less than a revolution – a small time man who is educated in the use of English as a language and having access to internet.

    So let a hundred flowers bloom!

    [Reply]

  • Raj

    As a teenager growing up in India during the mid 1970s, I am one of those guys who used to roam the streets of India speaking vulgar language, but never harrassing the women local, white or otherwise, at any time. Now I live abroad in a country where such behavior will land you in very serious trouble even if you dont harrass women. Law and order has broken down in India. There were several well publicized instances of rape against both Indian and western women during the past two years. And no one can forget the brazen terrorist assault on Mumbai which was a clear failure of the Indian state. Yes, child marriages are prevalent in villages and dowry is still a problem. Yet more and more educated Indian youth are marrying outside their language group althought it is not widely accepted by adults. Things have changed a lot since I was a kid. In our days other than talking trash we used to return home and listen to cricket commentary year round from BBC, Radio Australia and elsewhere. Cricket kept us out of trouble. Certainly would not want to be a kid these days in India or most other countries in the world.

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  • http://laughsohardyoursidesache.blogspot.com Nalini

    Hey Naomi,

    I am very proud of my country for all the reasons you pointed out. But lately, I have been worried about the degradation that is taking place in India. In UK, it might the poor , but in India the educated and urban folk are the ones leading to a moral degradation. Indians seem to imbibing the wrong thinks from the Western world.

    Today, every teenager is under extreme pressure to be ‘involved’ with the opposite sex. This does not, yet, mean a physical relationship. But, nevertheless, I feel this is the beginning of a horrible end. Alcohol has been a part of Indian society for long. But, it was never considered good and drunkards were looked down upon. Today I see many of my friends downing one vodka shot after other. Maybe it is due to the high demands of the modern-urban work culture, or something else, but it is not encouraging. Public display of affection is no more taboo for the nouveau rich, amongst many other things. India has long been a country where people keep in mind there future along with the present. Thus, the lifestyle has been moderate and there is a tendency to save money. Nowadays, people live on credit cards. Everyone has forgotten about contingency. This life of credit is what is more or less responsible for the subprime crisis and global recession. Indians would do well to remember the wisdom and adages that have been passed down to them by their ancestors.

    Children still respect their parents, but are no more dutifully bound to them. This is not necessarily bad, but many Indian values are linked to the parent-child relationship. The number of divorces in India is increasing, though infidelity and lack of seriousness might not be the reason. Thankfully marriage is still considered a sacred institution by most and I can only pray that this doesn’t deteriorate. I hope years down the line I can still read a journalist write the same good thongs about India..and I will be just as proud as I am right now.
    :)

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  • http://laughsohardyoursidesache.blogspot.com Nalini

    and yes, many who are unaware of the indian lifestyle wonder how children live with their parents even when they are above 20 or so. I believe it the strong family values that have kept the Indian society together. The concept of arrange marriage also evokes varied reactions from people. But, I guess it will helpful if they understand that an arranged marriage is very similar to dating. The only difference is that parents and extended family gauge the ‘rightness’ of the match by doing a background check… It is good to read the views of a non-Indian on Indians…Keep posting :)

    [Reply]

  • Aghori Girl (shaadi.com auntie)

    Arranged marriage may be similar to dating for city folk, but it is not so in the villages and small towns of India.

    Where in villages and small towns do you ever see people “dating”, whether it’s been arranged or not?

    [Reply]

    Nalini Reply:

    Hey Aghori Girl

    Till quite some time ago, it was not so even in the cities. Parents would decide the match, and the bride and groom won’t even be consulted! Now, the things are changing. The condition is improving. AND I am hopeful it will only improve in villages too. In fact, I can already see it happening in my parents villages.

    Slowly, but increasingly more number of people are understanding the two people whose lives are involved in the case should be a part of the decision too. I know that the evil of forced marriage still exists. Many families marry away their daughters, just to get rid of the ‘burden’ they are thought to be. Child marriages still happen and we loose many of our girls because of this. Most of the parents still think that marriage of their children is the main aim of their lives. But slowly the attitudes are changing, and people are paying more attention to their own, rather than their children’ marriages.

    This is happening mainly because of the rise in education levels and increasing awareness in the society. Having a negative attitude towards things won’t help. We need to keep our outlook positive and work for betterment.

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  • M Sankey

    Namaste
    Oh dear Naomi lets not forget that the story about the 13yrs old was scoop headline news front page for the Sun. The newspaper of choice to the people Naomi is critizing. This attitude has been fostered in these people by this and other news papers, I would point to the Sharon Mathews case as one generated by the PRESS as most people here see this. I know this is a bit distant from the time Naomi wrote here piece, she knows I live in an area designated as one of the 17 most deprived areas in England.
    I personally think this is part of how an empire dies, it wouldn’t surprise me that something similar happened during the last days of Rome. There is no cure for it it feeds on it’s self. But even living with people like this around me it is impossible to actually say what these people want from this sort of lifestyle other than safety in numbers, but inside what appears to the rich/middle classes as a tight knit community is actually riddled with crime on all levels and of all sorts. I travel in India 30yrs ago when I was Naomi’s age and fell totally in love with India, I avoided Goa then, and because I’m 50 something I shall avoid it again when I visit Kerala after Christmas.

    By the way it turned out that the 13yrs old, wasn’t the father after all, I think it was his 15yrs old uncle, wonderful stuff DNA but of course 15yr old fathers are 2 a penny so no front page for the real dad anyway the Sun was leading with another exclusive. I don’t know how you sleep at night Naomi, but I think knowing that write as you do helps. G’night

    [Reply]

  • http://---------------------------------------------------- Leon

    Naomi

    A very accurate picture of the UK today . I stayed in Liverpool a few years back while completing my higher education , and I was shocked to find the high levels of poverty there , I could not believe I was in England. Then again Liverpool is Ireland in England ! but what suprized me most was at the Uni , most of the Lecturers were from the south of the country , only the middle and lower clerical positions were “reserved” if I may use this indian word for Scousers . In general I found scousers a nice lot except on saturday nights at pubs like the Walkers Inn where you may be dodging airborne chairs after 11:00 pm , I think inner city areas need the most attention , I also believe in the UK there needs to be affirmative action for these sections .

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SRMTZBUDVDA2V6E24BGOHNWL7I Global

    This article is not really representative of life ALL across India. It seems the Author is only seeing one side of the coin and sticking her views based on what she saw in middle / upper middle class Urban Indian society. She obviously never visited Indian villages and rural parts of India to see what’s happening there. I am an Indian and I like many aspects on life in India – I have lived however in Europe most of my life and am quite sick of the sadness in Europe as well as lack of any value system now….which still does exist in India. Anyway – coming back to the topic – life in Rural uneducated India is still quite like life in rural uneducated Britain. There are plenty of teenage pregnancies in rural India as well – and even worse there is a lot of female infanticide… if a female child is born they throw it in a well or bury it alive – this has led to a huge imbalance between male / female ratio in rural India – and believe it or not but in certain places there are 5 men who end up marrying 1 woman because of a lack of more women in the community. Fact is – uneducated people whether they are in India or in Britain – are going to behave the same way, there are lots of crimes and murders in rural India too – most of those go unreported due to a lack of proper system…. in Britain everything is reported……but one thing I really hate about the UK now is that it has become a total police state, there is no freedom left in UK now and crime levels are seriously the highest in EU. But British kids from good families are just as good as Indian kids from good families – it all depends on the upbringing, education and parents….you notice more well behaved kids in India because there are simply MORE people and more kids in India….there are good and bad things about sexual freedom too… in UK sex is no big deal.. in India it is still a huge deal… its not like Indians dont have sex… they have plenty of it… even extra marital and pre-marital sex… they just never talk about it. Indian colleges are full of drugs too – it’s all very discreet and hidden – in UK its a lot more open… and lastly I think the family system in India is quite sad and frustrating… parents control their children’s lives even after the kids are married…an Indian father is a very dominating person who rules and ruins his kids life…in most cases Indian parents never let their child “choose” a life partner, career, or any other path in Life…which I think is really sad because I know so many people in India who wasted their lives pursuing their Parents’ dream just because of the way Indian society is shaped up. Indians marry before 30 also because of societal pressure nothing else – again all this works in favour of the country and culture but being an individualist I am happier living life the way I want to rather than someone telling me what to do and how to live.

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  • R.V.S.Sharma

    Rahmath saheb ! Lot of it is contemporary politics than history. Islam lost good part of its fanatism in subcontinent. No muslim need offer explanations for the actions of those who were alien invaders. No settled Nawab ever practised such cruelties on his subjects. Poor of all the religions suffered in feudal times. British rule totally changed the country.
    Bringing down an archealogical structure is vandalism and is punishable.
    You can build a museum depicting acts of intolerance each religion is guilty of with emphasis on partition of British India.
    This is not Pakistan. Abhi hum me dam hai ! We will keep this country secular for ages to come.We agree with Sahir saheb- Chodo kalki bathein !

    [Reply]

  • Ali Hyder Tabatabai

    I have combined the two write ups. This is a story that must be probed. DAN BROWN is writing a book on the BLUFF OF KARBALA. A war that never took place between 72 versus 26 lakhs or 72 v/s. 30,000-. Hz. Husain Ibn Ali, Governor of Kufa, was killed by a Zoroastrian (who had converted to Islam after the conquest of Iran), and a Shia-t-e-Ali in the Governor’s Palace. TABARI wrote the fictional novel “Qatl-e-Husayn” in 300 AD (240 yrs after Hz. Husayn’s murder). Tabari based his fictional work on quotes from Al Mikhnaf, a confirmed liar and a vaudeville artiste., a daastangohe., who expired 60 years before Tabari’s birth. Let us presume Tabari wrote the fictional work “Qatl-e-Husain” at age 30., it means that Abu Mikhnaf had died 90 years back.

    Muslims were united as a rock 200 years after the passing away of Prophet Muhammad.

    It is after 3 centuries – that Mazen Del Velmi – the Jew – started Maatam.

    It is from Tabari’s commentary that Salman Rushdie got his idea to write the “Satanic Verses”., because Tabari says., that while the Surah-e-Najam was being conveyed to the Prophet by Angel Gabriel., he felt some interference from Shaitaan !

    Please note what Ibn Khaldoun had said about the murder of Hz. Husain @ the Governor House in Kufah ! “Husayn ibn Ali was murdered by his grandfather’s [Prophet's] sword”. Was he murdered by some of his own groups ? was he murdered by some staff member of the Governor house ? Who was JOSHAN ?

    Selling Vinegar bottled as “Honey”.
    - Ali Haider Nazm Tabatabai, Hyderabad Deccan.

    Shia-ism is a revenge of the Iranians against Muslims for conquering Iran. Period.
    “Truth has arrived and falsehood vanished” – (Holy Quran)
    Fiction sold as truth or in other words Lies concocted :
    1. Hz. Omar taking fire to the home of Hz. Fatima, leading to her assault and abortion. It is a lie. Hz. Ali lived for 24 yrs under the caliphate of Hz. Abubakr, Omar and Othman and he did NOT take the revenge ? He tolerated his wife’s insult and assault ? Amazing from the Lion of God !
    2. Bagh-e-Fidak : Another lie. Hz. Fatima was not cheap enough to fight for a piece of land.
    3. Karbala : Fictional Novel written 3 centuries after the murder of Hz. Husain Ibn Ali. Novelist : Tabari Ibn Hormuz (Zoroastrian).
    4. Hz. Omar murdered by Abu Lulu, a Zoroastrian posing as Muslim (murder mastermind : Abdullah Ibn Saba, the Jew; with support of Iranian/Jew sleeper cells in Madina).
    4. Hz. Othman murdered by Abdullah ibn Saba and his son (they subsequently fled to Yemen).
    5. Hz. Ali served as Governor of Kufah, happily. After the murder of Hz. Othman by Saba`yees., he shifted the capital to Kufah (where he was already settled).
    6. There was no Jang-e-Jamal. The war between Hz. Ali and Hz. Aisha is a bluff and fiction.
    7. There was no Jang-e-Siffeen. The war between Hz. Ali and Hz. Muawiyya is a bluff and fiction.
    8. Hz. Ali was murdered by Ibn Muljam (a Zoroastrian) Mastermind : Zoroastrians and Jews of Iran.
    9. Hz. Hasan Ibn Ali served as Governor Kufah after Hz. Ali’s assasination. He left on health grounds (died of Tuberculosis) and settled in Madinah where he died a natural death. The story of poisoning by wife is another fake.
    10. Hz. Husain Ibn Ali was murdered in the Governor House at Kufah by Joshan Ibn Hormuzan, a Zoroastrian. (Mastermind : the same group of Elitist Zoroastrians, Jews and Sabayeen).
    11. Subsequently, the Zoroastrian Elite and Jews took revenge by inviting Mongols / Halaku Khan to invade Baghdad and destroy Baghdad.
    12. The first casualty was Literature. All literature was burnt. (Abu Muslim Khorasani/Jafar Barmaki & Co. got active; role played by Nasiruddin Tusi, Astronomer)
    13. New literature (Fiction) was produced and propogated. It is this literature that has reached down to us.
    14. Tabari, a zoroastrian wrote the Karbala Novel (purely fiction). It is based on quoting Al Mikhnaf, a liar (and a stage artiste – a Daastaangoh ) who died 60 years before Tabari was born. In other words if Tabari wrote the Karbala Fiction Novel at age 30, that means Al Mikhnaf (his source) had died 90 years ago !!
    SO, Shia-ism may be a religion (a mixture of Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Judaism with Arabic terms/names) by itself, but it is NOT Islam. It has got nothing to do with Islam. Shia-ism is a revenge against Islam. It is getting into Islam, taking Arabic names., and destroying Islam from “within”. Sabayeen succeeded in this endeavour.
    Vinegar is being marketed as Honey. This is now exposed. Those who find the above wrong, may kindly devote time and research for themselves. They will reach the truth if they persevere.
    THE TRUTH
    GHADIR KHUM : Prophet had deputed Hz. Ali as his REPRESENTATIVE for purposes of TAX COLLECTION (Revenue). People of that area had not paid their taxes regularly. SO it was in THAT CONTEXT that he said, “Why did you not pay the taxes when Ali asked you for it (collection). I had sent Ali to do the job”. So that is the context. The trick is to make GHADIR KHUM the Last Speech (thereby diluting the Last Sermon delivered in Arafat). Ghadir Khum speech was fictionalised so as to compete with the Last Sermon at Arafat (that was made second last thru the trick, i.e.). Ghadir Khum is a bluff. It was uttered in that context. Prophet never gave an inclination that Hz. Ali was to be his successor. NEVER.
    2. People forget that Hazrat Ali had 2 sons named : Usman Ibn Ali Ibn Abi Talib, and Abubakr Ibn Ali Ibn Abi Talib
    !
    Haqeeqat-e-Waqeya-e-Karbala – REAL STORY OF KARBALA
    With due respect to all Muslims let us stick to truth.
    Why ten days of mourning Muharram? It is well known fact that Shias started this custom of mourning Al-Husayn (maatam Husayn). Shia historian Justice Amir Ali (‘Mohammedan Law’ says, “founder and starter of Maatam-e- Husayn was Mazzal Dal Velmi a Shia in 352 A.H. (300 years after the incident)”. MAZZAL fixed 10 days of Muharram as permanent days for remembrance of the tragedy of Karbala. Shias today commemorate these 10 days of Muharram. Iraqi SABAAI narrators fabricated imaginary stories of cruel acts of horrific nature, like refusal of water and forced combats, which are not reliable and worthy of trust.
    This is fiction. Pure lies akin to truth. In particular details about the date and days. The caravan of Husayn made a very long journey over a difficult route in difficult circumstances, could never have made it in a matter of 20-22 days time and reach its destination (Mecca – Karbala). Fabricators of the story of his arrival on the 2nd of Muharram of 61 A.H. did this on purpose to fabricate fiction for 10 days, which flourish with cruelty, refusal of water, battles and forced combats. The average speed of a laden camel, which is moving in the line of a caravan under normal circumstances, is two and a half miles per hour. Now to cover a distance of about 950 miles (Mecca to Karbala) at the speed of two and a half miles per hour and daily traveling for twelve hours on average would take at least 30-31 days. Departure of Al-Husayn from Mecca was on the 10th of Dhul-Hajj 60 A.H. (Ibn-Kathir) wrote: Husayn with his family members and 60 Kufic companions departed from Mecca for Kufa and the date of his departure was 10th of Dhul-Hajj.´Therefore, it was impossible for him to arrive at Karbala on 2nd of Muharram. According to truthful narrators Husayn reached Karbala on 10th of Muharram 61 A.H., which is acceptable. Thus it is obvious that purpose of fabricated narrations was to enable the narrators to present happenings in the colors and in accordance with their fiction. Nothing has aspired in these ten days, all these incidents are just imaginary stories and lies, then why do we keep Majlis´ in these 10 days of Muharram?
    THE REAL STORY OF KARBALA : Husayn revolted against Yazid bin Muawiya and Kufis instigated him by supporting his idea. When Husain realized on his way near Kufa, that Kufis betrayed his cousin Muslim bin Aqil, he diverted the caravan towards Syria. On his way at Karbala, the Amir’s army halted him. Husain agreed to pledge to Yazid bin Muawiya.
    60 Kufis who had accompanied Husayn saw their fate at stake, now that Husayn had changed. When Army approached them for their weapons, THESE Kufis attacked, and during this attack, Al-Husayn was killed (martyred).
    This incident took place at Karbala when the caravan arrived on 10th Muharram and the fight was over in less than an hour. The claim of the Shias that Husayn was beheaded is a bluff. Husayn was buried with due honours and great respect and the Namaaz-e-Janaza was led by his son Ali bin Al-Husayn (Zeinul Abideen). So every thing was over in less that an hour ! Ibn Khaldoun has famously written : “Hussain was killed by the sword of his grandfather” (Prophet Muhammad!). What happened inside the Tent (Khayma) needs very deep research., esp. when the Zoroastrians destroyed all material along with the Tartars (Halaku and Changez). If Husain Ibn Ali was killed inside the tent.. some say after he agreed to give Bayah to Yazeed.. by the family of Muslim Bin Aqeel..).. A more reliable source says Husain, the Governor of Kufa was killed by a Zoroastrian Joshan Ibn Hormuzan., not in Karbala., but in Kufa.
    The story of denial of water – fight for 10 days – burning of tents – is purely fictional and a bluff. There is no river/lake around Karbala. There never was any lake/river near Karbala for the past 5000 years according to Geologists.
    (Matam : started by Maazal Dal Velmi 300 yrs after Husain!) – Syed Amir Ali, Judge Privy Council, and author of “Mohammedan Law”. The most prominent Shia Scholar !
    [Baquer Majlisi, Author “Bahar-ul-Anwaar” was a student of Mullah Sadra, wrote a tome of lies. Allama Razi wrote attributed his articles to Hazrat Ali ! What a bunch of liars they were. They insulted Hazrat Ali by using his name and building a maze of lies and insults around his family to destroy the mission of Prophet Muhammad]. Shia means to Kill Ali and His Family and friends., then start beating the chest laying blame on someone else (Old Jewish Trick). Khud to Dawaat Phodi – Naam Aur Kaa bataya ? Shia means to destroy the mission of Prophet Muhammad., conquer Kabah and place new idols therein.

    Shia-ism may be a religion, like Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism. That is fine and we respect the Shias for their religion. But Shia-ism has got nothing to do with islam. Shia-ism is a blend of Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Christianity with Arabic names thrown in for effect and confusion.

    I challenge the Aghas of Iran and the Indian Continent to explain to me why the Book “Nabuwwa” is banned in Iran ? I want the Aghas to explain to me the work done by Abu Muslim Khorasani, Jafar Barmaki, Abdullah Ibn Saba, Nasiruddin Tusi etc. in the destruction of Baghdad, and in the destruction of the Muslim Solidarity. Explain to me the role of the above gentlemen and the work they did. But if you remain silent I will explain to you the dirty work they did.

    Shia wants to do the same thing as Jews. Undo Prophet Muhammad’s Islamic mission of Tawheed and replace it with new idols (new designs of Lat-Manat-Uzza, in the form of flags, Panjetan Palm, and other symbols).

    AGARCHEY PEER HAI AADAM ~ JAWAAN HAI LAT-O-MANAAT (Iqbal)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/AdvocateSirajudeen Adv Sirajudeen

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  • sakthi

    The author had pointed out certain problems.we can ignore this Hindu rate of growth.Our growth actually is not due to any manufacturing/production but due to earnings from service sectors.Our county is becoming market for the producers both local and outsiders.
    The so called Indian Defence forces are capable of taking on the Pakistanis but surely not the Chinese.With a kind of corruption among the politicians ,Govt people and the very citizens we are sure we can not take on the Chinese and its army.The South block is right is in its view.
    Best is we should build a better relations with Pakistan and China a honest relation ship not biased or guiled one .a real good relationship.Other wise public money will be wasted on our defense forces which will not be able to combat chinese on the terrain along the Tibetan state..

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