Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:
Thank you for the A2A.
I hope I have understood your question properly. I shall try to answer it based on how I understood it. And I’m making a major assumption here that you’re referring to India and the people who belong there.
India as a nation has quite a rich history to boast of that dates back to thousands of years…what with stories of Maharajas and their beautiful Queens, and of fierce battles and magical warfare techniques. Growing up, we were told that every aspect of our daily lives had something to do with some ancient custom or tradition…whether it was in the direction we placed our head while sleeping, or in the order of food that we consumed, the way we cleansed our bodies, the various dishes we prepared, and so on and so forth.
It was actually possible to trace one’s ancestors centuries backwards. And most of our lineages were ‘pure’, so to say. As in we didn’t have a Punjabi marrying a Tamilian, say 2000 years ago, thanks to the strict rules in place back then pertaining to marriage and inter-mingling of cultures. So it was quite easy to try and find reasonable and acceptable explanations for several things. And we don’t have too many people who claim that they are ‘Indians of (say) Irish, Polish and Samoan descent’. That sort of thing doesn’t happen much. If a person says that he’s an Indian, all his ancestors, tracing back to as far as he possibly could, were also Indians ^_^
So this meant that even if we sought explanations to certain things, we (most often than not) got answers. So it is understood that it is perfectly alright and in fact totally normal to be curious. A person who doesn’t ‘seek knowledge’ is oft thought of as a fool.
Indians are therefore curious from birth. It is a part of who we are as a people. Nothing is taken as ‘don’t know don’t care’. This also partly explains the enormous presence of Indians – both young and old – on Quora. We want to know everything! Right from whether Neil Armstrong did indeed land on the moon to why Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan named their son Taimur.
When they see someone different from themselves, they stare and stare. Why? Nobody knows for sure. But one thing is obvious. They are curious. Like how many times have we seen this happening?
And this is not just an ‘Indian’ thing. This is common to almost all of south Asia, I daresay. When they see something they don’t see often, they stare, and stare, and stare, and…
What’s the point? Nothing. But they do it anyway. And this is not restricted to looking at women. Neither is it restricted to staring at foreigners. If they see a brawl on the street, they stand and stare. If they see somebody texting, they try and sneak a look into what the other person is doing on their phone. If they see an unfamiliar person visiting their neighbor, they try to find out who they are and why they have come. The list is endless.
Now this innate curiosity is often seen as ‘intrusion of privacy’ by foreigners, and there have been many travelogues written at length by visitors who found this curious nature to be highly unsettling.
But most of them mean no harm. They just appease their curiosity and then move on.
Now, from a broader point of view, it is this very curiosity that had led India and Indians to make some of the most fantastic discoveries and inventions of the world. And it also gave rise to some of the finest scientists that this world has seen…
And mind you, these didn’t start now. They started these inventions and discoveries ages ago. And even now, Indians are among the most resourceful humans on the planet. They learn to make most with what they have. If you punch in the words ‘Indian Jugaad’ on Google Images, you’re going to have the biggest surprise of your life 😀
Think Innovation, Think India.
So yes, in my opinion, it could be a cultural thing that Indians are a lot more curious and innovative than many other cultures around the world.