He missed the "jugaad" all around him - people, in their struggle for survival, do all sorts of things. Lying is jugaad, dishonesty is jugaad, the Cobra is jugaad, the marijuana in tourist places is jugaad, the beggar's strategic location is jugaad, the dump-heap is jugaad (not all jugaads are meant to make society better as a whole).
But maybe that's too naive. The most unfortunate in India are amongst the most fatalistic - they give up trying - after all, they never won the birth lottery by being born in Europe or the US, or even in a rich home in India - so why hope for social justice? Laws are meant to be broken in India, justice is meant not to be served (India is a study in legal arbitrage - it always has been). Life is meant to be tough in India, values are meant to eschewed. But even with all this, "jugaad" survives and serves its own brand of justice. The mistake most foreigners make in India is that they continue to believe in their ability to right the wrongs and make a change. A feeling of utter helplessness is very alien to them. It's coming to terms with that helplessness and digging out pockets of jugaad from that black mass of helplessness is what makes India tick.
Here in Brazil there are lots of young people that gets into drug dealing just because they don't have nothing better to do. The grow up in extreme poverty and society would very much like them to be dead or in prision, so they take their chances... sometimes its better to risk a bullet to the head to get rich and respected than to know that you'll be always poor and risk getting killed by police or drug dealers.
And of course, this is just an example. I don't know if this qualifies as "jugaad", but sounds a little similar.
Here're some awesome examples of jugaad:
My personal favorite: (Steaming milk on the roadside with a pressure cooker)
There's tons more examples like this, but you get the point.
See some examples at: http://quependejadas.com/tag/gracioso/page/2/
The most amazing thing is that most of these images are probably not Mexican at all, but stolen from redneck sites (search for: Look, I fixed it). That is 100% in character with the spirit of mexicanada. Why actually fix anything when I can find someone else who did it and steal the credit!!!
What a colossal waste of human resources.
Imagine if all those poor people were instead lifted up to the middle class so that they wouldn't have to focus on surviving each day, and could put that "jugaad" to something actually useful - research, science, arts, creating things and doing work that benefits others as well.
>> The most unfortunate in India are amongst the most fatalistic - they give up trying.
: This is again so true. Experienced first-hand with some of my relatives. You might be initially surprised at their mindset and the self-reasoning, but then you will realize its part of their coming to terms with life.
If you consider the rain-forests of Amazon as an evolving experiment by nature, I consider the human-forests of India as an evolving experiment by nature as well.
I once got stopped by a couple that gave me a story about being left away from home and no means to get back etc...
I gave them Rs.50 and they kind of stared at me with bewilderment like "that's all you're giving me"
(And keep in mind that I'm not a white guy standing out in the crowd - I look just like every other Indian on the street :) )
Small things like this make me slightly more reluctant to give money to people on the street. I prefer to donate via charities that I help out with instead.
EDIT: But the part about it being "bad karma" to help some people and not others, that definitely sounds like somebody has misunderstood somewhere.
Belief in karma and reincarnation has got nothing to do with it. And even the victims of this system know this.
There is also some modern, relevant benefits to identifying someone's caste: it is an indicator that someone comes from a similar cultural or religious upbringing. That you speak similar dialects of Hindi. This is important when, say, marrying.
This says nothing of the caste system as institutional discrimination, but it's worth mentioning that caste is not "purely" an economic/political bit of culture.
* India Untouched - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1552060/
* India's broken people - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxJr0UlcNTA
There is whole sect in India which is segregated, tortured everyday for being born as a lower caste and it does not even end with their death. They have to clean others' feces by their hands (yes even today) and this is considered a norm. Rich, higher caste still instill this in their own kids to be wary of the "dirty people". Kids born into Dalit families are reminded of this by not letting them eat with other kids, not letting them wear same clothes and being asked for their caste again and again. This system is kept alive.
This all still exists and is in abundance. Point to note is that this is not just in rural, uneducated parts of India. Honestly, the concept comes from Hinduism. As a major religion for centuries, it has a code-of-conduct by Manu to divide the society into 4 major parts. But now it is a part of every sect in practice.
It exists and it is social.
I have been discouraged from helping people, mostly for the reason that it could turn out to be more trouble that it's worth, but I have never been given this reason. Also, your explanation makes no sense from a theological perspective. I've always been taught that helping people will earn you karma, so it's in your selfish interest to help those in need.
Here's an excerpt "If someone is born in an unfortunate situation, for instance into a very poor family, we explain it as due to past bad karma. We try to do more good karma this life in order to ensure we have a better rebirth. Is this chasing after happiness in life after life correct?
Some people say, "Those people are poor because of their bad actions; therefore they are morally inferior. We shouldn't try to improve their situation because that would interfere with their karma. Rather, they should accept being in a lower class and try to create positive actions so they will be rich in future lives."
It appears to me that the most unfortunate people eventually give up regardless of country. I don't blame them. Being poor is discouraging especially if you are older.
by Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu, and Simone Ahuja | 2010
I like the comments from that page. Here's one I'll cherry pick:
Indranil Roy Chowdhury wrote:
Seems like Jugaad has become a fad these days as I keep hearing the term every now and then in conferences and beyond..But the very essence of the term has been highly misplaced..To start with 'Jugaad' has a negative connotation to it and shouldn't be seen as innovation..I suggest Innovation should be kept away from the ambit of 'Jugaad'.
The problems with confusing Jugaad with innovation are;
(1)Jugaad is a short term mindset and doesnt serve anyone, while Innovation should be something that can have long term impacts
(2)Jugaad is a Tactic used in daily life, while Innovation is a long term Strategy..
(3)Jugaad is a way which corrupts the system or makes use of systemic loopholes, while Innovation is something that brings a solution which can in turn strengthen the system.
I shall quote an example here which is a classic example of Jugaad:
In India electricity theft remains a major problem. With govt's initiatives the problem has been curtailed to a large extent, hence the instances of theft have come down significantly. So what people have started doing is that they steal electricity from lines to TV antennas which take 49V..How? Simple solution..put a step up transformer in the way..convert 49 to 110v or 220V and light your bulb..
Now the question is would we like this to be seen as innovation ??? Or should it be left as 'Jugaad' ?????
Do you realize that majority of Indian population has no jugaad to provide food for their family. Well we "The Pizza Hut Kings" choose to overlook it and pretend that everything works.
He said Indians will rarely, if ever, resort to violence. As a foreigner, you never have to worry about being robbed, or having a knife pulled on you, or getting beaten up by a gang of thugs and having your kidney carved out of you. And this is true.
Is not true.
It would possibly be true if he changed it to read "As a foreign man.."
A female friend of mine just returned from six weeks in India a few weeks ago. I'm fairly certain that if Sanjay had met her, travelling alone as OP was, he would've told a very different story. He would've said, as my friend heard from Indians over and over, "Leave. Now. Get on a plane and go back to the U.S. You are not safe here."
She was lucky, and only suffered gropings, attempted kidnapping, and attempted break-ins to her hotel room. But violence against foreign women is on the rise in India. The U.S. Bureau of Consolate Affairs cautions women not to travel to India alone. And "alone" in this case means "in a party without men".
Of course, none of this would be visible to you as a foreign man... you just get treated completely differently. But it's dangerous to spread the idea that women can just go to India and "not have to worry" about violence.
"Nothing should be given free. Anything that is given free has no value. " - Padma Venkataraman
In May of this year, I spent time in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The exchange rate during my travels was roughly 53 Rupees : 1 US Dollar. So I can definitely understand how tempting it can be to "do the math" and rationalize that giving X Rupees to random person will "help". But it's absolutely not a sustainable solution to the core and underlying problem, and might even be perpetuating it.
I "get" the concept of jugaad. My small solution was to not give Rupees away, but to tip well: anybody who seemed to be working on improving their economic situation. (Tipping is not normal practice for most Indians, but I figured it was better than handouts.)
This video can be hard to watch, but it's an interesting film about an organization called Rising Star Outreach ( http://www.risingstaroutreach.org ) that is working on helping of the "worst" of India's beggars, those who afflicted with Hansen's Disease (AKA Leprosy) http://byutv.org/watch/d0f942b2-6b4f-4923-9f88-7ad8fde4a01c
Some interesting tidbits from the video:
- "70 percent of the world's leprosy is in India."
- "People with leprosy are treated as untouchables ... Every month, people from the leprosy colony travel to the city to beg. Once they have enough money to buy food and clothing for the month, they go back to the colony."
- "Begging reduces people to their lowest level. The worse you look, the better you're going to be successful at begging."
But the video has a somewhat happy ending: it is demonstrating a work in progress, and general proof that giving people a way to sustain themselves economically via microloans really does work.
As far as the general population goes, India is an amazing country: resourceful, intelligent. But its biggest challenge will be its ability to cope with population growth.
Absolutely. Be generous to your domestic help, drivers, security guards and other people who work hard to improve their lives. It will reinforce their belief in hard work.
It reinforces their reliance on the upper class/caste, a polite form of beggary. The core and underlying problem is not lack of belief in hard work, but systematic corruption and exploitation of the poor.
I, as an Indian, will be utterly shocked if I visit a ghetto in downtown Detroit. Heck, there are more chances of getting mugged or shot in such ghetto. However, I will not visit such places as they are known to be hostile.
India is a weird place and to survive you need to live as Indians live. Some insights -
a) Yes, we have highest number of beggars. But most of them are cheats. Most of them will walk away if you offer them a job instead of money or food. Also, a lot of them work for beggar mafias.
b) They say that all of those 33 crore Hindu Gods, Buddha and Allah have left India ages ago. Religions are more customary than spiritual and Indians follow 'em just for the sake of customs. It's a common sight to see a young guy driving by a temple reciting a few shlokas while driving and offer a customary mini version of prayer.
People who come to India on a spiritual tour make me laugh. If you think that you can attain enlightenment or get more spiritual by travelling thousands of miles and spending a couple of weeks at a 500$/night resort near Haridwar, then you need some serious help.
c) Tourists buy "Indian" stuff that no Indian buys. The clutches or carpets or the wooden elephants are made specially for foreign tourists and are freakingly overpriced. The best way to buy Indian stuff, would be to go to regular markets with a local friend.
d) Garbage is a big problem. Its in our nature to litter. Take an Indian to US or Australia and he will not spit or litter. While the same person might even pee on a street back in India. The only option is to live/stay in relatively cleaner localities.
e) Drivers, hotel staff, guides, store keepers and public servants are dishonest because they are virtually unaccountable to anyone and the legal system ain't efficient enough to nab the dishonest. A "x" star restaurant can continue to function despite serving cockroaches or hair strands in their dishes. Apparently, identifying the trait of dishonesty is easier if you know the local lingo/culture.
People know a lot of about American culture because of Hollywood and American sitcoms. I am not an expert in American culture, but I can identify whether a person is playing me. I can not do that in any other country (say Italy).
Same logic applies to foreigners who visit India. You either need to know a few things about Indian culture beforehand or you need to spend some more time here.
The giveaway in every touristed country almost worldwide is that they've approached and are talking to you. Exaggerating a bit, but not far off the truth.
Sadly, the things that tourists often yearn for - that natural, personal contact, the local insight - is exactly what you'll get from many scammers, and it leads you to shun so many approaches (e.g., the kids in Wangfujing who will eventually want to sell you art on commission or drag you to a tea ceremony) that you are forced to detach somewhat from your travel experience.
I think this is the "broken window effect."  We Indians see so much litter / garbage around us most of the time, we don't feel it is wrong to add a little more to it. Also, we feel, "If nobody else cares, why should I"?
At home level, garbage is disposed by 3 ways -
a) Either it is collected from your door by municipality or a private contractor / sweeper
b) Home owners throw their garbage in a community garbage dump
c) Home owners dispose their garbage wherever they can.
The private contractors, who are supposed to take the collected garbage to the dumping grounds, usually don'd do it and dump it in open spaces (like this one -http://cj.ibnlive.in.com/slideshow7815.html). Worst part is that they aren't fined by authorities.
Municipal authorities mark certain grounds/wastelands away from populated areas as dumping grounds, dump the trash there and let it decay. (like this one - http://images.businessweek.com/ss/09/08/0805_biggest_garbage...)
Also, Indians, in general, while traveling or commuting or walking, dispose paper wrappers, plastic plates, flowers, water bottles, chewing gums or any other garbage on road or in public places.
For example, it's a common site to see a family having ice creams or chips or peanuts or soft drinks in parks. But when they leave, they leave the waste as it is. Even when there is a garbage can in sight. (see this - http://rhetoric2reality.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/public-p...)
An example of trash thrown by train travelers - http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-BA99LRmPyaA/TYsZstie7fI/AAAAAAAACC...
Heck, we can't even keep our places of worship clean. These are flowers, incense sticks and other offerings thrown in Ganga river after worshiping (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-cO-PjFR2Kcw/TjgKYEIQiFI/AAAAAAAABG...). Ain't this ironical? Indians can pray and pollute a same object.
Coming to the decaying and non-decaying part - Most of it is decayable. However, the sheer volume of it does not allow nature to work. Hence it starts rotting and stinking. Also, stray animals (cows,dogs and pigs) dig through the trash mountain to find anything edible and in turn spread it more.
Having said that, things are improving. I have seen many young people (my friends included) carry the plastic trash or water bottles with them till they find a garbage can. Also, a few educated people are running cleaning campaigns in their cities (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clean-Vadodara-Green-Vadodara-...). Also, shopping malls and large stores have started to charge for plastic carry bags. This has reduced plastic waste by bit.
Compared to what the OP described, a "ghetto" in old Detroit would be a paradise.
Also, just to point out, don't talk trash about a town unless you've been there. Detroit is finally bringing itself out of the pit. Lots of new energy running around. It's on the rise. Maybe you should visit?
And, I am not talking trash.
My sister lives in Troy. When she was new to Detroit, she chose a wrong route while driving to downtown Detroit. While passing through a certain area (don't remember the name, will call her and ask) some gangsters tried to stop her car and rob her. Luckily she escaped.
My sister didn't crib about it like the OP did. She accepted the reality, changed her driving directions thereafter and moved on. Like thousands of her fellow Americans do. Likewise millions of Indians accept the harsh realities, change their driving directions and move on.
>> Compared to what the OP described, a "ghetto" in old Detroit would be a paradise.
Also, just to point out, don't base your comparisons on a blog post. People, here, may try to trick you but will not shoot you. Things are improving here as well. Though, at a slower place.
Update: The area where my sister faced gangsters was Highland Park.
As opposed to what you are basing you opinions on; "My sister lives in Troy. When she was new to Detroit, she choose a wrong route while driving to downtown Detroit. While passing through a certain area (don't remember the name, will call her and ask) some gangsters tried to stop her car and rob her. Luckily she escaped."
Down vote me all you've want... but unless you actually been to Detroit, recently, you are taking out of your ass.
From PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/the-daily-need/is-detro...
I'll quote a part so you don't have to browse it:
"Last weekend, the New York Times featured a story in its Style section about the onslaught of hip, young urban pioneers streaming into downtown Detroit. These “creatives,” as they are being called, are taking advantage of low rents and the opportunity to recycle this abandoned, blank slate of an urban landscape into something new and exciting. There are restaurateurs and entrepreneurs of all stripes living alongside environmentalists and urban farmers. ..."
If you want I can post many other links.. but i assume you can do your own google'ing.
An uninformed tourist will be shocked if he/she visit such places just like India.
b) I didn't down vote any of your post. Hence, these replies.
I am talking about expectations and exceptions. In USA an uninformed tourist won't expect such places. In Somalia, a person won't expect a super friendly neighborhood with Audis and BMWs roaming around.
Edit: just found a small clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WkfofSGFx4 [ not sure when it was filmed ]
A beggar & her naked child begging at the window of an Audi R8.
The salesman in a high-end TV shop taking the bus to work.
The Marriot main-gate where super high priced cars drive out to be greeted by a forest of beggars.
Mumbai City simultaneously houses the most expensive residence in the world  and the largest slum in the world 
and so on and so on...
The leaders and the bureaucrats of the Govt. of India deserve to be shot in a public square for their sheer corruption and incompetence. They rob the country blind; feather their own nests and manage thru coercion to get elected (or posted to plum postings) over and over again.
This one kinda sticks out of the list. That would happen in many metropolitan centers worldwide, its simply more convenient.
Imagine being crammed in during a 100-degree+ summer just to get to and from work every day. Oof.
I live in NYC; we have a very tame definition of "taking the bus" as compared to India.
The norm isn't too far from the exception.
I spent 4 years in Chennai, and this was a common sight.
Though I have never seen the bent buses in Bangalore yet in the 5 years I have been here. That is not to say public buses are pleasant here - you still deal with being densely packed with other commuters of varying degree of hygiene.
When I was in Delhi, I was a broke student and took buses most of the times. Some routes were quite pleasant. Some were outright hell. The one that runs between south Delhi and Najafgarh is packed(especially after 8 in the evening), and people are knowingly and unknowingly thrusting their crotches into each other.
We were staying at 4th and Mission, surrounded by luxury stores and hotels. At night, though, it was like Dawn of the Dead, with street-zombies wandering around talking to themselves.
Sadly (to me), they were almost all black. In Toronto, the homeless have the decency to be fairly racially inclusive (with Native Americans somewhat over-represented).
Travel, huh. Different places are different.
I question whether you've been to New York City, in the summer.
EDIT: Oh shit, it's you. You should know, heh.
I had just wanted to nitpick that the bus example is actually a very good one to highlight why "riding the bus" is not a bad indication of poverty, which I think we agree on!
None of this detracts from the fact that riding the subway during the summer is miserable for everyone, but isn't (in my mind, or in the parent's) quite the same as an Indian bus!
Corruption is a two handed process , one hand gives and the other takes. Both should be stopped.
The Indian public deserves an equal or greater share of the blame. Government is the people's responsibility in a democracy. If governance sucks, the citizens are not doing their job.
Your average person in a developing and poor country is not Arun2009. It's a fairly ignorant person who doesn't know either his rights or his duties.
I think literacy & education is one of the biggest bubbles. I had to spend a lot of time thinking about it, and talking to people with experience in the subject before the vast idea of what it means to be illiterate started to dawn on me.
For example, teaching a class on how to use computers to people at the library. They all want to know how to 'look for a job' online. Show 'em how to use the mouse, what icons represent the internet, how to get email, and see they're having trouble. Slowly begin to understand they're only memorizing shapes and patterns of letters, and don't really know how to read or write.
We're all so hyper literate, I can say that about everyone here. We're practically a different species than people who don't know how to wirelessly communicate through space and time. It's impossible to hold poor people in india who basically only have spoken word communication, and oral tradition historical context, to our standards.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literacy_in_India (the numbers here are severely underrepresented - there is consensus among most NGOs that more than 50% illiteracy prevails)
Actually, a lot of the time, the child is not hers. It's rented from the child's real mother, so that the beggar can earn more money. But I'm sure you already knew that.
The author is right. It's an extremely honest account of the state of chaos that is India. There has been a culture of dishonesty that has grown over the last few decades, because that is the only way many people can afford to live middle-class lifestyles.
If you take an auto-rickshaw or a taxi, the only thing that goes through the drivers head is, whether he can scam you for more money, and if so how. It's quite sad, because on one hand dishonesty is the norm, but on the other that's the only way he can feed his family, send his kids to school, take care of his ailing parents and drink away his miseries at night. The middle class ignore this because they know it's all a game with winners and losers (even if by pure chance). They would be better off trying to achieve a comfortable standard of living, than to try and reform India. But these people are often really honest, and as courteous as the average busy employee in nyc.
Then you see the rich folks who live in walled gardens (literally and figuratively). They have comfortable lives and are protected from the stark realities by security guards whose sole job is to prevent beggars from entering places where they live.
The police here do not have resources to work on most of the civil problems that happen here. On the plus side, they are less corrupt than what they were before, maybe because of the fear of irrelevancy. The politicians care more about the gold in their coffers, than to try and find ways to reform society.
The authors' account, it seems, came from a person who expected India to be a basket of spirituality, but was then struck in the groin by reality. It's all well and good. That is the real India, unfortunately. Not the Ashrams or the Taj hotels or the private resorts.
The situation is changing. The spending power of the middle class is increasing, along with the awareness that they are the ones who can and should start the change. The population needs to be decreased or the population densities should be more evenly spread. People living below the poverty line need to find some way to sustain themselves, and elevate themselves to a situation where they can think about tackling societal challenges. These are hard problems, and need capable minds to solve.
"A man, ... a symbol, shall we say, of people of India -- is pursued by a tiger. He runs fast, but panting heart tells him he cannot run much longer. He sees a tree. Relief! He accelerates and gets to it in one last despairing stride. He climbs the tree. The tiger snarls below him, but he feels that he has at last escaped its snapping jaws. But no -- what's this? The branch on which he is sitting is weak, and bends dangerously. This is not all; wood-mice are gnawing away at it; before long they will eat through it and it will snap and fall. The branch sags down over a wall. Aha! Escape? Perhaps our hero can swim? But the well is dry, and there are snakes writhing and hissing on its bed. What is our hero to do? As the branch bends lower, he perceives a solitary blade of glass growing on the wall of the well.On the top of the blade of grass gleams a drop of honey. What action does our Puranic man, our quintessential Indian, take in this situation?
He bends with the branch, and licks up the honey. "
No matter how desperate the situation, Indians will always find a way to adjust, to live with it. So despite all the filth, over crowding, corruption, inefficiency, Indians have learnt how to live and enjoy.
Exactly. And this is NOT a good thing. Instead a putting up with all this they should be fighting back. That would be a good thing.
I will pick on that lie to state my point. If you have been to any of the smaller metros in India, you generally get thru immigration at Mumbai before taking a flight from the domestic terminal. Getting to the domestic terminal from the international terminal is cumbersome. You are escorted in a bus operated by the Airport Authority of India, accompanied by security personel.
The aspect of the ride that is of interest is the route taken by the bus. The bus operated within the premises of the airport often running along side the tarmac and taxi way thru numerous and repeated security check-points while it meanders to or from the domestic terminal. This gives you the best view of the runways at ground level in slow speed often around 15 kmph and includes a section of the ride around the cargo terminals.
Most international airlines operate to and out of Mumbai during the night often after 12 AM. I have taken this ride on at least 3 occasions and have not seen a single individual sleeping on the tarmac on even one occasion.
What the author might be referring to could be the people you find in a semi sleep state around the terminal, more so near the cargo terminals. These are employees in the cargo section often on a break. The employees are usually uniformed and any one can observe the security batches hanging around their necks.
You would then have to assume that the intent of the author is intentional mis-representation and sensationalism. Take everything written with a large serving of salt.
Another glaring bias in the observation sequence is that all negative experiences have been told in a detailed, pictorial manner. And all the good experiences, on Sanjay cooking the meal, another guy refusing 50 Rs and the taxi driver being tearfully happy at the 50% tip etc., have been cramped into single liners or a couple of paragraphs, where as all the other negative experiences are allotted ample real estate in the article.
It also fits one of the many reasons why the density of foreigners is maximum in areas like Pahar Ganj and Old delhi (the dirtiest parts of Delhi IMO). So when some "gora" (typically white people) complains that Delhi is so dirty the biggest wtf going on in my head is.. then why the hell are you staying near Pahar ganj or traveling by a cycle rickshaw in 42 deg near Nai Sadak. The place near the Airport is cleaner than New York ( at least after the common wealth games) but nobody wants to see that. Who wants to come here all the way to see some old glass building in neat and clean surroundings. What's unique about that right?
Why is it that when you guys go to other countries you constantly focus on why that country is somehow different in a bad way? India: too filthy and chaotic. China: no freedom. Middle East: too oppressive. I could go on.
I've noticed that Europeans have a more nuanced approach to the world compared to Americans. They seem to appreciate differences instead of being smug in their superiority.
an Indian will lie to your face ... they’ll hand you fake business cards and offer to sell you something that they don’t actually have, so that you’ll voluntarily empty your wallet to them on your own accord.
As opposed to DecorMyEyes.. sure
A couple Indians stopped him on the street, and with perfect English convinced him they worked for a travel agency.
No shit. It's not like any Indian travel sites are listed on Nasdaq as MMYT right ?
Everyone of the problems has happened to me in various parts of South East Asia. India is not unique with these issues.
With all due respect, I think the author had a "Gautama" experience. An experience of extreme helplessness when confronted with extreme poverty at a national scale. I completely empathize with him, but lets not get too hysterical with helplessness here.
It's hard to herd a billion people along... but we're trying.
China has a billion people too, but life there is far less horrid, dirty and bureaucratic. While the Chinese government is pretty deplorable, something is going right there, compared to India.
Another problem with India is the mind-numbing Colonial-era bureaucracy -- to start a small business in India it takes months of paperwork just to get a business license. You have to get papers signed, resigned, rubber stamped by ten different offices and then pay crazy expensive bribes to everyone along the way. The problem is the government. It's an obsession with administivia at the expense of entrepreneurs.
As India's MoS-Small Scale Industries' Sachin Pilot once put it - "inclusive development vs growth".
Hoping that people will not cheat you at Bangkok's KhaoSan road is a bit too optimistic. Existence of ThornTree and Tripadvisor with their "Tourist Trap" sections is indeed because this is a human, not a regional phenomena.
I'm sad that you wont go back to India because of it - I really wish you had not stayed at Paharganj, but instead stayed somewhere inside Delhi.
I wish you had skipped Taj Mahal altogether and instead taken a walk to Hauz Khas Village, bang in the middle of New Delhi - which completely epitomises India's bohemian kitsch, shopping, food, music along with monuments that predate the Taj Mahal by atleast 300 years. Maybe you could have dropped in to have a cup of coffee at one of the cafe's there that operate on an honor system rather than a bill.
Your tourist trap experience, colored the rest of your viewpoints and I'm truly sad at that.
There's so much more in this article to process, I don't think I'll post a reaction until I've had time to mull it over (at which point, this post will be dead, oh well). It did strike me that my cousin has been in India for the last few weeks, and hasn't mentioned the poverty once in her travel blog. I think I'll send this to her and see if she has anything to say.
Also, am I the only one that finds it weird that a piece with this level of nuance is on a site otherwise dedicated to dating advice for straight, cis men? The kind of advice that divides behaviors into 'needy' and 'not needy' and claims that your behavior will determine what kind of woman you end up with?
One thing that I do want to mention is that India is a very high variance country. For almost any statement one makes, there will be a un-ignorable part of the country where the statement is not true. To get a truer picture of India, always keep that in mind. A part of the variance is not only spatial but also temporal. Depending on the time you choose to travel, your impression of Mumbai's city train system can be poles apart.
In the post it was claimed that author felt safe in India. That automatically gave the author's gender away, especially given the names of the places he visited. India's capital and most of the north and western states (Gujarat excluded) are highly unsafe if you are a girl and alone. Even the locals will not venture out in the evening unaccompanied by the opposite sex. Sexual violence and molestation is a daily affair. It is even ethnically targeted. If you are a girl from the north-east, India's capital is not a friendly place.
On the other hand visit Chennai, Mumbai, Pune (by no means an exhaustive list) nobody will give it a second thought if an unattended girl has to travel in the wee hours of the night, even if wearing a mini fortune in jewelery.
Every so often in 7 years a north/west/central region of it will erupt in politically motivated inter-religion violence and riots of the worst kind. There would be thousands dead, injured, burned and raped (yeah, I am not making this up), but no one will get punished.
On the other hand states like Kerala, West Bengal havent had such violence ever since the creation of independent India. But measure them along the axis of economic growth, the latter will come up in very unflattering colors.
In certain regions of India, you will find bribes to be business as usual. In the south, (barring Karnataka) that is certainly not the norm. Sometimes the differences are so great that sometimes when you hear the stories from the other side you cannot help but wonder, "is it the same country !"
Some cities are poster-children of bad traffic, some are pretty decent compared to Indian average.
In some cities the form of the garbage disposal is that you throw it on the street, whereas in others you will have regular system that collects it off the dumpsters and empties it on the landfills. Furthermore it is not correlated with the perceived wealth of a city or town. Some of the poorer ones are cleaner and more organized.
Most of India is male-dominated and patriarchal whereas the north-eastern states are matriarchal. In many states it is still customary for the girl's family to pay huge amounts in dowry, and a matter of peer pride for the boy's family, whereas in many parts, (kerala, west bengal) dowry is frowned upon. It is not completely absent but when such a transaction does take place, it is sneaked in different ways and peer pressure works against it.
In the northern and western states girl child foeticide is rampant, not so in the other states.
Lastly: Corruption is practiced differently in India and US. In US there is this revolving door between corporations and the govt that legitimizes corruption, whereas in India it is closer to cash under the table. Not claiming that one is better or worse than the other, just making an observation about how it is practiced.
What the author has written cannot be the median view, given its paints India as full of hucksters, crooks and people struggling by the roadside with unwashed shit on their clothes. Though the author tries to give opposite instances, he has put most of his effort and emotion into painting a bad picture. If this is the median, whats the bad side :-)?
The original article is not factual (no one is allowed on the tarmac in any airport, its a security risk, and India has known terrorism long before it became a word in the U.S), but my sympathies are with the emotion behind the article. Visiting India can be genuinely overwhelming and the cognitive dissonance can drive someone crazy without some level of apathy towards people still living penniless on the street.
My suggestion to the author, try to see if there is someway he can help, either with his skills or money. And no, "thinking up ways I can help", is not the same. Charity is alive and well in India and though life is too hectic here to help in kind (by volunteering etc), most people help with money, facilities and simple deeds like giving business to people who want to make a living e.g. there are mega malls and big stores in most metros, but many people I know make it a point to give business to the street-side hawkers, small businesses and vendors on a daily basis so that their work is supported.
Now that you have had the time to vent, lets get stuck into actually doing something.
This is the most narrow minded I've read in a long time - and only shows not all people are ready to meet "foreign" cultures.
Instead he went out of his way to emphasize that he was speaking about the entire country. All of it.
I'm not Indian, and I still found it offensive enough that I didn't even get through the entire article. I got the impression straight off that he simply went to Agra -- Agra of all places! One of the top tourist destinations in the world, and of course thus one of the top spots for people who feed on tourists -- and his travel on the route to Agra plus time in a hostel in New Delhi was the bulk of his experience.
Blargh. I've spent all of a few months total of my life traveling in India at different times, including Agra, and though I'd never want to return to Agra in particular, already my overall impression didn't match up well with his.
I'll leave people with more experience to battle over the details, but this was more than just someone omitting "I think" in front of everything they write.
Edit: the other dead giveaway that he didn't get around much is that he talked about "the Indian culture", and Indian people, as if India were small and homogenous enough that you could make useful summaries about the single Indian culture. Again, there are lots of people here who can address this better than I, but the traits he talks about vary greatly and noticeably by general region.
Barring north-east, there aren't many places safe for north-eastern folks. At best, they deal with implicit and explicit harassment; at worse, violence and molestation. And though the girls do have it worse, the guys don't have it much better either.
> On the other hand visit Chennai, Mumbai, Pune (by no means an exhaustive list) nobody will give it a second thought if an unattended girl has to travel in the wee hours of the night, even if wearing a mini fortune in jewelery.
I can vouch for Chennai giving second, third, and 1000th thought if a girl happens to travel after 10, let alone wee hours(jewelry irrelevant most of the times).
> In the south, (barring Karnataka) that is certainly not the norm.
What cities and what bribes are we talking about? I am personally guilty of bribing the traffic police, passport verification constable and TTE(train ticket examiner) in Chennai. I have friends who have bribed for driving pitch black drunk(I don't drive drunk and don't endorse it).
> Barring north-east, there aren't many places safe
If you are talking physical safety here that is patently false. Yes its never quite as comfortable as home. You would be stared at, but there are many parts in India where no one will grope you in broad daylight in public and not a sneaky surreptitious "feel". Small mercies. Delhi is not that place.
Yes, it does get worse than Chennai. Bullock cart might be the fastest vehicle in your village, but that isn't a compliment for the cart or the village. I don't see how Chennai, the fastest bullock cart in India, is supposed to be cheered.
I can't comment about 'you absolutely had to' scenarios. I was never in one, in Chennai or elsewhere.
> If you are talking physical safety here that is patently false. Yes its never quite as comfortable as home.
I said "at best, they are implicitly and explicitly harassed; at worse, they are subjected to violence and molestation." Physical safety isn't the only thing that matters, and not quite comfortable as home isn't the same as being harassed and discriminated.
I find most of India xenophobic to varying degree. I found Chennai orthodox and xenophobic(frequently subjected to this is not tamil nadu culture and you north indians don't understand). I will be more comfortable in Delhi, not because Delhi is any better, but just because I will blend - someone who is visibly different will have a different experience. I find Kolkata the most tolerant city among the places I have been to - it hasn't seen any major racial or religious incident in long, long time.
Hasnt seen much development either, this comes from a Kolkatan here. On the other hand things are affordable, most people use public transport if they are traveling say less than 10 km.
But its a bit strange 'cause for me that place has been Chennai. Culturally conservative yes, (same is true for Kolkata more or less) but not in an imposing way. It is more of the you dont bother me I wont bother you variety, atleast in my experience. It is not a terribly interesting place, but definitely liveable and you are likely to find a job in the city.
The funny part is that contrary to what many hindi speakers believe, they do not speak hindi, not out of malice, but because they are genuinely afraid that they will be made fun of. The autowallahs are mostly swindlers let lose though. In most parts people add a fudge to the fare, here, they multiply !
> and not quite comfortable as home isn't the same as being harassed and discriminated.
That was a deliberate understatement. Having spent a part of my life in the nort-east and having received such warmth and affection there, it really makes me mad when "mainstream" India treats them bad. And Delhi for some reason I have found to be particularly bad. Not sure why.
@irahul: Indeed I misunderstood. I am either getting slow or its getting late. probably both. Even in Delhi an autowallah will add say 10% to the fare if they sense you are not from around here. No big deal hapens in many places. But, Jesus! in Chennai they multiply by factors of [1 - 3] somtimes \infty (thats when they straight refuse) or worse drop you off at a wrong place and refuse to go further.
> People often try to shove their culture down your throats, and feel smug while doing so.
Heh! I thought that was a distinctly Kolkata trait.
I don't know if you are being sarcastic, or you are misinterpreting what I said.
>> Yes, it does get worse than Chennai. Bullock cart might be the fastest vehicle in your village, but that isn't a compliment for the cart or the village. I don't see how Chennai, the fastest bullock cart in India, is supposed to be cheered.
You commented it gets worse than Chennai. I said "bullock carts are fastest vehicle in your village doesn't mean anything." Irrespective of their status in your village, bullock carts are still damn slow, and a shitty mode of transportation.
Chennai, though it might be better than other cities in India in terms of bribes to be paid, is still the fastest bullock cart at best. It might be slightly faster than other bullock carts, but that isn't something which deserves celebrations.
> Culturally conservative yes, (same is true for Kolkata more or less) but not in an imposing way. It is more of the you dont bother me I wont bother you variety, atleast in my experience.
My Chennai experience has been different. People often try to shove their culture down your throats, and feel smug while doing so.
> The funny part is that contrary to what many hindi speakers believe, they do not speak hindi, not out of malice, but they are genuinely afraid that they will be made fun of.
That would be least of my concerns. If people speak Hindi or English(the only two languages I speak), superb. If they don't and I am there for long term, I would try and pick up the local language. No one sane will hold a grudge against someone for not speaking Hindi.
> The autowallahs are mostly swindlers let lose though.
Auto drivers in most parts of India are full of malice. I understand they are living shitty lives on small incomes, but that doesn't entitle you to unfairly charge me. I don't know why, but the auto drivers in Chennai are the worst. May be it has to do with the fact that I didn't speak local language.
Your theme throughout had been that there's variance in India. Of course! With any big country you would expect good amount of variance. I couldn't help but point out that although there is variance whatever the orignal blog post said was a very good reflection of the meidan. By citing the high variance you are making it sound like the OP has only seen the bad parts of India. That's not true. The OP has a very gentle (yes!) summarization of the median. That's how life is in India.
LONGER POINT-BY-POINT REPLY
> One thing that I do want to mention is that India is a very high variance country. For almost any statement one makes, there will be a un-ignorable part of the country where the statement is not true. To get a truer picture of India, always keep that in mind.
It is very high variance indeed. But for every mile of good road there are millions of miles of crappy road. Variance yes. But the median is pretty sucky.
> Depending on the time you choose to travel, your impression of Mumbai's city train system can be poles apart.
How is it different? During rush hours it's unsafe, super-over-crowded, uncomfortable, dirty, etc. When it isn't rush hour it is not super-over-crowded yes. But it still is unsafe (no closing doors, etc.), uncomfortable (plank seats which broken planks, etc.), dirty (very very dirty), etc.
Well, I can talk about Mumbai, and I disagree that nobody will give a second thought. But girls being out late (around until 11:00 PM) alone ("unattended") in Mumbai is not that bad because the city is still busy and crowded. In Gujarat things are much safer. But we used to still accompany our female friends back home.
> In certain regions of India, you will find bribes to be business as usual. In the south, (barring Karnataka) that is certainly not the norm.
I have no first hand experience but that's very very hard to believe. Especially given how elections are conducted. Whenever there's an election in Tamil Nadu (of which Chennai is the capital) you free television sets being given out by the ruling part to votes who vote for them. Fairly educated people working in other parts of India like Mumbai would go back home to get their free TVs. Ton of universities are owned and operated by current or former politicians in South India. Admission criteria is how much money can a student's family "donate".
> Some cities are poster-children of bad traffic, some are pretty decent compared to Indian average.
That's just saying some are very horrible while other are not as bad (Indian average) but still not comparable to anywhere else on the planet?
> In some cities the form of the garbage disposal is that you throw it on the street, whereas in others you will have regular system that collects it off the dumpsters and empties it on the landfills.
I think all cities have a regular system that collects garbage and uses landfills. But these garbage collectors don't collect all the garbage and there's 10x fallen on the sides, overflown and just laying there around such dumpsters. They'll collect a bag or two that is inside the dumpster AND easy to grab. I agree there would be certain parts (and again, these exists; variance; but are in minority, very small minority; median) that are decently run. But would love to hear about examples of cities where you could say the city is clean and is cleaned.
> In the northern and western states girl child foeticide is rampant, not so in the other states.
Only two states have more females than males (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_states_and_territories_r...). Since females are expected to live 3 years longer than males in India (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expec...) all states should have more women than men. Just because Tamil Nadu (say) has 995 females per male doesn't mean that's going very well. In fact, it's still pretty bad. Maybe not as bad as other states but is no way justifiable. Lastly, variance, yes. Median, still horrible.
> Lastly: Corruption is practiced differently in India and US. In US there is this revolving door between corporations and the govt that legitimizes corruption, whereas in India it is closer to cash under the table. Not claiming that one is better or worse than the other, just making an observation about how it is practiced.
If a cop stops me for not having a driver's license, not wearing a helmet on a two-wheeler, talking on the phone, etc. I pay the cop Rs. 50 instead of the Rs. 100 fine and not ask for the receipt. Job done. If in Mumbai I apply for a passport and that calls for police verification of address you have to actually go to the police station (they don't come to you) and bribe(?) them with Rs. 100 to do their job. They never verified your address and if you didn't pay up they would report that you don't live at your place. I could go on and on with this but essentially this is how the country is run. If you are saying that's the same as US then I don't know what to say.
EDIT: Given the downvotes I must have rubbed someone the wrong way.
When you compare you do need to take into account all the axes, I would be interested in knowing a train system that carries as many commuters for comparable price and profitably (as far as I recall the train system is indeed profitable, dont know if they receive subsidies or not). You cannot isolate services from who are going to use it and their buying power.
I will also posit that that your perception of the median is very different from mine. I speak from personal experience living in several cities/towns in India. Now I have learned enough not to extrapolate. The other thing that we disagree on is that you brush aside the variance saying India is large and variance is natural. I think (a) the mainstream western audience is not familiar with this level of variance and (b) the variance is grossly un-reported.
So my post was mostly a way of caution not a rebuttal of the original. Your link illustrates my point well. I doubt that even after accounting for its size that people will expect such a variance in sex ratio.
Oh and make no mistake, it has nothing to do with being busy or crowded. Delhi is busy and crowded too, but for a girl that does not prevent one from getting groped. Forget pedestrians, when my sister drives in Delhi/Kolkata other drivers will be trying to harass her by driving aggressively, the traffic cop will try to take advantage. Absolutely none of that happens in Chennai.
I cannot speak about your compulsions, but all I can say is that I have obtained a drivers license, a passport and renewed them with not a single paisa paid in bribe. In fact I had to think really hard to remember when did I bribe anyone at all, that was to load a crate in a train (and it wasnt even against the law or something). Main point is that in parts of the country you can do just fine without bribes, whereas in others its a part of life.
I havent been there in 3 years, but in my usual haunts in Kolkata garbage does get cleaned up. But again it will vary in the city as well. Yes there are open dumpsters, but no household filth accmulating on the side of the residential streets, going outside of Kolkata this actually surprised me. Compare that to say Kanpur a prominent city in one of the larger states. Its not uncommon to find open animal cadavers, excrement of all possible kind: cow, camel, pig, elephant you name it, in your day to day travel. Yeah I would run into shitting elephants stuck in a traffic jam ! Thats the variance I am talking about.
And I think you completely missed the point of comparison of corruption in India and US. And by no means I am justifying the corruption in India. It bothers me deeply that now it has become so acceptable. It is the acceptance of corruption that worries me more than the corruption itself. But, how is installation of backscatter machines not corruption. The semantics are different, the means are different, but the effect is the same. I still have not been able to decide that dollar for dollar per capita which is more corrupt USA or India. I have argued countless times that India is by far the more corrupt one, but now I am not so sure. In India it is in your face all the time, in the US its a background daemon.
Generalizing individual experiences is never a good Idea.
>>In fact I had to think really hard to remember when did I bribe anyone at all
Which world do you live? You are either too rich or you living a too idealistic life impossible to the rest of India.
>>Main point is that in parts of the country you can do just fine without bribes, whereas in others its a part of life.
The main point is corruption is in India's DNA. The rich feel they can pay, get away and do anything because they can. The middle class hates to pay bribe, but is happy to receive it. The poor are always are at the receiving end of the stick.
For example to get a police verification certification, I had to pay no bribe in the police commissioners office. But I had to pay when the constable came home. And this is in Bangalore.
>>I havent been there in 3 years, but in my usual haunts in Kolkata garbage does get cleaned up. But again it will vary in the city as well.
The government can't clean up ever inch of land in India. As citizens we must learn to maintain the surroundings clean.
>>It bothers me deeply that now it has become so acceptable.
Because by now corruption is a part of our lifestyle. Like so many evil things. Like Caste system, dowry etc, corruption is wrong but its in deeply integrated into lives by now.
> Generalizing individual experiences is never a good Idea.
Et tu :)
And no, neither me nor my family is anywhere close to being rich. My dad was a researcher in a govt owned research institute and I have no extraordinary streak of idealism.
It goes like this: they ask and I refuse and I observe what happens next. Usually it is not something that I cannot deal with. But a luxury it is not.
> And this is in Bangalore.
What did you expect! Among the different southern states I have been at, Karnataka seemed the most corrupt, but Bangalore takes the cake. For one thing there is more easy money floating around.
> Because by now corruption is a part of our lifestyle.
I would say travel more and refuse to give bribe as much as you can. It can get inconvenient (or even threatening depending on where you are), but its a matter of personal choice.
@ Kamal. Replying here: I am not making any moral judgement over your actions at all, for one thing I know how it goes in different parts of the country. The more people put up with some of the inconveniences more will the balance til in the right favour.
Imagine this: a policeman came in person from Lucknow to our dorm in Kanpur (the equivalent of coming from Dallas to Austin) hoping that he would a get a bribe from me for agreeing to OK my passport application. You should have seen the look on his face when I said no. I could say no because I had enough time to play with and wanted to see what happens next. Depending on circumstances I might not have had that luxury.
Screw idealism, I will do that just for that look on his face.
Economically paying the bribe became more more viable than all the hassles I was going through. This is a bitter fact. Or more appropriately, It has been made such.
Can you imagine how many such people are paying up at property registration offices, for FIR's and almost at the anyplace where waiting is not an option?
So even if the problems vary across the country it strikes me that their widespread existence reflects an underlying problem
I don't know, I dislike judging other cultures from my own singular perspective. But I can't help shuddering at some of the things he describes, and wonder how are people in your country not more outraged by them.
(with all that said; I equally dislike the snobby-western-judgemental attitude of the author... it smacks of colonial superiority, "the poor brown people staring in awe at the god like white man" (that's really not far off of a quote..). chuck)
Not sure how else to remedy your confusion here.
A major complaint that a lot people have is that oh, when you leave your S&P job thats paying 60k a year for an IB job that pays 300k a year, you're a symptom of corruption. But hell, what if your experience working for S&P necessarily means your qualified to do derivatives trading?
If you're getting job offers that are conditional on you making certain regulator decisions, thats bribery. Eventually wanting to get into the business side of things because they pay more isn't the same thing.
It ignores human nature. People don't rat out their friends. If you're the jerk at the party, you stop getting invited to the right parties.
Because regulations work only if regulators are honest.
If they are captured by the companies they regulate, and serve the companies' interests rather than the public's, by definition their mission has been corrupted.
Your question is highly disingenuous.
Regardless, moving between industry and regulatory bodies isn't necessarily done in a corrupt manner. If you're the president of a state energy board, you don't need to break any rules to get a higher paying job in industry. you're already, perhaps necessarily, more qualified than almost any other candidates. This is not inherently corrupt, this is what OP was referring to (or, this is a common meme which is associated with what he described).
What part of "when a state regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or special interests that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating" don't you understand?
That is the definition of "regulatory capture".
Note that regulatory capture is not "balancing the public interest with commercial realities" or similar such wording.
If you're perhaps debating some other term, please provide us with an accepted term and definition of same, rather than creating a Lewis Carrol "glory" (see: http://sabian.org/looking_glass6.php) and passing off as accepted wisdom.
On my planet, the appearance of impropriety is considered largely as bad as actual impropriety. Taking an example from a US government website: http://ig.navy.mil/Complaints/Complaints%20%20(Appearance%20...
If the revolving door consistently operates between regulatory agencies and the organizations those agencies regulate, then yes, I'd say that this comprises systemic corruption.
It actually is, many times. Especially when companies are ready to pay up any amount of bribe to get their job done.
To give you an example. A manufacturer can sell, low quality transformers to electric board. This is goes against public interests. But at the same the manufacturer can argue he creating jobs by running a company, so he can cheat.
>>If you're the president of a state energy board, you don't need to break any rules to get a higher paying job in industry.
Regular job income is chicken feed for these people compared to the money they make in bribes, commissions etc.
>A manufacturer can sell, low quality transformers to electric board. This is goes against public interests.
You're going to have to give more details than this in order to make that statement. Are they in a competitive market? Is someone picking winners? What effect does this have on prices? Moreover, is he creating jobs? How is that cheating?
Licenses for supplies, manufacturing, export, services etc. Heck nearly everything is controlled by licenses. Which are in turn issued by the government. The Net result is heavy bribes are paid to get licenses. And then bribes are paid to regulators to by pass violations.
You might think lobbying and campaign funds are too much of corruption in US. Come to India, you have to pay bribe for everything and anything.
To give you a specific scenario. Lets say you bid for a contract to build roads. Lets say you tar roads. Firstly this can be won only through if you are licensed contractors(You have to pay bribe to get one). Then tenders are allocated for the road construction, you have to pay commissions to get selected.
Now after heavily bribing your way through all this. The only way you can make profit is by sacrificing quality. Therefore you now use low quality material. If saw you are asked to tar the road 8 inches, you do only 3 inches. You don't tar lanes. The quality of tar you use doesn't last one rainy season.
Regulatory authorities are severely bribed to over look all this.
This is the regular story in India, In nearly ever walk of life. This happens from birth to death. People even bribe for birth and death certificates, voter identification cards, passports. You name it, and there is corruption associated with it.
Try getting a decent mobile data plan in Canada. It will be rapidly apparent to you.
In short, they represent corporate interests while ostensibly being the people's governing body. This is imho, corruption. I don't know how exactly you regulate this away - perhaps mandate a percentage of the regulators specifically be from outside the industry.
Edit: for completion of sentence/thought
I would say give the questions and their underlying assumptions some thought and also time. For me I had to fight of the tendency to just close the question with some answer and be done with it.
EDIT: Wiki actually has a pretty good summary with pictures and the like. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_India#Early_Middle_K...
Mainland India has been largely united throughout many 1000's of years throughout history.
I am not claiming it either. But the British didn't come here to unite us and do the 'greater good' as often claimed. Was India made up of smaller states, yes it was.
But you need to study the geographical boundaries of Mainland India throughout history. They extend all the way till Iranian borders. To southern tips of Russia. Afghanistan was once a part of India(Kandhahar was basically Gandhara, Remember the Gandhari from Mahabharatha?).
In this mammoth period of time(lasting several millenniums). India has been ruled by people of varying ethnicity, language, color, culture, heritage etc. Therefore you have so many religions, languages, traditions etc. Sometimes the whole mainland India was united, sometimes it got split.
The difference between British and somebody like Mughals is the difference between. Mohammed Ghazni and Mughals. They are both foreign invaders. But Ghazni came here to loot and go back. Mughals came, captured, and stayed here and contributed a lot. So did many people who ever came to India. Including Aryans, they all came from outside stayed and contributed things back.
Apart from native Dravidians everybody else came to India and stayed here through some form of wars and conquering. But many of those stayed here.
Many looted and went back to their native lands. British just belong to Ghazni kind of invaders who went back.
They came as Central Asians (Uzbek?), but stayed on and became Indians.
> British just belong to Ghazni kind of invaders who went back
Yes, but they did stick around for about 200 years. Quite a lot of the British who came to India stayed back and became Indians. With the British it was somewhere between Ghazni and the Mughals.
You probably read too much into cstross's comments, maybe you didn't, but your comment reads like you are very angry about what he said and are admonishing him/us for getting India's history wrong and giving us a history lesson.
Aryan invasion theory is a myth.
The piece reads almost like a self-conscious parody of this usual Western tirade against India.
I had the same reaction the OP did when I saw so many living side-by-side with the impoverished - especially children - and being so callused. But the reality is that poverty is everywhere in India, and because it's a way of live, people simply adjust.
But it doesn't make it any less sad. It's sad to see full-grown, gaunt men struggling to pedal their rickshaw in flip-flops over washboard roads for pennies. But it's devastating seeing small children who are really, truly famished.
We would buy food for hungry children whenever we could, and often they would stare at us blankly at first. They'd accept the food, but would have no reaction. I figured they simply didn't appreciate it or couldn't muster a reaction.
But then I started watching them after we left. And after they realized they weren't being had - and we really were giving them food with no strings attached - they were transformed. I looked back at one begging child to see him absolutely gleeful, grinning from ear to ear. Another child who I gave some candy and bit of money ran after our departing rickshaw - while holding his 1 year old sister - waving, smiling and dancing with joy. It almost most made me cry.
But I didn't cry, not until the night before we left. After three weeks in India, I was ready to to leave. But at the same time, I felt almost guilty that I was able to return to such a country of prosperity and wealth while the children I'd taught would simply stay behind. And while my wife and I had worked our ass off for 2 weeks to improve the school, the curriculum and the educational prospects for the kids, ultimately our effort wasn't going to move the needle, and few if any would ever leave the slums. They had almost no shot at making a life for themselves. With all these emotions stirring in my mind, my wife held me as I cried.
If you're living in the U.S. or any Western country, you are incredibly blessed / lucky. Don't take it for granted. If you haven't been to India, it's a trip that will forever change your perspective. Before leaving for India, I simply lived in a home. But I returned with the knowledge that I live in a luxurious castle.
Anyway, I mainly wanted to ask what people thought of the site apart from that article. Did you read anything else and did you like it or dislike it? If so, what articles did you read?
 - http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1463750358
Any more feedback, negative or positive is much appreciated.
The problem with Indians is we will say "I am proud to be a Indian" one moment and litter the next. We believe we are perfect thus do not work to achieve more. Yes as Individuals we would have done a lot for the country but we as a people need to be more patriotic and literally uplift the nation.
The thing the author doesn't mention is that being a traveler affects what you see and who you meet. There are places you go as a backpacker: Agra, Rajasthan, Bodhgaya, Goa, Bangalore and so on. And there are people there looking for you, expecting you, or at least someone like you. If you only speak to people who approach you, then you will meet a lot of dishonest people. Things tend to look pretty rough from the banana pancake store.
This is true in any poor country that gets a lot of wealthy tourists. Most of what he said was true in East Africa too. It's really true of anywhere you can get that damn banana pancake.
So, I don't disagree. It was spot on. But it's also possible that the 100% accurate description of what a backpacker sees in India is not an accurate description of India itself.
Also, I'm not advocating "getting off the beaten path" or trying to critique the "authenticity" of his "Indian experience". I hate that shit. But there is a bit of an Uncertainty Principle to backpacking. In my experience, you can't both travel a country cheaply and observe it objectively at the same time.
Before coming to India, please have an exact idea of the particular person / people (guru, gurus, enlightened people, etc;) you are going to meet, what you seek from them, etc; Please spend time researching the person you want to meet on the Internet, YouTube, etc; Please try to have Indian friends, or just register with someone who will check up on you regularly (ideally a local, or at least by phone) who can help as an emergency contact in case of any disaster (malaria, hypnotised by the scammer-guru, etc;).
It is a sad fact that this country has some gems of philosophers, but is equally filled with scammers and worse.
Lastly, a personal opinion : just read Jiddu Krishnamurthi and think for yourself, you don't need a harrowing India trip! :-)
Without accepting or denying any of the observations he makes, and at the risk of sounding like I "lack perspective," I humbly offer that if you travel halfway around the world and still eat at an American chain restaurant, your judgment of foreign culture is irrelevant.
Nonsense. For all we know, he ate there once. Homesickness is a common experience for travellers in a very different culture.
I remember going to McDonalds when I was traveling in Spain and feeling homesick and annoyed that everyone was on siesta. I guess I'm just a bad tourist?
Tourists should keep their judgments to themselves. Traveling is about immersing yourself in the local culture, tourism is about observing it from a safe distance -- i.e. touring.
Making deep conclusions about the people of another culture while traveling around in hotels, eating at Pizza Hut (okay, just once!) and hopping around between tourist attractions and ashrams designed specifically to attract white people is like me trying to figure out if you would beat your wife, just by looking at your face. There is no correlation.
Thus, for this reason alone, India is likely to have a different ratio of people to development, since less development is required to sustain one person's resource utilization.
Contrast this to the US where much of the country is snow covered for 1/3 of the year and without planning and infrastructure to enable it, there would be very little food available during the winter. In the US the infrastructure is a requirement for even moderate population growth.
The same applies to shelter. In India, a hut made of newspaper is adequate shelter year round. Try that in the Northern US and you'll freeze.
The result of this is that there are more poor people who do not rely as much on large scale planning and infrastructure for their basic survival.
Yes India's government is corrupt, but not all that much more corrupt than the US government.
If you want to talk about rights for the poor, in India if someone isn't using land and you set up a tent on it and start living there, you can't be evicted. The shantytowns that the author found so disturbing are actually a side-effect of India's weak property rights laws, which themselves are a result of democratic pressure from the poor to continue living where their families have lived for generations. Contrast this to the genocide the US conducted against native Americans who were in the way.
Basic infrastructure (roads, sewers) is lacking in India, but those are not easy projects to bootstrap. Bangalore has a massive sewer construction project going on now.
Frankly, it's not all that bad. Sure the garbage smells bad, but it's mostly just a matter of learning not to keep inhaling after you catch a whiff of something rank on the breeze.
If you are concerned about India's political infrastructure, notice that India's rulers are forming alliances with the US to help thwart Pakistan's nuclear ambitions. Note that once the US has a stake in one ruling party it tends to do much to prop up and empower that party, even if there are horrible human rights consequences.
When I go to India I notice the energy. People sit happily beneath a dirty tarp in a roadside food stand, enjoying Manchurian Gobi... sometimes 4 or 5 people sharing one bowl of the delicious spicy food. Smiles everywhere. These are extremely poor people. Also I notice the tiny businesses, some retail locations are only a few square feet in size but sell a variety of goods and are staffed by a single motivated shopkeeper who works 18+ hour days.
India is full of hard working people and ingenuity. I found the author's generalizations about dishonesty, etc., quite offensive.
Consider how much effort is undertaken in the US to hide poverty from view. Sadly the US ends up putting a very large percentage of its poor population in prisons and has relocated many to horrific housing projects, where the violence and horrors are contained away from view.
Consider how much effort is undertaken in the US to present the appearance of legit, non-corrupt institutions. Yet fraud abounds at all levels of government. The stuff Wikileaks exposed about the US is nothing more than fraud, dishonesty, and corruption.
A (very wealthy) Indian relative of mine once explained to me that while Indians may come rich and poor they all have greater pride in their intrinsic existence. Thus, the poor Indian has more dignity than a rich American.
The Indian situation isn't one that I believe will be developed out of soon because the underlying reasons for much of the filth is cultural. The problems aren't seen as problems but as a Western perspective's mis-interpretation of the essence of reality.
Worse, when we do talk about those flaws, we don't necessarily do anything to fix them.
The same applies to shelter. In India, a hut made of newspaper is adequate shelter year round. Try that in the Northern US and you'll freeze.
If a newspaper is enough in India, why are so many people dying of being cold year after year?
The years that aren't very cold, there are heat waves that kill.
In India, if you walk into a govt office for anything, you will end up paying a bribe. Want a driving license? Bribe. Want a building plan approved? Bribe. Want to incorporate a company? Bribe. Maybe we can have HN'ers from different developed countries tell us if the situation is anything like this in their countries. From what I can see, corruption in developed countries is mostly big ticket, not every tom, dick and harry in the country trying to part you from your money every chance they get.
Contrast this to the genocide the US conducted against native Americans who were in the way.
Back when American natives were being killed, widows in India were being burnt alive by their own families in the name of tradition
Sure the garbage smells bad, but it's mostly just a matter of learning not to keep inhaling after you catch a whiff of something rank on the breeze.
WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU EVEN SAYING?
My point was about carrying capacity. Hot or cold snaps do not significantly alter the base carrying capacity of the environment w/o infrastructure.
In the US things like parking tickets, DMV fees, etc. are levied with abandon. Why use this approach to generate funds to pay for municipal workers rather than just having them extract bribes? Because the US has the infrastructure to enforce the fees, fines, and penalties. Both constitute minor confiscation of resources and are abetted by the power of the officials involved.
Your point about widows being burned alive agrees with my overall argument. It shows a parity between the two civilizations that ought to give us pause when we start feeling to indignant.
The latter involves due process. It also accrues funds to a democratic body instead of to random servants of the state. This removes conflicts of interest, e.g. I'm going to require a billion licences because each licence means I get a bribe.
Empirically, corruption hurts the economy and political system. An IIE paper showed that "a one-standard deviation (2.38 point) improvement in the corruption index is associated with over a 4-percentage-point increase in a country's investment rate and over a 1/2-percentage-point increase in the per capita [GDP] growth rate" . Further, Campos and Giovannoni show in their paper Lobbying, Corruption, and Political Influence that while "lobbying and corruption are substitutes...lobbying seems to be a much more effective instrument for political influence than corruption, even in poorer, less developed countries" .
But police officers and other minor officials (IRS workers, etc.) are given tremendous discretion about which violations to enforce and which to ignore. In that sense, the US system is quite ad-hoc as well.
And since the people who interact most directly with police officers are the poor, abuses of power are less likely to be reported... yet we still hear of them all the time.
I view it as a continuum of institutional evolution, with the US perhaps a small notch or two ahead of India in creating institutions that are resistant to corruption. It's definitely not a night and day distinction.
People are holding hunger strikes to stand up against the corruption. When was the last time that happened in the US?
You are rationalizing away all of the author's points, and just because there is an explanation for things doesn't make those things okay. Just because "In India, a hut made of newspaper is adequate shelter year round." Doesn't mean it's alright for people to live in a shelter of NEWSPAPER.
"Frankly, it's not all that bad. Sure the garbage smells bad, but it's mostly just a matter of learning not to keep inhaling after you catch a whiff of something rank on the breeze."
I'm sure that will fix all of the disease and sickness that comes with festering garbage lingering about in public streets.
"Sadly the US ends up putting a very large percentage of its poor population in prisons and has relocated many to horrific housing projects, where the violence and horrors are contained away from view."
Even if this is true (which I'd argue that it's not, but that is neither here nor there) how does that justify having the poor out in the open begging for a living?
"If you want to talk about rights for the poor, in India if someone isn't using land and you set up a tent on it and start living there, you can't be evicted. The shantytowns that the author found so disturbing are actually a side-effect of India's weak property rights laws, which themselves are a result of democratic pressure from the poor to continue living where their families have lived for generations. Contrast this to the genocide the US conducted against native Americans who were in the way."
Besides the blatant non-sequitor about genocide (It happened, yes, but what does that have to do with India?), giving someone the right to squat on land is hardly "rights for the poor". Congrats on not evicting people from shanty towns, excuse me if you aren't awarded the next Nobel Peace Prize.
In the US we are given a standard explanation about other countries: Women are mistreated there, children and the poor are victims, governments there are corrupt and ineffective, sectarian or criminal gangs run things, etc. We as enlightened Americans are supposed to feel indignant, and we're supposed to support bold action that will free the people in question from their oppressive circumstances, since the people themselves are too dis-empowered to do it for themselves, too clueless to realize they should, etc.
The author's story was strongly influenced by this kind of explanation, right down to the indignation he ever-so-confidently expresses.
This is why I mentioned a few aspects of American society that ought to put things into perspective a bit. If someone is drawn to indignation and feels inspired to allow his life to be motivated by its sharp pangs, he should look closely at the environment he knows most about -- his own city or possibly his own country.
The narrative/explanation above is used to promote meddling in other countries and is a hallmark of neoconservative thought. The problem is that it's horribly misguided and harmful.
The noteworthy aspect, in my opinion, is the strong indignation felt by the author which is amplified in its absurdity by the existence of many of the very same problems in the US.
Here in the UK, we are investigating massive corruption in the banking sector, the press and government. Every day we are seeing new revelations from the Leveson Inquiry on press ethics, or the Treasury Select Committee on banking. It would take a great deal of hubris to make any claim to the high ground.
A difference of degree remains a difference, if only of degree. That said, independent third-party assessments of corruption such as the Corruption Perceptions Index as of 2010 hold the US (7.1) rather better than India (3.1) (the index uses a 10 point scale). There's room for improvement for both nations. Notably, the US is comperable with two South American countries, actually falling behind Chile (7.2) and just ahead of Urugay (6.9).
Topping the list, New Zealand and Denmark (tied at 9.3), and Finland and Sweden (tied at 9.2). Worst? Somalia (1.1), Myanmar and Afghanistan (1.4), and Iraq (1.5) (So, how's that regime-y change-y thing going for ya, Sarah?)
The last major one was July 1st, 2011 in the California prison system.
(2. http://www.hrw.org/news/2007/12/15/us-federal-statistics-sho... )
In my opinion, the notion of almost certain rape and being locked into a cell with a violent individual in a system where violence is tolerated is about as cruel a punishment as one could possibly inflict. The worst psychological torture combined with brutal physical subjugation.
What would you do? You can't magically produce houses, schools, hospitals and other basic infrastructure to service several hundred million people. Forget that, I doubt you could engineer an efficient distribution system that just provides these people with nutritious food. Keep in mind these people are distributed across a fairly large country, belong to many different religions and speak hundreds (possibly thousands) of different languages. The majority of these folks are illiterate, and the overwhelming majority have no education beyond high school.
If you think you have a good solution to the problem, I am all ears, because I've been thinking about this for a long time and I can't see one.
Just because I don't have a solution doesn't make the fact that having the poor, out in the open, begging for a living any less "bad".
Doesn't mean it's alright for people to live in a shelter of NEWSPAPER.
Why isn't it alright? Honestly, if it's adequate shelter, why isn't it alright? I'm trying to think of some reasons, and I figure it has to do with inability to withstand rain and wind, effects of rot and mold, lack of security, or who knows what. But then I keep going back to the word "adequate". What does this mean? Does adequate mean these problems actually don't exist, and therefore it's adequate? Or is there a different level of what is considered adequate in the gp, compared to what I think is adequate?
You can't just come out and say that it's not alright for people to live in a shelter of newspaper just because it's newspaper. You need to have reasons for it. And if it is indeed adequate, I can't think of any reasons why I would dislike living in a shelter of newspapers. In the same manner, I cannot think of any reasons why I would dislike caves in western China, huts in the Amazon, or igloos in the Yukon. If it's a matter of getting proper Internet, well, let's just assume that if I'm living there, I must have chosen to forgo some luxuries. For example, many missionaries throughout history easily decided to go native and live like the people they were trying to reach.
I need to understand the details behind your point.
"many missionaries throughout history easily decided to go native"
Err, no. Missionaries (as well as soldiers and merchants) used to have crazy high mortality in the tropics.
Whether or not those housing conditions lend themselves to proper sanitation or not, missionaries decided to go native in spite of the high mortality, also knowing the mortality rate of their peers (until modern medicine came about to make things like malaria a much smaller concern). I don't see your point. Missionaries had a crazy high mortality in the tropics? So what? It didn't stop their decisions to go native. And they certainly didn't have a crazy high mortality rate after the arrival of modern medicine. What are you saying no to?
I meant something more like:
"Just because people can live in a shelter of newspaper, doesn't mean it's okay for that to be their only resort against the elements."
No hunger strikes AFAIK, the 99% occupiers are our cultural equiv.
The defense against the poverty or dishonesty arguments shouldn't just be a juxtaposition against the US.
"Yes India's government is corrupt, but not all that much more corrupt than the US government."
"Contrast this to the genocide the US conducted against native Americans who were in the way."
"Consider how much effort is undertaken in the US to hide poverty from view."
"Yet fraud abounds at all levels of government."
Even if this stuff were true (and it mostly isn't), your arguments don't answer the author's points.
I intended to point out the absurdity of focusing one's indignation on problems in another country.
Imagine if someone started expressing indignation about the bad breath of someone sitting on the other side of the room, when he himself had bad breath, though perhaps slightly fresher than the person whose breath he was outraged about.
For some reason, we don't view indignant rants about foreign political systems with the same eye for absurdity that we view indignant rants about other things.
Not really. The Transperency International which ranks countries by corruption ranks India at 95, where as U.S.A is ranked at 24. Lower the rank less corrupt the country is.
By that logic, Russia would have been the most advanced nation in the world a long time ago, yet it's historically been lagging Europe (and later USA) in development. Many in Russia actually use a totally opposite logic: because the environment in Russia is so harsh, warmer climates of Europe and USA have greater advantage in terms of agriculture initially, and infrastructure maintenance later on.
So I don't think it's as simple as that.
My take on it: in the US, the climate makes it possible to rise far above the subsistence level, but only with some effort and/or ingenuity. Motivated people have historically been rewarded with better lives, and that truth has influenced our entire culture.
In equatorial island countries, it's too easy. What, you think you can spend your whole life relaxing on the beach sipping coconut milk? Well... OK, I guess you can do that.
In Russia, it's too hard. If most of your energy and focus is spent just surviving the winter, there won't be enough mojo left to move your society forward.
Problems with this climate-centric outlook: African equatorial countries with good, human-friendly climate but problematic cultures, and Nordic countries whose weather rivals Siberia's and whose cultural and technological progress is often compared favorably to that of the US.
That may be true. But I still think that candid, unapologetic appraisals of what's wrong with developing countries may be just what the doctor ordered for things to change.
I myself am an Indian and while I'm yet to see someone covered in his or her own feces in India, I'd agree with the general sentiment of that article: it's an honest, heart-felt piece. I'd like to change the state of affairs in my country, but the task is so f*cking huge that you don't know where to start or even whether you can do anything at all. If perhaps more Indians start feeling that things are NOT acceptable here, maybe we might see the beginnings of change, just like how it was with India's own independence struggle.
I too was faced the same dilemma a few years back and on a whim I joined a small volunteer organization that teaches street children. Being a one trick pony I decided to teach them computers. In just 2 months those kids, who did not know the English alphabet learned to use MS-Paint doing stuff like Undo/Redo/Copy/Paste, etc. Seeing those kids learn was one of the happiest feelings of my life. I later heard that one of the girls got admission in a govt. school because of what she learnt in that org.
Anyway, the reason I say this is because I read an article a few months back (will link it if I can find it) about how in Western societies there is a very strong emphasis on giving back to the country. Even people who are doing well generally volunteer on weekends for community service, etc. They have a very strong feeling of patriotism and an in built societal structure that makes them want to give back.
Now I have never lived outside of India so I cannot say if the above is true or not but having lived in India all my life I have never seen anyone, any relative, friend, etc do any sort of community service ever (unless of course there is religious angle). So all in all we have a lot of people complaining but very few doing anything.
I think every person who has completed college has the ability to make a difference but because the problem seems to be so "huge" nobody wants to do anything about it or is maybe waiting for others to lead them the way. The thing is you don't have to change everything, you only have to realize that anything you do no matter how big or small still makes a difference.
Despite the corruption and incompetence of the government, I believe that the government also finds itself in the same conundrum--"where to start, or what to fix first, or in what order".
(Had never heard of Jantar Mantar before - only been to a few southern parts of India - thanks. Will put it on my To Do list!)
Oh and people who have praised the word 'jugaad', in most cases it is a illegal-immoral solution. I hate it when people glorify the act. It is a reality and it is present everywhere in India - but I hope that we grow out of it.
You can divide the country into three parts: (A) The Powerful (who are always rich) (B) The not-so-rich and not-so-powerful (C) The poor and powerless. People of class (A) are leaders, businessmen and politicians who are also lawmakers. Class (B) is the middle to high income families who think political dialogue is a stinking business to be a part of. Class (C) is the overwhelming majority who vote and get paid for it - either directly or through improper political practices from caste/region/religion based arguments.
We have a huge population with few resources. We don't have enough fuel to dump our waste, not even enough ground to dump them on. We have very high unemployment and low literacy. Even the education system that we have is largely of very low quality. Cross Border Terrorism that is so not a daily part of western life is now too boring to be covered on Indian television. North India is so accustomed to it that people have even stopped demanding action - we don't think our government can take any. We also face Naxalism , a reality that a lot of us don't understand as it is largely based in Southern/Eastern India.
We regularly see large scale corruption ($1B+), as frequently as once every year. The culprits come back to power in a few years (An example: ). And people vote for them, because there is no better choice. This is unlike say USA when similar things would have been ends of political career for people involved.
BUT, please stop commenting on India as a comparison to the US and the rest of the western world. We get it, you have cleaner cities, healthier people, lesser discrimination and no unhappiness. We know it well, we live by it every day. These commentaries just seem unnecessary. We are innately handicapped in the race of development. We have started off late . We have started off behind . It is also very arrogant to impose your morality to the ancestors of others  as even if they may agree to what you say, they cannot comment on the situation in the previous era as they are unaware of the context themselves. It is very rude to use it as an argument against the present.
And let's make it clear. India is no more spiritual than any other country on earth. We just have a lot more temples and monasteries than most places. And they are also old and diverse. These exact things that attracts most westerners to India - the ancientness and the abundance, are also very closely related to what westerners hate about India. You cannot have orthodox, untainted and non-commercialized establishments without the perils of unorganized, corrupt and ill-managed institutes. Remove both, and you have a country that is working just as vigorously towards modern (and very western) ideologies and standards of living.
 http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4214998 [Sec: Sati]
This post, while certainly an honest account, is rife with generalizations and does not acknowledge the author's own cultural biases in the slightest.
How about even a cursory talk about the historical context? Colonialism, the politics of development, the political economy of tourism, anything for that matter.
Mark talks about how emotionally overwhelming travel is, he doesn't talk about how, if he had stayed there longer or even done some basic wikipedia research, perhaps he wouldn't jump to so many base conclusions. Instead, we are left with a poetic bog post laced with comments like this one:
"Indian culture itself is quite disorienting."
Or this little gem:
"There’s no single sentence for India. The place is a fucking mess."
This doesn't even make sense. How can there be no single sentence for India, and then GIVE A SINGLE SENTENCE FOR INDIA?
Yeah, it's a fucking mess for a well-off Internet blogger. It's a fucking mess because Mother Theresa can't save the Indians from themselves, "And it’s just as well, Mother Teresa couldn’t save this society from itself." Critical development studies has been fighting this kind of arrogance for a long time.
And to be fair, I respect this author's work a lot more than most lifestyle blogs. I just have a low tolerance for generalizations like this one.
Does that sound like nonsense to you?
How can there be no single sentence for India, and then GIVE A SINGLE SENTENCE FOR INDIA?
Oh, for fuck's sake. You're choosing to be offended. He didn't give a single sentence, he wrote a four thousand word essay on it. An essay in which he covers a lot of variations in the parts of the culture he saw.
Really, you're choosing to be offended. Why should he report on the colonialism of India in an essay about his personal experiences; why is the essay bereft of value because of that? And despite your claims that he doesn't talk about the political economy of tourism, he does do that in the essay. He talks of the spiritual tourism, and his experiences and opinions of it.
Yeah, it's a fucking mess for a well-off Internet blogger.
And traveller to 40 countries, so a fair bit more experienced in other cultures than most. You're committing exactly the same sins of omission as you're accusing him of making, in order to reframe your argument so that it benefits you.
Oh someone at work got a bigger raise than you? Excuse me while I laugh in your face.
I'm not too good at parties. I don't know how to compartmentalize.
It also bugs me that talking about this seems like a status move when it generates negative things in my life.
But do you know one thing. The actual situation is worse. The beggars author is talking about actually represts only indian middle class!!.. yes they fall in the top 50% in economic ladder. If you want to see real poverty go to kalahandi or vidharba region
Do you know in last 10 years 200,000 farmers committed suicide just out of poverty. Just imagine 200,000 people (larger than the population of many European capital) committing suicide just out of hunger..That too is the official number. Some suspect it is around 500,000..It is a human genocide of worst form..So many people committing suicide just due to poverty
And you know what..Giving those 25,000 is not going to help. Charity by Mother Teresa or Diana or Bill gates is not going to solve this poverty of continental level..They may satisfy your ego..Maybe you can win a nobel prize but it is not going to solve any problem.
If you really want to help those guys just do one thing..Support outsourcing from your heart..support any policy that helps transferring millions of jobs from west to India..In this world only one country is solving poverty of indian scale and that is china and you know how they are solving it..So next time you hear that a company is transferring its entire manufacturing jobs to China or india just support that..it is at least going to save thousands of poor people from this abject poverty
All about seeing the glass half empty or half full
1. The submitter of the article to HN has no affiliation with Postmasculine as far as I know, nor did we request them to post it here. We're very grateful for them doing so however!
2. While the author of the site was involved in the pickup industry for a while, he chose to no longer identify with that scene over two years ago, and specifically moved his content away from its perspective, even going so far as to systemically deconstruct the flaws and failures of Pickup theory and the community it created. So we don't feel that 'pickup' really represents what the site has to say about dating. Although we definitely do talk about meeting women. A lot. :)
3. While we're dedicated internet marketing students, we're far from experts on the subject. We're putting a lot of time and effort into improving the site's marketing, but our number one focus will always be on providing high quality content that is as no BS and realistic as possible. Hopefully anyone who came from HN and spends further time reading the site will agree.
I realize your comment wasn't a criticism, but just thought I'd try and give a bit more context to the situation. Thanks for assuming we were so professional!
I would say that it is a new trend for pick-up instructors to distance themselves from the pick-up industry mostly for marketing purposes. I think it's mostly semantics and at the end of the day, you're just fearing the phrase "pickup industries" focuses too much on the negative and not enough about the positives.
On the otherhand, as someone who's spent fair bit of time observing pickup companies, I will say that your marketing page seems very reasonable and not full of false promises common on most PU sites.
Our POV on what defines 'pickup' advice versus regular dating advice is that 'pickup' is the decision to objectify your sex life in order to improve it. We don't believe that this is a healthy or effective mindset, hence we don't define our material as 'pickup'.
Honestly, I think if you read some more of the site, for example http://postmasculine.com/why-its-so-hard or especially http://postmasculine.com/pickup-artist (warning: long) you'd come to the conclusion that we're a far shot from what most people associate pickup with. But it's up to you whether you want to spend the time :)
That is the only thing which I really really don't like about India. It just seems wrong - very very wrong. Especially because it seems like there is enough money around to help these people.
All other things are ok and you can see in other countries - traffic is terrible, corruption, trash, ethnic violence, etc.
What you mentioned about dirty garbage strewn over the streets is true in most Indian cities and towns.If you wake up early enough,you will find women sweeping the area around their houses.They will not give a second thought before dumping that swill on the street.The same people will complain loudly about the local authourities not doing enough to reduce the garbage problem. Travel to Kochi by road.It is one of the fast developing cities in Kerala.Coming from Trissur side,the first thing you will notice is the huge dumps(about 3-4 mtrs high) of garbage on both sides. The people living in that area are definite candidates for cancer.I wouldn't wonder if another Plague epidemic happens in the near future.
The reason for this attitude, I think, is because of being one of the oldest civilizations. Which is a fact, and often it used as a ego-massage and as a strong point in several discussions.
The point to note is that this building was built thousands of years ago, and is in a natural state of decay.
On the other hand, a country like US being a country of migrants was forced to start everything on a relatively clean state. So sort of a natural call to action - to build their lives.
If one takes anecdotal examples of families one may know of, one will see that the best ones in the families move on to a different place. The laggards are left behind.
One idea, comes to me as I write this, is what if we just ask people from two nearby villages, to just move their huts and belongings to the other village, and vice versa. Will it bring about any change in the attitude?