India has one of the most different and distinct cultures in the world. The country is home of many cultures, ethnicities, religions, languages, food, and much more. The paper provides the cultural briefing of India on the basis of certain factors. Several factors related to India has been analysed on the basis of its location, size and population and understanding its position in the world. The history of India have been analysed from its creation and the factors that led to the formation of India. Similarly, the economic and political system of India has been be analysed and its features have been discussed. The languages, traditions, religions, values and ethics practiced in India have been expressed with detailed information. Another section is dedicated to the acceptable business practices for doing business in India. The paper also summarizes the suitable tips that can help in leading the country and the challenges faced in India.
Keywords: Culture, India
India is located in Southern Asia, in the Indian Subcontinent and comes in both northern and southern hemispheres. It mainland extends from the Himalayas in Kashmir in North to Kanyakumari in the South, whereas it extends from Guhar Moti in Gujarat in West to Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh in the East. India is bordered by the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Mannar and countries such as Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, China, and Pakistan (World of Atlas, 2016). India lies in the proximity of Sri Lanka and Maldives in the Indian Ocean. India shares its maritime border with Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the Maldives (Maps of the World, n.d.). The Indian borders stretch for 2933 km from west to east and 3214 km from south and north. The land area measures 3,287,263 km2 and on 28 April 2016 the population of India reached 1.32 billion, making them the second most populated country in the world (Malhotra, 2014).
History of India
In the words of Mark Twain, “"India is the cradle of human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only!” (History of India, n.d.). The history of India is traced back to the 2500 BC and the renowned Indus Valley Civilization. The Aryan tribes from the civilization penetrated to South India and East to the area encompassing across the Yamuna-Ganga river region. Over the next two millenniums several kingdoms ruled over India from Hindu kingdoms Mauryas, Guptas, to Muslim Kingdoms of Lodi and Mughals, and ended with the British Rule in 1947. The end of British Rule saw the start of democracy in India. Years of changing rulers made a melting pot of culture and religion and modern India is a mix of people speaking different languages, coming from different cultures and following different religions.
The Constitution of India provides the elected Central government with predominant powers and concentrates financial and administrative powers with it. In addition, there is resource and power sharing between the State and Central government in a limited manner. The Republic of India utilizes a mixture of American and British style political and constitutional system. In India, political parties are crucial to the democratic system and have an important role in the electoral protocol of selecting their candidates and directing election campaigns. The Indian political system is heavily influenced by its diversity of cultures; ethnic, social, religious, community and caste pluralism; and traditions of nationalism (Kashyap, 2001).
The Indian political system divides the government into three different branches: executive branch, parliament branch, and judiciary branch. Similar to the United States of America, India comprises of individual states. The central government of India has authority over all states and even possesses authority over changing the boundaries of states and creating new states. The head of the government is the Prime Minster of India and the head of state is the President of India. The cabinet is appointed by the Indian President after getting recommendations from the Indian Prime Minster. Elections are held every five years to elect a Prime Minister and the leading political parties. The President is elected by the Electoral College that consists of the elected members of the Parliament (Kashyap, 2001).
The Indian economy is mixed, which means that combines the best of communism and capitalism. The selection of mixed economy has been based on Indian government’s goal to distance themselves from the extremes of either communism or capitalism. Under India’s mixed economy, some economic activities are under the control of government, instead of all activities like in case of communist government or free enterprise and limited intervention in case of capitalism. In the case of a mixed economy, both the public & private sector co-exists. Mixed economy helps in reducing the income inequality in the governed region. Due to the progressive taxation policy in the mixed economy, which means the income tax rates get higher with the higher income slabs. The mixed economy also allows increased expenditure on public services and utilities, economic benefits for the poor people are provided. Economic activity and foreign direct investment have increased significantly in the past few decades (Watkins, n.d.).
India is a massive country, having a lot of geographical and cultural diversity. Due to this reason, there are a several languages spoken throughout the country. Some languages have nationwide acceptance, while other languages are considered as regional dialects. All Indian languages originate from the traditional languages, with many of them belong to major linguistic families, such as Indo-Aryan, Dravidian languages, Tibeto-Burman linguistic languages and Austro-Asiatic languages. The Article 343 of the Indian Constitution declares Hindi as the official language of India. In total, the number of major languages in India is 22, which can be written in 13 scripts, and spoken in more than 720 dialects. Additionally, several Indian states and regions have their own languages and dialects that are spoken in regionally concentrated areas. Some of these languages are Bengali, Marathi, Telegu, Tamil, Punjabi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Gujrati, Malyalam, Odiya, etc. (I Love India, n.d.).
India is significantly rich in traditions and customs, which keeps Indians binding together. Many historians consider India as the oldest civilization in the world. The Indian traditions can be traced back to 8000 BC, and its history dates back to the ages of Vedas, which are considered as old as 5500 years old. Indian culture and traditions are considered among the richest, and it manages to unveil an amazing surplus of mythical stories capable of astounding the imagination. The ancient concepts such as Dharma, Karma, Yoga and Atman (re-birth) are still governing daily lives of many Indians. The tradition of dance, theatre, and music date back more than 2 millenniums. The clothing traditions of Indian men range from wearing dhoti, kurta, etc., but with time Indian men have started to wear modern clothing with time. The clothing of women ranges from Indian suits and saris, but modern Indian women have also started to wear modern clothes (Zimmermann, 2015).
India is described as the land of diversities. Indian diversity is visible in every sphere of religion. The major Indian religions are Hinduism (79.8 percent), Islam (14.2 percent), Sikhism (1.7 percent), Christianity (2.3 percent), Buddhism (0.7 percent), Jainism (0.4 percent), Zoroastrianism (0.1 percent), Judaism (0.1 percent) and the Bahá'í Faith (0.1 percent). People from different cultures and religions live in India in harmony. The harmony is best seen through the celebration of religious festivals such as Diwali, Holi, Eid, and Christmas. The message of brotherhood and love is expressed through all the cultures and religions of India. People coming from different cultures and religions of India, tend to come together for different festivals and religious holidays (Cultural India, n.d.). Religion in India is a source of shared emotion and celebration that brings Indians together.
Values and Ethics
Indian culture is based on common values and founding principles, which includes Tyaga (renunciation), Dana (liberal giving), Nishtha (dedication), Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truth), and Upeksha (forbearance). Some of the common values of Indian society are respect for elders and children are expected to take care of their parents. Indians have strong family orientation as Indians are expected to come from have closely knit families. Indian values of adjustment and sacrifice helps to identify Indians as adjusting and capable of placing others’ needs ahead of their personal needs. Indians also tend to value education as parents tend to focus on education of their children and many parents are willing to sacrifice their savings and career to provide their children with the best possible education. Finally, Indians have strong trust in the institution of marriage as the majority of the marriages in India are arranged. Many Indian couples tend to work hard on their marriage and are willing to make personal adjustment for sustaining their marriage (Prabhudesai, 2014).
Business relationships are built on the basis of mutual respect and trust. Generally, Indians prefer to develop long-term personal relationships before doing business. For doing business in India developing business relationship is very important. You need to arrive on time at meetings, since Indian businesses respect punctuality. Exchanging business cards is a common tradition of business meetings and initial greetings and handshake is very common. It is important that during the meetings, sticking to social hierarchy procedures are essential. It is also very important to address senior members of a meeting first. These are some of the common business practices in India and taking care of all these important actions ensures, it becomes easier to do business in India (Kwintessential, 2016).
Tips for Leading in this Country
Some of the most important tips of leading in India are being punctual; patient; avoid being direct; learning local traditions and values; respecting religion, etc. Punctuality is respected in India and small talk is expected to start conversations. Greeting and asking people about their health and family is also part of the norm. Patience is a respected trait and hard sales and pressure tactics are not appreciated. It is very important that while dealing with Indian people, you should avoid being direct and always should use a diplomatic tone. Local traditions and values are very important to the locals and learning about them and respecting religion and religious practices is considered highly significant (Smith, 2014).
India is a massive country with a large customer base and presents any business to develop a great business. The political and economic system is designed to help businesses grow and provide a suitable environment for business development. With multiple languages being spoken and several religions being practiced in the country, businesses need to respect and understand the diversity to succeed. The values and tradition provide specific guidelines to businesses that can help businesses to lead and develop their business in the country. There are several challenges that can be faced in the country, but some of the common tips such as being punctual; respective of traditions and religion; avoiding being direct; etc. is helpful in managing a business in India.
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