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A Dutch Diplomat Calls Delhi Filthy, and Its People a Nuisance

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A Delhi-based Dutch diplomat is apparently so frustrated being a resident of this chaotic Asian capital city that he was moved enough to confess that "New Delhi is the most miserable place I have ever lived in". The venerable diplomat expressed his explosive perceptions to the Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad.

Mr Arnold Parzer, holding the innocuous title of Agriculture Councilor at New Delhi's Royal Netherlands embassy, but actually being the senior-most Dutch diplomat after the ambassador, is 63 and has been posted in the city for the last three years.

However the diplomat's outburst, perhaps vented out in one of his weaker moments, was not entirely off the mark. His penetrating observation that "anything that can go wrong, does go wrong" in Delhi could actually be true. For instance, a single fused-bulb in one of the traffic lights usually leads to miles-long, hours-long jams resulting in delayed arrival at offices which, in turn, gives way to delayed appointments, cancelled deals, angry bosses, relationship break-ups, hypertension, mood disorders, and occasionaly all of it ending up in a severely upset stomach, popularly known as Delhi Belly.

Reflecting back over his three-year experiences in the city and his encounters with its boisterous people, Mr Parzer claimed that "everyone interferes with everyone else; the people are a darn nuisance".

The diplomat was not completely inaccurate in his social commentary.

Indian society prides itself, albeit hypocritically, in its family values. The Great Indian Family encompasses, within its orbit, something called 'extended family' that consists of relatives as distant as cousins thrice-removed and aunts married to fathers' younger brothers' brothers-in-law.

With such abundance of family members, such choking levels of diabetic love and affection between them, all being so interested in and (more importantly) curious about each other's welfare, it becomes inevitable for everyone to interfere with everyone. This trait often leads to the killing of all individuality, forcing people to a conformity of the worst kind.

Mr Parzen could not be expected to understand and appreciate such familial subtleties. After all, he comes from a kind of society where individuality is taken too far and which, unfortunately, has no concept of the security and comforts of a joint family. It is understandable for him to consider Delhi's uncles and aunties 'a darn nuisance'!

In addition, the Dutch diplomat was quoted cribbing that in Delhi, "the climate is hell". He is right. It can not be denied that Delhiites practically broil during summers and freeze to near-death during the wet-foggy winters. In addition, it now hardly rains during the monsoon season – the only time when the sub-continental farmlands receive its major share of rainfall. Worse, regular power outages shut off the air conditioners. This last, frequently-occurring, man-made disaster must be miserable for a cold-country native like Mr Parzer.

Finally, Mr Parzer described Delhi as "a garbage dump". There could be no shying away from this description. Even a transit airplane passenger, who has never stepped into the heart of the city, and has spent merely a hour in the city's international airport terminal, waiting to switch planes, would have difficulty in disagreeing.

Unfortunately, the Indian government, ever-sensitive to pricks and puns, hasn't taken kindly to such frank, fascinating, and heart-felt impressions. The Dutch ambassador, summoned to the filthy, monkeys-infested, beetle-juice-stained corridors of the foreign ministry, assured the Indian government, however, that Mr Parzer "has been taken to task". To kill the scandal before its bloom, the embassy also released a terse press release insisting that "[Mr Parzer's] statement does not reflect the opinion of the Netherlands government".

That's a pity!

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About Mayank Austen Soofi

  • lata

    I dont understand why many indians in this article get so upset that these foreigners feel this way about india. i am a patriotic indian but very ashamed to say that filth in india repulses me. it has repulsed me to that extent that i have stopped travelling by trains owing to the nauseating toilets and filthy people. i hate travelling anywhere in india becos i have grown intolerant towards people’s acceptance to filth and dirt. it all boils down to one thing. the political class comes from rural areas. these illiterate monkeys run the government and elite class people have no say in the government since these people come to power backed by religions and castes. these monkeys have no idea about efficient ruling but know to fill their filthy pockets with people’s money. as i see it there is no solution to this problem in the near future. only when corruption is eradicated will there be any development. i have come to hate the diversity in india so much, which is actually a shame rather than a pride on india’s unity.


    This is India. That’s how India is meant to be. If you see a clean India with people not squatting by the roadside and crapping, garbage not being thrown on street corners, beggars begging at all traffic intersections, homeless people sleeping by the tens of thousands on pavements, millions of shanties within the cities, stench of crap mixed with diesel lingering in the polluted air, cows roaming on busy streets, red betel spit scattered on all the walls and streets, millions of pilgrims bathing in the most filthiest river in which human and animal corpses and garbage is floating, ugly prostitutes roaming everywhere and much more, then WAKE UP – either you are dreaming or you are in some other place.

  • DirtyIndian

    I think all people should stop coming to India .. do not issue visa to Indians anywhere .. and let Indians like me remain in India forever… why so much hate?? Please remain in your clean countries.. don’t come visiting India. Since for next thousand years India is not going to improve.. it is A DIRTY PLACE.. go to Clean countries only. Anyways 99.99% of Indians never do visit any foreign country .. so they don’t know if they are dirtier or what ! Please see picture of Taj Mahal on net and some more pictures of India available on net. Don’t visit this land.

  • Siddhartha

    Most of the communities in India (such as Bengali), are succumbed in ‘Culture of Poverty'(a theory introduced by an American anthropologist Oscar Lewis), irrespective of cl-ass or economic strata, lives in pavement or apartment. Nobody is at all ashamed of the deep-rooted corruption, decaying general quality of life, worst Politico-administrative system, weak mother language, continuous absorption of common space (mental as well as physical, both). We are becoming fathers & mothers only by self-procreation, mindlessly & blindfold. Simply depriving their(the children) fundamental rights of a decent, caring society, fearless & dignified living. Do not ever look for any other positive alternative behaviour (values) to perform human way of parenthood, i.e. deliberately co-parenting of those children those are born out of ignorance, real poverty. All of us are being driven only by the very animal instinct. If the Bengali people ever be able to bring that genuine freedom (from vicious cycle of ‘poverty’) in their own life/attitude, involve themselves in ‘Production of Space’ (Henri Lefebvre), at least initiate a movement by heart, decent & dedicated Politics will definitely come up. – Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, [Personal contact info deleted]

  • Kchawla

    Hi Mayank, i’ve been reading alot of your articles now a days, would like to meet you and know more about delhi and the delhiwala

    To non-indians: there’s a portion of us who accept whateva has been said about the filthyness of india and its people, we have been waiting with our trash for year now for the govt. to install bins in our streets. In my case the bins are there but noone ever came to collect and empty them for next day.

    To the-indians proud of its billionairs: why dont you go pee in the luxury toilets of those billionaires instead of peeing on roads, try it once.

    To Non-residential indians (Specialy you Nilesh): You left your country-men like this, you have no right to say anything about this issue let alone calling us filthy (“you Indian” seriously?? its like spitting while looking in the sky, comes bck to ur own face). Whateva reason you had to leave this country…i wish your dreams come true.

    salvation lies within – so true

  • STM

    If anyone needs any more convincing, look at the uproar around the world over conditions in some of the athletes’ quarters for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. These are new buildings too.

    Most of us understand that India is still developing and has special problems related to its urban poor and mass migration from the countryside in search of work (which has no easy solution), but the government really needs to step up to the crease and have a go at tackling these issues.

    India is an amazing place that will be even more amazing down the track. Hopefully, development in industrial and service-related industries in the next 100 years will solve many of these issues, rather than make them worse.

    But for the time being, the Dutch diplomat is pretty much right. I think he could have couched his views a little less offensively, however.

  • Bastich

    I totally agree with the Diplomat. I’m an Indian who’s been fortunate enough to visit many nations worldwide. Its AFTER I got out – I realized just how callous and desensitized we Indians are wrt to cleanliness, hygiene and the community in general.
    The Pinnacle of filth in any Indian city would be Calcutta. It’s rightly called a “black hole” and after you’ve visited Calcutta – Delhi would seem like a paradise (just a comparison to show how bad things are in India).

    Indians will throw a jingoist patriotic backlash against my post in any forum – but we’re so thickheaded that we’ll raise a huge hue and cry about “besmirching” the country -that the message gets lost even more!

    India is FILTHY. Period. And Prime Minister’s proposed Manmohan Sing’s 1.5 Trillion $ reconstruction vision will be of no consequence if the newly constructed glass cladding buildings are stained of beetle juice , the pavements lined with urine and slum dwellers and the trains buses, lakes and streets overflowing with Garbage!

    To quote The Shawshank Redemption – “Salvation Lies Within!!”


    i wont lie to you all nations people…it because we take the good things from religion and also the stupid things(caste)….oh i am saying what i should not be saying…which religion in history looks down on their own people from cleaning their own shit…hinduism…castism = stupidism…the whole whorld can see except india…pakistan…bangladesh…etc
    if you speak you are going against the stupid systems in this religion..AND IT INHERITORS…PAKISTAN BANGLAD…

  • indian

    truth…to be seen cleaning in pakistan or india is lower caste so they dont do, follow on from hinduism…pakistan keeps those traits that why lahore etc is filthy like india bangladesh….back thinking…

  • ummmmmm

    well ,why everyone compare india with america or japan or uk;
    it just got independence 60 years ago , had 3 wars in between ; so much populationa and so much religious and cultural diversity
    its difficult and takes time
    u can have a clean candle night dinner but when its a party for a group ( u must see the scene all junk spread everywhere and caos) well thats india
    it has so much diversities and population and just started developing few decades ago

    thailand was never colonized and has less population ; nepal ( i can count its population with fingers); japan(tooo techy )they are clean coz of good infrastructure and its easy their then in india
    i have seen poor childrens who dont have home and beg or for their food ( u expect them to build a jacoozi or bathroom to litter)
    traffic is high well come on its coz of population only delhi has more people then whole austrailia
    big families well thats love and sorry i cant change that
    u ever compared india with african or central asian countries
    its easy to find flaws (like us u too have tons) but hard to find good things
    be adventurous ,try to find them

  • MRN5

    Hey everybody ,
    Its true that our cities are quite dirty and cannot be compared to the the streets on Central London, Paris or even New York.
    I would like to see any of these govts, try to manage 1.5 billion ppl with a country of comparative size of India.

    Austrailia, is more than double our size and with 1/4th our population. I agree there is a lot of corruption in India , that is one of the main reasons for our poverty. For the Common Wealth gamess, weve spent over Rs 40,000 crore that is over $40 billion.
    Obviously not all the money has been put to good use otherwise we wouldnt have these issues with the games.

    My point being that if even Rs 1000 crore out of that 40 could be distributed in villages it would uplift millions out of the poverty .
    National pride should not rest on some stupid games that ll be over in 15days rather on uplifting poverty , providing infrastructure, etc.

    As for the dutch diplomat , we know we have problems but we dont want advice from an individual whos country s growth potential is very limited along with its resources and population. Its very easy to maintain a country which is as tiny as the Netherlands . Amsterdam is a baeutiful city , so Ive heard I plan to visit it very soon esp for its good smoke 😉

  • Tanmay

    I’m a Delhiite, but ashamed to admit that this person is absolutely correct.

  • do not matters does not even matters

    ………. these INDIANS! are “”SO WELL EDUCATEDS? leave a sides to being ILLITERATES???

  • Hiren

    I totaly agreed with Nilesh, I lived 29 years in India and was never happy. Could not even find a good job. My two sisters were beat by their husbands and finally got divorce in the court which was 4 years long fight in the court. Came to USA, I don’t care what kind of people are here in USA, but they have accepted me. My wife is an American and she is divorced, but she is the best woman in the world.

    Blaming on Indian govt will not change anything. I lived in Rajkot (Gujarat) and we have a woman comes everyday to clean the street and here in USA people keeps street clean. I just got back from India after 4 year in USA and in monsoon season, the cow poop was everywhere and street dogs were everywhere, if any other dog tries to come in our street my street dog would bark and bark and bark, it was like living in animal shalter.

    Let’s talk about traffic, No Common sense what so ever. There are signal lights everywhere but they don’t work, traffic police is standing there watching how badly traffic has jamed and doing nothing. man, cow, dog, horse, camel, elephant etc are pooping and peeing everywhere. There is a temple in our street and Poojari keeps his mike so loud that you can not even hear and conversation in the house. Oh B/W where my parent lives right now is not poor or third class area, I am talking about upper middle class neighborhood where most of the neighbors are govt employee. anybody can threat anybody and no body comes to help one another, everyone likes to watch drama.

    India is dirty and filthy country, I miss India and i love India because India has raised me and America is providing me. America is my home just like other Americans, where i have my own home. In India i could not even dream, because people used to tell me that live on the ground not on the sky, but i believe if only you can dream high like sky then you can make your dream come true.

    Indian people needs to change and they needs to change fast, they need to believe that India is dirty and filthy country and Indians are responsible for that, not govt.

  • us

    it is so typical of indians to blame somebody else.
    If india is filthy not because of its people, how come most of little india in foreign country like in the US and UK are known to be so filthy? Little india receives the same quality of sanitation service from the government, yet the most of “little india ” is soooooo filthy. how can you explain that?

  • indian

    i disagree with most comments made here that india is filthy because of its people. to keep a city clean you need an effective solid waste disposal system which can only be provided by private companies.

    in my city the mayor really wanted to clean up the city but municipal workers started protesting against privatisation. these workers are lazy and inefficient they are only interested in their daily wages. once they sign in they barely work for an hour and then leave. nobody can say anything because they have backing of dalit organisations and soon the entire situation takes a political angle.

    unless private companies are allowed to do the job situation will not change. in spite of high population density you will struggle to find any public toilets/urinals let alone clean. this is not peoples but governments fault.

  • hello Worldtraveler

    Worldtraveler, the person like you are the embarrassment for Indians. Many Indians acknowledge that we have a problem about filthiness. We have to take what the Dutch diplomat said seriously.

  • PG

    What everyone forgets is that the filth and rubbish does not stay in India , most ends up in rivers etc , which go to the sea , and big rubbish patches exist in the Indian ocean . So the Indian population pollution affects the rest of this world , so we have a right of say in your bad practices , and tell you to correct things . The only to make you react is financial , so we should boycott Indian products etc , and avoid trade with the country

  • Jason

    well i agree india is very dirty country. i was in mumbai and it is today a slum city, people have no manners they don’t even stop at traffic signals or walk on footpaths or follow lane discipline they instead spit everywhere, throw dirt everywhere, are rude with no basic manners or even politness like please, sorry and thankyou. No one obey laws whether the law is about civic sense or any other. Also migrants from backward provinces keep coming and stay in slums illegally making the city more dirty more crowded.

    This filthy dirty rude behaviour maybe due to the culture of this country. However its difficult to say what exactly is the culture of india bsce before the british arrival there was no one single country called India. India before british arrival was a sub-continent having differnt countries, kings, languages, currency etc. Nepal still continues to be an independent country and refuses to join union of india. You put a hindi, tamil, marathi, kandadiga in one room and u will realise they all have differnt kings, languages, culture, cuisine and india needs english language in higher education and private sector jobs to keep the unity of India. So its difficult to say that culture is the reason they are not well mannered or dirty since they dont have one culture which can be called indian, the name india itself is a western word and there was no country india before british which was ruled by one king. However the fact is most unless westernised are rude and aint bothered about cleanliness.

  • cola

    I just come back from a 2 month trip to india, I can tell you india is indeed very very filthy, don’t get my wrong, i love most indian people except the auto/taxi driver and some business man who just want to grab as much money as possible from you. The local people are very nice to tourist, very friendly and helpful.

    but the city is just too dirty even I had been told how dirty India is, I still get shocked when we were there.

  • KSA

    al maskeen!! Lol

  • Singapore

    I am from Singapore and I can tell you this. Indians are filthy.
    My country is very clean country yet little india here is so filthy.
    Or everytime if there is a gathering of Indians, they always leave so much mess.

  • Worldtraveler

    Vitally Rocher – ya sure Islamabad is cleaner than delhi.. it is also a lot more dangerous… especially for westerners… when most embassies of western countries moved their staff out of Pakistan for personal safety reasons – and almost all of them have a travel advisory stating that Pakistan is the worlds most dangerous country – ya sure they are more welcoming of you than Indians…LOL.

    I have wealthy European friends who love India.. you see when they go to India they get off at the airport… fly in a chartered helicopter to some Palace in Rajasthan or somewhere like Lakshwadeep.. and love the class, service and treatment they recieve. India is not a cheap country at all – there are western style amenities in India too but they come at a HUGE premium… India for the budget traveler and poor westerners is a shithole.. because you simply cant Afford the Rich India.. India is more of a Continent than a country… the population of India is twice that of the EU and 5 times the population of USA..

    As for corruption, bribery etc – think about this.. how much do public services cost you in the west?? In Europe or USA getting a simple driving license costs hundreds of $$$ in ridiculous fees, tests and regulations…. so if you pay a bit of bribe in India over the extremely cheap cost of the service… its not really that bad.. at least your work gets done quickly and efficiently without having to wait all day in queues. As for Business – Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and many other top european brands vouch that India is their biggest market now… those people have no issues doing business with India… why do you?? Fact is – India is dirty yes.. but in some parts.. and the dirt can be easily avoided if you really want to… but if you want to go live in India for $10 a day and expect royal treatment.. then get a life really. To live and travel well in India you have to spend the same (if not more) than what it costs in western Europe.

    The Dutch guy is clearly a Racist.. he hates Indians because he is jealous of the speed India is moving with… he cannot stand the fact that people who make much less than him in India have better lifestyles and can afford domestic help.. and the worst part is.. he is jealous that Indian society is so cold knit and warm… when dutch society is the total opposite – cold, lonely and disgusting. Netherlands is one of the most boring country in the world…. and what culture do they have?? Have any of you ever tried Dutch food?? Its disgusting… have you seen them dance??? Its worse than bollywood dancing…lol… Look at their clothes.. and ugly fat women.

  • Vitally Rocher

    I can attest to this. india is the filthiest country in the world, delhi is no exception. People have no respect for privacy, environment or even hygiene. I’m a private consultant and i spent 6 months in bangalore and the rest of the year in delhi. Worst experience of my life. Islamabad or even cairo are much cleaner, better organized, and the people are very welcoming yet not all over you the way they are in delhi. Thank God i got out. I would not recommend going there, especially for business. Corruption bribery and endless paper work!

  • Worldtraveler

    There is a Rich India and a Poor India – both societies in India are completely different. Rich Indians live like Royalty, even wealthy Europeans cant match the lifestyles of wealthy Indians. This Dutch guy probably has a chauffeur driven mercedes and an army of servants to treat him like a King in India and yet he is complaining about it.. in his country he probably has to ride to work in a bicycle and do everything himself. Most middle class Indians are just plain DUMB – having no exposure to anything in the world… how would they know how racist and disgustingly boring Dutch society is….?? I dont think most of you have ever heard of this dutchman – Geert Wilder… and his intentions. This article is dumb…and yes a lot of westerners are marrying easterners nowadays especially the men because their own women are too independant and selfish… there are still a lot of good things about India. Lastly it is easy to keep a country of a few million homogeneous people clean… but when there are over 1 billion and so many class, racial and religious divisions in a country such as India – keeping it all together is a big challenge which no one here seems to appreciate or even acknowledge. As a dutchman I am sure this diplomat gets top service and respect everywhere in India – as an Indian go try living in Holland – even if you are clean and nice looking they will still treat u like a dog… if an Indian went to the netherlands and criticised them the way this man is talking about India – you would not survive there much longer… shame on the Indians who are licking up to him and accepting his criticism rather than looking at the overall picture and understanding what the real problem is.

  • STM

    World traveller: “Most Americans/Europeans are marry Asians to start afamily”.

    OK, then, given how ridiculously wrong this is, should we a) believe that you’re a world traveller and have actually been outside India and b) believe anything else you’ve written.

    I don’t understand why it is that Indians can’t take genuine, constructive criticism on what is a very real issue. India IS dirty in many places and there is a lot of poverty.

    To compare the dirt (and yes, of course there is) in places like London and NY to somewhere like Delhi is just plain ridiculous.

    “I was googling ‘filthy London’ and this came up”.

    Sure you were, and sure it did.

  • Looks like Londoners are as judgmental of you as you are of them, doesn’t it?

  • Worldtraveler

    Funny – I was googling “filthy London” and this article came up somehow. I am an Indian who has lived in UK, France, USA, and India and yes Delhi may have its filthy parts but there’s a lot of filth in many western countries too. London and NYC are quite filthy in many parts, maybe even dirter than Delhi… you just need to look. Fact is every big city has a dirty under-belly… its not just Indian cities… but maybe India has more filth – due to more poverty and many poorer people moving into Middle class and taking over large cities like Delhi. Traffic is a problem in all major cities… NYC and London can have worse traffic than Delhi…as for mr. Dutch diplomat.. what is he so proud of?? To look down upon poor hardworking Indians and “differentiating” himself from all of them?? The Dutch may have a clean, efficient country but as a Society they are more screwed up than Indians anytime. They are highly individualistic, COLD, insensitive, Incapable of love and relationships and have a high rate of suicide due to loneliness and depression. Whereas countries like India have an ever increasing population, many european countries are looking at “immigration” as a means of sustaining their culture and population – because frankly very few of them are interested in marriage, relationships and having children. The stresses of life and coping with expenses in European cities is so bad that most europeans can’t simply afford to have kids anymore.. its the same in USA…. most Americans/Europeans are marrying Asians to start a family. Amongst themselves they are so cold and insensitive that they have no feelings of love or commitment. This 63 yr old Diplomat is probably some old, cold, lonely prune who is “envious” of the warmth and cheerfulness of Indian society…. India may be a poor country but they are happier than many cold western countries are…go to a poor area in Delhi.. and the people will be all smiling and welcoming… go to a poor area in Netherlands or Britain or France.. and you will be killed by a knife over 5 bucks.

  • Chris

    Indians are just totally shameless. Boasting how successful India is when it is actually shockingly backward. Most indians look like they are malnourished as well. Indians should be constantly shamed into at least recognizing what a failure they are as a civilized society.

  • cf

    Just got back from a 3 month stint in South India-same old India: Pathetic infracture, filth everywhere, corruption, dishonesty, yucky everthing. I am finished with India for travelling and adventure-everything is just too much of an annoyance. As they say “If you don’t like India-do not go there”. It is what it is.

  • Oh, come on, mrm. Where’s your national pride?

  • mrm

    i am also an indian living in the usa. I was in india for a couple of weeks, last december. Visited a few cities and some smaller towns. Oh man, there is filth everywhere. And nobody cares about it. It is time to clean things up, or there will be pretty bad things coming at them(like all kind of diseases…).

    Cleaning up the country should be taken as a very high priority, at all levels. Right from the local ones, all the way to the central level. But knowing a little bit about my own country men, they would rather live around all the garbage/filth and talk about the richness of india(and its economy, the billionaires, the great culture, etc etc…), than do sometihing about working on taking care of the issue.

  • Jeff

    When I think of Indians, first thing that comes to my mind is… they are filthy. It doesn’t matter how much India is getting richer. Until general public of Indians stop their custom of littering, they will be always considered B class citizens in the world. It is sad but that is true.

  • Mani

    Although shameful, but I can’t deny the fact that this Dutchman is 100% correct.
    India seriously needs social, economic and political reforms. Nothing short of a revolution can fix this issue.
    The citizens have got so used to injustice, that now many things go unnoticed.
    Boasting about billionaires, natural beauty and the economy is a thing for tourist magazines. Deep down all of us Indians know, that things aren’t exactly how we want them to be.

  • blame

    This is true. I have been to little India in three different cities in the US. And there are always full of litter on the street. I even think that Indians living in the US do litter and make their environment filthy on purpose so that they feel like as if they are in their country , India, one of the dirtiest country in the world.

    The fact that Little india in the developing country like the US are still dirty proves that it is not Indian Government to be blamed but it is Indian people to be blamed. I start to think that Indians don’t have dignity and pride to keep the environment clean. I like to hear the opinion from the Indians.

  • nishikesh

    nilesh dude,

    your comments are true. but pakis are clean? lol…who are pakis to tell we indians are dirty? have you ever been to pakistan? atleast middle class indians take shower every day. same cannot be said about pakis. their houses reek of biryani cooked with ultra rich spices and ghee. indian homes stink but not that much.

    its another case of pot calling the kettle black.

  • nilesh

    First of all let me say I am Indian living in USA.
    USA is definitely not as clean as Singapore or Japan, but is definitely light years ahead of India.

    I totally agree with everybody including my Pakistani and Dutch friends about India. Nowhere have I seen such a dirty country as India. Its not just the government, and its not just the poor people – its the rich or middle class ones too.

    As many have pointed out, we are taught to keep our homes super clean while give 3 dungs about the outdoors. Lack of any civic sense and rudeness are a common indian trait.

    I didn’t know how filthy India (especially North India) was until I moved to US. So most people who never grew up in Persian Gulf (Dubai, etc) or west (US,UK) or Far east (Singapore, etc) will not know how dirty and primitive India is.

    What really angers me is the thick-skinned Indians who won’t take any criticism of their country (does Amitabh Bachchan come to mind)…many of these people live in the comfort of the west (US,UK) or middle east (UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait) and then try to hide India’s dirt.

    these are the people who don’t do anything to improve the nation or the people – no cleanup drives, no initiatives to help the poor.

    But the govt is also to blame partially – the Indian govt is the most corrupt and incompetent government I have seen…the govt is obviously made up of Indians with indian mentality, correct?

    Poverty does not mean filth. Many poor countries (as someone pointed out) like Vietnam are a lot cleaner.

    India is filthy, corrupt and dirty only because of the Indian mindset and culture. Its not just India…got to Edison, New Jersey…again litter on the roads, etc…sometimes I feel these Indians just want to be purposefully stinky and dirty…makes me ashamed to be an Indian.

    There is no point of shouting ‘Jai Hind’ if you don’t mean it, you hypocrites! The first step towards solving a problem is admitting it, not hiding it. Stop being so inconsiderate, rude and lazy and things will change.

    And who cares about the billionaires, they are not benefiting me or other Indian citizens who have to find help of another country’s government to maintain a good lifestyle…

    I have been to Amsterdam and its beautiful like any Western or Gulf or Far eastern countries. Japan is the best! I wholeheartedly agree with the diplomat.

  • Come visit Pakistan. Recent news would have u feel otherwise –but we take great pride in keeping our cities clean.

    Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Karachi are all much cleaner. Federal government under all leaders after Nawaz Sharif have placed strong emphasis on street-cleaning and maintaining physical beauty.

    We dont litter our country to the same extent that indians do. And on top of that, our people provide warm hospitality and dont harass the tourists or try to cheat them of their money.

    Visit Pakistan.

  • haro

    If you have ever been to India, you know filthy environment is everywhere. Human waste lit on main streets and small village grounds. People urin and poop on roadsides, animals roaming the streets.
    The most unbearable scene are Indian rivers. You come across human bodies and animal corpses floating on the surface every where!

  • nang

    I don’t see any problem indians keep their country dirty. it is their problem. but it is a problem when indians move to another country like the US and UK and make the public dirty. It makes other southern asian look bad.

  • Manesh

    Why dont all people who not like India leave us so we have same happy life before the come.

  • Sandy

    I live in Goa, currently it is Indian tourist season in Goa. A walk along “The beautiful golden beaches” ummmm, yesterday revealed Indains on holiday frolicking in the filth of their own tourism. Heaps of rubbish left on the beach. Did they bat an eyelid…no. The beach is cleared up for Europeans so there must be some awareness. The entire place is just filthy. Go to Nepal.. clean, Thailand.. clean, Laos..clean Yep its just Indians that seem to want to live in their own rubbish. Look out the world, what a super power!!!

  • suresh

    Indians need to be educated so that they know how to use trash cans. Or they don’t have pride keeping their country clean.

  • world traveler B

    “Please Delhi is clean place on earth very highly extremely clean.”

    if you think Dellhi is clean place then, you have not seen the rest of the world. Delihi and most of India cities in general is indeed dirty. It has to do with Indian culture. Indians wants to blame the government for the dirtiness but it is actually its Indian individuals responsibiliies. It is really shame

  • Well, I suppose one must look at it in comparative terms. Delhi is dirty compared to Holland. His outburst was regrettable, but I’ve heard it before from individuals who have traveled there, but weren’t in his position of diplomacy.

  • India is so romantic and squeaky clean

    Please Delhi is clean place on earth very highly extremely clean., This is why all us from U.P and Bihar migrate to Delhi because our own place look like animal’s anus.

  • Silver Surfer

    “And you don’t even live there.”

    No, but I have, and I still can.

    Manning’s a different kettle of fish to this … he can’t find any saving grace in a country that he lives in. I’ve only suggested that my mates can organise a whip-around to get him a one-way ticket back to Boston.

    And I have been to India, briefly, and it is a culture shock for the unitiated. I do believe the Indian government is making an effort, but more could be done.

    I’m on the side of the Indian people, not just railing against India’s injustices

  • Silver Surfer

    I’m not talking about the Dutch diplomat. Read my earlier comment on this thread, Doc.

    I’m talking about all the people here taking offence at Mayank’s reasoning, and trying to defend the indefensible by talking about all the wonders of India. OK, it is a wonderful place, but it would be foolish to prtend there aren’t big problems.

    You can’t talk about India’s billionaires and its mighty army without at least asking this question: why isn’t that money going to the poor and some of the wealth being redistributed.

    It would be rude not to suggest that IMO. What, if everyone ignores it, it’s just going to go away??

    And yes, India did beat Australia yesterday, and they deserved to win. Tendulkar had a blinder. The man’s a genius and a great ambassador for his country and his sport.

    He made my day watching him whack the Aussie bowlers around the park. Whatever else I am, I do like to watch good cricket no matter who’s doing it the best – even the Poms on the rare occasion that happens.

  • Stan’s just whinging cos India beat Australia…

  • And just on this note, why is it that some Indians find realistic criticism of their country, especially in relation to the dirt and poverty, so hard to take??

    Because it’s rude, Stan.

    A diplomat is a guest of the country s/he’s posted in. Indians are well aware of their socioeconomic problems and they don’t need some idiot accepting a posting to the country and then whining about it to the newspapers.

    You and I have chewed out Mark Manning often enough for bitching about how awful life in Britain is – and you don’t even live there.

  • STM

    And just on this note, why is it that some Indians find realistic criticism of their country, especially in relation to the dirt and poverty, so hard to take??

    I’m amazed how thin-skinned some Indians can be about this (or about cricket, which is their other achilles heel).

    It’s all very well carrying on about India having the 3rd largest military and its I.T. prowess and its billionaires, but it means diddly-squat when MOST of the population are living way below the poverty line, and that’s not even a poverty line that would be acceptable in any developed western country.

    Instead of being so thin-skinned about what westerners think in relation, why not agitate to spread the wealth a little and clean the place up and improve the standard of living for everyone.

    A country doesn’t belong in the club of the developed nations until nearly all its citizens have a decent standard of living.

    India is currently so far away from this, it might still be hundreds of years before that changes.

    Why not get out there as Indian citizens and do something about it, instead of complaining.

    For the record, a lot of people who travel to India ARE genuinely shocked by the dirt and poverty. Many more are even more shocked by the disparity between the rich and the poor. In my book, that’s the thing that is really obscene.

    Work for change, don’t just complain about how others see India – because what they see and perceive in this case is based upon the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts.

  • world traveler B

    It is notorious among tourists that India as well as Bangladesh is very very filthy country.

    Why Blame the government for not having right sanitation system is wrong. It is individuals who litter. When I was in India, I simply didn’t understand that Indians may keep their house clean but once they go out, they just litter, litter, litter –no respect for public, no civic sense. Partially because India has been very poor country but I think the issue is something that has to do with culture rather than economical condition. For example, when I went to Vietnam where the country is much poor than India, but the city is much much cleaner.

    so, when you go to India, just be prepared for the filthy cities.

  • a world traveler

    Welcome to the cultural difference which can be way shocking. Family values vary with race, region and religion. No surprise when he define individuality in his own way, what we Indian are proud of consider as a shame, sin or hypocrite by him.
    What else you can expect from a person coming from a civilization where everyone outside Mom, Dad, and grandparents are Uncle and Aunt. Where a newly born is made to sleep in his swing and later in his room; way before the age he is mature enough for it. Where you mom divorce several times in lifetime and force you to another family over and over, never kind enough to think what you and your dad may be going through. Yes that doesn’t create all those tensions, developmental delays, disease, and disorder. They are the remedies of all that.

    When a person at the age 80 has to drive to buy bread, medicine, clothes not because he /she was not blessed with any kids or kin but because his/her offspring’s are now adult. Oh by the way she feels at the zenith of happiness while running errands.

    A person coming from a country (Holland) where common man argues with Cops because he was given ticket for parking at wrong place, saying doesn’t he(cop) has anything else do to. Is complaining about the power of a bulb at signal in Delhi?

    What all I am trying to say with no offence to any religion, creed and nation is that it’s easy to find flaws and difference. And sometime difference in our way of living and thinking make us to think that we are on the right side. But there is too much b/w right and wrong side. One should be more curious about grasping good things rather than pointing the bad ones.
    These words coming out from such a senior person who is at such a diplomatic position makes me think about his credentials. They represent common man of that country and should be careful of what comes of there mouth. Power comes with responsibility.

  • Silver Surfer

    You are right about being in transit, Mayank. It’s a struggle, and it does pong to high heaven in high summer. But, you know, beyond that, my view is that there are far worse places to be sent if you are a diplomat because at least India, no matter how volatile its politics on occasion, is a parliamentary democracy striving to improve the lot of its people.

    You can also go and watch some really excellent cricket 🙂

    Besides, if you decide to become a diplomat getting sent to somewhere you don’t like just goes with the turf, and I would expect another prerequisite would be the expectation that you’d keep your gob shut about your feelings so as not to cause an international furore.

  • Europe was just as filthy 500 years ago, but science revealed that filth promoted the vermin that vectored the diseases that regularly destroyed big fractions of the populace. So Europeans developed Public Health facilities and regimens to suppress the spread of diseases.

    Why would anyone find filth and overcrowding desirable by comparison. Dirt, disease and death are not romantic, nor are they examples of Good Family Values.

  • Sayak Boral

    He isn’t the only foreigner to make fun of India’s filth and dirt. Fact is we are an insensitive society and culture and don’t really care about the dirt and garbage on streets – why even educated Indians dump their refuse on the roadside without compunctions. Here are some facts that really puzzle you.

    India is the 4th largest economy in the world!

    We have the most number of billionaires compared to any other nation except the United States!

    The 3rd most powerful military!

    Highest economic growth rate currently

    IIT’s and all the brilliant engineers we send worldwide.

    I mean there are just too many things to be proud of for this country – it’s endless I can’t even recollect for every negative thing about India, there is something positive somewhere. It’s the land of eternal hope.

    So Mr. Dutch officer – you’re welcome to return to your sterile surroundings in the Netherlands, but in order to experience India, you need to know what it is – BENEATH THE SURFACE.

  • Peter

    What was said is completely true. The North indian culture is completely corrupted by being the rulers of the “Indian Empire”. This can be seen in the BIMARU states and the heart of this corruption is centered in Delhi.
    Not content with their deeds, they are now immigrating en-masse to Bombay and Banglore with the intent of spoiling these two cities also.
    To solve this problem would be straightforward. If pakistan wants kashmir, they need to take UP, Bihar and the Gandhi family with them.


    Why would someone go into service in the State Dept. or Foreign Service if they were not willing to experience the rigors of life outside their native lands.
    A colleague of mine live in Delhi for over 2 years, and he described situations similar to those above, but he never regretted doing it, or gave up trying to return.
    I am determined to get to India once this phase of my life is over and allows for greater travel opportunities.

  • Huvis

    This is really funny, the best read I’ve had in a while. “Summoned to the filthy, monkeys-infested, beetle-juice-stained corridors” — almost split my seams laughing. Agree with JFB, it almost seems nostalgic. I stayed in Jo’burg for a while and hated it, but when I got back to cleanliness and sanity, I caught myself wishing for a bit of dirt and confusion and warm intimacy with a laa-arge family. Even if the Dutch diplomat’s remarks are a little crude, I guess half Delhi’s population would agree with him on everything except the “darn nuisance” bit. On that point they would shake their heads sadly, and wonder if a few joint dinners with the misguided diplomat could have set things right.

  • JFB

    Great article. I lived in Delhi for a year and I don’t know how, but your article gave me Delhi’s nostalgia.. It was like going back in time in a sort of Proustian “reminiscence”. There is a lot of the Delhi truth in this article : angry diplomats, delhi belly, traffic jam, fog and heat, and nice loving delhi people. I don’t know what my point is, if I’d like to go back in time or if it’s better like that. I looked at your blog too, and I thought there is a lot of good things on the internet.