India is definitely a hub of cultures, traditions, cuisines, and festivals, but some misconceptions about India produce a different picture altogether.
These misconceptions are mainly created by foreigners. India with its rich culture has so much variety for everything which cannot be compared to any other country. Here are some misconceptions that foreigners need to read right away.
Misconception 1: “Indian” is a language.
Fact: No, we don’t speak “Indian”. Foreigners will never have an idea how many languages and dialects exist in our country and are spoken by everyone. Indian is not a language. Sure, we would love to have our 23rd language as Indian, but there are already 22 languages and more than 720 dialects spoken by 420 million speakers. So, foreigners, you need to buck up on the number of languages we speak.
Misconception 2: India was discovered by Vasco da Gama
Fact: Ever heard foreigners (and even Indians) saying that Vasco da Gama discovered India? If yes, then this is the most misleading statement ever. It’s not true that India and its culture did not sustain earlier. India existed with many different names before it was named ‘India’. So, foreigners get your facts right and give credits to the great Vasco da Gama only because he discovered the sea route from Europe to India which was surely a great achievement.
Misconception 3: Indians always greet with ‘Namaste’
Fact: Well, it is just one of the greeting variant in India. Yes, folks, you heard that right that Namaste is not the only but one of the greeting styles we use. We do know other variants like ‘hi’, ‘hello’, ‘pranam’ and we use them according to the situation and according to the type of people we are meeting. So, hello? We speak more than Namaste.
Misconception 4: Indian food is always spicy
Fact: Not always, Not everywhere definitely! India does not have a variety of food, said no one ever. If you think that Indians serve spicy food in every part of the country then you may not have tasted South Indian delicacies like idli, vada, and the most loving dish curd-rice. Also, have you ever tried the light and savoring dals Indians make with their home-made masalas? Indians have food to suit up every stomach ranging from Chilli Chicken curries to the mildest curd-rice.
Misconception 5: India is a hot country
Fact: Actually, India has six ecological seasons. Dear foreigners, if you believe that India is a hot country, then you should pack your bags and head on straight to places like Manali, Kashmir, Cherapunji where you will be able to experience the beauty of India’s monsoon and winter seasons. Wondering how there are six seasons? Spring season, Summer season, Monsoon/Rainy season, Early Autumn, Winter season and Late autumn. Well, India is not only rich in tradition but also rich in seasons.
Misconception 6: All Indians have dark complexion
Fact: I’m fair and I’m still Indian. Not every Indian has a dark complexion. If you move towards the north, you will find beautiful fair skinned people and the fact that south Indians are always dark is also not right. You definitely would have noticed many young and talented south Indian actresses which have a fair complexion like Rekha, Sridevi, Hema Malini, naming a few.
Misconception 7: All Indians are vegetarians
Fact: We love chicken and fish! India follows a very rich culture in its cuisines so this is totally a misconception that all Indians are vegetarians. If one visits Indian states like Goa, Bengal, Tamil Nadu, one will be able to experience the rich taste of fish and chicken curries served there. Foreigners, we Indians eat meat more than you do (almost 60% of the Indian population). It seems that you only tasted vegetarian food when you came here following the misconception. Sad!
Misconception 8: Indians are poor and hungry
Fact: Most of the people especially those living in western countries believe that India is a land of poor and hungry people, thanks to the numerous movies and documentaries based on India. Foreigners, your misconception can be changed if someone takes you to the big fat Indian weddings and you will only be able to see gold worn by ladies striking and charming all around. India witnesses many big business tycoons including Mr. Mukesh Ambani, the 20th richest person in the world. India was once called ‘Sone ki Chidiya’ (The Golden Bird).
Misconception 9: All Indians wear turbans
Fact: India is a hub of cultures and so every culture has its own dress codes to follow. This notion that every Indian wear turbans are totally wrong. People who hail from Punjab and follow the Sikh religion only wear turbans. Rajasthani people also wear turban but not everyone.
Misconception 10: All people in India are Hindu
Fact: If you think that Indians only follow one religion that is Hinduism, then you are totally wrong and haven’t explored the different religions of India. India is a culturally rich country where everyone lives with full respect and love for each other. We have Jains, Sikhs, Christians, and Muslims and much more other religions. Each religion has something beautiful to offer and foreigners should definitely witness the rich cultures of India.
Misconception 11: Everyone does arrange marriages in India
Fact: No. Not all of us! Dear foreigners, you think like this because you haven’t read or heard the tales of ‘Heer-Ranjha’ and ‘Laila-Majnu’ who were the epitome of love and sacrifice and were no less than your ‘Romeo and Juliet’. India is changing and so its basic traditions and we as Indians accept love marriages as much you do. Yes, arranged marriages do exist now even but not because Indians are against love marriages, but because many sentiments and traditions are linked to some type of marriages.
Misconception 12: Indians always eat with hands
Fact: No! we use spoons and forks as well. Yes, it’s true that Indians eat with hands and is a way of eating in most parts of the country especially in the south. There it is believed that the food tastes better if eaten by hands. But this does not mean that we don’t use spoons and forks to eat. Go to any lavish restaurant and you will find people showcasing their eating skills and manners.
Aren’t these the perfect combinations of misconceptions and facts? So, its time eradicate the misconceptions and perish the facts.
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