The Himalayas, touching the Arabian Sea to the west, the Indian Ocean on the south, and the Bay of Bengal on the east, separate India from the rest of Asia. India is popular not only for its favorable geographical position and diverse landscapes, but the rich and ancient culture. The culture is an essential element in the international relationships with partners and cross-cultural management. The culture of India is the way of living. It includes music, dance, religions, and languages. The Indian culture is the unity of its cuisine, philosophy, and religions that have a profound impact on other regions. Consequently, the current essay intends to analyze the peculiarities of the Indian culture, its norms, its languages, religion, art, architecture, clothing, and celebrations that distinguish it from other countries.
Cultural Norms of India
Indian culture belongs to one of the world oldest in the world, as its civilization began about 4,500 years ago (Prakash 2005). Many sources confirm that it was the first supreme culture in the world. Therefore, the culture has the immunity to any international impact, stereotypical perception, and implementation of the Western cultural norms. However, one should say that Indian culture influences other countries as the national cuisine, art, and popularity of vegetarianism have become popular in Western regions. Consequently, it proves the influence and popularity of Indian culture. Some European and American anthropologists regard Indian culture as a primitive and inferior way of life. On the other hand, some see it as a way to happy, healthy, and rewarding life (Prakash 2005). The significant advances in medicine, mathematics, and architecture only reinforce the status of Indian culture in the world. It is evident that cultural norms of India have become the example for other countries. Based on the national philosophy, India is successful in establishing the international relationships.
People in India are spiritual believers, especially when it comes to luck and religion. Moreover, spiritualism is a crucial aspect in business relationships. The Indians do not pay attention to fashionable clothes and body exposures in cross-cultural communication. Also, the people in India are very respectful to the elderly and women. It means that sons are responsible for their parents. Men in India do not hold religious ceremonies without wives to shows respect for them. The business culture of Indians refers to the essential and valuable cultural aspect that presupposes the knowledge and following its peculiarities. Indians are very hospitable and demonstrate the characteristic during the negotiation. Any meeting usually starts with snacks, tea, and coffee. Moreover, the feelings and relationships appreciation influence the decision-making process in India. The people even can risk a person, whose intentions are trustworthy. Thus, dependability and credibility are critical for the negotiation (Prakash 2005).
While dealing with Indians, it is necessary to remember that they are polychromic people, who can cope with many tasks at the same time. They appreciate other people taking into consideration their historical, social, and personal background. The individuals are very cautious, especially when it comes to new proposals and ideas. Consequently, they demand as many details as possible. Indians do not express their dissatisfaction and disagreement directly and openly. Family, marriages and children are the essential elements of Indian spirituality. As a consequence, India has a low divorce rate comparing with other countries.
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Language is one of the most important cultural dimensions. As a result, it is always taken into consideration in cross-cultural management. In India, there is no official language. Many people use Devanagari script (Baldridge 2002). Consequently, there is a misconception that people in India speak Hindi. In fact, Urdu, Tamil, Marathi, Telugu, and Bengali are other languages spoken in India (Henderson 2002). The variety of languages proves the multidimensional and diverse aspects of Indian culture. However, it also reveals the language problem, as there is no unity in the choice of tongue. Moreover, many Indian people prefer learning English to speaking their native language. One should also mention that a large number of languages spoken by people in India proves that the culture is a unique blend of races, religions, and cultures. Also, the choice of language varies from state to state. However, the Indian government identifies Hindi as the official language. However, English is the language of international and business relationships.
Religion is a crucial cultural dimension that influences cross-cultural communication and management. India is the birthplace of Buddhism and Hinduism that are among the world religions with the largest number of followers. 84% of the population identifies themselves as Hindu (Clothey 2006). Moreover, Hinduism has many variations such as Smarta, Shakteya, Vaishnava, and Shaiva. About 13% of Indians are Muslims, while Sikhs and Christians make up a smaller percentage of the population (Clothey 2006). There are also people that prefer Jainism and Buddhism. Thus, the variety of religions and its deviations prove the unique coexistence of the Indian people.
Indian cuisine is exceptional in its nature. However it is also influenced by the food of other countries. It includes the large variety of dishes, and liberal use of spices and herbs, as well as number of vegetarian items. Moreover, one should mention that cooking styles vary from region to region. For Indians, taking meal is like a ritual. They use pulses with chana, Basmati rice, and wheat as the key products of their diet. Indian food is rich in spices and curries, in particular, cinnamon, dried hot peppers, turmeric, cardamom, coriander, and ginger. Indians use chutneys, which is a spread made from vegetables and fruits (cilantro, mint, tomatoes, and tamarind), and thick condiments for their cooking. One should mention that many Hindus are vegetarians, while the non-vegetarians prefer chicken and lamb in meat dishes. About 40% of Indians are vegetarian (Dubey 2010). The majority of Indian food is eaten without utensils with bread or fingers. Indian cuisine is rich in difference of breads served with meals. They are a fried fluffy flatbread, bhatoora, oven-baked flatbread, and naan. Eating habits of Indians differ from the traditions in Western countries. First, they prefer eating with the fingers of the right hand. Second, Indians wash their hands before and after eating a meal immediately. Moreover, they believe that food tastes better when people use only one hand.
Architecture and Art
Architecture and art are the essential aspects of Indian culture. For example, the Taj Mahal is the most known example of the Indian architecture. It also belongs to one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Taj Mahal sits on a cylindrical drum about 7 meters high, and its height is about 35 meters (Kundar 2003). It is a unique building because it combines the elements of Indian, Ottoman Turkish, Persian, and Islamic architectural styles. Moreover, India also has many ancient temples that reflect its cultural values. Indian architecture is a multitude of expression that changes over time by absorbing new ideas. Furthermore, the unity of the Indian and Islamic architecture is popular in the country that proves the Muslim impact on Indian culture. The influence of Indian architecture is evident in South East Asian. The contemporary Indian architecture is associated with Lotus Temple that demonstrates the ability and creativity of Indians to build the designs that astonish the viewers (Kundar 2003).
Film industry referred to as Bollywood is the well-known art in India and around the world. The Indian films are characterized by their elaborate dancing and singing. Indian theatre, music, and dance traditions span back more than 2,000 years (Kundar 2003). The major classical dance traditions are Kathakali, Mohiniattam, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Odissi, Kathak, and Bharata Natyam. They draw on the themes from literature and mythology. Dance and ceremonies are the major modes of entertainment of Indians. Dance forms are based on spiritual and devotional elements. Painting in the Indian culture derives from cave and rock paintings. Moreover, the modern artists take the Indian classical styles and create their masterpieces. In addition, Indians pay much attention to sculpture that was promoted by Indus Valley civilization. Also, Indian music is associated with multiple varieties of classical, pop, popular, folk, and religious rhythms. Carnatic music is popular in the South India, while Hindusatni music is widespread in the North India. Indian music is heavily influenced by Hindu texts (Draper 2003). However, it remains instrumental for the pure entertainment, cultural expression, and religious inspiration.
The traditional Indian clothing is associated with the colorful silk saris worn by women and the dhoti worn by men. The clothing of Indian people has the influence of the local climate, religion, and culture. Consequently, men can wear jeans, kurta-paijama, lungi, Salwar kameez, sherwani, and kurta (Draper 2003). Women’s clothing is also not restricted to saris. They can wear Muslim dresses, and Salwar kameez, as well as pants and tee-shirt, which prove the impact of the Western world. The Indians’ clothing is comfortable and adapted to the climatic peculiarities. The people prefer the natural fabrics to the artificial ones. They prefer red, green, and yellow colors which symbolize luck and happiness.
Customs and Celebrations
Indians are committed to their customs and celebrations, and they reflect their cultural and ethnic peculiarities. The citizens of the country celebrate Republic Day, Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday, and Independence Day. Moreover, Indians like festivals. Diwali is the most important five-day festival known as the celebration of lights. People lit the lights during the holidays, and they symbolize the inner strength that protects Indians from the evil and spiritual darkness. Moreover, Indians widely celebrate Holi, the festival of colors and love in the spring (Draper 2003). As India is a multi-cultural and multi-religious society, it celebrates festivals and holidays of various religions. Furthermore, many Indian states have their local festivals that define their linguistic and religious peculiarities.
Indian culture is diverse, rich, ancient, and very different from other regions of the world. The individuals who are conscious of its peculiarities cannot stop admiring the Indian culture by opening something new about its customs, celebrations, cultural norms, art, and architecture. The ones who do not absorb the tradition in depth can be too stereotypical or biased. Cross-cultural communication management is based on knowledge of all details related to culture. It is impossible not to be attracted by Indians as they present the creative combination of languages, races, religions, and cultures. One should say that the culture is a harmonious blending as India is the center of traditions, legends, history, human speech, and the human race. As a result, cultural norms of Indian society reflect the character, mentality, behavior patterns, and attitudes of the people. The variety of languages and religions in one community proves that India is an ideal place for it interacting with the world. Indian art and architecture have the impact on the Asian and Western cultures as its combination of styles and unique approach to artwork are used even today. Moreover, Indian cuisine tastes delicious and it attracts vegetarians. Consequently, Indian culture is exemplary in its ability to bring its food, yoga, and philosophy across the world.
Indian culture is a favorable aspect for an organization that runs business in the country. The culture influences organizations in India. Consequently, only cross-cultural management can help to avoid the possible business barriers. Indian culture embraces the globalization of economy and economic growth. However, it is obligatory to take into consideration cultural differences, respect and tolerate them.