Cultural Characteristics of India

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India is the seventh largest country, and is the most heavily populated democracy in the world. Its population is currently around 1.1 billion which compared to the United States at a population around 313 million is much larger. Currently, the largest percent of the population in India is between the ages of 15 and 64, with people under the age of 14 coming in second, and lastly people over the age of 65 (Bouchard, 2010, 2). The biggest city in India is New Delhi which has a population around 21.7 million, with the second largest Mumbai coming in around 19.7 million. The majority of the population in India speaks Hindi, but there are many different native languages including: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, and Maithili. There are three major ethnic groups in India including: Indo-Aryan which makes up about 71 percent, Dravidian 25 percent, and Mongoloid at 3 percent. In addition to several different ethnic groups, the citizens of India practice many different languages including: Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and Sikh (U.S. CIA, 2011). Politically, “India’s central or union government oversees a federal republic consisting of 28 states and seven union territories” (Bouchard, 2010,2).With India being a large-power distance country I was surprised to read that in 2007 the people of India elected their first female president, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil.

Since the early 1990’s India has been developing into an open-market economy “economic liberalization, including industrial deregulation, privatization of the state-owned enterprises, and reduced controls on foreign trade and investment, began in the early 1990’s and has served to accelerate the country’s growth, which has averaged more than 7% per year since 1997” (U.S. CIA, 2011). India’s economy is mainly comprised of village farming, agriculture, and modern industries such as computer technology and embedded software technology. With more than half of the workforce being in agriculture, services however, is the biggest contributing factor the economic growth in India. The information technology (IT) sector is where most of the growth is taking place. Many companies in the United States are beginning to outsource their help desk and programming specialties to India where the labor is cheaper and there are an abundance of qualified individuals. In-fact many of the positions you see in IT are filled by people native to India simply because training for these specialties is limited in the U.S. For example, if you were looking to hire an Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) developer it is highly unlikely that you will find a U.S. citizen with these skill sets, and if you did the U.S. candidate would certainly be demanding more money. India’s ability to train highly qualified IT professionals and ability to provide cheaper labor will continue to contribute to their increase in economic growth. Ultimately, it is those cultural characteristics we have discussed in class that has led India to so much growth over the last decade. They are a collectivist society, with a large power distance and a different set of value orientations from our own. Higher education is of upmost importance, and often times, much more important than interpersonal relationships. This is evident of the fact that they place so much importance on one’s education and its correlation to family status when selecting a bride/groom in an arranged marriage.

India is considered a large power distance culture because there is a clear hierarchy within the family, “the father rules authoritatively, followed by the eldest son and moving down the ladder by age and sex” (Neuliep, 2009. 69). Within the Indian culture the children are expected to be obedient and many Indian children feel that their parents really don’t understand what it is like to grow up in today’s diverse society. Indian parents constantly expect their children to go to the right...
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