Oh, the glorious, rich Indian culture! With a history that can be traced back to more than 2,000 years, the country has made a significant amount of progress, says Sanjay Dalmia, leading industrialist and philanthropist. After all, India is not reckoned the cradle of human race, the land of diversity, the mother of history and grandmother of legend and tradition, for no reason.
India is home to almost all the religions of the world: Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism and Christianity, coexisting in harmony. The country has given birth to some of the greatest religions of the world, which are collectively recognized as Indian religions. As a matter of fact, Hinduism and Buddhism have more than 2 billion followers, which make them the third- and fourth-largest religions in the world respectively. The fact that no other culture focuses on the human soul with as much depth and understanding as Indian culture, transcends it beyond the world of customs and ethnicity.
The soil of India has witnessed the growth of various sects and creeds. Around 13 per cent of the country’s population is Muslim, which makes it one of the largest Islamic nations in the world. Mark Twain has rightly summed up the religious diversity of India. “In religion, India is the only millionaire – the one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for all the shows of all the rest of the globe combined.”
Indian culture can be represented through a colorful mosaic, with a number of people following different culture, traditions, customs, values, languages and religious beliefs. Sanjay Dalmia believes that it is indeed a synthesis of varied social and cultural elements. Due to the multilingual nature of the country, it has been called a “Tower of Babel” and “a tower of veritable languages”. Official accounts confirm that more than two hundred languages spoken in the country.
Right from the medieval period, there exist various cultural diversities in form of dances, languages, beliefs, festivals and cuisines. The diversity of the country is well reflected in numerous of caste groups practicing their own rites and rituals.
However, despite a number of differences, India boasts of having ‘unity in diversity’. It is the basic postulate of the Indian culture. Amidst the diversity, unity exists in the same sphere. The differences are not looked upon as a conflict, but as varieties that enrich the society and the nation as a whole.