Culture plays an important role in the development of any nation. It represents a set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices. Culture and creativity manifest themselves in almost all economic, social and other activities.
The culture of India is one of the oldest and unique. In India, there is 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. 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 can be best expressed as comprising the following
Humanity - The mildness of the Indians has continued till date, despite the aggressiveness of the Muslim conquerors and the reforming zeal of the British, the Portuguese and the Dutch. The Indians are noted for their humanness and calm nature without any harshness in their principles and ideals.
Tolerance - Gandhiji’s satyagraha principle or Ahimsa - freedom without taking a drop of blood, worked wonders and gave credit to India in the international arena. Swami Vivekananda in his famous Chicago Speech on the 11th of September, 1893 spoke of this.
Unity - India is a conglomeration of men and women of various castes and creed. It is a fusion of old traditional values and the modern principles, thus satisfying all the three generations in the present India. The Elite businessman and the common vendor on the road share the same news and worship the same deity .
Secularism - India is a secular coun country as stated in its Constitution. There is freedom of worship throughout the length and breadth of India without any breeches or violations of any other’s religious beliefs. The Hindus, The Muslims, The Christians, and The Sikhs in times of calamity and during festivities come openly together to share their thoughts despite their religious affinities. The catholicity of the Indian culture can be best understood by the fact that hundreds of Hindus visit the Velankanni shrine or the Nagore Dargah in Tamilnadu.
Closely knit Social system - The Indian Social System is mostly based on the Joint family System, but for some of the recently cropped nuclear families. The families are closely knit with Grandfathers, fathers, sons and grandsons sharing the same spirit, tradition and property.
Mythology - Indian Mythology is one of the richest elements of Indian Culture, which enriches it further and makes it a unique one in the world. Through generations, different stories in Indian mythology have been passed from generation to generation either by word of mouth or through carefully stored scriptures. Indian Mythology dates back to as early as 7200 B.C. when the first hymns of the RIG VEDA was composed. The hymns of the RIG VEDA are the first and freshest expression of the sense of beauty and gladness awakened in the Aryan race by the charms and the bounty of nature. What began as a celebration of natural elements such as Air, Water and Fire was converted into the worship of cosmic elements. And thus formed the triad of the early Vedic Gods - AGNI, VAYU and SURYA. The VEDIC Gods are mere abstractions, intangible and illusive personifications of the powers of nature. It is in the post-VEDIC phase or in the PURANAS the gods assumed substantial shape and individual character.Thus emerged the transition of Hindu mythology from Vedic Gods (the Cosmic Trinity) to Puranic Gods (the Hindu Trinity) who took more significant form and entity and have been worshipped in various forms ever since.