Where are some of the significant differences between Western and Indian cultures?Where are some of the significant differences between Western and Indian cultures?

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kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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One great cultural difference is that in America it is quite common for individuals to be monolingual (know only one language) with English their only language. In India, on the other hand, virtually everyone, educated and uneducated alike, are bi- or multilingual. For instance, Hindi is often spoken at home and the language to which infants are exposed. Then when it comes time to go to school, English is fluently learned because all education, from the first years to the Ph.D. level, is conducted in English. After this, business and commerce are likewise conducted in English. Even rural individuals know more than one language as their commerce, perhaps farming, requires communication through other languages, though they may not as readily know English.

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megan-bright | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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I believe that at this point, the educational emphasis is declining tremendously in American culture. The High school drop out rate is dismal, and there are Elementary kids who can't wait to turn 16 so that they can also drop out. American culture is at a low point of celebrity and technology worship, leaving little to no emphasis on the hardwork and importance of old-school education (except for when it's time to complain about taxes and "low" test scores).

I believe that Indian culture is maintaing a strong emphasis on the respect and importance of education.

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I agree with number 2.  I think that the US is influencing India more and more.  Since we outsource so much of our work to them, they have to understand American culture.  They even adopt American names and accents as part of thier work.  Some of it is bound to wear off.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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With the emergence of globalization, the differences are not necessarily as pronounced.  Yet, there are some significant differences.  Part of this has to do with the relative age of both cultures.  The different cultures of India have been around for a much longer time than those of the West, and in particular, America.  Many Indians are aware of this right off the bat.  The different cultural expressions of India all hold their age and tradition as something that helps to define them.  This definition is in stark contrast to Western cultures, social expressions that have been constructed with a greater sense of freedom evident.  Cultures in India, in their basic form, are generated by a greater sense of acting within a traditional context, and less in terms of individual freedom.  I think that this becomes one of the basic differences between both sets of cultural identities.  At the same time, there are sets of cultural expressions in India that construct identity as linked to a larger element or something that is linked within one's sense of connecting themselves to this.  This becomes something that is less stringent in the Western answers to cultural expression, whereby differences can be seen.

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