The uniqueness of Indian culture is its unity in diversity. India’s cultural legacy shows that despite all kinds of differences, there exists a strong chord of unity which binds all Indians together. It is the dynamism and resilience of our culture that has sustained it for centuries despite its myriad diversities and differences. One of the hallmarks of our culture is that irrespective of the area or region we live in we all feel culturally connected. It is largely on account of similarity in ethos shared by people across the country on different occasions. For instance, the celebration of Lohri and Baisakhi in Punjab, Bihu in Assam and Pongal in Tamil Nadu as harvesting festivals unites entire India with joyous feelings. Similar feelings are shared across the country when Makar Sankranti is celebrated on 14th January. Holi, Eid, Diwali, and Christmas are other major festivals which are celebrated all over India. We see that although names of festivals are different, ethos remains the same which acts as a latent unifying force.
It is this socio-cultural churning which has taken place in India since ancient times has resulted in what we popularly call as ‘Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb’, meaning a composite culture.
This cultural harmony has also been recognized by our Constitution. Article 51 A of the Constitution underscores its importance when it says that ‘it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to value and preserve the rich cultural heritage of our composite culture. The Article further mentions that it is one of the fundamental duties of the citizens “to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India, transcending religious, linguistic, and regional or sectional diversities, to renounce practices derogatory to women…”. They all are indicative of recognition and reiteration of unity in diversity by the state.
The essence of our culture is its amorphous and flexible elements which allowed people to freely mix up with each other. It also reflects in our behavior as Indians. Spiritualism, simplicity, filial obligations, harmony, benevolence, austerity, tolerance are some of the significant manifestations of our culture. Indian culture has also assimilated western ideas and concepts. Today it is substantially contributing to Indian life-style. Globalization is working as a catalyst in hastening this process.
Mahatma Gandhi in his weekly journal ‘Young India’ also emphasized that the essence of Indian culture is its unity in diversity. Indian culture cannot afford to be exclusivist. If it so happens, India would lose its identity. Unity in diversity is the very pivot of the feeling of Indianness.
Thus, we see diversity in our traditions, customs, manners, habits, tastes, etc. But in spite of these diversities we all are Indians. It is this feeling of Indianness across the length and breadth of the country which has created unity in diversity in India.