Personal Customs and Daily Living

By the end of this trip I will have spent 36 weeks in India, almost ¾ of a year.  One of the most interesting aspects is the exposure to how other cultures live.  It amazes me how similar they are to us while at the same time being very, very different!  The USA is a few hundred years old, India’s civilization goes back 5,000 years!

Around the 17th century, India was one of the richest countries in the world.  Today, most Indians earn 10% of Americans.

There are 2.36 million Indian millionaires, yet many Indians live on less than two dollars a day ,including our pastors . An estimated 35% of India’s population lives below the poverty line.

Only 3% of Indians pay income tax, in a population of 1.2 billion. One explanation for this is that agriculture is exempt and two-thirds of Indians live in rural areas. A large chunk of the economy is also informal, unorganized labor that is harder to collect taxes.

India experiences six seasons: summer, autumn, winter, spring, summer monsoon, and winter monsoon.

Rabies is common in India. Additionally, “Delhi Belly” or diarrhea is commonplace due to contaminated drinking water.

It is respectful to wear white, not black, to a funeral in India. Widows will often wear white in contrast to the colorful clothes of married or single women.  Red is the color worn by brides.

Shakuntla Devi was given the title of the human calculator after she demonstrated the calculation of two 13 digit numbers: 7,686,369,774,870 × 2,465,099,745,779 which were picked at random. She answered correctly within 28 seconds.

India has a spa just for elephants.  Elephants receive baths, massages and even food at the Punnathoor Cotta Elephant Yard Rejuvenation Centre in Kerala.

When I first went to India, I judged everything they did by how it compared to how things are done in the USA.  Of course we do everything right, and if they do something different they must be wrong.  It wasn’t long before I learned that most of the time (unless sanitation or health are involved) we are simply different, not better or worse/right /wrong or superior/inferior. After all, who can really say?  India is many times larger than us and older than us, and we must respect their option to choose a way of life dissimilar to ours.  It is our pride that makes us think we are right and best in all things.  Everyone in the world seems to know we are that way, everyone but us Americans!

James 4: 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 16:5 The Lord detests all the proud of heart.  Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

While in actuality no one thinks they are proud, in reality every human being struggles with pride in one form or another (think of pride as self-focus, positive or negative).  Would those who know you think you have areas of pride in your life? 

Pray and ask God to show you any self-focus you have in yourself, or any criticalness of others who are different than you?

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