Do Indian culture and personal values still exist in India?

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#1 Dec 31st, 2011, 00:44
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  • shodashi x is offline
#1
...We are a Indian/british - german family evaluating pros and cons of moving to/ living for good in India. We recently had a daughter and strongly feel that Indian personal values (humility, compassion, respect, love,) are difficult to find in a western society.
We stand on cross-roads where we have a choice of moving to UK, Germany or India.

* *Our primary reasons for the thought of moving to India are:
+ personal values = majority of Indians are vegetarian and spiritual/ religious. For us being * * * * **vegetarian and spiritual people, India can potentially offer a lot.

+ education system = the private school education system in India has been great.*

+ sense of belonging = Indians (well, for their respective regions) have a strong sense of *belonging. For our mixed race daughter, we are hoping to give a strong roots/ sense of belonging in India.

+ quality of life = maids, etc

+ economy = at the moment the Indian economy is booming and seems to have a great potential in future.


***Cons of moving to India:
+ population
+ pollution
+ corruption*
+ quality of life = safety, security, equality of women in society of day-to-day basis,not*genuine
+ professional competition

.....and here it is, summar summarum
I would like to welcome your views and advice on pros and cons of moving to India in this situation? Perhaps someone from Indian origin who has lived abroad for several years and moved back to India with family could share their feelings, experience and views.

Thank you all
Sho Ra Na
#2 Dec 31st, 2011, 01:35
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#2
Here's just a few feelings from a Brit who, having known India for a mere 15 years, moved to India about seven years ago and married an Indian woman. It has always been my management technique to take a good idea and see if it can be broken, If it survives, then it really is a good idea. So, I may concentrate on the negative!

I think you need to scratch the surface of some of those things. Spirituality, for instance, is a moot point. India has a vast amount of superstition, and a huge amount of religion. It is easy to mistake that for spirituality. Of course, India has spiritual people, but so does everywhere else, and probably just as large a proportion. Does vegetarianism make someone a better person? OK, I know some that claim that it does, but, even if that is true, which is likely to be the "better" person because of it? The Indian, who is a veggie because that is what the family has always eaten and always will eat? Or the European, who has thought through various issues, faced concerns of compassion, and made a life-changing decision? Which might you find throwing a stone at a dog?

I have no intention of just being negative about India: I have chosen to live here. In my experience, it takes around a year for the less real aspects of our thoughts, feelings and attitudes towards India to start wearing off, and for us to start getting a more warts-and-all impression of the place and people. If you can still want to be here after that, it may well be the place for you. One "fast-lane" way to find out a lot about India-behind-the-smiles is to drive here. That is an eye-opener, and may, alone, change a lot of your ideas about Indian "values!"


I can, being the contrary person I am, throw some positives at your cons!

Population --- Depending on where and how you live, it is not that you feel there are 1-billion people on your doorstep. I can compare certain shopping areas, on their ordinary days, to Central London the weekend before Christmas --- but it is not all like that. You may live in a tree-lined suburb. Apart from commuting, and traffic stress, India's huge population may not strike you at all from day to day.

Pollution --- Yes, it is probably going to be more, but again, where you live will make a huge difference. Where I live is bad, in this respect.

Corruption --- May drive you crazy in principle. The news reports in the newspapers may have you exclaiming expletives. In practice (although it is one of India's curses) how often will you meet it? Who knows... a few months in, you might find yourself slipping a hundred Rs to a policeman for a traffic offence!

quality of life --- You are, I imagine, going to be fairly well off. You are going to be living in a decent area. I'm sure you do not think that crime doesn't exist in India; yes, of course it does --- but, on the whole, I can say that I feel safer here than I did in London, even thought I do not live in a "posh" area.

The subheading, there, of equality of women in society, probably needs a whole thread, or even a whole site! I wonder if you might not be surprised how much things have changed in recent years.
#3 Dec 31st, 2011, 05:23
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#3
'India' as a country is an invention of the British. There is no such thing as a 'Hindu' as it was an identifier of people who lived past Sapta 'Sindhu'(Hapta Hindu in Farsi) or the 7 rivers east of Persia. South Asias culture is almost totally lost. Nothing genuine exists today. You'll find more of 'Indias' heritage at the museums in london or on the queens head! What's happening in Iraq today happened to India centuries ago.

'India' today is nothing close to what it was prior to the arrival of colonialists. All the romantic notions are purely cerebral and imaginary. The country is an unholy mess and totally unspiritual - not of its own doing though.

But to answer your question - yes, foreigners(western) may find it enchanting and a lovely place to live in. Many obsequious manservants to help you out.
#4 Dec 31st, 2011, 05:33
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#4
Since I'm not of Indian origin & have only been to India as a tourist (many times over 35 years), I can't speak to living there as Nick has done.

However, I do take exception to the idea that India has more humility, compassion, love, etc. than the West, that is total hogwash. Everywhere in the world has horrible people & impressive people worth admiring and India has some really awful people who can walk right on by all levels of suffering by humans and animals. I wouldn't go there to find a kinder gentler life, that's for sure.

I would recommend living there for a year & see how it goes. The romantic notions might fade or you may discover that life there is wonderful for you. It certainly depends on where you live. If you want a high class lifestyle at a cheaper price than in the West, India is a good place. You can isolate yourself most anywhere in the world with a gated community & a private school, that's what the people with money do here in the U.S.--the top 1% who have all the money, that is. (a bit of hyperbole to make a point).

I really don't think we can answer your question. You'd have to go live there to find out how it suits you. It wouldn't suit me which is why just visiting is fine. There are many who feel quite the opposite & they'll probably jump in to comment!
#5 Dec 31st, 2011, 06:52
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#5
Quote:
+ personal values = majority of Indians are vegetarian and spiritual/ religious. For us being * * * * **vegetarian and spiritual people, India can potentially offer a lot.

+ education system = the private school education system in India has been great.*

+ sense of belonging = Indians (well, for their respective regions) have a strong sense of *belonging. For our mixed race daughter, we are hoping to give a strong roots/ sense of belonging in India.
#1 Hogwash & illusion. Vegetarian is often associated with a desire to make social advancement. My neice adores designer clothing, you wouldn't catch her in anything modest & humble. However, it doesn't matter since the dream is illusary. She is a fine human being with the most beautiful twin daughters in the world (not that I am biased) and married to a fine fellow I like a lot (has rich family not that I care). The reality doesn't fit the dream. But, I enjoy the reality.

#2 Compared to the US it does have good schools. The other side is that it is bitterly competitive. To get into a good school involves a considerable ordeal. I recall a friend's family where the child didn't make the cut into the desired pre-school! The mother failed the interview. A side note is that there is a fair amount of drug usage in more elite colleges.There are problems all over...

#3, A national sense of belonging or a regional, sectarian, caste sense of belonging. I asked a question of Carlos Fuentes once about what anglos could learn from Mexico. He said a sense of family. But, then he said Mexico could learn a sense of public loyalty. India is closer to Mexico than to the pattern of the Estados Unidos..

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#6 Dec 31st, 2011, 09:32
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  • capt_mahajan is offline
#6
To the OP, pardon me, but I think you have tinted glasses on, and are setting yourself up for disappointment. Paraphrasing what edwardseco says in that excellent post, the reality will not fit the dream.

Quote:
Do Indian culture and personal values still exist in India?
Yes, to the same extent that they exist anywhere else.

Quote:
strongly feel that Indian personal values (humility, compassion, respect, love,…) are difficult to find in a western society.
I could not disagree more. Frankly, I see some of those values more in the West than in India

Quote:
majority of Indians are vegetarian and spiritual/ religious
Ignoring the vegetarianism, majority of Indians may be fond of the trappings of religion. That is not spirituality. And although India may be a better place to seek spirituality, most Indians are not spiritual, in my view.
Quote:

the private school education system in India has been great
I disagree. The majority of Indian private schools are not producing much that is really worthwhile. But there are threads on this on this forum.


Quote:
at the moment the Indian economy is booming and seems to have a great potential in future.
At the moment, it isn't. And the forseaable future will be far rosier on paper than in reality.




And, absolutely agree with camelgirl- of course, a lot of your reality/travails will depend on where in India

Quote:
I would recommend living there for a year & see how it goes
.
This is computer generated drivel. No signature is required.
#7 Dec 31st, 2011, 10:24
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#7
You tell me what what culture is, and I will give you the semiotics of India
#8 Dec 31st, 2011, 10:35
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Originally Posted by camelgirl View Post I would recommend living there for a year & see how it goes. The romantic notions might fade or you may discover that life there is wonderful for you. It certainly depends on where you live. If you want a high class lifestyle at a cheaper price than in the West, India is a good place. You can isolate yourself most anywhere in the world with a gated community & a private school, that's what the people with money do here in the U.S.--the top 1% who have all the money, that is. (a bit of hyperbole to make a point).

I really don't think we can answer your question. You'd have to go live there to find out how it suits you.
It is the pithy core, is it not ? Living comfortably while dressing it in ethereal terms.

You want a two garage, and a backyard; certainly you gotta be rich 1% to get it in UWS /UES, or move to Joisey, or Iowa, or Bozeman. People who could not imagine ever, ever lifting their little pinky to do dishes or dirty laundry in India, won't move to Chelsea**, and conversely people who wanna vicariously live a life of maids and drivers on a 3/4 quartile, yearn to move to countries where such labor is affordable.

[** And if they do move, they are miserable since they are relegated to doing household chores that the maids and the untouchables did]
#9 Dec 31st, 2011, 11:17
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#9
Let us hear the pros and cons, according to you, of UK and Germany too. Then we'll be better positioned to advise you.
#10 Dec 31st, 2011, 12:19
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#10
If you have $, lots of $, then there is no place like America. You can get all the amenities as fast as you can lift a phone. The very best service, $ does all the heavy lifting.The following poem expresses the idea somewhat.

America for Me by Henry Van Dyke

'Tis fine to see the Old World and travel up and down
Among the famous palaces and cities of renown,
To admire the crumblyh castles and the statues and kings
But now I think I've had enough of antiquated things.

So it's home again, and home again, America for me!
My heart is turning home again and there I long to be,
In the land of youth and freedom, beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.

Oh, London is a man's town, there's power in the air;
And Paris is a woman's town, with flowers in her hair;
And it's sweet to dream in Venice, and it's great to study Rome;
But when it comes to living there is no place like home.

I like the German fir-woods in green battalions drilled;
I like the gardens of Versailles with flashing foutains filled;
But, oh, to take your had, my dear, and ramble for a day
In the friendly western woodland where Nature has her sway!

I know that Europe's wonderful, yet something seems to lack!
The Past is too much with her, and the people looking back.
But the glory of the Present is to make the Future free--
We love our land for what she is and what she is to be.

Oh, it's home again, and home again, America for me!
I want a ship that's westward bound to plough the rolling sea,
To the blessed Land of Room Enough, beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.
#11 Dec 31st, 2011, 12:39
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by professorm View Post If you have $, lots of $, then there is no place like America.
Or as the Murdoch family proved, no place like UK. Where you make, or break governments
#12 Dec 31st, 2011, 13:26
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#12
Please do not take it the wrong way, but given that one of you is supposed to be of Indian origin, I find it very surprising that you would hold such idealistic views about Indian society as you express here. Do you have family in India, and have you visited the country recently? Moving to another country / continent with your child is a big decision, I do not think you can make up your mind about moving to India 'for good' without spending some time there first. Also, it is a large country and climate / language / lifestyle can be completely different depending on where you live.

Just to refer to a few things you mention:

- If you expect the majority of Indians to be vegetarian / spiritual, and / or if you think that all vegetarian people are necessarily spiritual (especially in India), I think you are going to be bitterly disappointed - I say this as someone who is a 'pure vegetarian' and quite 'religious'. On the other hand, maybe you need to go through that realisation and disappointment, maybe it's going to become part of your own spiritual advancement. I just hope you will not be so disappointed as to be put off religion / spirituality for the rest of your lives.

- Education system: if you can afford private education in the UK, I think it's likely to be as good or better than private education in India; I do not know about Germany, but would be surprised if you could not find excellent private, or even government, schools in Germany. And the teaching style will be different; not sure if you would really be happy with the teaching style / discipline imposed in Indian schools. If you expect something very cuddly, artsy and Steiner-style, you are not likely to find it in India (unless you actually want to send your child to a Waldorf or Steiner etc. school, in which case you probably better move to Germany).

- Sense of belonging: you say your child is mixed race. In my experience (and I know some people do not like to hear that) Indians can be quite racist / intolerant towards foreigners, and your child might always be treated as a foreigner in India - she might develop a 'sense of belonging', but this might become a disadvantage as she realises that others treat her like an outsider. I have a friend who is half Indian, half European, who grew up in India with Hindi as his first language, but because he looks more European, people still treat him like a foreigner and try to overcharge him etc. on a daily basis; he gets particularly irritated when people compliment him on his Hindi and keep asking how he learnt it.

- Quality of life = maids: yes, but do you really want your child to grow up to see people around her working for very low pay, almost like slaves? This seems to go against what you want to achieve by moving to India, e.g. developing humility, compassion, respect, love etc. The very fact that middle class Indians are willing to employ people for a few thousand rupees (or even less) per month and make them live and work like slaves shows just how much humility, compassion, respect, love there is here... Sorry, I know all these things are here - just like in other countries - but there is also greed, exploitation etc. in equal measures.

- On the positive side, I think you should not be concerned about safety and women's position in India so much. I personally feel that India is mostly safer than the UK (I do not know about Germany because I never lived there), and middle class Indian women are usually very confident and have similar work and other opportunities as men, I think. There is some discimination against women in any society, that includes European countries, your daughter cannot really escape from that and she will have to develop strategies of dealing with it, whether in India or anywhere else.
'Enlightenment is not a matter of having answers, but a matter of having no questions.' (I.D. Garuda)
#13 Dec 31st, 2011, 15:01
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#13
Even if you have money, it is still difficult to get maids etc.

Land is very expensive, to build a house etc, and people (not me) prefer cash transactions when buying land.

Some of the negatives.
Lord, Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of those people I had to kill because they pissed me off.
#14 Dec 31st, 2011, 15:06
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#14
Quote:
You tell me what what culture is,
I remember this old quote: culture is what the butcher would do if he were a surgeon
#15 Dec 31st, 2011, 15:14
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#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHNLORD View Post Even if you have money, it is still difficult to get maids etc.
True of Kerala. It is one of the reasons that Mrs N refuses to move there. It is easier here.
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