India is one of the most populated countries in the world, officially referred to as the Republic of India. It is located in Southeast Asia, and by area is actually the seventh largest country, occupied by well over 1 billion people. On one side is the Indian Ocean, and on the others are the Arabian Sea with the Bay of Bengal to the southeast. It is bordered by many different countries included Burma, Nepal, and China, and shares the maritime border with Indonesia and Thailand. Within this country is a very unique and vast culture, one that extends thousands of years in the past. This was the original home of what is called the Indus Valley civilization, a culture that is thought to have originated 30,000 years ago. Let’s take a look at Indian history and culture just to show you how complex and diverse the people of this country actually are.
Where It All Began
According to historians, this culture began many millennia ago, evidenced by Mesolithic rock art that has been found. Neolithic settlements appeared in western Pakistan and other locations, but the interesting period of time was when it transitioned into the Iron Age. It was during this time, just prior to 500 BCE, that the Vedas were actually written. This is written documentation about the Indian history and culture depicting a civilization made up of warriors, traders, and priests. There may have been political organizations at that time as well, and traces of irrigation tanks used for agriculture. It is also during this time that an individual by the name of Siddhartha Gautama began to spread the message of what would later be known as Buddhism.
Medieval Culture In India
It was over 1000 years later that culturally diverse city in India began to transition into the creation of temples ruled by kings. Although there were many rulers, there was no one particular empire that was in full control of the entire region. It was also then that the caste system began to be more prominent, and also diversify. It was based on the religion of Hinduism, and was a way of ranking people not only in life, but in regard to what position they had achieved in life through the process of reincarnation. It is from all of this that modern India began to develop, creating traditions based upon philosophy, family, and marriage.
Indian Philosophy And Family Concepts
There are many traditions that still remain in India, although they were founded centuries ago. Traditions involving what are called Yoga, Vedanta and many others, along with different religious practices which include Buddhism. The structure of family and marriage usually required family members to spend most of their lives together. The oldest male would be the head of the household, and make all of the important decisions and rules, ideas that still persist today. Arranged marriages are still a very prominent part of Indian culture, although it is outdated in modern times. There is a very low rate of divorce in comparison to places like the United States, with most of the divorces in India being initiated by women. There are many wedding rituals which include dance, music, and extensive decorations which may include costumes that people wear. It is taken very seriously, and may continue to do so into the future despite Western cultures influence on their society.
Indian Cuisine And Clothing
Another part of Indian history and culture that continues to remain, despite originating centuries ago, is the use of particular types of food which are almost always spicy, usually consisting of rice, bread, and milk based desserts. Clothing in India, especially for women, has remained very consistent. There is a definite discouragement of women wearing clothing that show very much skin. The clothing that they wear is very unique, decorated with jewelry and bangles, something that is identifiable with this culture in particular.
Much of the Indian history and culture of the past has been recorded on parchment that was written in the Sanskrit language. Despite the difference in characters, and the way that it is written, it shares many similarities in structure to classical languages in Europe, specifically in regard to vocabulary and grammar. It is a culture that continues to grow, one that is populated by diverse and unique individuals. It is a waste where the origins of mankind can be traced back, and is continuing to evolve in part due to the influence of Western culture. Those that study Indian culture and history find it to be one of the most unique and colorful of all ancient civilizations that are studied. It continues to be of great interest from traditions passed down through generations, to the writings of the Vedas, and will also continue to write what will soon become history through the accomplishments of this unique people.