Travel agencies around the world make India out to be nothing more than a jungle, a vicious amalgamation of filth, mystery, over-population and poverty. Government agencies call India a third-world country, now a second-world country.
It is dangerous, volatile, violent and uncivil, a place of unrest and turmoil, where people look to pick a fight for no reason. According to some, sages, saints, mystics, elephants and tribal warriors roam the streets. India is also marketed as a spiritual destination, somewhere to go to if you want to attain the highest level of spirituality, nirvana.
In the western world, there exists this biased, prejudiced view of a land far, far, away, tucked in the eastern corners of the globe. Most people forget that India is one of the world’s fastest growing economic superpowers. Since gaining independence from the British Empire on Aug. 15, 1947, India has grown to a position of power in about 60 years.
India is moving beyond the old days of poverty, which were inflicted upon it not by choice, but by the subjugation of the British. Replaced by cars and motorbikes, elephants no longer roam the streets. The big cities around the country boast some of the world’s architectural masterpieces, both ancient and modern.
Unlike most countries that are bilingual or trilingual at most, India is a country that boasts more than 120 languages. Every state in the country is a land of value in itself, every religion respected, every person appreciated.
If I had a penny for every time someone asked me if elephants walk the streets of India, or if I’ve met Mahatma Gandhi, who passed away 41 years before I was born, I would be a rich man.