When Peter Sellers starred as an inept Indian in Hollywood in the The Party in 1968, censors Bombay and politicians in Delhi wanted to ban the movie for making fun of Indians. The producers persisted partly by explaining how the film actually mocked Hollywood more and I got to see it as during High School As an India specialist in 21st Century America, I caution my clients that Indians are often thin skinned (don’t gripe about the traffic, cows on the road, noise and chaos, even though Indians will complain about some or all of this).
It seems that 22 years of economic liberalization has started to change some attitudes in India. See this intriguing piece by Seema Goswami in last week’s Hindustan Times, on the themes that the new, resurgent India is confident enough not to care about those who take pot-shots at her.
What this means for you
Not much, not yet. I am not going to recommend that those new to India behave any differently than I have recommended before. But perhaps thos who are long term expats can start adjusting their attitude. Turn up your nose a bit when the guy behind you won’t stop honking. let me know how your colleagues react :).