In the last week’s blog, I talked about how as an international student, studying abroad gives you the opportunity to learn and embrace new cultures from students around the world. This week, I thought let me share some of my heritage from my country – India.
India is one of the most diverse countries in the world, with many deeply religious societies and cultures. Its a home to over 100 languages, 700 tribes, and every major religion in the world with a population of 1.38 billion people that is 17.7% of the total world population scattered over 29 states and 7 union territories.
Many people assume when told I am from India that I speak Hindi, which in my case is true but not necessarily with everyone. As currently, the Indian constitution identifies the country as having 22 major languages with many other unidentified regional languages. Therefore one may or may not speak Hindi depending on the region they were bought up in and might be more comfortable speaking Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Gujarati or any other. In some regions, especially in the south region, you would find many people being more fluent in English than in Hindi due to the countries diverse, multilingual nature and adaptivity to new cultures.
Since ancient times, the sacred land of India displayed varied shades of its culture, religion, and race. Indian culture comprises many different religions due to different ethnic origins and vastly dependant regionally. The country’s prevalent religions are Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Though Indians live within the shrine of one single nation, it professes different social customs and attributes.
Due to the nation’s diverse characteristics, there are many festivals celebrated all year round, be it regional or nationwide; festivals have always been the heart of people’s lives. All festivals signify the country’s spiritual aspect with a story behind each festival’s existence and why it’s so important to us. Two of the main festivals that the whole nation celebrates together are the festivals of colors Holi and the festival of lights Diwali, with a common message of good over evil. Where the different color on Holi tells about the diversity of our country and burning of all evil spirits, the festival of Diwali signifies brightness over darkness with showing the never-ending lively spirit of the country through all the lights brightening up the whole country.
Indian cuisine is one of the most famous cuisines in the world and the popularity of it in the UK is known by all with over 10,000 restaurants all over the country. Indian cuisines consist of various traditional and regional dishes using many different herbs and spices and fresh fruit and vegetables. The food culture also can vary a lot regionally with many locally used and sourced ingredients. For example, Biryani is made differently in different regions with Kashirmiri Biryani, Hydrabadi Biryani, etc., which differs a lot in taste and caters to people with varied palettes. Indian food tends to be very rich in taste due to the use of different ingredients and spices and, most importantly showcases our love towards our loved ones when we prepare it, as our cuisine is essential to us. You can never leave an Indian household without being offered food when you visit, as it portrays our love and respect for our culture.
I have got a lot more to share and will continue to do with my coming blogs…….