How do Americans view India and Indian people in general?

I'm afraid that I don't know enough about what others think to give an informed answer, but I can tell you that my impression of India was always a positive one. It seemed romantic and exotic, and of course it's the world's largest democracy and has a common connection with the British Empire. And Mowgli and Gandhi were heroes of mine.

My contacts with Indians in the United States were also positive, and I had friends of Indian descent, one the nephew of the late Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the other the daughter of an Indian diplomat at the UN. I'm sure they influenced my impression of India as well.

I was also aware of course of high levels of poverty, the caste system, untouchables, child labor, etc. So poverty was part of the image, alongside elephants, tigers, and the Taj Mahal. I remember a family friend, an anthropologist who had lived there, remarking when I was a teenager to my father that he would not survive there - but that I would. And wondering why. But also one of my Indian friends telling me that I would love it, after I told her how much I had loved Egypt, and that on a Western income, one could live like a king. (This of course all being long ago, before India had reached its current state of development.)

And I liked the lilting accent and food as well.

So overall, I'd say that my impression was positive and probably somewhat romanticized and so tempered by time and knowledge.

Today, I see India as a great ancient civilization that, like China, is modernizing and will eventually retake its rightful place as one of the world's preeminent powers - and as a source of terrible technical support. :-)


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