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Why is My Accent Funny to You?

India is a vast land of diversity. Instead of portraying the colours, sparkle, splendour and vivacity of India, the accent of the Indians are made fun of in the media.

Hey guys, my name is Pritika and I was born and brought up in India. Yes, I have an Indian accent but it is not the stereotypical and comedic one you hear in the western media. Often, the plethora of cultures present in India goes on unnoticed. Their accent is also made fun of quite often.

The Languages of India. Source: Jost Gippert

Let us not spread hate, guys!

Raj Kootharapalli, an Indian character from the Big Bang Theory and his culture has been portrayed in a very light hearted way throughout the series.

Kunal Nayyar is the actor playing the character and his Indian accent was also made fun of.

You all probably have grown up watching The Simpsons. The character Apu speaks as if an entire turkey has been stuffed in his throat. The Indian accent is incredibly varied and I would love to see our multifarious culture and way of speaking better represented in the media.

If you want to know more about the Indian culture and the Indian accent and stereotypes, you should definitely check out this video.

In the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, an Indian king is shown eating monkey brains. Well, that’s an exaggeration.Indians don’t eat monkey brains!

A number of cases of bullying and racism go on unnoticed. People with traditional black or South Asian names are less likely to be hired. According to a study conducted by the University of Toronto, fake CV's with the same qualifications were sent to various job posting and it was found that people with names of Chinese, Indian or Pakistani origin were 28% less likely to be called for an interview, compared to those with an English sounding name.

Racism can also take place within ethnic communities. Here’s a video where Anpu talks about an anecdote where he and his family became the victims of racism. The phenomenon of stereotype threat in South Asians, a common psychological process that increases anxiety, makes people prone to mistreatment and crime and reduces their potential performance.

Mahatma Gandhi, an Indian freedom fighter became a victim of racism in South Africa. He managed to tackle it with peace. He has spread the message of non-violence, pacifism and love all through his life. His birthday, 2nd October, is celebrated as the International Day of Nonviolence worldwide.

India has been following the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam meaning “The world is one family” and Atithi Devo Bhava meaning “Guests are equivalent to God” from the Vedic period.

Let us adopt these concepts from the ancient Vedic literature and be more accepting of each other’s culture and not stigmatize it.

Acceptance and humility has always been a very prominent part of the Indian culture. Sri Lanka and India have very strong ties from the prehistoric age. So, these factors are prevalent in there as well.

Indians are taught to follow the path of non-violence and spread the message of humanity and peace from childhood.

Let’s take a pledge to not mock others who have an accent that is not native to us and join hands to spread the message of peace, humanity, love and brotherhood!

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