We do not have a good understanding of what it is. What is worse – we have a distorted view of what Indian culture is, which is the result of the western (mostly European) perception of Indian society, developed during past four hundred years, and we blindly follow their idea of Indian culture. Prof. S.N. Balagangadhra calls this as colonial conciousness. This is the central theme of his talk to which I have posted links below. He, quite articulately, talks about how we have not been able to do systematic studies on Indian culture, and thereby understand social structures that have existed in India for a very long time. For example, how do we understand the widespread corruption? Are most Indians corrupt? or is it just a result of native Indian political system becoming subordinate to the western political system that we currently have? There are more questions than answers in this talk, but they are very important ones to ask, and to think about. This is totally worth listening to.
See my earlier post on “Re-thinking religion in India” here.