- Posted August 22, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Speaking up about sexual violence
On why Indians stare
(Note: This is not about why Indian men stare at women - it is about why Indians stare, particularly at foreigners, irrespective of their gender)
Though the identity of India and Indians has existed for a long time in history, the country of India has existed only for the last 67 years. Before that the region was comprised of princely states and kingdoms. Added to that patchwork, the region has always seen a presence of outsiders in various forms - businessmen, traders, artists, scholar, travelers, invaders. Arguably, the most impactful of this set of outsiders have been invaders - among these the most recent were the European inperialists. European nations of all sizes, languages and cunning set sail in their ships and arrived on shores of rich and fertile Indian region. The French were there, so were the Spanish, and the Dutch and the Portuguese and of course the Imperialistic Britons. The region was under the deathgrip of these rulers who plundered the land and people of wealth untold (not just material wealth, but they tore the soul of the land and its people to shreds) . They left behind a mess of a perfectly good and godly country - they deliberately divided the society and created and nurtured poverty. The British particularly created a mixture of apprehension, fear, suspicision and most importantly hatred towards the stereotypical ruler, the white imperialistic Briton. In spite of that, they also managed to create a sense of awe and wonder in the Indians of all things foreign - a typical Indian believes that all things Indian are naturally inferior to their foreign equivalents (and in many aspects that is rightly so, but that is not the point here). This has continued on 67 years after the formation of the country of India and its freedom. Many events of the recent past and the growing frustration among Indians that their true potential has been too slow to unfold, have only led to the exacerbation of this condition.
Well, so where am I going with all this? Even in todays' India - inspite of all its modern outlook, fast paced growth, burgeoning globalization and its nouveau riche and pseudo intellectuals - a foreigner roaming the streets of India, is an object of attention, mainly from the points of view of the deep rooted perceptions of foreigners that I listed above. There are other factors that do play a role - some people probably see an easy and gullible source of quick money, for example. Please note that I am not talking about the personality or behavior of any particular individual or group of individuals here, but the tendency of the average population. Indians stare at foreigners - who is this person, where did she/he come from, what is that land like and probably with a million other questions, thoughts and images flashing through their brains as they do so. I guess it all ends with 'what do they want to do here'? Again I reiterate that I am not talking about the personality or behavior of any particular individual or group of individuals here, but the tendency of the average population. These may not be the exact questions or thoughts in such a clear and well-formed way. The thoughts are probably very hazy, but the bottom line is that Indians will stare, questioningly - what do you want from us? Indians stare. They will stare until they assure themselves that they are on par with the rest of the world. They will stare at you until they assure themselves that no one will come from the outside and rule their country again. They will stare at you if it is the last thing they can ever do.
I guess if you were ruled by someone for well over 2 centuries (if not more), you would know.