Culture

Incredible India

Sarah Chaabo Instagrams her way through India to breakdown commonly held stereotypes about the country by showcasing its beauty…

“Where are you travelling to next, Sarah?”

 “India!”

”Really? Man, who goes to India? Isn’t it really poor and stuff?”

That was the typical reaction I received from friends when telling them that I intended to visit India. Why do Arabs feel so apprehensive about the country?

I don’t want to simply reduce it to the ‘Arab superiority complex’,  or the classic reincarnation of the ‘Old Aunty’ form of casual racism that reduces India to the ‘dirty’ country that exports domestic helpers. Sometimes it is as simple as receiving a shrug and an ‘Oh…’ in response.

As an extensive traveller whose adventures are usually met with excitement and romanticisation by friends, meeting these reactions really got me thinking about the extent to which our cultural biases are subtly ingrained. And don’t get me started on the “Be careful not to get raped” comments; doesn’t anyone follow the local news? Rape culture is universal and we are not exempt as Australians – nor as Arabs, for that matter.

I absolutely loved my journey through India. I have never experienced so much diversity nor felt such awe at history, society and humanity like I did in that country. Consequently, I hope that through sharing some of my Instagram posts, you too can witness the incredible place that is India. Be sure to click on the images for a slideshow with captions.

When leaving the grounds of the Taj Mahal on my last day in India, I remembered all the reactions I garnered when I told everyone where I was headed. I laughed to myself at how little people know of a world outside their Arab or cultural bubble. If that bubble makes you happy then there is not much that I can say or do to change that worldview; but remember that our ancestors travelled the world seeking, acquiring and spreading knowledge.

And yes, even those Arabs went to India.

By Sarah Chaabo

Public servant by day and public observer by night, Sarah is a photographer and well known Sydney Instagrammer. You can find her photos and commentary on her Instagram account, @sarah_and_the_city.

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Categories: Culture, Travel

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