The India Connection
As varied as India's landscape is, so are the people. With a population already over one billion living in a land a third the size of the United States, there is a vast cultural spectrum. For example, the clothing alone varies greatly by region. Some wear western style clothes, but most wear light, loose clothing because of the hot climate. White and bright colored garments are common. The clothing of many in India consists of a long piece of cloth draped about the body. Many men wear a dhoti - a simple white garment wrapped between the legs or around like a skirt. Poor men often wear only a loincloth. And most of the men wear turbans. Many workers in modern India wear traditional costumes and carry supplies in woven baskets on their heads. Most women wear a sari -a straight piece of cloth draped around the body as a long dress with the loose ends placed over their head or shoulders. A wealthy woman's sari is usually made of silk.
Many women in India also sport a kumkum -which is a round dot in the middle of the forehead made of red or black powder. It is considered to be a mark of beauty. Jewelry and make-up adorn the women, often showing in their variety what distinct religious sect they belong to. 83 percent of the people in India practice the Hindu religion, which includes in its worship, an astounding six million gods. 11 percent in India are Moslem and a mere three percent are Christian. 16 major languages, and over 1,000 minor languages and dialects are spoken in India, often causing confusion and difficulty for workers trying to secure jobs. Also, serious overcrowding is caused by a population growing at an alarming rate of over 15 million per year.