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INDIAN CULTURE

CULTURE IS THE ART OF LIVING

It refers to the intellectual development evolved out of the physical and mental training acquired in the course of the ages in a country.

The culture of India (or) Indian culture can be best expressed as comprising the following

Humanity - The mildness of the Indians has continued till date, despite the aggressiveness of the Muslim conquerors and the reforming zeal of the British, the Portuguese and the Dutch. The Indians are noted for their humanness and calm nature without any harshness in their principles and ideals.

Tolerance - Gandhiji’s satyagraha principle or Ahimsa - freedom without taking a drop of blood, worked wonders and gave credit to India in the international arena. Swami Vivekananda in his famous Chicago Speech on the 11th of September, 1893 spoke of this.

Unity - India is a conglomeration of men and women of various castes and creed. It is a fusion of old traditional values and the modern principles, thus satisfying all the three generations in the present India. The Elite businessman and the common vendor on the road share the same news and worship the same deity .

Secularism - India is a secular coun country as stated in its Constitution. There is freedom of worship throughout the length and breadth of India without any breeches or violations of any other’s religious beliefs. The Hindus, The Muslims, The Christians, and The Sikhs in times of calamity and during festivities come openly together to share their thoughts despite their religious affinities. The catholicity of the Indian culture can be best understood by the fact that hundreds of Hindus visit the Velankanni shrine or the Nagore Dargah in Tamilnadu.

Closely knit Social system - The Indian Social System is mostly based on the Joint family System, but for some of the recently cropped nuclear families. The families are closely knit with Grandfathers, fathers, sons and grandsons sharing the same spirit, tradition and property. 

Cultural Heritage

India’s one billion people have descended from a variety of races. The oldest ones are the Negroid aboriginals called the Adivasis or First settlers. Then there are the Dravidians, The Aryans, the Mongols, The Semites and innumerable inter-mixtures of one with the other.

The great Epic, The Mahabharata and the sacred text, the Bhagavad-Gita teaches the Indians that survival can only be in terms of quality of life. It provides a framework of values to make the Indian culture well- groomed.

Swami Vivekananda (1863- 1902) laid stress on physical development as a prerequisite for spiritual development, which in turn leads to the development of the culture of the country. For the past 1000 years various foreign invasions like that of the Huns, the Kushanas, The Arabs, The Muslims, TheDutch, The French and the British took place. So the Indians were exposed to cultures that were totally alien to them. Several attempts were made by the Indian rulers like the Pallavas, the Chalukyas, the Palas, the Rashtrakutas, the Cholas, and the Vijayanagar Emperors to give the Indians an administration, which was in consonance with the cultural heritage of the country.

Later, religions became an important part in the culture and places of worship became community centers. The innovations in religious thinking brought two popular beliefs in India, namely Buddhism by the Buddha and Jainism by the Saint Mahavir. Then there was a socio-religious shift or orientation in the Indian culture.

Later in the century Westernization of Indian culture began , but it was stemmed by the efforts of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Dayananda Saraswathi, Swami Vivekananda, Narayana Guru, Maharisi, Aurobindo, etc. Then there took place a Renaissance, that emphasized the need to recognize the country’s own culture while ushering in an age of modernity. 

If India’s culture tended to become tolerant, accommodating, open-minded, deeply but not ostensibly spiritual and concerned with the common human welfare, then it is due to the great and relentless efforts of our great ancestors and leaders. Thanks to them our country has achieved a common culture, despite a staggering pluralistic society.

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