How do Arabs view Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis?

Mudassir Ali
Dec 25, 2019 02:37 PM 0 Answers
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How do Arabs view Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis?

Mudassir Ali
- Dec 25, 2019 02:37 PM

I have been living in Saudi Arabia for six years and can tell only from what I see and hear here. So don’t take what I write as a correct answer; it’s just my personal opinion.

Unfortunately, generalization and stereotyping are convenient to the human mind everywhere all the time. Instead of seeing individuals as individuals, humans tend to categorize and label others to make it easier for their brains to handle. Taking every person individually is too much work for most people all over the globe. For the case in hand, most Arabs I have been around have common opinions about people from the countries mentioned as follows:

1- Paksitanis are seen to be devout Muslims who have extreme passion toward the religion. They are mono-cultural and don’t accept others. Most Pakistanis believe and nurture the conspiracy theory; that the West especially the US has been plotting against them to weaken their country and fight the spread of Islam.

At the personal level, Pakistanis are taken for warm, honest and straightforward people. Generally speaking, Pashtuns (Phatans) are seen to be less educated and sophisticated than Punjabis yet closer to Arabs when it comes to looks, personality traits and conduct.

Pakistanis are feared (respected) by many Arabs for their hot-temper and sometimes reckless behavior. My teenage Saudi students told me they never mistreated Pakistanis as “they are tall, strong and crazy. Don’t miss around with a Pakistani, especially a Pathan.”
Pakistanis are seen to be more religious than Indian and Bangladeshi Muslims. They grow long beards and do the prayers on time. They quote verses from the Quran and Hadith all the time. Their names suggest deep love to the religion. Such things are significant to many mainstream Arabs.
The Pakistani army is highly respected and looked up to here. Pakistani aviation, pilot fighting and other military personnel and instructors who work here make a good image about the country too. Those who care about military strength and weight give a lot of credit to Pakistanis and feel secured and reassured Arab countries have strong ties with a sister country like Pakistan which has nuclear weapons and announces that it’s there at our back in case of any major assault.

2- Indians are generally viewed as peaceful, humble and dedicated workers/professionals. My old Saudi businessman friend has told me he preferred Indian construction workers to any other nationality as they did the jobs with efficiency and honesty.

Educated Arabs tend to view India as a great country with amazing contributions to humanity. They are yet aware of today’s reality of the country; striking poverty, lack of or shortage in basic human needs, poor hygiene in rural regions and slums in and around big cities, too much superstition prevalent, and rising economy and advanced technology.
Arab students suffer a lot with Indian English Indian professors and lecturers speak. As there is a big number of Indian educators at schools and universities, and I have worked at 3 Saudi universities, this has been a constant complaint. They yet are believed to tend to help students pass exams easily and score high to secure their jobs with no major problems, unlike most Western and Arab professors who challenge students and push them to the limits as they do in their homelands.

3- Most Bangladeshis who work in Saudi Arabia are road sweepers, drivers and construction workers. They are not thought highly of as a result. The vast majority of them are uneducated and even illiterate. Many people accuse them of theft and don’t trust them as they trust other expats. This shouldn’t be taken as an offense by Bangladeshi readers. This is quite normal and every country has such people. My Saudi friends say terrible stuff about Egyptian workers too, but I don’t take it to the heart, as I know my countrymen aren’t angels. Saudis aren’t either. Take into consideration that higher-class Bangladeshis and professionals don’t work in Arabia. We don’t see them and many don’t imagine they exist.

Bangladesh is known to be one of the poorest countries in the world. Arabs don’t know much about it and don’t think much of it. Textile industry has been making a fairly good image about the country in the past a few years though.

I don’t know whether this is appropriate to mention or not. In case I receive any negative feedback I won’t hesitate to delete or edit this part. Arabs have a problem with people from the three countries; body odor. Many argue it’s natural and some say it’s the spices and the kind of diet those three peoples consume, but we Arabs give (too) much importance to smelling good. In the Gulf countries in particular, people keep perfume bottles in hand all the time. We brush our teeth and use the Miswak a lot not to smell. Saudis spend too much time at work, school or wherever to make sure they look and smell super good. I’m saying this merely out of trying to give an informative answer, not to offend or hurt anyone on here.

Having said so, in Egypt, my homeland, people haven’t seen many Pakistanis, Indians or Bangladeshis at least in the past a few decades. Our media and education don’t focus on those countries either. We know very little of them. I think only Egyptians who read extensively or work with such peoples would be able to answer any serious question about any of the three countries correctly. Notwithstanding, Egyptians do watch Indian movies and nowadays drama, but they don’t give any clear idea of what it is like there, as you know Bollywood tends to show too much melodrama, dance and music, repetitive love stories and unbelievable stuff. For most of us it’s nothing but entertainment, like the circus. Notwithstanding, many young girls are crazy about Indian male movie stars.

Having said that, I hope you guys take my answer as a personal and individual account, not more. No one is entitled to talk for millions of people on here, but we all try to share knowledge and opinions to learn and grow.

Feel free to suggest any edits and oppose my opinion. I’m all ears.

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