Why do Indians Sound So Arrogant?

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 a 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 the 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 suffers 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 group – 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 

Four-Year Undergraduate Programme

gggEducation in Canada aims at developing all-rounded personality of a student.  Graduation is the stepping stone to the employment market.   Why does Canada/USA have four year graduation courses? After analysing the curricula our daughter and her friends went through for  graduation in life sciences in Canada, my observations are as given below.

Finances.   The students being over 18 years of age want to be financially independent and do not want to depend on their parents. All of the students I met (including our daughter) had taken student loans to pay for their education. As they were paying for it with their own money, they wanted each and every penny to be counted, resulting in no bunking or whiling away time in the class – every minute had been paid for by them (not by the parents).

Part-Time Work.   Most students undertook part-time work (our daughter taught in the tuition centre for 10 hours a week) to pay for their other expenses that is not met from the student loans. Studies have proven that the students who take up part-time jobs are more dedicated to their studies, better at time management and outperform the students who do not take up part-time jobs.

Every Academic Year is Three Semesters Effectively.   The academic year commences in September with the first semester and the second semesters beginning in January and ending by April. The period between May to August may be called  summer vacation, but is used up to complete any particular requisite course(s) which could not be taken during the two semesters or pursue a course of interest. Students use this time to volunteer both within and outside the country or join a research team, or work for four months to make money and also to gain experience. Many employers like the government, city, private institutions that conduct summer camps, etc, earmark jobs for the university students. They work as swimming instructors, life guards, kids’ camp guides, area cleaners, gardeners,  etc.

Course Content.   I was flabbergasted to see our daughter taking Bollywood Music and Prem Chand Kahaniya as optional subjects in the second and third year as part of a life science course. I am sure no Indian Universities would be offering such subjects. Here the students have a variety of courses to choose from and there are different pre-requisites for post graduation in different universities.

Assignments.   Assignments typically consist of 15- 20 % of the total grade. One cannot  get away by copying assignment from friends.  Plagiarism is very serious and may even result in failing the course. Original works and ideas are well rewarded. Assignments are given every week or at least once every 15 days and are mostly corrected by the Teaching Assistants (TAs) of the professor. TA is generally a research student under that professor and the TA makes some money by assisting the professor.

Tests.   There are anywhere from two to four tests in a semester. The midterm tests range from 25 to 40 % each. The weightage for the tests are about 50 – 80% depending on the professor. The key point is you do not lose all your points if you miss your final. So, if you get sick or have issues with some chapters, you are not penalised for that. The risk is evenly distributed. The catch is, you are forced to study all through the semester because you have tests every 4 to 6 weeks depending on number of tests.  Some tests are comprehensive, but most are only part of the text. It all depends on the professor. The key thing is, Professor who teaches the class dictates the rules of tests and he is a God for the students.

Quizzes:   The quizzes are quite important and are sometimes online and sometime they are pop-quizzes or surprise quizzes in class. The weightage for quizzes can be from 5 – 20 %. So, you have to be prepared every time with previous class material.

Group Projects and Individual Projects.     They can be from 20 – 40% of the grade. The goal is that the professor wants the students to apply what they learned in the class. There are two types of projects. Group projects as name says, will be between 2 – 5 people. Individual projects, you only work on it. In either case, you end up giving final presentation in the class. The presentation skills are developed in the students from high school onward and they are well trained in executing group and individual projects.

Term Papers.   Some classes do not have anything other than writing papers after extensive research. The research paper has to be based on a given format with full citations. One will have to follow the APA or any other similar format as per the university policy (it starts from High School here). For arts and literature classes, there will not be any exams like mid terms and they usually have two or three papers to write during semester.

Class Participation.   There is about 5 – 15 % of marks for class participation. The students have to actively participate in discussions and hence have to be fully prepared for each class. The TAs sitting behind the class do the marking and the professor will award the final marks.

Co-op. This is where the industry and the academic institution come together to offer the students a chance to work in the industry during graduation. In some universities it is mandatory for all students to take up co-op assignments.  This ensures that education remains at par with the developments in the  industry.  The curriculum aims to provide the students exposure of actual industrial and business processes. Students’ projects are mostly related to real problems identified with the industry/ business.

Recommendations.  For applying for any job, even part-time or for a post graduate course, it is mandatory to provide recommendations of two to three professors. In case you are not well known to them, the professor would end up saying that he/she is ‘not comfortable’ giving the recommendations. It is not all that easy to ‘buy’ these recommendations.

The economic progress of a country is strongly linked with the quality of education.  The Canadian education system  from school level onward undertake periodic review of the curriculum and subject content to ensure that they are up to date and not outmoded or obsolete.  They also ensure that the system effectively fulfills the requirements of the country in creating valuable citizens for the future. Norms and standards of education are set up so as to educate the students with appropriate skills suitable for a rapidly changing economic scenario.

We would always get an education system we deserve and not what we desire.