A University of Arkansas at Little Rock professor has released a new book offering insight into intercultural communication and culture across India.
Dr. Avinash Thombre, a professor of applied communication, and his co-author Dr. Ramesh Rao, a professor in the Department of Communication at Columbia State University, recently published “Communicating Across Boundaries: The Indian Way.”
“This book is really a stab at describing the complex culture of India,” Avinash said. “I’m from India, and every time I travel back to India it’s a different place. People are different, and the communication patterns are different. In many ways, India has changed and yet has remained fundamentally the same for the last 4,000 or 5,000 years. It has the same core traditions, more or less same way of communicating, and the same beliefs. The best way to describe it – it’s ever changing and never changing.”
As is known, India is a multifaceted, multicultural nation with a rich tradition of ethnic, religious, linguistic, social and cultural mores, beliefs, and practices. The 500-page book published by Indica Publishers offers insight into understanding how people from India deal with difference, how they perceive one another, and how they deal with religious, caste, and regional conflicts through the lens of communication studies.
“This is a unique book,” Avinash said. “There are many books that talk about the business aspect of India, but not the evolution and impact of communication in India.”
The book is the second edition of Thombre’s and Rao’s first book, “Intercultural Communication: The Indian Context.” Thombre said this edition features new case studies and the latest examples in every chapter along with additions and feedback suggested by professors and students who have used the book in their classes. The book also features a new chapter, “Jāti/Kula/Caste and their Impact on Communication.”
“The chapter starts with explaining the Western view of the Caste system, then it talks about the castes in India and its origins,” Thombre said. “The last caste is the most controversial as they are sometimes called the untouchables. We explore how communication between the castes works in Indian society and how the system is transformed in many ways into more or less an economic-based system with the possibility of jumping between castes.”
A native of Pune, India, Avinash has lectured in India, Trinidad and Tobago, and Argentina. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico, a B.A. from Indira Gandhi National Open University in India, and an M.S. and Bachelor of Science from Bangalore University in India. He has previously worked as a reporter with the Times of India and wrote about health, environment, education, and new technology issues.