Culture is the sum total of values expressed through art, religion,
literature, social institutions and behavior, the overt acts of individuals
and mass action inspired by collective urges. Indian culture is one of the
oldest cultures known to humanity. Indian culture is said to encompass every
aspect of human life. The Vedas are recognized as the oldest written books
of the world. The Vastushastra is a treaty on architecture while Ayurveda
deals with human health and medicines. Yogasanas and meditation have been
mentioned in great detail as ways of realizing the self. In fact, the vast
cultural knowledge is presented in the form of many shastras, puranas and
upanishads. The many temples of ancient and medieval period which still dot
the Indian landscape are examples of the splendid art and architecture of
that period. The varna system of ancient India devised for the purpose of
functional specialisation or specialisation according to nature of work has
given birth to the caste system which is still prevalent in India. In modern
India also, there is remarkable cultural diversity throughout the country.
Every state in India has carved out its own cultural niche in the form of
their own language, literary works, festivals, ceremonies and rituals, food
habits and other aspects. Due to its diversified culture, India is called a
unity in diversity.
Though Indian culture is held by many as rigid, it welcomes influences of
other cultures while holding on to its core values. Moreover, lots of
changes could now be seen in many aspects of Indian life. The changes, more
palpable in urban areas could be seen in the clothing patterns and food.
Western music, films, clothing patterns and food items are becoming very
popular in India. Even the finer aspects of western work culture have made
strong roots in India after India shifted to a free market economy more than
a decade back. But these developments have not been at the cost of core
Indian values. This is proved by the fact that ayurveda, yogasanas and
meditation are becoming very popular both in foreign countries and among
foreign tourists coming to India.
||Religion in India
India, known as the land of spirituality and philosophy, was the
birthplace of some religions, which even exist today in the world. India is
one of the few countries of the world in present times where followers of
all major religions live harmoniously and enjoy complete freedom to practice
and propagate their religion.
» Hinduism :
The most dominant religion of India is
Hinduism. About 82% of Indians are Hindus. Hinduism is one of the ancient
religions in the world supposed to have been developed some 5000 years ago.
Hinduism is a colorful religion and it is believed that there are 33 crore
Gods and Goddesses in Hinduism.
» Buddhism and Jainism :
Buddhism and Jainism had their birth in
India around 500 BC. Though the influence of Buddhism and Jainism had
weakened in present times in the country, there is only a thin line that
differentiates the followers of the religions. Only about 0.5% of Indians
are Jains and about 0.7% are Buddhists. Buddhism spread from India to many
different parts of the world. These three ancient religions, Hinduism,
Buddhism and Jainism, are seen as the moulders of Indian philosophy.
» Sikhism :
Sikhism, founded by Guru Nanak is a
comparatively new religion in India originating in the 15th century. About
2% of Indians are Sikhs. In present times, the religion is basically
confined to Punjab state of India.
» Islam :
About 12% of India's population are
Muslims. Followers of the religion have been living in the country since
centuries. The influence of Islam on Indian art, architecture and some other
aspects are palpable.
Christians form about 2% of India's population. Due to the influence
of British and Christian missionaries, many churches were built in India
most of which are architectural masterpieces. Zoroastrians make less than
0.01% of India's population. There are a few thousand Jews in India.
According to one school of thought, Judaism and Christianity might have
arrived in India before they arrived in Europe.