So recently, in my Communication Skills class my teacher started talking about Cultures and the factors that affect the culture. Gruesome and healthy discussion takes places over the issue of cultures and factors which affects our thinking for a particular culture.
Now this is one topic that always fascinates me, CULTURE! You know why? Well think about it like you are in India, and here you can’t show PDA that is Public Display of Affection, meaning you can’t just kiss your wife/girlfriend in middle of the road. But that is somewhat allowed in UK, Australia etc. Now, it’s really about the perception of the self that how we look at a particular thing! I mean for instance if you are in UK and you happen to kiss your wife/girlfriend, nobody will give you a “YOU ARE SO DEAD” type of look. I mean, no offence to any religion but in INDIAN culture Kissing At Public Places IS ILLEGAL! Well apparently, you can take blessings from shiva linga [need I say more].
She told us that culture is all about perception. As per my view probably it’s the culture that gives each one of us an individuality of our own. But here’s a fun part, Indian culture is said to be high-context culture! Well that’s enough for some average Indian literate to rejoice that his/her motherland’s culture is being referred to as HIGH CONTEXT whereas cultures that pertain in USA, UK etc. are referred to as Low Context. And yes! now you are mistaken!! You see High Context doesn’t refer to the superiority of your culture, but infact it’s a cumulation of various factors which led Mr. T Hall [the great anthropologist] the name High Context Culture. Number one being the diversity, we all know how diverse is India in terms of people, languages, caste, clothing etc. But on the other hand if we look towards USA [standard comparison] it is also a mix of colonies/state that unite together against foreigners some 300 odd years ago to fight for their motherland. But their core culture/religion “Christianity” gives them a monotonous feel. Obviously, we can’t stretch this conclusion to every individual, but this is a probability that if you met one American in your life, you’ll definitely know how AMERICA behave! And I am sure the reverse of this can’t be applied to men of Indian origin 😛
But another interesting conclusion that came up in the discussion with our subject teacher was
High Context Culture is somewhat lethargic in general nature. Now all those, deshbhakth reading my blog will say WTF! how can he even say that! Well here’s how
Some general trends in India [I’ll be comparing it with the definition given by Mr. T Hall in his book]
- A high context individual is more likely to ask for assistance rather than attempt to work out a solution :- Do I need to explain more? Well okay, you want to submit your bill in a government office or likewise at any place. First thing!! koi jaan pehchaan hai kya?? [Do we have some kind of relative who works at that place or is acquainted with somebody who works there]]
- The term “hand-holding” might be used to describe high context individuals in an unintentionally derogatory sense. : – Well I started my blog with the same example
- Lethargic:- Well to be honest we all follow IST, Indian Stretchable Time [example?? Too lazy for that :P]
- Lack of Transparency :- Of course, praan jaaye par vachan na jae, Indians have taken this quote far too seriously and therefore!! We have some good amount of telephonic excuses for bunking our office/college and in some cases even school.
This blog post is not about criticising the context of culture, but rather I would be more happy with a culture that would adapt itself to changes. It’s better to change than to live with the old medieval stringent laws!
Aaah.. well this was my attempt to jot down what I feel about the culture phobia! Comments are welcome. Till the next time ADIOS!