April 2, , The location itself is fascinating with water all over and tourists swarming everywhere throughout the year. One fine day, I was invited by a bunch of Italian students who wanted to interact with students from other countries.
I am often met with bewilderment and disbelief in Scandinavian countries when I say that I am Indian, being 6 feet tall. One old lady in my neighbourhood once confronted me and said I was too tall for an Indian. So Indians can be tall as well, and you really get noticed for that in a country where I can say, without hurting any Italian sentiment, that people are generally shorter than the Scandinavians, who often stick out by their height.
Stereotypes of Indians and blonde girls are quite widespread, and I notice them wherever I go. Fascination of Italian men towards the blonde women of Scandinavian countries is no exaggeration. Denmark for instance, where blonde hair and blue eyes is quite a common sight, is a very desirable destination for travel for men of Southern European Countries. So when the whisper metamorphosed into news in the drawing room, that I lived in Copenhagen, and I was on my way back to Copenhagen, I saw several pairs of eyes wide open, surging towards me.
I was astonished at this tumult in the room. Why do Italian men suddenly care so much about the life of an insignificant Indian. A question was thrown at me, in English spoken with an Italian accent: Let me confront you with some baffling facts.
Most of those boys thought that it is a piece of cake to get a girlfriend and get into a romantic relationship in Scandinavian countries. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and the eyes are more blue and the hair probably more blonde. But relationships are not as easy to come by as they might have assumed. Thousands of Danish and Swedish men actually go to Thailand and other Asian countries every year in search of life partners, as they stand literally no chance of getting a wife here.
I am just stating the facts. On the other hand, look at the recent facts of who performs best at schools and universities in Denmark. According to the newspaper published by Copenhagen University, women constitute 60 per cent of overall students this academic year. And mind the gap here. They are not taking up subjects like Home Science, and Nutrition Studies. Almost two thirds of the students at the Medical College in Copenhagen are girls. Half of the students studying the combination of Mathematics and Economy that eventually gives a degree equivalent to becoming a Chartered Accountant in India, are girls.
This is mind-boggling, if seen in context that just a few years ago, it was absolutely a male-dominated sphere. A genius is not necessarily a man, just as an Indian is not necessarily a short man. I happened to talk to Jens Danielsen, who teaches at the Odontology Department of Copenhagen University, and he told me, yes, almost 80 per cent of my students are girls. I asked if I can quote him, and he went and checked the list of students at the post-graduate level where he was teaching, and he came back and said, yes, it is completely true.
Almost 80 per cent. The reason I am emphasizing this is that in Denmark, dentists make a lot of money. They are often in the higher-middle-class category and are always sure of getting a job in a sector where there is a shortage of highly skilled medical professionals. One may argue that the gap is not that wide in other studies.
Take the faculty of Social Science. One of the subjects into which it is most difficult to get admission, and which requires just as high grades as Medicine, is Anthropology. The number of girls who got admitted last year equals 81 per cent. Men are becoming a visible minority in this country where, without an education, it is impossible to find a job.
You cannot open a pan shop and make a living here. And what most men forget, or have not realized, is that these women, who are extremely capable of supporting themselves economically, do not marry or fall in love because you throw compliments at them on their colour of hair and the colour of their eyes. So these blonde girls with blue eyes are not just looking for men with brown eyes, as those Italians boys dreamt of.
They are looking for men who can understand their challenging careers and are ready to share household chores, who are ready to nurture children and can do some cooking and cleaning at home as well. But a well-educated, sensitive man stands a better chance than a muscular man, who has gone to a gym, but never sat in the quiet area of a university library.
The Greek philosopher Plato, if he were to reincarnate today, would advise men to spend less time in fitness centres and more time at libraries. You do not need brutal muscular force in daily life here in this part of world, where a gentle touch at the Ipad is enough to bring you success.
Women are literally out-competing men in this part of the world. So much so that many educators are worried that the gap is probably getting too wide and that something should be done to avoid turning boys into losers. Well, compare this with the statistics of universities in India. India still remains a male-dominated society. Gender equality is merely an academic term. In real life, women can be god, but when they take suburban trains, buses, walk at college campuses, they are subjected to harassment.
Some cities are of course better than others, but we are being notoriously known in the world for being a place where the ratio of girl-children born compared to boys has been drastically reduced. There is no excuse in for an old civilization like India for not aspiring towards gender equality, in parliament and in schools.
I am not suggesting that it should tilt in favour of girls, as is happening in Scandinavia, but it should not favour boys and discriminate against girls, as is happening in India. In such a world, hopefully, blue or brown eyes would not matter.
Views expressed above are the author's own. It will also do the exact opposite, in other words analyse events in Scandinavian countries, and Europe as seen with Indian eyes. It will also give a view of Indian diaspora comparing the most egalitarian and sparsely populated part of the world with the most unequal and densely populated part of the world - India.
He also comments on Asia on Danish TV and radio channels. He has authored many analytical articles on Asia and India in several Danish newspapers. He has studied anthropology at Copenhagen University and has specialized in human rights and democratization. Mrutyuanjai Mishra has spent half of his life in India and the other half in the Scandinavian countries Denmark and Sweden. Mrutyuanjai Mishra is also a consultant lecturer on issues related to India and Asia at institutions of higher education.
He is currently working on a book on India to be used for higher educational purposes in Scandinavian countries. Mrutyuanjai Mishra is a commentator with Politiken, Denmark's largest newspaper. He has authored m.