Over the centuries, populations from all parts of the world have traversed our borders, experienced our cultures and settled over the years. No country in the world can boast of being tension free in terms of dealing with diversities in its population. Unlike the rest of the world which segregates or presents the picture of a cultural melting pot, India is essentially a reflection of a cultural mosaic, one where there is assimilation and accommodation of various religions, castes and classes, languages. Here are some traits that make the Indian culture unique :
- India has over 400 languages and 2,000 dialects. Although Hindi is believed to be spoken by the majority of the population, around 59% speak languages other than Hindi, like, Bengali, Tamil, Marathi, Punjabi, Urdu, among many others.
- Around 85% of the population is identified as Hindu. 13% compose of Muslims, making India one of the largest nations to house an Islamic population. Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains also compose a smaller percentage.
- Caste is very specifically Indian in origin. The Hindu religion assigns hierarchical caste identities to its adherers. These are, Brahmins (the upper priestly caste), Kshatriyas (the warrior caste), Vaishyas (the business caste), and Shudras (the untouchables).
- Indian cuisine has also been influenced by the various population that has come to accept India as its home. Also, varied geographical markers of the country offer diversity in food habits. Spicy curries are so typical of Indian cuisine. There is a very reduced dependence on cutlery and most people have food with their fingers.
- The history of Indian Cinema began in 1896 with the Lumiere brothers bringing the art of cinema in Mumbai. The first Indian Sound Film, Alam Ara was released in 1931. Bollywood is famous all over the world and enthrals public worldwide with its music and dance. Indian music, theatre and dance forms date over centuries. Some famous dance forms include, Bharat Natyam, Kathakali, Manipudi, Odissi, Kuchipudi are inspired by the Hindu mythology and tell tales of the deities.