Written by Divya Badri with inputs from Shruti Rao
You are trying to understand a country like India, but you do not know where to begin. There is no one way to understand India. The two popular options that come to mind is either travel in India or do business in India or take up a job in India. Are these effective to improve an understanding of India, the subcontinent? Yes. Are these your only option? No! India is an intricate web of societies and cultures. Every aspect of the country is unique and requires a niche understanding.
Here are some of my suggestions on how to begin learning about India
Learn an Indian language
India is famously known to be the home to one of the oldest languages in the world – Sanskrit. However, another fascinating feature of India is that it is home to more than 800 languages. Anyone who travels to India realizes that knowledge of any one Indian language is seldom sufficient. Only 60% of the Indian population speaks Hindi. The rest 40% speak different languages which have their own historical and cultural significance. If you decide to do business in India or simply travel in India, learning a couple of Indian languages is a very good idea. Quite similar to , if you decide to do business in Europe or work in Europe, learning a few European languages always helps. You could either learn an India language by immersion or online. A good blended learning platform will help you gain knowledge using both techniques.
Learn about Indian culture
Indian culture is one of the oldest cultures which is in practice today. Understanding Indian culture will help you understand the shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviours, and artefacts that the Indian people use to communicate with each other and the world. It is important to learn about Indian culture as it is present in every interaction you will have when you travel to India or look for opportunities in India. Usually, when people talk about the Indian culture, it involves a lot of preconceived notions. When travelling to India or doing business in India you will realize that Indian culture is not static, but dynamic. You will need to understand that Indian culture is much larger than the more visible features like music, food, etc.
Learn the country’s business practices
India is a diverse and populous and thus, it becomes difficult to generalize Indian culture and practices. Doing business in India will require you to learn about the nitty-gritties, starting from greetings and business communications, to business relationships and business culture. Like anywhere in the world, businesses are also influenced by the policy decisions by the government and it is important to understand the Indian policy landscape. India has had a stable policy landscape and has worked a lot on policy reform and has improved its ranking in the World Bank ease of doing business.
When one thinks about Indian food the first two things that come to mind are – curry, cumin and chickpeas. This is because this is the prevailing Indian food that is available in western nations, adapted to western audiences. This assumption will restrict you from enjoying the whole palette of sophisticated flavours of Indian cuisine, because real Indian food is quite different. Whether you intend to travel to India, look for opportunities in India or simply want to try your hand at something new, you will find Indian cuisine to be easy and healthy to indulge. Learning about Indian cuisine will enrich you in more ways than one.
There are many Indias within India, however, you only need one platform to learn about all of them. The platform for all things India is Mastering India. You could enrol in a college class or look up videos on YouTube to understand the above topics. However, if you choose to enrol yourself on Mastering India, then you can access all these courses and a lot more in just a click. Mastering India is a platform to learn about India, seen through new eyes. Learning various aspects of India on Mastering India will make working or doing business in India more fruitful.
Mastering India is a platform where you will learn about an emerging market like India from Indians and people who are closely acquainted with Indian practices. Mastering India is a blended learning platform on which you can take assessments to test your knowledge. You can even connect and collaborate with likeminded people on Mastering India. The platform helps you learn different topics through micro-learning courses, but also through events and experiences. Experiences enable enhanced learning by immersing you into the culture and you gain a more holistic understanding of the topic. So sign up today and start – Mastering India!