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Methodology For Understanding Indian Culture

Jai B.P. Sinha, Rajesh Kumar

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Methods of understanding cultures, including Indian culture, are embedded in a broad spectrum of sociocultural approaches to human behavior in general. The approaches examined in this paper reflect evolving perspectives on Indian culture, ranging from the starkly ethnocentric to the largely eclectic and integrative. Most of the methods herein discussed were developed in the West and were subsequently taken up with or without adaptations to fit the Indian context. The paper begins by briefly reviewing the intrinsic concept of culture. It then adopts a historical view of the different ways and means by which scholars have construed the particular facets of Indian culture, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each. The final section concludes with some proposal about the best ways of understanding the complexity that constitutes Indian cultural reality.