Where does one draw the line between Indian culture and Hindu culture? Can we really talk of them separately?

Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:

Even if one attempts to draw a line, it’s going to be very blurry. If one puts aside the matters of temple worship and all associated things, most quintessentially ‘Indian’ things are nothing but cultural. Off late, the word ‘Hindu’ has come to mean people belonging to the ‘Hindu religion’, who pray to Hindu Gods, who visit Hindu temples. But there was a time when it didn’t mean that way.

The term ‘Hindu’ was used to denote a geographical identity for people who resided between the Himalayas and the Indu Sagara (Indian Ocean), as per what Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev says.

To me, it makes perfect sense. It’s just the way people lived. The culture and all its finer nuances were established much before the advent of other faiths into this land. Yes, people welcomed the missionaries, people chose to pray to other Gods, to adopt other ways to worship, but the culture remained intact. Nothing could change that which had become a part of the genetic make-up of the people who lived on this land.

Our culture is not one that has remained stagnant over the centuries. We have all adapted to change and contributions from other cultures. Gradually it became one big melting pot of so many different cultures into what it is today.

We all share so much with each other culturally… our joint family systems, our colorful festivals and our colorful clothes, the way we all sit down with family to have our meals and eat with our hands, the dining etiquette we all unanimously follow, the unquestioned respect that we give our elders, the way the guest is always treated with reverence…all these have roots from ancient times, but has transcended all limitations and still continues as strong as ever…beyond faiths, beyond anything.

So if one still does wish to draw a line, then it should be at the doorsteps of a temple, which is the only place where we are different. Otherwise, I feel that deep down inside, we are all one and the same. Just my opinion 🙂

Where does one draw the line between Indian culture and Hindu culture? Can we really talk of them separately?


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