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The majority of people in India are Hindus as they make up 80.5% of the population, whereas Islam is in second with 13.4%. Hinduism is considered to be one of the oldest religions and the only major polytheistic religions that is currently being practice, making it unique compare to other major religions. Unlike Christianity or Islam, Hindus believe in many gods and goddesses, where the ideas of karma and reincarnation originated and influenced Buddhism.15
Other religions that started in India have fewer followers then Islam or Christianity, which started in the Middle East. These religions have similar beliefs with Hinduism, such as karma and reincarnations, but tend to be more relaxed and freethinking. Buddhism is neither a mono nor a polytheistic religion as followers are not restricted to a particular way of thinking. It is more of an individual-focused lifestyle, where one should try to end personal suffering by detaching emotional ties to materialistic things. When one reaches this stage, he or she becomes a Buddha, meaning the “enlightened one”.16 Jainism is very similar to Buddhism and its goal is to release the soul from the effects of karma. Its emphasis is on being nonviolent towards everyone, even animals, which is why many Jains are vegetarians. Sikhism is different from other religions in India because it is monotheistic. Unlike Hinduism, Sikhism believes that eve...
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...e different meanings, or depending on the context of the Indian’s society. This makes India a high context culture compared to the low context culture of the United States.
Overall, many aspects of the Indian culture are different from the U.S. The caste system, arranged marriage concept, and family living style indicate a very collectivist culture, which is opposite of the high individualistic culture in the U.S. In addition, the caste system and arranged marriage concept also indicate high power respect compared to the power tolerant U.S. culture. Furthermore, the non-violent and self-sufficient teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism, and the other religions of India create more passive goal behavior than found in the United States. These major differences in cultural orientation will most likely create difficulties for Americans when doing business in India.
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