shiv wrote:So you are saying that Indians who go abroad need to learn how to eat with a fork and knife,smell different and learn the behavior expected of them before they go.
A reasonable visitor, PR and/or immigrant would learn the social norms of the host society and try to adapt to them *as long as they don't violate his own sense of self
*. If they do, there is a deeper problem, a person should not be going to societies he cannot adapt to or accept.
Within India itself there is such a large range of behaviours that I have not found palatable. Just take norms of personal body odor. I am sorry to say, some Indians do stink. Some very strongly. Taking regular showers, using proper methods of cleaning, using proper underarms deoderants etc are important. These things are needed, otherwise we suffocate each other our body smells. I certainly do not look forward to smelling some elses body odors. Many Indians fart openly. Some fart quietly in confined spaces. I find it highly offensive & unbearable. In most parts of India, males casually are scatching their balls in public, or are taking boogers out, or stuffing fingers in theri ears. I see no merit in these types of public behaviour. Many Indians neither shave on a regular basis, some wear crumpled dirty clothes. (Many europeans nations too have an atrocious sense of personal hygine.)
These have nothing to do with race-based/ethnicity-based bigotry. To blame the host society for not accepting this kind of behaviour is unreasonable & unproductive.
Alien foods can nauseate people not accustomed to them. I get nauseated when I go to Chinese people's homes and smell their cooking. I have seen gutters smell better. It would certainly be sensible for them to be sensitive to this and not force co-workers to scamper when heating their foods in microwaves. There is no dhimmitude or humliation in accepting this norm. It is rigid & unreasonable not to do so.
It is considered a good gesture to understand local sensitivies. As a matter of fact, it applies to within Inda as well. India is a vast country, with more varaitions than whole continents put together. A few years ago I almost went to live in Bangalore. I reaearched the so-called backlash against North Indians in Bangalore, and decided that one of the first things I would do when/if I land there is to learn fluent Kannad. I will become part of the local culture & seek to enhance it, rather than fight to force them to accept my own on them. (Unfortunately, I did not end up going there.)
I lived in the Gangetic Belt in north India, I can speak hindi more fluent than the natives there. I went and worshipped with them, cussed like them, and talked like them. I did this not by compormising my self or any of my own identity, but by accepting the local culture. As a reward, I got tremendous acceptance & love and I never ever faced any snide comments. When you see a Sardar Ji converse in fluent Marathi in Pune, or shudh Bangla in Kokatta, or fluent Tamil it reduces the friction, maybe even eliminates it. I am sorry to say that the bulk of local Indian migrants from cetain states migrate to other states and even while staying there for decades do not bother to speak the local language. That is not smart, IMHO. The backlash you see against them should not be unexpected.
May I ask Surinder, how many parents of Indians abroad conform to these norms and how are they protected when they do not conform? There must be a double standard for some. May I also point out that you are speaking of "curteous behavior" and "proper" public manners. Could I ask you to explain what that means and how you would perhaps advise a friend to educate his parents who are getting old and need to go and live abroad with him?
That is difficult: how do you make parents (who are presumably older & more set in their ways) to change. I don't have an easy answer. But the main thing is that there are legitimate grouses a host society has, and there is bigotry. One must not confuse the two. Making adjustments to my behaviour without compromising my identity is the crux. Being defensive & having an inferiority complex will only make even legitimate compromises seem like capitulation.
PS: The same holds for foreigners coming to India. As an example: Their easy familiarity with the opposite gender needs to be curtailed in India. Their clothing in conservative parts of India needs to take local customs into mind. Nothing unjustified in that either.