Indian culture and religion pdf
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- Study Material For Indian Culture – Art, Architecture and Literature
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- 16 Unique Culture of India : Customs & Indian Traditions
The Namaste is one of the most popular Indian customs and isn't just restricted to the Indian territory anymore.
Religion in India Census . Religion in India is characterised by a diversity of religious beliefs and practices. The preamble of the Indian constitution states that India is a secular state. India had given refuge to followers of persecuted religions across its history.
Study Material For Indian Culture – Art, Architecture and Literature
Download your free copy here. Religion and culture seem like complex ideas to study from the perspective of International Relations. After all, scholars and philosophers have long debated the meaning of these terms and the impact they have had on our comprehension of the social world around us. So is it an impossibly complicated task to study religion and culture at the global level?
In this chapter, which completes the first section of the book, we will explore why thinking about religious and cultural factors in global affairs is as integral as the other issues we have covered thus far. Where can we see examples of religion and culture at work in the domains of world politics? How do religious and cultural factors impact on our ability to live together?
Our investigation will begin to address these questions. There has indeed been a transition in IR thinking about the value of religion and culture.
How can we define religion and culture in a way that is useful to the study of world politics? It is important to sketch each term separately before bringing them back together to form a composite picture. We begin with religion, a category that scholars and policymakers once considered irrelevant to the study of IR because it was not believed to be important for the economic and security interests of modern states and their citizens. Yet, many scholars now hold that religion cannot be ignored.
While the idea of culture has equally been underplayed in IR, its inclusion in analyses of world affairs predates that of religion and is considered less controversial.
We shall consider four elements of each category and then make important linkages between them so that religion and culture make sense as whole, rather than fragmented, ideas. Are you numbered among the 20 or 80 per cent? Do you think religious influence on global affairs is a welcome inclusion or a significant problem? The following four elements of religion may provide a useful introduction. These beings are sometimes understood as a knowable God or gods, sometimes as mythical and symbolic figures from our ancient past and sometimes as impersonal forces beyond the physical realm.
Different religious traditions understand the influence of religion upon politics in different ways. In Iran, for example, the highest court in the land is a religious one, drawing its principles from the Shia branch of Islam — the second largest Islamic tradition worldwide after the majority Sunni tradition.
This court has the power to veto laws of parliament and decide who can hold power. Likewise, in Myanmar formerly Burma an influential group of religious monks has started a movement intent on imposing Buddhist principles on the whole country, including non-Buddhist minorities.
For example, religious development organisations such as the Aga Khan Development Network also from the Shia branch of Islam work in areas of health care and education in countries of Africa and Asia without seeking to control entire political systems.
Likewise, in Myanmar, the so-called Saffron Revolution of saw Buddhist monks stand with the poor against the ruling military dictatorship and support the beginnings of multi-party democracy.
In these examples, religious politics is adapted to changing circumstances and takes into account diverse interests and beliefs across society. What is common to both fundamental and contextual religious traditions is an understanding that politics is in some sort of interactive relationship with the intentions of, or traditions shaped by, gods or God and spiritual forces.
This contrasts strongly with secular approaches that demote, and sometimes deny altogether, a role for religion in political affairs. Do you believe that religion has a role to play in public debates or should it be confined to private spirituality only?
From an individual point of view, we could address this question by asking what it would be like to live in societies that are either entirely controlled by religion, or entirely without religion. What would the benefits and losses be in each situation?
It can be strongly argued that neither scenario exists in pure form. When religion has been used to dominate the public square, a diversity of groups non-religious and religious have risen in opposition. Likewise, when religion has been expelled from the public domain, religious actors and interests go underground waiting for a chance to re-emerge.
The second element of religion are rituals that re-order the world according to religious principle. Our senses are portals to the spirit. Therefore, rituals function as tangible symbols of the intangible realm. For examples of different studies that consider the public rituals of Judaism, Islam and Hinduism respectively see Beck , Bronner and Haider While some religious rituals are private or hidden, many are performed in public spaces or in ways that are openly accessible to wider society.
As such, they are a part of public life — which is one of the original definitions of the word politics. For religious adherents, rituals symbolise spiritual truths but they can also redefine how power can be understood in the material world. Thomas Merton once described his experience of watching Trappist monks perform the rituals of the Catholic Mass in very political terms. He wrote:. The eloquence of this liturgy [communicated] one, simple, cogent, tremendous truth: this church, the court of the Queen of Heaven, is the real capital of the country in which we are living.
These men, hidden in the anonymity of their choir and their white cowls, are doing for their land what no army, no congress, no president could ever do as such: they are winning for it the grace and the protection and the friendship of God. Merton , Beyond the experience of individuals, states also seek divine blessing. For example, over one-fifth of states today have a monarch such as a king, queen or emperor. Although monarchs differ in the extent of their powers — from figureheads controlled by parliaments to absolute rulers to variations of these — they all draw their power from some form of religious or spiritual authority.
The elaborate rituals of monarchies worldwide are understood by their subjects to symbolise divine blessing for the realm and its citizens, redefining where the real power lies. The third element of religion is teaching traditions based on stories of significant figures, events and ideas from the past and beliefs about the future of time itself — like a spoiler alert about the end of the world.
For some religions, however, time itself is an illusion and the main focus is living in the now according to sacred ideas rather than the connection of past—present—future. These elements — interpreting the past, projecting the future, living now — are basic to the development of political ideologies also. Therefore, sometimes religious and political groups can appeal to the same stories or ideas even though the interpretation or intent may differ significantly.
In the s members of both communities appealed to one aspect of Jubilee — a tradition of debt cancellation found in the Hebrew Bible — as the basis for addressing the debt crisis facing developing nations.
Only a few years later, this sacred story was used for very different purposes by US president George W. Sacred stories, ideas and teachings from the past have a richness and power that can influence political affairs today and the aspirations we hold for tomorrow. The fourth element common to most religions is the need for believers to belong to a faith community in order to practice sacred rituals and reinforce the truth of sacred stories.
Some religious traditions could be described as high demand, requiring strict adherence to rules and standards in order to maintain membership of the faith community. Other traditions are low demand, adopting a more flexible approach to the requirements for belonging faithfully to the community.
The connection between religion and identity politics can have individual and international significance. For instance, empowered by belonging to a faith community, individuals can act in ways that they might not otherwise have done in isolation.
Rosa Parks, an African American woman who famously refused to obey American racial segregation laws and sparked a nation-wide civil rights movement in the s, is often lauded as a heroic individual.
This may be true, but as a member of a religious community that affirmed human dignity and the divine principles of racial equality, Rosa Parks was never acting in isolation Thomas , — The four elements of religion described above — the significance of gods and spirits, the power of holy rituals, the telling of sacred stories and belonging to faith communities — seem in their own ways to be a core aspect of the human condition in the twenty-first century. We can approach the term culture in the same way we have considered religion.
There are many proposed meanings of culture, and these vary from the simple to the complex. While each approach has real value for understanding the social world around us, we will opt for a simple version that still gives us plenty to work with. As such, we begin with an understanding of culture as the combined effect of humanly constructed social elements that help people live together. We will explore four elements of culture, illustrating each element through individual and international political experience.
The first element of culture has to do with common or shared life. While media reporting seems to constantly prioritise stories of war, conflict and controversy, it is equally the case that local, national and international society requires a remarkable degree of cooperation. How do we live together? Yet, there are other bonds that are forged at the social level as peoples of difference find ways to live together in the same space by forging common beliefs, habits and values.
It is from this practice of common life that culture often emerges. Sport provides good examples of culture as common life. Let us think about football also known as soccer. Local football clubs can be founded on distinct community identity.
For example, local Australian players from a Greek background can play for a team sponsored by the Hellenic Association. Clubs can equally represent a locality rather than a particular group. Regardless of background, at the international level all players in these clubs have a loyalty to the Australian football team.
Football is the common bond — a sporting pastime but also cultural practice. Think about the way entire nations can be said to embody the activities of its national sporting heroes. Supporters from different countries will identify their team as playing in a certain style, even if these are stereotypes and not entirely accurate: do all Eastern European teams play with structure and discipline? Do all South American sides use flamboyance and spontaneity? The larger point, for both individuals and nations, is the tangible power of a sporting pastime to generate common bonds from the local to the international Rees , — That bond is an expression of culture.
The second element of culture are symbols of identity. The kinds of sign I am referring to are tangible reminders in modern societies of who we are as a people. They include styles of architecture such as bridges or religious buildings , land or waterscapes that influence the activity of life such as in harbour cities , monuments, flags and other identity banners, styles of clothing and habits of dress, distinctive food and drink — and so on.
These signs are more than a tourist attraction, they are symbols that inform members about who they are as a group and that help the group live together cohesively.
Consider, for example, the individual and international significance of national flags as cultural symbols. The Star-Spangled Banner as the anthem of the United States of America describes the power of a national flag to inspire individual and national devotion.
The answer for Key was yes, the flag symbolising defiance and the promise of victory. Equally, persecuted communities within a country might see a national or regional flag as a symbol of oppression rather than freedom, symbolising a dominant way of life that excludes them.
In all regions of the world nationalist groups fight for autonomy or independence from a country or countries that surround them, and do so under alternative flags that represent their own cultural identity.
The flag of the Canadian province of Quebec, for example, employs religious and cultural symbols reflecting its origins as a French colony in the new world.
Quebec nationalists campaigning for independence from Canada have employed the flag in the promotion of French language, cultural preservation and Quebecois identity. National separatist groups worldwide are similarly inspired by symbols of culture they are trying to preserve.
Education About Asia: Online Archives
Indian culture is the heritage of social norms , ethical values , traditional customs, belief systems , political systems , artifacts and technologies that originated in or are associated with the Indian subcontinent. The term also applies beyond India to countries and cultures whose histories are strongly connected to India by immigration, colonization, or influence, particularly in South Asia and Southeast Asia. India's languages , religions , dance , music , architecture , food and customs differ from place to place within the country. Indian culture, often labelled as a combination of several cultures, has been influenced by a history that is several millennia old, beginning with the Indus Valley Civilization. Indian-origin religions Hinduism , Jainism , Buddhism , and Sikhism ,  are all based on the concepts of dharma and karma. India has 28 states and 8 union territories with different culture and it is the second most populated country in the world.
You will gain an understanding of a number of key areas including:. If you want to learn about Indian culture at a greater depth, then sign up for our e-Learning Course on India. Remember this is only a very basic level introduction to Indian culture and the people; it can not account for the diversity within Indian society and is not meant in any way to stereotype all Indian people you may meet! English is used primarily in business, and for economic and political purposes. Language is regional and dialects play a role in the variety of languages spoken throughout India, with some sources suggesting that there are possibly 1, different languages or dialects. These come from four main linguistic families and are centred on different regions.
India is characterized by more ethnic and religious groups than most other countries of the world. Aside from the much noted odd castes, there are eight "major" religions, odd languages spoken in various dialects in 22 states and nine union territories, and a substantial number of tribes and sects. Three ethnic or religious conflicts have stood out of late: two occurred in the states of "Assam and Punjab; another, the more widely known Hindu-Muslim conflict, continues to persist. The Assam problem is primarily ethnic, the Punjab problem is based on both religious and regional conflicts, while the Hindu-Muslim problem is predominantly religious. Of the three conflicts mentioned, Assam has attracted the largest attention of late.
16 Unique Culture of India : Customs & Indian Traditions
Download your free copy here. Religion and culture seem like complex ideas to study from the perspective of International Relations. After all, scholars and philosophers have long debated the meaning of these terms and the impact they have had on our comprehension of the social world around us.
Indian society is collectivistic and promotes social cohesion and interdependence. The traditional Indian joint family, which follows the same principles of collectivism, has proved itself to be an excellent resource for the care of the mentally ill. However, the society is changing with one of the most significant alterations being the disintegration of the joint family and the rise of nuclear and extended family system.
In India today,with a growing economy due to liberalization and more consumption than ever in middle class life, food as something to be enjoyed and as part of Indian culture is a popular topic. From a s food economy verging on famine, India is now a society where food appears plentiful, and the aesthetic possibilities are staggering. Cooking shows that demonstrate culinary skills on television, often with celebrity chefs or unknown local housewives who may have won a competition, dominate daytime ratings. Local indigenous specialties and ways of cooking are the subjects of domestic and international tourism brochures. Metropolitan restaurants featuring international cuisines are filled with customers.
India is known for the moral ethos of its people. Indian beliefs have been associated with compassion and respect for nature and its creations since ages. The religious beliefs of Jain, Vedic and Buddhist traditions in India established the principles of ecological harmony centuries ago.
2. Festivals & Religion - Always a Festive Season
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