I am sure many of you have heard of the 8 limbed girl from India.  If not here is a short clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XM82Hs0LEpc 

She is seen as a goddes in her town.  I think alot of people in America see Indians as uneducated people because they may see someone as a goddess when really it is a parasitic twin.  I think the clip I showed does not make them seem uneducated, but they do bring up that she is seen as a goddess.  There was another documentary that I tried to look up but was unable to find.  It is shown on tv quite a bit so I am not sure if any of you have seen it.  It features all parasitic twins in India.  This girl is also in this documentary, and I feel like in the documentary is focused more on her being seen as a goddess.  Why do Americans portray Indians as such religous people and why do we see them as stupid for being religous?  Is it because many Americans do not have the same beliefs so we think beliefs that are unfamiliar to us are stupid?  Does anyone else have a response to this? (hopefully you are familiar to this or another similar story – I know there are a lot of stories portraying Indians as religious, not just this.)

 

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  1. Hi @ems75!
    I’m from India and recently stumbled upon this blog, and from there, to your post.
    First, The 8-limbed girl is likened to Goddess Durga [more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durga%5D, hence the religious connection.
    Typecasting a cultural minority’s practices as ‘strange’, ‘unnatural’ or even ‘unacceptable’ by the cultural majority is common in states that are composed of several cultural groups, like the US, and is called “ethnocentrism”. As you rightly pointed out, the stereotypical Indian as the overly religious [and exotically so?] individual is a figment of the imagination of Americans in the US [majority culture] solely because they do not understand the context of his cultural action. In this case, I would imagine that the little girl would probably be considered a freak or abnormal if born to American parents. But don’t you think the Indian village’s approach to be more humane (instead of calling her a freak or pretending she is ‘normal’, the villagers treat her as above normal, indeed God-like)?
    Rather, India is not the only country obsessed with religion. The Constitution declares her to be a secular State that refrains from adopting a preferential attitude towards any religion of the people. Even our national anthem praises only the country in all its geographical and historical glory, with absolutely no invocation of God – quite unlike the American anthem. I mean no malice towards your country, but am only trying to show how empty these stereotypes can sometimes be!
    Hope this helps!

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