Chennai - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Caste-based discrimination is all around you. You don't have to look hard and, if you do, you're basically privileged. - Aug 2021

Very conservative and homogenous Hindu area. Overall, there seems to be some inequalities and prejudices within the local community but I have not been exposed to it nor understand it very well. In general, I avoid talking about religion or politic, but the same could be true anywhere. - Aug 2018

Yes. Gender segregation is visible. Media portrayal of women is awful. That said, street safety for women is much less of an issue here than in other parts of India. Women generally do not get harassed. Staring is rampant, but it may be more a product of being a foreigner than being female. Foreigners stand out big time. Chennai is not diverse. The region is at least 80% Hindu, with some Christians and a very small Muslim population. Buddhists are all but non-existent, and there is no synagogue. If you are used to a diverse environment, Chennai is a real shock. - May 2016

None that I noticed. - May 2015

India is an amazingly diverse place. You see everything here. I'm sure prejudice exists here but there is so much diversity here that it would be hard to say who is most discriminated against. - Oct 2014

Yes, big time with gender. Plenty of material to readily available to read up on before you arrive. - Jun 2014

Yes, yes, and yes. There are tensions between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka for example, which is racial/cultural/religious based. There are occassional protests and sometimes isolated cases of violence related to these tensions. However, it hasn't been a huge issue since we moved here. Also, this is a very conservative and overtly patriarchal society compared to the rest of India. You have to keep that in mind... - Aug 2013

Well... they like whites, and they like males. Indian-Americans with north Indian ancestry may need to unlearn some of the things they heard about India before they came. Women will have an unusual, not to say difficult, time, as western skirts, shoulder-baring, etc., is all too much for Tamil culture. - Aug 2011

CHennai is very laid back. Blondes stick out and are stared at (not considered rude in the culture) but we did not experience any racial, religious or gender prejudices. Christians, Hindus, Muslims and Buddists all lived together in the city. - Jun 2010

Expats will not expeience much of this. If you are of Indian origin, you may receive far worse service than "Western" looking colleagues! - Sep 2009

There are no problems in Chennai with race or religion. Most of the rest of India experiences strong Hindu/Muslim rivalries, but it is much mellower here in Chennai. There are strong gender and caste prejudices. The caste mindset will not affect most expats. The gender prejudice does. People always defer to the man. - Aug 2008

Subscribe to our newsletter

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More