This article may be in need of reorganization to comply with Wikipedia's layout guidelines. Please help by editing the article to make improvements to the overall structure. (July 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Indomania or Indophilia refer to the special interest that India, Indians and their cultures and traditions have generated across the world, more specifically among the cultures and civilisations of the Indian subcontinent, as well those of the Arab and Western world (particularly in Germany).[1] The initial British interest in governing their newly absorbed territories awoke the interest in India, in particular its culture and ancient history. Later the people with interests in Indian aspects came to be known as Indologists and their subject as Indology. Its opposite is Indophobia.


Historically, Indian civilization which is one of the ancient great powers has been widely regarded as an amalgamation of diverse range of rich cultures. Due to its ancient civilization and contributions, there are accounts of notable people who visited the nation and reviewed it with praises.

Philostratus, in his book Life of Apollonius of Tyana, recognized the experience of Apollonius in India, he writes that Apollonius described:

In India I found a race of mortals living upon the Earth, but not adhering to it. Inhabiting cities, but not being fixed to them, possessing everything but possessed by nothing.[2]

2nd century Roman philosopher Arrian applauded India to be the nation of free people, he cites that he found no slaves in India at all,[3] and he further added:

No Indian ever went outside his own country on a warlike expedition, so righteous were they.[4]

During the Islamic Golden Age, polymaths Al-Biruni, the founder of Indology, authored the Tarikh Al-Hind (Researches on India), which recorded the political and military history of India and covered India's cultural, scientific, social and religious history in detail.[5] Similar writings on India were also found from the work of Al-Masudi. Muslim rule of India however mainly took place much later.

Al-Masʿūdī writes:

All historians who unite maturity of reflexion with depth of research, and who have a clear insight into the history of mankind and its origin, are unanimous in their opinion, that the Hindus have been in the most ancient times that portion of the human race which enjoyed the benefits of peace and wisdom. When men formed themselves into bodies, and assembled into communities, the Hindus exerted themselves to join them with their empire, and to subject their countries, to the end that they might be the rulers. The great men amongst them said, " We are the beginning and end; we are possessed of perfection, pre-eminence, and completion. All that is valuable and important in the life of this world owes its origin to us. Let us not permit that anybody shall resist or oppose us; let us attack any one who dares to draw his sword against us, and his fate will be flight or subjection."[6]

Influence of India on Southeast Asia

This section needs expansion with: Provide how Indian influence traveled to southeast asia and elsewhere. You can help by adding to it. (May 2020)

See also: Indianisation and History of Indian influence on Southeast Asia

Greater India, the zone of Indian cultural influence including the impact of Indian architecture on the architecture of other nations especially Southeast Asia.

With expansion of Indosphere cultural influence of Greater India,[7] through transmission of Hinduism in Southeast Asia[8][9][10] and the Silk Road transmission of Buddhism[11][12] leading to Indianization of Southeast Asia through formation of non-Indian southeast Asian native Indianized kingdoms[13] which adopted sanskritized language[14] and other Indian elements[15] such as the honorific titles, naming of people, naming of places, mottos of organisations and educational institutes as well as adoption of Indian architecture, martial arts, Indian music and dance, traditional Indian clothing, and Indian cuisine, a process which has also been aided by the ongoing historic expansion of Indian diaspora.[16]

18th and 19th centuries

The perception of Indian history and culture by Europeans was fluctuating between two extremes in the 18th and 19th centuries. Though the 19th century European writers had seen India as a cradle of civilization, their romantic vision of India was gradually replaced by "Indophobia", which marginalized Indian history and culture.[17]

Friedrich Schlegel wrote in a letter to Tieck that India was the source of all languages, thoughts and poems, and that "everything" came from India.[18] In the 18th century, Voltaire wrote:

I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges, – astronomy, astrology, metempsychosis, etc... It is very important to note that some 2,500 years ago at the least Pythagoras went from Samos to the Ganges to learn geometry...But he would certainly not have undertaken such a strange journey had the reputation of the Indians' science not been long established in Europe.[19]

Much of the early enthusiasm for Indian culture can be traced to the influence of Sir William Jones. Jones was only the second known Englishman to master Sanskrit, after Charles Wilkins. His insight that the grammar and vocabulary of Sanskrit bore a resemblance to Greek and Latin was a key point in the development of the concept of the Indo-European family of languages. In February 1786 Jones declared Sanskrit to be 'more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either.' Jones translated into English the drama The Recognition of Sakuntala of Kalidasa and published it in 1789. The Calcutta edition was an immediate success and two London editions followed within three years. Jones also discovered that chess and algebra were of Indian origin. Every branch of Indian studies owed something to his inspiration.[20]

An important development during the British Raj period was the influence Hindu traditions began to take on western thought and new religious movements. Goethe borrowed from Kalidasa for the "Vorspiel auf dem Theater" in Faust. An early champion of Indian-inspired thought in the west was Arthur Schopenhauer, who in the 1850s advocated ethics based on an "Aryan-Vedic theme of spiritual self-conquest" as opposed to the ignorant drive toward earthly utopianism of the superficially this-worldly "Jewish" spirit.[21] At the end of the introduction to the World as Will and Representation, Arthur Schopenhauer claimed that the rediscovery of the ancient Indian tradition would be one of the great events in the history of the West.

Goethe and Schopenhauer were riding a crest of scholarly discovery, most notably the work done by Sir William Jones. (Goethe likely read Kalidasa's The Recognition of Sakuntala in Jones' translation.) However, the discovery of the world of Sanskrit literature moved beyond German and British scholars and intellectuals—Henry David Thoreau was a sympathetic reader of the Bhagavad Gita—and even beyond the humanities. In the early days of the Periodic Table, scientists referred to as yet undiscovered elements with the use of Sanskrit prefixes (see Mendeleev's predicted elements).

Scholars like Schlegel also influenced some historians like Friedrich Creuzer, Joseph Görres and Carl Ritter, who wrote history books that laid more emphasis on India than usual.[22]


Commenting on the sacred texts of the Hindus, the Vedas, Voltaire observed:

The Veda was the most precious gift for which the West had ever been indebted to the East.[23]

.He regarded Hindus as "a peaceful and innocent people, equally incapable of hurting others or of defending themselves."[24] Voltaire was himself a supporter of animal rights and was a vegetarian.[25] He used the antiquity of Hinduism to land what he saw as a devastating blow to the Bible's claims and acknowledged that the Hindus' treatment of animals showed a shaming alternative to the immorality of European imperialists.[26]

Max Muller delivered a series of lectures regarding the religion and literature of India. In his fourth lecture, he said:

If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered over the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions of some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant, I should point to India. And if I were to ask myself from what literature we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans, and of the Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw the corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human a life... again I should point to India.[27]

Helena Blavatsky moved to India in 1879, and her Theosophical Society, founded in New York in 1875, evolved into a peculiar mixture of western occultism and Hindu mysticism over the last years of her life. Hinduism-inspired elements in Theosophy were also inherited by the spin-off movements of Ariosophy and Anthroposophy and ultimately contributed to the renewed New Age boom of the 1960s to 1980s, the term New Age itself deriving from Blavatsky's 1888 The Secret Doctrine.

20th century

See also: Sanskrit in the West, Ramakrishna's impact, and Raga rock

The Hindu reform movements reached Western audiences in the wake of the sojourn of Swami Vivekananda to the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission, a Hindu missionary organization still active today.

Influential in spreading Hinduism to a western audience were A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Hare Krishna movement), Sri Aurobindo, Mata Amritanandamayi, Meher Baba, Osho, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (Transcendental Meditation), Sathya Sai Baba, Mother Meera, among others.

Swami Prabhavananda, founder and head of the Vedanta Society of Southern California, remarked that:

Toynbee predicted that at the close of this century, the world would be dominated by the West, but that in the 21st century, India will conquer her conquerors.[28]

During the 1960s and 1970s, there was a similar phase of Indomania in the Western world, with a rise of interest in Indian culture. This was largely associated with the hippie counterculture movement; the hippie trail, for example, was a journey that many Westerners undertook to India during this period. The Hare Krishna movement gained popularity in the 1960s. Indian filmmakers such as the Bengali auteur Satyajit Ray as well as Bengali musicians such as Ravi Shankar gained increasing exposure in the Western world. Indian musical influence, particularly the use of the sitar, became evident in jazz (see Indo jazz) and rock music, among popular Western artists such as The Beatles (see The Beatles in India), The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, among others, leading to the development of psychedelic music genres such as raga rock and psychedelic rock.

21st century

In the 21st century, a notable amount of Indomania has been recorded due to India's improvement related to economic conditions, political changes, activism, etc.[citation needed]


India is the world's largest democracy. The democratic nature of its politics has led many world leaders to praise Indian politics. George W. Bush commented: "India is a great example of democracy. It is very devout, has diverse religious heads, but everyone is comfortable about their religion. The world needs India."[29] During the Namaste Trump rally in February 2020, US President Donald Trump declared "America loves India. America respects India. And America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people."[30]

Fareed Zakaria, in his book The Post-American World, described George W. Bush as "being the most pro-Indian president in American history."[31] In November 2012, Israel's President Shimon Peres remarked, "I think India is the greatest show of how so many differences in language, in sects can coexist facing great suffering and keeping full freedom."[32]


Indian languages have been taught in multiple nations, including the United States.[33] In 2012, then prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard talked about Hindi and other prominent Asian languages to be taught in Australia.[34]

A BBC report in 2012 showed how schools in the United Kingdom work together with online Indian mathematics tutors to teach students in the classroom.[35]


Despite anti-Indian sentiment in Pakistan, the Pakistani newspaper The Nation published a report on 7 November 2013, heading "Don't hate, appreciate", in which they praised India's Mars Mission; the report further noted, "Wars were fought, and martyrs were born. But, it's over. We are not in the race anymore. One of us has been to the moon, and now has their eyes set on Mars to become the first Asian country to reach the milestone."[36]

In response to the mission, the South China Morning Post regarded India as "full of vigour and vitality, boasts obvious advantages and development potential."[37]

By country

In 2007, a poll conducted by GlobeScan for BBC World Service reported that the strongest pro-India sentiments were found in Indonesia, with 72% expressing a favourable view.[38]

India shares strong cultural, linguistic and historic bonds with Bangladesh. India supported Bangladesh's independence struggle in 1971, and Bangladeshi opinion is generally favourable to India.[39] In 2014, a Pew Research Center survey found that Israelis and Russians are the most pro-Indian sentiments worldwide, with 90% and 85% respectively expressing a favourable view of India.[40]

Gallup Poll 2016

As per Gallup's survey for Americans' favorite countries, India was polled as the sixth most favorable nation, with 75% having a positive view and 18% negative.[41]

BBC World Service polls

Results of the BBC World Service polls.
Summary views of India's influence
Year Positive % Negative % Pos-Neg %
2007[42] 37 26 +11
2008[43] 42 28 +14
2009[44] 39 33 +6
2010 36 30 +6
2011[45] 40 28 +12
2012[45] 40 27 +13
2013[46] 34 35 -1
2014[47] 38 36 +2
2017[48] 37 39 -2

BBC poll 2017

Results of 2017 BBC World Service poll.
Views of India's influence by country[49]
Sorted by Pos-Neg
Country polled Positive Negative Neutral Pos-Neg
 United States 49 37 14 12
 Germany 1 33 66 -32
 Pakistan 11 62 27 -51
 Spain 23 35 42 -12
 Mexico 42 33 25 9
 France 39 53 8 -14
 China 35 56 9 -21
 Canada 41 44 15 -3
 Australia 49 34 17 15
 United Kingdom 56 38 6 18
 Brazil 23 57 20 -34
 Turkey 32 44 24 -12
 Indonesia 50 18 32 32
 Kenya 48 26 26 22
 Russia 41 10 49 31
 Nigeria 47 39 14 8
 India 56 4 40 52
 Greece 19 27 54 -8
Global Average (India excluded) 37 39 24 -2

BBC poll 2014

Results of 2014 BBC World Service poll.
Views of India's influence by country[47]
Sorted by Pos-Neg
Country polled Positive Negative Neutral Pos-Neg
 Germany 16 32 52 -16
 Pakistan 21 58 21 -37
 Spain 20 50 30 -30
 Israel 9 34 57 -25
 Mexico 26 37 37 -11
 South Korea 36 47 17 -11
 France 40 49 11 -9
 China 27 35 38 -8
 Canada 38 46 16 -8
 Peru 26 31 43 -5
 Australia 44 46 10 -2
 United Kingdom 45 46 9 -1
 Brazil 41 36 23 5
 Turkey 35 29 36 6
 Chile 35 21 44 14
 Indonesia 47 24 29 23
 Japan 34 9 57 25
 Kenya 53 23 24 30
 Ghana 53 22 25 31
 Russia 45 9 46 36
 Nigeria 64 22 14 42

BBC poll 2007

The international polling firm GlobeScan, which was commissioned by the BBC World Service to conduct the survey.

Results of 2007 BBC World Service poll.
Views of India's influence by country[50]
Sorted by Pos-Neg
Country polled Positive Negative Neutral Pos-Neg
 Indonesia 61 39 - +22
 Canada 59 30 11 +29
 France 40 30 11 +10
 Germany 39 30 11 +9
 United Kingdom 47 50 30 -3
 Russia 26 37 37 -11
 Nigeria 36 47 17 -11
 Brazil 40 49 11 -9
 Portugal 27 35 38 -8
 Hungary 38 46 16 -8

See also


  1. ^ Douglas T. McGetchin (2009), Indology, Indomania, and Orientalism: Ancient India's Rebirth in Modern Germany, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, p.17
  2. ^ "Brand New World: How Paupers, Pirates, and Oligarchs are Reshaping Business", .74, by Max Lenderman
  3. ^ "Slavery", by Richard Oluseyi Asaolu
  4. ^ "The Origins of the Europeans: Classical Observations in Culture and Personality", p. 133 by William S. Shelley
  5. ^ Khan, M. S. (1976). "al-Biruni and the Political History of India". Oriens. 25/26. Brill: 86–115. doi:10.2307/1580658. JSTOR 1580658.
  6. ^ Mas'ûdi Ali-Abu'l-Hassan, ca. 956. Meadows of gold and mines of gems. p. 152 book)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Kenneth R. Hal (1985). Maritime Trade and State Development in Early Southeast Asia. University of Hawaii Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8248-0843-3.
  8. ^ Guy, John (2014). Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, Metropolitan museum, New York: exhibition catalogues. Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 9781588395245.
  9. ^ "The spread of Hinduism in Southeast Asia and the Pacific". Britannica.
  10. ^ Kapur; Kamlesh (2010). History Of Ancient India (portraits Of A Nation), 1/e. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. p. 465. ISBN 978-81-207-4910-8.
  11. ^ Fussman, Gérard (2008–2009). "History of India and Greater India". La Lettre du Collège de France (4): 24–25. doi:10.4000/lettre-cdf.756. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  12. ^ Coedès, George (1968). Walter F. Vella (ed.). The Indianized States of Southeast Asia. trans.Susan Brown Cowing. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-0368-1.
  13. ^ Manguin, Pierre-Yves (2002), "From Funan to Sriwijaya: Cultural continuities and discontinuities in the Early Historical maritime states of Southeast Asia", 25 tahun kerjasama Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi dan Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient, Jakarta: Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi / EFEO, pp. 59–82
  14. ^ Lavy, Paul (2003), "As in Heaven, So on Earth: The Politics of Visnu Siva and Harihara Images in Preangkorian Khmer Civilisation", Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 34 (1): 21–39, doi:10.1017/S002246340300002X, S2CID 154819912, retrieved 23 December 2015
  15. ^ Kulke, Hermann (2004). A history of India. Rothermund, Dietmar 1933- (4th ed.). New York: Routledge. ISBN 0203391268. OCLC 57054139.
  16. ^ Kulke, Hermann (2004). A history of India. Rothermund, Dietmar, 1933– (4th ed.). New York: Routledge. ISBN 0203391268. OCLC 57054139.
  17. ^ Trautmann, Thomas R. 1997, Aryans and British India. Berkeley: University of California Press., Bryant 2001.
  18. ^ Ludwig Tieck und die Brüder Schlegel, Briefe. Edited by Lüdecke. Frankfurt/M. 1930.
  19. ^ Voltaire (15 December 1775). Lettres sur l'origine des sciences et sur celle des peuples de l'Asie (first published Paris, 1777).
  20. ^ Keay, John, India Discovered, The Recovery of a Lost Civilization, 1981, HarperCollins, London, ISBN 0-00-712300-0
  21. ^ "Fragments for the history of philosophy", Parerga and Paralipomena, Volume I (1851).
  22. ^ Stefan Arvidsson 2006:38 Aryan Idols.
  23. ^ "Lectures on the science of language, delivered at the Royal institution of Great Britain in 1861 [and 1863]", by Max Muller, p. 148, originally from Oxford University
  24. ^ Chatterjee, Ramananda, ed. (1922). "Review and Notices of Books: Hindu Culture". The Modern Review. 32: 183.
  25. ^ Pensées végétariennes, Voltaire, éditions Mille et une nuits.
  26. ^ "Meaty arguments". The Guardian. 21 August 2006.
  27. ^ "India, What Can It Teach Us (1882) Lecture IV"
  28. ^ The Spiritual Heritage of India: A Clear Summary of Indian Philosophy and Religion(1979)
  29. ^ The world needs India: Bush 3 March 2006
  30. ^ Crowley, Michael (24 February 2020). "'America Loves India,' Trump Declares at Rally With Modi". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  31. ^ Zakaria, Fareed, The Post-American World, 2008 Cahapter VII, pp. 225-226
  32. ^ "Israeli President Shimon Peres praises India as greatest 'show of co-existence' (4 December 2012)".
  33. ^ "Multicultural America: An Encyclopedia of the Newest Americans, Volume 2", p. 998, by Ronald H. Bayor
  34. ^ Hindi to be taught in Australian schools, 31 October 2012
  35. ^ "Indian cyber tutors teach UK classes". BBC News. 22 March 2012.
  36. ^ Pakistani daily praises India's Mars mission, admits defeat in Asian tiger race Archived 2013-12-28 at 7 November 2013
  37. ^ China media: India's Mars mission, 6 November 2013
  38. ^ "India 'most improved' country: Poll". The Times of India.
  39. ^ "Why India should rethink its Bangladesh policy". Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  40. ^ "4: How Asians View Each Other". Global Opposition to U.S. Surveillance and Drones, but Limited Harm to America's Image. Pew Research Center. 14 July 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  41. ^ Inc., Gallup (21 February 2007). "Country Ratings". ((cite web)): |last= has generic name (help)
  42. ^ "Israel, Iran top 'negative list'". 6 March 2007 – via
  43. ^ Baker, Joey. "BBC Poll: World views US 'more positively'".
  44. ^ "Why do Europeans take a dim view of India's international role? – The Acorn".
  45. ^ a b "Views of Europe Slide Sharply in Global Poll, While Views of China Improve - GlobeScan". 10 May 2012.
  46. ^ "Germany tops BBC country image poll". BBC News. 23 May 2013.
  47. ^ a b "BBC World Service poll" (PDF). 3 June 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  48. ^ "BBC World Service Survey Archives - GlobeScan". GlobeScan. 10 September 2020.
  49. ^ "BBC Poll 2017" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 June 2020. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  50. ^ "India 'most improved' country: Poll". 3 June 2007. Retrieved 6 April 2015.

Further reading