The Argumentative Indian

No, I’m //not// talking about [[wp>The_Argumentative_Indian|the book]], but perhaps its related. During one of our random discussions late on a friday night, PSD remarked that Indians have a tendency to be argumentative. At that time it just seemed funny, but the more I think about it, the more I feel that it is actually true to some extent.

The effect seems to be particularly pronounced in Indians who are trained in engineering. My friends and I have often engaged in completely useless debates on pretty much everything. And mind you, the arguments are not just passion driven. Even though the subject matter of the discussion may be mundane, we Indians try to put in elaborate, well thought out and seemingly logical arguments behind our stand. We argue passionately, and enedlessly.

This one time we were having dinner at a Thai restaurant, and on the wall behind us there was a painting of sorts which was showing a chariot of sorts. Someone proclaimed that the painting was depicting a scene from the //Ramayana// where //Ravana// is kidnapping //Sita// aboard his //Pushpak Viman//. This was followed by heated arguments from both sides on why or why not that chariot could indeed be Pushpak — people invoked everything from history to mythology to the state of automotive vehicles and the importance of wheels in any flying artefact and so on.

I have hung out with plenty of non-desi groups and I’ve never seen these people engage in anything even close to the kind of discussions I have with my friends. I wonder if its just cultural. So what do you think? Are Indians generally more argumentative?


  1. Shikha

    :-( i hv written around 300 words to reply here…was feeling drowsy so forgot to fill in the name and address fields and i lost the whole text :-( now i dont have much patience to write that again (is it that indians are more lazy too [:-)] ) so i can just precisely say that i support that indians are mostly more argumentative than nepalis and other asians as i haven’t met any europian yet but know 8 nepalis fellows.And the reason for indians being so, may be the globally accepted view that indians are generally more intelligent and thoughtful so they can’t stop themselves from putting forward their point of view (i dont know how true is this but i have heard so from several foreigners and read in newspapers too after so many indians shining abroad in IT and many other fields). But that heat intensity of debates depends on the personal nature of participants. I think that they should save energy by avoiding useless debates. see the enthu of an indian for arguing that again it’s around 200 words!!

  2. Diwaker Gupta

    *@shikha*: haha, thats what happens when you don’t pay attention!

    *@shashikant*: oh I never implied its a bad thing at all. I was just curious. But I do think that some of this excessive argumentativeness seeps down into our politicians as well and it _is_ is a bad thing when they spend countless hours fighting over useless stuff (all the brouhaha about Vande Matram, for instance)

  3. Viksit

    Haha, I was there for that particular discussion. But I think you might be overfitting that demographic :) – I’ve noticed this happen with a bunch of people who are non-indians too..

    We’ve had intense debates on sundry topics from all around – be it the origins of sphyllis or the philology behind ancient greek – and outsiders to this group have had to leave because they got irritated by the arguments and counter arguments people had!

    Damn, how do you deal with comment spam here? I’ve had so much trouble with my drupal install that I’ve disabled comments till I upgrade to the latest..

  4. Diwaker Gupta

    *@viksit*: in that case let me restate my hypothesis. _Atleast_ one desi needs to be in the group for such discussions to perpetrate :-D !

    As for spam, Spam Karma 2 and Akismet are my friends. I believe there’s an Akismet plugin for Drupal as well.

    And that captcha thing actually makes sense. A lot of the comments are flagged as spam _after_ they are submitted (depending on the content, the speed at which comment was submitted, wait time after page load etc etc). So if a comment looks suspicious, the later captch confirms your identity as a human.

  5. Brajesh

    pasting this from a mail i received long back..tangentially relevant here :)
    > This is what “management guru” Kenichi Ohmae says! The most
    > interesting/amusing/snide/reflective remark, depending on how you look
    > at it:
    > *You have said that India’s future is only in the service sector. Why?*
    > Indians are not good at manufacturing. Even if they do what we tell
    > them to do, they always need to understand why they are doing it that
    > way. They are more inquisitive than the Chinese.
    > Maybe it’s because of their ability to find zero in the numbers. But
    > in manufacturing when you have a successful formula, what you look for
    > is implementation, right? Indians always ask these fundamental questions.

  6. disha

    ahh indians are argumentative because we of all people are not bothered by hurting others people’s sentiments unlike americans who are always walking on eggshells t not call anyone “short” rather vertically get the drift :D
    also the level of argument is higher between intelligent men and women ;)

  7. Parminder Chahal

    I agree with you 100%
    I have lived in canada for 6 months states for a year and a half and been living in UK for the last 3 years now and I have friends from many counries and what I have found is that when an Indian says something he or she thinks about it first (its a cultural thing) and hence they believe that what they said is true (in thier opinion) and slight disagrement from the other party will lead to an argument backed by very logical explainations and I have found that this argumentative nature is infact a true reflection of the talent we Indians have.

    I have friends in states who dont have this tendency in genral and neither do Canadians or British people.

    I had a long discussion at the pub last night to come up with this conclusion and the only input I got was from my Indian friends others didint have any logical arguments on this :)

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