Indians vs. Pakistanis Differences

Steven Hayes
By Steven Hayes 22 Min Read
22 Min Read

Comparing the distinctive cultural styles shared between Indians and Pakistanis is an interesting study. Below are some of the semantic differences of their cultures that creates unique variations.

Aspects India Pakistan
Religion Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity Mainly Islam, Small proportion Christianity and Hinduism
Cuisine Variety in veg and non-veg dishes with spicy flavors and herbs Different spices used to create rich and unique flavors. Rich meat dishes create sensory fusions in cuisine with a blend of Arabic and Persian spices.Their desserts are known for mouth-watering zesty flavors.
Wedding Culture (Shadi) Weddings are grand events, and most of the customs vary according to beliefs. The center-stage is adorned by intricate flower arrangements.A typical Indian wedding ceremony is celebrated for several days, with various ceremonies such as Mehndi, Sangeet, Haldi that add magnificence to the event. In Pakistani weddings, the traditional dance is often found as a vital part of their festivities. People dress up in shalwar kameez (traditional clothing) on this day. Some common events are Dholki Night and the Baraat Ceremony where Groom rides a horse to meet his bride’s family. In some regions Valima (Food Gathering after Wedding)
Sports Cricket is believed to be a de facto national sport of India. Wrestling, Kabaddi etc., also enjoy immense popularity here. Hockey holds strategic importance as their National Sport. Cricket not left behind though.
Language The country has 22 officially recognized languages, although Hindi & English are the most commonly used ones Pakistan is a bilingual nation with the official languages being Urdu and English.
Clothing Style(Libaas) India has diverse clothing styles that vary by religion, climate and geography. The most typical clothes are Sarees (worn with a blouse), Salwar Kameez, Lehenga Choli. Pakistani dressing is commonly known as ‘Shalwar Kameez’ (pants and tunic ensemble). Pakistani clothes are famous for their intricate design patterns, with attention to deep colors like maroon etc., often used in embroidery.. They also wear traditional turbans as headwear along with embroidered dresses on special occasions.

Although these countries share similar roots in culture, the variants of diversity cannot be overlooked. The clothing styles and wedding ceremonies along with religious beliefs differ significantly among these two nations.

Did you know: The Partition Museum situated in Amritsar, Punjab of India is dedicated to showcasing stories of partitioning during India’s independence?

Why fight over who has the better religion when we all know the real winner is atheism?

Religious Differences

The dissimilarities between Indians and Pakistanis can be observed in their religious practices. The ways both nations worship are fundamentally different from one another.

To elaborate on the Semantic NLP variation of the heading, a data table can be utilized below, showcasing the Religious Differences between Indians and Pakistanis.

Indians Pakistanis
1. Hindus constitute 80% of population Muslims make up over 96% of the total populace
2. Sikhism, Islam, Christianity Sunni, Shia, Ahmadiyya sects believe in Islam
3. Majority tolerance for all religions State religion – Islam (in contrast to India)
4. Religious diversity Lesser religious diversity than India

Some unique details that have not been highlighted yet are that India has communities of Jews, Parsees (Zoroastrians), Buddhists, and other minorities while in contrast Pakistan has no significant Jewish or Buddhist residents.

The topic at hand is critical to understand the historical context as well, where partition in August 1947 drew a solid line between both groups with millions losing their lives during the massive migration based solely on religious lines. It was an event that bore witness to widespread horror and suffering resulting from vast differences between Hindus and Muslims.

Why worry about class and caste when we can all unite under the common bond of loving cricket and spicy food?

Caste System

The social hierarchy prevalent in Indian and Pakistani societies, often referred to as the “division of labor,” is a significant element of their culture. This system categorizes individuals into an intricate network of castes, defined by occupation, inherited status, and birthright. These castes are grouped into four primary categories: Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (merchants), and Shudras (laborers). Traditionally, caste determines one’s occupation, marital decisions, social interactions, and even religious practices.

The caste system has long been a contentious issue in both countries due to its implications on individual freedoms and human rights violations. Caste-based discrimination and prejudice continue to exist at various levels – from education systems and job opportunities to marriages and social interactions – despite being illegal in both countries.

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It’s worth noting that while caste is more prevalent in India than Pakistan, the latter country exhibits class-based inequalities instead. In contrast to structured hierarchical systems like caste, class is based on material wealth, education level, family lineage or political influence.

Awareness-raising efforts towards greater society acceptance of lower-caste individuals should be supported by these governments. As a global community offering equal rights for all citizens regardless of their socio-economic background must be prioritized while redressing disparities within caste/class systems.

As an informed global citizen with the obligation ‘For everyone’s best interest‘, learn more about Indian vs Pakistani Communities’ socio-cultural differences beyond namesake confusion; otherwise miss out on acquiring knowledge that could impact your future relations with them.

Education in India is like a game of musical chairs, where everyone is fighting to have a seat in an IIT or IIM.


Moreover, Indian universities provide scholarships based on academic achievements and financial needs while Pakistani universities offer government grants for professional courses. Additionally, India’s higher education system offers a diverse range of private colleges for students who do not qualify for public institutions. In contrast, Pakistan does not cater to private institutions’ diversity.

It is interesting to note that there are some institutes like Aligarh Muslim University (India), which has produced notable personalities like Zakir Hussain (former President of India).


Indian food is like a flavor explosion, while Pakistani cuisine is more like a flavor grenade – both delicious, just different levels of intensity.


Indians vs. Pakistanis (Main Differences) – All The Differences

For food aficionados, a significant difference between Indians and Pakistanis lies in their culinary traditions.

  • Spice level: Indian cooking is known for its excessive use of spices; whereas, Pakistani cuisine features milder flavors with more emphasis on meat.
  • Naan vs. Roti: Indian bread, naan, is made with refined flour and yeast, while Pakistani roti is unleavened and whole wheat.
  • Biryani vs. Pulao: The spice-infused biryani is an Indian delicacy that originated in Hyderabad; on the other hand, the subtler-flavored rice-based pulao has Pakistani roots.
  • Street Food: In India, street food culture is rich and diverse with famous snacks such as vada pav, chaat, and samosas; whereas in Pakistan, street food favorites include nihari, bun kebab and gol gappey.
  • Sweets: Indian sweets are typically milk-based creations like rasgulla and gulab jamun; meanwhile, Pakistani desserts consist of more groundnut or coconut-based sweets such as suji ka halva and kheer.
  • Tea Culture: India is famous for its chai culture with Masala Chai being one of the favorite tea flavor combinations while black tea plays a larger role in Pakistani culture.

Despite these distinctions there are some striking similarities between the two cuisines as they share similar dishes such as biryani/pulao or gulab jamun/jam-e-shirin.

Interestingly enough neither of them can claim chicken tikka masala which was invented in Glasgow’s Curry mile!

Source: BBC Good Food

Indians wear colorful clothing while Pakistanis stick to basic black – because who needs a rainbow when you have a perpetual power outage?


When it comes to attire, there are numerous differences that make Indians and Pakistanis’ traditional dressing unique. Here are five points highlighting their various clothing differences:

  • Indians dress more traditionally in saris, lehenga cholis, and salwar kameezes while Pakistanis tend to prefer shalwar kameezes and kurtas.
  • Indian attire incorporates more colorful prints like bandhani and tie-dye while Pakistani outfits have simpler intricate embroidery designs paired with neutral tones.
  • Men in both countries sport the same type of traditional wear known as the shalwar kameez however Indians use a scarf or stole called Dupatta while Pakistanis don’t.
  • Muslim women opt for abayas whereas Indian culture doesn’t have such attire.
  • The draping of a sari and dupatta can often be confusing for someone unfamiliar with the customs but rest assured they both hold cultural significance.

A festival in Indian culture known as Diwali popularizes wearing light-up blingy jewelry, a tradition that is not observed in Pakistani culture.

Pro Tip: Before traveling to either of these beautiful countries, one should understand cultural norms with respect to attire, so as to avoid any mishaps.

Indians may speak Hindi and Pakistanis may speak Urdu, but their curse words are the same in any language.


The language difference not only divides the two countries but also displays the impact of religion on both the cultures. While India is predominantly Hindu, Urdu has roots in Islamic history shared by Pakistan. Each language has its own script which is written and read differently.

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Furthermore, knowing about these differences becomes crucial when visiting either country for business or leisure. It helps in building better relations with people from different backgrounds and makes travel experiences richer.

Be sure not to miss out on anything that could potentially create meaningful interactions with locals while exploring either country.

Sports unite people, except for Indians and Pakistanis where it’s just another reason to have a heated argument over who’s better.


Key differences between Indian and Pakistani sports culture are:

  • Athleticism: Indian athletes tend to focus on cricket, field hockey, badminton, and kabaddi. Pakistani athletes, on the other hand, excel more in squash, soccer, and wrestling.
  • Sports Diplomacy: India and Pakistan actively engage in sports diplomacy as a means to ease political tensions between them. In such scenarios, cricket is often used as a common ground for dialogue.
  • Fan Base: Cricket enjoys immense fanfare in both countries with multiple leagues organized annually. However, Pakistani fans are more passionate about soccer than Indian fans.
  • Gender Participation: Female participation in sports remains a challenge for both societies but has been improving over time. Tennis star Sania Mirza from India and two-time squash world champion Jahangir Khan from Pakistan serve as role models for aspiring athletes.
  • Infrastructure: While many stadiums abound across India and Pakistan, funding constraints affect much-needed infrastructural upgrades.

In addition to these key differences mentioned above, it’s worth noting that while the investment made by both nations into sports development programs is still below average compared to other top-performing countries like the US or China, there are increasing efforts being made towards creating better opportunities for budding young talents. For instance, promoting grassroots level activities and expanding access to coaching expertise can go a long way in nurturing talent.

Indians may dance to Bollywood beats, but Pakistanis prefer to waltz with their traditional Qawwali music.

Music and Dance

Music and dance are deeply rooted in the culture of both Indians and Pakistanis, providing a unique way for the people to express their emotions and communicate with others. These art forms have been passed down through generations, evolving into diverse styles and forms.

  • Regional Styles: North Indian music is predominantly Hindustani classical music that favours slow tempos and elaborate melodic structures while Pakistan’s music is heavily influenced by Sufi poetry, Qawaali being the most popular style. Pakistani dances follow traditional rhythms whereas Indian dances like Bhangra are high energy folk dances.
  • Instruments: The sitar, sarod, tabla, pakawaj are some of India’s signature instruments used in classical pieces while shehnai, santoor, dholak are played more in folk music. Pakistan’s musical instruments include the harmonium, dholak as well but prominently uses two stringed instrument Rabab.
  • Celebratory Occasions: Both Indians and Pakistanis use Music & dance to celebrate festivals like Navratri (for Gujarat), Eid-ul-Fitr (Pakistan), Diwali (India) etc.

Cultural expressions such as Music & dance beautifully reflect the essence of diversity present within these two countries.

A Fact: The movie ‘Moana’ has influences from Indian culture as Ajay Atul (Marathi Composer Duo) had prepared three songs for Disney’s animation film ‘Moana’.

“Politics is the only game where playing dirty is not just allowed, it’s encouraged” – something both India and Pakistan can agree on.


India and Pakistan have vastly different political systems. India operates as a democratic republic, with a government based on a constitution. Pakistan operates as an Islamic Republic with a semi-presidential system. In India, the president is considered the head of state, while the prime minister holds executive power. In Pakistan, the president holds significant power and serves as both head of state and chief executive.

Furthermore, India practices secularism in government affairs while Pakistan has embraced Islam as its guiding principle. The two nations have also had a contentious relationship over Kashmir territory, leading to conflicts and further straining relations between them.

It is important to note that despite their historical and political differences, India and Pakistan share many cultural similarities including cuisine, language roots, clothing styles and religious practices.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “India’s economy is the world’s ninth-largest by nominal GDP” which shows significant potential for future growth in multiple sectors. India may be known as the world’s largest democracy, but their economy is definitely not living up to that title.


For the section on the ‘Financial Status’, let’s take a detailed look at the economic conditions of both India and Pakistan.

Country GDP (PPP) GDP (nominal) Per Capita Income (PPP) Inflation Rate
India $11.32 trillion $3.31 trillion $8,484.52 5.84%
Pakistan $1.17 trillion $255 billion $5,527.96 58.10%
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While both countries have seen growth in their economies over the years, India has a stronger financial standing than Pakistan. In terms of GDP (PPP), India’s is ten times larger than that of Pakistan’s and its per capita income is significantly higher as well at $8,484 per person compared to Pakistan’s $5,527 per person.

Moreover, inflation rates are much lower in India than in Pakistan with India experiencing only a rate of around 5.84%, while Pakistan’s is at an alarming high of nearly 58%. This indicates that Pakistan struggles with maintaining price stability and poses a threat to the economy there.

According to a recent report by The World Bank, South Asia has been largely hit hard by COVID-19 with regional growth expected to contract by 7.7% for the fiscal year ending March 2020, but both countries have implemented economic policies and stimulus measures to counteract the negative effects of the pandemic.

Who needs diplomacy when India and Pakistan can just settle their differences with a game of cricket?

International Relations

The engagement between nations is critical in determining international stability. The aspect of diplomacy, trade, and war define global borders. Interestingly, India and Pakistan’s relations are some of the most complicated in the world. The relationship between these two nations is quite dynamic given the fact that they share a common history yet possess varying ideologies and cultures.

India and Pakistan have had numerous military disputes over time, with each accusing the other of stirring such conflicts. Nonetheless, one unique aspect that defines their relationship is their need to control the Kashmir region, which both countries claim as theirs. This region has caused numerous territorial disputes leading to tense moments between the two nuclear-powered states.

Unique to this relationship is terrorism, with both nations at times accusing each other of harboring terrorist organizations. Additionally, both countries spend an enormous amount of money on defense in preparation for potential violence as seen in recent border clashes.

According to Reuters News Agency, “India and Pakistan signed a ceasefire agreement 2003.”

Overall, Indians enjoy belly laughs while Pakistanis prefer polite chuckles – a true embodiment of our cultural differences.

Conclusion: Key Differences Between Indians and Pakistanis

When comparing Indians and Pakistanis, there are several key differences that distinguish the two groups. To better understand these differences, a detailed analysis is necessary.

Category Indians Pakistanis
Geography Largely located in South Asia, with a small population in other countries. Juxtaposed between South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.
Language The majority of Indians communicate in Hindi or English. Over 20 regional languages exist. The official language of Pakistan is Urdu, but many speak Punjabi or English.
Religion Hinduism accounts for the majority of religious affiliations in India with Islam being the largest minority religion.
  • Islam is the prominent religion among Pakistanis with Muslims accounting for nearly all the population.

In addition to these notable differences, it should also be acknowledged that Indians and Pakistanis have unique customs, cultural traditions and societal norms.

Consider exploring or experiencing different cultures to learn, appreciate and understand their differences. This can broaden one’s perspective and enhance interpersonal communication skills.

To genuinely comprehend the nuances of each group, it is essential to avoid stereotypes, biases and judgments based on one’s limited viewpoint. Therefore, keep an open mind while learning about new cultures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main differences between Indians and Pakistanis?

Some of the main differences between Indians and Pakistanis are their historical and cultural backgrounds, religious affiliations, and political ideologies.

What is the main religion in India and Pakistan?

While India has a majority Hindu population, Pakistan has a majority Muslim population.

What languages do Indians and Pakistanis speak?

Indians primarily speak Hindi, with many also speaking English, while Pakistanis primarily speak Urdu, with many also speaking Punjabi and English.

Are there differences in cuisine between Indians and Pakistanis?

Yes, there are significant differences in cuisine between Indians and Pakistanis, with each country having its own distinct dishes and flavor profiles.

What are some differences in traditional clothing between Indians and Pakistanis?

Indian traditional clothing includes the saree, salwar kameez, and lehenga choli, while Pakistani traditional clothing includes the shalwar kameez and dupatta.

Are there any notable political differences between India and Pakistan?

India and Pakistan have a history of political tensions and conflicts, primarily over the disputed territory of Kashmir and their differing political ideologies. India is a secular federal republic, while Pakistan is an Islamic republic.

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