Things to know about India before visiting

 1.       Shalu I know a little about India, but can you tell us a little more about the demographics of India, i.e. location, population, primary language, size, etc.

India with its capital at New Delhi is located in the south of the Asian continent. It is so big that is dubbed as the Indian subcontinent. In Fact, it’s the seventh largest country in the world. India has borders with 7 countries namely Pakistan, Burma, China, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. The Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal lies in the west and the east respectively. The population of India is 1.2 billion and rising, the second most populous country after China. There are 17 official languages of India and Hindi is the most prominent. English is used extensively. The main religion of India is Hinduism while Islam occupies a major space. Other religions include Sikhism, Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism.

2.       Some people think ethics only count when someone else is watching or listening.  How is ethical behavior viewed in India in other words are ethics a big part of decision-making?

Ethics is big in India mainly in personal and family affairs. Children are taught morality and some schools even have “Moral Science” as a subject. We are taught how to talk and respect elders, behave in public, help the needy and so on. In fact, the Indian way of life and behavior revolves around “karma” and attaining “mokhsa” or nirvana in other words free form the recycle of birth. 

3.       What is the biggest ethical challenge in the Indian workplace?

India is one of the most corrupt counties in the world. In fact, it’s so bad in some places; you have to bribe the officer-in-charge in order to get some work done. I remember paying a bribe to get my marriage certificate. The biggest challenge in the Indian workplace is eliminating bribery, corruption and shear laziness.

4.       Favoritism at work is one of my most searched queries; does the Indian workplace deal with favoritism at work and what issues are most prevalent in the Indian workplace?

Favoritism and nepotism is rife in Indian workplace. We don’t deal with it, we live with it. It will take another 50 years to get rid of this practice. Bribery is one of the major issues we have to deal with. Although more and more people are being punished for taking bribes and things are getting more transparent but we are a long way away from a bribe-free society. Employees arriving late especially in government establishments is another issue but some administrators are cracking down on this.

5.       You wrote a post about bhang sales (marijuana), is it an ethical issue for the Indian government to support bhang sales?

I don’t think it’s an ethical issue but a cultural one. Consumption of Bhang or marijuana is somewhat ingrained in Indian society. The government of India facilitates the sale of bhang especially during some festivals and some places so that tourists and occasional bhang users do not fall in the trap of drug dealers.

Introduction to India: Culture and Traditions of India: India Guide Book

6.       What are the main uses of bhang by the people of India?

It’s used in “bhang lassi” or bhang milkshake during the Hindu festival of Holi. I am not aware if there are any medical uses of bhang but I have read and heard that it’s used for depression and cancer.

7.       Bootlegged cd’s, movies, and video games are illegal and viewed by most Americans as unethical.  How does India deal with bootleggers and is bootlegging a major problem?

Bootlegging is a big problem in India. Bollywood is the biggest film industry in the world and large numbers of the sales of CD’s and DVD’s are pirated. Unfortunately, it’s sold openly in many places and it’s not considered as unethical by the sellers and most buyers are perhaps not aware of it. There are periodic raids on illegal workshops and the police are trying to crack the bootleggers.

8.       Most Americans have heard about the unethical treatment against women in India; I even wrote an article addressing how women have resorted to using “women only trains”, in your opinion what needs to be done for women rights in your country?

India is highly male dominated society. Women is often subjected to abuse, ill treatment and dowry system is rife. Unfortunately, female infanticide still prevails. Although laws protect women and majority of the time, law is on the side of women but more is still required. Women need to be given reservations in government jobs which will uplift the status of women and will make them financially independent. But to be honest, I think it’s getting better, we’re not the Middle East. Indian women are getting better at fighting for their rights.

9.       You left a comment on my article “Should your house stay inspection ready for a surprise visitor?”, You stated it is very common for people to come by for a visits at any time.  Is surprise visiting anyone at any time acceptable by most Indians?

Visitors in particular relatives often turn up without warning. You just have to play along and allow them to stay in your house as long as they want (sometimes for months or years). Most Indians are not surprised to see visitors at their doorsteps without being warned of their arrival.

10.   Thank you Shalu for your honest candor and being the first international blogger to be part of this series.  I know from reading your blog (Travel guide to India) you are a proud Indian citizen.  Is there anything you would want people to know about India?

Here some facts you might have not known about India;

India is one of the few countries that launch satellites. It was India where zero, the number system, algebra, trigonometry, decimal system, and calculus were invented. Chess and “snakes and ladders “were invented. India has the most number of offices in the world.

India For Kids: Amazing Facts About India

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