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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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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

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Copyright 2017 NewsGram

Next Story

India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two about the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read : China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s boarders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June, 2017 and 5 July, 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons  as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July, 2017, China asked India again to withrew its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July, 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read : Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab ?

What followed till 16th August, 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters awayfrom their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue for now is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.