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Mumbai is world's rudest city: Survey

The findings will delight Delhi which has been carrying an unofficial boorish tag for long, writes Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Jun 21, 2006 12:35 IST
Vijay Dutt

This is one rude awakening. Mumbai is the rudest city in the world according to a survey across 35 countries by The Reader's Digest. With 32 marks out of 100, it is at the bottom of the barrel, just below Bucharest, the rudest city in Europe.

Tut tut, Mumbaikars apparently do not hold doors for others, help someone pick papers from the floor and thank their customers.

If the findings will shock Mumbai, they will delight Delhi which has been carrying an unofficial boorish tag for long.

Muses a Mumbai-born millionaire, who didn't take too kindly to the survey: "The Maharashtrians and Gujaratis are the most polite people. Possibly, the slums and the squalor resulted in the low marks."

Not quite. The Reader's Digest sent undercover reporters who dropped papers in busy streets to see if anyone would help them pick those up. They also checked how often shop assistants said "Thank You" and counted how many times someone held a door open.

Mumbaikars won't be the only ones wondering at the survey. New York, generally known for its brash citizens and uncivil cab drivers, is the most polite city.

And despite the English's reputation for pleases and thank yous, they are relegated to the 15th spot alongside Parisians. Finally, they found something in common, other than the Chunnel.

Moscow, is again a very rude place. With a lowly score of 42, the Russian capital is just seven places above Mumbai. One woman, who refused to hold a door open for a researcher, sneered that she was no doorman. “It’s not my job to hold doors. If someone gets hurt they should be quicker."

In contrast, researchers  found that in Sao Palo, Brazil, even criminals were polite. One researcher was trying to buy sunglasses in an illegal market when the police arrived. As he was being hauled away, he shouted “Thank You”.

In Stockholm shop assistants  were found to be most polite, always thanking customers for making a  purchase.

Asia has generally fared badly. Almost every Asian city that was tested finished in the last ten. In none of the three tests did any Asian city score over 40 per cent.

Former New York mayor Ed Koch justified the top slot for the Big Apple. "Since 9/11, New Yorkers are more caring,” he said. “They understand the shortness of life.”

"This was the biggest real-life test of common courtesy," said Katherine Walker, editor-in-chief of the British edition of The Reader's Digest. Well, one thing’s for sure, Mumbai won't be saying "Thank You" for this.