Europe and it's 'knowledge' of India

It's amusing to watch 'washed out' rock bands tour India. What is even more amusing is the 'paeans' they sing on India and its unique identity. Steven Tyler's comment on 'Namaste', Indian spirituality', 'The Bodhi Tree'....made me wanna laugh out loud.

Brings us to an important point. The ignorance, the western world is beset with, about the real Indian way of life that markedly changes every few kilometers you travel, when in India.

S.N. Balagangadhara, in his thought provoking piece in the Outlook Magazine talks about Europe's lack of understanding of India.
Sample this.

'If what Europe knows about India resembles what it claims to know about the caste system, what exactly does Europe know about India or her culture? Not very much, I am afraid. Precisely at a time when, to survive in a ‘globalizing’ world, knowledge of other cultures and peoples is a necessity, it appears as though Europe knows very little about either of the two.

Perhaps, the absence of knowledge is felt most acutely by the Europeans who invest in India. They rediscover that they are not well-equipped to do business in India. They understand neither the culture, nor the role of cultural differences in management structures and organizations. The books and articles on "culture and management" are full only of platitudes; on top of that, the newest trend in anthropology tells us that the notions of "culture" and "cultural differences" are almost of no use in understanding people.'

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Niyati Priyam said…
I wonder what can be the reason for this... We Indians are spread across the globe since so long now..and if not all atleast 1/4th of them must be aware of "today's" India...why is it that India is still considered the "land of snake charmers" and "spirituals" and whatnott...
.....But then, I can see a change happening now in the attitude of the "western world" towards us...cheaper labor and more technical expertise is surely attracting them to this country, and if they wish to strive here, they might as well change their perceptions about the country they are residing in....

And then... well, It wont hurt Indian's to pay some attention to their culture too...
Ray Titus said…

'Perception' makes for a fascinating study. Sure, the West must for its own good, change its perception about India if they intend to thrive at business here.

I agree the same must be reciprocated by us too.

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