Indians are among the politest people in the world, coming from a four-thousand-year-old civilisation. How come others consider us as rude?
The question cropped in my mind when I read a news report about a Romanian Mayor calling an Indian Minister who was overseeing evacuation of Indian students from Ukraine arrogant and rude. Was the Minister arrogant or rude? Surely Not!
Most Indians do not undergo any vocal musical training at school, unlike in North America. They do not have to do presentations while at school. Hence most Indian kids end up with only volume control. I too have a similar problem in that I cannot modulate my pitch and tone. To enunciate or to put across a point, I tend to raise my volume and it becomes offensive to a Canadian listener. Some have told me off that I am rude. With practice and help from our children, I have improved a lot. Am I perfect in this regard? An affirmative No!
All Indian immigrants in Canada do not sound rude or arrogant, but the candidates I have interviewed recently, I am forced to change my opinion. These candidates give off an arrogant vibe and an arrogant look. They pad up their resumes to over a page with mostly redundant achievements and in some cases family lineage. They act as if they know it all, have achieved all and are ready to join the workforce. They blow their trumpets. Their claims and lies fall shattered when they are asked to handle a real situation or a process.
The way one is greeted, business processed, merchandise dispensed at the store or on the drive-through in Canada, it involves exchanging a few pleasantries. The conversation by the sales associate involves lot of those ‘magic words’ like please, thank you, have a nice day, etc. Driving through a coffee outlet, I could often make out the nationality of the associate from their accent coupled with the absence of those magic words. They do sound impolite and rude by Canadian standards.
Many Indian immigrants land with a false superiority or prestige. It is all because of the social-media propaganda that all of NASA’s scientists are Indians; Silicon Valley companies are being run by Indians; all doctors in America are Indians; Indians are doing very well in USA and Canada; and so on. Sorry, but it isn’t the truth!
Another opinion is that Americans or Canadians do not study and that it is all Indian students in universities, and they are the toppers. Look at the award lists or achievers list of any North American universities and you will realise the truth.
Next in line is the belief that North Americans are dumb. You must be right!!! That is why every time you switch on a computer or a cellphone or a tablet, look at the company which developed the software and that’s why they are the pioneers of modern technology and medical research.
Indians have only heard of a few hardworking and intelligent Indians in India or outside India. Other countries too have the same percentage of hardworking and intelligent people. The political/ religious leaders pepper their discourses with some history, some mythology, some twisted facts etc. This leaves an impression in the mind of the youth that Indians are the best and have all the solutions for all the problems the world faces today. This has made the youth less tolerant to the other religions/ castes/ creeds. This makes the youth less accepting of others, their viewpoints, their beliefs, and their cultures. A sure recipe to disaster!!
Various debates on national television are a clear indication of the arrogance of the anchors and the participants. Many foreign panelists in such discussions have pointed it out (I too feel the same.) These anchors and participants (some Veterans too) have indoctrinated the Indian youth to believe that the rude and arrogant way they put across their viewpoint is an acceptable one. This further adds to the rudeness and arrogance of the educated Indians without they themselves realising it.
Various propaganda or false information passed on to the Indian youth on social media have influenced their minds. Most youth do not read, but forward whatever they receive to others, believing them to be true. Many adults (including Veterans) too engage in such acts to show their presence on social media by proving that they are ‘Virtually Alive.’ When a Veteran or someone a youth respects forwards a message, they lap it up as true and forward it to their friends without any analysis. Lack of reading, analysis and opinion forming among university students make them narrow-minded. Thus, they become non-creative, lacking original ideas. Look at any Indian social-media groups – it is all about Forwards with hardly any Original work or opinions.
Many youths in Canada (including our children) hardly make any comments or post photos/ videos on social media. On inquiry they said that they do not want their prospective employer to reject them for their social media posts. They do not have friends too who post offensive or arrogant material because it should not surface during a background check. Our son Nikhil did not want his posts to haunt him later when he gets into Canadian politics.
Many North American students take up part time jobs during their high school onward. They work in restaurants, swimming pools, gyms, libraries etc. They must volunteer in community activities as part of the requirement for high school graduation. This exposes them to difficult situations where they observe or participate in customer management. This trains them about what not to speak and how to put across one’s concerns in a polite and civilised manner.
Politeness must be inculcated in children, and it must begin at home. Parents must set an example, especially when facing a difficult situation.
Kindness and politeness are not overrated at all. They’re underused. – Tommy Lee Jones – American actor and film director.
Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot. – Clarence Thomas – US Supreme Court Judge