Invisible Cultural Challenges in India

indian women wearing saree

Invisible Cultural Challenges in India

In comparison to visible cultural challenges in India, Invisible Culture Challenges are the intangible aspects of culture that influence how people behave. These aspects can be more impenetrable as these include the Indian values, beliefs and assumptions that are veiled and to get this feeling or the idea could take years. Though Indian female constitute around 50% of the Indian population, their role in India could be difficult to understand exactly like a few other invisible aspects like Indian legal system, education system, widespread corruption, political scenario, nurturing of  children, elderly healthcare amenities, addressing to the problems of the economically backward communities, harmony, hierarchy, history, sports, folklore and mythology. You may not find a single lifetime enough to understand these implicit cultural aspects and managing these aspects is beyond the bounds of possibility.

 Managing Culture shock 

For decades, India has been recited as an intriguing country with a vibrant culture and awe-inspiring diversity in the stories of the expatriates relocating to India. Experiencing a Cultural Shock in a country like India where every region has its own culture, tradition, languages and style, is pretty natural. For the unprepared and first time visitors to India, the Cultural Shock sets in very quickly.I have had a lady expatriate go into culture shock one day and she cried for hours because she could just not fathom the poverty and the income disparity. It took her days to come to terms with this aspect, even though she was staying in a five-star hotel. The subject of managing cultural shock in India is huge and cannot be covered in one article but I have made a short attempt with some guidelines and inputs and not just how to manage it but even tried to decipher as to why it is like it is here in India.

 The Exploding Population

India is considered home to one in every six human beings in the world. The overpopulation in India has been addressed oodles of times but despite every feasible measures and solution, the country is the residence of over a Billion people and stretched to its limits. The overpopulation is directly impacting the national economy which has led to 269 million Below Poverty Line inhabitants. Along with the rapid growth in population at the rate of 2 % per annum, there are certain issues that are integral of the overpopulation like Gender composition is disproportionate, the higher rate of female child mortality, unemployment, poor living standards and malnutrition etc. The insufficiency in employment and salaries, education, food and nutrition, shelter, clean drinking water, sanitation, space and so forth are the major challenges that are visible and needed to be gauged and understood by the expatriate actually visiting India. The acceptance of this irreversible fact should play an important role in the adjustment curve. The brighter side of the scenario today is that even today more than 70 % of Indians live in rural areas. Imagine if there was an even larger rush to get to the larger cities and even then most of the Indian metros have a larger than 15 Million population.

poverty in India stats

 A Basket Case Country?

When we say a Poor India, what we really mean is Poor Indians. India is actually a rich country with a lot of natural resources, but most of the Indians are not. Just a bunch of billionaires are controlling 70% of Indian wealth. There are causes and consequences of this worrisome inequality in the Indian economy. Poverty in India is beyond the monetary differences between the various existing classes. The marginalization, lack of proper education, overgrowth in population, inequality in gender, disproportional wealth distribution after the end of colonial period, economic reforms that are full of flaws and aiding to encourage the continued economic inequality and corruption eroding Indian economy are the top causes of Poverty in India; whereas the pathetic living standards, inadequate medical assistance and poor social security are some of the major consequences of poverty.


India was once the richest country in the world with about 27 % share of the global GDP. This was before the British arrived. By the time the British left India in 1947, about two hundred years later, India’s share of the global trade had dropped to 3 % making it the poorest country in the world. Since independence and post liberalization in India in 1993, Indian economy has grown leaps and bounds and is expected to be the third largest global economy by 2030, but with the population growth in India at 2 % per annum, the positive changes have been slow but sure. Each year a large number of poor are uplifted from the Below Poverty Line ( BPL ) and the middle class continues to grow. However, the problem is still stark and in your face. The government and not for profit organizations’  initiatives are applaudable and there are many affirmative action plans being implemented including reservations for backward classes and a change is certainly visible in standard of living and education.


Rohit Kumar

The author, Rohit Kumar, is a Co-owner and Joint Managing Director of IKAN Relocations, an India based relocation management company. He can be contacted at

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