In this twenty-first century, our success depends on how we promote or market ourselves. The world, while judging us, takes the popular perceptions or even stereotypes into consideration, more than the prevailing reality. India is one country, which did not pay much attention to promoting itself in such a way to enable the world to perceive it in a positive light. Maybe that is the reason behind the western world looking down upon us as a country of destitutes and snake charmers.
The British colonial rulers, who felt that their religion, culture and race were superior to that of India’s, invented and propagated negative stereotypes about India. We can’t blame them as they were in India to exploit us economically and establish their hegemony over us. But what stopped our leaders from trying to change those perceptions and stereotypes, which stigmatized India and Indians all over the world for many decades? The moot question is did they ever try to do it or they were not even positively inclined to do that?
The fact of the matter is the leaders who ruled our country not only hated our culture, religion, and art but also did their best to reinforce the negative stereotypes through their policies, actions and talk. The most unfortunate thing that happened to the independent India was the anointment of Nehru as its first Prime Minister. He hated everything associated with the idea of India- its culture, religion and lifestyle. Many so-called intellectuals describe Nehru as a man who laid the foundation of the modern India. However, the kind of collateral damage he inflicted on India through his actions far outweigh any little good he might have done for the country. He caused irreparable damage to India in his pursuit of personal glory and fake idealism. His actions made our country endure the disastrous and bitter legacy of Kashmir, Aksai Chin and the stigma associated with being a country of snake charmers. He not only strongly denounced the Indian culture and lifestyle but also did every bit to reinforce the negative stereotypes about India.
Nehru, as everybody is aware, is the founder of the dynasty which ruled India for more than five decades. So the thoughts and actions of the founder continue to cast their shadow in the administration and the policy making in India. The poor illiterate masses, who were finding it difficult to shed their slavish mentality in the newly independent India, were entrapped by the dynasty and with their support could rule the country unchallenged. During the dynasty rule, most of the institutions were transformed into anti-Hindu, and Hinduism and its lifestyle were stigmatized, deranged and made fun of.
But after the dynasty rule has ended and the ‘chaiwala’ came to power, all the right-thinking people, who love their country, started deriving solace from the fact that he started making a serious attempt to change the negative perceptions and stereotypes about India. He is repeatedly saying both in India and in the international arena that India is no longer a country of snake charmers, but a nation that has transformed itself into a country of mouse charmers. He is also trying to highlight India as a country of strong and vibrant culture, which has the capability to extend spiritual guidance to the world which is increasingly turning violent and chaotic.