CONTRIBUTED BY VANI VENKAT
“India is deep-rooted in the culture of her past—the glorious past. India is a vast country, and centuries old. It is difficult to sum up her heritage in a few words. The India of today has a rich past over which we can look back with pride. Our past has given us a definite way of life, which is typically Indian and yet universal in approach.
The most prominent feature of India’s culture it that it combines many cultures. India is a land of great variety and many influences have worked to produce modern India. India has shown great capacity for absorbing what came to her from outside. The base of the Indian civilization was formed by the coming together of the old Indus Valley Civilization and the Aryan Civilization came from beyond the North-West frontier of India. It has been repeatedly influenced by other civilizations, though basically it has recognized the same. The Greeks, the Romans, the Scythians, the Turks, the Russians, the Arabs and the Europeans left their impression. India’s capacity to absorb was so great that they all became Indian. British rule in India brought a new element. The industrial civilization of the West brought in her influences. It produced changes in thought and outlook.
The charms and graciousness of the Indian way of life endures due to the philosophy of life which we have inherited from the past. Religion in India permeates the whole fabric of Indian life. Whatever we do, however great or small, is colored with religious sentiments. From the planting of a tree to the establishing of an industry, all are regarded as pious acts. Training and education, marriage and procreation, birth and death are all tinged with religious fervour.
It true that our attitude towards life is now rapidly becoming materialistic. The glamour of the western way of life with its glorification of material prosperity and its wonderful achievements in the field, of science and technology has modified our aim and ambitions. A new orientation has been given to Indian life. The ideal now chiefly adored is success or the ability which produces success. The Quilt of success has dazzled our eyes and some of us have started looking down up to the old traditions and culture. The results, however, have not been very happy. We are losing our roots. Blind imitation of the west will just make us get lost in blind alley.
However, we must not also resist the winds of change and remain clinging to the past values and principles of life. We must not close our doors to the influences from the outside world. If those influences are good, they will strengthen the basic concepts of our culture and so enrich it as to make it truly representative of the life of our people. What is to be avoided is a blind imitation of cultures and values.
Countries become great not because they have achieved progress in material things but because they follow noble traditions and base their life on what has been called by Tagore ‘Dharma’, or a moral way of life. We should remain true to the real genius of our land, the quality and habit of mind which has preserved us through the ages.”
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