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About Indian Culture

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While discussing about Indian culture, it is nearly impossible to talk of one single culture. The culture of India is varied and it changes from one region to another. The diverse culture of India binds the residents in a harmonious unity. According to the Census of 2001, India has a population of 1,027 million people. The huge population and vast geographical extent of the subcontinent offer colorful variation in culture which is reflective through the custom, lifestyle, belief, music, dance, art etc of residents of different regions.

The diversity in the geographical regions, climates and contacts with other foreign cultures have widely shaped the diversity in Indian cultural practices. They are amalgamation of indigenous style and influence from outside India. But inspite of the foreign influences, India has been capable of maintaining its distinctiveness throughout the ages. The mingling of existing and neo styles and customs have enriched the Indian culture and heritage.

Dance

Dance

Dance form in India is an age old art form. A number of classical dance forms are prevalent in the subcontinent of India. The different dance forms of India emerged from different regions of the country. They reflect the culture and ethos of the various geographical regions. Bharatanatyam (Tamilnadu), Kathak (North India), Kutiyattam (Kerala), Manipuri (Manipur), Kathakali (Kerala), Odissi (Orissa), Mohiniattam (Kerala), Kuchipuddi (Andhra Pradesh) are the different dance forms of India.

Indian culture is also enriched by folk dances. The diversity of Indian culture is evident from the various forms of folk dances. Some of the popular ones are – Kummi, Bhangra, Bhavai, Kummi, Cheraw, Yakshagana, Garba, Chhau, Bihu, Devarattam, Jatra, Bhortal Nritya etc.

Literary Tradition

The literary tradition of India is rich and one of the oldest one in the world. A different variety of literature is being produced in different Indian languages. Veda – the storehouse of knowledge is considered a sacred text in India. Ramayana and Mahabharata are 2 of the Hindu epics. Vaastu Shastra is a treatise on architecture. The famous text on political science in India is the Arthashastra. Some other holy texts composed in Sanskrit are Upanishad, Vedas, Manusmriti etc. Meghdoot, Abhijanam Shakuntalam, Mricchakatika, Ratnavali are some of the famous literary works of ancient India. Tamil literature has also flourished mainly in the forms of secular, poetic and philosophical works.

Literature in India also flourished in vernacular languages. It mainly flourished in north India. Religious love poems became popular in Maithili language. Many poets composed devotional poetic works in their own dialects of which Avadhi was a noted medium. read more

Music

Music

The source of Indian music dates back to the Vedic period. Among the different form of Indian art, music is considered to be one of the oldest. During the Vedic Age, music was practiced in the form of religious hymns and Vedic chants. Initially only single or double notes were used which gradually developed to the seven notes or Saptaswara. Sangeet or the popular form of modern day Indian music is a simplified style of the art form. North Indian classical music/ Hindustani music, classical music of South India/ Carnatic music and folk songs are some of the popular trends of Indian music.

Theater

Theater

The origin of theatrical practices in India can be traced back to the time of Natya Shashtra popularized by Bharata. The traditions and cultural nuances of India are reflected through the theatrical practices. In its embryonic stage a narrative style was adopted. The theatrical performances were accompanied by dance, music and narrations. The theater of India can be broadly divided into the Traditional Period, Classical Period and Modern Period.

Religion and Ethnicity

In India, Hinduism is the dominant religion. India is a secular country and people from other religions also reside here. There are 7 major religions including Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Bahaism. There are 6 ethnic groups in India. Hindi is the official language of the state and 22 languages have been recognized in the country by the Indian Constitution. The individual states and union territories of India offer a glimpse of diverse culture but all of them are bound by one national cultural identity.

Movies

Movies

The Indian film industry is one of the oldest in the world. Dundiraj Govind Phalke is considered to be one of the pioneers of Indian cinema. Raja Harishchandra is the first Indian film. The film industry of India flourished gradually and Mumbai became a prominent name among world cinemas. Besides the making of Hindi films in Mumbai, movies in regional languages made in other provinces were also recognized. Films in regional languages like Tamil, Bengali, Telegu, Oriya, Gujrati, Kannad, Assamese etc soon became popular. The Post Independence period in India is considered to be a Golden Era for Indian films. Satyajit Ray, Guru Dutt, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Shyam Benegal, Mrinal Sen and others are some of the noted Indian film makers. A number of mainstream cinemas in India are also made in English.