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"Atithi Devo Bhava"- Mere Campaigning is not enough
The concept of "Atithi Devo Bhava" gets its meaning out of Indian hospitality and traditions. The concept depicts the guests to be treated like god, in the sense, to be respected, welcomed, served and taken care of by all means. This concept of refined hospitality by India is famous in the entire world.

The old traditions, rich heritage, glorious history and old historical monuments expressing the life-story of brave warriors and rulers, the breathtaking natural beauty, mouth-watering Indian cuisine of different Indian states and the eye-catching art & handicrafts, all these things attract people from all over the world to visit the land of diversities & colors and experience all this by themselves. This is what we call "Tourism".

In no uncertain terms, India makes a great tourist destination with all the above mentioned things, and promoting these things all over the world can bring a lot of money into the country, after all "Tourism" is a growing industry these days. But is it the only concern that is important on the World-platform? Is 'Incredible India' only about growing this business? These questions seem vague and have a generalized answer, "Yes".

But something else is more important than just advertizing and promoting Indian Tourism. Safety and security of tourists visiting Incredible India and moral values of Indians, are also important. Regardless of any country, moral values do play an important role in terms of hospitality and they are closely related to the cultural background and social set up of an individual. They vary from person to person.

In a general way, the mindset has its roots lying deep in the cultural philosophy of a country. India, in particular, holds a conservative approach towards many issues unlike western countries and also a tendency of taking things for granted, be it a matter of cleanliness or crime, nobody seems bothered. The morality is designed on the basis of society, which an individual belongs to. Generally speaking, Indians are accused of hypocrisy and having double standards in terms of religion, culture, and especially women.

Keeping aside the status of Indian women and crime against women in India, let us concentrate on the crime against foreigners (women) who visit India. They belong to an entirely different cultural and social background with a different philosophical approach towards life and the way they carry themselves. But this must never be considered as a reason to justify crime against them. There have been many such incidents, when some autowala or a tourist guide has molested a foreigner. It would be an injustice if their short dresses are blamed, just because they don't fit in our hypocrite mindset or their being foreigner is blamed, because they are not one of us and it doesn't matter. The mindset is to be blamed.

We must not confuse mindset with culture. Though both supplement and complement each other, yet both are different from each other. The culture claims the concept of "Atithi Devo Bhava", that means the Guest is like God, but mindset is built on a hypocritical approach, where the cultural concept of treating guests like god becomes meaningless.

In case of male tourists, cases like theft, beating & robbery and roguish acts are involved. Just because he is a foreigner, does not mean that he would be having riches in his pockets and shall pay 10 times more than the actual price for something! Promoting your business is one thing, but asking for 10 on 1 is nothing else but cheating. Do we treat our God in this way?

The Indian Government's "Atithi Devo Bhava" campaign is certainly an appreciable step and very effective one as well, especially for the younger generation. But people with sick mindset seldom watch and heed to such things. Sensitization is certainly important, but strict punishments and timely execution of them is need of the hour.

A tourist is not just a tourist; he is a means of spreading a good image of our country's warm, soothing hospitality, culture and safe environment. How shameful for us it would be as an Indian, when strong countries like America have to issue security warnings for their people visiting India, to remain alert and safe, especially women, as they can be raped in India!

It is a matter of serious debate and concern to take some firm steps. Mere campaigning is not enough. "Atithi Devo Bhava", needs to be a part of our mindset & practice and not merely a cultural concept. We are 'proud to be an Indian', let us make the whole world also 'Proud to visit India'!


Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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