5 common Indian things that are not actually Indian

Why would we write about 5 common Indian things that are not Indian?

a. Some of these facts are astonishing
b. If you analyse closely, these are great case studies in Branding & Marketing in themselves

While browsing through Quora, we stumbled upon a thread getting inputs from people on the very topic – What are some non-Indian things that Indians have made their own?

Though most of the answers were fairly known, one of these facts had us stunned. We had to reread and actually search for confirming the facts. Anyhow, here goes the list.

1. Maggi


If you have lived in India, even for a short duration, there is a good chance you have heard of Maggi. For Indians, it is the quickest, home-cooked, apparently-delicious food item, even before microwaves made their way to Indian household. Some of us have nostalgic memories attached to it.

Maggi as a brand has beautifully become the common noun in India for home-cooked noodles!

Julius Maggi started Maggi in 1872 in the German town of Singen, of course now owned by the Switzerland company Nestle.



2. Kites


India is a country of numerous cultures, religions and festivals. Most of the prominent religions have a festival or two where Kite-flying has been unofficially included as a part of the ritual itself. Makar Sankranti is one of such famous festivals. The state of Gujrat now hosts the international Kite festival called Uttarayan on 14th January, the eve of Makar Sankranti. Northern India flies kites on the eve of 15th August, India’s independence day.

Most of us have grown up struggling to learn to fly kites. It would not be unfair to assume that kites are very much Indian. But they are not!

The Kite was invented in 5th-century BC by Chinese philosophers Mozi (also Mo Di) and Lu Ban. In fact, they were used for measuring distance, testing the wind, lifting men, signaling and communication.



3. Samosa


Again, if you have traveled through India, one snack that you must have eaten would be Samosa. It would not be unfair to call Samosa, India’s favourite fried snack. I have not known many Indians, excluding myself, to not love gorging on Samosas. It better be Indian!

Samosa originated in the Middle East, around the 10th century!



4. Bata


It’s the name for affordable high-quality Indian shoes. Most Indians have had Bata as their school shoes, to say the least. For a company that has been vouched for affordable quality by our grandparents, can it not be Indian?

Bata was founded in 1894 in ZlínMoravia (now Czech Republic) and currently headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland.



5. Flipkart


Labeled as the Indian Amazon, Flipkart was started by Indians, Sachin & Binny Bansal in 2007. Today, it is one of the most shopped e-commerce website in India that has just recently raised $1 Billion.

However, Flipkart is not legally an Indian company! Though headquartered in Bangalore, Karnataka, Flipkart is registered in Singapore and owned by a Singapore based holding company.


Final Words

Advertising and Brand Positioning has played a great role in these products being perceived as Indian in the first place. It is a great win for a brand when its brand name progresses to represent the segment itself. For example, in case of Maggi, the name represents noodles as common name now. Same goes for other brand names like Xerox, Colgate, Coke or Google in India.

What are your thoughts?

Quora Thread

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