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“In religion, India is the only millionaire… The one land that all men desire to see and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for all the shows of all the rest of the world combined”.
– Mark Twain

Sept 08, 2016: India is a vast reflection of the diverse culture, different languages, myriad discovered and unknown talents and therefore religion is not alone the standing foundation or backbone of the country.

Religion is an inseparable part of every society and is more of a social system that can be understood if one delves carefully into the practices such as- common faith, worship, rituals, customs, as well as traditions.

While Hinduism is the most practiced religion in India; there are large believers of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism as well in the society. According to the 2011 census, more than 80% of the population of India practice Hinduism and 14.2% adheres to Islam, while the remaining 6% adheres to other religions (Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and various indigenous ethnically-bound faiths).

If we trace the history of religions in India, we are likely to find that Hinduism is the fundamental root of Indian culture. Not just that, it is one of the most modern and well as the world’s third largest religion. Indian philosophy, architecture, cuisine, festival, standard of living are somehow greatly influenced by Hinduism. Islam first came to the western coast of India with Arab traders as early as 7th century AD to coastal Malabar and the Konkan-Gujarat. The Arab merchants and traders became the carriers of the new religion and they propagated it wherever they went.

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Indians are free spirited. We burst crackers at Diwali, hug each other during Eid, sing carols during Christmas and the same crowd goes to Gurudwara to enjoy the meal of Langar. The difference in our beliefs unites us more than creating barriers. The cultures and customs that include gathering and the idea of celebrating together help to know every community in the best possible way.

Food is also a great unifying factor in India. Indian cuisine is a beautiful blend of delicacies that different communities and each of them hold a story within it. It is quite interesting to know the history and improvising of the dishes over time. There is more, the Indian clothing is popular not only in India but worldwide. The interesting patterns and vivid colours will leave anyone hungry for more.

There is more, the Indian clothing is popular not only in India but worldwide. The interesting patterns and vivid colours will leave anyone hungry for more. Needless to say that India’s tribal culture have also affected clothing over time and the designers are going back to history to create something new in their collection.

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Where the dissimilarities that our Nation is built of- fascinate us, it also gives rise to conflicting mindsets! History bears evidence that how religion has influenced politics and how decisions were made by great people not by rational thinking or logical reasoning, rather being completely blinded by faith.

There has been a consistent clash among different religions since the partition of India. The religions though always spread the message of love, peace, and brotherhood but the way the idea of religion was projected by us among the society, it gave birth to religious differences and therefore the seed of hatred prevails somewhere or the other.

The politicians have used the name of God and religion to create discrepancy among the peaceful mindset of the preachers of the same. Vote bank politics and the so-called messenger of the Almighty influence people against other religions and sometimes the heterogeneity within the different communities in India leads to hatred, violence, fights and disturbances.

A lot of political observers and philosophers of India are often surprised that India still stays as a single nation as many of them have predicted India to fall apart immediately after Independence and the Partition. They were too taken aback by the diversity. And that is what we need to understand that India is an enormously unique and incredible country just because of the unity that we possess despite the rich cultural and religious differences.

Although, religion affects every aspect of our life and society in some way or the other and it solely depends on us that whether we let the beauty of this uniqueness separate us or unite us!

– by Arya Sharan of NewsGram. Twitter: NoOffense9


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