Indian and Australian Cultures Compared and Contrasted
Separated by a distance of 7813 kilometers, Indian and Australia contain rich cultural heritages peculiar to natives of the countries (Kuiper, 2011). India has an approximate 1.14 billion people a number way greater than Australia’s twenty two million (Kuiper, 2011). Culture is an amalgamation of religion, social structures, believes and general way of life typical of certain regions, tribes or countries. Given the history in terms of natives and mid-century settlers of the above nations, there are numerous subcultures constituent of national cultures. To compare and contrast culture, religious, social stratification, language and governance elements of the nations are essential.
In a generic definition, the Australian culture can be termed western in regards to religion, governance and language. On the other hand, Indian culture has no generic basis given the diverse subcultures. The only collective elements in the Indian culture are the Dharmic religions (Lal & Nandy 2006). This term denotes religions prevalent in India such as Hinduism, Buddhism as well as Sikhism. The India region is imperative to the birth and development of Hinduism where eighty percent of the India population is Hindu. Most of the validation behind the religions practiced in India is found in the Vedic literature containing hymns praising or questioning the gods (Lal & Nandy 2006). Additionally, the Indian religions are known for their philosophical discussions particularly on the subject of death. A commonality is the view of towards death as being wise and a birth to real life. Given the diversity, the Indian nation has numerous religious festivals such as Diwali and holi by the Hindu section of the population or the Muharram by the Islam population. On the contrary, Australia is predominantly Christian with sixty-five of the population acclaiming the faith (Jupp 2009). However, Australian culture is less culturally devout as compared to the Indian culture where less than a quarter of Christians in Australia attend church (Jupp 2009). Thus, most of the festivals in Australia are music or art based. As compared to India, twenty percent of the Australians have “no religion.” This indicates dynamic culture in terms of beliefs given indigenous Australians were very religious or devout people where the dreamtime religion was prevalent in the 18th century. Currently, the Australian people are less religiously inclined but Islam and Buddhism religions have being subtly growing.
One of the most famous social structures in the world is inherent in India called the Caste system. It is rooted in the Hindu religion and society very prevalent in the northern part of the country (Underwood, 2006). In spite intermittent objections and movements against the stratification, the Caste system has remained rooted and dictatorial on socio-economic levels. It infers superiority on a section of people over others on basis of birth or ancestry line (Sadani et al. 2006). The Kshatriyas is the class responsible or usually in governance comprising of rulers and soldiers. The Brahmin is the section according to ancestry and culture responsible for religious and educational needs of the whole society (Pruthi 2003). This is the highest esteemed class theoretically due to their understanding of the gods as well as education philosophies. The lowest classes are the Vaishyas and Shudras engaging in business and service provision respectively. Presently, the caste system is still pertinent although in a subtle form as evidenced by documentation done during census to allow for vetting of educational or employment positions in the country (Sadani et al. 2006). On the other hand, the Australian nation is deemed stratified on basis of economic or educational aspects contrary to ancestry or tribe. Recent literature stratifies the Australian population into two: cosmopolitans as well as parochials. The former are equivalent to the general middleclass where they are well educated and actively engaged in governance besides service provision. The section of the society normally holds beliefs rooted in Christianity or ethic arising from capitalism. The parochials are Australians observing convectional social ethics such as gender functions. They esteem family values and engage in education as a passive part of their lives thus they are not very dynamic.
Most Australians are monolingual with English as the prevalent language. Before western settlement, the continent was home to almost three hundred language tribes. Currently only seventy of these languages are spoken with a half listed as endangered languages. Bilingual Australians are less than twenty percent with the minority languages constituting of Greek, Chinese and Italian. Indigenous languages spoken by bilingual Australians include the Tasmanian and Papuan languages (Meena, 2008). As for the Indian nation, there are two main language groups; the indo-European and Dravidian groups with seventy-two and twenty-five percent of the populations speaking either language respectively (Smaill, 2010). Numerous minor languages exist such as Austro-Asiatic and their current total has more than two hundred sub-dialects. An important distinction emerges where the Australian nation has had a faster erosion of indigenous languages as compared to India. However, in the later, one of the official languages besides Hindi is English thus a similarity.
Both countries have their political structure based on interbreed of the American and British forms of governance. However, they differ in the number of states where Australia has six states and India has twenty-eight. In India, there are three government levels namely the executive, legislative and judiciary (Khan, 2006). The executive comprises the president exerting due authority through subordinates. The legislative denotes the parliament, which is divided into two levels, the upper and the lower houses. The judiciary has at its peak the Supreme Court, appeal and high court in respective order. The parliamentary or legislative arm of governance enacts laws and regulation upon which the judiciary operates. Each state has the same three levels of governance (Khan, 2006). However, the federal or central government has greater power than the local government to the extent it can dissolve it if certain requirements are not met (Smaill, 2010). Additionally, the central government is run on the fore mentioned parliamentary system. The country is also part of the international court subject to several exclusions. Similar to India, Australia has based its political structure on the Westminster system where the federal and parliamentary aspects interact. The parliament is composed of two levels also known as bicameral where the upper level has seventy-six senators and a hundred fifty representatives. Unlike India, Australia applies compulsory voting where legible voters are required to vote. A breach of this requirement has the voter legible to punishment as implored by the law. Additionally, Australia applies the single transferable voting system to decide on senators for the Australian senate.
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