Oprah Winfrey criticized for being ignorant about Indian tradition
Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey has been criticized after the broadcast of a two-part TV special about her trip to India in January.
The Oprah’s Next Chapter special was called “myopic, unaware, ignorant and gauche” by one Indian commentator and “snobbish” and “snooty” by another.
The Daily Bhaskar website said the “ill picturized and badly scripted show” portrayed India “in poor light”.
Oprah Winfrey, 58, drew particular criticism for remarking on the Indian tradition of eating with one’s hands.
“I heard some Indian people eat with their hands still?” Oprah Winfrey is seen asking a Mumbai family she joins for dinner.
“Using our hands to eat is a well-established tradition and a fact none of us are ashamed of,” blogged Rituparna Chatterjee of the CNN-IBN news channel.
“As a responsible public figure about to air a show that will be beamed across the world, you should have done your homework.”
Oprah Winfrey’s week in India saw her rub shoulders with Bollywood royalty, attend a literary festival in Jaipur and visit the Taj Majal in Agra.
The result, according to the Wall Street Journal’s India Real Time blog, typified: “India as Westerners imagine it, one stereotype at a time.”
The programme was originally shown in the US this April, but premiered in India over the weekend.