India…Why I Won’t Be Visiting Again

India…Why I Won’t Be Visiting Again


FOLLOW-UP: This article provoked a spirited response from those that agreed and disagreed with my views.  I wrote a follow-up to it addressing questions and concerns brought up in the comments here.  Please read it before commenting on this page.

I hate India.  Having traveled more than my share of the world, India is the country I liked least, most wanted to leave, and least recommend to others.  It is a place that is infinitely more beautiful in photos than reality, frustrated me at every turn, and did little to endear itself.  After four months in the country I intend to never return, here’s why:


Unlike most poor countries, India has ample arable land, capital, and education.  Herein lies the biggest paradox of India: it’s home to one of the world’s largest populations of college educated people, yet it is also home to 1/3 of the world’s poor (almost 70% of the country lives on less than $2 a day).  While these world-class engineers, scientists and industry leaders are fully capable of developing and funding solutions to India’s major problems: health, sanitation and infrastructure; they don’t.  The development of India would make the rich astronomically richer as it has in China, but the wealthy Indians ignore the crises of their neighbors to their own detriment.

How can you ignore the plight of your neighbors and the poverty all around you?


Instead of education being the solution, often the educated people are the problem.  Physicians that are paid to provide free medical care will demand under-the-table payments from suffering patients.  Some projects have been approved and funded several times over decades, only to have all the money disappear.  How bad is it?  One Indian person explained to me how you could have any job you paid for, when I asked if I could become a policeman he said, “It’d probably cost you 20,000 rupees (~$400 USD), but you’d make it back in bribes.”

This is as far as we could go, unless we paid a little “baksheesh” (bribe money).  This is representative of India’s issues, having six officers to control where tourists take photos, instead of working on infrastructure, cleaning streets, or fighting corruption.

Here are some corruption examples from the BBC: In 2010 India hosted the Commonwealth Games, after “irregularities” in bidding and contracts the games cost India $4.1 billion instead of the $270 million estimated.  Condominiums funded to be built for war widows ended up owned by senior government officials including three owned by the Governor’s family.  A minister charged with auctioning off telecom licenses is said to have sold the licenses for $40 billion less than they were worth for personal gain, but that’s tiny in comparison with the “coalgate” scandal this year in which the government is said to have lost up to $210 billion in selling coal fields to top industrialists and giving them undue benefits (Businessweek).

It’s easy to turn a blind eye when you’re benefiting from it, but how do you morally accept such a situation?

Couldn’t be bothered to run a pipe underground or behind the reflection pool at the Taj Mahal, India’s most iconic sight.  Just couldn’t be bothered…


I couldn’t believe it until I experienced it, even when I was there, day after day, I couldn’t believe it.  People don’t just litter as they walk along the sidewalk, they dump their household trash in front of their house.  It became normal to find hotels didn’t change their sheets, even if they were stained or even if we asked.  Cows, arguably people’s most expensive possession, just wander the streets.  As traffic grinds to a halt the officer charged with controlling intersections can often be found on his phone or drinking chai (tea).  It’s not uncommon to find offices full of people doing nothing, even refusing to sell you the very thing that only they are allowed to sell.  Never have I ever seen anything like it.

Sadly though I understand why this is.  Success in India is based on caste and family, it is about as far from a meritocracy as it gets.  Traditionally caste would dicate your profession and who you could marry, essentially your whole life was pre-ordained by caste.  While officially castes no longer exist, overcoming tradition is hard to do, as official proclamations do nothing to break the cycle of division by caste.  Looking beyond caste, progress is further stifled by corrupt and haphazard application of the law.  If someone has a good idea it can be knocked off by someone more connected or able to pay bribes.  Combining how the caste system disincentives work and the corrupt systems choke innovation, there is really no reason to care, people are just not rewarded for doing more…

What does this result in?

In most developing countries livestock are carefully tended as they are an investment.  In India though people let these very expensive animals roam and scavenge.


While needs have been identified, solutions developed and funds allocated, necessary improvement projects just don’t get finished.  Trash isn’t collected, and even worse, raw sewage is poured directly into the same rivers that drinking water is pumped from.  625 million Indians do not have access to a toilet of any kind (CNN).  It does not need to be this way, if money that was allocated to solving these problems made it to projects, more people would be employed and less of these problems would be so acute.

Why would Indians not want to improve their country?

The majority of Indians’ home is more like this slum outside Delhi than Bollywood images.


People are looking out for number one…themselves.  This is the problem with corruption, unchecked it grows until it is the system.  Those who do not participate only harm themselves.  Transparency International found that 50% of people had to pay a bribe to get a job done in a public office; Indians I spoke to estimated that 50% of the country is lying if they say they haven’t paid a bribe.  It will take a true soul-searching and change in the society to overcome these systemic failures.

A typical trash strewn waterway.  The same people that dump their trash here use the river to bathe, wash clothes, and as a toilet.  Then they pump the water out and use it for drinking water.

While much of the world is caught up in the BRICs hypothesis made famous by Goldman Sachs, the author of that report makes it clear that these countries are tied together due to phenomenal growth rates, not end states.  Too many people in the world think India is just another China, but to paraphrase the words of an Indian academic who wrote a comprehensive comparison of India and China, which began with the idea that the world overestimated China and underestimated India, but was lead to realize the world may underestimate China’s will to develop and overestimates India’s. (Superpower? by Raghav Bahl)

What to do about India then?

We should do absolutely nothing to change India.  They are welcome to have a country however they choose.  Well-intentioned foreigners is not what India needs, it needs change to come from within, not from the outside.  Indians are not oblivious to their country’s problems, nor the methods that other countries have used to successfully overcome similar situations.  It is up to them to move forward.

For me though the answer is even clearer, I don’t plan on returning to India.

What are your thoughts?  Have you been to India?  Are you planning on going?  Please share your opinion in the comments.

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» Glen :
Dec 1, 2012

It would be easy to write the same 5 points about any country. India has taught me more about family, honesty, generosity, friendship and living than any other country I have ever been to. At least the poor, the corruption, social standings, the litteretc. is out in the open to be seen and not hidden away, disguised or forgotten due to superfluous consumer and status based distractions. After spending 9 months in India and just a few days away from returning for another 6, I’m so excited to see the love, pride and open heartedness that makes India the world’s most spiritual land.

ytourist Reply:

Son, you obviously never seen Scandinavia

Ana Reply:

Where one has to pay almost a dollar or more to go to a public toilet ???? Speaking from personal experience while visiting Norway and Sweden :-)

vivek Reply:


Quite right! It’s free in India, as long as you use the nearest wall, tree, ditch, etc. Ever visit Bangalore airport’s “pay toilet” outside the terminal? It’s disgusting, and you have to pay to use it! I’m sure it’s the same in Norway and Sweden………….

vikas Reply:

@vivek, No my friend, it’s not the same in Norway or Sweden.

Vivek Reply:

@vikas, I was being sarcastic! I should have put /sarcasm at the end of the comment.

Reedley Smith Reply:

It would not at all be easy to legitimately criticize other major developing/developed countries on the five points that Matt/Erica raise here.

Even a cursory reading of Raghav Bahl’s book “Superpower?” makes clear the scope and scale of the petty everyday corruption that leads directly to each of the impacts listed in this article.

Now saying this hardly negates what you claim: that India can (and for many foreign visitors, often does) teach everyone deep and profound lessons about family, honesty, generosity, friendship and the beauty and challenges of living a life.

For those who are interested in reading Bahl’s book, I will also recommend Pranab Bardhan’s “Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay” by Princeton University Press which takes pains to detail the different, but related, challenges faced by both India and China in their rise to modern great regional power status.

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I will seek out the books you recommend because I’m interested in learning more on this.

I am with you that India has wonderful sides, but their institutions are failing them. They do not need to develop like China or end up looking like anything but India, what troubled me was that they have the ability to deal with basic health and infrastructure needs, yet corruption and self-dealing is harming the country as a whole. India is a country with the means to provide a better life for it’s citizens and everyone would be better off (even those already wealthy) if they concentrated on improving their infrastructure/sanitation.

Reedley Smith Reply:

Institutional corruption is one of the most insidious things to afflict modern governments and the equally large-scale bureaucracies of the largest private sector firms. When both of these entities come together to further their own interests through corruption, the effect on a nations populace can be utterly corrosive.

India’s corruption (as you note, drawing from the BBC and Businessweek) happens most commonly at the everyday level of paying bribes or buying influence just to get government workers to perform their mandated jobs. The aftereffects of the “license raj” still affect the country today–even if only to serve as a model of how petty corruption should be carried out.

China’s corruption, on the other hand, is differently pernicious, but just as corrosive to the peoples’ sense that their government is legitimate. When all of the top leaders, and their relatives, are fattening themselves at the public trough, it saps the spirit of the common person very quickly.

PV1997 Reply:

@Reedley Smith India is developing….I accept it! But in a very bad manner…. We people in India need to change our attitude towards our own environment…We need good planning of our cities…And we need discipline! India is in this state today because of the corrupted politicians just luring people for votes! Shame
On them! I think it never happens like this in any other country! In India, people drive very rashly on roads and not maintaing any disciple! Actually, India has lot of money to develop! But those shameless politicians spend all the money for themselves!

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

I agree that it’d be easy to write 5 negative points about any country, but I don’t think you could claim it’d be the same five points…

The reason I found India to be so disheartening is that they don’t need to live the way they do; they have the brains, manpower and capital to deal with key issues: clean water, trash collection/disposal, and roads. I’m not saying they need to be like any other country, but next time you buy a bottle of water consider that you’re buying it because they have chosen to fund nuclear bombs over water treatment, when you throw that bottle away consider that it ends up on a streetside because they’ve chosen to fund a space program rather than take care of the trash. The capability to deal with these public health issues exists, it’s the will that India lacks.

Jay101 Reply:

@Glen, I thought what you said was terrible about India and why dont you get a life doing something else.

» Pembesi :
Dec 1, 2012

WOW…can anyone say white privilege?! What a shame that you fail to see how your extremely prejudiced opinion lacks all semblance of nuance and knowledge of the many factors at play in modern India. Despite the burdens India inherited after centuries of British rule, it has made enormous strides in human development. India has lifted millions out of poverty and onto the middle-income bracket. India is also the most diverse country on earth and is home to Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jews, etc…who mostly live in harmony. It is by no means perfect and has many obstacles to overcome…and it is a shame your article does not reflect that.

ClearedCustoms Reply:

What does the color of the author’s skin have to do with this blog entry and/or your response?

maheshbutt Reply:

Apparently, alot if you are butthurt by the truth.

ClearedCustoms Reply:

Congratulations, you’re witty and a racist. My point was if the commenter wished to take the moral high ground then the color of the author’s skin would have been irrelevant.

Mr jojo Reply:

@ClearedCustoms, Being a white Englishman living in India for 25 years, i can say india is the most racist place on earth, they hate each other for where they come from (caste and colour) as they say about my PA “where is your man” “which one” “the black one”. I have lived there for so long as i love India, although they no longer love me, “this is India get back to your own Country” becoming normal, where if i said that to an indian in the UK, i would be in court. It has institutional curruption, that will never end. As i now say to people in india, “if India is so good, WHY are you all trying to get out of India. Don,t move change India for the better”

Reedley Smith Reply:

Matthew Inman (the web designer behind The Oatmeal) wrote a similarly shell-shocked piece after his visit to India:

It’s fair to criticize both this piece and even more so Inman’s piece for the use of privilege (it isn’t so much white privilege as it is the privilege of industrialized-nation perspective), but it doesn’t negate the point of the criticism as it specifically relates to corruption and its knock-on effects on Indian society.

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

I don’t understand how it’s white privilege? I don’t expect anything from India or for it to give me anything. Rather I am stating that in a country with as many educated people, with as large of a labor force, and as much capital as it has there is no excuse for it not to have clean drinking water, waste treatment, garbage collection and a higher standard of living for all it’s citizens.

I think your comment reflects an insidious belief I encountered in India, that India is somehow a victim of outside forces. The commentary I made is about India today, the India that I feel is fully capable of making huge strides in it’s basic living standard (infrastructure/sanitation). It is choosing not to do so that I object to. There is too much knowledge and talent in India to have the overall living standard, for all it’s citizens, that it has.

Pembesi Reply:

are you kidding me? Which person residing in ANY country of the world would not like to see things improve for their countrymen? I assure you the masses of India echo your concerns about corruption, but the “India” you speak of is neither a monolith or magnanimous force – it is a diverse subcontinent of over 1 billion people! Google Ana Hazare for more info. I’m sorry that you did not enjoy your trip, but perhaps some research or conversations with Indians or those who have traveled to India would have helped. For future reference, travelers should consume only cooked foods (no salads or fresh vegetables!) and bottled water to avoid traveler’s diarrhea.

Kent Goertzen Reply:

I see you ignore the book by an Indian scholar living the that comes to the same conclusions.

» Bernadett Szokol :
Dec 1, 2012

I appreciate your honesty! Sometimes it’s good to read about the downsides of a country, not only the sugarcoating, to get the whole picture.

EntertheDragans Reply:

I agree. The photos you chose also perfectly compliment your story and show the conditions in the country. It’s so sad what corruption does. I’ve seen it in other places (especially Eastern Europe) as well.

gurman Reply:

I am an indian iam a14years old boy living in nort india and i think that the photos you chose are of some cities which have slums and dirty rivers and are of the states which are un develloped like bengal bihar uttar pradesh etc but if you visit the cities of northern infia in the states of punjab jammu kashmir haryana and some other are very develloped as i live in the cleanest city chandigarh which is going to be slum free soon and if you visit india after ten years later you will see a totally new india because the government is doing very much for develloping this country i also agree that the ministers are currupted You thing that its is better living in europe but the people there are very un friendly and are very rude while people in india are very friendly and sofy. Today india is one of the worlds youngest economy and a super power which has one of the strong

» melonhead :
Dec 1, 2012

Oh yeah, not to mention bodies in the Ganges, dogs eating corpses that
wash up, etc:

Scroll down; you won’t believe it. This was just a tourist with his camera.

» ClearedCustoms :
Dec 1, 2012

Wow, the privilege police are out in force today. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion.

» OneABCDThoughts :
Dec 1, 2012

I think the main problem that is the reason for most of these issues is the corruption. If the indian government was able to root out corruption, then many of these issues could then be properly addressed. The problem is that the government is too corrupt to do that.

Basically the are too many people with such a low standard of living that they don’t care about politics. They just try to get on with their daily lives, if that means greasing palms they grease palms. The only way the situation in india is going to change is if a stronger more active middle class demands action and the police force is cleaned up and given more independant authority.

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

Corruption, like all of India’s problems, are solvable by will, leadership and popular support. As I stated in other comments I don’t believe India is backward or incapable, rather I believe that Indians have the brainpower, manpower and financial capacity to solve it’s problems. I am optimistic on Indian people’s ability to move forward, but am pessimistic that the status quo of institutions (corruption and mismanagement) is currently winning out.

» Sahil :
Dec 1, 2012

All fair points. You take the good with the bad. India has its good, India has its bad. Fair play to the author he doesn’t want to take the bad.

Personally, I’m disappointed that you had a bad time in India. But there is more to the country than the (valid) negative points mentioned here. Ignoring them or worse abusing the author is not the way forward for the country – An Indian

Sahil Reply:

One thing I would’ve hoped for is a measure of understanding of the problems of overpopulation. India has far too many people for a country of its size and that huge population density leads to a lot of survival problems hence the corruption, indifference, etc.

Not justifying the problems, just saying that it is understandable why things are the way they are. They need to be changed from within, ofcourse.

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

I completely agree that India has it’s great points. The negative points I raise are simply because India has so much going for it, but there are huge systemic issues (due to government and culture).

Look at Indians inside and outside of India, what is a common thread? Education and success, it deeply troubled me that India would have basic infrastructure and health issues when they are so small compared to the literal rocket science Indian people are capable of.

Sahil Reply:

Absolutely. And trust me, it hurts us Indians a lot too. The difference? We aren’t willing to get our feet dirty and get into public service to improve our country. And i stand guilty under that comment too.

I considered it, tried to change a few things in my immediate environment during my college years, got fed up with the corruption, red tape and bureaucracy and came to the US to pursue a career in research.

» Wes :
Dec 1, 2012

I am an American living in India for 2 months now and think this story is absolute garbage. Yes, the country needs vast amounts of improvement in many areas, but so do many other countries. I’m living here 100% by choice and just chose to extend my stay because I love it so much out here. The people, the culture, the overall vibe of this amazing country. I’ve been to 4 cities so far and plan on visiting many more.

You have a very closed mind and it must be hard living a life with that much negativity being the top of your priorities.

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

I would be interested in your perspective the longer you have been there. I visited 30 cities across the country and feel I made a very good attempt to see and understand the country, from a neutral point of view.

I don’t believe expecting a country to provide clean water, treat it’s sewage and clean up it’s garbage is too much. I believe India is a capable and wealthy enough country to improve it’s standard of living without affecting the culture.

Apoorv Agarwal Reply:

Your views do not look neutral at all. To be fare to you, you do mention in your comments that there are some positives about the country as well, which, however, are nowhere to be found in the article.

Secondly, I could not quite grasp the intention of your article. It omits the good points, clearly killing your neutrality argument; there are no suggestions; there is no entertainment value; no aesthetic photographs, just some garbage pics of some of the worse moments of India. I daresay, you could find 4-5 almost similar photographs in nearly all countries of the world.

No country is poor by choice. India had been under foreign rule for almost 400 years, first under Mughals, then under Great Britain. And by the pace it is growing just after 60 years of its independence, even after being involved in no less than four major unwarranted wars, can put even the greatest countries of the world to shame.

Corruption, I agree, is a major problem in India, but you must consider that the kind of poverty India has seen under the British rule, it is almost a survival instinct. The condition has been improving and with prosperity, would soon be mitigated to a large extent. And, by the way, $210 billion scam is almost as incorrect as saying that during wars, ration should be auctioned off so that potentially more profit could be made on it.

There are all kinds of people in any country. For those who do not care, there are those who go out of the way to help people. If you really want to see India, live here for sometime without a tinted glass, and you will find people regulating traffic during jams; getting late to offices as they were offering lift to totally unknown old gentlemen; inviting destitutes to their homes and offering meals; Hindus celebrating eid while Muslims visiting fellow Hindus on Diwali; people donating their entire, repeat entire, salaries to poor and sustaining themselves working part time.

India might not have invested as heavily in public amenities as it should have, but it was too busy finding food for its people to eat. There might not be proper sewage disposable systems, half the people might not have access to toilets, but India is not unlivable. It is a country with a heart and does not NEED well-intentioned foreigners, but neither does it need cynics.

It is true major work needs to be done and by the countrymen, but considering everything that the people here have gone through over the last 500 years, the position today, India finds itself in is enviable to say the least.

And please, if you have to show only one side of India, we all request you to not return to India.

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

If you re-read the comment in which you responded to you can see that I said I “I visited 30 cities across the country and feel I made a very good attempt to see and understand the country, from a neutral point of view.” I did not say that I left the country with a neutral point-of-view nor that this article reflected the point-of-view which I had prior to visiting India. I walked the streets, rode the buses and trains, and dined with Indians throughout the country to learn about it, in the end though I left with the opinion as expressed in this article.

You are correct that this article does not emphasize the positives, rather it explains exactly what the title states “why I will not be visiting again.” If you are seeking more positive articles on India I welcome you to read any of the 57 articles on our site about India, including our experiences with the people, traveling overland, taking photos, visiting sights and cuisine You will find these articles at be sure to click the “more” button on the bottom left corner as only 10 articles are displayed per page.

I appreciate your thoughts and information. To avoid repeating myself, if you are interested in my responses to other things you bring up you will find that I have responded to several of these things to previous commenters.

PV1997 Reply:

@Apoorv Agarwal After even more than 50 years of independence… it’s a shame to say this…. please do not give excuses… Even America was under British rule…But still the Americans had the will to develop! There is no politician in India having any will to develop this country…

Prithvi Sekhar Pagala Reply:

Yes, Indian has loads of issues that need attention and it all has the wealth and capabilities to do that !

so we are doing it .. When the scale of issues is 1.3 billions every logic and theory and most of existing practices just will not work add that with the largest democracy in the world, where everyone has an opinion and different backgrounds and interests.

We are acting on few of issues you presented and more that were not (agriculture, education, the rural sectors). A few things that did happen !

1) The country voicing against corruption in the largest scale ever.
2) The largest program of its kind in the world taking its initial steps- to use technology to change the country (recommend reading Nandan Nilekani book)
3) There is a large sect of people around the country who care and do it silently (just one of the many )
4) The caste system slowly but surely getting diluted with intercaste, love marriages and education doing its bit.

Guess that gives the idea that we are acting but it will take some time !

So I recommend you to please visit the country after some time :) .

Cheers !

» Steven :
Dec 1, 2012

I live in an apartment complex on a college campus in the US with a large population of international students. There’s probably 10 percent Americans of different ethnicities, 40 percent east Asians (predominantly Chinese, with some Koreans and Vietnames mixed in) and about 50 percent Indian.

Now, I’m about as liberal as they come. Big Obama supporter, supporter of LGBT right, well read and well traveled to Europe, Asia, and Central America. I’ve lived and worked in different socio-economic neighborhoods in my 1 million people plus city, and had friends and associates from all walks of life: from White kids to Millionaire homes, to Mexican “vato” gang bangers. I can relate well to people from tons of different backgrounds and have always been interested in other culture. I’ve really never been racist. Until recently.

The Indian international students at my apartment complex are the most rude and arrogant group of people I’ve encountered. They’re constantly running around at all times of the night making noise and being disruptive despite my frequent calls to the campus police. They gather in groups of 50 in the common areas and yell and leave trash at 3 in the morning. The worst Americans do is pay there music to loud or occasionally drunken yell. The Indians are there all the time despite many complaints.

Furthermore they sleep 4 to a room even when it’s against the school’s housing policy saying “it’s too expensive to live here” even though most all the students that come here come from rich families or are on scholarship. When you’re walking around the complex the male Indians hold themselves with such an arrogance and try to stare you down like they’re some super bad asses. But if you hold eye contact they quickly look away, afraid of any sort of altercation. Personally, I’ve had many Indian acquaintances and while some have been genuine and down to earth, the majority have been arrogant, selfish, and dramatic to a point that makes the typical American with “mean girl” syndrome look benign. I think too most of the kids that come and study for their masters or Phd’s here are already from the rich and upper classes in India so they’re brain washed from birth about their superiority, indoctrinated with classism and elitism of caste based India.

They think they’re better than Americans just cause they’re from smelly old India! There IS something dysfunctional about Indian culture. It’s apparent in the ones who come here to study, do nothing to assimilate, are disrespectful and disruptive to their surroundings, work for a couple years and suck money from US companies, and just leave back to their country.

This behavior is RADICALLY different from that of the Chinese students. The Chinese students are by and large humble, friendly and respectful and most genuinely try to learn about the US and take time to understand how to fit in and show respect to the culture. Like any self respecting traveler should do when visiting or living in another person’s country. I have many Chinese friends who really what to learn about America, how to fit in better, how to succeed. Indians are about “Oh anything from India is better than anything else, we don’t give a fuck about America.” Many see the American educational system, and its demand for engineering and computer science students as a teet to be leached off of without paying anything back. This whole experience has been pretty disturbing to liberal ol’ me, weirded out by these feelings of hatred towards specific group. Unfortunately most all the Indians around me behave utterly self absorbed. Of course there are many exceptions. There are many Indian that are hardworking, kind, generous, and considerate. I have some Indian friends, and I still love Indian food, some of the history, etc. But the way these Indian International Students represent themselves makes total sense in terms of this article. I have little respect for many Indians and their attitudes. (There’s also a lot messed up about the US. We’re looking at you Rush Limbaugh, Paris Hilton, and WalMart.)

They celebrate Hitler for crissakes:

Aditya Reply:

You can’t generalize about an entire community based on an experience you have. And please refrain from posting demeaning adjectives about any country. I could bring up stark comparisons between cultures, but choose not to respecting the fact that each community has their own beliefs and mindset. On a specific note, our culture is by no means dysfunctional, just because you find things different. I’m not justifying what your neighbours did, but for a country with a population of a billion, 50 is a small data set.

Wm Leler Reply:

I have a serious question. I’ve known or worked with a reasonable number of people from India, including both people born in India and those who are first generation Americans. I noticed that some of them I got along with just fine, and other ones I had a lot of trouble dealing with (similar to what you describe — rude and arrogant).

I asked one of my Indian friends, and he said that much of it had to do with the differences between North India and South India. And sure enough, I’ve asked people where they were from in India, and all of the ones that I have been friends with were from the South, while those who were rude and arrogant, but who answered my question (many didn’t) were from the North. I understand that there is a big cultural difference between the North and South in India, even though I have never visited there.

Has anyone else noticed this? Or am I the victim of a small data set? I do a LOT of international travel and I generally prefer places where the people are friendly and open, so I’ve never been to India (I have been to China, Vietnam, and Korea, and enjoyed them a lot).

I don’t think it is racist to notice problems with countries. Anyone who travels a lot is aware that some places are more inviting and friendly than others. Of course, things are always influenced by our own opinions, but I think the poster of this article did a good job of backing up his complaints with hard data (and links) showing how it leads to big problems in the country and its people.

Vijay Reply:

I am a first generation American with a South Indian background. I have many of the same complaints of arrogance, rudeness, and lack of cultural curiosity from my countrymen/women that I meet here. I think some of what you say may be true based on some stereotypes and cultural differences between the south and the north. Southern India has historically been a farming based society where as the North was built on trading and business acumen. I think as result of this difference in professions, Southern culture preaches more about hard work and obedience whereas the Northern culture tends to lean towards a more outgoing, confident, and talkative nature. For me, the Northern Indian people that I have met have been closer in culture to Middle-Eastern people than Southern Indian people. I know that I am generalizing to a great extent and there are definite counterexamples but it holds true a majority of the time.

However, having said that. I think college age students from India act this way regardless of whether they are from the North or the South. Education in India is very focused on grades and academic achievements and very little on character development. Parents often ignore bad behavior or fail to foster proper behavior in children as long as they are performing well in school. This happens from a young age. These are relatively privileged children that go to private schools, don’t face many real challenges, and are academically intelligent but not socially capable, especially when put in a different environment. I think the same thing is happening with the current first generation Indian American children. These children are horribly behaved, I shudder to think what they will be like as adults but that is another story.

But, I have always been curious as to why many Indian people are so close minded when it comes to cultural exploration. I have constantly run into an “Indian culture is better than all other cultures in the world so I don’t have to respect or learn about others” mentality. This sort of close mindedness is intriguing to me because Indian mythology and history is littered with people that were open minded and had a severe change of heart that eventually led to some sort of enlightenment (Ashoka, Buddha, etc). I don’t know where that sort of open mindedness went but I really think Indians could use it nowadays.

Steven Reply:

Wow great points. Thanks for weighing in. India has such a fascinating culture and history I wish I hadn’t encountered the aforementioned bad behavior. There is sort of a distinct close mindedness I’ve encountered with Indians and also ABCD’s (American Born Confused Desi’s as the international students call them). I hope Indians can grow and mature and be open minded. All people in the world for that matter. Myself, I am moving forward with an open mind though and I will try not to be too judgmental. Judge a man by the character of his heart not the color of his skin. I needed the above venting though.

GfxSam Reply:

Vijay nails it above. The rudeness and arrogance will probably vary from college to college as well, the ones in more prestigious and difficult to get in ones will probably be worse. Students in India including the ones moving to US universities for higher education will have an air about them if they could afford private schooling, good college education and all the more if they did well with the grades. You would notice a superiority complex regardless of them being from North or Southern part of India. But this is a very small fraction like the top 1% americans, remember if the rich brats were in majority India would’nt be poor :)

legacy Reply:

I have to correct you here Vijay. A majority of North India has agriculture based society, from Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, to the sister states in the North East. The several thousands kilometers of flowing water in Sutlej, Yamuna, Ganges, Brahmaputra and their several tributaries. And the business and entrepreneurship that you are talking about, is also mostly in food related areas because of this. Every parent, be it in north or south, east or west, tries to teach their child the importance of hard work, honesty and kindness – mostly because India is god fearing enough.

If I can share my two cents on the differences between north and south, and to the original post by thinkCHUA @ LivingIF :

A quick glance will tell you that northern India has always been the center of attacks and wars. Be if Mughals or China and Pakistan today. Only the colonial powers entered through the sea. Even though almost the whole of India came under foreign rule, the seat of power was moved to the north. With each war and attack, the land was plundered and people were misbehaved with.

The very fertile and very successful agro-based economy of the north remained stuck where it was. Close functioning with the ruling British, made survival hard, considering the amounts of taxes levied and other living conditions. Even the educated did not have jobs! Despite being intelligent and smart, they were slaves – all because their nature was not to fight and protest. Those who could tolerate the repressed circumstances were able to provide a livelihood to their families. People started learning English, to earn a living. (Today we are at a point, where English language is probably spoken by more Indians than any regional language) While the uneducated suffered, few got educated.

Eventually India gained independence. Almost all leaders from the north, who could and should have focused on developing the North, got tied up in the idea and process of nation-building. North India – especially Bihar, Bengal and UP, which were the center of the freedom struggle and the most densely populated states – got neglected. Even the after effects of the freedom struggle were worst felt in the north.

Coming to corruption, sanitation, housing, nutrition etc., the major challenges facing India, the author is very right in his observations. He is also welcome not to visit the country. But if you would take my advice, don’t write off a country merely 60-70 years old that has achieved what we have.

We chose to invest in Nuke’s after learning from our past mistakes, that we need to show some spine and defend ourselves. Despite the size (land and people) of our nation, strength of the army of China, constant struggle with Pakistan, our defense budget is nowhere close to that of US and several other developed nations. I do not think govt. should not have spent the money on it.

Coming back to corruption, it cannot be done just dealt with will. Think of a man who wants to provide education to his son or daughter. He doesn’t earn enough to provide for his family (which would typically include his old parents, his 2 or more children, himself and his wife). So often times he involves himself in bribery. Corruption has its roots in times where Indians did not have countrol over the resources of their own country. Necessity eventually became a habit. Of course, this is no excuse I am offering, just a different glass of reason to look through. It isn’t even valid for the urban rich, several scientists and doctors and politicians(the least), who are creatures of greed benefiting from the submissive masses! This has been realized by the people of India, and they have started working on remedy things. But change takes time…

I can give you a reason for why everything in India is the way it is, but that does not change that these problems exist. But, give India and Indians time. We are a very young country with an average age of 29 – I think change is not only possible, but it is inevitable. Mostly because what thinkCHUA @ LivingIF states is realized by Indian citizens too. These changes might not be visible to outsiders, but India can feel it and are working on it. So you might consider revisiting in 10 years and you will find a different country.

Harini ramesh Reply:

Hey Steven,
Thank you for your very honest feedback. I’m an Indian who went to grad school in the US several years ago and have been working in the tech industry for some years now. As someone who grew up in different parts of India, I knew what diversity is like and when I came to the US, I fitted in like a fish to water. Let me try to chip in with some inputs that might help you grasp what is going on around you. I wont promise that you will see a method in every madness around you :-) but I just want to help your comprehension a little bit.
Firstly I must state that India is ‘mind-bogglingly’ diverse. India is probably more diverse than perhaps the continents of Europe and Africa put together! So in general, Indians are clannish by nature. Anyway, here are some checkpoints for you – bear in mind I DONT condone any of these behaviors but just trying to explain the underlying roots.
1. The 3’o’clock yellings in the hallway, are they a daily event or occasional events? If it is an occasional event, I’d add that it is common for Indian students to gather together to celebrate a guy’s birthday at midnight and part of the cake-cutting rituals include chasing the birthday boy to drench him in cake, yogurt, buttermilk, any imagined liquid…That would explain the noise if it were occasional. Also in Indian universities, students usually congregate in the hallways and chit-chat, argue, discuss stuff for hours, simply because there’s isnt enough furniture in their rooms to have a comfortable conference. Sometimes they might do this in India because the weather is unbearably hot and stuff and their student dorm rooms dont have A/C. But usually, lack of furniture is why they do business in the hallways. A lot of grad school students simply bring these undergrad habits to the US.
2. Two is company, three’s a crowd just does not hold water in Indian culture. Even for minor discussions, Indians are comfortable in hanging out with 25 to 30 people(our population is 1.2 billion, remember?)
3. Indians generally believe ‘what good is a rule if it’ s never been enforced?’. They love to stretch a rule unless it is enforced. So unless you have cops coming in and telling them to stay in their apartments, they will continue seeing the hallway as an extension of their digs. This would also apply to their driving habits.
4. Indian students often compare their past and present lifestyles. Since a luxury shared apartment in India would cost about $150/head, they would be reluctant to shell out more when in the US. Also recall what I said about rules.
5. Bear in mind that these chaps have no real world experience, they went to school and college in India like most immature kids anywhere in the world, then came straight to the US. They have never lived on their own and have not been in a professional environment where courtesies are respected.
6. As far the staring part, Indians love picking up clues about a person. They were just trying to guess what kind of lifestyle you have based on your clothes, your shoes or your sunglasses and probably calculating when they would reach that level. Staring at you is not an indication that they have malicious intent.
7. Ever considered the fact that some people lack the common courtesies just because their English vocabulary is very limited? I’ve worked with some Chinese and Yugoslav folks and sometimes the only times they talk is to state that the servers are down or that some fires are burning. They dont have the vocab to make small talk or engage in friendly conversation.

What I’d suggest for you(if you are game) is to make small talk with a couple of them, try to get in their circle for a little bit just to see what their life is really like. You could tell them you’re curious about Indian movies and would appreciate a chance to watch a movie with one of them. A lot will be wiling to give it a try. You will get a much clearer picture(and the opportunity to convey some disapproval) when you get into the circle, just for a little bit while you keep it comfortable for you.

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

After spending four months there this is one of the most insightful and interesting explanations of behaviors I witnessed/experienced.


indian Reply:

@google-8ca8aa78a7ba180b7c116789f6624f52:disqus …great post. @disqus_hWlrLqoiIX:disqus had u come down from your high held tower of prejudice and tried to strike a conversation with anyone – you would know that Indians have no such feelings of malice and superiority towards any body

guru Reply:

@Harini ramesh, This is one of the most intelligent and neutral assessments I have come across. Brilliant analysis, very accurate as well.

indian Reply:

u suck. u hv no freakn idea of who thinks what. get a life

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

Let’s keep this civil. If you have any insight or information you’d like to share you are welcome to. Name calling and belittling isn’t welcome here.

indian Reply:

most US guys i know hv way more attitude than required.

Mili Reply:

hey steven.

I’m 22, female, and have grown up in the big cities of India like Mumbai and Bangalore. Like most other kids my age who get a good education, my family is considerably well-off in comparison to most Indians (those that live in slums). The funny thing is, social norms dictate and look down upon us when we actually do try to get to know gloomy, dark side of India. I was even laughed down by my grandmother for paying respect to my aunt (kids have to touch the feet of elders in hindu tradition) just because she was a lot poorer than us. The sense of arrogance, superiority and ill-mannered ness that you talk about are a really pervasive habit here for those who can afford it.

Besides, it’s always rather convenient to think that the poor are out to dupe us rather than genuinely ask for help which we can oh so easily give. My whole life has been a struggle to get out of these useless social norms and it makes me quite a freak among friends and that tightly knit family. I try, though, and the struggle has, exhaustingly, only just begun, and recently I began going to a shrink who has actually hinted that my depression is a result of my own “negative thoughts and attitude.” Go figure.

So anyway, I just wanted to say that i wholeheartedly agree with what you said.

Roma Reply:

@Mili, I totally understand your struggle. Just try and get out of that negative circle and everything that bogs you down or burdens you. Leave the country, if you have to, come abroad. It is liberating to know that what you think and how you behave is what and how educated, broad-minded people in the world think and behave. Become strong mentally and emotionally and fight back! I had the same exhausting experience and spent a decade thinking I am ‘weird’, ‘different’ or ‘plain stupid’ just because I am naturally kind, generous, trusting and respectful. It is only when I moved abroad did I begin to get a sense of self, and belief that these are qualities, not weaknesses. All the best dear! And don’t change or don’t let the negative surrounding attitudes get to you. Just find your place in the world.

» cbthatsme :
Dec 1, 2012

How permanent do you think that pipe was at the Taj Mahal? If it was only there for a few days for some work then no reason to run it underground. But if that’s permanent, holly shit!

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

I’ve seen it in photos from over a year ago. There was also scaffolding in key photo areas that have been there so long they’ve rusted in place.

» Patrick Murphy :
Dec 2, 2012

Perhaps the author should realize that cows are not an expensive “investment” in India but that they are SACRED to their religion.

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

I know they are sacred, but that further illustrates my point. Being sacred to their religion, and used for production of milk, would justify better treatment and care of them instead of roaming the streets eating trash.

Pranalee Rokde Reply:

Well it has a reason too… Mostly scattered cows belong to very poor people who find difficult to feed themselves. So they just set free their animal so it can wander and help itself with whatever it can find on streets. In smaller cities like my hometown, we feed chapatis to cow if we see one in our lane (because they are sacred to us) but situation in bigger cities is worse.

Cheriyaparambil Raghavan Reply:

I don’t think the negative aspects that the author has highlighted in his article are false. Poor service by government employees, bribery and a lack of social sense by throwing rubbish into streets and streams etc are a reality there. There is no point in getting emotional when a spade is called a spade. What is the point of giving a glossy picture while the reality is different? What every citizen should do is to serve the country honestly. That is the way to making it a better nation.

» disqus_zQSLPb88AV :
Dec 2, 2012

Maybe you should have researched what traveling in India is like before leaving. Yes, India has some serious problems, but expecting first-world amenities from a third-world country was your mistake. Similarly, criticizing underprivileged Indians for not caring about corruption ignores the fact that corruption is institutional and that the institutional nature of corruption is due to poverty. All these problems are one and the same. Yet, Indians do try to eradicate corruption. Look up Anna Hazare and his hunger strikes. I’m not saying that India should be above critique nor that some of your points are not valid. However, this article is just lazy writing that will perpetuate simplistic thinking on a very nuanced subject and encourage people the place blame on the wrong factors.

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

I didn’t arrive in India expecting first world anything. I have been to dozens of developing countries in the past and didn’t go there unknowingly.

As you state the corruption is institutional, this can be changed, it has been reduced or eradicated in many countries previously, it just is a matter of getting tough on it and following through. The people I met in India were always quick to claim that “India is different” or that there’s more than meets the eye, but the reality is that the best practices applied elsewhere can succeed in India with good leadership and popular support.

» Syed Hussain Imam :
Dec 2, 2012

You have to really know people long enough to make any judgments. I am a Pakistani who went to school in the USA and have been living here for past four decades. While you can always find good and bad people in every country/culture /religion, all Indians I have met and interacted in my whole life, both from south and north, were kind, humble, helpful and fun to be with. To relate an experience, in 1977 when I was a graduate student living on a small stipend got stranded at the airport in Memphis, I walked to the telephone booth, found a person named Kumar in the yellow book and called him around 6 PM and introduced my-self and my problem at the moment. He came and picked me up with his friend, fed me and provided me shelter that night. gave me breakfast next morning and dropped me at the airport next around noon. In Pakistan you rarely hear good things about Indians and Hindus but if you want to meet real people from any where you have to get beyond those self-created or learned biases and love them for what they are. These weer my two cents.

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

This is a great story and I’m glad you shared it, thanks!

Bhupendra Kumar Reply:

but you dont get it …..

Roma Reply:

@Syed Hussain Imam, It is a great story and I am glad you had such a good experience. But the year was 1977 and generally, given the situation in those decades, people were kinder, more trusting and helpful, especially abroad, as there were few support systems back then. It would be very rare (not impossible, just very rare) for the story to play out the same way as it did back then.

Maybe you could try your luck one more time, and let us know how it went. It would be a good comparision of human behaviour over the decades.

» Ratnakar :
Dec 2, 2012

Please don’t. We seriously have more than enough big-headed, ignorant-as-fuck, stupid as a brick people of our own. What will we do with another one?

» Edwin Sequeira :
Dec 2, 2012

India has its good points as well. However it is nice to see that the bad points are highlighted. It shows that there is a tremendous scope for improvement.

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

India definitely has it’s great points. I chose to highlight these things because India has the brains, manpower and funds to overcome it’s issues. It’s only a matter of lack of will, which upsets me, and they can make it a wonderful country for all it’s citizens.

» Sameer :
Dec 2, 2012

You’re certainly free to never return – its your right and privilege.

You’ve fixated on India’s negatives, but it sounds like for you large parts of the world and its people must be terrible. Such acidic and completely one-sided points of view like yours, with a superficial understanding of symptoms but total cluelessness about cause, usually come from a place of deep lack on basic empathy.

You sound like you need help. While you’re away from India, I do recommend some yoga or psycho-therapy for you. Calm down.

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

You comment highlights an attitude that I encountered in India that is dangerous: that being calm and patient changes things. It is through effort, leadership and hard work that things change, and nowhere in the world, India or any other country, cannot benefit from change.

If you feel that I am clueless on causes you are welcome to provide examples and help me better understand the situations. I welcome your insights and analysis.

Sameer Reply:

I was asking *you* to be calm – your article is near-hysterical.

I have many American and European friends who have been visiting india for 12-15 years now, and they are all fully aware of what India lacks, but they also appreciate what it has, and seen the changes that have been constantly happening over the years, and continue to happen steadily.

So thank you for your one single visit that gives you encyclopedic insight into our utterly horrifying country.

You seem to think you’re the first one to notice india needs change. Thank you again – we didn’t know till you wrote this piece that we’re so terribly behind your standards.

Its true, india doesn’t match a westerners basic standards. But between your inheritance of those high standards (you didnt create them in your lifetime, did you?) and the lack of them in a culture halfway across the world, lies a huge story that needs some basic human empathy to begin to understand.

It would be lovely to exchange some links about development efforts (and their inadequacy), govt and bureaucratic corruption, social stresses and how to fight it, the size of the problem, and so on….but these are old and familiar stories that lead to the same realisation — change is slow, and challenging.
Its just not happening at a speed you’ve decided.

Like, by your next vacation.

And, because you havent shown any capacity for compassion in your article, these challenges will always be hidden from you eyes…

You see the technicalities of process (“effort, leadership and hard work” – thanks for the heads-up!), not the reality of people. And you’ll easily dismiss what i’ve written here as more lazy hand-waving.

India IS very stressful and disturbing to be in, i completely agree. Its probably best for your health that you stay away…

guru Reply:

@Sameer, I just love the way you have expressed yourself. Brilliant !!!

guru Reply:

@Sameer, the best part about your article is where you question -“you did not create those standards did you?”. Most westerners who take a moral high ground on how bad the quality of life is in India fail to I trospect whatever high quality of life they have, they were born with.

» Gerard de Souza :
Dec 2, 2012

Thankfully, Southern and South Western India is a little better than the North…but not all that great

» Dr Vijay Kumar :
Dec 2, 2012

While the comments are true, but these do not reflect the whole truth. We should continue to improve. But if someone is bent upon searching the filth, he can see it in any country.

» Biju :
Dec 2, 2012

Thank you for your views….. You missed India Completely…. You just saw some materials and structures. A major part of India lives in the heart and mind of millions. You would take much more than four months to discover that….Best wishes..

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

The results of hearts and minds is in how people are treated. As I’ve stated several times, there is no need for Indians to lack safe drinking water, public sanitation, and have access to government services without having to pay a bribe to get what should be free. If the hearts and minds are compassionate these would be things that would be resolved prior to funding moon missions ( or nuclear bombs.

guru Reply:

@thinkCHUA @ LivingIF, now. Do you really think we need to as a country justify to you why we need a moon mission or nuclear technology? It is funny coming from a culture that obliterated two whole cities by dropping nuclear weapons on a civilian population that could not respond d – you preach compassion to us!

» Prashant :
Dec 4, 2012

Whoever wrote this article needs to brush up on world history and india’s current social fabric a bit.
When u compare India to other countries you must realise that India was exploited for over 200 years by the British and only after Independence in 1947 did India stand up on its feet and has accomplished quite a lot considering that, in the last 65 years.

India is a complex country with several “Indias” within it. It would be the most diverse in its number of religions, cultures, languages, cuisines, dialects (which change every 100 kms) and the list is endless.

Imagine if Europe was a single country with Frenchman, Germans, Britons, Greeks, Slavs etc. all living together… i don’t think they would be very peaceful and without their differences. They already sorted that out after fighting 2 world wars and killing several millions of each other, genocide on Jews and finally splitting up further into even smaller nations. It could well have happened in India and we still manage to live in relative peace.There are several countries which are more homogeneous in culture but various factions are still fighting with each other with guns and bombs. (ironically supplied by the western nations for helping their own economy…..but that’s another story…….).

I think Indians have done quite a good job living in peace with each other and not fighting Civil wars which countries like US did even 100+ years after independence. The same is true for even several of the presently advanced nations vs India who were imperialistic nations like Japan, Britain, Germany, France etc.. who started invading and exploiting smaller countries and started world wars for supremacy with the holocaust in ww2 and several such “accolades” to their names like invading other nations and committing atrocities, slavery, genocide etc. (if u read History properly you will get to know about many more such “glories” of the West and advanced nations like the Japanese ….)

India is a relatively younger country which has stood on its own feet and not by exploiting and invading other nations in the past….and doing quite well and does not need Westerners to come and help our economy, rather its the opposite now (India is presently the worlds 3rd largest economy by PPP and ninth largest by nominal GDP)

Also, you can’t compare India to US or Europe or even China in isolation.

US gained independence in 1776 and even upto World war which ended in 1945 several problems like rampant racism, poverty were still plaguing the US. They truly became a superpower after WWII. Even upto the 60s Racism was still quite rampant in the US (can be compared to Caste system in India).

European imperialistic nations got richer by exploiting their asian and african invaded countries.

China is not particularly a model for Human Rights – go to Tibet….

So request all who read this article not to have a narrow minded view on India
I do not mean to criticize the US or the WEST. US and several europeon nations are great nations PRESENTLY, but they have their share of “ugly” history and a lot of blood, toil and sweat was spent to make what they are today… REQUEST YOU ALL TO GIVE INDIA A CHANCE—ROME WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY…..

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

Thanks for the very relevant and correct history of how many of the “advanced” societies have developed. You raised several interesting points:

Would India be better off as separate countries? It is certainly possible, what is the benefit in sticking together? This is something I haven’t seen explored, but would be very interested in seeing research into it.

Secondly, and most importantly, you emphasize the idea that India must go through what other countries did to develop. I think this has been proven incorrect by the Asian Tigers. While they are not of the scale of India, they proved that countries can skip development stages by utilizing the best practices of the world. The simplest example is that a country needn’t produce horse carriages to develop cars as the Western World did, rather they can buy a modern car, study it, and do that. The same goes for public infrastructure, governing and even fighting corruption. There isn’t the need to take the time to follow in the footsteps of others who had no blueprint (i.e. the USA for democracy), rather you can study the world to learn. Better yet, Indians are already doing this, look at schools globally, there is a large amount of Indians studying in the top schools, learning best practices, which can be applied to India.

While you are correct that India is a relatively young nation, there are many nations that were formed around the same time that have progressed much more rapidly including Indonesia, Korea, Vietnam and China. All countries which have had their share of foreign occupations and colonization.

Prashant Reply:

Well, i am not suggesting that every nation “re-invents the wheel”… but a better analogy to explain when comparing India to other nations would be like comparing an under-privileged child becoming a millionaire vs a child born with a silver spoon doing even better than his forefathers… definitely the former would have to undergo a much difficult metamorphosis and struggle and face several ugly situations and take more time vs the latter in their way to glory…

also it is may not be completely correct to compare with the asian giants u
mentioned. Yes, it is admirable what they have achieved in spite of having
faced most problems similar to India in their history, but the social fabric
and cultural, religious, linguistical etc.diversity of India makes it that much
more difficult…

most countries u mentioned speak at the most 2-3 different languages and follow 1-2 religions, India has believers in sizeable qty of all the major religions and over 12+ official languages and scores of unofficial languages…. Its villages have problems like caste system, exploitation of women etc and the poor struggling to make ends meet, local politicians taking advantage of their ignorance and exploiting them basis cultural/religious differences…. then on the other hand there is the progressive Urban India with its ever increasing and prospering middle class and upper classes… thus a huge exodus of rural folk into the cities for work and seeking prosperity and job opportunities—-the pics of the slums you have shown, that is where these migrated folks reside….

you have right to your opinion on India being a poor choice for travel and a relatively failed state with corruption and poverty that your pics depict, but it has its brighter side in the people who are struggling and working towards making it a better place to live in and a more prosperous nation in the future …. where in spite of such huge differences in culture, religion, language etc. they are striving to remove those differences and live in harmony rather than be like several of our neighbors, african, middle eastern countries et al who are at each other’s throats…. that is the real India!!!

PG Reply:

@Prashant, Part of the problem is India is not a nation state, its an empire created artificially out of 30 different nation states. Its as if Europe was forced into a single unitary state with very federalism. Further for 200 years initiative was forced down. Leave it to the British govt to fix it was the motto and the British were busy being corrupt. There is a famous saying about the ICS- the colonial civil service – He came to a rich district a poor man, he left a poor district a rich man. Now since India did not really have to fight for independence and instead got it handed on a platter by the British , there never was a rejection of the British method of government- elitism and corruption. The inheriting pseudo-English like Nehru et al just took it to a newer level. Interestingly Britain itself was forced by WW2 to give up the elitism and old -boy network way of running a country. What India needs is to get worse before it can get better. It needs a crisis so the people will reject the old way of doing things. The Maoist insurgency which has taken control of 70% of the countryside (Thank you China) may just be the crisis which convinces Indians to change just like the Civil war in the US, the French revolution or the Battle of Britain forced people to change.

» GfxSam :
Dec 4, 2012

I am an Indian living in a “developed” country for the past couple of years.
I can relate to the author to the extent that many problems have not yet been solved by the governing bodies even if they are very basic. But I
think where the author went far from reality is when he attempted to
give a reason to it.

Three big entities which can handle solving big problems in a big country are Govt., Private and Co-operative. The author probably concentrated on the Govt. which is definitely at the
lowest in the decades and extrapolated it to ignore the other two completely.

But its not the people employed in the system which are the reason for the failure but the policies. And more than often these policies are dictated but the political body which curates them to gain vote banks. For eg. Having a caste based reservation in govt. jobs and in govt. educational institutions doesn’t really promotes meritocracy. The current system also doesn’t promotes performance based incentives or growth which coupled with low wages promotes corruption if not create it.

He probably visited the country as a tourist, saw from the DSLR lens, clicked some “fancy” slum pictures, tasted the curries and formed his opinions on the flight back. He just probably failed to have a meaningful conversation with a common middle class man.

I can guarantee he would’ve learned a ton if he probably engaged in a discussion with the same chai sipping traffic officer. Next time just ask his salary and the incentive his govt. job gives to do his job well. Most failures are because of the age old system which doesn’t value meritocracy, performance based rewards and non-caste based reservation.

But as someone rightly said, there are multiple Indias within the same country. Judging the billion heads purely on the basis of how successful the govt. bodies are at operating is foolish. The billion dollar private economy doesn’t care about castes and is very differently
operated than the govt. institutions and so are the cooperative institutions.

It would be a good idea to talk to real people on the next visit and spend some time talking about their lives over a cup of tea :)

» Swetha Shenoy :
Dec 5, 2012

I appreciate your boldness in writing this article!

I understand how you must be feeling that India has resources (intellectual men) and yet, nothing is being done. All through my school days and college days we debated that India will be a fore front in all aspects of Technology, science and Development, but all that debates are just a waste! I would wait for a ray of hope for young Indians to join politics and change the way politicians think but everyone falls prey on bribery issue! I lost interest in Indian Politics because the successors are the same family clan of the predecessor!

Infact people just stack away money for God knows who? and just continue to do it!

We need to learn restoration of Economies from Nations like Japan after the downfall due to Tsunami and USA after the WTC Incident ….but i am sure another 50 years to come, India will stand in the same status as it stands now!!!!!

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

Thanks for the comment and thoughts. I think you raise a good point, something that the USA is struggling with as well, why don’t the promising young people of a country go into politics and leadership as well as flocking to lucrative careers. Globally we need to teach people that selfless leadership allows people to be remembered for so much more, it’s why the world will always revere Churchill, Ghandi and Lincoln more than a rich investment banker.

Joeva Rock Reply:

There are historical and contextual answers to that question, which are up to you to research, not judge.

» Babes in Thriftland :
Dec 5, 2012

I just want to add my two cents to this. I have met both you and Erica and you are two of the most open minded people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. If you are writing this article, I know that you definitely went into the experience with an open mind and would not just write this to be hateful or prejudiced. The fact that you posted articles and quotes from people to back up how you feel makes it that much more valid. I don’t think that giving the reasons you will not go back takes away from the positive experiences you had there. There are 10 times the articles about all the great stuff there is in India compared to this one negative opinion. I love reading your blog and enjoy reading your opinion on different places. If people don’t agree with what you said then I would like to see their evidence disproving what you have stated here. No one in the comments has been able to say that any of these reasons are untrue; they just want to say that you aren’t seeing the whole picture. Obviously India has a wonderful culture and lots of things going for it but it also has negative sides which all countries do. Thank you for sharing!

thinkCHUA @ LivingIF Reply:

Thanks for the wonderful comment. I think the discourse on the internet often becomes too heated because we’re staring into a computer instead of looking another person in the face. I appreciate the support from back home.

As you mentioned, there are a total of 57 India related posts, and this is just one part of our whole experience. For people seeking to read these they can visit: be sure to click the “more” button on the bottom left corner as only 10 articles are displayed per page.

» Kusum Neh :
Dec 7, 2012

A closed mind with full of negativity can only pen such an article not otherwise.

His eyes saw only of whats his mind perceived.!

» Julie Muir :
Dec 7, 2012

I loved your article. I spent 2 months travelling around India this year and hated it for many of the reasons you outlined and more. It is a terrible example of a total breakdown of society. I found so many of the people to have questionable morals, and poverty is no excuse. I’ve been to over 40 countries. I am open minded and cultured but India got the better of me. It drives me crazy when I meet other backpackers who loved it who won’t admit they had a bad time there. I think it’s ok to say you won’t be returning to India, and not feel bad about it.

» Joeva Rock :
Dec 7, 2012

Colonialism anyone? In 2012 are people really still arguing that poverty is a choice?

Educated folks, institutions and corruption in the West and all over the world are failing people too. I’m tired of the constant demonizing of the non-Western world, especially its people, as this article clearly demonstrates.

» Arjun Jha :
Dec 12, 2012

all i have to say is that what you have written is true, but only one side of the coin….

if u say people dont care, its because at some level, due to years of subjugation by foreigners the mentality of indians has become to follow orders. Unfortunately now its the corrupt politicians as opposed to foreigners.

i agree this country needs something major to change how things function, but despite all that the people in remote areas are still more attuned to their culture and old ways of life…
its a country that boasts of its cultural diversity, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari

i recommend you travel with an open mind in the country in case u decide to come back…

there is much that india will help you discover, most importantly, you inner self….

u might rubbish it off as spiritual mumbo jumbo the western society is not too attuned to comprehend, but trust me…i’ve spent my life here, and there isnt another country in the world i could dream of living in…

» ajit vadakayil :
Dec 14, 2012

hi folks,

i am here because gerard made a comment in my blog post.

he accused me of writing bull in my post–

punch into google search


before gerard’s ancestors the portuguese, came to India , we were the richest country in the world.

when the white christian invader left india in 1947, we became the poorest.

today we are back on our feet- in 30 years Indian will be No 1 again, with china as No 2 and Brazil as No 3..

punch into google search


capt ajit vadakayil

vivek Reply:

@ajit vadakayil,

You wrote bull in your post, and you wrote bull here again. In 30 years, India will still be one of the poorest countries, but with another 600 million population. Yeah, just think of how we’re going to find food and water and clothing and fuel, at a minimum, for an extra 600 million people when we already have 1.05 billion people living hand to mouth. People like you are so consumed by religious hatred that you cannot see the raw sewage you are floating on.

» sirishkumar :
Dec 15, 2012

I grew up in a lower middle class family. My dad has to drop from school when he was 12 years to support his family and had 4 Kids when he was 21. I has to work hard 12 hours a day for 6 days a week just to support his family. And in mean time he accumulated so much debt for our education. He was never happy in his life because of debts and uncertain future. I have many friends who under went same pain or worse. The only thing he would taught us is money brings respect and thats what I can see. And foundations of most political parties is built with people whose mentality is to earn more money in whatever means. That brought in party cadres whose sole purpose is to earn money at the cost of its own people. Thats what the result you are seeing now. I do not want blame rich, its not their job to provide more jobs.

That said it changed a lot since last two decades, with more jobs,better education and media eye on politics are changing things.

» Aravind V R :
Dec 15, 2012

I’m an Indian. Yes my country is very poor. Me and my predecessors in my country are the one who are to be blamed the most for this condition. But what about others? Aren’t they responsible? What about the Caucasians or Whites or Europeans (esp British) who are such barbarians to keep this a slave nation and loot it shamelessly. It was the Indians who paid with their lives for their Industrial revolution ( Now having benefited of us and reduced our position to being among the poorest nations, you want to criticize us for being your victim?

Why we can’t vote for a government that can solve these issues? Because, thanks to British’s “divide and rule policy” and the caste system, there is immense hate-mongering between various communities in India that it is really easy for right wing hate-mongering groups to get elected here. It was the British who divided the people like this. The gave extra electoral powers to Muslims so that Hindus generate hate against them. (Just like Belgians made Hutus hate Tutsis in Rwanda by giving extra benefits for the latter, which led the massacre there as well). Then the americans gave weapon and money to terrorist groups in Afghanistan through Pakistan (in order to bring down the communist government there) Pakistan used them to support terrorist groups against India. This gave further impetus to the hate-mongering groups. We do have parties that are clean. CPI(M) is an Indian party that doesn’t have corrupt people in them and doesn’t engage in hate-mongering. But, except for three states, people won’t vote for them thanks to the communal divide and the global anti-communist propaganda (by the moronic, crooked Americans and British).

I am aware of my responsibilities. I have left my well paid job to prepare for civil services examination in order to be able to bring some change. But there is acute scarcity of resources in India. For instance the percapita land availability is one tenth of that of USA and one hundredth of that of Australia. Hence this is not just the concern of Indians. Here is what i think others should do.

USA and Australia: It is inevitable that a lion-share of land in your possession would go to people living in developing countries. We are not asking for letting us massacre you and appropriate the “New World” (like you did with the native Americans). We are asking to implement a sane immigrant law that one who have lived in your country for considerable time gets a citizenship. And stop your lunatic anti-communist propaganda and invading of other nations.

Europeans and USA: You have to let organisations like IMF,WB etc to be democratic and stop using it as a tool to loot developing nations. The diktats of these organisations to reduce deficits and import taxes have been extremely detrimental. For instance the reduction in cotton import duties in 2001 has caused 2.5 lakh (0.25 million) farmers to commit suicide.

Middle east: Please become sane enough to throw out your monarchies and establish democracy yourselves. Stop using dollar as the currency for oil trade an ask UN to establish some international currency.

China: stop invading to other nations and extending your borders. Show the communist spirit to help the poor nations in the world.

Pakistan: Please elect some sane, secular party to power so that it stop supporting terrorism. So that sane, secular parties can get elected to power in India.

Please stop criticizing your victims, all of you.

Guest Reply:

“Me and my predecessors in my country are the one who are to be blamed the most for this condition. But what about others? ”

You and those like you are too busy playing the blame game rather than concentrating on the problems and trying to solve them.

Kent Goertzen Reply:

Yeah its that, I didn’t do it, blame them and make them fix it attitude.

vivek Reply:

@Aravind V R,

The USA and Australia should give us land because we hump like rabbits? What sort of logic is that?

» The Mad Hatter :
Jun 7, 2013

Thank you for this article. I get that you wrote it with good intentions in mind, but I am hoping that I could provide you with an insider’s perspective.

I know that it has been said again and again that India is very diverse, but I don’t think people fully understand just how much of an affect that diversity can have on our political situation. While we all live in relative harmony, it has been seen in the last few decades just how easy it is to manipulate a population into absolute and utter chaos. Look at the Gujurat riots for example. It is a clear example of how easy it is to use the very diversity that makes India beautiful, to divide and destroy us. We were taught this by the masters– the British.

The root of this problem lies in the mindset of the people of India. A majority of the population is uneducated. Mind you, even some of the educated lack an open mindset. This ignorance, combined with narrow-minded beliefs that have prevailed for centuries, makes it easy to convince one faction of the people that another faction is out to get them.

And it is this weakness that is exploited by our politicians to get what they want, which is basically a country in which the people are so busy fighting one another, they don’t see their “leaders” stealing the money out of their pockets.

Our politicians want a country of apathetic people, and sometimes we just get so tired of fighting the system we choose apathy. But I think that we eventually fight back. Sure, we give up sometimes, but I think it’s in our blood to not take things lying down. Look at any Indian quarrelling on the street and you can see that. Hell, look at our independence movement and you will get what I am talking about.

India has a long long way to go. It will take longer than other countries perhaps to reach a “developed” status, but I doubt its because we CHOOSE to be the way we are. It might be because we are gullible or too easily swayed, or even because we’re waiting for all that damn paperwork to get through the red tape, but we’ll get there.

Please don’t ever think that we are the way we are because we choose it. At this very moment there are hundreds of Indians, in the media and otherwise who are working tirelessly to make my country a better place. I envy them and admire them for their incredible strength and patience. I might not have the willpower they have, but I and a million others will back them a 100% when they ask for it.

India is no where close to perfect, nor will it ever be. It might be falling apart at times, but we will always be there to put it back together again, and push it forward to a better future. And we won’t do it because we’re INDIANS, but because we’re HUMAN. And if history has taught us anything, it’s to believe in the strength of the human will and spirit.

Partha Reply:

This is not what i wrote… ???? whats happening here ?

thinkCHUA Reply:

Don’t know…is nothing of this what you wrote? Or did you hit enter accidently?

» Partha :
Jul 15, 2013

I am from india, i really thankful for your concern towards my country willing to change it like all indians do!!!…. I read your post and understood that you seen just one face of India, depends on your place of choice you can see all type of culture and you might be amazed how clean that place is… this is also india… Visit Pondicherry and Goa if you wanted to see clean india, visit Vellore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi in summer preferably on April, you will experience the heat you never ever experienced, same month visit Bangalore which is 150 kms from Vellore you will feel so cold. You want rain ? go to cherrapunji anytime you can see rain, you want snow fall visit Delhi in December, you want perfect road visit Rasthrapathi Bhavan (New Delhi – India Gate) that is world class road. Metro Train system take some time visit india during 2015 you will see the Metro System found no where in any countries. You want education, check online teaching profession, India is the only country teaching US, UK and you name it they teach online. Outsourcing increases just 2% of our GDP, we hold no resources like Arabia Petrol or US Armed Weapon selling arena…still we manage to engage 118 corers crowded population. Its easy to manage 3 children will it be possible with thousands of them ?

Coming to your point, all your 5 facts are true i agree, but do you know why ?
This is a long story and i have to touch international politics to explain you… i am an average student in my school just passed in exams, if i know this much i am sure maters here can explain you why we are like this… please see india separately from your country not all fingers are in same size afterall….

» vivek :
Jul 29, 2013
» vts :
Aug 3, 2013

Wait… is this a serious article? It seems like a parody about the stereotype of the clueless, obnoxious tourist. I mean, it’s so naive that I’m not even sure where to begin to address it.

There is poverty and corruption in India?? I am shocked! Shocked!!

Also, ditto on the commenter who noticed the colonialism. I guess there is an AIDS crisis in certain communities in some African countries because… wait for it… “it’s their choice”!!

Oh, one more point: the USA has managed to simultaneously have a space mission, fight multiple wars overseas, and handle an economic crisis. Know what it still hasn’t managed to do after decades of trying? Improve the reading and math scores of inner city public school kids.

I’m not going to reveal which country I’m from, otherwise the author might decide to visit it.

» Anon :
Aug 3, 2013

Lol all the usual Indian apologists out in full force. I’m ashamed of seeing them, defending a pile of heap, again and again. No innovation, no progress. That reflects in their excuses too. It’s always the same old “British fucked us over, look at the progress we made. What progress? Have we improved the human rights situation? Have we controlled overpopulation? Have we developed as human beings? God I am tired of my country people. I really dislike this country and I just wish to leave this place and never look back. No, there is no neutral ground here. This dump will never improve unless we learn to accept that we’re really sucking it first.

uypoi Reply:

@Anon, agreed anon. im an indian female who has lived in india off and on throughout my life. lived (not just a tourist) in the uk, australia, france, dubai as well. to me India is like a filthy garbage infested war zone. populated with people who have no basic sense of sanitation and hygiene. the food is unhygenic and mostly tastes terrible (sorry i think indian food is disgusting, and unfortunately in india its really hard to get non indian ingredients to cook with). its unsafe to venture out of the house alone as a female. people bathe with buckets and mugs due to water shortages and having a proper bath is a rarity. the basics – there are no gas pipeline networks (gas is still supplied in cylinders which is utterly archaic) and the electricity supply is unpredictable. the people are underexposed, have a bad attitude towards women and close to zero intellectual sophistication. so all the basics – food, water, air, hygiene, toilets, safety, gas, electricity etc all need improvement. its basically a shit hole. india needs to clean up its act fast to be liveable.

» Holygold :
Aug 5, 2013

I think the article and Steven’s comment hit the point. We are Italians and live in Goa for almost two decades now. In the beginning, the international bohemian community and the nice weather attracted us. In recent years, almost all the foreigners left. The almost European atmosphere deteriorated, now it is almost like living in the rest of India. If our son would not go to school here, we would have left by now. We don’t understand that foreign tourists still come visiting this country.

» Russian :
Aug 12, 2013

Also I heard that one could be kidnapped right from the doorway of a hotel and his organs cut off fir further sales(((

» justanindian :
Aug 20, 2013

Dear sir,
I just came across your site and saw these listed 5 points where you explained India to be horrible. Arnt you being a little too judgmental. It clearly shows that you have not experienced true india. As a person who is born and brought up here i should say that reading this makes me really furious. Indians are usually mild mannered people and mostly very helpful (i’m sure whereever you are from, people are not as friendly as here). I’m a south indian and people are truly generous, kind and helpful. We respect people (even if they abuse our country). It is very easy to talk negative but have you realized that by talking negative you are hurting so many people ? I’m sure here you might jump in and say that it’s just your opinion and that i should just shut my mouth and turn a blind eye to whatever you have said if i dont like it. Even if what you have written above is true in some places in india it doesnt show the whole country is like this. We are a developing nation you just have to give it some time. I’m sure people are learning to care (cities are becoming cleaner). But seriously speaking if you dont have good to say then dont say it. You have no right to judge and use harsh words like this. India is a beautiful country and i’m really happy to be a part of it. Where else can you see such good family values and bonds ? India is like a small bit of the entire world… You can find everything here ! all kinds of religions, all kinds of climates, all kinds of people and different colours and tastes… Please think before you tarnish the name of a country like this. Frankly speaking , you should be ashamed of yourself. I’m infact glad that you said you will never return here. We are quite happy without rude and shameful people like you visiting here. So there!

» Wally :
Aug 25, 2013

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the good and bad of India. I’ve spent a total of 2 years (on and off) and each time mumble “I’ll never go back”. Once when I refused to pay a very silly bribe I had to sign an “OFFICIAL” document stating I was banned from the country for life.
The wife and I are planning our next trip.

» Wally :
Aug 25, 2013

3 years is hardly enough time to even get started on the world. I backpacked for 12 years and have just scratched its knowledge. Of course i’m not trying to make a buck off my experiences.

thinkCHUA Reply:

@Wally, Are you then making a buck off my experiences? I am certainly not, but I hope you are! I welcome your difference of opinion, but the personal digs based on a blatantly false assumption isn’t. I assure you that the little ad on the left hand corner doesn’t even cover hosting and all links to products do not pay commission…all is our unbiased opinion…whether you like it or not ;-)

» purupurupurupuru :
Sep 6, 2013

Mini Vomit.

» Vikram :
Oct 2, 2013

You are quite correct in concluding that India is not a great place to visit. In fact, I would avoid the country, unless I was on business or had a specific cultural interest.

There are three points I can mention that can perhaps help explain why India has such basic issues.

1) India became democratic before having a social revolution. In the West, the current democratic state (with universal suffrage, free speech etc) was reached after centuries of turmoil and revolution. In India, democratic government is the top dressing on an undemocratic soil. These are not the words of a sober analyst evaluating India’s failures after 60 years. These are words from a speech given by the Chief Architect of the Indian Constitution while putting the document to vote. The adoption of the Indian Constitution started an experiment, democracy could result from social revolution, but can social revolution result from democracy ? History will be the judge.

2) India is an extraordinarily rural country (70%). In fact, the only countries more rural than India are Vietnam and countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This coupled with democratic elections means that the vast majority of the population does not care about access to modern methods of sanitation and garbage disposal. Whats cared about much more is connectivity to urban markets, irrigation and cheap agricultural inputs. And you will find that the Indian federal government cares more about these than anything else. No country has more irrigated land area than India (but agricultural productivity is still low due to low literacy and small land holdings).

3) The third point is perhaps the most easily addressed. India’s government is extraordinarily centralized, especially at the state level. The man running Mumbai is not the mayor of that city, but the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. And to become CM of Maharashtra, you need to appeal to rural voters in dry Marathwada who want canals, rail/road connectivity, and power, not a shining Mumbai. To test this hypothesis, compare Delhi (which is its own state), and hence no rural vote, to Mumbai. Delhi has a modern metro system, a world class airport and decent roads. It is also said to be cleaner than other Indian cities. Unfortunately it is smack in the middle of North-West India, which has been a region that has historically emphasized martial pride, with all the attendant attitudes regarding women and general aggression. In addition it has witnessed explosive population growth due to the weak economy elsewhere in North India (between 1950 and 2010 Delhi’s population increased more than 10 times). If the population mix becomes less martial and growth moderates, it wont be a bad city to live in I think.

» vivek :
Oct 16, 2013


Oh puhleeze! Stop making excuses! The “we were colonized for centuries so it will take us centuries to become civilized” argument is so old that its marrow has dried up inside. South Korea was largely rural and impoverished like India 50 years ago, and they were a war-torn country. They pulled themselves up, but even more importantly, they realized the importance of cleanliness. Being dirty cannot be excused with the “colonized” ploy. Read the article again: the problem is the dirt and filth, which you find even in the most “exclusive” areas. It is a failing genetically bred into Indians, of whom I unfortunately am one, although I do my bit to keep my surroundings clean. Trying to repair the gene, you might say.

» human :
Nov 3, 2013

Indians from india are selfish, thieves, con-artists, rapist, stupid, inconsiderate, ill mannered, irresponsible, smelly cunts.

» Manan :
Jan 6, 2014

I am from India and might even agree to some points that are raised here but to be honest this is all exaggerated. Maybe the writer has been to only a part of the country and has judged or assumed the rest of it to be the same. With an article like this, it’s very obvious that the writer just “traveled” around India and actually didn’t see anything. India is not what it looks like from the outside. When you say people don’t care, compare a common man of India to one abroad and you’ll get your answers. A foreigner in India is more likely to be welcomed than anywhere else in the world. Respect towards people and the love towards their family is the highlight. I request the writer to spend an year in India and actually live life here and then read this article and comment in the same space. The result will be hilarious.

» Nigel :
Jan 19, 2014

All of India’s problems can be summarized by one word: Hinduism. The religion suppresses poor and downtrodden and glorifies corruption: the means are justified by the ends. India needs Christ desperately if it has to become a civilized country: more missionaries should come from everywhere to convert not only the poor and downtrodden masses but also well-off intellectuals, educated students etc. The US, UK and Canada can put more pressure on Indian government to promote Christian values in mainstream Indian society. I would suggest a Presbyterian/Baptist/Lutheral Protestant style missionary activity rather than Roman Catholicism which has produced failed states like Philippines, Latin America and much of Africa. Indians really need to turn their back on paganism and heathen superstitions if they want to turn their country into something civilized.

thinkCHUA Reply:

I couldn’t disagree more. As one who has traveled the world I’ve seen that no religion is the answer, especially if sent from the outside. The countries you believe “can put more pressure on Indian government to promote Christian values” are open democracies which can neither pressure their own citizens nor others’ citizens towards one religion or another.

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» Bishwambhar Sen :
Aug 22, 2014

Dear TthinkCHUA,
After reading the entire article I’m literally speechless. I could’ve been an arrogant person and chosen to defend my country even though I knew in my heart your facts were spot on. But I’m not that person. I admit and accept everything that you’ve written. In fact it’s an eye opener to all of us Indians. I’m greatly disappointed that you were disappointed. I can only assure you of one thing that the next time you visit India, if at all you choose to, give me a call and I shall personally ensure that your trip goes smooth. But yes, we do need to change and the change has to come from within. We can’t be oblivious to our own problems anymore. I can speak for myself and I can say that I’m willing to do so, but I can’t speak for the rest of us. I hope and believe someday you’ll visit India again and update this article to reflect a better India. However, I would also like to mention that I’ve never been to china and I hope that China doesn’t have any of these negative features. Thanks for giving us a message and an impetus to change the system. I don’t know when it’ll happen. But the day it happens, I believe you’ll be here again.

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» Archana :
Nov 20, 2014

She says NEVER visit again means she do not think it will improve EVER

Things are changing. If you are so much negative about India, bye bye.

» Doug Wallen :
Nov 22, 2014

My wife and I (both Americans from the west coast) have been to India three times for more than 2 months at a time. We travel alone or sometimes with a driver. We travel to small towns and some smaller cities. We are there for the culture, art, and some business, and some rest from work in the US.
It has always been difficult to come back home from India, because the warmth and kindness of the people make us feel so good, and it is strikingly different than relationships in America. We have experienced no corruption, bribery or coercion.
Although there is poverty in the large cities (as it is in America, too) it appears less so in the smaller concentrations of the population, especially in the rural areas where people are very friendly and welcoming and they appear truly happy.
I agree that life could be better in India, but it could be better just about everywhere else, too, and for the same reasons.
Next time you travel away from home, try to drop all your expectations, they will only bring your mood down.

» Elaine Brown :
Nov 23, 2014

I have read with interest your article. I agree with everything you have said. I just returned from a two week trip in this hideous Country. I would never return. Even though I am sure that there are many more things to see and do than i saw in two weeks, I never again want to see children with removed limbs, hands, feet ‘performing’ for money, only to be given to beggar masters. I could not believe the cruelty to animals … cows left foraging for garbage and starved cows lying dead in the streets. The garbage everywhere, the lack of sanitation, the poverty and seeing families feeding their babies in makeshift shelters on traffic islands. I could go on and on. I was appalled and I will never go back.

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About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.


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