India Syndrome: A Country’s Culture That Deranges The Visitor

Read along to know that how a India’s rich culture deranges the visitors and all about the India Syndrome 

Charu Sharma
Written by: Charu SharmaUpdated at: Nov 23, 2021 12:55 IST
India Syndrome: A Country’s Culture That Deranges The Visitor

Where most of us love to travel around places in order to gather new experiences, meet people, understand about their traditions and opt something or the other from their culture. Where most of us would love to party on one of New York's skyscrapers and take a stroll around the beautiful city of Paris, people from around the globe desire to come to India and experience the rich and diverse culture of the country. A country that holds year old traditions and whose culture has been impacted by various rulers from around the world. Where India is one of the most colourful countries known for its rich cultural heritage, many people from various parts of the globe come to the land every year in order to experience the county’s rich cultural heritage. The way we fantasise about the western world and want to be a part of their culture and adopt their lifestyle habit, they have quite similar feelings and inclination towards our culture. This article is all about a syndrome that only affects the “westerners”. Well yes you read that right, more than a syndrome this is a psychosis known as the “India Syndrome”. Where this is not the only syndrome that has been named after a place, there are still some interesting and unheard facts that you need to know about this syndrome. Read along to know how a country’s culture deranges the visitors and all about the India Syndrome with Dr. Kersi Chavda, Psychiatrist at P.D.Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mahim Mumbai.

What is India Syndrome?

Commonly defined as the delusional behavior that hits people from the western world or the developed countries as they come looking for a place that is exotic and pure and have the real cultural values preserved. This syndrome was first defined and described by a staff psychiatrist of the French Consulate in Mumbai, Regis Airault who even wrote a book about his own experience with this syndrome. The book was named Fous de l’Inde, which translates to “Crazy About India”. Unlike other conditions and syndrome, a person affected by the India Syndrome feels delusional and starts believing that he/she has been reincarnated by a saint or has been blessed with some superhuman powers. It does not just end here and some people affected by this syndrome have also claimed that they are able to recollect their past lives and have activated their third eye.

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Most of the people who succumb to the India Syndrome are not just regular tourists that visit the country in order to appreciate its beauty but are the ones who come to the land for a spiritual journey. These people tend to head to various ashrams and yoga centres and stay with various gurus in order to enhance their spiritual experience and many a times end up taking physically taxing medications and drugs as well. This culture shock often culminates in a mental breakdown and leads to the condition that is generally known as the India Syndrome.

This condition takes place due to the immense cultural difference between both the parts of the world and hence leads in making a person delusional and results in a mental breakdown.

Expert Says

Where this condition of mental breakdown and illusion is caused due to the immense cultural difference that one experiences. Where this condition affects a person to such a great extent let’s take a look at what  Dr. Kersi Chavda has to say about this- “India Syndrome is a condition that is considered to be a behaviour that seems to affect people from developed Western countries looking for a cultural space that is exotic, where real values have been preserved. People who contract India Syndrome might experience some kind of  delusions of being reincarnated by a saint or of having superhuman powers. Some people also claim to have successfully activated their Third Eye or that they can recollect past lives, usually where they were royalty! 

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In most of the cases this condition of  India Syndrome can be cured by simply sending the person back home. In other cases some people may become permanently delusional. Not just this but some people have also died where others have vanished. 

Various scientists around the globe believe that this is not really a syndrome and that it is almost a racist explanation/attempt to reduce travel to a country as “exotic“ as India is perceived to be.”

With inputs from Dr. Kersi Chavda, Psychiatrist at P.D.Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mahim Mumbai.