Top 10 Myths about Developing Countries

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For the majority of the western civilization, the world is divided into US vs. THEM, Them (for the west) being the developing economies also referred to as Less- developed Countries. Although it is interesting to note that more than 60% of the world can be categorized as developing with stark variations in culture, traditions, languages, life-style, food-habits and values, the so called “developed” nations fail to acknowledge them and tend to lock them all in a single box that is labelled as- poor, hungry, illiterate, barbaric, unhygienic, unhealthy and corrupt. Moreover, the exaggerations and cultural appropriations involved are beyond revolting. So, let us debunk some of the major myths surrounding the developing world and clear your appropriation-tinted world-view.


1. We desperately need them!!

The source of the superiority complex of the west, the biggest of all myths or should I say- the Maha Myth (I probably shouldn’t have said that!!).  Sorry for putting this bluntly but your country is not here for charity. In fact, that is the last thing you guys do. The dependence between the developed and developing economies is mutual and more often than not, forged to meet selfish and greedy needs of the developed ones. We all know how costly it is to acquire labor in the west. Without our highly qualified and skilled workforce of engineers, call-center operators and managers (who are paid in rags, by the way) the expansion of your industries would come to a stand-still. Not just that, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South-Africa)  countries were successful in avoiding the global recession of 2009, in spite of restricted monetary and technological aid from the developed countries during that period. Stable Growth rates (that too during the Great Recession) speaks louder than words, doesn’t it??


2. Women are docile, conservative and passive.

Contrary to the common belief, male chauvinism is not exclusive the developing world. It is one problem that resonates with women around the globe and almost every society in the world displays misogyny in varying degrees (remember The wolf of wall street?).
And as an educated young women living in a less-developed country, I can proudly say that we are free-spirited, independent minded, 21st century modern women. From taking bullets from a cranky Taliban for receiving education to refusing marriage to dowry-demanding losers, we all revolt and fight against patriarchy in our own different ways, throughout our life without ever giving up. If that’s not strength, then what is?


3. They have better hygiene standards!! 

This reminds me of the scene in friends where Rachel and Chandler were seen eating a cheese cake off the floor (later joined by Joey too).  I am sure you guys don’t do that in real life. Neither do we!!

Cleanliness is a very strict norm in many religions and cultures. Especially in India, cleanliness is associated with religion and is strictly adhered to. Some of the customs include not eating without taking a bath, daily puja (worship) routines that can’t be performed without cleaning the house and leaving footwear at doorsteps before entering the house. And not to forget, we were not the ones that invented deodorants.


4. Elephants, bullock-carts and horses-driven carriages!!

No we don’t ride elephants anymore. Thanks to the multitude of indigenous and foreign Car brands in India, we have decided to let go of our primitive ways. As a matter of fact, we have also developed the cheapest small car in the world for our convenience. Even the great Indian wedding’s protagonist- The groom, has to content himself with an Indica decorated with roses and tuberose these days.
And honestly, we don’t have many elephants left in our country owing to rapid industrialization and Urbanization (We have factories and cities, SURPRISE!!). Although, they do take part in unwelcome parades in the villages of Sunderban delta where they destroy homes and uproot trees (loss of habitat can seriously mess up anyone).


5.  We are either illiterate or super nerd

Due to the large number of Asian doctors, engineers and scientists working in the developed countries, they conveniently assume we are either poor and illiterate or rich and geek. Works well for me, but again it is only half true.
The best way to dispel this image- Show them a mainstream Bollywood movie. They would understand that we, after all, are not all that smart. But jokes apart, like any country; we too have people practicing different occupations and avocations. There are painters, artists, journalists, models, fashion designers, dancers, singers, and even Sadhus who come down from Himalayas once in 14 years.  Most developing regions are often very diverse and colorful.


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