Buddhism is a religion andphilosophy including a variety oftraditions, beliefs andpractices, largely based onteachings attributed to SiddharthaGautama, commonly known asthe Buddha ("the awakenedone"). The Buddha lived andtaught in the eastern part ofIndian subcontinent sometimebetween the 6th and 4thcenturies BC. The followers ofthis doctrine called it Dharma.The term “Buddhism” was coinedby Europeans in XIX century.
The Language SituationIndia is the most linguistically diverse country in the world. Its 28states, demarcated primarily on a linguistic basis, speak 22 differentlanguages in over 1500 dialects.The most widely spoken language is Hindi, although some southernstates reject it as the primary official language. As a result, English hasbecome the primary medium of communication across the countryespecially between Hindi and non-Hindi speakers.
English is the second officiallanguage of India. It is widelyspoken by educated people alongwith Hindi. Usually in hotels andrestaurants your English can beeasily understood. In southwhere the general level ofeducation is much higher than inNorth there is another languageused as a medium ofcommunication: Tamil. That iswhy southern well-educated classshould speak three languages:native, Hindi and English. Insouthern India people don’tunderstand Hindi, so as a rulethey use English. English is theonly language comprehensible toall Indians.
In local shops and touristhotspots vendors, taxi drivers,and middlemen speak anungrammatical version ofEnglish – often a word-for-wordtranslation from their nativetongue – in an accent thatvaries according to their mothertongue. Here you may hearsentences like “You from whichplace” . On the other hand, theEnglish used in officialdocuments is very polite,ornate, and verbose – astraggling remnant of India’sBritish history.
Incredibl e India India is marvelous country, where on the one territory one can observe different cultures, various religious groups, such as Hindus, Moslems, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists. The key point of such a peaceful coexistence is the respect and tolerant attitude towards each other’ s rites and traditions.
Caste systemThe Indian caste system has beenin use for many years. Still todaythe values of the caste system areheld strongly. It has kept a senseof order, and peace among thepeople. There are five differentlevels of the system: Brahman,Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra, andHarijans. Within each of thesecategories are the actual "castes"or jatis within which people areborn, marry, and die. They all havetheir own place among each otherand accept that it is the way tokeep society from disintegrating tochaos. This system has workedwell for Indian people and still hasa major role in modern India.
At the moment in India there are about 1500casts. These are absolutely different social typesof people, different education and lifecircumstances. But according to the classicaldivision 4 main castes are distinguished.The first and the highest caste is Brahmin (alsocalled Brahman).This caste comprises priests, intellectuals,highest teachers.The next rank is the caste of Kshatriya.These are soldiers and officials. Todayin India heads of big firms, military menand civil servants are also included intothis caste.
Another caste is called Vaishya.This is a very large layer ofmerchants, businessmen, bankers,and some craftsmen.The last of classical 4 casts of India iscalled Shudra.It comprises defferentlaborers, workers, bus drivers, railwaypersonal.
Marriage India is a country of wise traditions and moral values. In India in most cases a groom is chosen by the parents of a bride. They’re looking for an appropriate young man very actively offering their terms. The matter is that a bride has very good dowry. Its size depends on a groom’s status: his education, profession, salary and appearance. If he works abroad it’s a real treasure for a family.Though dowry is illegal now,it still exists. It guaranteesthat a daughter will betreated well in her newfamily. Love-matchmarriages are rather rare.
The parents of a groom decide ifthey accept an offer or decline it.Then they check the horoscopesand show their children the photosof a future wife or husband.Further a short meeting isorganized when two young peoplestay alone for 5-10 minutes andhave the following conversation:- Do you like me?- Yes. And you?- Yes.Before the wedding a youngcouple can get in touch on thephone or mail and meet at thebraid’s place in the presence ofher parents. In some modernfamilies they can even livetogether.
It’s the family of a bride who pay for a wedding.Generally, they’re very crowded. This fact proves why theamount of women is lower than men. A lot of people can’tafford to give born girls because they have to collect dowry alltheir life.There’s the system in India according to which a groom of a certainprofession has a certain cost. The most expensive ones are doctorsand attorneys, police officers are cheaper and rickshaws are thecheapest.
Family lifeAfter wedding a bride becomes amember of her husband’s family andeven after his death she continuesto live with his relatives.For Indian woman her husband isher God. Unfaithfulness just doesn’texist in Indian families. Divorce isconsidered to be a serious sin and ithappens extremely rare. Therelationships between men andwomen are built on mutual respectand confidence. Wife and husbandtake into consideration the wishes ofeach other and do their best formutual happiness.
ChildrenIn Indian families children aregrown up in very benevolentatmosphere. The first words whichthey hear from their parents teachthem to be kind towardseverything alive: Don’t blow a dogor don’t crush an ant. Whenchildren become older they aretaught to respect their parents andgrandparents, treat children kindlyand to be modest.Since childhood little Indiansunderstand that they should lovenature, national traditions, theirmotherland, religion and family.They always feel love of theirparents, they live very peacefullyand know that their parents alwayssupport and help them.
Indians are generally very On a visit accepting people. If people show a genuine interest in them, most Indians will welcome them into their fold without any reservations. They are also extremely hospitable and will forgive most gaffes. Indians are not very punctual, nevertheless for guests it is better to come in time. If a business partner invited to his house, a guest can take some sweets as a gift. Indians put flower garlands on special guests as a token of respect.People should take off shoes before entering the house. They should dressmodestly and conservatively. It’s polite to turn down the first offer of tea,coffee, or snacks. They will ask again and again. Saying “no” to the firstinvitation is part of the protocol.
In a TemplePeople should take off their shoesbefore entering a temple. In most casesit’s forbidden to make pictures insidetemples so tourists need permission.Generally, Indians treat people friendlyand sometimes allow them to visitreligious rituals. According to thetradition, people should put somemoney in a box for donations.In most places men and women shouldseat separately especially in temples.It’s necessary to stick to this tradition.In some temples priests can drawpeople a red spot on their forehead orwind a red thread around a wrist. Itserves as an amulet.It’s considered impolite to seat withstretched legs in temples, especiallytowards a priest, an older person or asanctuary. It’s better not to put books onthe floor or near legs.
Indian valuesThe Indian attitude towards strangers can be ambiguous. In somebody’s eyesthey’re higher than an Indian man himself because Indian thinking is still alittle colonial. For such people a person is a respectable and moneyedgentleman. At the same time a conservative Indian can despise them. He canbelong to a higher caste so he a priory considers a stranger belonging to thelower one.Sometimes it’s better to conceal some things in India. For example, Indian people think that every person should profess any religion. So even if a person is an atheist it’s better to become religious for a short time. It’s seems to Indian very strange when tourists travel alone and live in cheap hotels because they think that all tourist are quite reach. If man and woman aren’t married it’s better to conceal this fact because it’s considered indecent.
HumorIndian people don’t like laugh atthemselves because they take themselvesvery seriously. Generally, they like rudehumor and can laugh at somebody’sawkwardness. Only a few can understand“black humor”. At the same timeforeigners consider Indian humor flat andungraceful.
Cloths and appearancePeople in India should wear modestly. It’s forbidden to go into a templein shorts, short skirts and t-shirts. In a temple it’s necessary to wearlong dress and cover the head and shoulders.Indian women braid their hairs or wear them in a bun. It’s consideredimpolite to wear loose hair.The most of married women have a red spot on the forehead (tikka),wedding rings, and rings on their fingers and in noses, earrings and footbracelets. There’re special rules how to wear them so it’s necessary tobe very careful.
Gestu Indian mannerisms are very different from those in the west. One motion that is hard to decipher is the movement of the headres to denote ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Some Indians shake their head from side to side when they mean ‘yes’ while some others move it up and down to say ‘yes’ and sideways to say ‘no’. And then there is a third head movement that is hard to describe. It is between a nod and a shake, and involves moving the head in a kind of a semi- circular motion. It means ‘yes’ too but can baffle someone who is not aware of its existence. Another sometimes perplexing practice is plain silence, which could be used to mean either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Often keen observation of the body language is necessary to throw light on a person’s true reactions.
A common way to greet people, especially women, is by foldingyour palms together and saying the word ‘Namaste’ softly. This isnot to say that the handshake is not used. It is in fact a commonmode of greeting between men, and also women in professionalcircles.The equivalent of Mr. and Mrs. in India is Sri and Srimathirespectively. It is common to be addressed as Sri John or SrimathiEmily, although ‘Mr. and Mrs.’ is also universally used.
NamasteNamaste, also said as Namaskar by the natives, is atraditional Indian style of greeting or parting phrase as well asa gesture.If you use it, Indians will surely appreciate it.
Error: She shouldnt have invited that Indian manfor a handshake!
Cultural tipsThe right hand is valued more in India than the left. It is considered inauspicious toaccept anything with the left hand, especially cash and important documents. MostIndians eat food with the fingers of their right hand. Using a spoon is relativelycommon if you are eating off a plate, but if you are eating off a plantain leaf, like insome traditional households or at weddings, make sure you use only your right andnever your left hand.It is impolite to point one’s finger at an object, whistle and wink.
The head is considered the seat of thesoul. People should never touchsomeone else’s head, not even pat thehair of a child.It’s forbidden to point a feet at aperson. Feet are considered unclean.If shoes or feet touch anotherperson, it’s necessary to apologize.Beckoning someone with the palm upand wagging one finger can beexplained as in insult. Indians beckonsomebody with the palm down.Standing with hands on hips will beinterpreted as an angry, aggressiveposture.
ConversationIndians are very curious by nature. A complete stranger can ask plenty ofquestions from what a person is doing in India to what his wife’s parents do fora living. At the same time, most of them also offer too much information wherelittle will suffice. It’s common in India. The influences of Hinduism and the tradition of the caste system have created a culture that emphasizes established hierarchical relationships. All given information help them to determine person’s social status. It means that Indian culture is a high context one.
Just Cant Say NoIndians do not like to express no, be it verballyor non- verbally. Rather than disappointpeople, for example, by saying something isntavailable, Indians will offer them the responsethat they think they want to hear. This behaviorshould not be considered dishonest. An Indianwould be considered terribly rude if he did notattempt to give a person what had been asked.Since they do not like to give negativeanswers, Indians may give an affirmative answerbut be deliberately vague about any specificdetails. For example, if a person asks “Does this road lead to a temple?” the answer will be “yes” without any variants. It’s necessary to make up a question in a proper way, for example “How can I get to a temple?” They don’t like to say “I don’t know” and they show the road with confidence even if they haven’t got the slightest idea where is it.
Topics for conversationIn conversation it’s better to avoid political themes and specific Indian problemssuch as poverty, dowry or suttee in order not to arise confusion. Themes whichare forbidden in Western countries (illnesses or death) are discussed in Indiamore openly. Sex and homosexuality are forbidden for discussion either.
Behavior in publicIn India it’s indecent to display feelings in public, for example hugs and kisses. Manand women shouldn’t walk holding each other’s hands. It’s allowed only for wifeand husband and only in case when they’re alone.Speaking with Indians people should try to control themselves and don’t lose theirtemper. Otherwise, they just stop communicating.If a person doesn’t understand something he should ask his interlocutor slowlyand softly to repeat.Any form of private behavior in public is considered an insult. Sometimes it’s verystrange to see Indian men hugging or holding each other’s hands. Nevertheless,it’s forbidden for men and women to behave like this.
Gift Giving Etiquette . Indians believe that giving gifts eases the transition into the next life. . Gifts of cash are given to friends and members to celebrate life eventssuch as birth, death and marriage. . It is not the value of the gift, but the sincerity with which it is given. . If invited to an Indians home for a meal, it is not necessary to bring agift. . Do not give frangipani or white flowersas they are used at funerals. . Yellow, green and red are lucky colours,so try to use them to wrap gifts. . A gift from a man should be said tocome from both he and hiswife/mother/sister or some other femalerelative. . Hindus should not be given gifts madeof leather. . Gifts are not opened when received.
Sacred animalsAnother exotic trait of India is a great number of cows in the streets of citiesand villages. It is well known that cow is a sacred animal and it is allowed toroam the streets, cross the roads and do whatever they want. They are prettyused to the traffic and the rhythm of the city, but it is better not to touch themand be very careful. Because a murder of cows and beef consumption isconsidered to be a grievous sin and can lead to prosecution and even lifesentence.Monkeys are also worshiped by Indians, they live in special temples dedicated tothem.
QuizWhat caste follows the highest one – Brahmin?a) Shudrab) Vaishnyac) KshatriyaWhat colour is used at funerals?a) whiteb) yellowc) blackWhat topics are allowed in India?a) povertyb) homosexualityc) death
Sour cesIndia – Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquettehttp://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/india-country-profile.htmlCulture of India http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_IndiaIndian Culture http://www.culturalindia.net/Indian Mirror http://www.indianmirror.com/Indian Culture http://library.thinkquest.org/11372/data/culture.htm