Welcome to India, here's how to avoid sexual harassment: ADB

Everything isn't all right with India, and  Manila-based multilateral agency Asian Development Bank's  (ADB) advice to its delegates ahead of the 46th annual meeting in Greater Noida proves that once again.

"Indians are conservative, curious and women here are expected to dress modestly to avoid sexual harassment"-- That's the embarrassing advice being offered by ADB, which is hosting its 46th annual meeting in Greater Noida, to more than 4,000 delegates.



The elaborate advisory comes at a time when spate of rape cases are reported from across the country. There were reported also incidents of outraging modesty of foreign travellers in the recent past.

The advisory posted on the general information section on the ADB website says Indians are very conservative about dress and advises women to dress modestly, with legs covered.

"Women are expected to dress modestly, with legs and shoulders covered. Trousers are acceptable, but shorts and short skirts are offensive to many. Men should always wear a shirt in public, and avoid shorts away from beach areas...

"Indians find it hard to understand why rich Western sahibs should wander round in ragged clothes or imitate the lowest ranks of Indian society, who would love to have something more decent to wear.

"Staying well groomed and dressing "respectably" vastly improves the impression you make on local people, and reduces sexual harassment too," said the 'general information' on the ADB website.

ADB also suggested that delegates avoid any public display of affection. "Kissing and embracing are regarded in India as part of sex: do not do them in public. It is not even a good idea for couples to hold hands," the ADB advisory read.

The advisory on eating says that when eating or drinking, your lips should not touch other people's food - "jutha or sullied food is strictly taboo."

"When drinking out of a cup or bottle to be shared with others, don't let it touch your lips, but rather pour it directly into your mouth. This custom also protects you from things like hepatitis".

It also said Indians as generally "curious" and family, job, even income, are not considered "personal" subjects.

"It is completely normal to ask people about them. Asking the same questions back will not be taken amiss far from it. Being curious does not have the "nosey" stigma in India that it has in the West," it said.

The four day conference which will have high level officials from Asia and the Pacific along with industry leaders will join other delegates to discuss a range of topics central to the region's sustainable growth and development.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: May 02, 2013 13:53:23 IST