Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.
Has there ever been worse advice given to tourists than the lines below, from the article ‘Dealing With Strangers in India’ in bharatonline’s India Travel Tips Section?
Usually, foreigners are subjected to groping by particularly the Indian men. It is harmless. Just ignore such people and enjoy your trip. Avoid any sort of confrontation, and totally drop the idea of a physical altercation. Indians frown upon the idea of violence and physical fighting is usually a last resort.
This makes groping out to be almost a cultural characteristic, like eating with your hands. I’d speculate that it was either written by an idiot foreigner with a sub-30 IQ, or an Indian molester. Leaving that aside, let me just say that if you are a tourist, anywhere, you should take the opposite attitude. Do not tolerate groping; kick the ass of the person who gropes. The chances are that if you challenge a groper, the other locals will take your side, not his. And in the rare event that it looks likely that they might take his side, you should just get the hell out of there, or find the nearest cop. (Unless the cop is groping, in which case you’re having a spectacularly bad summer.)
Under no circumstances should you simply tolerate it. And if you feel like giving him a kick in the nuts, go right ahead. We have a billion people already in this country, one less procreator is no loss.
If you live in India, and are fed up of such harassment, and you haven’t yet heard of the Blank Noise Project, do check them out. Much worthiness.
(Link via email from Sunil Krishnan.)
Update (April 7): Chandni Parekh, a reader of this blog, quoted from and posted a link to this post on a forum at Karmayog. Mid Day picked up the story, called the company that runs that travel website, and they promptly removed those WTF lines. A good bit of initiative by the reporter.
But why, Hemal Ashar, have you quoted from my post and attributed it to “an outraged reader” at Karmayog? Does the basic journalistic value of attributing a quote correctly not matter to your publication?
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