Shreyansh Jain Professor Madhav Kafle

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Shreyansh Jain

Professor Madhav Kafle

ESL 015

14 February 2013

Comparison between Indian and Western Culture

Culture is the characteristics of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and art. Each country has its own culture and that is what defines the country and separate it from other countries. I believe there is a vast difference between the Indian and Western culture and that’s what makes me choose this topic of distinguishing between the two. In this essay the main points I would be focusing on would be: family, religion, moral values, work ethics and status of women.

Among the four major differences between India and America, family structure is one. When we speak of joint family, it is a common phenomenon and way of life in India but in America it is not often observed. In India people prefer living with parents and grandparents. However in America the trend of nuclear family is popular (Carteret). When living with elders, one has to compromise and sacrifice many wishes. People often feel that this practice makes children loose independence and hinders their growth. However when children live with elders, they are lesser engaged in illegal activities. They are constantly monitored by elders and are taught the rights and wrongs in life. All these teachings are attempts to make children religious and make them adopt a better lifestyle. And this is what children in nuclear families are deprived of.

India has a huge religious background in contrast to America. In India people follow many religions like Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianity, Islam etc. However in America where they feel god resides in everything in and is around us and thus have great respect towards everything, for example statues, books, elder people, animals etc. 'Atithi devo bhava' is a famous saying amongst the Indians, this means guests are to be treated like gods. In India keeping books on floor and touching it with leg is highly inauspicious as they consider anything that is related to their education touched by their feet, an insult to their education. While in America such things don’t even make any difference. The so-called rational people of America consider that attachment to religion is out of fashion.

The elders and parents in India ridicule the above ideology of Americans. They put high emphasis on impartation of moral values to their kids right from early childhood. Parents teach right moral to their kids from the very beginning. In India, anything done for a person’s selfish interest is looked down upon, however in America being self-centered is a normal way of life. In India, activities like underage drinking, having multiple relations, divorces are not acceptable and are against the conscience and morals, however in America these things are aren’t something that make a huge difference in one’s personal life. Although I am very supportive of India’s culture but still Indians need to learn the importance of work ethics and punctuality.

In America, people show great devotion to work. Copying and imitating others work without referencing isn't acceptable at all and severe actions are taken against the ones who cheat. However in India the one who gets the work done right and the quickest is given the credit people usually aren’t bothered from where the person had his work done. In America time is given its due importance, every little meeting is done with appointments as they realize the time value of every person. Getting late isn’t tolerable in America however in India the general notion of the people is that ten to fifteen minutes delay in any kind of work or meeting is assumed to be on time. Last fact that I would like to highlight is the status of women. In America the situation is little better than of India.

In America both men and women are now considered equally important, in any field of work gender doesn’t play an important role, however, India is a male dominated society and women still haven’t received their due place and respect. India being dominated with villages and towns, women are even now restricted from many things. This trend has drastically changed, not yet abolished though, but it will soon die due to Globalization. Sati system, female infanticide, and such other mal-practices have literally vanished but a few things still have to improve and I believe by this trend of religion and right morals it will soon become better.

In conclusion, it would be wrong to state that one is better than the other; however every coin has two sides. The positives of both the cultures must be adopted and the negatives must be discarded. This will make both the societies better and more sustainable for a happier lifestyle. A proper amalgamation of right practices and ideologies will give rise to a utopic society.

Works Cited

Carteret, Marcia. "Culture and Family Dynamics | Dimensions of Culture." Dimensions of Culture RSS. Carteret, 2011. Web.

Note to professor

In the compare and contrast poster I presented in class earlier, I had compared between experienced teachers and inexperienced teacher. I had chosen that topic as I read an article about it online and made me realize that this could be a subject I would like to give my viewpoints about. However after presenting it in class and the responses I got from my teacher, I realized this topic wouldn’t give my readers great knowledge, as I didn’t have great evidence. It wouldn’t be informative; it would lack the essence of being interesting. And hence I am writing on Indian culture and western culture, which I find very interesting.
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