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A flash on Indian Culture, Traditions and Customs

India and its culture and tradition have always been intriguing to outsiders; let's discuss the reasons and logic behind a few such traditions

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Pixabay

May 02, 2017: Indian Culture and traditions are very distinctive from other cultures and that is one of the many reasons why it has now become renowned all across the world. India and its culture are referred to as something very diverse and unique, but we should put some thought into why things are done in certain specific ways. Indian Culture is full of several intriguing unique customs and traditions. The origin of Most of these lies in Ancient Indian scriptures and texts, which have dictated the way of life in India for thousands of years.

1. The Namaste

Namaste, Pixabay

The namaste is one of the most popular Indian customs that is so popular that today it isn’t really just restricted to the Indian territory anymore. Barack Obama has been seen doing it on various occasions, even Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, has been spotted greeting everyone with a namaste at the Times’ Square in New York on the first International Yoga Day. The Namaste, or ‘namaskar’, or ‘namaskaara’ is one of the five forms of traditional greetings mentioned the Vedas. It translates to “I bow to you”. Greeting one another with it is a way of saying “May our minds meet”, indicated by the folded palms placed before the chest. The word ‘namaha’ can also be translated as ‘na ma’ (not mine), to suggest the reductions of one’s ego in the presence of the other.

2. The science behind temples:

Akshardham temple, wikimedia

Most temples are located along magnetic wave lines of the earth; this scientific location helps in maximising the available positive energy. There is a copper plate (called Garbhagriha or Moolasthan) buried under the main idol that absorbs and resonates this energy to its surroundings. Because of these going to the temple frequently helps in having a positive mind and garnering positive energies, which in turn lead to healthier functioning. The practice to take off footwear before entering temple premises helps to prevent dirt to an otherwise cleansed and sanctified environment.

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3. Religious symbols:

swastika, Wikimedia

The Indian traditions and scriptures have various signs and symbols which can mean various things. For example, the usage of the Swastika actually is the symbol of Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. The arms of the Swastika have various meanings; they can refer to the four Vedas, the four constellations, or the four basic aims of human pursuit.

4. Atithi Devo Bhava:

Welcoming guests, Wikimedia

The saying “Bhava Devo Bhavah” is also expressed the Indian attitude towards the world; it means “the guest is equivalent to god”. It is a Sanskrit verse taken from the Hindu scriptures which later became a part of the “Code of conduct” for Hindu society since the guest has always been of supreme importance for the host in the culture.

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5. Always a festive season:

Young people smile in Jaipur during Holi Festival, Wikimedia

Mostly because of the prevalence of diverse communities, India gets to see a large number of festivals. The Indian Muslims celebrate Eid, the Indian Christians have Christmas, good Friday and so on, the Sikhs have Baisakhi (harvesting of crop), and the birthdays of their Gurus and the Hindus have Diwali, Holi, Makar Sankranti, the Jains have Mahavir Jayanti, the Buddhists celebrate the Buddha’s birthday on Buddha Poornima. To be honest, the number is endless. Of course, All of these result in holidays.

6. Joint families:

Joint families in India, Wikimedia

In India, the concept of a joint family, wherein the entire family (parents, wife, children and in some cases relatives) all live together is very popular in India, even though today that has changed due to busy lives. The cohesive nature of the Indian society is the primary reason behind the joint family tradition. Also, this is helpful in handling pressure and stress.

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7. Indian ethnic wear:

Traditional Indian Dress, Pixabay

The most sported ethnic wear by Indian women is the ‘Sari’, a single cloth that needs no stitching, easy to make, comfortable to wear and also adheres to religious etiquette. Today this originally Hindu get-up has become popular in all religions. The same can be applied to the more functional ‘Kurta-Pyjama’, and the ceremonial wear off ‘Sherwani’ for Indian men of all religions.

Thousands of traditions co-exist in the subcontinent of India, and quite a few of them would leave outsiders rather curious. But the mojo of Indian society and tradition and its universal acceptance lies in its authenticity, well mannered, polite, respectful teachings and the unity in diversity.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

Next Story

Three Projects Help India to Stop its Share of Water to Pakistan after Pulwama

The waters of the western rivers - the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab - averaging around 135 MAF, were allocated to Pakistan.

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Picture Courtesy:-www.economylead.com

The government has envisaged three projects to give intent to its decision to stop its share of water from three eastern rivers of the Indus system – the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej – from going to Pakistan.

The decision was affirmed by Water Resource Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday in the wake of Pulwama terror attack though the Union cabinet had approved implementation of one of the key projects – Shahpurkandi dam – in December last year.

The waters of the western rivers – the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab – averaging around 135 MAF, were allocated to Pakistan except for “specified domestic, non-consumptive and agricultural use permitted to India”, according to a treaty.

India has also been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through run-of-the-river (RoR) projects on the western rivers which, subject to specific criteria for design and operation, is unrestricted.

pakistan, india, water ban
However, about 2 MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilised to Pakistan. VOA

To utilise the waters of the Eastern rivers, India has constructed the Bhakra Dam on Satluj, Pong and Pandoh Dam on Beas and Thein (Ranjitsagar) on Ravi. These storage works, together with other works like Beas-Sutlej Link, Madhopur-Beas Link and Indira Gandhi Nahar Project have helped India utilise nearly the entire share (95 per cent) of the eastern river waters.

However, about 2 MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilised to Pakistan. The other two projects are Ujh multipurpose project and the second Ravi Beas link below Ujh.

Here’s the reality check of the three projects:

Shahpurkandi Project: It aims to utilise the waters coming from powerhouse of Thein dam in order to irrigate 37,000 hectares of land in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab by generating 206 MW of power.

The project was scheduled to be completed by September 2016. However, following a dispute between the two states, work was suspended in August 2014 but they reached an agreement last September and the construction work has now resumed with the Centre monitoring its progress. The central government had in December last year announced assistance of Rs 485 crore for the project and it would be completed by June 2022.

 

India, pakistan, pulwama, water ban
The decision was affirmed by Water Resource Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday in the wake of Pulwama terror attack. VOA

The project will create irrigation potential of 5,000 hectare in Punjab and 32,173 hectare in Jammu and Kashmir.

Officials said that some water of the Ravi is going waste through the Madhopur Headworks downstream to Pakistan and it is required in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

The total balance cost of pending work in ShahpurKandi Dam project is estimated Rs 1,973.53 crore (irrigation component: Rs 564.63 crore, power component Rs1408.90 crore).

The Shahpurkandi Project was initially approved by the Planning Commission in November, 2001. Revised costs were approved, but there was delay in its execution both because of lack of funds with Punjab and inter-state issues with Jammu and Kashmir.

An agreement was finally reached between the two states under the aegis of Water Resources Ministry in September last year.

Ujh multipurpose project: Construction of the Ujh multipurpose project will create a storage of about 781 million cubic metres of water on Ujh, a tributary of Ravi, for irrigation and power generation and provide a total irrigation benefits of 31,380 hectares in Kathua, Hiranagar and Samba districts of Jammu and Kashmir.

The total estimated cost of the project is Rs 5,850 crore and the Central assistance of Rs 4,892.47 crore on works portion of irrigation component as well as the special grant is under consideration. The project is yet to be implemented and it will take about six years for completion.

Second Ravi Beas link below Ujh: The project has been planned to tap excess water flowing down to Pakistan through Ravi by constructing a barrage across it for diverting water through a tunnel link to the Beas basin.

The project is expected to utilise about 0.58 MAF of surplus waters below Ujh dam by diverting the same to the Beas basin.

 

india, pakistan, water share, pulwama
Officials said that some water of the Ravi is going waste through the Madhopur Headworks downstream to Pakistan and it is required in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Wikimedia

The water distribution treaty between India and Pakistan was brokered by the World Bank in 1960 to use the water available in the Indus system of rivers originating in India.

 

ALSO READ: IOC Cancels Places for 2020 Tokyo Games from India after it Refused Visas to Pakistan

The Indus system comprises Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers. The basin is mainly shared by India and Pakistan with a small share for China and Afghanistan.

Under the treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, all the waters of the three eastern rivers, averaging around 33 million acre feet (MAF), were allocated to India for exclusive use.  (IANS)