What is the Ayurvedic diet?
Alternative medicines are often criticized for their effectiveness due to the low number of scientific research on these various modalities. These techniques are nevertheless effective, given the demand for these treatments and their inclusion in medical reimbursement by Swiss insurers. Ayurveda is one of the alternative medicines with increasing demand. Let’s find out what Ayurvedic science is, a medical knowledge dating back thousands of years, originating in India.
Ayurveda is a form of holistic medicine that focuses on promoting balance between your body and mind. The Ayurvedic diet, which has been around for thousands of years, is based on the principles of Ayurvedic medicine and focuses on balancing the different types of energies present in the body in order to improve health.
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Unlike other diets, Ayurvedic nutrition provides personalized recommendations on what to eat and what not to eat based on an individual’s body type. It also promotes better mental health.
According to Ayurveda, five elements make up the universe – vayu (air), jala (water), akash (space), teja (fire) and prithvi (earth).
These elements are believed to form three different doshas, which are defined as types of energies that circulate in the body. Each dosha is responsible for specific physiological functions.
For example, pitta dosha controls hunger, thirst, and body temperature. The vata dosha keeps the balance and the movement of electrolytes, while the kapha dosha promotes joint function.
Each person, being different, will have personalized guidelines on when, how and what foods to eat according to their dosha or body type.
Here are some of the main characteristics of each dosha to help you determine which type is right for you:
Pitta (fire + water): Intelligent, hardworking and decisive. People under this dosha typically have an average corpulence, a hot temper, and may suffer from conditions such as indigestion, heart disease, or high blood pressure.
Vata (air + space): Creative, energetic and alive. People with this dosha are usually thin and light and may have digestive issues, fatigue, or anxiety if they are out of balance.
Kapha (land + water): Naturally calm, grounded and loyal. Those with kapha dosha often have a heavier build and may have problems with weight gain, asthma, depression, or diabetes.
The benefits of the Ayurvedic diet
Promotes whole foods
Although the Ayurvedic diet has specific guidelines for each dosha, the diet as a whole encourages the consumption of whole foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.
Your health can benefit greatly, as these foods are rich in many essential nutrients.
This type of nutrition also discourages processed foods, which often lack essential fiber, vitamins and minerals.
The Ayurvedic diet can thus help protect against chronic diseases and promote better health.
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Promotes weight loss
Since the Ayurvedic diet emphasizes nutrient-dense whole foods, it stimulates weight loss in many cases.
Although there is limited research available on the Ayurvedic diet and weight loss, some studies have shown it to be effective in this regard.
For example, a study of 200 people with pitta or kapha doshas found that following the Ayurvedic diet for three months resulted in significant weight loss.
Promotes the contemplation of food
In addition to the foods to consume, contemplation is another major part of the Ayurvedic diet.
Contemplation is a practice that involves paying close attention to how you feel in the present. In particular, mindful eating emphasizes minimizing distractions during meals to focus on the taste, texture and smell of the food.
According to a small study of 10 people, mindful eating reduced body weight, depression, stress and binge eating. Mindful eating can also improve self-control and promote a healthy relationship with food.
Foods to eat
In Ayurveda, foods are classified according to their physical qualities and how they affect your body. This helps determine which ingredients work best for different doshas.
Speaking of consumption, it is also thanks to Ayurveda that spices such as pepper, cinnamon and ginger are used all over the world today. Wasn’t that one of the reasons behind the popularity of the route to India.
Like all other traditional medicines, Ayurveda is often criticized for validating its formulas and results from a contemporary scientific point of view. But research continues to advance and should facilitate global acceptance in the near future. Traditional medicine has a rich repertoire of non-invasive and side-effect free treatments, tested over thousands of years, which can inspire modern medicine.
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Here are some of the recommended foods according to the dosha.
The dosha determines the foods that must be consumed to promote inner balance.
Dairy products: milk, ghee, butter
Fruits: sweet and ripe fruits such as oranges, pears, pineapples, bananas, melons and mangoes
Vegetables: Sweet and bitter vegetables, including cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, zucchini, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash and Brussels sprouts
Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, mung beans, lima beans, black beans, red beans
Grains: barley, oats, basmati rice, wheat
Nuts and seeds: small amounts of pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut
Herbs and spices: small amounts of black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, dill, turmeric
Dairy products: milk, butter, yogurt, cheese, ghee (clarified butter)
Fruits: ripe, sweet and heavy fruits, such as bananas, blueberries, strawberries, grapefruits, mangoes, peaches and plums
Vegetables: cooked vegetables, including beets, sweet potatoes, onions, radishes, turnips, carrots, and green beans
Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, mung beans
Grains: cooked oats, cooked rice
Nuts and seeds: all, including almonds, walnuts, pistachios, chia seeds, flax seeds and sunflower seeds
Herbs and spices: cardamom, ginger, cumin, basil, cloves, oregano, thyme, black pepper
Dairy products: skimmed milk, goat milk, soy milk
Fruits: apples, blueberries, pears, pomegranates, cherries and dried fruits such as raisins, figs and prunes
Vegetables: asparagus, leafy greens, onions, potatoes, mushrooms, radishes, okra
Legumes: all, including black beans, chickpeas, lentils and white beans
Grains: oats, rye, buckwheat, barley, corn, millet
Nuts and seeds: small amounts of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds
Herbs and Spices: All, including cumin, black pepper, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, basil, oregano and thyme
Foods to Avoid
Here are some of the foods you should limit or avoid depending on your dosha.
Red meat, seafood, egg yolks
Dairy products: sour cream, cheese, buttermilk
Fruits: sour or unripe fruits, such as grapes, apricots, papaya, grapefruit, and sour cherries
Vegetables: peppers, beets, tomatoes, onions, eggplants
Grains: brown rice, millet, corn, rye
Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts, sesame seeds
Herbs and Spices: All spices not included in the list above
Fruits: dried, unripe, or light fruits, such as raisins, cranberries, pomegranates, and pears
Vegetables: all raw vegetables, plus cooked broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mushrooms, potatoes and tomatoes
Legumes: beans, such as black beans, kidney beans, and white beans
Grains: buckwheat, barley, rye, wheat, corn, quinoa, millet
Herbs and Spices: Bitter or astringent herbs like parsley, thyme, and coriander seeds
Red meat, shrimps, egg yolks
Fruits: bananas, coconut, mango, fresh figs
Vegetables: sweet potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers
Legumes: soy, red beans, miso
Grains: rice, wheat, cooked cereals
Nuts and seeds: cashews, pecans, pine nuts, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, walnuts
For a healthy body for decades to come, eat healthy! Adopt the Ayurvedic diet and share your experiences with us!
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Why is it that all over the world, we celebrate with sweets? Does that serotonin release feel so rewarding? Apparently yes! In India, you’d be amazed to discover and relish the wide varieties of mithaiis, which is Hindi for sweets. The amalgamation of distinct cultural traditions, still followed actively by various communities, scattered all over India, has managed to preserve this rich culinary heritage. Be prepared for a sugar overload, for this blog is going to be extra sweet ☺
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Did people of ancient India have elaborate methods of sweet preparation?
This gets one thinking: how can it be that people of ancient India prepare sweets, and dishes for that matter, that require elaborate steps? From refining the ingredients to preparing the sweets, much hard work goes into the chore of satisfying our taste buds. The past generations took time to appreciate the finer things life had to offer, and dedicating time to getting to the result might as well have boosted that rewarding feeling one experiences after completing a Herculean task.
Food preservation methods of ancient India
In olden days, there were no electrical appliances, but Indians had their own technology to aid them in preserving precious harvest and dairy products. This agrarian population had the know-how of maintaining the freshness of grains, herbs, milk, curd, along with the knowledge of recommended foods for variously classified bodily constitutions. This makes for another story though. If you’d like to learn more on the traditional methods of food preservation of ancient India, let us know in the comments. For now, back to our sweet affair.
Sweet sins you must commit
Each part of India is famous for a particular sweet. Go to Karnataka, it’s the Mysore Pak, in Ahmedabad, kesar mohanthal, in Rajasthan Ghevar Rabri…
#Nofomo: Here’s a list of popular sweets by states:
Photo credit: blog.railyatri.in
Which one is your favourite? Or which one looks the most succulent to you? Let us know in the comments ☺
Incredible! But where does India get all of its sugar from?
India is the number one producer of sugar across the globe, dethroning Brazil in the last years. Production was at 33 million metric tons for the period 2018-2019, which is 19% of the world’s total sugar production. The sugar industry is the second largest agro– based industry, after cotton, and occupies 5 million hectares of the Indian landscape. Most sugar comes from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra (66%). The production of sugar from sugarcane has seen a steady rise since the 1930s. Two-thirds of this production is refined while the rest is used for making Gur (jaggery) and Khandsari (Muscovado), which undergo less processing and stay popular choices in the rural areas. For fitness enthusiasts: Gur and Khandsari are believed to be healthier options to white sugar, the latter now shown to suppress the immune system.
Beetroot as the raw material for sugar production is being actively considered as only one-third of the amount of water is required for its cultivation, as compared to the needs of sugarcane crops. It can also be grown at various altitudes and matures more quickly, making it a more sustainable option.
What about milk? Many of these mithaiis are milk based…
Here also, India tops the list of milk producers and consumers globally. The annual production averages to 186000 tonnes, and accounts for around 4% of the GDP. This concept of milk production on large scale originates from the 60s. It is the result of “operation flood,” a precursor to the “White Revolution.” This motivated in the introduction of foreign cows into the country due to the higher yield. A debatable aspect, though, remains the protection from extinction of endemic cows, known as desi cows, due to their prized A2 milk which can be consumed by lactose-intolerant people.
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How did the recipes for Indian sweets survive the effects of time?
Life is a celebration. And one can experience this in India, where there is some sort of festival every other day. No celebration is complete without sumptuous food. These sweets form part of an ecosystem set in place to maintain stability in the society, from ancient times. The ritualistic aspects of these festivals are fading away with the passage of time, but the culinary art is still anchored in the modern lifestyle of Indians. After all, taste and choice of food are dictated by digestive predispositions which are a result of genetic adaptation. So worry not! As long as the food portion of the equation stays alive, so will the reasons to celebrate, adding to the delight of sweet indulgence.
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Chocolates dominate the globe. Is India immune to this trend?
Immunity to global trends is becoming rarer and rarer. News propagate at the blink of an eye, so do recipes and reviews on social media sites. The penetration of the chocolate culture has been rising steadily over the last five years. Exchanges of chocolates now occur on festivals like Diwali, on which traditionally, home-made mithai were shared with others. Who knows? Preservation of ancestral culinary arts across the globe might be on the agenda of upcoming UN conferences in the coming decades. This would safeguard culture and health.
Preparing an Indian delicacy quickly by myself today
Here’s an easy recipe for the pleasure of your taste buds:
In equal ratio: Milk (can be diluted with water), Sugar, Clarified butter (ghee), Semolina wheat
Some 3-5 pinches of Cardamom powder, some broken cashews, some dried raisins
- To a pan, add sugar, water and milk. Stir and let it heat up on medium heat. You don’t want to boil it but mixture should be heated through and sugar should be dissolved.
- While the milk-water heats up, put a pan on medium heat and add ghee to it. Let the clarified butter melt.
- Then add semolina to the pan and stir.
- Fry the broken cashews in clarified butter in another pan and add these together with the dried raisins to the semolina mix and stir.
- Stirring continuously, roast the semolina on low-medium heat until pinkish/golden in colour
- Add cardamom powder and continue to stir.
- Stir for around 8 to 9 minutes on low-medium heat. As soon as the semolina is fragrant and begins to change color, that it the time to add the liquid.
- Add the heated milk-water-sugar-mixture into the pan. It will bubble a lot as you add the liquids into the pan so be careful and add slowly.
- Whisk the semolina continuously as you add the liquids.
- Add the liquids in 2-3 parts, whisking continuously with one hand.
- Keep stirring, the semolina will begin to absorb the liquid and thicken up.
- Stir for 2 minutes more until the halwa thickens and leaves the sides of the pan.
Garnish with more cashews and serve your semolina halwa warm!
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The States of India
The world knows a very famous federation: The United States of America. However, it is lesser known that, India too, is a federation of states, called the “Republic of India”.
Working with Indians – a cultural tip to start a conversation
When two Indians meet for the first time, it is a common practice to enquire after their regional identity. The common question “Where in India do you come from?” is usually asked in the beginning of the conversation.
So, if you’re meeting an Indian, ask them about their hometown. It can be a good ice-breaker and you could be treated to a dozen stories about their hometown. It’s even better if you know a bit about that part of India.
Here are five interesting facts about Indian States, which are nice to add to your repertoire.
1. There are 28 Indian States and 8 Union Territories*
Below is the list of Indian States and their capital cities*
|1||Andhra Pradesh||Hyderabad (Proposed Capital Amaravati)|
|11||Karnataka||Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore)|
*as at the time of writing this blog
Indian states have a wonderful biodiversity which you can discover in this brilliant video by The Indian Government’s public diplomacy, showcasing different States of India visually.
2. India’s various states contribute to India’s diversity
Each State is well known for distinct cuisines, musical styles, textiles and architecture. On Mastering India learning hub, you can get introduced to Indian Art through a short online course.
Below is an overview of the mouth-watering cuisines, unique to each region, which can be relished to the fullest by visiting that state. Watch this video to relish famous dishes of India visually.
Below are some famous cuisines from across India:
|Uttar Pradesh||Awadhi Cuisine|
|Tamil Nadu||Chettinaad Cuisine|
Each of these cuisines have their own distinctive and famous dishes. Our series on the vastness of India shall cover in greater detail this exquisite subject. Stay tuned for our upcoming course on Indian cuisine.
3. Indian States celebration of State Formation Day
The Indian States of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Punjab, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu were officially formed on November 1st of the years 1956, 1966 and 2000. Delhi, Chandigarh, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar were given the status of union territories on November 1st too.
4. British History and Indian State Formation
It is well known that before being annexed by the British, India was comprised of various princely States. Many books have been written and movies released on Indian Maharajas and Queens. Indian history is full of wars fought between Indian kings.
Before colonisation, the British offered their services to fight many of these wars for the Indians kings against one another. However, an interesting piece of history that is often forgotten, is that there were many wars Indian Kings (and Indian Queens) fought against the British East India Company. Eventually, the British colonized India. Here are three videos by Swiss Learning Exchange on the economic history of India. Watching will help you understand how India transitioned from an era of princely states to the current Republic of India. Head to SLX Learning elearning platform for interesting courses on various topics.
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5. What is common amongst States of India ?
Why it is important to know these facts about India’s various States? Knowing that India is made of different states helps one understand India’s diversity. It also brings the comprehension of India’s complexities. as despite this diversity, there are some aspects that are common to all States in India. This blog does not focus on the political aspects.
Culturally, many festivals are celebrated all across India, from North to South and from East to West. For instance, Dussehra is celebrated across several parts India like Tamil Nadu in the South, Uttar Pradesh in the North, Gujarat in the West and in West Bengal in East of India. If you consider that the expanse of India is 2933 kms from East to West and 3214 kms from north to south.
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Dussehra (pronounced Duh-shei-ra) is a popular celebration in India. It is also celebrated in countries which have welcomed the Indian diaspora and amongst practitioners of Hinduism scattered all across the globe. Why is Dussehra so popular despite the millennia? Let’s experience this colourful celebration together, exclusively in this MasteringIndia blog. We’ve also included an interesting short video, which you can watch below; courtesy of e-learning specialist SLX Learning.
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The Status of Women in Indian Society
Dussehra is synonymous with piety, love, and gratitude to the Feminine Divine. It is with joy in their hearts that devotees celebrate the creative force for nine nights. It can be celebrated four times during the year, but the one during the lunisolar month of Ashwin, which varies each year, from August to October, depending on the astral plane, is the most popular one. Dussehra derives from the Sanskrit Dash, which means ten. It is the tenth day of the Navratri festivities: nine nights of devotional prayers and songs offered to Devi, the representation of divine feminine strength. The fundamental role of women has always been recognized in the Hindu tradition and she is honored during these ten days.
This festivity is rich in emotions. Many a times, it is women, who, concerned about the well-being of their families, dedicate themselves body and soul to the Divine Mother, with unparalleled devotion. Depending on the regional traditions, some devotees fast during these ten days: vegetarian meal only, either savory or sweet depending on the individual’s preference, frugivorous meals or only water! Others feast and even consume meat, with the exception of beef, which is sacred in Hinduism. This fervour is often in gratitude for prayers that have been answered or which are yet to be manifested. Dussehra gives expression to the desires buried in the depths of one’s heart.
Indian culture is based on fundamental human principles, as the Dussehra demonstrates so well. People from all walks of life, rich, poor, transgenders, among others, gather in Shakthi Peeth or in the temples dedicated to Devi during these ten days. Garba dances and other folk styles are integral part of these nights of celebration.
Why nine nights of prayer?
In Hinduism, Devi, the Feminine Divine, has nine aspects associated to her. Each of these nine forms uniquely facilitate the evolution of the faithful, while still being an integral part of the primary form of Devi. Some practices also divide the nine days into multiples of three and associate each three with the goddesses Kali, Lakshmi and Saraswati, three main forms of Devi. Kali is related to the body and health and dominates tamas, lethargy. Lakshmi, on the other hand, is linked to the heart, to feelings and to refinement, which hold the secrets of abundance and prosperity and govern rajas, feverishness. As for Saraswati, she promotes intellectual and artistic efforts, as well as pursuits of spiritual wisdom and presides over satva, self-control. On the tenth day, Devi is commonly celebrated in her form of Mahishasura Mardini, the one who defeated the demon Mahishasura.
Mahishasura Mardini in Indian culture
According to the story passed down from generation to generation through the millennia, a demon named Mahishasura had been granted the boon of being invincible to attacks of men. Arrogance inebriated him and he became a nuisance to humans, who pleaded to the Gods to help them. The Gods combined their forces, which resulted in the manifestation of Durga, also called Chamundeshwari. After defeating the demon Mahishasura, she came to be known as Mahishasura Mardini (conquer). From another point of view, this story can be interpreted as invoking the Feminine Divine for overcoming inner demons and self-limitations.
The open-mindedness of Hinduism and the flexibility of India
More and more people practice Hinduism around the world, despite not having Indian origins. Hinduism is a beautiful religion open to all schools of thought: those worshiping idols, those focusing on Vedic chants and mantras, those believing in the unmanifest aspect of God, those spreading unconditional love to all, and even atheists! There are no rituals for conversion to Hinduism because it is a way of life. Many celebrities, like Julia Roberts, practice Hinduism and enjoy the well-being that it imparts. This thousands-of-years-old way of life holds many secrets that are beneficial to the contemporary man. Let’s learn, again and again, there is no age limit!
Now head to hub.masteringindia.org to discover the numerous online courses on different aspects of Indian society, and this in order to facilitate your transition in this market, whether it is to explore new business horizons or to benefit from the Indian expertise and facilitate the operations of your primary market. The endeavors of Amazon, LinkedIn, Nokia, Thales, among others, demonstrate this so well. What are you waiting for? Hub.masteringindia.org, multilingual site for all your learning about the business world in India, online, from the comfort of your home.
The Third Pole is the largest freshwater reserve in the world outside the Antarctic and Arctic polar regions. It is located to the north of India, encompassing the Tibetan Plateau, and the Himalayas, Hindu Kush, and Karakoram mountain ranges.
Also, it is home to the Siachen glacier, the second-largest glacier in the world, and to the Mount Everest. This vital powerhouse is in danger. Do you know why?
Third Pole of Earth on the Tibetan Plateau
It is the source of 10 major river systems that supply water to 1.5 billion people in Asia – nearly 20% of the world population. These water systems support people in India, Nepal, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
Thus, the Third Pole directly or indirectly supports the lives of a fifth of the world population! It supplies water for agriculture, drinking and sanitation, livelihoods, and hydropower.
Watch this short video to understand the importance of the Third Pole for countries like India, China, and Pakistan.
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The Third Pole consists of 100,000 square kilometers of ice and 46,000 glaciers. However, 509 glaciers have disappeared in the last 50 years, according to the research of Qin Xiang, a glaciologist.
Climate Change and Rising Sea Levels
The rate of melting of glaciers in the Third Pole has doubled since 2005. One of the reasons being, the Tibetan Plateau is experiencing more heating than the global average.
First, it is sensitive given its high elevation. So, it absorbs moisture from warm, moisture-laden air.
By the end of 2030, the world is expected to see an increase in the global average temperature of 1.5oC. However, even if the global temperature rise is below 1.5oC, the Tibetan Plateau will experience a temperature rise above 2oC.
The Third Pole is not just in danger because of global warming. Also, because of emissions from vehicles and coal burners, and industrial pollution.
Besides, carbon particles settle on the glaciers causing increased absorption of sun rays, thus, accelerating the melting process.
Impact of Climate Change on Water
Research suggests that the initial melting of the glaciers would lead to flooding of rivers that originate from the Third Pole. In fact, some of the largest rivers like the Ganga (India), Irrawaddy (Myanmar), Indus (Pakistan), Yellow, and Yangstze (China) face the fear of flooding. While initially the rivers are feared to flood. Flooding will eventually be followed up by drying up of these rivers, and desertification, and a water crisis unleashed across countries.
There are deeper concerns about the changes in the Third Pole on the global climatic patterns. For instance, monsoons and El Nino could be affected. Water scarcity could also lead to further conflicts in regions already having a history of disputes.
Do you see how global warming and climate change lead to a domino effect on human lives, livelihoods, global climates, and relations among countries?
United Nations has held 25 global climate change conferences since 1995. However, global CO2 emissions have been increasing at an alarming rate since then. Also, countries have not been able to tackle climate change. To know why such climate change conferences yielded any efforts, watch this short video.
Climate Action Begins With Us
This is the time to wake up and sense the danger. And to work together to reduce our ecological footprint on the environment.
Keen to learn about global warming, climate change, and the need for sustainable living? Sign up for our courses on sustainable development here!
Greenhouse gases and carbon emissions need to be contained to save the Third Pole from melting. Not only to protect the Third Pole but to prevent all global environmental catastrophes.
Did you know that more than 200 environmental disasters were recorded this year globally, as per Global Catastrophe Recap: First Half of 2020. This was a 27% increase from the number of disasters that occurred in the same period in 2019.
These 207 disasters cost 2200 human lives. Moreover, $57 billion in losses. And, rampant destruction of natural resources. Together we can work towards a better, sustainable future.
Courses on India: Let us Work Together
Private firms and corporate companies can come together to mitigate such economic losses. And, to protect the planet and to give back to the society that builds them. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is one such way.
In India, CSR became law back in 2014. Consequently, private companies were able to spend a staggering amount of $6.8 billion on CSR activities in the next five years.
Watch this short video to know how CSR can help achieve sustainable development goals faster.
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Working towards a sustainable future for all living beings can happen with your contribution.
Wondering how to take the first step?
Learning about sustainable development and how about one’s role in fueling sustainable growth could be a good start. Sign up for our courses on CSR. This will help you learn about CSR and the opportunities it opens in India for a sustainable future.
80% This is the emerging markets’ share in the world’s economy. In 2017, China and India made over USD 32.6T worth of economic output, employing 40% of the global labour force. After the marking events of 2020, the Central Kingdom has lost its glitter. Investors and manufacturers are now turning to India as an alternative. Is this culturally rich land the superpower the world needs? Students from Switzerland discovered aspects of Doing Business in India in all its facets on a study trip organized by Mastering India, an SLX community. See India through their eyes in this video:
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Where Are These Emerging Markets?
Having undergone centuries of exploitation by foreign nations, countries like India, Nigeria, Malaysia, among others, had to rebuild themselves for the welfare of their citizens. Countries are interdependent because of the uneven distribution of natural resources. This has, in the first place, been the cause for exploitation. In our modern age, an intangible resource has risen to prominence: intellectual quotient. Emerging countries acknowledged this. With centuries of poverty inflicted upon their people, knowledge pursuits were sacrificed to cater for basic needs. Freedom translated into being able to adjust priorities and safeguard the future of the nation. Afterall, an abundance of natural resources is of no use if the mental faculty to administer it is not present.
This explains the importance given to education in emerging markets. To empower the nation, what better way than to empower the people? In many instances, learned scholars returned to their homeland, after years of deepening their understanding of western concepts of what constitutes a modern society. These scholars effectively facilitated the setting up of educational systems aimed at making their native country competitive on the global front.
Intellectual Hubs Across India: Internationalization Examples
Fast-forward to our present day and the results of educational reforms can be seen. Countries like India are intellectual hubs facilitating day-to-day business of multi-nationals set up in cities like Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, among others. Afterall, Bharat, the name majority of the Indians call India in their language, with its rich Vedic culture, has always been a place of knowledge sharing. Local businesses are also thriving. Companies like Tata, Maruti, LIC, Infosys Tech, Mahindra Group, …, are transforming the local paradigm, creating employment, and generating revenue from international transactions. Sustainable development in India looks promising.
Three Lessons Of Success From Emerging Markets
Education perfection: Continuous education is highly prized in emerging countries where more than one master’s degree tends to be the norm. Educational institutions work with business entities to prepare market-ready graduates. With the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, Indian is ensuring accessibility to quality education for its people. The revisions cater for: schooling from age three, a 5+3+3+4 education structure, blending science, arts and commerce, internships and vocational education from class 6, credit transfer in case of drop out or incomplete tertiary education, education and training for adults after school hours, among others.
Interesting Fact: If every Indian were to use books like western nations, there will be no more trees left on the planet. Emerging markets focus on sustainable solutions that manage within resources of one planet Earth.
R&D: Focusing efforts into mis-represented segments and ensuring quality and competitive product delivery has been the success formula for certain companies. Many multinational companies choose India for their research and development operations. In the words of Mr. Mohandas Pai, “…India missed the industrial revolution but is in the heart of digital revolution...” Hear it from the mouth of this successful entrepreneur and philanthropist in the below interview by SLX Learning.
Marketing budget: Smart marketing strategies unified under one umbrella can effectively save cost and mark minds, as employed by Marico. Targeted marketing has also been effective, as in the case of Mahindra Tractors choosing to be present in only two US states and IT-enabler WIPRO focussing its advertising in airport lounges like Narita, Kennedy and Heathrow.
The potential of India as a global hub is enormous and already being leveraged. What are you waiting for?
Online education is now part of the National Education Policy 2020 in India. Join the Mastering India platform as a lifelong learner or lifelong teacher or both because we bring the best of online courses to prepare businesses aspiring to start operations in India. For doing business in India course, hub.masteringindia.org is the go-to elearning hub. Partner with us today and start teaching and learning.
Health And Nutrition
Since 1982, the National Nutrition Week in India is celebrated from September 1 to September 7. It aims to create awareness on the importance of nutrition and a well-balanced diet for the human body.
Mental and physical well-being, including the consumption of nutrition-rich food, is key for a happy life.
Various cultures of India and their rich diversity is reflected in Indian culinary delicacies. The 72-course Wazwan platter of Kashmir, to Irumba of Manipur, to the famous Hyderabadi dum biryani, to vada paav in Mumbai, to thepla in Gujarat, to avial in Kerala, to pongal in Tamil Nadu – there are delicacies galore across every village, town, and city of India.
Rich cultural traditions, concepts of food science, and interstate migration have enriched India’s food diversity over the years. Such food leaves one’s tummy and the taste buds happy.
India has 36 entities (28 states and 8 federally administered territories), and each one has a different food culture. That is the richness of India! However, outside of India, this fact is not well known. Lack of this knowledge results in an incomplete understanding of not just India’s diversity, but also of the immense treasure trove on information on nutrition and well-being. To understand how Indian food is much more beyond lentils, rice, and spices, you should watch this video which is short and will take less than 2 minutes of your time:
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Indian Culture And The Importance of Food
In India, food is key to the overall development of the mind and body. Food is an integral part of Indian culture. As per Ayurveda philosophy, you are what you eat.
Best practices for eating food –one’s posture while sitting for a meal, using hands to eat, cooking in clay pots, eating in moderation, the tableware one eats in, to the combination of food items being consumed – are important to Indians. In some areas, brass or silver tableware is used for serving and consuming food. In Kerala, for example, on social occasions, food is eaten on plantain leaves.
India is beyond the stereotypes used to define it. Test your knowledge of India here.
Cooking food involves a proper blend of various grains, lentils, spices, and condiments. Indians also use nuts, wild plants, herbs, seeds and fruits in their cuisines. Besides the main meal, curd, pickle, chutney, and Indian desserts also play an important role in our diet.
For you to improve your knowledge on India, it is important to get a holistic understanding of this diverse land. We bring to you e-learning courses on Indian business, culture, policies and on Hinduism. To learn about the diverse and vibrant Indian culture, and India’s economy, enroll for our courses here.
COVID-19: Nutrition And Well Being
In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, nutrition and well-being are more important now. With restricted access to outdoor and physical activities, it is difficult to manage one’s mental and physical well-being. However, it is also essential to take small steps towards good health and well-being. We elaborate 5 simple steps to improve health and nutrition.
1. Set A Routine
Routines help manage time well. Chalk out time for work, sleep, eating, preparing meals, and activities like reading and exercising.
2. Have Healthy Meals
With most buying activity happening online now, one may be tempted to have meals delivered at their doorstep. But, eating healthy has two-fold advantages. One can cut out junk and unhealthy food – unhealthy sugars, fats, and carbs. Cooking meals helps one take time off work and online activities and spend some time cooking what they prefer.
3. Choose Slow Food Instead of Fast Food
Slow-cooked food retains the nutrients and is more flavourful than fast-cooked food. It is good for the development of the mind and the body and is healthy. A leading NGO provides slow-cooked mid-day meals to students in Indian public schools. They are doing this to ensure that the students continue with their schooling. Yes, lack of access to food affects education and vice versa. Watch how they are ensuring education for 1.7 million students every day.
Liked the video? Make sure you check out our interesting courses across subject areas. SLX Learning is an online learning hub based in Switzerland educating learners around the world. We are rooted in the concept of sustainability. You can sign up for our courses here.
4. Maintain Hygiene
Nutrition and hygiene go together for health and wellness. Ensure you clean your hands with a sanitizer or soap frequently and avoid touching your face repeatedly. Sanitize your house and workstation frequently. Given how zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 are on a rise, it is essential to be wary of unclean surroundings and practice personal hygiene.
While touchless greetings are in place in most of the world only after the pandemic hit us globally, it has been the norm in India since forever. This video tells you that.
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5. Don’t Waste Food
The discussion on food is incomplete without a discussion on food wastage. The UN estimates that globally, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year. On the other hand, globally, 1.9 billion people fail to find access to regular and healthy meals thus are undernourished or malnourished.
Even across India, tonnes of excess food gets wasted or are lost in harvesting, transport, processing, or storage. This happens while 194 million people in Indian go hungry every year.
To know how food insecurity goes beyond food production, watch this video.
Food insecurity is linked to poverty, and in turn to undernourishment, wasting, and stunting in children. In the 2019 Global Hunger Index, India ranked fell to 102 out of 117 countries – the lowest in South Asian countries.
While the number of undernourished people has fallen across the millennium in India, there is a need to reduce food wastage and produce food sustainably.
70% of the world’s freshwater is spent on agriculture. Besides, by 2050, we will have to feed 9 billion people, which will need more water and more land. This calls for reducing food wastage on a personal front, and to grow food sustainably.
Culture… such a vast term, yet so beautiful. A common definition of culture is “the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts, at a given time”. In other words, culture is the personal habits common to the group one belongs to. The human is a thinking animal and likes to innovate to ease things up. Innovating and creating new technology has been his interest and pursuit since always. The nature of such pursuits and implementations of their findings structure the culture of that particular group, or society, or nation. How culturally aware are you? How are you cultivating your Culture Quotient, CQ?
The world, as we witness it now, has considerably changed to what it was a century ago. With digitization being heavily implemented, instantaneous has become the new normal. Supersonic planes and ultra-fast data connections contribute to this race of the NOW. With this unprecedented exchange of information taking place in real-time, understanding one another’s cultural context and walking away from preconceived ideas is one of the challenges of a new age digital workforce. Swiss Learning Exchange interviewed the then head of Swiss pharma giant Novartis India who had this to say about knowing other lands: “In the old days you were measured by IQ. Then came EQ, Emotional Quotient, but now if you don’t have CQ, Cultural Quotient, you’re nowhere.” Hear it straight in his own words on our video :
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Intelligence Quotient, IQ, has indeed long served as a determining factor in establishing one’s inclination to success. After years of glorification, IQ turned out to be only one aspect of a more complex equation. A combination of Emotional Quotient and Cultural Quotient is often cited as being a better predictor of accomplishments at the workplace.
How to increase cultural awareness?
The work environment keeps on shifting. Nowadays, with people immigrating for lifestyle improvement, or working remotely from across the globe, or companies diversifying their operations in different places to benefit from niche skillset and expertise on offer, Cultural Quotient becomes a major variable in the success equation.
Culture Quotient, like Emotional Quotient, can be self-inculcated and cultivated. Willingness and open-mindedness are what it takes. One’s physical traits are the play of genetics, environment and evolution. Cultural belongingness, as well, is the heritage of ancestral knowledge and technology. Acknowledgement of these fundamentals opens up a door of unthinkable possibilities. Curiosity and eagerness to understand facilitate this process altogether.
Let’s shed some light on the three key components of CQ, categorised as Head, Body, and Heart:
- Head, the knowledge and understanding of the need of good CQ, enabling better decision making and communication.
- Body, the translation of cultural information into concrete actions.
- Heart, self-assurance and not being scared to make genuine mistakes and confidence to keep improving.
People with high CQ make use of all these elements to monitor and moderate their actions. By avoiding quick judgements or falling back on stereotypes, one can have a clearer interpretation of the situation and adjust one’s behaviour accordingly.
Benefits of cultural intelligence
The global sense of economy brings with it an ethnically diversified workforce. Acceptance and understanding are desirable qualities which are being encouraged throughout the world, with legislations becoming increasingly intolerant to racism. If one is working abroad or leading a culturally diverse team, CQ can prevent cultural faux pas which are upsetting, embarrassing, or hazardous to concretisation of a project.
Research demonstrates the positive correlation of CQ with successful completion of international assignments. High CQ also comes into play when building rapport with new groups of people, adjust to other departments’ workstyle, or operate within a cross-functional team. CQ also has transferable skills, like self-reflection, open-mindedness, and problem anticipation. These skills help with appreciation of cultures other than your own. India, for example, has a diverse range of cultural examples to chose from in its artforms. An increased CQ helps one take notice of this kind of diversity.
Cultural intelligence also promotes cultural sustainability. In understanding the roots of one’s society, future generations stand to gain meaningful insights into arising matters and choose the best course of action.
Let the thirst of exploration propel your CQ growth! To quench your thirst for learning, you could sign up for the one of the many online courses on our platform that contain resources on facilitating India as a business destination. Explore India’s potential on hub.masteringindia.org – a blended learning platform
COVID-19 has unleashed havoc on the world economies forcing companies to down their shutters, creating job crises, and leaving new entrepreneurs in a fix. The uncertainty has left many – small, mid, and large – businesses struggling to survive and with bad loans.
This comes a year after India was riding a high wave in entrepreneurial activity. As per a Latona’s report from 2019, India ranked second, next only to Chile, on a list as that ranked countries that are most sought-after for doing business.
While the pandemic has unleashed many challenges for businesses, it has also thrown open avenues for innovation. Many businesses used their creativity to respond to demand and need to be brought about by the pandemic.
Indian companies have also responded with agility. From manufacturing and selling face masks and sanitizers, to selling groceries and essentials, to improving sales of online courses, companies have found ways to stay relevant and cater to public need during these testing times. Can this prove to be India’s opportunity to shed its image of being a country with risk-averse people?
SLX and its community Mastering India weave real-life experiences that enable people to learn about the real India – the culture, how local businesses work and scale-up, the ease of doing business, travel, food, and the way of life. Such experiences help people shed their stereotypes about India. They unlearn and learn about the new India that is growing every minute offering vast opportunities for doing business in India.
Despite being on a track of rapid development, India is stereotyped as an under-developed country. The huge strides that India has taken in the last few decades have opened newer avenues for the growth of businesses in India.
The best way to learn about India and its unwavering entrepreneurial spirit is by visiting the country. The annual Bootcamp by SLX Learning is a study tour tailored just to do that – get people to see India through their own eyes. Our Bootcamp program for 2020 has been stalled because of COVID-19, but learning about India doesn’t need to stop. Our community, Mastering India, brings to you glimpses from India so you learn more about this emerging market. Watch our videos to experience our study tour in India.
This video, for example, gives you a glimpse of what Swiss students learned about entrepreneurship in India and the outlook of Indians. Their opinions were shaped after they spent two weeks in an SLX Bootcamp in the heart of India’s business hubs – Mumbai and Bengaluru.
From Failure to Growth
In the words of Vikram Gupta, founder of IvyCap Ventures, India sees a 90-97% failure rate in business ventures but people who fail, come back with newer ideas and experience. “Failure doesn’t necessarily happen because of the demand-supply gap but also issues in leadership skills and team management. Many failures have led to the next phase success because people gain experience and learn what not to do,” says Vikram.
Mastering India has a repository of insights from India’s entrepreneurs like Vikram Gupta, who is famous in India and abroad alike. Visit our Mastering India hub to know more about doing business in India.
Policies and Culture in India
Talking about how government policies have helped businesses in India in the last few years, Vikram says, “In India, the fear of failure boils down to a lack of funding. However, things have been picking up in the last two-three years with the government allocating money,” he says. The boom in digital infrastructure and vast opportunities across sectors have helped enable a more favorable environment for setting up businesses.
However, like all cultures and countries, India’s image is also burdened with preconceived notions that people have about the country. You may want to watch our video on the Punctuality myth.
India has to date produced 61 unicorns – startups with a valuation of $1 billion – of which 40 are headquartered in the USA and 21 are businesses based in India.
We interviewed one of India’s top influencers Mohandas Pai, who says, “India, along with China, will have 30-35% of the global GDP share by 2050. With a median age of 28, India has one of the youngest populations across the globe. Combine the population factor combined with education and technology – we have a booming IT industry.” Watch more of the video here.
Indian Trade – A History
Much before the colonial rule pillaged India of its riches and wealth – an estimated amount of $45 trillion – it had a thriving trade with South East Asia and the Arabs. Spices and fabrics from India accounted for most of India’s maritime trade in those days. Since this was much before routes like Silk Route came into being, trade was done by Indian sea merchants. A 200-year-old Tamil literature in India says that merchants went far and wide to Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and brought back Roman coins and Roman wine.
After Independence from the British Rule, India was put on a path of poverty with its riches gone. Today’s India is growing and is in the middle of a digital revolution.
Diversity Translates to Opportunities
India is driving economic growth with innovation in models that suit different echelons of the Indian population. India is a great incubator space for ideas and there is a potential to emulate them globally.
Narayana Healthcare, a leading healthcare provider in India, had helped launch micro health insurance with the government of Karnataka for underprivileged farmers. Over a million poor farmers have benefited from surgeries and heart operations under the scheme. All this has been done with individual contributions from the farmer community, and not under charity.
You can watch our interview with the man who started Narayana Healthcare, Dr. Devi Shetty, also known as the Henry Ford of cardiac surgery to get a better idea.
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India offers a huge marketplace for growth of such ideas across sectors, and being a developing country, it offers more scope for doing businesses than a developed country would offer.
No literature can do justice in explaining India and the wide platter of opportunities it offers. To traverse through the vast population and diverse nature of India, Mastering India has customized courses on business opportunities, entrepreneurship, and growth in India, food, culture, and travel in India. All you would need to do is Sign up for our courses here to learn about India, and how you can take your business to the next level.
When the topic of modern quality education is brought up, ideas of classrooms filled with kids wearing ties, each facing computers or tablets, surface in the mind. Should an absence of such an environment cause detriment to children from remote, rural, or vulnerable areas?
The tagline of Taare Zameen Par, “every child is special” brings one to reflect. This phrase, if extrapolated to encompass the socio-economic environment of the child while formulating educational solutions, can potentially lower the rate of illiteracy, dropouts, and self-disrespect.
Learning is a life-long process
Compressing information into a child’s delicate psyche from a young age to “prepare” him/her for the workplace, thereby conforming to preconceived ideas perpetuated over centuries, isn’t necessarily fruitful in every case. Is learning solely an academic endeavour? Is knowledge exclusively intellectual? We need to rethink.
As brilliantly demonstrated by teaching techniques adopted by elite schools in developed countries, focussing on a child’s brain development in the early years is essential to his/her overall development as an independent individual society can depend on. Exercises to explore and enhance neuro-motor and cognitive faculties are part of this curriculum, which helps the child understand him/herself in relation to his/her environment. New research shows that the amygdala, which is the region in the brain focalized on spatial interpretation and choice-making, matures fully, in males, by the age of 25 and by 18 in females. This fact alone demonstrates the need to broaden the prevalent but obsolete definitions of what education is.
Imposing a standard capitalistic definition of success upon everyone is quite limiting to the overall progress of a nation. Money is only a subset of abundance, as rigorously covered in Hinduism. Accessibility to the latest offerings of progress and technology is the birthright of everyone but should not hinder the individual’s progression if this access is lacking, or is available, in an altered form.
The environment a child comes from can decisively benefit his/her pursuit of knowledge. Children from vulnerable backgrounds experience work in some form or the other from a tender age: helping their families in farms, fields, trades, or embodying roles of grown-ups to care for siblings or even actively partake in remunerated activities. Customising education to assist kids in these scenarios so they have an opportunity to learn, explore, and evolve beyond their perception is of primordial importance. Education might not be the priority for those in the depicted scenarios, so blending it in to form part of their daily routine may be the motivator to make them adhere durably to the path of knowledge. Small learning sessions daily, focussing on acknowledging feelings and expressing them, elocution, teamwork, fitness, human biology, animals, alphabetisation, arithmetic, Indian and world cultural progression, and awareness on technological facilities available currently can enrich these kids viably. The challenge remains the availability of dedicated resources. This is where the support of technology comes into play.
Current projects helping educate vulnerable kids of India
Mini projects across India are currently making use of affordable technology to aid the teaching process. For instance, the Samaritan Help Mission School in Kolkata relies on video calls for conducting some of its classes and uses projectors to teach large groups of students at a time.
Another project in Kolkata, involves young members’, of a non-profit called Prayasam, usage of filmography and smartphone apps, to bring about change in their slums. More than 1,000 children and young adults are now part of the organization. The lower costs of capable android smartphones also make it possible for children to access free pedagogical materials.
Hole-in-the-wall is yet another initiative to help the spread of knowledge through technology. This ATM-like computer placed in slum areas empowers learning and collaboration among kids. Education for girls in India is an issue of its own which projects like Plan India seek to alleviate.
Pursuing knowledge is the endeavour of a lifetime. Kids from vulnerable backgrounds and first-time learners must be empowered with an education that blends with their existence and enhances their lives durably.
Mastering India provides businesses with the resources and insights they need to successfully transition to India and benefit from the various advantages on offer. Visit hub.masteringindia.org now to start your short courses!