“Aap to ‘Bahadur’ nahi lagate!” (You don’t look like Bahadur), he seriously doubted my self-introduction as a Nepali student who wanted to go to the YMCA Guest house of Jai Singh Road from Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi. It was my third visit to India and noone asked this kind of question in my previous visits. So, I was completely confused and did not have any clue why my taxi-driver both wanted to and hesitated to understand me as ‘Bahadur’ and how I was different from the Bahadur whom he knows or cogitates.
There is a large body of critical literature on theories and practices of ethnic stereotypes. Journalist Walter Lippmann (1922) likened ‘stereotypes’, coined in 1798 originally referred to a printing process or reproduction, to “pictures in the head,” or mental reproductions of reality. Salinas (2003) states in his book ‘The Politics of Stereotype’ that the stereotypes are mentally constructed which are activated in an automatic, unconscious manner and affect both the stereotyping mind and the stereotyped. The social identity theory of stereotypes and prejudice agree to view the development of stereotypes and prejudice as a function of socio-cultural factors and intergroup relations. Such as ‘Jews have large Noses’ (physical
appearance), ‘Negroes are stupid’ (their intelligence) or ‘Japanese are sly’ (their personality) (Rinehart, 1963).