India is a country where different regions have their own distinct identification in terms of culture, traditions, food, and a lot more. It is a diverse nation in terms of languages, festivals, traditions, food, religion, and more. Unity in diversity is the phrase that fits appropriate to our country in every way possible.
In this article, we will discuss the diversification of India in multiple aspects. We will also focus on understanding the meaning of diversity and the reasons behind the country being a diverse nation.
We will explore the meaning of “Unity in Diversity” and what are the factors that make it so adapt to our nation. Along with it, we have also listed the types of diversities one gets to witness in India.
Apart from all this, we have also mentioned some of the factors that might cause harm to the diversified nation and the importance of diversification.
So let us begin with the write-up.
- 1 Meaning of the word ‘Diversity’
- 2 Reasons behind India being Diverse
- 3 Meaning of Unity in Diversity in India
- 4 Importance of unity in diversity
- 5 Type of Diversities in India
- 6 Physical Diversity
- 7 Racial Diversity
- 8 Linguistic Diversity
- 9 Religious Diversity
- 10 Caste Diversity
- 11 Why is diversity in India important?
- 12 Indian Culture
- 13 Cultural Values & Traditions
- 14 Handicrafts and Traditional Clothing of India
- 15 Festivals of India
- 16 Art, Literature, and Architecture
- 17 Dance and Music in India
- 18 Indian Cuisines
- 19 World Heritage Sites in India
- 20 Conclusion
Meaning of the word ‘Diversity’
Diversity is the word with a broader meaning used to propagate the concept of acceptance and respect among individuals for everyone no matter what culture or tradition he/she follows.
It is completely based on the spectrum of demographic, philosophical, and cultural distinctions.
Diversity can also be the symbol of ethnicity, race, gender, socio-economic status, physical abilities, religious beliefs, and a lot of other ideologies.
In very simple terms, diversity means different. It is the degree of differences between the physical and cultural features of different regions in our country. These features are similar to a group and are distinct from another group.
Reasons behind India being Diverse
The diversity in India is visible in cultures, religions, ethnicity, authentication of regions and nationalism works as a binding agent to keep all the people of diverse factors together as one.
India is considered the most diverse country in the world and it holds the most complex amalgamation of various cultural identities.
There are numerous reasons that contribute to the diversified nature of India.
India is the birthplace of many religions that are followed all over the world by a huge population. Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism are popular of all that have Diaspora in multiple countries around the world.
From the past centuries, many people from all around the world migrated to India and made this country their permanent settlements by bringing more religions in the country like Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, etc.
Since ancient times, India has been ruled by various rulers and dynasties. Their cultural existence is still visible in many parts of the country.
It doesn’t matter if the names of those regions have changed in the coming times but the forts and palaces and other architectures are still present to witness the cultural existence of those times.
The Indian subcontinent is not exclusive to a single ethnicity like in many Middle Eastern and European countries. India has experienced a great range of migration of people from the early ages because it was a hidden gem for the rest of the world and every powerful empire in the world wanted to conquer India in its reign.
From the times of peak periods of Arabs to the Mughals and Afghans to the modern era of Portuguese, French and British people, every ruling empire had an eye on the treasures that India held in form of spices, gold, raw materials, and a lot more that brought many cultures to India in form of invasions of the country.
India had various geographical barriers that were difficult to overcome and it was the main reason for the isolation of the country from the rest of the world.
The political, trade and commercial practices came with a different set of rules and policies which further contributed to socio-cultural practices.
India has the very first civilizations being habituated on its grounds. Indus valley civilization and Mohenjo-Daro are the very first civilizations of the human race that were witnessed in India.
Meaning of Unity in Diversity in India
Unity in Diversity is an ancient phrase that has been widely used for Indian society in present times. The phrase is dated back to 500 BC and was prominently used by American and Chinese civilizations.
Unity in Diversity is a concept of togetherness without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation.
It is used as an expression of harmony between individuals or groups belonging to various backgrounds or following different practices.
The phrase shifts the focus from unity based on the tolerance of language, ideological, sociological, physiological differences of social units to unity based on appreciation and acceptance.
There is no other country in the world that exemplifies the phrase of unity in diversity as India does. One must feel proud of this fact. Being a land of 5000 years old civilization India is the epitome of rich diversities.
People, with distinguished backgrounds, respect one another and live with harmony and brotherhood.
The country homes almost all the religions of the world and is the birthplace of a few of them as well.
The 28 states and 8 Union Territories have their culture, tradition, and distinct language that their residents speak. The people here celebrate more than 30 festivals in a year and spread the message of rejoicing and replenish to the rest of the world.
Importance of unity in diversity
We are very aware that unity is an important aspect for any country to grow and focus on development.
We have mentioned a few factors that typically explain the reason for the importance of unity for any country in the world.
People with multiple diversities can easily disapprove of a situation or can have bifurcating ideologies than one another. Therefore national peace and harmony, it is very important to have the realization of oneness among everybody in the country.
If unity exists among people it will become impossible to disintegrate people and the nation as a whole. This proves to be helpful in maintaining peace, harmony, and prosperity in a country.
Growth & Development
Harmony is achieved only by a sense of unity and brotherhood. And for a country to grow economically and gain development it is very important to maintain peace within the nation so that resources are used properly.
A country that lives in peace always focuses on the steps to development. Such nations have very few internal issues and can focus actually on the betterment of its residents.
With so much diversified existence among people in one country, there can be instances of conflict of interest among them. To avoid such conflicts and strongly believe in oneness can lead a country like India towards a peaceful co-existence among other first-world nations.
A country that is unified adds to the values of the nations and attains worldwide recognition and global excellence.
It sets an example of values and morals for other countries to learn and grow from it. It teaches them how to grow and respect one another along with being different and diverse at the same time.
Type of Diversities in India
India is a country with the second largest population in the world and it represents endless varieties of cultural and physical coexistences. People belonging from all the major religions dwell here and consider the land as a unified place for one another.
The vast population of the country hails from different castes, creeds, customs, and cultures but still accept the existence of one another peacefully.
A few of the important types of diversities that are seen in India are discussed below:
You can also witness physical features that are diverse and uniquely seen in the country. Not only there is diversity among the country’s people but in the geographical aspects as well.
The northern part of the country homes the largest mountain range in the world – “The Himalayas”, which is covered in snow throughout the year. The Himalayan ranges are spread from north to the northeastern part of the country. They are like the barrier that fences the northern part of India.
The Himalayas are the source of major rivers in India. Ganga, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, Satluj, Jhelum, etc. all these rivers are freshwater rivers that emerge from Himalayan ranges.
The western part of the country witnesses the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. Rivers like Narmada, Tapi, and Sabarmati emerge from Amarkantak which is in Madhya Pradesh. You get to see marble rocks in the city of Jabalpur (M.P) and waterfalls as well. The western part has the barrier as the Arabian Sea.
The southern part of the country is in the shape of a peninsula that is stretched into the Indian Ocean. South India houses many mountain ranges and hill stations that are pretty famous among tourists. City of Hyderabad and Mysore has the heritage of their kingdoms still persisting among people, forts, and palaces.
The eastern part of India is also covered in water by the Bay of Bengal. The very famous Chilka Lake in Odisha hosts the Olive Ridley Turtles every year and the Sundarban mangroves are worth recognition in West Bengal.
India has diversity among people that can be visualized in the physical features that categorize them into a particular race.
The grouping is based on features like skin color, a form of hair, type of eyes and nose, and more. These features are distinctive and inherited characteristics.
India has a large number of migratory races that hail from mostly western and eastern directions.
The population of India is identified into six main ethnic groups that are:
The Western Brachyphals
Among all these, the Mongolian and Dravidians constitute the major tribal population in the country.
India has almost around 1652 languages and dialects. There is a very number of people who speak certain languages and they are confined to specific areas in India and don’t have a far reach among other states of the country.
According to the 8th Schedule of the constitution of India, there are 22 languages that are recognized and are mentioned below.
Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santhali, Maithili, Dogri.
Out of these the last four languages were the recently added ones in the year 2004. However, there are still many languages that are being demanded to be added to the 8th schedule.
Hindi in Devnagri script is recognized as the official language by the constitution of India.
All these languages along with certain other languages are very rich in literature and their references can be found in multiple places.
Telugu is the second largest language after Hindi which is spoken by about 60 million people in India. That is why it is said India has the spectacle of the Museum of tongues.
The Preamble of the Constitution of India states that India is a secular country where its people have the choice to follow any religion of their own will.
Although India is a land of multiple religions, 80% of the population follows Hinduism. Other religions to which people belong are Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
Hindus and Muslims are found in almost all parts of India with remaining minority religions having their place of concentrations.
The states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Meghalaya, and Mizoram have more population following Christianity.
Sikhs are concentrated in Punjab and Delhi, whereas Jainism is followed majorly in Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.
There are more than 3000 castes or jatis in India. A caste is a social unit that is hereditary and practices a specific traditional occupation.
The caste system is most dominant among the Hindu population. However, there is a hierarchical system that is seen in other religions as well.
The practice of the caste system in India has been prevalent since the Vedic era. This is the reason that India has such a diverse extent of caste system since old times.
Why is diversity in India important?
Diversity recognizes and appreciates the distinct characteristics of an individual or a social unit or community as a whole. There are many reasons that justify the importance of diversity in the country. Some of them are:
1. It allows the culture to adopt the perspectives which contribute to the development of the nation as a whole and not bias towards a particular group.
2. It offers a unique blend of beliefs and practices that unite the population as a whole.
3. It helps to melt down the pot of religion, traditions, and customs to make the change for the betterment of the country.
4. Enhances the social uplifting of individuals and imparts a greater understanding of the world.
5. Allows all the multicultural groups to come together and form a unique community.
6. Promotes tolerance and true acceptance of each other.
The Threats That Can be Faced by a Diversified Country
We have discussed all the positive aspects of diversity but every yin has yang to it. Every coin has two sides and hence now we will see some negative aspects of diversity in the country.
In some cases diversity can impose a threat or problems in smaller or larger levels as follows:
A diverse nation means people follow different cultures and speak different languages. This can be the reason for a communication barrier between different groups until a common language is known.
Every culture has its own beliefs and practices that might not be similar to people following other cultures. This can create a conflict of interest between the groups which can lead to disruption of the nation’s harmony.
There is malpractice in the following of the caste system in many cultures. The people belonging to higher castes always tend to mistreat and manipulate people belonging to lower castes. This can give rise to disparities among different groups.
It can be a daunting task for multilingual or multi-ethnic groups to follow a uniform code and accept the common rules and regulations at public places like schools, offices, etc. because of the conflict of interest.
The people’s way of life is defined as a culture that also represents their way of dressing, speaking, worshipping, and eating.
Similarly, the way of living life of Indians is known as Indian culture. It is one of the oldest cultures of the world dated back to 3300 BC.
There is a great amount of diversity in the Indian population that brings variety to the culture. We discussed some varieties of diversities of Indian culture and their aspects.
Cultural Values & Traditions
India is blessed with rich cultural values that are appreciated by all the people around the world. We inherit values like touching the feet of our elders in respect, greeting everyone with folding hands, and saying ‘Namaste’.
Indians believe in the concept of ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’ which translates to Guests are considered as God in India.
Also, people believe in the ancient mantras and yagyas during religious events. Yoga and meditation are also a significant part of Indian culture.
Handicrafts and Traditional Clothing of India
Indian handicrafts are present since the ancient Indus valley civilization. Several regions in India have established handicrafts that follow ancient designs and patterns.
There are plenty of examples like pottery, carpets, textiles, paintings that reflect the traditions and rich heritage of the country. The richness can be witnessed in the clothing and attire of the people here.
The clothing style varies from region to regions and their climatic conditions. Salwar Kameez and kurta pyjamas with turban are worn by north Indians, dhoti, and ghagras are worn in Rajasthan and Haryana, Sarees, and dhotis are worn in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Lungis and blouse and skirts are worn in south India.
Festivals of India
There are several festivals celebrated in India. every religion has its own festivals and occasions and there are some common festivals that are celebrated all over India.
National celebrations include Independence day, Republic day, Gandhi Jayanti, and more.
Whereas festivals like Diwali, Holi, Rakshabandhan, Dussehra, New Year are celebrated widely as common festivals by all Indians.
Art, Literature, and Architecture
India is blessed to have a rich heritage of art and literature since ancient times. They have been flourishing in India for centuries.
The oldest literature is Ramayana and Mahabharata. The Vedas and Upanishads are also dated back to ancient times.
There is plenty of contribution to art and architecture over the past centuries. The momentous castles, palaces, forts, caves display the grandeur and excellence in the field. Ajanta and Ellora caves stand as an example of rich art, engravings, and paintings in India.
Dance and Music in India
Indian culture is incomplete without the classical music and folk dances of various regions. The land has a variety of classical dances and folk dances that represent the joyful culture of the country.
The classical dance forms of India include Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, Manipuri, Kathak, Odissi, Kuchipudi, and more.
The folk dances include Garba, Bhangra, Gidda, Bihu, Gaur, Dandiya, and many more.
There are many tribal dances that are equally enjoyed by people of that tribe while celebrating their customs and traditions.
Indian spices have been a means of attraction since ancient times. Traders were attracted to India because of the cultivation of black pepper. Hence, India is home to multi cuisines.
From the Punjabi cuisines that have the very famous and loved Dal Makhni and Naan with Lassi to the south Indian specialty of Dosai and from Gujarat’s Dhokla and khaman to North east’s Momos, there is a vast variety in food that one gets to taste in different regions.
Spices and ingredients vary along with the cooking styles and techniques from one region to another.
World Heritage Sites in India
India has many world heritage sites and also Taj Mahal which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World is homed here in India in Agra, Uttar Pradesh.
A world heritage site is listed by UNESCO for its special cultural and physical significance.
India has 38 world heritage sites and some of the famous ones are mentioned below:
|Uttar Pradesh||Agra FortFatehpur SikriTaj Mahal|
|Maharashtra||Ajanta & Ellora CavesChatrapati Shivaji TerminusElephanta CavesVictorian Gothic and Art deco Ensembles of MumbaiWestern Ghats|
|Bihar||Archaeological sites of NalandaMahabodhi Temple|
|Madhya Pradesh||Sanchi StupaKhajurahoBhimbetka|
|Gujarat||Champaner-Pavagarh Archaeological ParkCity of AhmadabadRani ki vav|
|Goa||Churches and Convents of Goa|
|Tamil Nadu||Chola TemplesMahabalipuramMountain Railways|
|Rajasthan||Jantar MantarHill FortsJaipur city|
|Delhi||Humanyu’s TombQutub MinarRed Fort|
|Chandigarh||Architectural work of Le Corbusier|
|West Bengal||Mountain railwaysSundarbans|
|Himachal Pradesh||Mountain railwaysGreat Himalayan National Park|
|Assam||Kaziranga National ParkManas Wildlife Sanctuary|
|Uttarakhand||Nanda Devi and valley of flowers national park|
|Sikkim||Khangchendzonga national park|
This article throws light on our rich heritage and diversified nature. People here are of accepting nature with tolerance and harmony. Every human being must adapt to these values and learn to accept the world as one place and humans as its residents. We hope this article helped you to understand the concept of unity in diversity and how it is applicable to India in a very adaptable way.