Curious Chinese ask stereotypical questions about India; a smarty-pants answers them all
April 16, 2012Jing Gao12 Commentsbig bang theory, BRICs, Caste, Caste system in India, cross-cultural, cultural difference, democracy, ethnocentricity, Ganges, gao kao, gutter oil, heavenly kingdom, india, phoenix men, poverty, Rajiv Gandhi, slum, slumdog millionaire, social security, Sociology, stereotypes, The Big Bang Theory, tibet
The following content comes from a discussion thread in a forum in Baidu dedicated to topics related to CBS sit-com The Big Bang Theory. (A condensed version can be found here.)The author asserted that he spent 8 months in rural India and stayed with his Indian classmate, during which he did research for his thesis on India. In the first post he published on April 3, he said he is able to answer questions about India. Within the next two weeks, the thread received 12.4 million hits. So far, the thread contains 16,170 posts. We have hand-picked the most interesting and/or controversial Q&As, ranging from the caste system to democracy, from what Indian people eat to how they defecate, for translation.
Disclaimer: translation does not imply endorsement or disproval.
A: Don’t compare. You would think Chinese lead a very happy life after you go to India. The pariah and the poor, which accounted for the majority of the population, do not even get the basic social security to cover their medical care, food or education. Please note, I am talking about basics, the most basic basics. No electricity, no tap water. Landlords in the rural area generate electric power themselves. Nowadays, cell phone in rural India is more commonly seen then before. But there is no place for recharging the battery. They have to go to a charging station to pay for the recharging. That’s why Chinese-made knock-off cell phones are the most popular there.
A: Very very very very very very very very very serious. And this type of discrimination comes more from women than men. If a married woman in her 40s has only daughters and no son, she will be considered a jinx. Other women will shun her at first sight. There are just too many examples of preference for boys over girls. I can easily give a whole bunch of them.
A: Not in law. But in practice, it is common in the rural area. Landlords and aristocrats usually observe monogamy strictly, but usually better-off peasants love to have multiple wives (to increase labor force)
A: They probably don’t even know there is a country called China.
A: Yes, there is, a very rigid one.
A: I don’t major in political science, so I don’t know much about it. I did see an election. Basically, peasants don’t cast votes for themselves. They all have to listen to landlords and aristocrats, and vote for whomever they order them to vote for. So usually votes of an entire village are concentrated on a single candidate.
A: Okay, let me give you a hard-core answer: sometimes it is the male servant of my classmate.
A: Because restrooms there are really unsanitary. In the rural area, there is no flush toilet even in a landlord’s home (because there is no water supply.) So I didn’t even have the courage to go to the restroom. Then my classmate learned about it. So he sent his male servant to my room with a pot. After I was done with it, he wiped me with a warm towel.
A: Honestly, I felt very awkward at first. But men are sluggish. I even felt very comfortable after I got used to it. Intimacy between two men is defined as brotherhood and seldom gay.
A: Yes. Low-caste people do use hands. Some even scrape with wood chips.
A: Basically they copy everything from CNN. And India seems to have no correspondent stationed in countries other than the United States and Britain.
A: People of high castes, especially Brahmins, definitely regard fair skin as beautiful. Don’t know about peasants.
A: It actually won’t happen, as one’s caste can be told from one’s appearance.
A: India is a democratic society, but it doesn’t mean it is ruled by the people. India’s educational policy is that anyone can study, go to college and be a civil servant. Even inter-caste marriage is allowed. But in reality these are hard to achieve. A female parliamentary member is a pariah. But even she can’t marry one from the high caste. (In fact, her father is from the high caste and her mother is from the low caste, which makes her a pariah.)
A: I like its traditional architecture very much. The combination of traditional female clothing and modernity is also perfect. Talking about learning from India, I don’t think China needs to learn anything. Hypocritical democracy is nothing but a huge loincloth (fig leaf).
A: I major in sociology. My thesis was on modern feudal society. Rural India is an ideal place for my research. In urban India, there are too many tourists, and I was often mistaken for a Japanese. In the rural area, because my classmate is the biggest landlord in the region, all peasants respected me. His male servants would kneel down at my bedside when I was about to wake up, and dress me in socks and clothes after I woke up.
A: I did try to stop them from, say, kneeling down and dressing me in shoes. But then my classmate’s mother found out about it and reprimanded those male servants and even cut their pay. So I had to accept it, and gave them each 200 U.S. dollars. (Their monthly pay is 300 U.S. dollars, which is very high by Indian standard.) His mother even asked me to keep it a secret, saying that if my classmate’s father knew the guest was not well-served, he would definitely kick the servants out of the village as outcasts.
A: There is no segregation policy written in law. But people stand apart of their own accord. As for queuing, for example, for a sports game, the pricing system has already set people apart. People of low castes cannot board a first-class coach of an airplane or a train. I tried to communicate with pariahs. But many of them cannot speak the lingua franca of India, and communication is totally impossible. After learning that I went to villages of pariahs, my classmate’s mother ordered a female servant to wash my feet with milk and salt (milk is sacred, salt is for fending off evil spirits) and burn my shows….This is a picture I took secretly: One day, a peasant greeted the little brother of my classmate.
A: Indians think feet are dirty. Kissing one’s dirtiest place means absolutely loyalty to this person.
A: Pariahs are untouchable. Kissing feet doesn’t have to be done to people of higher castes. It is done to one’s lord and boss.
A: Women wear sari. Men must grow a beard.
A: They can in big cities. There are many WiFi hotspots in Mumbai. Internet connection doesn’t cost much, but it is terribly slow. It has improved a lot after Huawei enters the Indian market.
A: He cannot easily divorce his wife if she has not done anything wrong. Burning her to death is easier than divorcing her.
A: Women who remain unmarried after age 25, and women who marry foreigners, are all considered a shame and a family disgrace.
A: They are, if the patriarchs grant it, like sons of Sonia & Rajiv Gandhi.
A: Assam, which is very next to Tibet.
A: Curry, Curry, Curry.
A: I agree with the rest of your opinion. They do have very little physical strength, and fighting a war for them is very difficult. But in terms of the modernization process of India, the loss of these people as cheap labor force and food providers will be unimaginable. To a landlord’s family, hiring five male servants and five female servants only costs less than 1,000 U.S. dollars a month. But they definitely cannot survive if they lose the ten servants.
A: High-caste people: ‘Too conservative. Have a good nose (good sense of smell).’Low-caste people: ‘Too out-going. All of them are pretty, but good at Kung Fu. Had better not to mess with them.’
A: There is no relevant law. But in practice, the traditions are so dominant that no matter how rich you are, a pariah would be a pariah, and you still cannot sit in the first-class coach of an airplane. This is true.
A: The digestive system of Indians has definitely been upgraded. Even though Chinese have been armored with gutter oil to be impregnable do all kinds of poison, in the face of water from the Ganges, their combat power drops to only 5 (probably on a scale of 10).
A: I was once hit hard. I bought a bottle of peppermint drink, a local specialty. 30 minutes later, I began to have loose bowels. I received intravenous drips for the next three days…
A: I have never seen any electric appliance made in India… Chinese-made motorcycles and cellphones are very prevalent in India.
A: It is true in urban India. But the good thing about being a Brahmin is you never suffer from hunger. Temples ration out money and food every season. Brahmins in rural India are usually richer (than in urban India).
A: They can own hunting rifles. Cops are low-caste people. On the surface, there is no caste system in the army. On a different subject, in the Mumbai bombing attack, Indians rocked the world with their war on terrorism using bamboo sticks.
A: Indians are not that lazy, at least more hardworking than African black people. A peasant who owns a land can afford a TV. But many places do not have power supply. Movies are more popular than TV programs.
A: Liberty, equality, and fraternity, he loves them all, only when they are restricted to the same caste…
A: There is a public stereo radio in every village. They can afford artificial fertilizers and pesticides when growing crops because they are provided by their landlords.
A: There are some (phoenix men), but not many. The government has enforced compulsory education, but has achieved little effect. There are national aptitude tests, but universities have their own admission exams.
A: They do. People of low castes especially do.
A: You won’t get beaten, as long as you don’t give it to Indians.
A: He thinks India is better than China. In India, he can get a lot of services for free that cannot be even bought in China. But (he thinks that) Chinese economy is doing better than that of India; China has more food. He is willing to travel here from time to time.
A: I don’t agree with you. Right now, the standards of living in India are so low that 200 Indians’ consumption is about the same as one American’s. But if the population remains this big, and everyone uses more resources, India will surely become Africa in chaos caused by war, and it will not be alleviated for another 100 years.