While Indians, both natives and diaspora, are quick to pat themselves in the back that there’s no place like Mera Bharat Mahaan, the country and its people have rarely evoked good feelings among foreigners.
Here are a few notable foreigners and their views on India:
Babar (founder of Mughal empire)
Hindustan is a country of few charms. Its people have no good looks; of social intercourse, paying and receiving visits there is none; of genius and capacity none; of manners none; in handicraft and work there is no form or symmetry, method or quality; there are no good horses, no good dogs.…Pleasant things of Hindustan are that it is a large country and has masses of gold and silver.
Charles Dickens (writer)
I wish I were Commander in Chief over there [ India ]! I would address that Oriental character which must be powerfully spoken to, in something like the following placard, which should be vigorously translated into all native dialects, “I, The Inimitable, holding this office of mine, and firmly believing that I hold it by the permission of Heaven and not by the appointment of Satan, have the honor to inform you Hindoo gentry that it is my intention, with all possible avoidance of unnecessary cruelty and with all merciful swiftness of execution, to exterminate the Race from the face of the earth, which disfigured the earth with the late abominable atrocities [referring to 1857 mutiny].”
Richard Nixon (former U.S. President)
Indians are “a slippery, treacherous people,”
Paul Theroux (writer)
A monotony of frotteurism, life in India being an unending experience of non-consensual rubbing.
Henry Kissinger (Nixon’s National Security Adviser)
The Indians are bastards anyway. They are the most aggressive goddamn people around.
Lee Kuan Yew (former Prime Minister of Singapore)
I grew up, I went to India. I realized that there are many different Indias. And it is still true today [in 2011].