|CultureIndia is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great grandmother of tradition. |
Our most valuable and most instructive materiales in the history of man are treasured up in India only – Mark Twain.
India has a unique culture and is one of the oldest and greatest civilizations of the world.
It stretches from the snow-capped Himalayas in the North to sun drenched coastal villages of the South, the humid tropical forests on the south-west coast, the fertile Brahamputra valley on its East to the Thar desert in the West.
It has achieved all-round socio-economic progress since its Independence.
India is the seventh largest country in the world and ranks second in population.
The country stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give her a distinct geographical entity.
Bounded by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer, tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.
India is rich in flora and fauna.
Possessing a tremendous diversity of climate and physical conditions, India has a great variety of fauna numbering over 90,000 species and flora comprising 15,000 species.
Side by side with the country’s staggering topographical variations is its cultural diversity, the result of the coexistence of a number of religions as well as local tradition.
Thus, the towering temples of south India, easily identifiable by their ornately sculptured surface, are associated with a great many crafts and performing arts of the region.
In the desert of Kutch, Gujarat, on the other hand, a scattering of villages pit themselves against the awesome forces of nature, resulting in Spartan lifestyles made vibrant by a profusion of jewellery and ornamental embroidery used to adorn apparel and household linen.
Yet another facet of Indian culture is observed in the colourful tribal lifestyles of the north eastern states of Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and Manipur with their folk culture.
In the central Indian states of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, tribal village life has resulted in a variety of artistically executed handicrafts.
India’s mountains provide heli skiing, river rafting, trekking and mountaineering. Its beaches provide lazy sunbathing as well as wind surfing and snorkeling, and its jungles provide shooting wildlife – with a camera.
India’s religious history goes hack to 3,200 BC when Hinduism was first founded. Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Judaism. Zoroashtrianism, Christianity and Islam all exist within the country today.
All this wealth of cultural diversity has made India to meet a growing thriving tourism industry, travel and tourism becoming the largest industry in India.
Its culture, tradition, history and mythology, combined with an enduring penchant to excel in every possible way, produce an ethos unparalleled in the world.
Said to be one of the oldest unbroken musical traditions in the world, Indian classical music has its originsin the Vedas (ancient scriptures of the Hindus).
Over the centuries, Indian classical music has also evolved through interaction between different races and cultures.
The foundation of Indian music is ‘sangeet’, a combination of three artforms: vocal music, instrumental music and dance.
Although these three artforms were originally derived from stagecraft, today they represent different, highly complex individual artforms.
The system of Indian music is based onraag and taal with the former being the melodic form and the latter the rhythmic.
Raagcan be roughly equated with the Western term mode or scale.
There is a system of seven notes which are arranged similar to Western scales.
The taals are complex and revolve around repeating patterns of beats.
The different interpretations of the raag and the taalhas led to the distinction of two major traditions of classical music: Hindustani sangeetof the north and Carnatic sangeet of the south.
Instruments typically used in Hindustani music include the sitar, sarod, surbahar, tanpura, bansuri, shehnai, sarangi, santoor, pakhavaj and tabla.
Instruments typically used in Carnatic music include venu, gottuvadyam, harmonium, veena, mridangam, kanjira, ghatam and violin.
Dance in India has an unbroken tradition of over 2,000 years. Its themes are derived from mythology, legends and classical literature, two main divisions being classical and folk.
Classical dance forms are based on ancient dance discipline and have rigid rules of presentation.
Important among them are Bharata Natyam, Kathakali, Kathak, Manipuri, Kuchipudi and Odissi.
Bharata Natyam though it derives its roots from Tamil Nadu, has developed into an all India form. Kathakali is a dance form of Kerala. Kathak is a classical dance form revitalised as a result of Mughal influence on Indian culture.
Manipur has contributed to a delicate, lyrical style of dance called Manipuri, while Kuchipudi is a dance form owing its origin to Andhra Pradesh.
Odissi from Orissam once practised as a temple dance, is today widely exhibited by artistes across the country.
Folk and tribal dances are of numerous patterns.
Both classical and folk dances owe their present popularity to institutions like Sangeet Natak Akademi and other training institutes and cultural organisations.
The Akademi gives financial assistance to cultural institutions and awards fellowships to scholars, performers and teachers to promote advanced study and training in different forms of dance and music, especially those which are rare.
Theatre in India is as old as her music and dance.
Classical theatre survives only in some places.
Folk theatre can be seen in its regional variants practically in every region.
There are also professional theatres, prevalent forms being puppets, rod puppets, glove puppets and leather puppets (shadow theatre).
There are several semi-professional and amateur theatre groups involved in staging plays in Indian languages and in English.
The term culture refers to a state of intellectual development or manners.
The social and political forces that influence the growth of a human being is defined as culture.
Indian culture is rich and diverse and as a unique results in its very own way. Our manners, way of communicating with one another, are a few of the important components of our culture.
Even though we have accepted modern means of living, improved our lifestyle, our values and beliefs still remain unchanged.
A person can change his way of clothing, way of eating and living but the rich values in a person always remains unchanged because they are deeply rooted within his heart, mind, body and soul which he receives from its culture.
In India, has an amazing cultural diversity throughout the country.
The South, North, and Northeast have their own distinct cultures and almost every state has carved out its own cultural niche.
There is hardly any culture in the world that is as varied and unique as India.
Is a vast country, having variety of geographical features and climatic conditions. India is home to some of the most ancient civilizations, including four major world religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.
Indian culture is a composite mixture of varying styles and influences.
In the matter of cuisine, for instance, the North and the South are totally different.
Festivals in India are characterized by color, gaiety, enthusiasm, prayers and rituals.
In the realm of music, there are varieties of folk, popular, pop, and classical music.
The classical tradition of music in India includes the Carnatic and the Hindustani music.
India, a place of infinite variety, is fascinating with its ancient and complex culture, dazzling contrasts and breathtaking physical beauty.
Among the most remarkable features of India, is its arts and culture in particular.
The Indian culture has persisted through the ages precisely for the reasons of antiquity, unity, continuity and the universality of its nature.
Thus within the ambience of Indian culture one can identify 'Indian Music', 'Indian Dance', 'Indian Cinema', 'Indian Literature', Indian Cuisine' 'Indian Fairs and Festivals' and so on.
Helpful nature is another striking feature in our culture.
Indian culture tells us to multiply and distribute joy and happiness and share sadness and pain.
It tells us that by all this we can develop co-operation and better living amongst ourselves and subsequently make this world a better place to live in.