Indian Culture – Varied but one

India is a country with vast culture and several religions within itself. Before, getting into the context let us know what exactly the word culture mean.

Culture can be defined as knowledge of a particular group of people, cuisine, religion, rituals, language, arts and music, etc.

Indian culture is one of biggest and most complex cultures to understand in the world. With 29 states and 8 union territories and more than 4 religions in a single country, India stands rich in its literature. Even though, the nation has 80.5% Hindus, 13.4% of Muslims, 2.3% Christians, 1.9% Sikhs with 2 billion followers in total the unity of the nation holds strong. There is always culture in everything from God to Art in India . It has to be mentioned here that ‘Indian Gods’ play a major role in the ocean-like Indian mythologies. From Mahabharat, India has had the culture of giving priority to prayers. The religions that originated in India are based on the concepts of dharma and karma (Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism). Ahisma, being an important aspect of Indian culture, has played a major role in India’s struggle for Freedom. Mahatma Gandhi, a freedom fighter, followed Ahimsa to gain freedom for the nation which was later took as an inspiration by Martin Luther King Jr.
Atheism is seen as a rejected concept by most of the Indians. Atheists are seen as aliens in the country. Even though, it is a personal choice of a person it is often not understood by many, which shows their deep passion for religions, gods and prayers.

Mahatma Gandhi (left) and Martin Luther King Jr ( right)

This country with vast culture celebrates several festivals. With half of them being celebrated by the nation together (Diwali, festival of lights) and rest celebrated by a particular group of people from an area or state (Onam being celebrated by Keralites). The three national holidays in India, the Independence Day, Republic Day and Gandhi Jayanthi are celebrated with great enthusiasm.

Diwali – festival of light

India has five major languages that includes Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. Each language has its own history with Tamil being considered as one of the oldest and classical languages in the world. Hindi being considered as the national language by many.

India has eight classical forms of dance. Indian Art has always had mythological elements in it. With Bharatanatyam from Tamil Nadu, Kuchipudi from Andhra Pradesh, Mohiniattam from Kerala, Yakshagana of Karnataka, Manipuri from Manipur, Odissi from Odisha, Sattriya from Assam and Kathak from Uttar Pradesh. Apart from the classicals dance forms, Indian regions have a strong dance tradition from Bhangra of Punjab to Dekhnni of Goa.

Bharatanatyam- a classical dance form

Hockey is often seen as the national game of India, though Indian Government has denied it. Indian Government has clarified India currently doesn’t have any national game. Martial Arts being another traditional sport that originates in Kerala. Kalaripayattu (400 BCE-600 CE) in the Sangam literature is one of the oldest martial arts in the world. Ayurvedic Massage with Sesame oil is also considered as a form of Martial Arts.
India being a roof for varied cultures and religions, still stays together and strong.

Kalaripayattu – martial arts