Indomania

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Indomania or Indophilia refer to the special interest India, Indians and Indian culture has generated in the Western world, more specifically the culture and civilisation of the Indian subcontinent, especially in Germany.[1] The initial British interest in governing their newly conquered territories awoke the interest in India, especially its culture and ancient history. Later the people with interests in Indian aspects came to be known as Indologists and their subject as Indology. Its opposite is Indophobia.

History[edit]

Historically, India has been widely regarded as a country of various cultures. Due to its ancient civilization and contributions, there are accounts of notable people who visited the nation and reviewed it with praises.

Philostratus, in his book Life of Apollonius of Tyana, recognized the experience of Apollonius in India, he writes that Apollonius described:

In India I found a race of mortals living upon the Earth, but not adhering to it. Inhabiting cities, but not being fixed to them, possessing everything but possessed by nothing.[2]

2nd century Roman philosopher Arrian applauded India to be the nation of free people, he cites that he found no slaves in India at all,[3] and he further added:

No Indian ever went outside his own country on a warlike expedition, so righteous were they.[4]

18th and 19th centuries[edit]

The perception of Indian history and culture by Europeans was fluctuating between two extremes in the 18th and 19th centuries. Though the 19th century European writers had seen India as a cradle of civilization, their romantic vision of India was gradually replaced by "Indophobia", which marginalized Indian history and culture.[5][page needed]

Friedrich Schlegel wrote in a letter to Tieck that India was the source of all languages, thoughts and poems, and that "everything" came from India.[6] In the 18th century, Voltaire wrote:

I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges, - astronomy, astrology, metempsychosis, etc... It is very important to note that some 2,500 years ago at the least Pythagoras went from Samos to the Ganges to learn geometry...But he would certainly not have undertaken such a strange journey had the reputation of the Brahmins' science not been long established in Europe.[7]

Much of the early enthusiasm for Indian culture can be traced to the influence of Sir William Jones. Jones was only the second known Englishman to master Sanskrit, after Charles Wilkins. His insight that the grammar and vocabulary of Sanskrit bore a resemblance to Greek and Latin marked the discovery of the Indo-European family of languages. In February 1786 Jones declared Sanskrit to be 'more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either.' Jones translated into English the drama The Recognition of Sakuntala of Kalidasa and published it in 1789. The Calcutta edition was an immediate success and two London editions followed within three years. Jones also discovered that chess and algebra were of Indian origin. Every branch of Indian studies owed something to his inspiration.[8]

An important development during the British Raj period was the influence Hindu traditions began to take on western thought and new religious movements. Goethe borrowed from Kalidasa for the "Vorspiel auf dem Theater" in Faust. An early champion of Indian-inspired thought in the west was Arthur Schopenhauer, who in the 1850s advocated ethics based on an "Aryan-Vedic theme of spiritual self-conquest" as opposed to the ignorant drive toward earthly utopianism of the superficially this-worldly "Jewish" spirit.[9] At the end of the introduction to the World as Will and Representation, Arthur Schopenhauer claimed that the rediscovery of the ancient Indian tradition would be one of the great events in the history of the West.

Goethe and Schopenhauer were riding a crest of scholarly discovery, most notably the work done by Sir William Jones. (Goethe likely read Kalidasa's The Recognition of Sakuntala in Jones' translation.) However, the discovery of the world of Sanskrit literature moved beyond German and British scholars and intellectuals — Henry David Thoreau was a sympathetic reader of the Bhagavad Gita — and even beyond the humanities. In the early days of the Periodic Table, scientists referred to as yet undiscovered elements with the use of Sanskrit prefixes (see Mendeleev's predicted elements).

Scholars like Schlegel also influenced some historians like Friedrich Creuzer, Joseph Görres and Carl Ritter, who wrote history books that laid more emphasis on India than usual.[10]

Max Muller delivered a series of lectures regarding the religion and literature of India. In his fourth lecture, he said:

If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered over the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions of some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant, I should point to India. And if I were to ask myself from what literature we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans, and of the Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw the corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human a life... again I should point to India.[11]

Helena Blavatsky moved to India in 1879, and her Theosophical Society, founded in New York in 1875, evolved into a peculiar mixture of western occultism and Hindu mysticism over the last years of her life. Hinduism-inspired elements in Theosophy were also inherited by the spin-off movements of Ariosophy and Anthroposophy and ultimately contributed to the renewed New Age boom of the 1960s to 1980s, the term New Age itself deriving from Blavatsky's 1888 The Secret Doctrine.

20th century[edit]

The Hindu reform movements reached Western audiences in the wake of the sojourn of Vivekananda to the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission, a Hindu missionary organization still active today.

Influential in spreading Hinduism to a western audience were A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Hare Krishna movement), Sri Aurobindo, Meher Baba, Osho, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (Transcendental Meditation), Sathya Sai Baba, Mother Meera, among others.

Swami Prabhavananda, founder and head of the Vedanta Society of Southern California, remarked that:

Toynbee predicted that at the close of this century, the world would be dominated by the West, but that in the 21st century, India will conquer her conquerors.[12]

During the 1960s and 1970s, there was a similar phase of Indomania in the Western world, with a rise of interest in Indian culture. This was largely associated with the hippie counterculture movement; the hippie trail, for example, was a journey that many Westerners undertook to India during this period. The Hare Krishna movement gained popularity in the 1960s. Indian filmmakers such as the Bengali auteur Satyajit Ray as well as Bengali musicians such as Ravi Shankar gained increasing exposure in the Western world. Indian musical influence, particularly the use of the sitar, became evident in jazz (see Indo jazz) and rock music, among popular Western artists such as The Beatles (see The Beatles in India), The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, among others, leading to the development of psychedelic music genres such as raga rock and psychedelic rock, which in turn paved the way for heavy metal music.

Modern world[edit]

In the 21st century, a notable amount of Indomania has been recorded due to India's improvement related to economic conditions, political changes, activism, etc.

Politics[edit]

India is the world's largest democracy. The democratic nature of its politics has led many world leaders to praise Indian politics. George W. Bush commented:

India is a great example of democracy. It is very devout, has diverse religious heads, but everyone is comfortable about their religion. The world needs India.[13]

Fareed Zakaria, in his book The Post-American World, described George W. Bush as "being the most pro-Indian president in American history."[14] On November 2012, Israel's President Shimon Peres remarked, "I think India is the greatest show of how so many differences in language, in sects can coexist facing great suffering and keeping full freedom."[15]

Cultural[edit]

Indian languages have been taught in multiple nations, including the United States.[16] On 2012, then prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard talked about Hindi and other prominent Asian languages to be taught in Australia.[17]

Economy[edit]

In recent years, Indian teachers have been teaching students around the world through the Internet. A BBC report on 2012 showed how schools in the United Kingdom work together with online Indian math tutors to teach students in the classroom.[18]

Science[edit]

Despite the critical Indophobia in Pakistan, the Pakistani newspaper The Nation published on 7 November 2013, heading "Don’t hate, appreciate", in which they praised the India's Mars Mission, the report further noted:

Wars were fought, and martyrs were born. But, it’s over. We are not in the race anymore. One of us has been to the moon, and now has their eyes set on Mars to become the first Asian country to reach the milestone.[19]

In response to the mission, the South China Morning Post regarded India as "full of vigour and vitality, boasts obvious advantages and development potential."[20]

By region[edit]

Indonesia[edit]

In 2007, a poll said the strongest pro-India sentiments were found in Indonesia [21]

Bangladesh[edit]

India shares strong cultural, linguistic and historic bonds with Bangladesh. India supported Bangladesh's independence struggle in 1971 and the two countries are the largest trading partners in South Asia.[22]

Israel[edit]

Israel and India are close trading partners.[23] Israeli citizens view India positively.[24][25] Israel has always supported India on Kashmir issue. Yoga is also well practised in Israel.[26][27] There is good influence of Indian Hindi films in Israel.[28][29][30]

Nepal[edit]

India and Nepal have historical and civilizational linkages. There have been few instances of anti-India sentiments, but now that has vanished.[31]

Mauritius[edit]

Mauritius is one of three countries in the world, where Hinduism is the majority religion- along with India and Nepal. People of Maldives view and follow Indian culture and cuisines positively.[32] Many Indian films like Go Goa Gone, FALTU, Chasme Baddoor, Break Ke Baad, Josh, No Entry, Kidnap, Phir Se, Kya Yehi Pyar Hai, Sorry Bhai, Ajanabee ,Souten, Hum and Kuch Kuch Hota Hein have been shot in Maldives.[33] The first Indian film shot in Mauritius was Sanjay Khan's Chandi Sona in 1977. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Mauritius in March 2015.[34] Modi was chief guest of Mauritius National Day on 12 March 2015. Late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi fondly referred to Mauritius as Chota Bharat".[35]

Bhutan[edit]

Bhutan and India have close cultural ties since ancient times.[36][37][38] Indian Hindi films are also popular in Bhutan.[39][40][41] Bhutan's Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay was invited for Vibrant Gujarat in 2015.[42]

Russia[edit]

Russia and India have strong trade relations. Russia openly supported India on Kashmir issue and helped India in Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

Seychelles[edit]

India has great cultural impact on Seychelles.[43]

Media[edit]

BBC poll 2007[edit]

The international polling firm GlobeScan, which was commissioned by the BBC World Service to conduct the survey.

Results of 2007 BBC World Service poll.
Views of India's influence by country[44]
Sorted by Pos-Neg
Country polled Positive Negative Neutral Pos-Neg
 Indonesia 61 39 - -52
 Canada 59 30 11 -37
 France 40 30 11 -37
 Germany 39 30 11 -37
 United Kingdom 47 50 30 -30
 United States 48 34 57 -25
 Russia 26 37 37 -11
 Nigeria 36 47 17 -11
 Brazil 40 49 11 -9
 Portugal 27 35 38 -8
 Hungary 38 46 16 -8

BBC poll 2014[edit]

Results of 2014 BBC World Service poll.
Views of India's influence by country[45]
Sorted by Pos-Neg
Country polled Positive Negative Neutral Pos-Neg
 Germany 16 68 16 -52
 Pakistan 21 58 21 -37
 Spain 20 50 30 -30
 Israel 9 34 57 -25
 Mexico 26 37 37 -11
 South Korea 36 47 17 -11
 France 40 49 11 -9
 China 27 35 38 -8
 Canada 38 46 16 -8
 Peru 26 31 43 -5
 Australia 44 46 10 -2
 United Kingdom 45 46 9 -1
 United States 45 41 14 4
 Brazil 41 36 23 5
 Turkey 35 29 36 6
 Chile 35 21 44 14
 Indonesia 47 24 29 23
 Japan 34 9 57 25
 Kenya 53 23 24 30
 Ghana 53 22 25 31
 India 56 22 22 34
 Russia 45 9 46 36
 Nigeria 64 22 14 42

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Douglas T. McGetchin (2009), Indology, Indomania, and Orientalism: Ancient India's Rebirth in Modern Germany, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, p.17
  2. ^ "Brand New World: How Paupers, Pirates, and Oligarchs are Reshaping Business", .74, by Max Lenderman
  3. ^ "Slavery", by Richard Oluseyi Asaolu
  4. ^ "The Origins of the Europeans: Classical Observations in Culture and Personality", p. 133 by William S. Shelley
  5. ^ Trautmann, Thomas R. 1997, Aryans and British India. Berkeley: University of California Press., Bryant 2001.
  6. ^ Ludwig Tieck und die Brüder Schlegel, Briefe. Edited by Lüdecke. Frankfurt/M. 1930.
  7. ^ Voltaire, Lettres sur l'origine des sciences et sur celle des peuples de l'Asie (first published Paris, 1777), letter of 15 December 1775.
  8. ^ Keay, John, India Discovered, The Recovery of a Lost Civilization, 1981, HarperCollins, London, ISBN 0-00-712300-0
  9. ^ "Fragments for the history of philosophy", Parerga and Paralipomena, Volume I (1851).
  10. ^ Stefan Arvidsson 2006:38 Aryan Idols.
  11. ^ "India, What Can It Teach Us (1882) Lecture IV"
  12. ^ The Spiritual Heritage of India: A Clear Summary of Indian Philosophy and Religion(1979)
  13. ^ The world needs India: Bush 3 March 2006
  14. ^ Zakaria, Fareed, The Post-American World, 2008 Cahapter VII, pp. 225-226
  15. ^ Israeli President Shimon Peres praises India as greatest 'show of co-existence' (4 December 2012)
  16. ^ "Multicultural America: An Encyclopedia of the Newest Americans, Volume 2", p. 998, by Ronald H. Bayor
  17. ^ Hindi to be taught in Australian schools, October 31, 2012
  18. ^ Indian cyber tutors teach UK classes
  19. ^ Pakistani daily praises India's Mars mission, admits defeat in Asian tiger race 7 November 2013
  20. ^ China media: India's Mars mission, 6 November 2013
  21. ^ "India 'most improved' country: Poll". The Times of India. 
  22. ^ "Why India should rethink its Bangladesh policy". Dhakatribune.com. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  23. ^ Kapil Komireddi. "India and Israel: a friendship deepened by prejudice". The Guardian. 
  24. ^ "Closer ties with Israel can help Pak vis-à-vis India: Musharraf". The Hindu. 
  25. ^ "What's Behind India's Admiration for Israel? - Global Agenda - News - Arutz Sheva". Israelnationalnews.com. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  26. ^ "Yoga Poses in Israel". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  27. ^ "The Business of Teaching Yoga". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  28. ^ "'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' to break 10-year jinx for Bollywood in Israel". Dnaindia.com. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  29. ^ "Indian film fete in Israel soon". Thehindu.com. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  30. ^ "'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' is first Bollywood film in Israel in 10 years". Digitalspy.com. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  31. ^ "Anti-India sentiment sweeps Nepal". IBNLive. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  32. ^ "Mauritius beckons Indians". Dnaindia.com. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  33. ^ "Mauritius woos Bollywood with heavy discounts". Articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  34. ^ "LIVE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Mauritius". Dnaindia.com. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  35. ^ "Indira called us `Chota Bharat`: Mauritius PM". Zeenews.india.com. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  36. ^ Charu Sudan Kasturi (2013-08-30). "Aid, China on Bhutan menu". Telegraphindia.com. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  37. ^ "The faraway neighbour - Indian Express". Archive.indianexpress.com. 2013-07-17. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  38. ^ "India aid to Bhutan, ties with Russia worrying China - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 2010-02-08. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  39. ^ "In 'happy' Bhutan, film industry is beaming - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 2013-12-08. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  40. ^ "From Brazil and Bhutan to Bollywood - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 2008-03-17. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  41. ^ "Bhutanese cinema: A world of makeshift screenings and Bollywood copies". Hindustantimes.com. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  42. ^ "'Smallest country' Bhutan makes a big splash at Vibrant Gujarat". The Hindu. 2015-01-11. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  43. ^ "India, Seychelles agree to lease Assumption Island for 'infrastructure development' | Business Standard News". Business-standard.com. 2015-03-11. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  44. ^ "India 'most improved' country: Poll". BBC.co.uk. 3 June 2007. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 
  45. ^ "BBC World Service poll" (PDF). Downloads.bbc.co.uk. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 2015-04-06. 

External links[edit]