India: Conversation – Part 2

2015-06-12

Welcome topics of conversation

While there are many topics of conversation which Indians find engaging, there are a few which are quite popular. These are: Politics, Cricket, Films and, in recent times, Indian Economic Reforms. Taking the time to do some advance preparation on these subjects can be very helpful in building rapport and establishing one’s acceptance.

Indians are enthusiastic about discussing politics and political figures. A foreigner can sometimes find the level of political awareness of an average Indian surprising. It is important, however, to recognize that politics in India is very diverse, and the political issues are often regional in nature. Thus, certain political topics may be very local, and it is advisable to get involved only if you know about them.

Cricket in India is almost a national pastime. India has produced some world-class cricketers [e.g., Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, etc.] and Indians – even those who don’t play it – are passionate about the game. Cricket, for Indians, is not just about the game, but also about the cricketers, who are seen as national celebrities, and are idolized.

India produces the largest number of films annually [around 800-1000] in the world. There are more than 13,000 movie theaters in the country. Even though the advent of TV has reduced the viewers in the theaters, most Indians keep abreast with the latest movies through TV channels, videos and CDs. Like the Cricketers, film stars are considered as national icons, and are subject to discussion and gossip. The popularity of film personalities also results in another peculiarly Indian phenomenon: many popular film personalities enter politics and get elected to the state assemblies or the national parliament.

India opened its economy in 1991, and since then the forces of change have affected virtually all Indians, both personally and professionally. Almost all Indians have an opinion about these changes in the economic policies, and are quite vocal in advocating or opposing these changes.

In addition to the above, it is important to appreciate that India is an ancient and rich civilization, and most Indians are proud of their heritage. They normally enjoy discussing Indian traditions and history, especially with a foreigner.

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