Culture and Customs of India

Culture and Customs of India

Culture and Customs of India

Culture and Customs of India


India and the Indian ways of life in the new century are freshly and comprehensively overviewed in this volume. This one-stop resource enables students and other interested readers to begin to understand the vast country with its population of one billion people, representing hundreds of social groups with more than 100 languages spoken. Henderson provides expert insight into a cross-section of society. The caste system, Hinduism, the sari, women's roles, and a dazzling array of festivals are just some of the facets of the culture and customs explained.

Although the volume primarily focuses on contemporary India, Henderson's knowledgeable narrative incorporates the progression of culture from the earliest civilization to the nuclear weapons debate. There is no other general, in-depth, up-to-date reference that provides the coverage on the land, people, and history; religion; world view; art and literature; landscape and architecture; food and dress; women, marriage, and family; festivals and leisure activities; music and dance; and social customs and lifestyles. Numerous photos, a chronology, and glossary complement the narrative.


GEOGRAPHICALLY, Asia encompasses the vast area from Suez, the Bosporus, and the Ural Mountains eastward to the Bering Sea and from this line southward to the Indonesian archipelago, an expanse that covers about 30 percent of our earth. Conventionally, and especially insofar as culture and customs are concerned, Asia refers primarily to the region east of Iran and south of Russia. This area can be divided in turn into subregions commonly known as South, Southeast, and East Asia, which are the main focus of this series.

The United States has vast interests in this region. In the twentieth century the United States fought three major wars in Asia (namely, the Pacific War of 1941–5, the Korean War of 1950–53, and the Vietnam War of 1965– 75), and each had profound impact on life and politics in America. Today, America’s major trading partners are in Asia, and in the foreseeable future the weight of Asia in American life will inevitably increase, for in Asia lie our great allies as well as our toughest competitors in virtually all arenas of global interest. Domestically, the role of Asian immigrants is more visible than at any other time in our history. In spite of these connections with Asia, however, our knowledge about this crucial region is far from adequate. For various reasons, Asia remains for most of us a relatively unfamiliar, if not stereotypical or even mysterious, “Oriental” land.

There are compelling reasons for Americans to obtain some level of concrete knowledge about Asia. It is one of the world’s richest reservoirs of culture and an ever-evolving museum of human heritage. Rhoads Murphey, a prominent Asianist, once pointed out that in the part of Asia east of Afghanistan and south of Russia alone lies half the world, “half of its people and far more than half of its historical experience, for these are the oldest . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.