Is India A Part Of Asia?

India is one of the largest and most diverse countries in the world, geographically and culturally expanse.

Located above the equator and comprising of thousands of ethnic groups, faiths, languages, cuisines, customs and celebrations, one can say India has a prominent mark on Asia.

Holi Festival Melbourne 2019

Holi Festival Melbourne 2019

However, India is unique in its own way with many referring to the country as its own continent. So it begs the questions: is India a part of Asia? Or just a neighbour? More importantly, do Indians see themselves as a part of Asia?

Comprising 29 states and 7 Union territories, India spans an area of approximately 3,287,263 km2. This is three times smaller than the United States and two times smaller than Australia. As of 2019 India has a population of over 1.3 billion which is steadily rising.

I’ve always been fascinated by India and hope to visit someday. Throughout my life I’ve had quite a few Indian friends and acquaintances, and they’ve always liked sharing with me about how life is like in India.

Over the years through blogging, I’ve met quite a few bloggers from India. Over the years it has been eye-opening getting to know their stories about India and why they proudly call India home. So for this post I had a chat with these very lovely bloggers to find more about India and what it means to them – and asked if India is really a part of Asia.

Holi Festival

Holi Festival

Geography and continents

In terms of geographic location, India rubs shoulders and shares similar surrounds with other Asian countries. One can argue that India is a part of the ‘Asian continent landmass’. Being in the same location entails sharing the same place, same space, sharing borders, being one together. Indian and Western philosophy writer Rajagopal from Graleview eloquently describes India as being marked by mountain and sea: ‘Bounded by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer, tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.’

Similarly, lifestyle, craft and travel blogger Somali over at Life11 reckons most Indians see India as a part of Asia. Learning about India and continents in geography classes at school, Somali describes India’s place in this world, ‘We (Indians) think of countries bordering Bangladesh (e.g. Myanmar) and moving eastwards and down, as falling under South East Asia.’

Notably, India has its own tectonic plate called the Indian Plate and that leads to the argument India is its own continent. Some 140 million years ago the supercontinent Gondwana below the equator split up into different plates – one of these plates being the Indian Plate. Researchers at MIT found this Indian Plate gradually drifted northwards up past the equator, and 10 million years later collided with the Eurasian plate which comprises the UK and the South-East Asian region.

In other words, at one point and even now India is arguably a continent (it has its own plate). In more recent times, India is arguably a country and sub-continent (joined with one big place).

Holi Festival

Holi Festival

Centralised trade, similar cultures

In today’s globalised world, economic trade, culture and faiths transcends borders. India has always been a peak trading hub in the Asian region, considered a part of Asia’s shared economy. Historically India has been a hub in the Maritime Silk Road and a major spice trade centre as early as 3000 BC. Today India is ranked as a major power in the Asian region according to the Asia Power Index; it is a nation with vast economic resources (minerals, banking, logistical systems). New Delhi is Singapore’s second largest trading partner in ASEAN group and in 2018 there were lower tariffs on more than 30 products under a free trade agreement.

Alongside a shared economy, there are numerous shared lifestyle traits between India and Asian countries, and no surprise why India is considered a part of Asia. For instance, in Chinese, Japan and Korean cultures, listening to one’s elders is esteemed and togetherness over individuality is valued. Many communities in India share these same sentiments in a time where arranged marriages, family consent, paying respects to ancestors at temples and celebrating festive occasions with large family gatherings and lots of food is still the norm. There’s not forgetting faiths such as Hinduism and Buddhism are followed widely throughout India and the rest of Asia, and celebrations such as Diwali and Thaipusam are celebrated all over the region as well.

Amer Fort, India. Photo cred: Arv

Amer Fort, Jaipur. Photo cred: Arv

When asked what comes to mind about India, life philosophy writer and author Nihar from Makeup and Breakup sums it up as, ‘Family, food and festival…the moment I think about India. It is the country where relationships are love of family that matters more than anything, the country where cuisine culture is an art and the country where festivals are celebrated throughout the year.’

Similarly, photographer Arv over at JaipurThruMyLens thinks India is undoubtedly a part of Asia. He feels, ‘Unlike the west, where material possessions are paramount, in India like other Asian countries, people and relationships matter the most.’

Another photographer from India, Sreejith from Santiago the Shepherd also adds, ‘More than the similarities in physical features, the real connection is culture and tradition. We could very well relate to the family values, parent-child relations, joint family structure of people of other Asian countries.’

Share the same lifestyles and values, share the same outlook on life. And chances are you feel part of a tribe.

Monkey Temple, Jaipur. Photo cred: Arv.

Monkey Temple, Jaipur. Photo cred: Arv.

Standout landmarks and stereotypes

The architecture and natural surroundings of a country is enriched in history and embedded with stories of how it came about and evolved over time as its own place. As such, a country’s notable landmarks and tourism sector might very well make it memorable and stand out on its own. What a country is known for and projects to the world often leaves impressions on travellers passing through and also those afar who follow current affairs.

Today India is very much a tourist hotspot, attracting over 10 million foreign visitors in 2017. For one, India has scenic landscapes and bustling side-streets to take in and roam. As former teacher, writer and author Balroop Singh over at Emotional Shadows describes India, ‘Tourism puts India at the top of the world, as it offers incredible beauty – the magnificence of the Himalayas in the north, the grandeur of the Thar desert in the west, the spectacular backwaters of Kerala in the south.’

Common stereotypes heard (normally shared through word of mouth) tends to give a certain impression of a country over the other. Cultural stereotypes seemingly separates and segregates India from the rest of Asia. For instance, Arv points out his state of Jaipur could improve on cleanliness and traffic – and it has been reported Jaipur might lose points in a national cleanliness ranking amidst absence of urban maintenance funds.

This is quite true though, but changing: on the political front, Narenda Modi was elected Prime Minister in a 2014 historic election based on hope and promise of inclusive politics, however there is still not enough jobs created.

World Trade Park, Jaipur. Photo cred: Arv.

Word Trade Park, Jaipur. Photo cred: Arv.

In 2012 India’s Planning Commission said 29.8% of India’s 1.2 billion people live below the poverty line. If recent findings are to be believed, last year’s Brookings Institution report found India is no longer the country with the most people facing extreme poverty; the World Poverty Clock predicts those living in extreme poverty is slated to fall to just 5% of India’s 70.6 million population.

As such, it’s not hard to see how India may be seen as backwards and less developed compared to Singapore, Japan and South Korea – a world away from first world developed places.

When asked to ponder about how others perceive India, HR Professional Parul from Happiness and Food mentions there are many snake charmers in India, but that doesn’t make India a land of snake charmers. She also brought up the 2008 movie Slumdog Millionaire and says, ‘Though the movie made millions it showed India in a very bad light. Yes there are slums in India but then the movie extrapolated a lot.’

When asked about how others around the world perceive India, Sreejith offers, ‘It’s largely based on their exposure to the world around. Most of the people whom I interact consider India is very much part of Asia.’

Holi Festival

Holi Festival

Dark vs light skin Asians

Are Indians considered non-Asian because of the shade of their skin which is usually darker than those who live in other parts of Asia? In a world where racism exists, there’s stereotypes and social discrimination surrounding skin colour. Fair skin is usually associated with those living in the developed West and darker skin with those from developing countries or countries in the Middle-East and African regions.

Can a certain skin colour identify with a certain race and country? Maybe. However more realistically, our skin colour doesn’t necessarily define our heritage or where we come from. It’s important to remember in the era of debating colourlines, identities are fluid and the spectrum of skin colour is incredibly wide.

Fair skin has long been popular in India and in fact using skin whitening beauty products is an accepted norm here. Indeed the spectrum of skin colour is vastly varying, and some Indians possess darker or lighter skin tones over other Indians – some possess the fairer-skin-gene SLC24A5 which is a gene some Europeans possess too. At the end of the day, Indians see themselves as one and recognises their differences which at times, aren’t afraid to talk about. That said, Somali suggests we should be cautious about talking about culture, colour and diversity:

‘Mostly different Indian communities get along well. There are jokes about different communities, which are commonly shared and generally people don’t seem to mind those. Nowadays, (we) should refrain from jokes targeted towards a particular community as however harmless these may seem, such jokes may perpetuate bias against a community.’

Holi Festival

Holi Festival

* * *

India is a country constantly evolving with the times. Certain parts of India are seemingly leading the way towards a more progressive country just like many other countries in Asia, and hence a progressive Asia. The southwestern state of Kerala is an example: it’s the only state in India which lies high in the Human Development Index (HDI), has a high literacy rate, low infant mortality rate due to advanced health and education facilities and opened India’s first transgender school. Rajagopal proudly states his hometown Kerala ‘serves as a model for the rest of India’.

One doesn’t have to be away from a certain state in India to see that it has changed in a short span of time. Having relocated to Bangalore, Parul observes, ‘In bigger cities, the life is so fast that there is no time to find out how your neighbor is. Now when I go back home, I feel that it has changed. (Some) people who made my hometown a home are no longer around. There is change and there is also no change.’

Also, Somali’s hometown is Delhi and she shifted base to Mumbai almost 25 years ago, and adds, ‘Every year or two, when I go to Delhi, it appears alien to me as I feel it has changed a lot, in terms of structures, layout and traffic.’

Holi Festival

Holi Festival

Today’s generation will lead the way in the years to come. The millennials are leading the way in India: over 400 million of them are increasingly tech-savvy, turning to the Internet to live lives of convenience while making a living, becoming part of a rising middle class.

Interestingly enough, many of India’s open-minded younger generation are respectful of long-held Asian traditions. For instance, arranged marriages are still the norm but modern arranged marriages are becoming more common where both parties meet each other prior to marriage. In a sense, Indians proudly carry their culture with them wherever they go. Balroop sums it up, ‘Generation Z is more open minded, tolerant and focused. They do follow the main traditions but are daring enough to question what seems illogical to them.’

Only time will tell where India is headed in terms of developing a sustainable economy and becoming one of the world’s most liveable places.

But as for cultural identity, for many India is indeed a part of Asia, and Asia a part of India.

What comes to mind when you think of India?

* * *

Thank you very much to these bloggers for helping me understand India better and contributing to this post:

RajagopalGraleview | Somali K ChakrabartiLife11 (Scribble and Scrawl) | Nihar R PradhanMakeup and Breakup | ArvJaipurThruMyLens | Sreejith P NairSantiago the Shepherd | Balroop SinghEmotional Shadows | ParulHappiness and Food

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206 thoughts on “Is India A Part Of Asia?

  1. I think of India as a wonderful nation of people and culture, friends who want to ensure peace in the word so each person can pursue his or her dreams. The world needs the capability and advancement from India. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great article Mabel😊. I have always considered India to be part of Asia. As suggested above, I also feel that Asia may be divided in two, with South East Asia holding the smaller nations and then the Asian Block nations of which India is one. When I think of India, the first thing that comes to mind is food😊. I love Indian style food from both North and South of the continent. The second thing that come to my mind is conversation. I have quite a few Indian friends and acquaintances and they all love to get a really
    Good conversation going. I love it. They are so passionate. On topics like family values and politics, they are unstoppable 😀. I then think of their traditional dress. I think the Sari looks extremely feminine and the men always look so smart in their traditional attire. I would love to visit India. My wife however, feels that she could not handle being confronted by the poverty in some areas. I understand how she feels as poverty is a heartbreaking thing to witness. I think India has so much more to offer though and maybe one day I may convince her that we need to see the Himalayas and the Ganges. 😊. Thanks again for a stimulating read Mabel. Stay warm and healthy. 🙏🤗

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks, Andy. I think most of us do consider India a part of Asia. You are so right in saying Asia is often perceived as divided in two – there’s SEA and then there’s…other parts of Asia. There’s also North Asia and parts of Russia and Siberia are arguably a part of it.

      Food and India is such a tasty and colourful affair. Don’t know about you, but I love a good garlic naan any time of the day. You said it when you say ‘They are so passionate. On topics like family values and politics, they are unstoppable’ My Indian friends and acquaintances are similar – once they start talking about a topic, they can’t stop and go on and on. Very fun to engage 😀

      Agree poverty can be confronting, but I also think the homeless on the streets of Australia can be pretty confronting too. Hopefully one day there is less poverty in India. From afar, India does look like a scenic place to visit, and also one steep in culture and history. Hope you get to go some day, Andy. Take care over there. Enjoy your warmth 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Great article, Mabel. I have had Indian friends and work colleagues in South Africa, many of whom were not born in India, but all have spoken with pride about their country and have tried to visit family there as often as possible. There are many brilliant Indian professionals in South Africa too. I’ve always thought of India as being part of Asia although I haven’t been there. My son was in India on business a few years ago and said that he was shocked by the extreme poverty he saw, although his courier rushed him through the less salubrious areas to his 5 star hotel. I guess this did put me off choosing India as a holiday destination.

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    • Thanks, Mabel, for your gracious mention in such an interestingly crafted narrative on India, a country that has enchanted everyone who came in contact with it. Romain Rolland, the French philosopher, effused centuries ago, “If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India!”
      The 21st century belongs to Asia in which India’s contribution is bound to be nothing short of stellar.

      Liked by 3 people

      • What a lovely quote from Romain Rolland. India seems to be a place where people dream – though there are people in poverty, many work hard to make a living and travel the world. Once again, thank you for your time, Raj. Much appreciated and so glad to know you 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sylvia. Sounds like your Indian colleagues are very passionate about their culture. Maybe one day they will bring their family over to South Africa and you can all meet up 🙂 Interesting to hear your son’s business trip rushed him past the less desirable areas. Maybe it could be for safety reasons. On some travels I’ve had in less developed areas, I had some locals approach me either trying to sell me something or hands out asking for money. One can never be too careful. Maybe one day you will visit India.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fascinating post, Mabel (as always). I have never thought of India as anything but a country in Asia. In a geographical context, I’ve thought of people from India as Asian. That said, as someone with Chinese heritage, when I hear or read the word Asia, I tend to think of Oriental looks and appearance.

    In the dim recesses of my mind, I did know it had its own tectonic plate and I remember in geography lessons learning about the formation of the mountain ranges in the north of the country (or is that continent). Given my stubborn way of thinking, I’d need more persuading that India is a separate continent.

    Back to appearance and skin colour though; as a child, when I saw a person with Indian heritage, the thing that struck me was how different the physical shape of the person’s face was compared with mine and other Oriental Asians. In my naïve mind, I assumed people from India were Caucasian with dark skin.

    I spent a week in Delhi for work a couple of years ago. It was in February. It was cold. I went outside for a walk and people started following me and touching me. One man said he thought I came from the mountains. Last year, I was working in Timor-Leste with a man from Nepal and he also remarked that I looked like a mountain person. I assume now all mountain people are short and squat. Given I get short of breath when walking at sea level, I don’t think I’d survive the mountains.

    The most magnificent thing about my week in Delhi though was the food. It was like there was a party in my mouth three times a day. The hotel which hosted the meeting dedicated each day of the week to a different regional cuisine. It was truly amazing. The Bengali curry I had was so exhilarating I couldn’t stop even though I thought my tongue might be on fire.

    You’ve really made me think Mabel. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much for your kind words, Gaz. Yeah, it does seem many people – almost everyone on here – reckons India is a part of Asia. It is. Sounds like you paid attention in geography class and I think you are right that the mountain ranges were formed by some sort of natural phenomenon.

      Funny how skin colour is associated with certain backgrounds. It is a fact some backgrounds possess certain shades of skin colour. Then again, people are diverse and more so these days with more travel done and more people mingling with each other.

      It sounds like you had a wonderful work trip to Delhi. I wonder why people perceive you as a mountain man. It almost seems that you were famous for the way you look over there 😀 Also sounds like you were perceived as Caucasian 😂

      Since you like your food spicy, Delhi food must have bee a treat for you. A good reason to go back for leisure 😀

      Like

  5. Thank you for the mention Mabel. India takes pride in her diversity and has made significant contributions to the western world in terms of science, technology and economic development. Indians are the most warm and welcoming people, a little gullible too as their love and friendship has cultural roots. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome, Balroop. Thank you so much for your time 🙂 India certainly has a lot to give to the world, and much more to come. It has been wonderful knowing people from India and of course, you and what you do 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. what comes to mind for me is one of my sweet college friends who is from India.
    And your pictures are fantastic – the action – also – I hope they do become one of the world’s “world’s most livable places.”

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      • Well one of the friends from India – more of an acquaintance because she was two years younger – but she got married in Roanoke Virginia back in 2004.that is a couple hours from me and somtwo college friends asked if they could
        Fly into my town and stay with me and then drive there – of course they could-
        Then they asked the bride to be if I could come to the wedding (in a tactful way) and because it was a distance wedding for bride and groom they hd room – and Mabel – imagine the wedding with a Jewish guy marrying a lady from India-
        They broke plates and did some Jewish traditions and the food was mostly
        Indian (yummmmm) and she had two dresses – culture rich all the way –

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Such a fascinating article my friend! I can see you in India taking wonderful photos of colours and stunning architecture. When I think of India I think of spirituality and delicious foods with bright spices and beautifully painted doors

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    • Thank you my friend! Maybe one day I’ll visit India. I like how you mentioned beautifully painted doors in India. It reminds me how there’s beautiful henna tattoo artists over there. Hope you are well xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Mabel, I love your write-ups because you always find unique topic to write about. The detailed write-ups offer a new perspective. The topic you have chosen is never ending. India is a huge diversity and therefore it is not wrong to say it is a continent rather than a country. I will just sum it up with a takeaway for the travelers- India can offer you an amazing cultural experience which probably few countries can. The vibrancy of the country lies in its unique mix of culture, people, religion, and traditions. You don’t travel India you experience India.

    Thanks for the feature, Mabel. Your pictures of Holi celebrations convey the essence of festival celebrations. Are they college students?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Arv. And thank you so much for contributing and being a part of this post 🙂 You describe India so eloquently, and am certain you will make a fantastic tour guide for any traveller.

      There seemed to be a lot of college students or at least people in their earlier twenties attending the Holi festival in Melbourne. All of them seemed to have so much energy, dancing and throwing coloured powder around.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Fascinating post, Mabel. I really learned so much. Our neighbors are Indian and we’ve attended many cultural celebrations with them. One thing I’ve noticed is the close family connections they seem to have. Great post!

    Like

  10. Hi Mabel. Love the thorough research you put into each of your articles, and this one is no exception. You have raised a question the answer to which could be guided by one’s perception and so you have taken into account different perspectives and have covered a broad spectrum of facets ranging from social and cultural to historical and from geographical to political and economic aspects of India. Needless to say, this makes a very engaging post. I agree with Arv that India offers such a diverse range of cultural experiences to the travellers as the culture and language vary from one state to another.
    Last but not least thanks a lot for the kind mention.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Re: What comes to mind when you think of India?

    (Deadpan)
    You would think that with a capital named “Delhi” there would be more corned beef.

    I remember a educational film on continental drift and plate tectonics that used animation to show the India sub-continent crashing into Euraia to heave up the Himalyas. The film used a “crash” sound effect.
    This begs the question: Did this collision — over several million years — make a sound?

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    • ‘Did this collision — over several million years — make a sound?’ This is such an interesting question. Now you make me wonder. I am guessing yes because two tectonic plates are two forms of matter colliding, and usually with any collision there is a sound.

      Like

  12. This is an interesting post, Mabel. You’ve raised some interesting points. I enjoyed hearing the opinions of your Indian friends. I always considered India to be a part of Asia, but that’s because that’s what I was taught in school. It does almost seem as if it should be its own continent, but some of Asia is even further west. There is so much diversity of culture in India and in Asia as a whole, perhaps more than most other continents. It would be interesting to consider that sometime. I guess there are diverse cultures in Africa too. Thanks for giving me something to think about.

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  13. Mabel, thank you for this lovely in-depth introduction to India. I learned so much! My experience with India is having friends here in Seattle who have come from India. I have a close friend from graduate school who went to work for Intel in Portland Oregon as a chip designer for the past five years, but he loves to motorcycle travel and he took a volunteer position in Africa working with a technical team in human development for the past couple of years and he loves it. I have another friend from graduate school who also worked for Intel for several years before coming back to Seattle as a professor in the business school of a branch campus of the University of Washington. One of my writing instructors has been a woman from India who came her for her M.F.A. and has the most amazing ability to teach how to write flash fiction and nonfiction; I learned so much from her. And I have another friend, a non-Indian friend, from grad. school whose spouse is from India, and they have a couple of daughters now, and they go back to India once a year for a month to spend time with her husband’s family.

    So, my knowledge and interest in India has been these little slices of knowing people from India who have come here, hearing about their families and their lives in India through the lens of their being part of my community here in the U.S. One of the most remarkable things about my two friends who worked for Intel is their generosity and hospitality when I had to stay in Portland during my son’s illness. They opened their home to me and my husband for a couple of weeks so we could stay in the city and be with my son in hospital without incurring a large hotel expense. It was nothing for them to offer, and they both said they had space in their home or apartment because their own parents come and stay for a month or two every year. I’ve been remarkably impressed by the custom of the parents coming and staying to be with their children for such a long period, usually every year. I’ve been impressed, too, by those family ties.

    Thank you for a much-welcomed review of India, especially fun through the eyes of bloggers in that culture! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • This was an insightful, in-depth comment. Thank you so much for your time and reflecting, Theresa. Sounds like you have quite a few friends from India or friends who have a connection with India. Your friends from graduate school sound like go-getters and move aroud to build their lives, and see the world. It also seems like each of them have their own sets of skills, from analytics to writing. Hope you get to catch up with these lovely friends of yours every now and then 🙂

      I reckon if you know people from a certain place who are willing to share, you can learn a heap about that place. After all, I think we all bring a piece of the place where we call home. It is really nice of your two friends to offer you accommodation during your son’s illness so you can be closer to him. They are so open-hearted and kind. Family is very important in Asian cultures 🙂

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      • Mabel, thank you! I especially enjoyed your providing the information that the Indian subcontinent moved into the Asian continent tectonically, and that reminded me of another blogger from India I was corresponding with, who often posted photos for blog-photo challenges that included very old structures, forts built in the 10th century, etc. I was always amazed at the history in India. So amazing!
        I also was very heartened by my friends’ offers to take us in, and knowing their tradition of parents staying helped me, as an American, feel less self-conscious about the idea of imposing on them. When my son was so ill while I was in Portland seeing him in the hospital, my Indian friend’s supportive listening was especially helpful, too (of course). Now that my son has passed, I guess I have a unique bond with both of these friends because they shared that time with me. :]

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        • I was amazed to read about the shift in tectonic plates, and it makes me wonder if they are still shifting today. I guess so, but not as dramatically. Sounds like a very lovely blogger from India you know there 🙂

          ‘feel less self-conscious about the idea of imposing on them’ You hit the nail on the hit. I think Asian cultures tries to do away with the idea and feeling of imposing on each other – and more getting each other’s back no matter if you agree or disagree with them. Sounds like you have good friends for life in your Indian friends 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, the tectonic plate shift sticks in my mind, too, even though it must have been eons ago. There is something about it that seems to fit with the culture being so varied and brightly diverse, to my outside eyes, anyway!

            And thanks for the observation about my Indian friends; I had lunch last week with my non-Indian friend who is married to a man from India and they have two very cute daughters. She goes back to India and they take the family to visit his family once a year, she says she loves the time with them, even though she is from the Seattle area and probably never traveled to India before they met. 🙂 She describes his family as being very welcoming and hugely accepting of differences, esp since one of her daughters has a significant learning disability. 🙂 Thanks, Mabel!

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            • The world and its tectonic plates must have shifted a lot over the years. It would be interesting to read up on where the different plates were millions of years ago.

              Your non-Indian friend and her family sound like very nice people. Lovely to hear the family is welcoming of cultural differences and different learning and lifestyle needs. Good on them and you are lucky to have her as a friend 🙂

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  14. Thanks for your thoughtful post of India Mabel. I enjoy how you help us explore culture and place from a more personal and compassionate place. I grew up thinking of India as a subcontinent with very rich culture, colorful outfits, spicy food, and rich spiritual traditions. I liked the way many people still honor the spirit in all people, food, place, etc. but it seems that those rich spiritual traditions are fading as India becomes a more modern and technology-oriented country. It’s hard to know from the outside since I have never been to India nor do I have any friends from there.

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    • Thank for your nice words, Brad. You bring up an interesting point there, how people still honor the spirit in the things around them. India seems like a place where tradition will always be practiced and affirmed – everyone I’ve met from India speaks so passionate about their customs, celebrations and lifestyles. Hope you get to go to India some day, or meet some lovely people from India 🙂

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  15. I always considered India separate and distinct from Asia. Perhaps because in the U.S. we give every country/ culture their own hyphenate: Chinese-American, Japanese-American, Indian-American. Or maybe because India is such a distinctive country/ continent, with multiple religions and languages. It wasn’t until I read various books by British authors discovered they refer to people from India as “Asian” that I realized anyone else thought differently.

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    • So far you are one of the few to say India is distinct from Asia, and then saw it as a part of Asia. I do think India comes across as a distinct country. For one, Bollywood is pretty much known worldwide and India is a country with its own languages that aren’t spoken universally.

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  16. This post has been a geographical, history, and cultural lesson, Mabel. Well done and with the help of your friends. My husband has travelled and spent time in India. Specifically, Mumbai. He said the poverty is beyond anything he’s ever seen elsewhere. But he also says the people are strikingly happy. We have a large Indian population here in Canada. Many of them are very successful farmers and have built houses the size of community centres. It is puzzling to us why they are fixated on house size (the bigger the better, apparently). I was surprised then to read that they value people and relationships over material possessions. That may be a generalization and certainly not the case here. However, I believe the younger generation is changing tradition slightly and it’s always good to see the up and coming generation. A friend of mine is a school teacher and she has told me that Indian people are to be referred to as South Asians. It is not politically correct to refer to them as East Indian. Very interesting post. I also have read many books that take place in India. I have learned a great deal about the culture from reading and find the people endearing in so many ways. Thanks for the additional education, Mabel & friends.

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    • What a great opportunity to you and your husband to spend some time in Mumbai. It seems some people live a simple life in India, and maybe that’s why they seem strikingly happy. The bigger, the better. I have heard that perception being thrown around in Asian cultures, even in my family. While we do value people and relationships a great deal, there’s also pride in being able to live comfortably and live comfortably well. Personally I feel you don’t need a big house to be happy, but I guess that may just be what someone else wants. Hope your Indian friends who are successful farmers are know reaping their rewards from manual labour and hard work – and I am sure they have earned living in a lovely nice house 🙂

      I think your friend is right. I have never actually heard anyone being called an East Indian. But I have heard of some Indians being referred to as South Asians (as opposed to South East Asians) – and geographically that would make sense. Thank you so much for your kind words, Lisa 🙂

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  17. Wow. What a crazy question. Of course India is part of Asia. It’s known as South Asia. I was really curious where you were going with this one. What prompted you to ask this? Is there a backstory?

    India is the birthplace of many of the world’s major religions, so I think of India as a spiritual center which I believe many “Western” folks do as well. I’m thinking of the Beatles, and many other celebrities, and New Age types who have made a pilgrimage to India to meet specific gurus or learn yoga or meditation.

    I was also taken back by your remark about light skinned vs dark skinned Indians “Are Indians considered non-Asian because of the shade of their skin which is usually darker than those who live in other parts of Asia?” because MANY SE Asians have dark skin and are considered Asian. It’s not only Indians that discriminate against their own ‘kind’ so to speak.

    Actually, you wouldn’t know Indians were dark skinned by any of their TV shows or movies.

    But like you, I’m curious about India. I think it holds the biggest ‘culture shock’ in store for me, but I won’t know until I go!

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    • Lol I had to lol when you said what a crazy question. I do have to agree with you it’s a bit of a crazy one as I had always thought India was a part of Asia. From the outset, India seems very distinct: Bollywood, languages and customs that aren’t universally spoken, geographic formation in that it was a separate plate millions of years ago. Over the years I’ve also encountered people (non-Asians) who thought India wasn’t a part of Asia – like how some Australians reckon Bali (one of their favourite travel destinations) isn’t a part of Indonesia.

      Interesting you mentioned some will make the pilgrimage to India for spiritual discovery and reflection. I follow some IG influencers and they were travelling through India recently. They make it seem like India is a big place to discover and a place for spiritual awakening. Then again, IG is IG…

      True that many South East Asians have dark skin. Depends on where you travel, and racism is certainly everywhere. Hope one day we get to go to India 🙂

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      • Your post started a debate with the BF and I. He, like your post said India didn’t seem like Asia, but then we argued back and forth. He also is in LOVE with Indian music. Had to add that in.

        I think as an AA, I’ve been conditioned (is that the right word?) to include Indians and think of Indians as part of our ‘tribe’. So, the question seems ludicrous to me.

        India is massive. The advice I’ve heard is to take a small section to explore on your first trip there (if you don’t have a lot of time).

        Another thing about the skin tone which is worth mentioning is, CLASS. If you have darker skin you are most likely working outside in the sun. Well, you know the deal, we’ve talked about this before. 😛 Cheers!

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        • Haha! Your BF sounds like he has a bit of a different view on India. I think it’s hard not to like Indian music – or at least not not like it. There’s always a kind of stirring, uplifting energy about the genre of music.

          Yeah, India is massive. There’s the capital Delhi, then there’s Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kalkota, Kerala…so many cities and states to explore.

          Skin and class…we’ve been there about it before 😛

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  18. Interesting and well written as always, Mabel! I stick to the school book here – I learned the way you learned – it’s a part of Asia. I loved hearing from your blogging friends about their home country, and I know some lovely Indians here in Sweden as well.

    What first comes to mind? Well, opening the door of our car the first time I arrived in Delhi, was the biggest culture shock ever for me. I knew it would be a big shock – but could not dream of how big it was to be. This was in 1986. The crippled, lame, blind beggars rolled in on home made boards on wheels and surrounded us. Arms up in the air and speaking a language I could not understand… they would not leave us. So close up to our faces that I could not breathe, and I almost got a panic attack. We hopped on a bus, and I can tell you we did not leave it to go out in the street again.

    That first meeting unfortunately set the standard for my feelings of India. I love the colours, the festivals, the fantastic history, architecture, temples and ceremonies – and food! But. I would rather watch it from inside, or on TV. There are simply too many people in India. In my country there are not many people per square kilometer…in India I don’t know how many…I was born in the forest, a forest of trees – India is a gigantic forest of people.

    In Sweden we also are very sensitive about how women are treated in India – I noticed you did not mention anything about them. It would be great to hear from your friends what they think about it! According to statistics, India is about the most dangerous country you can live in as a woman.

    Don’t misunderstand my answer, Mabel – it is maybe only me, from a land of loneliness, who find it difficult with all these people. I know about the economic boom and everything, but the shock of 1986 never really left me. I have visited two times after that, and felt better about it – so no worries!

    Thank you for an interesting article again – and let me say, my two children traveled there and loved it. Never mind me. India is fantastic. They visited the Dalai Lama’s garden and heard him giving blessings too.

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    • It’s wonderful to hear you have met some lovely Indians over there in Sweden. So many of us travel far and wide these days.

      Thank you for sharing your visit to India. It does sound like a very different world than you were used to. Poverty is a very real thing in India. It sounds like those who surrounded you saw you as a light of hope, a small possibility you might be able to help them – someone different, something different coming along to make their lives better. It really did sound scary, like they wouldn’t leave you alone and coming so close to you, you never know what they could have done.

      India has only increased in population over the years. So there are even more people today than when you visited. You bring up a good point in India being a dangerous country for women. You are right, I did not mention that. It is also a very real thing – and this is also the case with other countries in Asia…and this could warrant a post in itself (and thank you for the idea).

      In India (and other countries too) it is advised you don’t travel alone and try to at least have a local chaperone or guide to take you around, and keep you off the streets. Good to hear your next few visits were better, and your children had a great time there too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Mabel. I know of course that the first impression is very important – just as it is when you go to a job interview. It is difficult to totally wipe out that impression. It takes a long time. I don’t blame anyone – people suffering look to help everywhere and from anyone. But you cannot help everybody, can you? Even if you wanted to. It is sad but the truth.

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  19. A fascinating title and interesting post. Labels depend on your point of view and definitions, whether they be geographic, cultural or political. Personally I think of India as a subcontinent that is part of Asia. Even north India and south India can feel like different countries, according to Indian friends of mine. I’d like to go one day.

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    • Labels do depend on perspective, and India is a very diverse country. Different cities and states in India can be very different. If you get to go one day, so much photography for you to do there 🙂

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        • I am sorry to hear your friend could not get the pink paint out of his hair. It sounds like strong stuff. At the Melbourne Holi festival, I stayed a few minutes in the thick of it…didn’t want to be slapped with any of that colour or get any of that on my camera lens 🙂

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  20. A interesting and well written post Mabel. I always thought why do we call India, Asia or consider it part of Asia. I only thought it had to do something with western influence. One day someone from the west just said, we will call this whole area Asia. Then my knowledge of India and it surrounding neighbors is not to great at all. Something I need to work on.

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    • Thanks, Michael. Many of us can agree India is a part of Asia, and so many reasons why India is considered a part of Asia. The world is big, and chances are we don’t know all about it. The more you know 🙂

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  21. Interesting post. India is Asia with common thread of culture and customs binding neighboring countries together. No matter where you travel, North, South, East, West Asia you feel at home. Recently in Hulhumale, Maldives, I came across young Nepalese in the hospitality business who when learning we are from India insisted that we speak in Hindi with them. It was so heartwarming to see their smiling faces.

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  22. India is a fascinating country and culture. My husband holds India dear to his heart because of the many Indians he made friends with in uni. I remember that one of his best friends was a very nice Indian woman who I had the pleasure of knowing.
    Because of his friends’ influence my husband loves Indian cuisine and regularly cooks one Indian recipe or another for us. Through him, I also acquired an appreciation for the food and history of India.

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    • So lovely to hear your husband has quite a few friends he knew from uni. They sound like very nice people, and great friends too. Hope the Indian cuisine your husband cooks isn’t too spicy for you 😀

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  23. Mabel what an excellent idea to reach out to those who live in India to get their opinions to the question of whether India is part of Asia. I recognize several of the bloggers and it makes me think how fabulous blogging is to bring so many together, no matter the geographical distance that separates us. When I think of visiting India I admit to being overwhelmed at knowing where to start. Seeing these familiar names perhaps getting advice would be the best idea.

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    • It is amazing how blogging can bring us all together no matter where we are. It was such an honour to get the bloggers to help me out, and they were very kind with their time. I am sure one day you will tackle India. It is a big place, and there is probably a lot that you might want to do over there. Never too early to start thinking and planning that next trip, Sue 😀

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  24. Thanks so much Mabel, and it is such a pleasure to be part of your wonderful discourse…insightful and engaging. The intriguing topic you choose, this time it was no exception and the detailed research you do brings a lovely platter of nuanced views that are so delightful to read and delicious to chew when served with such care and compassion. Simply enjoyed the spread…and it was great to have such a different perspective from a beautiful soul like you, someone not from India and not visited India. Being an Asian we have our views about other countries in this part of the continent. Though India stands out on the heritage, architecture and culture; Japan stands for modernization and technology development; China compares with the population but their scale of working is quite different and have set a much higher benchmark. Though all have a different flavour for family, traditions and religion…there are commonalities. Korea to Malaysia have their own set of focus…

    The country has high promise but lagged behind in delivering those promises. This has been the paradox. Things are changing. Yes, poverty level are significantly improving, development in Information Technology to Space Research are changing the outlook of the country. It is staging for a quantum leap. The fastest growing economy to the fast changing demographics are auguring new opportunities and bigger avenues for one and all…

    Holi is such a wonderful festival of India and it sums up the colorful celebrations and festivals are such integral part of the country. Every now and then you have one or the other festival to spice up the mood. The mood matters in our everyday life. All your Holi photos are profoundly beautifully and there is a story in each of your snapshots. Raj from Kerala the God’s own country, the tourist paradise. Arv from Rajasthan the architectural marvels and his photography is an art, Somali from Mumbai the financial capital and she moved from Delhi, she loves to stay in capitals. Balroop from US has always such a lovely take on India, it is poetic. It is such a wonderful initiative by your to bring blogger friends together and build a perspective that is so unique of yours. Thank you for taking this initiative.

    This is such a vast topic, the more we discuss the more we extend our boundary and there is indeed no end to dwell on the subject of India…

    Hope you are having a great weekend,
    Looking forward to our wonderful exchange of ideas…
    😀

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    • No, thank you Nihar for being a part of this discourse. Your time is much appreciated. Different perspectives make us think, and make us learn. It is true we each have different views on different countries, and being nearby to a certain country doesn’t always mean we are similar (or different) in certain facets of life. Your observations about India, Japan and China are astute, and you are so right in saying that each place has a different flavour among the commonalities we share.

      It’s true I have not visited India. So the impression I have of it is made up of what I’ve heard about it, and what all of you have told me. Technology is getting more and more advanced as the years go on, and recent news about India’s developments in this area gives us much to ponder about its potential and how that might affect its ties with other countries.

      To be honest, I wasn’t all too familiar with Holi until I moved to Melbourne all those years ago. It is very colourful and people who attend seem to not mind being covered in colourful powder. I went down into the fray to try to take some shots before going back out so my camera wouldn’t get damaged in any way 😀 There were so many happy faces, and it seemed people aren’t afraid to dance and shake themselves, feeling as free as can be.

      You summed up the different contributors really eloquently, Nihar. This post really was put together by different parts of India, very kind bloggers who gave up their time where they are. Seemed like we covered different spectrums of India too, from culture to history to geography to day-to-day thoughts. Always appreciate our conversations, Nihar. Hope you have a good week ahead 😀

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      • Indeed Mabel, there is this hidden beauty that lies underneath the visible diversity that many times it is dominating and some times quite distracting. As human being we all have the same needs and value just that it changes it’s color with seasons and reasons, and that’s how we spice the world around us with united diversity.

        O! Yes, Holi is such a lovely festival and it is indeed a melting pot and it dismantles all the barriers and all the prejudices and brings together people from different denomination and creates a colorful canvas for everyone to paint their side of colour with such joy and fervor…it is a delight and makes life definitely more colorful.

        It is always wonderful to read the way world look at us and how we need to change our outlook towards a better world. Gone are the days when people and country were divided and geography was a barrier, technology has changed that boundary, and it is literally a global village that is digitally empowered and we need to learn and read the new language that is shaping the way we see and perceive the world at large. It is different world…

        Life is so beautiful when we all share thoughts that is truly inspiring and spiritually empowering. We all think alike just that the surrounding and circumstances forces to behave a bit differently at times and we have moods and hence we have those mood swings. We all have our choices and hence we choose, we change with time and we move ahead in life…the very essence of life and living. Love the way you maintain such intensity in your thoughts and the consistency that you maintain in your posts makes you stand out and your voice is truly empowering to the blogging community.

        Thanks as always Mabel and let the journey scale new heights and let there be many more joyful success.
        😀

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        • Diversity can be indeed distraction as sometimes we are so focused on outdoing each other with our skills and uniqueness. You are so right: at the end of the day we have the same needs and values, even same dreams, and if we all work together we can all improve so much more individually.

          Holi is indeed a very colourful occasion from the outset, and also it is colourful within. Not just the throwing of coloured powder, but the coming together of different Indian communities and even people of different backgrounds to celebrate it, which was the case with Melbourne. It’s something special to have people of different cultures celebrating a cultural occasion – differences are put aside and we all come together to have a good time.

          Technology has certainly aided in the world accepting diversity, and taking us places where we taught we might never have gone. The phrase ‘global village’ is spot on. Global village is our world today and the more we interact with and listen to each other, the more we speak each other’s language.

          Sharing is such a powerful thing. We can share our thoughts and we can also share our feelings. You summed it up when you say ‘the surrounding and circumstances forces to behave a bit differently…we all have our choices and hence we choose’. We can all choose, but diversity will be more and more a facet of life, and we should embrace that. We can choose who we want to be with and learn from but at the end of the day who we hang out with might be surprising. As usual, great chatting with you, Nihar 😀

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          • The beauty lies in engaging and appreciating each other’s culture and there is different flavours. There are aspects of culture which may be odd and strange to us and we may not like it but that’s how things are different and we all build a different liking and preferences based the background, history and geography of the place we reside and grow. Holi is one such aspect of our culture and many have reservation on the use of color and the way it is played but celebrating the festival in its true spirit makes it such a wonderful occasion for different community to come together and connect for joy and fun.

            We are all different and we are all at the same time are the same people, and therein lies the beauty. How do we nurture our diversity without diluting the essence of unity…there is struggle, there is fight and there is challenge which when approached properly opens up so many new avenues and exciting opportunities to be explored. Many times we get so badly caught in the cobweb of differences, ego, prejudices, bias and end up achieving nothing.

            Even with all these technology deeply penetrating in our lives and making life utterly busy and disorienting its presence, we are disturbed and we are dependent…we need disconnect and connect with our self. Nothing can take away the fundamental like the human values, trust, caring, sharing, empathy and appreciation in life. Technology is a merely a medium and we needn’t get overwhelmed with the power of the medium and lose the very essence of human conversation…

            Thanks Mabel for a lovely session on this topic and the various threads we always pick out the topic. during our conversation.
            Have a great day ahead!!!
            😀

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            • Indeed beauty lies in engaging and sharing each other’s cultures and differences. If we can’t like a part of someone’s culture or lifestyle choice, the least we can do is agree to disagree and focus on things we have in common. Over time our differences might even grow on each other and perhaps become part of our lives

              ‘How do we nurture our diversity without diluting the essence of unit’ This is a great question. I think the answer to this questions is always changing since there are always different circumstances and situations, and different cultures and different personalities. As you also mentioned, we can get caught up in ego, prejudices and more, and in turn focus on competing with each other rather than working together.

              It is also a good point by you about disconnecting. By disconnecting ourselves from the world for a moment, we reflect on ourselves and what makes us tick – and how we want others to treat us and how we want in our lives. It is so easy to mouth off at others over social media and in the online sphere, so sometimes stepping back is the better option.

              As usual, lovely chat and it’s almost the weekend. Might stop by your blog place this weekend 😀

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              • Yes Mabel it all boils down to how we are nurturing our own nature and its so much in our mind…we need to train our mind. Everything we do and everything we experience in our life is a by-product of the way we condition our mind. This comes from the people we interact and the places we stay and the way we engage with the surrounding. Culture and Lifestyle keep evolving and we need to be open to changing times and nothing is permanent and nothing is absolute…the challenge is in humbly accepting the changes that is not according to our conditioned mind but that is the way world is and that is the way things around us works, and we need to learn to work our way.

                Never easy to get ourselves liberated from the cultures of ego the deadliest diseases that act literally like vulture on our mind and it eats away the reasons and distorts rationality and emotions are thrown out of the window, we are negatively charged up…we need to constantly build up our discharge mechanism. The exit in anything is as much important as the entry…the entry may be grand adventure but without a proper exit it becomes misadventure.

                Always a pleasure exchanging such lovely thoughts with you…
                Have a great weekend and take care!!!
                😀

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                • ‘how we are nurturing our own nature and its so much in our mind’ Again you said it very well, Nihar. The world influences how we think and in turn how we react. People around us especially influences how we behave and live our lives. It takes quite a bit to disengage and detach from the world around us to ask ourselves who we are and what we want.

                  Culture and lifestyles are certainly constantly evolving. Being open we learn to be more flexible towards any challeges so as to learn to work our way. What works for someone else or another culture may not necessarily work for us.

                  Negative ideas brings negative thoughts towards others, something which usually does us no favours. Agreeing to disagree may not be easy. If we disagree, we have to remember not to bring each other down and remember to focus on how we can work together and move forwards together.

                  As always, really like chatting with you, Nihar 😀

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                  • Yes Mabel, the people around and the surrounding we live makes such a huge difference to our life and living. We change our place and change the people we interact we see a sea change in our life…change is something we resist and it keeps persisting.

                    Being adaptable to things and changes in life is where we falter, this needs constant coaching and coaxing to get the change incorporated into the DNA of our thinking…

                    Being good and treating others with dignity and being compassionate makes such a great difference to our thinking and then working around works like wonder. Many times we take it for granted or just over look these things that matters…

                    Thanks Mabel and have a lovely weekend.
                    😀

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                    • Change is a part of life and we have to roll with the punches. Change our place, we change our mind and we learn and reflect more deeply. Sometimes the more time we spend with different people and cultures, the more this is so.

                      Being adaptable may be easy for some and harder for others. But it is a skill we all need to have.

                      Treating others with dignity is one way to help us all get along. That’s the least we can do for each other, and for a better world. Hope all is well with you, Nihar. Have a good week 😀

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                    • Look Mabel we started with India, moved to Asia and see now we have landed with a world tour of philosophical thoughts, that’s the beauty of knowledge and conversation when like minded people meet and its makes the exchange of idea so profoundly meaningful…
                      Thanks and have a great week ahead.
                      😀

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                    • You said it on how we started talking about India, move on to talking about Asian and then the rest of the world… It is such a pleasure to exchange philosophical thoughts with you. Hope all has been well and have a good weekend 😀

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  25. Such a wonderful, informative article, Mabel. Thank you for all of the links you included. Like others, I thought of India as part of of the continent Asia but a separate country. Would love to visit. So many people I know have already been there.

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    • Thanks, L. India is a unique country, a part of Asia but also a country in its own right. Hope you get to go there, and maybe you can take Henry along. Not sure if he likes the idea though 🙂

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  26. What a great idea for a post Mabel. Thoroughly enjoyed the discussion and the input of the other bloggers. Did you also get the photos from them? Must admit I was sad to read the opinion about the west being focused on finance. Rather a broad brush of prejudice in that one I think 😢. Terrific discussion overall

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    • The architecture photos were kindly contributed by Arv over at JaipurThruMyLens. I took the other photos at the recent Holi festival in Melbourne. Yeah, the West seems to have a certain perception of India, with quite a bit of focus on poverty. India is India, and it has a lot to offer. Thanks, Tina 🙂

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  27. My only connection with India is working with people here in Canada who either came from India or their descendants did. A lot of East Indian-CAnadians I’ve met came from UK., Tanzania or Kenya. From a business sense, I see many Indians similar to Chinese…really strong sense of entrepreneurship, savvy, street smarts and business survival….as evidenced here in North America and also in big firms.

    I don’t want to get too romantic about modern arranged marriages, since it doesn’t always work out well. I personally knew an East Indo-Canadian who ended up marrying a guy a lot older than she back in India. She came back, totally changed….not her vibrant self. A modern, CAnadian perspective: https://torontolife.com/city/life/case-arranged-marriage/

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    • I think you are right in saying many Indians have a strong sense of entrepreneurship. A lot of Indians I’ve met have migrated countries and/or love to travel. They do what they do to chase their dreams and to find set up a comfortable life.

      That was an interesting link to stories on modern arranged marriages. Food for thought.

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  28. A fabulous idea and different way to write a post, Mabel. Well done. The Indian community in Australia is a bonus for us in terms of adding diversity, certain skills in high demand and different food options. I haven’t travelled to India, but Nepal so I can imagine India. I was in shock for the first few days in Nepal, feeling so very extravagant and wasteful in my life back in Australia, compared to the few material goods the folks in Nepal had, in their lives. It inspired me to be more minimalist, power conservative and kinder to the planet and other folks. I do remember the little guys on skateboards. Our guide encouraged us not to give to them, as it encouraged begging, but in India, I believe it is accepted. I hope you get to see India for yourself one day.

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    • This post was really fun to write. Something different. There is quite a big Indian community in Australia. Even racism over the years can’t stop migrants from India Australia home. Your trip to Nepal sounds like an eye-opening experience. Life seems so much simpler in other communities, making life in Australia seem a luxury. Minimalism is such an interesting concept, and there are different degrees of minimalism. There’s the decluttering trend, and also ‘no-buy’ years.

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      • Yes, you are right, Mabel. The Marie Kondo concept is sweeping media at the moment. The minimalist trend is also got some way to run before it changes. however, perhaps it is environmental concerns that might mean the minimalist preference last longer. That is a good thing, perhaps?

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  29. Great insight on this topic, Mabel! I think Asia is stereotypically thought of as Eastern Asian countries – China, Japan, and Korea. However, countries such as India, Laos, Thailand, etc. are very much Asian countries, with a lot of overlap in culture, food, and people.

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    • I think you are right in that certain countries come to mind when many of us think of Asia. Asia is so much more than that, some of might not get noticed much because they are not popular tourist destinations.

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  30. This is such an informative post, Mabel. It’s very well-written. I’ve learned a great deal without it feeling like a boring lecture. Your idea to write this was quite smart.
    I always think of India as a place where there is a close bond of family. The religion, cultural traditions, silks and clothing and food are what come to mind for me. They’re also very intelligent people. All of my physicians – 4 – are from different parts of india. Yes, I’ve spoken with my primary md about some of India’s
    customs. Just recent;y my cardiologist was getting prepared for his daughters wedding which was to take several days. I think they’re kind people too. Whether a part of Asia or not I hope that they continue with their cultural traditions since many others are leaving their behind. Well say, my dear …
    Isadora 😎

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  31. Wonderful and informative post, Mabel! I always learn so much reading your blog! 😊
    First things that come to my mind when I think of India are the food 😉, Hinduism, festivals like Holi, history (starting with Alexander the Great and going til the East India Company) and last but not least the amazing art that can be seen everywhere.
    It is definitely one of the countries I hope to visit too one day. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Food is always a good topic to talk about when it comes to talking about countries, and India is no exception. A lot of India’s food comes with spices, and that makes its many dishes unique. Cultural occasions can also be quite interesting – everyone comes together to celebrate and celebrate by sharing. Hope you get to visit India one day 🙂

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  32. Wow! 😀 Mabel, this is a superlative article and I’m in awe of your research and the personal quotes and opinions from so many bloggers. The whole post is informative and as vibrant as the photos! As to your title question, the answer seems to be a resounding YES! And not just for geographical reasons. I loved learning more about a country that fascinates me … on the cusp of real change, the old mingles with the new in a way we do not often see in the West. My husband travelled around India just before we met and it made a huge impact on him … he loved the country, the people and came home changed. As you mentioned Slumdog Millionaire, I recall a book talk I recently attended given by a British man born to parents from India and who as an adult moved to the country for work. His books (author’s name is Vaseem Kahn) take in all aspects of modern India in a way films never do … he was a most eloquent speaker and I learnt about the country’s history going back 3000 years and it was interesting as he talked about the Massacre of Amritsar, to a mainly white British audience! Vaseem was a great speaker, lovely guy and having read one of his books already, a gifted writer!

    Terrific post, Mabel and I always look forward to reading your work; settling down for an enriching read that will leave me deep in thought and stay with me long after. 😀🌺

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    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Annika. I really enjoyed putting together this post, and the kind bloggers who helped me out were very generous with their time. You described India very well, ‘on the cusp of real change, the old mingles with the new in a way we do not often see in the West’ Over the years India has changed, developing new technologies and travel has become a big part of Indian life (at least the middle class).

      Your husband’s trip to India must have been an eye opening experience. It sounds like an interesting talk by Vaseem Kahn – honest about where India has been in the past and today, and talking to a predominantly Western British audience. It is always nice to hear an author speak if you have read their book; it helps put their words into even more perspective 🙂

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  33. Mabel, your posts never disappoint. We were taught in school that India was its own continent. And yet, “JaipurThruMyLens thinks India is undoubtedly a part of Asia. He feels, ‘Unlike the west, where material possessions are paramount, in India like other Asian countries, people and relationships matter the most.’”

    This makes sense to me. Ultimately, borders are drawn by mapmakers and conquerors, not the people living within its perceived borders. And for me? The people win, hands-down, every time. The rest seems a fabrication.

    Thanks for the enlightenment! 🙏😘

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  34. Very informative post as usual, Mabel! An Indian friend told me he suspected Australian Aborigenes may be related to Tamils in Southern India. Either they migrated from India to Australia a long time ago, or were part of the same people who inhabited Gondwana before that continent split up.

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    • Thanks, Hien. I vaguel recall something about the tale of Tamils in Southern India migrating to Australia a very long time ago. Today, Australia is very much a land of migrants.

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  35. Wonderful post, Mabel, which is what you always bring to us ~ and incredible look at a questions followed with great research and what I liked most is you brining in the thoughts of other Indian bloggers to answer this intriguing question: do Indians see themselves as a part of Asia?

    I’ve considered India as a unique part of Asia, mainly for the cultural reasons you share above: faiths such as Hinduism and Buddhism are followed widely throughout India and the rest of Asia. Especially the culture surrounding food, as Indian cuisine is viewed as an art just as it is throughout Asia…something very special.

    The quote I like the best is from Sreejith from Santiago the Shepherd: ‘More than the similarities in physical features, the real connection is culture and tradition. We could very well relate to the family values, parent-child relations, joint family structure of people of other Asian countries.’ He also has incredible photos too 🙂

    Love your shots of the Holi festival ~ it would be so much fun to take part in one. You show such camaraderie with these photos. Have you ever participated fully in the Holi festival, covered yourself in such glorious colors? I just think it would be an amazing experience.

    Growing up, we were always taught India is its own continent and so therefore I always assumed it was not a part of Asia ~ but having visited and living in HK/China for such a long time the cultural similarities have shifted my thinking to India being its own continent, but also fully enveloped with integral pieces making up the Asian culture. Wishing you a great spring, Mabel, and so great to be able to sit down and enjoy this post of yours this morning. Missed you!

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    • The weirdest questions, the questions that we often keep deep within us, are usually the most interacting questions to answer. It only seemed fitting to reach out to others who are Indian and have a deep connection with that part of the world.

      You are so right Indian cuisine is viewed as an art all around Asia. There’s just something about this cuisine that makes it hard not to notice: the tantalising spices, the sharp delectable whiffs, the flavourful mouthful of each bite, the vivid colours that is part of each dish. Very special indeed.

      Sreejith does have incredible photos, along with Arv who also contributed some of his work to this post. What I really like about the contributors to this post is that this is such a diverse group, from different parts of India and most of them have travelled around.

      I have never actually participated fully in the Holi festival. For this one I did go down into the pit for five minutes and then got out. Didn’t want anything to happy to my camera 🙂

      India is its own continent and country, just as much as it is a part of Asia. Hope you get to visit at some point. Wishing you a wonderful spring ahead, Randy. It’s turned Autumn here in Melbourne, and we’re hurtling towards winter. Cannot wait for warmer weather 😀

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      • Yes, a great question is worth quite a bit as it can open up a new way of thinking and seeing the world. Agree fully on Indian cuisine, for me the vivid colors adds to the flavor and aroma as well… Maybe I’ll have Indian tonight 🙂 Spring has arrived for the most part, and very thankful for the warmer weather 😉 Cheers, Mabel, enjoy your day!

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  36. Thanks Mabel. You have put a lot of work into this informative post. Lots of meaningful information. Like you I’ve met quite a few bloggers from India through blogging and it is with great pleasure that I learn more about their culture each time. And I love Indian cuisine! My husband traveled many times to India for work and he talks highly about the people and the beautiful sights. I’m lucky, every time he brings me colorful fabrics and jewelry. Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to visit one day too.

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  37. What a fascinating post, Mabel. I loved that you pointed out that continents are ephemeral geologically. My husband would applaud you! I work with many Iraqi and Iranian/Persian limo drivers. Despite being right next door, they are convinced that an invisible ocean separates them. I guess they speak Farsi not Arabic?

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    • Thanks, Kerry. Geography is so interesting. Sadly I didn’t get the chance to learn it in school. Well, there’s always the Internet 😀 Sometimes different languages can sound and come across as similar. Interesting to hear the limo drivers feel like they are only able to call a small part of where they live today theirs, hence why hey feel the invisible ocean separation. Maybe they can speak both Farsi and Arabic.

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  38. AMAZING post, Mabel. The work and research you put into this … the hours of preparation boggles the mind. There is SO much in this post about India I honestly didn’t know about. I was fascinated, taken into another world that is so very different from where I live. I’ve always thought and believe taught, that India is a continent and so an entity in of itself. I learned so much here today! I would LOVE to visit India someday but that probably will not happen. Thank you so much for putting forth a newsworthy educational piece. You need to consider to write and get PAID for it. You so do deserve it! I applaud you!! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

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    • You are very KIND, Amy. Thank you so much for your nice words. India is very unique but at the same time it is similar to other parts of Asia and Asian communities. You never know. Life can be good and maybe one day you will visit India. Lol I am not sure if I will get paid for my writing much again. But it’s something I will continue doing. Much love to you, Amy ❤

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  39. That’s a great insight how places are grouped according to the tectonic plate they sit. I had no idea India as a growing country began in 3000BC with the spice trade. I would love to spend some time in Goa enjoying the relaxed culture. Although the Indian cities are full of important history they appear super busy! Thank you for a valuable lens to see this country through. It has moved up my travel list now! Great blog.

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  40. I am totally fascinated by India and totally want to visit there as well. I was within spitting distance from it when at Mannar Island on Sri Lanka. We’d thought about sailing there (Kerela) but decided in the end to give it a pass due to lack of wind. Next time around.

    I had always considered India part of Asia, unaware that it has its own plate. That seems to qualify for Continent status in my opinion, but then who am I?

    I would have thought India’s number of visitors was far higher so I queried stats on Wikipedia and was surprised to learn that it falls below China, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Macau in the region and is only slightly above Singapore! Makes me want to go there even more.

    Love your colorful Holi Festival pictures.

    Thank you for the introduction to so many bloggers, I was familiar with Arv and Sreejith, but not of the others.

    Big hug to the whole Wobbles crew from Brazil.

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    • It sounded you were so close to Kerala. Maybe next time round on a different trip 🙂 India is indeed a place with millions in terms of population. For some reason it gets a rap for being very crowded. Maybe India’s cities and towns are more densely packed, giving it that impression.

      It was very kind of Arv, Sreejith and the other bloggers to help out with this post. Wobbles waves to you and Amandla and looks foward to see where all of you are headed next 🙂

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  41. This post has turned out to be amazing, Mabel. I have shared my thoughts with you but coming to read of this post, I am able to see India like how she really is. Through the eyes of your research and the people who contributed.
    Also, the comments here are heart-warming. For many who judge India and Indians, there are an equal number of people who love India. I am glad you wrote this piece. Thank you!

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    • Thank you so much, Parul. So glad you enjoyed this post, and thank you so kindly for contributing to it. The comments have indeed been heart-warming and many seem to warm towards India. India is such a rich place of history, culture, food, travel and more 🙂

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  42. Another thorough and wonderful post Mabel, thank you for sharing! I especially appreciate how you had bloggers from India share their perspective on it, to give voice to people who have that lived experience. I found the section about skin tone interesting as I know in the United States at least colorism is a huge thing, where darker-skinned Asians (e.g., South Asians) receive discrimination and oppression not experienced as much as more fair-skinned Asians.

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    • Thank you for reading, Thomas! It was so nice to have bloggers from India contribute to this post. Interesting you mention colourism is a huge thing in the States (and I guess much more bigger than here in Australia). You have a good point on how darker-skinned Asians might face more discrimination. Your point actually reminded me of this standup comedy routine by Joe Wong:

      youtube.com/watch?v=36v9GSOFMFc

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  43. Interesting question, you’ve taken it on well. I can’t say I’ve ever considered India not part of Asia, mostly because of geography. Even if one were to argue that culturally it’s different from China, Russia, etc, so what? India is so big and diverse it’s culturally different from itself – I don’t think culture can be a qualifier. Lastly, my wife, originally from the Philippines, considers herself an Asian. If she is, why wouldn’t an Indian be Asian?

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    • Thanks, Dave. Yeah, it is hard to not see India as a part of Asia. India has had a lot of impact in the region throughout time, and has a lot in common too. So many factors bring people and countries together.

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  44. I heard a lot of mix feeling about india, Either you hate it or you love it.
    I personally reluctant to travel there as the transport system is not well develop like in Europe and there are still certain culture/ hierarchy to follow such as women is not advisable to travel alone, etc,etc.
    I have a lot of Indian friends and enjoy their stories, however my friends prefer to live abroad than in India.
    Anyway, it is fascinating story and maybe one day I will visit – who knows… but not now.

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    • You have a good point in that transport systems in other parts of the world (think Japan) comes across as more efficient and comfortable than India. Many Indians also like to travel and migrate abroad, and many whom I have spoken to said they moved away because they were seeking a less stressful, better education and really more comfortable life in another country.

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