India, with its vast and diverse land, occupies a seat in South Asia. The veins running through this diverse nation, all connect at its capital city of New Delhi, in the Northern Part of India. India roughly accounts for one-sixth of the world’s population and is the second-most populous country, just behind China. India is a parliamentary democracy, it’s also the largest democracy in the world, Although Indian society is defined by hierarchies established by religious-cultural scriptures thousands of years ago post-independence in 1947, the Indian society has strived for parity, social justice, and an egalitarian and harmonized society, ever since, to the effect that India’s first general assembly elections in 1950-1951 were the first attempt in a democracy to provide the right to vote to every citizen irrespective of their caste, class, religion, gender, and sex.
India has a prominent and diversified culture, which has withstood the waves of time and has assimilated within itself, fragments of various cultures that were brought in by the foreign invaders and colonial masters centuries ago. India’s culture is so intricate and wide that all 28 states have their own folk dance forms, with a classic attire that is donned during the dance. There’s a variety in cuisine, climate, topography however, what’s astounding is the fact that over 3,000 languages are spoken throughout the length and breadth of the country, such diversity in itself truly justifies the use of the term “subcontinent” for India. Indian culture is an amalgamation of several distinct cultures in one span over the entire nation and this culture, today has witnessed a distinct urban-rural mix in the society. India is also the motherland of religions like Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism and is a Secular nation. Religion in Indian society is so deep-rooted that there are elaborate ceremonies in familial units that begin at the birth of a baby and are persistently observed till the individual finally rests in peace. Due to the diversity of religion in India, there are numerous elaborate festivals that span the entire calendar, many times, the same festivals are celebrated with different names and practices, and sometimes, festivals of different religions have the beautiful coincidence of sharing the same date of observance and are observed simultaneously, this glorifies the adjective, “Unity in Diversity”, which is often used to describe Indian sub-continent.
At the time of independence, there were over 600+ princely states in India i.e autonomous states governed by governors or rulers, therefore, there’s a pan India variety in architecture, with the Forts in Rajasthan, the Harappan civilization sites in Rajasthan-Gujarat and Haryana, to the beautiful valleys and tea plantations of Assam and Sikkim, with the hilly terrain and valleys of North-East India, the elaborate Kashmir Valleys, the snowfall covered hills of Kashmir and Himachal, the beautiful cultural sites of Hampi, Madurai, with South-India flaunting it’s kaleidoscopic culture, along with the sites of Chola, Chera and Pandya empire and the Vijayanagar empire. India also has a total of 38 world heritage sites, which includes 30 cultural monumental sites and 7 natural sites, and 1 mixed site, India is also home to the glorious Taj Mahal. Indian heritage and architecture is an amalgamation of various architectural forms ranging from the Rock-cut architecture to Mughal, to Neolithic to Indo-Saracenic, there’s also Dravidian and Sikh architecture and a variety of glorious Buddhist sites like the Sanchi Stupa.
India over the years has kept it’s sincere promise to its citizens, has continued to strive for equality in opportunity, education, access to information, and justice. India has witnessed a growth in literacy, gender equality, and cultural integration. India is also extensively advocating for the development of domestic markets and collaborative efforts to raise economic activities in Asia. Today, India is also playing an active part in world politics, it’s advocating for sustainable development and is actively working with Asian economies to help develop human rights, peace and parity throughout the globe, with it’s meticulous and valuable contribution through platforms like BRICS, SAARC, ASEAN, and the United Nations. India has imbibed the ideals of a unified world, accommodating diversity and advocating for peace and equality.
By Abhishek Vats, Country Director of ASEAN Youth Organization-India Chapter