Indian Streams Research Journal Volume II, Issue. I, Feb ISSN: ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Indian Streams Research Journal Volume II, Issue. I, Feb. 2012 Available online at ISSN:-2230-7850 ORIGINAL ARTICLE INDIAN CULTURE AR...
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Indian Streams Research Journal Volume II, Issue. I, Feb. 2012

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ARVIND DESHMUKH Asst. Professor G. V. Tonpe Arts, Commerce and Science College,Candurbazar, Amaravati

Abstract: The culture of India is one of the oldest and unique. In India, there is amazing cultural diversity throughout the country. The South, North, and Northeast have their own distinct cultures and almost every state has carved out its own cultural niche. There is hardly any culture in the world that is as varied and unique as India. India is a vast country, having variety of geographical features and climatic conditions. India is home to some of the most ancient civilizations, including four major world religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. The culture of India has been shaped by the long history of India, all the while absorbing customs, traditions and ideas from both immigrants and invaders, yet resiliently preserving the ancient Vedic culture of the Indus Valley Civilization. India's great diversity of cultural practices, languages, customs, and monuments are examples of this unique co-mingling over centuries, and the country was the birth place of several primary religious systems such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, each of which have had a great influence not only over India but also over the rest of the world. Following the Islamic conquests and the subsequent foreign domination from the twelfth century onwards, the culture of India was heavily influenced by Persian, Arabic and Turkish cultures. In turn, the various religions and the multi-hued traditions of India have influenced South East Asia and other parts of the world. KEYWORDSCulture, Development, Traditional, Arts, Architecture, Dances, Religious, Indian Culture. INTRODUCTION The term culture refers to a state of intellectual development or manners. The social and political forces that influence the growth of a human being are defined as culture. Indian culture is rich and diverse and as a result unique in its very own way. Our manners, way of communicating with one another, etc are one of the important components of our culture. Even though we have accepted modern means of living, improved our lifestyle, our values and beliefs still remain unchanged. A person can change his way of clothing, way of eating and living but the rich values in a person always remains unchanged because they are deeply rooted within our hearts, mind, body and soul which we receive from our culture. The culture of India is one of the oldest and unique. In India, there is amazing cultural diversity throughout the country. The South, North, and Northeast have their own distinct cultures and almost every state has carved out its own cultural niche. There is hardly any culture in the world that is as varied and unique as India. India is a vast country, having variety of geographical features and climatic conditions. India is home to some of the most ancient civilizations, including four major world religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Title : INDIAN CULTURE Source:Indian Streams Research Journal [2230-7850] ARVIND DESHMUKH yr:2012 vol:II iss:I


Combination of these factors has resulted into an exclusive culture- Indian culture. Indian culture is a composite mixture of varying styles and influences. In the matter of cuisine, for instance, the North and the South are totally different. Festivals in India are characterized by color, gaiety, enthusiasm, prayers and rituals. In the realm of music, there are varieties of folk, popular, pop, and classical music. The classical tradition of music in India includes the Carnatic and the Hindustani music. India, a place of infinite variety, is fascinating with its ancient and complex culture, dazzling contrasts and breathtaking physical beauty. Among the most remarkable features of India, is the arts and culture in particular. The Indian culture has persisted through the ages precisely for the reasons of antiquity, unity, continuity and the universality of its nature. Thus within the ambience of Indian culture one can identify 'Indian Music', 'Indian Dance', 'Indian Cinema', 'Indian Literature', Indian Cuisine' 'Indian Fairs and Festivals' and so on. Indian culture treats guests as god and serves them and takes care of them as if they are a part and parcel of the family itself. Even though we don't have anything to eat, the guests are never left hungry and are always looked after by the members of the family. "Respect one another" is another lesson that is taught from the books of Indian culture. Helpful nature is another striking feature in our Indian culture. Indian culture tells us to multiply and distribute joy and happiness and share sadness and pain. It tells us that by all this we can develop co-operation and better living amongst ourselves and subsequently make this world a better place to live in. Nowadays the Indian Culture has crossed the geographic boundaries and has extended globally. Whoever May it be an Indian or a person from any other country, attracted from the exuberant Indian Culture and traditions. FEATURES OF INDIAN CULTURE: Features of Indian culture give the message of prosperity, happiness and eventual peace through its unique features to the whole humanity. Indian culture possesses number of characteristics. It is characterised by tolerance. All races and creeds have found their habitation in India but they have not been persecuted as in the case of the medieval Europe. Equipoise is also a marked characteristic of Indian culture in life as a whole and also in the correlation of its various parts and in embodying in them an ever developing whole in keeping with our conception of God who is the absolute and infinite. · Harmony is another emphasizing feature of our culture. Happenings are not accidental but occur according to certain order and certain continuity. This is specified in the law of Karma and the transmigration of souls. Ceaseless search after truth has been another characteristic of Indian culture. · During the Stone Age it is said that the inhabitants of India, at that time lived in tribes. They were engaged in agriculture and cattle rearing. Indians lived a collected life and they believed in the principle of non-violence. These influenced the lives of people. The people here faced difficulties collectively and enjoyed pleasure together. They were eager to progress on the basis of non-violence. · Cities revealed at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro or Kot Digi, Kalibangan, Kathiawad and Saurashtra and excavations in south and east reveal that the life style and social structure of Indians were in a much developed form. Planning and uniformity were also clear. The cities were developed according to a plan. There were provisions to cope up with natural calamities. Cattle shed and grain-houses were there. Items of daily use were in advanced state. Indians had language, script and religious philosophy. Excavations reveal that Indians had contacts with inhabitants of other parts of the world. Joint Family system; custom of arranged marriages and religiousness are the other features of Indian culture. · Though some of these are not followed completely now in India. There were other qualities which explain the culture and social life of India. They are the constant strive towards development; Orderliness, Planning and Unity; Religiousness; and contact and business with inhabitants of other parts of the world. Aryans brought many qualities to this country. They had intelligence, skill and knowledge. They too were proponents of unity and religiousness. · From the Aryan lifestyle, tradition of rites, meditation, faith and rituals began to permeate Indian lives. There was much more comprehensiveness. There was introduction of philosophy in which forbearance and tolerance were supreme. During 326-25 B.C., Alexander had come to India and fought many battles with Indian Kings. It was natural that contact was established between Indians and Greeks. As a result Greek and Indian cultures influenced each other especially in the war, philosophy, poetry, sculpture, architecture, theatre and literature. · After the death of Emperor Ashoka, Shakas from Iran arrived in India. Thereafter came Kushans and then, from Central Asia came the Huns. All of them brought their own culture and mingled with Indian Culture. Arabs, too, started to influence the people of India by establishing their rule and by living in many parts of Sindh and afterwards in rest of India. They brought Islamic culture to India. The art, language, rites, Indian Streams Research Journal • Volume II Issue I • Feb 2012



sculpting, dress and literature brought by the Arabs affected the social life of Indians. In 15th and 16th century many Europeans brought their culture to India. Till 1947, India remained under English rule. Decency, punctuality and discipline in context of life style are the contributions of the west. The fields of education, development and globalization were strengthened by English Culture. Geographical unity, transport, communication and political awareness prospered under their rule. Whatever cultures came in contact with Indian culture, its good features have been adopted, became comprehensive, and kept living though many of its contemporary cultures vanished. Thus the qualities of Indian culture includes unity in diversity; cohesive, tolerant; and nonviolence. Though today the Indian culture has deviated from what it was thousands of years ago. However the culture has a lot to offer the humanity and it would move forward and inspire the social life of the entire human world. "If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the Very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India!" Romaine Rolland (French Shcolar) With the rise of humanity, came into existence the great Indian civilization that still stands strong and firm in the face of change all around. An intricate set of images, of magnificent Taj Mahal, grand temples, crowded streets and ever smiling people, swarms your mind the moment you think of India. The most vibrant aspect of Indian Culture is its treasure of arts and architecture. Whether they are the paintings or performing arts, there is nothing that parallels them anywhere in the world. Indian art and architecture prior to colonization has been the strong impact of folk idioms and folk art on courtly art. Although folk art was not seen as a respectable profession during the period of colonization, independence brought forward a renewed interest in folk paintings. INDIAN ARTS AND CRAFTS Indian art has always been religious in its themes and developments; and one needs to have some knowledge about different religions in India to completely appreciate the beauty and excellence of these paintings. The skills trickled down from one generation to another, incorporating changes that made them more up to date. INDIAN ARCHITECTURE The most visible symbols of glorious Indian history are the many grand architectural monuments that were built by kings and dynasties that once ruled India. Scattered in entire India, there is no one place which could be pin pointed as having the most or the best. The achievements of Indian civilization in its architecture, extends to a great deal more than the Taj Mahal or the temple complexes of Khajuraho and Hampi. Though the Indus Valley sites of Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, and Lothal provide substantial evidence of extensive town planning, the beginnings of Indian architecture are more properly to be dated to the advent of Buddhism in India, in the reign of Ashoka (c. 270-232), and the construction of Buddhist monasteries and stupas. Buddhist architecture was predominant for several centuries, and there are few remains of Hindu temples from even late antiquity. Among the many highlights of Buddhist art and architecture, the Great Stupa at Sanchi and the rock-cut caves at Ajanta stand out. DANCES OF INDIA India offers a number of classical dance forms, each of which can be traced to different parts of the country. Each form represents the culture and ethos of a particular region or a group of people. There are many types of dance in India, from those which are deeply religious in content to those which are danced on more trivial happy occasions. RELIGIONS IN INDIA India as a country India is home to Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and other innumerable religious traditions. Hinduism is the dominant faith, practiced by over 80% of the population. Besides Hindus, Muslims are the most prominent religious group and are an integral part of Indian society. Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Bahaism also have their followers in India but Indian Streams Research Journal • Volume II Issue I • Feb 2012



they are very small in number. 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. CONCLUSION: Indian Culture is so diverse that even Indians do not know of all the customs of India. With growing modernization, it has become more difficult for the increasingly small families to keep in touch with the tradition and culture of their forefathers. They are unaware of their customs. India is a land of great diversity, more heterogeneous than any other country in the world. Four major racial groups have met and merged in India resulting in a complex demographic profile. The paleskinned Europoid entered from the western mountain passes, encountering settled populations of Dasyu, Indian Streams Research Journal • Volume II Issue I • Feb 2012



the dark skinned ones of Rig Vedic description. REFERENCES:

Indian Streams Research Journal • Volume II Issue I • Feb 2012


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