India and European countries represent two fundamentally different cultural, political and social systems. They present two opposite poles of the world and these poles are East and West. Two different systems present different mentalities and this gives roots to major differences in social, political and cultural differences of the countries.
Despite India has made considerable steps towards the globalization and participants in the global market the mentality of the people who live in this country significantly different from the mentality of western people. Indian society is very diverse and includes the representatives of different nationalities, religions and social layers. “The ethnic and linguistic diversity of Indian civilization is more like the diversity of an area as variable as Europe than like that of any other single nation-state. Living within the embrace of the Indian nation are vast numbers of different regional, social, and economic groups, each with different cultural practices. “ (Chatterjee)
North and south of India differ greatly from each other in social structure and governing systems. India has centuries of social stratification. Varnes and Kastes made a traditional social structure of India for centuries. There is not such a division nowadays but the memory about Kastes division is still alive in the minds of people and has great influence on the social structure of the country. Social inequality was presented during the European history but its idea was significantly transformed through the centuries. Social inequality is presented in Europe but it doesn’t have such a hereditary source as in India. There is no analogy of the Caste system in any other country of the world.
Slave trade or serfdom partially presented in the European countries several centuries ago now became the past. From the other side national origin, race and social background still are the factors of social discrimination in the modern European countries. It’s interesting that the Caste system has been loudly announced and popularized by the Great Britain. This was done in order to create a striking contrast between the democratic systems of the European countries and totalitarian India. Despite great transformation in the social structure and mentality of Indian people caste system isn’t fully overcome in India. The caste system in India survived not only because it was promoted and supported by the elite class but also because it served social purposes as it helped to organize the education and successful production.
Oriental philosophy and religion, which become popular all over the world nowadays, originate mostly from India. Indian nationalism is mostly based on the religious basis since religion is a major element of Indian life. Hinduism, which is the national Indian religion, is one of the oldest religions of the world and is the dominant religion in India. “Throughout the country, religious differences can be significant, especially between the Hindu majority and the large Muslim minority; and other Indian groups–Buddhists, Christians, Jains, Jews, Parsis, Sikhs, and practitioners of tribal religions–all pride themselves on being unlike members of other faiths.” (Das, Gupta, Uberoi) Most people of the European countries belong to the Christian church. There are different branches of Christianity adopted for national needs of different countries. There is small amount of the representatives of other religious branches except Christianity but they don’t possess such influence and power as in India.