Iraqi medico falls for Indian culture

Marwan Hassani The land has some gorgeous architectural replicas of Bronze Age cultures in its traditional capital Baghdad. The country has prosperous archipelago of writers, painters, sculptors and poets.

The spacious gamut of Iraqi tradition has the contributions from many cultures including Muslims, Christians, Jews, Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians and Marsh Nomads. Adorned with traditional musical instruments like drums, violins, flutes and tambourines, Iraqis are known for rich hospitality. The tradition is deeply engrained in the culture.

Guests are treated with warmth in Iraqi culture. Eid celebrations are significant fraction of ritualistic customs.

Nestled in the midst of lush crescent, Iraq owes its inheritance to the continuous flooding of Tigris and Euphrates that has paved way for rich harvest. However, after the magnificent birth, the aftermath situations that followed tendered a huge set back to the nation. The land has been portrayed by successive colonialisms that paralysed the progress of the country.

Right from the Archimedes of ancient times to the British who ruled the land during early 19th century to the Americans who meddled in the internal affairs and with President Saddham Hussein, Iraq was constantly at war.

The land that was blessed by the glorious natural exquisiteness once upon a time is transformed to the land of violence ravaged by the atrocities of hostilities. Even to this day, Iraqis are struggling hard to get back the treasure of fertility that they have lost due to the ruins.

The crisis in the country has made countless inhabitants to flee away from Iraq in search of livelihood to other countries. Marwan Hassani (who is in India to do his medical internship in Manipal) is one of them.

Marwan Hassani speaks about the cultural and traditional facets of Iraq and Netherlands, the country where he has been staying for quite some time after leaving Iraq in his interaction with City Herald. Excerpts of the interview…

What made you to come to India for your internship in medicine?

I am doing my medicine in Netherlands. I have one and half year left to complete my course. I had to do my one internship anywhere in the world as per my study curriculum. I opted for India mainly because of its wonderful culture. Moreover, I felt language may not be a problem as large number of people speak English here.  

What is your experience as an internee in India and how about the educational
expenses in India?

I don’t find any major difference in the fee structure. It is similar to Netherlands. However, I have paid to my University in Netherlands. As an internee, it is really boring. We don’t have any practical experiences and it is merely observation. We have to sit and observe everything what others do. According to the rules here, foreign internees are not allowed to get practical experience.

How do you find India?

India is a religious country. There are a lot of temples. I like the way people live here. Mosques and temples are situated adjacent to each other. It is really fabulous.

What are your experiences with respect to people here?

People are more friendly and nice. Especially men want to get friendlier very fast. They help you whenever you are in trouble.

How about Indian food?

I like all the spicy items. It is awesome and my favorite is chicken masala.

What do you feel about Indian traditional dresses?

It is beautiful. Men wrap a full length piece of cloth around their waist. It looks amazing on men. Women also look great in traditional dresses.

Which are the places that you have visited in India? Which area you liked the most?

Goa, Mysore, Waynad, Madikeri, Mangalore, Malpe and Kaup. I liked the palaces of Mysore very much. Even I liked Goa, however, it is not the real India.

How would you differentiate Indian culture from Iraqi culture and that of Netherlands culture?

There are a lot of similarities in Indian culture and Iraqi culture. Iraqis are known for hospitality which we come across in India also. People in Netherlands are more practical who only think in terms of money. They work hard to earn money to make the life more luxurious. It is not the same in Iraq. Guests are treated like god and one can visit any home without invite, he will be welcomed with open arms. However, in Netherlands you need prior appointment to be a guest. The relationship between parents and children are more practical oriented. You find less commitments and obligations.

Something about family ties in India?

We do find strong family attachments with bigger families staying under single roof. The special bond shared between parents and the child is something unique which is also part of Iraqi culture.

What are your future plans?

I will be leaving India after two weeks. I am here since six weeks. I want to settle down as an ENT specialist in Netherlands.

Would you recommend India for your friends?

India is really the most beautiful country. Indian food, culture everything is superb. I will tell all my friends to travel India as a visitor and obviously not as an internee.

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