“If any individual is judged by his character and morality, society is judged by its culture and tradition” said Dr S. Radhakrishnan. Culture means the way of life followed by a community that consists of custom, tradition, religious practices and the human values. Every culture has its distinct positive features. The culture of a community never remains same. It is evolved over a period and is always in the process of reforming itself.
Even from very ancient time, the Indian civilization was highly developed. Many factors have contributed to the cultural formation. Our scriptures like Vedas and Upanishads are considered as immense treasure of knowledge. There are various other scriptures like Ithihas, Purana etc. Bhagawad Gita, Ramayana and Mahabharata have taught us how we should conduct ourselves. We have developed very good art like Music, dance, paintings, sculpture etc. While the temples like Ramanathapuram on the southern corner of India are noted for their workmanship, novelty and sculpture, temples like Rishikesh and Badrinath in north are considered as the very abodes of God. Hinduism is one of the oldest religions of the world and great saints like Adi Sankara, Ramanuja, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda have enriched our religion by their interpretations. From the day Swamy Vivekananda addressed the Parliament of Religions at Chicago; many people have turned towards India for spiritual knowledge. Though Adi Sankara and other saints have set Self-realisation as the ultimate goal, it was Sri Ramana Maharshi who highlighted its importance and showed the way for achieving that goal. All these developments have contributed to India a rich cultural heritage and tradition. India has thus inherited a great tradition and a way of life which formed the basis of its culture.
Though Mughals came and then the British came and ruled over the land, they could not destroy the culture. The Indian culture has now become universal and it has become a land where different religions and culture survive, co-exist peacefully and flourish. Now there are different communities and nationals in India pursuing their own beliefs and faiths. Though India presented a picture of diversity, India has grown as a national that welcomes all ideas, philosophies and doctrines. It is a land where people of different faith live in peace and harmony, like a family bound in mutual love and affection.
Indians have adopted and assimilated the foreign culture and yet they have retained what is good for their own culture. They may be communicating in English, traveling in Mercedes, dressing in western style but they never deviate from their basic tradition and culture. The car symbolizes the modern trend but its name, Maruti, symbolizes the legendary past. Those who migrate to foreign countries adopt the culture of the country to which they migrated without deviating from their own culture. Like , I f you ever met any family who use to live in USA and still touches feet of elders. Wherever Indians go, whether USA or Dubai, along with their spouses, children and belongings, they make it a point to carry the Indian culture also with them. This is evident from the various cultural programmes being regularly organized in foreign countries like USA, Dubai or Singapore. Music Festival is a regular annual feature in Cleveland, USA and leading Indian artists take active part in them. Indian temples are seen in most of the States in America, the Venkatachalapathi temple at Petersburg being the biggest among them.
Cinemas, the computer, air linkage, information technology have all brought the inhabitants of the world closer. The world which remained unreachable and wide apart before has become a global village now. As the geographical boundaries became mere symbols, people to people contact became more frequent. As people mingled with each other, we find a cultural synthesis taking place in India now.
Some adverse changes have also come in the Indian family tradition. Previously, the wife used to be the home maker, attending to house hold duties, managing the children, attending to religious practices etc. Now, according to the modern trend more and more house-wives are going beyond their home-making avocation and take up responsibilities in business undertakings. “Now, for women, there is life even after marriage” commented a friend in a lighter vein. Women are well educated and became partners with men in bringing about progress and prosperity. Thanks to the winds of change blowing over and thanks to the free and liberal outlook created by modern era, India now finds itself free from its outmoded customs and practices. Though woman has proved her enormous power as a contributor for nation building, it cannot be denied that she has left a vacuum at the home front. We need to bring up a system where our culture and tradition should be passed on to our children also. Woman has a higher responsibility in this sphere.
It would be pertinent to conclude this essay with the quotation of Swami Ranganathananda, the late President of Ramakrishna Mission, Kolkata: “Change is the order of the day. Everyday, we witness changes occurring all around us and even within us. Society may change in infinite ways in response to historical necessities but that is no reason why cultural values underlying all human endeavors should change.” Let us all be proud of our culture and cherish it for ever.
So, we not only say that we are proud of being and Indian but we really are. It is always indian culture which gave us a different definition or identity infront of whole world. Like, only by seeing a Foreigner you can’t say from where he/she belongs from, but, any Foreigner can easily say that he/she belongs from india. Jai hind.