The Rich Culture and Heritage of India has developed over centuries. Indians are known across the globe for Diversity and Values. In this article, we will explore the Indian cultural values and their Importance.
Let’s Explore the Culture and Heritage of India
Did Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) imagine what India would be like in the future? The founder of non-violence was one of the leading promoters of India’s independence in 1947.
Seven decades later, the country has undergone many changes on a social and economic level. The Rich Culture and Heritage of India is known and praised across the world but the population, food security, and gender equality are among the most critical challenges.
Diversity of Religions in India
“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and Confucian, ” Mahatma Gandhi once said. , founder of the peace movement of nonviolence, once.
This quote perfectly summarizes the rainbow of religions followed by the more than 1.3 billion people living in India, one of the countries with the most active religions.
The Indian Constitution recognizes the country’s secularity, that is, that it is a country without an official religion. Still, the truth is that it is one of the most spiritual places in the world.
The multiple conquests, cultural exchanges, and ancient religions themselves have lasted until today, forming a unique panorama of beliefs and traditions.
Religions emerged in India
The religions of Indian origin are the so-called dharmic religions (in Sanskrit, dharma means “religion” or “religious law”). Among these doctrines are Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. They are deeply rooted in society.
Hinduism in India
Hinduism is the religion most followed in India: 80% of the population is considered Hindu, representing about 1,000 million people. It is the third most popular religion in the world, behind Christianity and the Muslim religion or Islam.
The Hindu religion is divided into multiple schools, streams, and traditions. Some sects are henotheists: they believe in various divinities but only worship one particular God. Others believe in numerous gods.
The main Hindu gods are Brahma, the God of creation, Vishnu, the God of conservation, and Shiva, the God of destruction.
Buddhism in India
Buddhism is the second largest religion in India, especially in the north. Buddhists do not believe in any god, but in the development of the mind to try to better understand the universe.
The origins of Buddhism are found in the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha, during the 4th century BC.
Jainism is one of the oldest religions of the world: data makes more than 10,000 years. Jains do not believe in God but follow Mahavira, their prophet. They reject any type of violence at such a level that they are the only religion that has never been involved in a warlike conflict.
In the Indian state of Punjab are the majority of Sikhs, followers of Sikhism. This religion mixes customs and ideas of Hinduism and Islam, such as the belief in reincarnation, vegetarianism. The prohibition against drinking alcohol.
The influence of other beliefs
Islam is the second religion of India, with about 200 million faithful. It is a non-Muslim country with the largest Muslim population. When India and Pakistan became independent in 1947, the Muslim population in India was a victim of persecution and conflict. A part moved to the new Muslim-majority state of Pakistan. For its part, Christianity entered India through the British Empire, which for centuries, traded in the country and later established the British Raj, a colonial system of government that lasted until independence in 1947.
Indian Population: Asset or Liability
India is the second-most populous country in the world behind China. According to figures from the World Bank, it has more than 1,300 million people, and it is expected that in 2022 it will reach 1,400 million people, according to UN estimates.
One of the Indian population’s characteristics is its youth: the average age is around 28 years. A figure far removed from ageing countries such as those of the European Union, where the average age exceeds 40 years.
Among the factors responsible for the population increase is the high birth rate of young women. The fact that response to the lack of contraceptive methods and the general poverty of society pushes families to have more descendants to collaborate with the domestic economy.
An unfair social system
A caste system organizes the population of India. These social groups are ordered according to a hierarchical structure based on the purity and impurity of people.
Thus, each caste has an associated profession, customs, and even a defined territory. Privileged castes have more rights and can access better jobs than lower castes, for example.
The Indian Constitution of 1949 established the abolition of discrimination for belonging to one or another caste. This allowed a part of society to access the university and certain public offices.
However, today the caste system is still deeply rooted in society, especially in rural areas where tradition has a significant weight.
India is one of the leading exporting countries in the world. One of the most exported products is rice, a staple food for the local population.
However, despite the great economic development that has occurred in recent years, a quarter of India’s population continues to suffer from extreme hunger, according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The worst effects of this food insecurity are no more extended starvation deaths, but malnutrition and related diseases, which affect the future of millions of people.
A polluted country
Pollution is one of the main effects of climate change and affects all countries on the planet. In India, air pollution and the accumulation of waste, both in large cities and seas and oceans, have broken records in recent years.
The level of air pollution in New Delhi, India’s capital, is 14 times higher than the safe level established by the World Health Organization (WHO).
It is estimated that over 1.5 million people die each year in India due to diseases caused by air pollution.
Gender (in) equality
According to the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, more than 70% of Indian women living in rural areas experience some form of violence.
It is estimated that every seven minutes, some type of abuse against women occurs. The violations, and especially the impunity enjoyed by the aggressors, makes gender equality still a mirage.
This gender discrimination is due to the patriarchal and macho nature of Indian society, which has traditionally relegated women to inferiority.
One example of this inequality is forced marriages and the obligation to pay a dowry so that the groom’s family accepts the bride and takes care of her. On the other hand, although the legal age to marry is 18, many minors are forced to marry in forced marriages.
Another example of this discrimination is related to menstruation. In India, the rule is considered taboo: many women are repudiated and isolated when they have their period, once a month. Added to this is the lack of education on intimate hygiene, which directly affects the health of girls and women.