Indian Culture - Guide to India Culture & Customs
Full of diversity, the Indian culture incorporates a variety of religions that thankfully live and exist peacefully side-by-side. Religion is one of the most important aspects of the Indian culture, many of which were born to India. India’s vast population of over one billion have also descended from a varying of races and have settled on the subcontinent. With many foreign invasions in the past thousand years, India has been exposed to many foreign cultures, further adding to its diversity.
With a shift in the orientation of Indian culture came a change in religious thinking, bringing forward two other beliefs. Buddhism and Jainism appeared and grew to incorporate over 6million of the population. Fortunately when westernisation appeared later in the century, the Indian culture was accommodating toward the shift and therefore has prospered to achieve somewhat of a common culture.
This open-mindedness has also enabled the freedom of worship to extend to all religious beliefs. The population openly share festivities and come together despite their religious differences. This is a great accomplishment as festivals are a fundamental part of the Indian way of life, and without harmony, the country could be in turmoil.
The current dominant faith is Hinduism, occupying over 80% of the population with Islam, Christianity and Sikhism other prominent religions while Buddhism and other Indian religions make up less than 2%. But when you think how enormous the Indian population is, even 2% is well into the millions of followers.
With the majority of the population following Hinduism, the caste system has become integrated into the culture. Most are continuously conscious of the hierarchical relationships in society. It appears that every relationship has a clear hierarchy that has to be respected whether it is within the family, the school system or business place.
Families generally see the father as the leader, however when asked to define themselves, people will tend to go by the groups they belong to rather than their individual status. This group can be their area of residency, their family group, their work or religion.
Indians are known for their calm nature and tolerance, perhaps in part due to their acceptance of all religions and their dedication to religion itself. Whatever the reason, Indian culture is one of certain diversity, and although westernised to a point, still remains a traditional-based culture.