Describe any four cultural elements of diversity in India and rate their relative significance in building a national identity.
The Indian national identity is composed of several themes, which include the identity of India as a land of multiple religions, languages, races and ethnicity.
- One of the most important aspects of this cultural diversity is religious diversity; India has been home to all major religions of the world for centuries, apart from its own indigenous beliefs and systems.
- The spiritual aspect of religion is quite similar in all religions. In every religion an emphasis is placed on the moral conduct and transcendence of the selfish ego. While this aspect of religion is a matter of personal devotion, the temporal aspect of religion is always related with the group identity and solidarity is maintained by religious rituals and community’s beliefs. At the temporal level, different religious groups differ from each other. But in India, there has always been respect and tolerance towards different religions, which leads to national integration.
- Similarly, the caste diversity is present in all religions, whereas these are not present anywhere else in world in those religions.
- Language is another source of cultural diversity as well as unity. It contributes to collective identities and even to conflicts. Twenty two languages are recognized by Indian Constitution. All major languages have regional and dialectical variations.
- Fundamental unity is found in the ideas and themes expressed in these languages. There is unity also at the level of grammatical structures.
- India possesses a rich variety of races. The physical features and complexion of the Indian people also differ from region to region.
- But inspite of these diversities unity is present among people and they associate themselves as Indian rather than regional identities.