From Stuff Indians Like:
Unlike Iran, homosexuality probably does exist to some extent in India. With so many dance remixes, styles patterned on Bollywood kitsch, open-toed shoes and silk, how can it not? In India, though, homosexuality is one thing, and holding hands is quite another.
In many places throughout Asia, holding hands amongst men is considered a common demonstration of hetero friendship. While crossing chaotic streets or sauntering down the sidewalk chewing paan, Indian men show no shame in interlocking fingers and pressing palms.
One NRI even claims to have seen "macchans," the alpha males of college campuses, locking arms with the lieutenants of their pack in India, and "goondas" holding hands just before launching an assault on a local tea shop that refuses to serve their gang free chai.
In America, though, hand holding between male friends is strictly prohibited by heteronormative social mores. Locking feet in a bhangra circle, however, is completely acceptable and straight. Lifting weights together in sleeveless tees and making eye contact in the full body mirror at the gym while executing synchronized bicep curls is also allowed. But hand holding between close friends? No, that'd be totally gay.
If you are an Indian male visiting family in India, do not be alarmed if upon first meeting you after several years of absence your cousin Anirrudah immediately grabs your hand and holds it next to his thigh for a long period of time. Also do not be alarmed if he is several years older than you, pushing 30, living with his parents and still single. This is the Indian custom of saying, "How have you been, brother? I'm not allowed to touch girls in my family's presence so this is as good as it gets."
Anirrudah will continue to hold your hand as his parents give your family a tour of their flat and introduce you to the goats that roam freely through their back yard. If you jump in alarm at the sight of wild animals, even for a second, Anirrudah will clasp your hand tighter and laugh a toothy grin in your face. "Are you frightened?" he will ask. Never, under any circumstance say yes. Just smile and breathe. It's not gay, just totally uncomfortable.