The ugly Indian man

August 15, 2007




– Of hygiene, hair and horrible habits

Click link above to read hilarious op-ed by Mukul Kesavan.

And here are equally entertaining readers responses:

Letters to Editor

Uncouth ways

Sir — One cannot but agree with Mukul Kesavan’s unflattering views on the ugliness of the Indian male (“The ugly Indian man”, Aug 9). Indeed, more than their facial features, it is their habits that make Indian males uglier than men of other nationalities. But most of the habits that Kesavan mentions have become so strongly embedded in our culture that they have acquired a degree of social acceptance. Indian males spit in public places, release copious volumes of tobacco smoke into the environment and litter streets with cigarette butts. That is not all. Most of them shout into their prized cell phones, urinate in the open, ogle at women in public transport, use abusive language with each other and tear the leaves of trees while passing by them.

However, Kesavan should not have found fault with Indian men leaving the top buttons of their shirts open, given the tropical climate of this land. This is especially so since their female counterparts often enjoy the comfort of keeping their backs or midriffs bare.

Yours faithfully,
Tapan Pal, Batanagar


Sir — Each point made by Mukul Kesavan in his condemnation of the habits of Indian men rings true. Alas, Kesavan’s article is unlikely to make men in this country change their disgusting practices. This is simply because — and I dare say that this is part of the Indian males’ “ugliness” — most of them do not read newspapers!

I would like to disagree with Kesavan on just one point (please note that my wife is entirely with me on this one). I cannot say that most Indian women are beautiful, even in comparison to their menfolk only. Whether in looks or in manners, Indian women can pose stiff competition to men in this country. When women are not bickering among themselves or indulging in their favourite past time — man-bashing — they are usually busy bitching about one another. A look around any ladies’ compartment on a local train would confirm this fact. As far as appearance is concerned, the nubile nymphet of sixteen invariably turns into a wheezing, obese figure by the time she is 30; and the older she is, the uglier she gets. If we are to call a spade a spade, why restrict the plain-speaking to Indian men only?

Yours faithfully,
Suvro Chatterjee, Durgapur


Sir — Mukul Kesavan misses out on mentioning four filthy customs of the Indian male. These are spitting (whether saliva, phlegm or betel juice), blowing loudly through the nose, urinating in full view of others and emitting loud belches. Women rarely, if ever, indulge in these revolting habits. Having said that, it should be pointed out that men alone do not nurture the vanity of dyeing their hair. One often comes across the amusing sight of aged women, their faces wrinkled with years, sporting hair dyed jet black. Kesavan is right in saying that the unselfconsciousness of men comes from a sense of entitlement that is inbuilt into every male child in Indian society. This is yet another fallout of our overwhelming patriarchal mindset. The fact that ugly Indian men get paired off with good-looking women is a result of the limited choices present before women in a traditional society, where most marriages are arranged.

Yours faithfully,
Amit Banerjee, Calcutta


Sir — Mukul Kesavan’s intense hatred towards Indian men, as is evident in his article, is quite astounding. There would have been a national outrage if The Telegraph had published a similar article on the habits of women. Since male-bashing seems to have become fashionable these days, articles such as Kesavan’s no longer surprise the readers.

Yours faithfully,
Anijeet Bannerjee, Calcutta


Sir — The social importance enjoyed by Indian males has made them arrogant, stubborn and insensitive. It is a pity that our society dotes on male children only, sanctioning every objectionable habit of theirs in the process. During summer, men are allowed to move around in their houses scantily clothed while women are expected to remain dressed properly. Worse, in the marketplace, male vendors sit half naked throughout the year, oblivious to the impact of this visual horror on buyers.

Yours faithfully,
Srikanta Bhattacharjee, Calcutta


Sir — Mukul Kesavan is of the opinion that all Hindi-film heroes are downright ugly. However, his statement would not stand to scrutiny. Filmstars such as Rajesh Khanna or Akshay Khanna can in no way be considered unattractive. Besides, if all our heroes are repulsive, why do their female fans run after them?

Yours faithfully,
Ajit Upadhyay, Calcutta


Sir — However bad-looking the Indian male might be, nothing can prevent him from getting paired off with beautiful women. One reason for this might be the fact that the good looks of most of our gorgeous damsels happen to be only skin- deep.

Yours faithfully,
Surajit Das, Calcutta


Sir — Mukul Kesavan could have added a word or two about the ‘hairdo’ of balding men. Men in this category are unable to accept the fact that they are losing their tresses rapidly. As a result, they go to ridiculous extents to ‘style’ the last few strands of their hair. These men should learn to accept the fact that hair loss is an inevitable part of the ageing process.The least they can do is wear a cap instead of making themselves the butt of all jokes.

Yours faithfully,
Soma Datta, Siliguri