India is a vast country comprising many ethnic groups with myriad spoken languages, dialects and regional variations. Its people profess and practice different faiths according to their beliefs which is reflected in the frustums, rituals, morals, norms, dresses, festivals, etc.
The unique feature is that in spite of his diversity they are essentially united. History is witness to the fact that though several foreign invaders have attacked India, none ever succeeded in obliterating the basic Indian culture emerged richer from these external invasions because of its inherent tolerance and willingness to imbibe and learn the new, thus bringing about richness to its culture through the process of synthesis.
After Independence our Constitution declared India a secular State. A secular State is not irreligious. It has profound reverence for all faiths and gives all its citizens freedom to profess and practice their religious beliefs.
It does not recognize any distinction based on religion, race, sex caste or colour. In the eyes of law all are equal. It was indeed a sign of great maturity and foresight on the part of the framers of our Constitution that they did not impose one religion or language on the people.
Any attempt to do so would have proved counter productive and defeated the very purpose.
No one could have known this better than the people who fought for the Independence of the country from foreign rule.
In those early days of struggle for independence, people from all walks of life, with diverse religious, cultural, social, economic, linguistic backgrounds, stood united in their determination to throw the British out of the country and take the reins of the country in their own hands.
Even in more recent times, during recent Kargil conflict, during last two wars with Pakistan and one with China, the entire nation stood as one behind its armed forces boost its morale.
Indian civilization has always been based on religious and moral values. Herein lay its unity and strength.
In all parts of the country, cultural unity, the unity of the way of life and outlook, transcends the vast diversity in the faiths, beliefs- at times bordering on superstition, magic, charms, etc. and practices.
One may travel from one end of the Country to another and encounter a totally different milieu, where people talk, dress and worship differently, yet one will not feel a stranger.
Everywhere he will recognize a common thread in some aspect of life which makes him feel at home.
Indian culture preserved its fundamental character through the ages. We have experienced revolutionary economic and political changes in recent times, but our past remains very much with us.
Our rich cultural heritage is passed from one generation to another to be natured and renewed in their hands.
Many ancient civilizations have decayed and degenerated because of stagnation and resistance to changes with the tide of the time.
Indian culture has remained alive and dynamic because it has always been in contact with other cultures, constantly influencing and interacting with them.
Significant contributions have been made to it by Aryans, Dravidians, Greeks, Persians, Arabs, Moghuls and Europeans.
Had it not been for the tolerance shown by the people of India during the rule of foreigners who brought in their own traditions and sought to impose them on the Indian people, the flexible Indian culture would have lost its moorings.
The Persian and Western influence on our art, literature, painting, dress have now become an integral part of our own culture.
However, we cannot keep our eyes closed to the reality. We are passing through turbulent times.
When certain anti-national and external forces are trying to disturb the unity of the country by encouraging communal feelings’ and sentiments.
It has led to increasing intolerance, disharmony and lawlessness and also to riots and, killings of innocent people and virtually terrorized people.
In panic, when the people face threat to their lives, they tend to cling to their socio-religious groups which to different communities.
Terrorism should not be allowed to raise its ugly head and destroy our basic unity. When a country is torn by internal strife there is always a danger of external aggression.
Today Indian culture is in a stage of transition and progress. The winds of change in the wake of rapid advancement of science and technology have swept over the entire world including our country.
But there should not be an indiscriminate following of the western modes to the utter disregard of what suits the nation. Certain cultural and social changes are inevitable with the times.
However, it is the moral responsibility of the people to ensure conservation of their own cultural tradition; people should not be allowed to forget their own cultural and social heritage.
Exposed to western culture the educated youth adopt the western life style- western fashion, tastes, dresses, fast foods etc. and create a big gulf between themselves and the rural masses. This trend should be checked.
While it is universally accepted that science and technology should be increasingly used to raise productivity, standard of living of the people, reform the existing social structure.
It is also felt that only when we have combined these with our values can we achieve success and guarantee a balance between tradition and modernity and retain the distinction of being a country unique for maintaining unity in spite of diversity.
Our rich cultural heritage is a legacy which should be preserved at all costs. A correct balance of traditional values with modern ideas should be the objective.
The future generations should be able to hold their head with pride for being born in a country with rich tradition of values and morals.
Our goal should be to achieve a happy synthesis of new trends of science and traditional ideas which have sustained the country through all times.
In recent times, there has been a cultural reawakening among the educated youth who have become aware of the beauty of our art forms, crafts and have started taking a keen interest in educating themselves about their rich cultural tradition.
Government has also in its effort to promote national integration started organizing big cultural events and has set up four regional cultural centers in different parts of the country.
All these attempts should help in strengthening the common bond of unity that ties the people together in spite of the diversity in their beliefs, ways and religion.