India Tourism Guidelines: For Which Era?

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I came to know about this new guideline for tourists in Rajasthan via India Mike discussion. The original story can be found at BBC news website at:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4474528.stm

I am quoting directly from the site below and you can find many more pearls of wisdom in the piece. The emphasis on ‘moral laxity’ in the last point below is mine! I could not help it.

  • “Men should never touch women in public, even to help a woman out of a car, unless the lady is very elderly or infirm
  • In Indian culture… men socialise with men, and women with women …
  • Drinking alcohol or smoking in public, no matter how innocent, are interpreted as a sign of moral laxity and are not acceptable.”

Well, I do not smoke and it would be stretching it a lot if I say I take alcohol, but there have been times when I am not averse of taking a glass in some restaurant or more frequently a sip from my husband’s, and I am guilty on every other count.

I often hold hands with my husband, heck I even put my hand around the waist of my two teenage nephews (who are six foot tall) and I hold hands even with my father occasionally.

I socialize with so many men. In fact, after my college is over (where I teach) five of us play table tennis. Four of them are men and I am the only woman. And now I am morally lax too because I do drink occasionally! It is another matter that wine is so expensive in these restaurants that I prefer to spend the money on a delicious bowl of soup, and please make it mushroom.

The incidents quoted in the story in Rajasthan are a bit stark (the lady walking nude must have been shocking) but the guidelines are hilarious! And I am guilty on every count.

Lily let that story not scare you on your trip to India, when I picked up my husband (who was away for 15 days on some office work in London) from the airport this Saturday, I did put my hands around him (OK briefly), and no one there gave a damn.

I wonder if the people who wrote the guidelines ever watched MTV or Channel V recently? Or took a stroll around a college campus?