India has always prided itself on being an inclusive country, a country caring for others. The government and citizens always defend the flaws in the infrastructure and governance of the country using this argument that we may not be the best at these things, but no one can beat us when it comes to kindness.
There are songs made for that. Remember Purab aur Paschimthe famous song of Hai Preet Jaha ki Reet’s line “Jeete hai kisi ne desh toh kya, humne toh dilo ko jeeta hai ” (and if other countries conquered countries, we conquered hearts).
But it turns out that even that thing Indians are so proud of may not be true, as the Foreign Kindness Index suggests.
India scores poorly on Foreign Kindness Index
The index measures the likelihood of people in a country doing small acts of kindness to strangers in a selfless manner. It is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study involved 8,354 participants from 34 countries to assess their social awareness, which they said varies by geography.
What is mindfulness, you ask? It’s about being aware of how our decisions affect the choices of those around us. Do our decisions limit or eliminate the choices of others? Or do they also adapt to the needs of others? Mindfulness is an indirect indicator of people’s attitudes towards marginalized people.
“At little to no material cost, mindfulness usually involves small acts of care or kindness. Although quite common, such low-cost cooperation has received little empirical attention … Our findings add to the body of knowledge about prosociality by focusing on the type of day-to-day cooperation that is more concerned with communicating benevolence than giving pecuniary benefits,The report said.
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India, unfortunately, was among the lowest ranked countries in this index. Japan ranked number 1, followed by Austria, Mexico, Israel, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. Countries with better overall performance or better environmental protection conditions performed better.
Religious values, level of trust in foreigners, education levels, economic levels, etc. are a few factors that may explain the order of this list. More research is needed to get concrete results. For now, the researchers do not wish to make a value judgment on these rankings.
Is India really mean to foreigners?
Well, there are arguments for and against it. Let’s talk about the first one first. In 2020, India ranked very low in the Migrant Integration Policy Index. This index assesses the country according to its degree of inclusion of migrants. India scored only 24 out of 100, well below average.
The World Giving Index is another index considered one of the leading studies on global generosity. In 2015, India was ranked 106th and slipped to 124th position in 2018.
But go to 2021, India ranked 14th in the World Giving Index. This is attributed to people’s willingness to help others during the pandemic in any way possible. We have really seen people, especially young people, helping their fellow citizens with altruism.
But in recent times we have also witnessed growing polarization and intolerance. Intolerance towards minorities is a major problem with which we are struggling. This sort of explains the reason for the poor ranking in the Kindness to Strangers index.
Sources: Swaddling, One World News
Image sources: Google Images
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India named 14th most charitable nation by World Giving Index 2021