If you’ve been to a doctor’s office in the past twenty years or only driven by one, the odds are that the resident doctor’s name was noticeably Indian. Due to an increasing number of Indian doctors, Indian people have earned a growing stereotype of being incredibly intelligent.
This stereotype is similar to the stereotype traditionally associated with people from East Asia and for many of the same reasons. If Indian people seem intelligent to you, read on to find out why!
Why Are Indian People So Smart?
1. India Has A Competitive Environment
Much like many other Asian countries, India has a notoriously competitive environment. This competitive nature extends from their home lives to their school and working lives.
In competitive environments such as India’s, people must be the absolute best to succeed- not just their best, but the best in their fields.
This big cultural push for success forces many Indians to succeed in their fields- they don’t have a choice! If an Indian person wants to succeed in life, they must be smart!
2. Parental Pressures
A common stereotype of East Asian people is that their parents push them to extremes, ruthlessly driving them to be the best people they can be.
If you ask an Indian person, especially an Indian-American, they’d tell you that this stereotype is just as true for Indian people!
Indian parents are known for pushing their children very hard in their educational careers, resulting in India’s surplus of medical professionals.
This pressure from their parents can push Indians into notoriously difficult fields, making them seem extremely intelligent!
3. India Can Be Hard To Live In
While India has one of the largest populations of any country on Earth, it has only recently started to be considered a developed country.
As such, people may still find it challenging to live in India. These struggles force Indians to adapt and overcome their situations, leading to a more intelligent population.
4. Harder Academic Career
Scholarly tests and exams are notably more difficult in India than in their counterparts in the western world.
This is a trait that India shares with other Asian countries such as South Korea, China, and Japan.
This also means that, while schooling can be extremely difficult for students, it produces better results.
5. Theory Of Incremental Intelligence
The theory of incremental intelligence states that intelligence is not a fixed quality and that people are not born stupid or smart.
This theory instead states that cognitive abilities are flexible, and can constantly be built upon. Indian people tend to ascribe to this theory more than any other.
While also building a basis for India’s more difficult schooling, this is also the reason why Indian parents may push their children so hard.
6. Strong Work Ethic
If you have ever worked with an Indian person, you will know that they have an incredible work ethic.
This is something fully ingrained in Indian culture; hard work is a value to Indian people. Not just hard work, though- getting results is just as important.
There is a term in many Indian languages including Hindi- ‘Jugaad.’ Jugaad is difficult to translate, but to sum it up in an English colloquialism, a ‘jugaad’ is a ‘life hack.’
‘Jugaad’ has taken something of an important role in Indian cultures. As India rapidly modernizes, many of its citizens- as well as its infrastructure- may struggle to keep up.
As such, this MacGuyver-like spirit of frugal innovation has gripped India, with many Indians even building makeshift vehicles to get around.
While one may not consider this true innovation- of course, a person who makes a makeshift laptop stand is no Steve Jobs- this ability to make something out of nothing is something to be revered.
Of course, you’d think you were pretty smart if you could make yourself a car out of a water pump! It is exactly this mentality of jury-rigging that helps Indians seem extremely intelligent.
8. Indians Are Multilingual
This one cannot be much of a surprise- after all, many studies have shown that being bilingual has massive benefits for a person’s cognitive ability.
Many people from non-English-speaking countries are likely to be bilingual anyway, especially in Europe, but India takes this a bit further than most countries.
As of 2019, 52% of urban Indians are bilingual, while 18% can speak three languages! To put that into perspective, only about 20% of American citizens report speaking two or more languages.
India has such a high rate of multilingualism because it is comprised of many smaller states. Each of these states has a unique, individual language. Though the official language of India as a country is Hindi, many citizens in these states will speak the language of the state.
Imagine living in California and having a distinct, Californian language, and your neighbor speaks a distinct language called Nebraskan.
You probably would not know Nebraskan, but you would be able to communicate with your neighbor if you both spoke the country’s official language of English.
This effort in communication is the exact reason India has such a high rate of multilingualism, and with multilingualism’s known cognitive benefits, you can see why Indians would be so smart!
9. Pressures From Immigration
If you are an American or European, the chances are that you know somebody with immigrant parents, if you don’t have them yourself.
Ask one of your friends with immigrant parents if their parents applied extreme amounts of pressure as your friend grew up. The odds are that your friend will say yes.
America, specifically, has the nickname ‘The Land of Golden Opportunity for a reason. As foreigners emigrate to America, they want the best opportunities available for their children.
This search for opportunity is the reason that many immigrant parents push their children so hard; they want to give their children the opportunities that were unavailable in their old countries.
This reasoning applies to Indian parents just as much as, if not more than, other nationalities.
With the pushing from their parents, who were already raised in a competitive environment, Indian-Americans can be forced into extremely difficult jobs, forcing them to be more intelligent!
There are many reasons why Indian people seem so intelligent, and a good portion of it comes from cultural pressures. These pressures can be from their mother culture, or even a result of stereotypes as they move to other countries.
No matter where this notion comes from, everybody can agree that Indian people, as a group, seem to be extremely intelligent. Good for them! Next time you go to your doctor’s office, you have something to think about while in the waiting room.