Indian Beggars and Bargainers - The Right Attitude

The right attitude.... Remember, a fundamental aspect of the mindset during the British Raj was a respect for culture above all - British culture, of course. This commitment was so powerful that it was sometimes "good form" to sacrifice one's life in defence of it.
The requirement to prop up the "status quo", whatever it is, evolves in all cultures as one of the defining attributes of culture itself.
To an Indian street vendor, the expectation will be a mix of behaviours: here I may improve my next meal; there I may highlight the inferiority of another caste, religious or political group; here I may build a relationship that may bear fruit later (in this life or the next !) etc etc.
For a foreigner to appear jaded or refuse to participate in the "play" is to pull down the theatre's curtain and expose the game. This can only be met with a new play - sometimes plaintive, sometimes abusive - sometimes violent.
The most effective learning stance for the visitor is to play the game as far as a wallet or conscience will allow - to taste as a participant - but lightly, to avoid changing what you observe or becoming lost in it.

Stephen Digby

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