Ethnographic Study: Hindu Customs and Beliefs
What is ethnography? According to Mirian-Webster, “ethnography is the study and systematic recording of human cultures, which also a descriptive work is produced from such research”. Ethnography to me refers primarily to a particular method or set of methods used, when in it’s most characteristic form, involves the observer overt or covert participation, in people’s daily lives for an extended period of time; watching what happens, listening to what is said, and asking questions; in fact collecting whatever data is available to shed light on the issues that are the focus of the research. This ethnographic field research study is focused primarily at the small company level for which I’m employed. I will assume the role of both, a working participant and that of an observer. That means, I will continue to ask questions on both online and off-line. The group that I would like to specifically study, because of my daily interaction with them is the East Indian culture. From the poverty-stricken and populated streets of India to the intellectual force behind modern technology and medical advances, India has been on the forefront of it all. I’m interested in knowing more about why most believe in arranged marriages along with multiple gods and energies. I would like to learn of their outlook on reincarnation. I’m interested to know why inter-racial relationships with people outside their race and status are almost forbidden. Why is it a taboo? I, fortunately have the privilege everyday, at my place of employment to interact with all variations of East Indians, hailing from all different castes and geographical locations. My overall goal is to compare and contrast their Eastern lifestyle and upbringing to our Western way of living. To evaluate their beliefs and customs, then apply it to what I see everyday as their norm. I have currently been at my present job for about 14 months. Prior to coming here, I worked for a semiconductor facility that specialized in the design and manufacturing of DRAM and NAND Flash memory, which is designed to be used in various electronic devices. There, I was initially exposed to this specific group of people known as the East Indians, which hail from all locations throughout the southern Asian country of India. Geographically, India is the seventh-largest country in the world with the second highest per-capita population with 1.17 billion, trailing only its border country of China. East Indians are an integral asset in the world of electronics and technology. In every facet of technology, they have not only brought along their intelligence and ingenuity to the table, but they’ve also brought their culture, which in many ways to me, are fascinating and unique. I see the East Indian culture in this light, because to me as an African-American, it seemed to very different from the cultures in which I was brought up around. Everything, from their worship practices to their eating habits, down to their belief in arranged marriages, has enticed me to want to understand their culture and perspectives. Starting with their worship practices, the Indian culture has for many centuries worshipped various gods and goddesses, all of whom help to balance their quality of life. With this said, India has four major religions and many others that have helped shape the region’s diverse culture. Those four major religions are Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, all of which originated in India. Other religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all came later in the first millennium. Of the aforementioned religions, Hinduism is the predominant religion of the Indian subcontinent, currently being practiced by over 900 million tenets, in India alone. Hinduism, is the world’s third largest religion practiced, trailing...