Have you ever thought of the amazing progress we, as human beings, have made in various spheres of life, be it language, literature, art and architecture, science or religion? Have you ever wondered how all this has been possible? This happened because, we did not have to make a fresh beginning each time, but were able to make use of and build on the work of past generations. You have never had to bother about having to make your own script or creating a new language system for yourself. These are already given to you which you enjoy as a member of society. Then you build on it by making your contribution or addition which further becomes an asset for the coming generations. This is a continuous and never-ending process. It is a precious possession unique to human beings and is known as culture. Culture is a way of life. You, your family has a culture and so does your region and your country. You may be curious to know about the uniqueness of Indian culture and find out its distinct characteristics. In this unit we will understand how Indian culture is unique and what are its characteristics..
2.1 CHARACTERISTICS OF INDIAN CULTURE
Indian culture is as many sided as life. It includes intellectual and social aspects of any human being. It also takes account of the aesthetic instinct as well as the spiritual impulses of human being. It has also, in effect, an appeal to the subconscious as a force making for the formation of character.
Look at the map of India and you see India is a vast country with a lot of diversity in her physical and social environment. We see people around us speaking different languages, having different religions and practising different rituals. You can also see these diversities in their food habits and dress patterns. Besides, look at the myriad forms of dance and music in our country. But within all these diversities there is an underlying unity which acts as a cementing force. The intermingling of people has been steadily taking place in India over centuries. A number of people of different racial stock, ethnic backgrounds and religious beliefs have settled down here. Let us not forget that the composite and dynamic character of Indian culture is a result of the rich contributions of all these diverse cultural groups over a long period of time. The distinctive features of Indian culture and its uniqueness are the precious possession of all Indians.
2.1.1 Continuity and Change
Many great cultures had developed in different countries and regions of the world. Many of them have perished or have been replaced by other cultures. However Indian culture has had an enduring character. Despite major changes and upheavals significant threads of continuity can be traced throughout the course of Indian history right upto the present day. You may have read about the Harappan civilization which flourished in the Indian subcontinent over 4500 years ago. Archaeologists have found evidences to show that cultures existed here even before the matured phase of the Harappan civilization. This tells us that we have a very long history behind us. And yet what is amazing is that even today the pattern of a house in an Indian village is not very different from that of a Harappan house. Some aspects of Harappan culture are still practised, such as, the worshipping of Mother Goddess and Pashupati. Similarly, Vedic, Buddhist, Jain and many other traditions continue to be followed even today. At the same time one should not lose sight of the changes as are evident in the multistoried buildings in the metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi, quite unlike the Harappan houses that had only one storey. The point to be noted here is that continuity and change in our civilization has gone hand in hand. In fact, a remarkable feature of Indian culture is that along with continuity it has kept on changing, whereas the basic spirit of our culture continued. It has kept on discarding what was becoming irrelevant...