INDIA's RICH CULTURE, evolved over 5000 years

India is a country of diversity and continuity.  It is a creative
blend of cultures, religions and languages.  The nations
rich cultural heritage is derived from its 5000 year old
history, making the country one of the oldest civilizations.  

One important component of Indian culture, essential for
your business to succeed, is an understanding of traditions
and unique communication styles pervasive throughout the
Indian society.  

Three ways of better understanding Indian culture:
1) Indian cultural values
2) Tips for doing business with Indians
3) Major festivals and events celebrated by Indians
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Major Festivals and Events Celebrated By Indians

, 11/5
Diwali, possibly the best known Indian festival, has the same importance for Hindus as Christmas is for
Christians.  The festival is celebrated across all states in India and by worldwide Indian communities with
much fanfare. Houses are cleaned and decorated; even the humblest of huts is lit by a row of earthen lamps.
The array of lamps are symbolic of welcoming Lord Ram back to Ayodhya after his 14 years of exile, and the
common practice is to light small oil lamps, diyas, and place them around the house. This celebration is
accompanied by the exchange of sweets and the explosion of fireworks.  

Holi, 3/11
Holi, the most lively of all Hindu festivals is observed all over North India.  Holi signifies the end of the winter
and the beginning of the spring and marks the rekindling of the spirit of life. It is a festival of joy when all is
forgiven and it is a time to break free.  People throw coloured powders at each other and make merry. People,
young and old are drenched with colours being poured from atop the houses, bursting balloons, or long
pistons. Singing and dancing add to the gaiety of the occasion.  This celebration is accompanied by the
exchange of sweets.

Baisakhi, 4/13
Baisakhi is typically celebrated in Punjab with great fervour marking the beginning of a new solar year.  It also
signifies the end of harvest of the main crop. During Baisakhi the farmers give 'thanks' to the Lord Almighty for
their fortune and pray for a better crop the next year. Baisakhi involves a lot of socialising where friends and
relatives are invited and delicious meals are served.

Id-ul-Fittr, 10/2
This festival celebrates the end of Ramzan, the Muslim month of fasting. It is an occasion of feasting and
rejoicing. The faithful gather in the mosques to pray, friends and relatives meet and exchange greetings.
Prayers, family get-togethers and feasts are the major highlights of the festival.

Independence Day, 8/15
Independence Day marks the departure of British from the Indian Subcontinent and the formation of India and
Pakistan as two separate countries.  Independence Day is celebrated with flag hoisting ceremonies and
cultural programmes in the state capitals.   

Republic Day, 1/26
Republic Day is one of the most important days in Indian history as it was on this day the constitution of India
came into force and India became a truly sovereign state, a totally republican unit.  The patriotic fervor of the
people on this day brings the whole country together even in her essential diversity.  Celebrations include a
grand parade by the army, navy and the air force. This parade is followed by a pageant of spectacular moving
floats representing different states of the country.
Indian Cultural Values

Among Indians, religion is a way of life and must be respected to maintain successful business
relationships.  Companies can utilize these religious festivals to effectively Indians in the US.      

Religious Breakdown of India Based Population (= 1.2 Billion):
  • Hindus: 80%
  • Muslims: 13%
  • Christians: 2%
  • Sikhs: 2%
  • Others: 3%

The strong sense of community probably stems from a noticeable lack of privacy as several generations often
live in one house.  Consequently, Indians place greater value on interpersonal relationships, typically avoid
conflict and communicate in an indirect manner.    

Tips For Doing Business with Indians  

  • Indians appreciate punctuality but may not reciprocate it; please be flexible with your schedule.  

  • Families are highly valued by Indians; start your business meetings with small talk possibly by showing
    interest in the person's family.

  • Tremendous amount of respect is shown to elders, who are the typically the decision makers;
    communicate with and build relationships with key decision makers.

  • Social acceptance and self esteem are an essential part of Indian culture, minimize criticisms in open

  • Disagreement is rarely expressed in a direct manner; the word "no" is replaced by other non-verbal cues
    or actions.

  • Dont refuse any food or drink offered to you during a business meeting as this may indicate disrespect.  

  • Decision making is a slow and thoughtful process; dont be aggressive in your business dealings as it
    may show disrespect.