Indian Culture and Society

IndianCulture and Society

IndianCulture and Society

Indiais widely known as one of the oldest civilizations characterized byvery high population the Indian culture is considered by many anintegration of several ethnicities across the Asian continent. It hasalso been influenced by the history that is quite old. The Dharmicreligion has profoundly affected Indian culture regarding philosophy,education art, and even music. Likewise, the spread of Hinduism,Buddhism, and other social practices have been transferred to otherparts of the region by traders and travelers in the early centuries[ CITATION Sus12 l 1033 ].Additionally, other Indian tribes also exist with unique and variedcultures. A lot has beensaid concerning these people and their practices.

Oneof the best ways to understand the culture of a region is byobtaining first-hand information from residents or visitors who haveinteracted with them. In his book Delirious Delhi, David Pragernarrates his experiences in Delhi with his wife. In the process, hebrings out clearly the norms, activities, challenges and the joysthey encountered during their stay in India. Likewise, another authorPavan Varma wrote the book “Being Indian.” In his work, Pavantakes a political, democracy and economic oriented outlook of theIndian community. All in all these two books explicate the realculture and way of life in India in a multidimensional manner. Almostall spheres of the community are captured and expounded. This paperanalyses the various cultural aspects that have been mentioned in thetwo books.

Attitudetowards Family and Gender Roles

InIndia, the family is a critical component of the society. Thehousehold is often close-knit. Apparently, one can even be correct insaying that the family is viewed as more important than theindividual. By being part of a household, a person develops a senseof belonging as well as people to interact with and depend on forsupport. Marriage is also a necessary practice for the formation of afamily and to take care of a bereaved family.

Throughthe kinfolk, people can learn and assimilate the cultural life,values, and beliefs. In some instances, there can be joint familieswho are composed of related several generations residing together.Such arrangements also involve working together, eating, worshippingand involvement in beneficial social and economic undertakings. DavidPrager does not disappoint in his description of the way thiscommunity lives in groups of related members. He describes the livingconditions as a federal one, with children and parents engaging ineconomic and family activities [ CITATION Dav131 l 1033 ].

Regardingthe gender roles, men traditionally did heavy chores for instancebuilding, sowing, and planting and so on while women participated inharvesting. Similar to many other cultures around the world, menattempt to look for work with the objective of raising income tosustain their families. Although things have changed in thecontemporary society, some of the gender roles are still embedded inthe culture. As illustrated in the book Delirious Delhi, most of themen worked away from home while the women stayed at home doing thehousehold chores. Take for instance Ajit and Shilpa who are both men,and they have various jobs to do. The former is a taxi driver whilethe latter is a sanitation worker. On the other hand, women engage inhome activities. Anya who is Jenny and David’s neighbor and alsoGanga the maid are women who spend most of their time working at home[ CITATION Swa14 l 1033 ].The author doesnot fail to describe some shopkeepers who are also men depicting theclear gender roles in India.

Attitudetowards Power and Corruption

Whilesome of the people in other regions would think otherwise, authorityand corruption are phenomena present in the Indian society.Apparently, the individuals with much influence are the ones who arecapable of making the final decisions. Likewise, cases of dishonestyand fraud are also present albeit at a low level. Pavan Varma takeshis time to illustrate the aspect of power and wealth while at thesame time ascribing the role of pan-Indianness to ideas versusreality. The author purports that the average Indian is an individualwho understands the amount of power than money possesses, and in thisregard, he has to become practical, smart and ruthless in the eventof an emergency. Also, he must be able to handle possiblecontradictions that may arise without being ashamed of it. Thissentiment seems flattering yet harsh in the truth it holds. It tendsto indicate that the culture promotes the acquisition of powerwhether it is through corrupt practices or not, as long as at the endof the day, the individual achieves it. It is for this reason thatthe elected people are quite aware of their social statusirrespective of their family backgrounds. Such individuals haveimmunities that support their state. Such a process is a copy of thespecial treats given to higher castes [ CITATION Swa14 l 1033 ].The need for power has also blended in with the democratic ideologyand thus the ones in the high-statusshow no reticence when it comes to the display of symbols ofauthority.

Attitudetowards Acquiring Wealth

Thetwo books describe the aspect of money in different ways yet bothpoint towards the same direction. As mentioned earlier, theclose-knit family structure is a high-level surety that wealth can beinherited from parents to children. This concentration of prosperityamong relatives seem to make it hard for the poor to join thebandwagon. David Prager explains his life in the city of Delhi and heexpresses how he interacted with beggars therein. Likewise, the richseem to oppress the poor by offering low wages to workers. A goodexample is the sanitation worker. Although little is said about him,his description indicates that his pay is meager. He also goes on tomention how certain parts of the city were inaccessible to theordinary people and also the underutilization of productive land dueto politics involvement [ CITATION Dav131 l 1033 ].All these constraints develop an attitude in the community thatclimbing the economic ladder is afeat that is next to impossible to accomplish.

PavanVarma takes a political outlook on the matter of asset acquisition.While he says that the current leadership has not taken the necessarysteps to ensure that corruption and economic distribution isbalanced, the ordinary people have begun to realize that their votesin a democratic process can help to change the situation [ CITATION Pav05 l 1033 ].

Responsibilitytowards Society and Democratic Ideals

Accountabilityconcerning the social and the principles of democracy are extensivelydescribed by the two authors. One of the themes that David Pragerhighlights in his novel is the establishment of institutions thatassist the poor and weak. The evidence to this responsibility isshown by Jenny’s participation in the education of poor girls inPardada Educational Society. Regarding environmental answerability,it is all too evident that there was little or nothing done tosafeguard the health of the workers and their surroundings. As theauthor mentions, Jenny worked in a place that was uncomfortablecausing her to cough and choke [ CITATION Dav131 l 1033 ].There were also frequent public urinations. Varma on the other endexplains that the democracy has reverted to the older ways that seemuncivilized. Apparently, the opportunity to have a free consentheightened the olden preoccupation with hierarchy.

FactorsUniting and Dividing India

Thereis a host of elements that work for and against unity in India. Firstand foremost, the facilitators of harmony include the availability offood. Prager does not fail to mention the abundance of varieties ofdiet. Secondly, the family structure and way of life tends to bringpeople together into one solid institution. As marriages take place,the household expands while still maintaining the bonds. Concerninggovernment, the ability to practice democracy is one of the majorfactors that support the growth of union among the people. Transportavailability translates to accessibility to various places andfacilities. Positive aspects aside, the things that tend to rousedisunity have also been illustrated. Poor infrastructure is one. Thisis seen by the presence of congested roads. Secondly, inequality andpower vested on democratic hierarchy create an imbalance for examplepoverty, competitive workforce, and accidents. Poor environmentalconditions also deter people from undertaking their assignmentactively as was Jenny’s case. According to Pavan, some individualsused democracy as an approach for enhancing their statuses andfurther strengthen the domination and hierarchy patterns, as suchthis is the most dividing factor in India [ CITATION Swa14 l 1033 ].


Cultureis a diverse entity in sociology. Its richness and dynamic nature arebrought forth by the authors of the books discussed above.Understanding the Indian values and beliefs require an in-depthoutlook to appreciate the reality and interesting facts regardingcommunity structure and politics. Contrary to the notions that onemight have, it is a fact that India has an interesting way of lifewith the ability to develop even further,


Praeger, D. (2013). Delirious Delhi: Inside India`s Incredible Capital. New York: Arcade Publishing.

Swaminathan, G. (2014, August 25). Being Indian: A Book by Pavan K Varma. Retrieved from efiction:

Varma, P. K. (2005). Being Indian: The Truth About Why the 21st Century Will be India`s. New Delhi: Penguin.

Wickes, S. (2012). Review of Delirious Delhi by Susanna Wickes (for “The Book Review India”). Retrieved from The Book Review: