Culture! All English dictionaries relate this synonym of way of life, customs, civilizations and refinement; with the habits, traditions and beliefs of a country or in general a society of people. Culture pertains to a sound knowledge of art, music, theatre and literature of a populated group in a region but in reality it is more then that.
In this wide and beautiful world many nations live in harmony and so do their cultures. All cultures co-exist due to the vast similarities in the customs and traditions followed worldwide and the sense of ‘right thought at the right time’. This doesn’t mean that all cultures are same or people do not have problems with cultures other than their own, but gives the feeling that neither of the cultures are the best nor the worst. All cultures have their plus points and similarly some flaws too.
My culture, i.e. the Indian Culture is a great mix or rather a converged form of the traditions and values of all the rulers, conquerors and dynasties, which invaded and governed my country since ages. India wasn’t the same around 300 years ago when it had a huge expanse both in the Eastern and Western directions. No people except the Chinese have had such a long and unbroken history as the people of India. The Indian culture backs a little less than 5000 years ago when its first known sophisticated society - The Indus Valley Civilization; existed from 2500 B.C. to 1800 B.C. . The people in this civilization had learned a lot from the man of the respective pre-historic periods – The Stone Age, The Chalcolithic Age and The Metal Age; after the Indian Subcontinent was formed approximately 10,000 years ago.
Since then: the Dravidians and Aryans have compiled and ruled India; the Persians, Greeks, Turks and Mughals have invaded us; the Mauryas, Guptas, Chalukyas, Cholas and Marathas have stabilized us; and the British have conquered, insulted, mistreated and then also refined us. Thus the Indian culture isn’t the lifestyle Indians live by but the representation of the social and traditional compilation of all the cultures in the world.
Sanskrit, though a ‘Dead Language’ today originated in India and is the oldest language in the Indo-European language family. The architecture of the Cholas, Guptas and Mughals are famous all over the planet. One exquisite example is the “Taj Mahal”. The Madhubani paintings of Bihar, the Jewellery work of Jaipur, Silk Woven saris of Varanasi(Benares), the Carpets of Mirzapur contribute a lot to the Indian artistic culture. The famous caves at Ajanta and Ellora near Aurangabad, the Elephanta caves offshore Mumbai, the palaces of Rajasthan, the mosques of the
Deccan, Jute Crafts of Bengal and Bandhej clothing designs of Rajasthan and Gujarat with the temples of Orissa grant the variety in Indian art and architectural culture.
Indian cultural heritage is not confined only to art, architecture, music and literature but the way of bringing them into one’s life and in bringing life to them. The traditions and beliefs in India change after every 150-300 kilometers. The religions of Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism were founded here. Islam and Christianity spread here. The Zoroastrians found refuge here. Though a vast majority of Indians follow Hinduism; the nation has a secular outlook towards all religions.
Thus, the culture of the ‘Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic of India’ is the illustrated symbol of the Indian mindset with an age of more than 10,000 years and I take pride in bowing in front of all putting my hands together saying ‘Namaskar’ to represent India.