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India՚s cultural heritage is not only one of the most ancient, but it is also one of the most richest and varied. From ancient times to the present many groups and religions came here and left their imprints on the culture. These groups either came in touch with India shortly or permanently leading to the birth of a unique Indian culture.This led to the formation of many cultures, as a result India came to be called as the land of diversities due to its rich Cultural and Natural heritages.
Concept of Culture and Heritage
- The word ‘Culture’ is comes from the Latin word ‘cult or cultus’ which means tilling, or cultivating, purification and worship. In short it means cultivating and purifying a thing to such an extent that its end product gets our
- Art, music, architecture, sculpture, philosophy, literature, religion and science can be seen as various parts of culture. Nevertheless, culture also consists of the customs, traditions, festivals, way of life and our outlook on various aspects of life.
- Culture thus is nothing but a human-made environment which includes all the material and non-material products of group life that are transmitted from one generation to other.
- Culture is the reflection of our nature in our way of living and thinking. It may be observed in our literature, in religious practices, in recreation and enjoyment. Culture has 2 separate components, namely, material and non-material. Material culture includes objects that are related to the material aspect of our life such as our food, c loathing and household goods. Non-material culture refers to thoughts and belief.
- Culture changes from place to place and country to country. Its formation depends on the historical process operating in a local, regional or national levels.
- Formation of culture is a historical process. We inherit many things from our ancestors. As time passes, we continue to add new thoughts; new ideas to those already existent culture and sometimes we give up some which we don՚t consider relevant
- Cultural heritage consists of all the characteristic or values of culture sent to people from their ancestors from one generation to other. They are treasured, protected and preserved by them with continuity and they feel proud of it.
- A few e.g will be helpful in understanding the concept of heritage. The Taj Mahal, Swami Narayan Temple of Gandhinagar and Delhi, Delhi՚s Qutub Minar, Mysore Palace, Jain Temple of Dilwara (Rajasthan) Nizamuddin Aulia՚s Dargah, Red Fort of Agra, Golden Temple of Amritsar, Christian Church in Goa, India Gate, Gurudwara Sisganj of Delhi, Sanchi Stupa, etc. , are all significant places of our heritage and are to be protected by all means.
Cultural Heritage of India
The Culture of India is the way of life of the citizens of India. India՚s languages, religions, dance, music, architecture, food, and customs varies from place to place within the country. The Indian culture is often seen as a combination of many segments of cultures, including traditions that are many millennia old. It extends across the entire Indian sub-continent. Many elements of India՚s vast cultural segments have had a deep impact across the world. In its collective form these cultural traits are known as Indian cultural heritage. It is interesting to understand that in the tenth century the Arabs called Indian culture as Ajaib-ul-Hind which means‘Incredible India.’
India’s cultural heritage starts from her 5000 year old culture and civilisation. While there are 4 main cradles of civilisation which, moving from East to West, are China, India, the Fertile Crescent and the Mediterranean, especially Greece and Italy, India deserves a larger share of accomplishment because she has profoundly affected the cultural life of most of Asia. She has also outspread her influence, directly and indirectly, to other parts of the globe.
The civilisation that was formed in the Valleys of our 2 great rivers the Indus and the Ganges, although in a sharply distinguished geographical region due to the Himalayas, was compound, multi-faceted and was never an isolated civilisation. The belief that before the impact of science and technology,European learning, the ‘East’ inclusive of China and India changed little if at all, over the centuries is false and should not be considered. Indian civilisation has always been ever-changing, and not static. Settlers and traders came to India from different parts of the world through land and sea routes. India’s separation was never complete, from the most ancient times. This resulted in the development of a complex form of civilisation, demonstrated so clearly in the intangible art and cultural traditions ranging from Ancient to Modern India,whether in the the great tangible heritage seen in the temples of North and South India to the dancing Buddhas of the Gandharva school of art which was highly influenced by the Greeks,
India, is the repository of an astounding wealth of living patterns and modes of heritage. With about 1400 non-standard speech and 18 officially recognized languages, several religions, various styles of art, architecture, several lifestyle patterns, literature, music and dance,India represents the largest democracy with a unique picture of diversity in unity, perhaps uncomparable anywhere in the world.
Indian art consists of a variety of art forms, such as painting, sculpture, pottery, and textile arts like woven silk. Geographically, it includes the entire Indian subcontinent, including todays India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, etc. A strong sense of design is a feature of Indian art and can be found in its modern and traditional forms.
The languages of India are divided vastly into the Indo-Aryan and the Dravidian languages which are the most widely spoken. There are also other languages belonging to unrelated language families like the Austroasiatic and Sino-Tibetan, spoken by smaller groups.
There are six main religions practiced in India namely: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam and Christianity. Out of these, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism took birth in India itself, while Islam and Christianity came from outside.
There are eight classical dance forms in India, namely, Odissi, Mohiniyattam, Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Manipuri and Satriya while the Folk dance forms in India, on the other hand, is part of the Indian tradition of a region. Folk dances are performed during festivities, occasions and ceremonies. The folk and classical dances of India displays the unique culture and heritage of India in its true essence.
Festivals in India are broadly classified into National, Religious and Seasonal Festivals. National Festivals include Independence day, Republic Day, Gandhi Jayanthi etc. Religioius Festivals include Eid, Christmas, Holi, Diwali etc. Seasonal festivals are Bihu, Onam, Pongal etc which are mostly celebrated during time of harvesting in different regions of the country.
Through a history of dynamic settlements and political power, India’s living cultural heritage was shaped by centuries of , re-creation, adaptation and co-existence. The incomparable cultural heritage of India finds expression in the practices, beliefs, ideas and values shared by communities across long stretches of time, and form part of the joint memory of the country. India’s physical, ethnic and linguistic variety is as astonishing as its cultural pluralism, which exists in a model of interconnectedness. In some position, its cultural heritage is expressed as pan-Indian traditions not confined to a single locality, genre or category, but as multiple levels , forms, and versions inter- connected yet independent from one another. Underlying the diverseness of India’s heritage is the continuity of its civilization from the ancient times to the modern and of the later additions by different influences.
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