Quotes on India : They said it

Whatever you can rightly say about India, its opposite is equally true.
— Teacher of Prof. Amartya Sen
India is a pluralist society that creates magic with democracy, rule of law and individual freedom, community relations and diversity. What a place to be an itellectual! … I wouldn’t mind being born ten times to rediscover India.
Robert Blackwill
Departing US ambassador, in 2003


Rather surprised, she replied, “I don’t think I understand people very well. I only know whether I like or dislike them.”
‘Then you are an [Indian]’

— E. M. Forster, ‘A passage to India’
‘orient’ in original


Generally among Indians there seems to be a different relationship to outside reality, compared to the one met with in the West. In India it is closer to a certain stage in childhood when outer objects did not have a separate, independent existence but were intimately related to the self and its affective states …. The Indian ‘ego’ is underdeveloped; ‘the world of magic and animistic thinking lie close to the surface; so the grasp of reality is relatively tenuous.

— Sudhir Kakar, Psychologist


Heavy, dark, sluggish, hardy, fertile, productive with little care, far cleaner than it looks, docile enough to be led by a child, but suspicious of innovations and perfectly capable when roused, of charging a tiger or a locomotive, the buffalo would be a fitting national symbol for India. 

— D. D. Kosambi on Water Buffalo

Chaos would prevail in India if we were ever so foolish to leave the natives to run their own show. Ye gods! What a salad of confusion, of bungle, of mismanagement, and far worse, would be the instant result.
These grand people will go anywhere and do anything if led by us.
Themselves they are still infants as regards governing or statesmanship. And their so-called leaders are of worst of the lot.
— E. D. H. Sewell, ‘An Outdoor Wallah’, Written in 1934

India means only two things to us – famines as Nehru. 
— American Journalist, 1951

It would not matter what kind of mess they made – and they would make a mess, if they governed themselves, the people of India. They would probably make the greatest muddle possible.
                                 — D. H. Lawrence, Aaron’s Rod

My legacy to India? Hopefully, it is 400 million people capable of governing themselves.
— Jawaharlal Nehru

The indian people has to choose whether they will be educated or remain ignorant; whether they will come into closer contact with the outer world and become responsive its influence, or remain secluded and indifferent; whether they will be organised or disunited, bold or timid, enterprising or passive; an industrial or an agriculture nation, rich or poor; strong and respected or weak and dominated by forward nations. Action, not sentiment, will be determining factor.
— M. Vishveswaraya, engineer, 1920


The Indian commitment to semantics of socialism is at least as deep as ours to the semantics of free enterprise… Even the most intransigent Indian capitalist may observe on the occasion that he is a really a socialist at heart.

J. K.Galbraith, economist, 1958


“Hinduism hasn’t been good enough for the millions. It has exposed us to a thousand years of defeat and stagnation. It has given men no idea of contract with other men, no idea of the state. It has enslaved one-quarter of population and always left the whole fragmented and vulnerable. Its philosophy of withdrawal has diminished men intellectually and ill-equipped them to respond to challenges; it has stifled growth. So that again and again history has repeated itself: vulnerability, defeat, withdrawal.”

— V. S. Naipaul

In India the choice could never be between chaos and stability, but between manageable and unmanageable chaos, between humane and inhumane anarchy, and between tolerable and intolerable disorder.

 — Ashish Nandy, sociologist, 1990
In India you do not cast your vote, you vote your caste.
— V. N. Gadgil, Congress politician, 1995


I know that most members of Parliament see the constitution for the first time they take an oath  on it.

— Pramod Mahajan, Union minister, 2000
There is no Pakistan in Indian music at least.
— D. P. Mukherjee, sociologist, 1945
India has its fair share of scoundrels and a tremendous amount of  poor unthinking and disgustingly subservient individuals who are not attractive.
— J. Neyman to Haldane, September 1961

Perhaps one is freer to be a scoundrel in India than elsewhere. So one was in the USA in the days of people like Jay Gould, when (in my opinion) there was more internal freedom in the USA than there is today. The ‘disgusting subservience’ of the others has its limits. The people of Calcutta riot, upset trams, and refuse to obey police regulations, in a manner that would have delighted Jafferson. I don’t think their activities are very efficient, but that is not the question at issue.

— Haldane to Neyman, September 1961

Mimicking Oscar Wilde, one might say that the good Chinese and the good Indian, if they have lived a virtuous life, have now started going not to heaven, but to New York.

— Ashish Nandy, 2012

One thought on “Quotes on India : They said it

  1. INDIANS MAKE LIVING BY CHEATING. –TRUTH-FACT.generalisation is done based on majority population psychology aka behavior.hence a generalisation is a fact.all the above guys just want to maintain good will and want to sell their notes or work for a price/name/fame.and all the above guys never speak their mind or speak straight cuz it affects their identity as intellectuals(pseudo).guess what,these guys knew nothing much about india inside.india is a place which has least respect or value for honesty/ethics.once i asked indians on a public forum online to tell something that is genuine in india.i din't get any answer.hehehe hope new sedition law won't harm me for speaking truth.above stuff is not written in frustration or with hatred.from my childhood i din't find someone who has inherited that greatest civilisation on earth and i find myself as alien in my own country.A WISE MAN NEVER SELLS HIS WISDOM FOR A PRICE. –alex aka anonymous

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