You are on page 1of 57

INDIAN CULTURE

THE INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED


ACCOUNTANTS OF INDIA
NAME:

Akshay R Jain

ADDRESS: 303,mauli krupa bldg,subhash road,


chincholipada,dombivali (w)
CONTACT: 9029357308
REG.NO:

WRO-0549238

BRANCH CODE:W1020
BATCH CODE:01-16-174
DATE:
SIGNATURE:

INDIAN CULTURE

INDIAN CULTURE-UNITY THROUGH


DIVERSITY

INDIAN CULTURE

INDEX-

introduction

Indian constitution

National flag

Indian people

CLOTHING

Religions

food

Celebrations

Dances in india

TRANSPORTATION IN INDIA

languages

INDIAN CULTURE

INTRODUCTION-

The culture of India is the way of living of the


people of India . India's languages,
religions,dance , music , architecture ,
food , and customs differ from place to
place within the country.The Indian
culture, often labeled as an
amalgamation of several cultures,
spans across the Indian subcontinent
and has been by a history that is
several millennia old. India is one of
the world's oldest civilisations.

INDIAN CULTURE

INDIAN CONSTITUTION-A LIVING


DOCUMENT
The Constitution of India is the
supreme law of India . It is a
living document, the
permanent instrument which
makes the government system
work. The Constitution was adopted by
the Constituent Assembly on 26
November 1949, and came into effect
on 26 January 1950.Dr. Ambedkar is
hailed as the prime architect of the
Indian Constitution.The
Indian constitution is the
world's longest
constitution. At the time of
commencement, the
constitution had 395 articles in 22
parts and 8 schedules. It consists of almost 80,000
words.It has 448 articles, 12 schedules and 98
amendments. On the other hand, the American
constitution is the shortest.It took nearly 3 years to
draft the Indian Constitution.7. The national
emblem of India was adopted on January 26, 1950.

INDIAN CULTURE

INDIAN CULTURE

THE NATIONAL FLAG


The National Flag is a horizontal tricolour
of deep
saffron (kesaria) at the top, white in the
middle
and dark green at the bottom in equal
proportion.
The ratio of width of the flag to its length
is two
to three. In the centre of the white band is a navyblue wheel which represents the chakra.
The top saffron colour, indicates the strength and
courage of the country. The white middle band
indicates peace and truth with Dharma Chakra.
The green shows the fertility, growth and
auspiciousness of the land.
Its design is that of the wheel which appears on the
abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of
Ashoka. Its diameter approximates to the width of
the white band and it has 24 spokes. The design of
the National Flag was adopted by the Constituent
Assembly of India on 22 July 1947.
It is really amazing to see the various changes that
our National Flag went through since its first
inception. It was discovered or recognised during
7

INDIAN CULTURE

our national struggle for freedom. The evolution of


the Indian National Flag sailed through many
vicissitudes to arrive at what it is
today.

INDIAN CULTURE

INDIAN CULTURE

INDIAN PEOPLE COME IN ALL


SHAPES & SIZES
PEOPLE WITH
DIFFERENT CLOTHING
India is a diverse country with different
cultures and religions. The customs followed
by Indian people vary across length and
breadth of the country.
Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, and Christianity, are
some of the major religions people believe and
follow. Not only the religion affects the way
people think, live and dress but also the region
or the state they belong to has great influence.
What do Indian women wear?
Traditionally the dress for Indian women
devoid of caste, creed and culture is sari.
Sari (saree) is a four to nine yard
unstitched garment draped in different
styles
and worn on an upper stitched garment
called choli/blouse
Though sari is popularly believed to be
the traditional dress for Indian
women,there are other dresses that are either
region specific or culture specific which are
also considered to be part of Indian traditional
dresses . In Punjab the traditional dress is
Salwar Kameez and in Rajasthan it is Gagra
Choli or also known as Lehenga .
In Kerala an older version of sari called
Mundum Neriyathum is the traditional dress,

10

INDIAN CULTURE

where Mundu forms the lower garment and


Neriyathu is the upper
garment.
In other parts of the country the most popular
traditional dress is sari which is
draped in a variety of styles. For example, in
Maharashtra the kachha style...
However, with time the sense of dressing is
evolved. Due to factors like
globalisation and westernisation, todays
women take a modern approach when it
comes to dress. Except for the older
generation who are conservative and
orthodox, the sari has been popularly replaced
by Churidhar-Kurta and the Salwar
Kameez . Women of almost all the ages
starting from 18 years old to 90 years old
prefer dressing in Salwaar Kameez for their
day to day life. The traditional
garment Kurthi is worn as a top on jeans which
gives a casual western look while
still has the conservative elegance of Indian
wear kurtha.
There is yet another class of Indian women
who have taken a leap towards
modernisation. These are again a section of
females aged between 18 and 90 who
are more influenced by the lifestyle and
habitats rather than religion or culture of
the regions. They believe in contemporary
fashion and are more westernised.
Pants, skirts, minis, you name it and they wear
it!

11

INDIAN CULTURE

Hijab Muslim women wear it as part of their


tradition. It is a long and loose
dress usually black in colour, gown like outer
garment which is either worn on
sari or Salwaar Kameez. It is paired with a
black head dress which has a black
transparent face cover attached to it.
what do indian men wear
Men, you can hardly find Indian men wearing
traditional dress in the country
today. Only during special occasions like
weddings or festivals you will be able to
find male section of the Indian society in
traditional Indian dresses . But yes, in
rural parts of India and countable number of
senior citizens can be seen in
traditional dress as part of their daily life.
The traditional dress for Indian men essentially
is Dhoti paired with Kurta and
Gandhi Ttopi or Oagri . Dhoti is a six feet
unstitched garment worn in a particular
style which gives the pant effect rather
than a skirt effect! It is paired with a
stitched upper garment called Kurta
which is normally longer than a shirt
with
two slits on each side. A traditional
Indian mans dress is incomplete
without a
head dress. A Nehru topi/cap or a
petah/pagri/turban accompanies depending on
the culture and/or religion.Sherwani is another
type of dress with a long below the knee jacket
styled coat or
12

INDIAN CULTURE

Kurta . It is usually worn with tight fitting


pyjama like pants called churidars and
sometimes a scarf is added to the attire.
Again there are variations in this traditional
dress depending on region and
religion. Kurta-Pijama, Lungi-shirt which is
popular in south India especially
Tamil Nadu and Gujarati dress which has a
typical style of pants and a frock style
Kurta.But from the time after the British rule
men in India have adopted to the pant-shirt
culture. Today you can see them in jeans,
funky half pants, shirts and tshirts, suits and such western outfits.
Additionally the colour, texture and material
are diverse as well. Depending on
ethnicity and cultural preferences dresses and
colour choices vary from occasion
to occasion. For example, red is considered as
auspicious by Hindus for many
sacred occasions and festivals for women,
including for a bride to be married.
White is worn by Hindus for mourning
whereas Christians wear white to

13

INDIAN CULTURE

weddings.

14

INDIAN CULTURE

PEOPLE WITH DIFFERENT RELIGIONSReligions in India


India is a land of different religions which are
characterised by various religious practices
and
beliefs. The spiritual land of India has given
birth to many religions such as Hinduism,
Sikhism,
Jainism and Buddhism. These religions
together form a subgroup and are known as
Eastern
religions. The people of India have a strong
belief in religion as they believe that they add
meaning and purpose to their lives. The
religions here are not only confined to beliefs
but also
include ethics, rituals, ceremonies, life
philosophies and many more. Today, a wide
range of
religions are practiced in India:
Hinduism
The majority of the population in India
practice Hinduism which is the most
ancient religion in the country. As per
Census 2011, about 80% Indian
practice Hinduism. Some practitioners
of this religion call it Sanatan Dharam,
a term popularised by Mahatma
Gandhi. Ramayana and the Bhagavad
Geeta are the holy books of the
Hindus. The Hindus believe and
practice the principles of the Vedas
and the Upanishads. Their place of
worship is known as Temple
(Devasthanam or Mandir in Hindi).
15

INDIAN CULTURE

They worship the icon or murtis which is


considered as a reflection of God. But, the
Hindus
who belong to the Arya Samaj do not practice
idol-worship. There is a system of symbolism
in
Hinduism; the swastika sign symbolises
auspiciousness and the syllable Om represents
Param
Brahaman. With reference to the Hindu
mythology, there are many Hindu festivals like
Diwali,
Holi, Bihu, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja and
many more which are celebrated in the
country.
Islam
The Muslims forms around 13% of the
population of India, as per Census 2001. It is
the second
largest religion in the country and its followers
are known as Muslims. They are divided into
sub sections, most famous being Sunnis and
Shias. The holy book of the Muslims is the
Quran; they believe
and follow the
teachings of Prophet
Muhammad. In Islam,
Hajj is an annual
pilgrimage in Mecca
which has to be carried out at least once by
every physically and
financially capable Muslim in his lifetime.
Some of the major Islamic festivals celebrated
in India
16

INDIAN CULTURE

are Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Zuha and Muharram.


Sikhism
Guru Nanak founded Sikhism in India during
the 15th century in the Punjab region. Guru
Granth
Sahib is the holy book of the Sikhs which is a
collection of the writings of the Guru. The
Sikhs
constitute about 2% of the people of
India as per the census 2001. There
are no festivals in
Sikhism in particular, but some
festivities are generally celebrated
on birthdays or martyrdom of
Sikh Gurus. Gurupurabs, Baisakhi, Nagar
Kirtan, Hola Mohalla are some of the festivals
and
events celebrated by the Sikhs. The religious
beliefs of the Sikhs do not favour fasting or
going
to the pilgrimages. In India, majority of the
Sikhs reside in Punjab and their large
community
lives in the neighbouring states.
Buddhism
Buddhism was founded in India by Siddhartha
Gautama also known as 'Buddha'. The
Buddhists
constitute only about 1% of the total
population of the country. They believe in the
concepts of
Samsara, Karma and Rebirth, and practice the
teachings of Buddha. Buddhism believes in

17

INDIAN CULTURE

attaining enlightenment through love,


kindness and wisdom. The Buddhists believe in
devotion
which is also an important part of their
practice of this religion. Pilgrimage, bowing,
chanting
and offerings are some of the devotional
practices followed by the Buddhists. Birthday
of
Buddha (also known as Vesak), Asalha Puja
Day, Magha Puja Day and Loy Krathong are
some
of the festivals celebrated by the Buddhists.
Jainism
Jainism is believed to have originated in India
in the 7th-5th century BCE and was founded
by
Mahavira. This religion believes in the theology
of self rather than God. It follows the principles
of

ahimsa (nonviolence), aparigraha (nonpossessiveness) and anekantavad (nonabsolutism).

18

INDIAN CULTURE

A minority of Indian population (about 0.5%)


practice Jainism, as per census 2001. As per
the
history of Jains, there were twenty-four
propagators of the religion who were known as
tirthankaras, Rishabh was the first while
Mahavira was the last. The followers of this
religion
undertake five vows of ahimsa, satya, asteya,
bramcharya and aparigraha. Mahavira Jayanti,
Paryushana Parva, Diwali and Maun-agiyara
are some of the festivals celebrated by the
Jains.
Christianity
As per historical beliefs, Christianity came to
India about 2000 years ago. It
constitutes about
2.3% of the total population of the
country, according to census 2001.
Christian population can
be found all over the country but
majority of the people who belong to this
religious section
lives in the parts of South India, North-East
and the Konkon Coast. The Christians worship
and
believe in Jesus Christ, whom they consider as
the saviour of humanity and the son of God.
Christmas is the major festival of Christians.
Good Friday, All Souls Day and Easter are
some
other festivals celebrated by the people of this
religion in the country.
Others
19

INDIAN CULTURE

Judaism and Zoroastrianism are also practiced


by minority population in the country.
According
to Judaism, there exists a covenant
relationship between God and Jewish people.
One of the
minority groups in the country, Zoroastrianism
considers that humans are the helpers of God.
The people who follow Zoroastrianism are
known as Parsis and those who follow Judaism
are
called Jews.
Although, different religions are practiced in
India, the secular and sovereign nature of the

20

INDIAN CULTURE

country remains intact. In fact, all religions


collectively play an important role in

21

INDIAN CULTURE

maintaining the harmony, culture...

22

INDIAN CULTURE

Population- Numbers (Per


cent of the
population)
Hindu 96.63 crore (79.8 %)
Muslim 17.22 crore (14.2%)
Christian 2.78 crore (2.3%)
Sikh 2.08 crore (1.7%)
Buddhist 0.84 crore (0.7%)
Jain 0.45 crore (0.4%)
Other Religions &
Persuasions (ORP) 0.79 crore
(0.7%)
Religion Not Stated 0.29 crore
(0.2%)

23

INDIAN CULTURE

24

INDIAN CULTURE

PEOPLE WITH
DIFFERENT FOODS-

The traditional food of India has been widely


appreciated
for its fabulous use of herbs and spices. Indian
cuisine is
known for its large assortment of dishes. The
cooking
style varies from region to region and is largely
divided
into South Indian & North Indian cuisine . India
is quite
famous for its diverse multi cuisine available in
a large
number of restaurants and hotel resorts, which
is
reminiscent of unity in diversity. The staple
food in India
includes wheat, rice and pulses with chana
(Bengal Gram)
being the most important one. In modern
times Indian
pallete has undergone a lot of change. In the
last decade, as a result of globalisation, a lot
of
Indians have travelled to different parts of the
world and vice versa there has been a massive
influx of people of different nationalities in
India. This has resulted in Indianisation of
various
international cuisines. Nowadays, in big metro
cities one can find specialised food joints of
international cuisines.
Bengali Food25

INDIAN CULTURE

Bengali cuisine is appreciated for its fabulous


use of panchphoron, a term used to refer to
the
five essential spices, namely mustard,
fenugreek seed, cumin seed, aniseed, and
black cumin
seed. The specialty of Bengali food lies in the
perfect blend of sweet and spicy flavors.
Gujarati FoodThe traditional Gujarati food is primarily
vegetarian and has a high nutritional value.
The typical
Gujarati thali consists of varied kinds of lip
smacking dishes. Gujarati cuisine has so much
to
offer and each dish has an absolutely different
cooking
style.Gujarati
Food
The
traditional
Gujarati food
is
primarily vegetarian and has a high nutritional
value. The typical
Gujarati thali consists of varied kinds of lip
smacking dishes. Gujarati cuisine has so much
to
offer and each dish has an absolutely different
cooking style.
Kashmiri Food
Kashmiri food that we have today in the
restaurants has evolved over the years. Highly
influenced by the traditional food of the
Kashmiri pundits, it has now taken some of the
26

INDIAN CULTURE

features of the
cooking style
adopted in Central
Asia, Persia and
Afghanistan.
Mughlai Cuisine
Mughlai cuisine is one of the most popular
cuisines, whose origin can be traced back to
the
times of Mughal Empire. Mughlai cuisine
consists of the dishes that were prepared in
the
kitchens of the royal Mughal Emperors. Indian
cuisine is predominantly influenced by the
cooking style practiced during the Mughal era.
Punjabi Food
The cuisine of Punjab has an enormous variety
of mouth-watering vegetarian as well as non
vegetarian dishes. The spice content ranges
from minimal to pleasant to high. Punjabi food
is
usually relished by people of all communities.
In Punjab, home cooking differs from the
restaurant cooking style.
Rajasthani Food
The cuisine of Rajasthan is primarily
vegetarian and offers a fabulous variety of
mouthwatering
dishes. The spice content is quite high in
comparison to other Indian cuisines, but the
food is
absolutely scrumptious. Rajasthanis use ghee
for cooking most of the dishes. Rajasthani food

27

INDIAN CULTURE

is well known for its spicy curries and delicious


sweets.
South Indian Cuisine
The cuisine of South India is known for its
light, low calorie appetizing dishes. The
traditional
food of South India is mainly rice based. The
cuisine is famous for its wonderful mixing of
rice
and lentils to prepare yummy lip smacking
dosas, vadas, idlis and uttapams. known for its
light, low calorie appetizing dishes. The
traditional
food of South India is mainly
rice based. The cuisine is
famous for its wonderful
mixing of rice
and lentils to prepare yummy
lip smacking dosas, vadas, idlis and uttapams.

28

INDIAN CULTURE

29

INDIAN CULTURE

30

INDIAN CULTURE

people with different


celebrationsIndia is a land of festivals,
where people from different
religions coexist harmoniously.
The wide variety of festivals
celebrated in India is a true
manifestation of its rich culture and traditions.
While the celebrations happen all over the
year, October till January is the time when the
country can be seen at its vibrant best.
DIWALIDiwali, the most prominent Hindu festival of
India, is celebrated with a lot of pomp and
show. During this festival of lights, houses are
decorated with clay lamps, candles, and Ashok
leaves. People wear new clothes, participate in
family puja, burst crackers, and share sweets
with friends, families, and neighbors.
The festival marks the return of Lord Rama,
along with his wife Sita and brother
Lakshmana, after a long exile of 14 years.
Significance:
Homes decorated with fancy lights, candles
and clay lamps,
bustling shops and markets, and fireworks and
crackers
Key attractions:
The darkest new moon night of Kartik month of
the Hindu lunisolar
calendar, which corresponds to mid-October
mid-November as per the Gregorian

31

INDIAN CULTURE

Calendar
When:
All over the country
HOLIAlso known as the
festival of colors, holi
is one of the famous
festivals of India,
celebrated with a lot
of fervor across the
country. On the eve
of Holi, people make
huge Holika bonfires and sing and dance
around it. On the
day of Holi, people
gather in open areas and apply dry and wet
colors of multiple hues to each other,
with some carrying water guns and colored
water filled balloons.
It signifies the victory of good (Prince Prahlad)
over evil (Holika) and
the arrival of spring.
Significance:
Holika bonfire, playing with colors, and bhang
thandai Key attractions:
Full moon (Purnima) of the Phalgun month of
the Hindu lunisolar calendar,
which corresponds to the month of March of
the Gregorian calendar
DussheraDussehra, also referred to as , is also among
the most famous
festivals of India. It is celebrated in different
forms countrywide. Ramlila(enactment

32

INDIAN CULTURE

of scenes from Ramayana) is held everywhere


for 10 days. Its culminated with
the burning of huge effigies of Ravana,
Meghnath and
kumbhakaran which is a real spectacle to see.
Vijayadashami
Ravan Dahan
It celebrates the death of
the demon king Ravana at
the hands of
Lord Rama.
Significance:
Hustle bustle of the
decorated markets, Ramleela acts, and the
big event of the burning of
effigies of Ravana, Meghnad, and
Kumbhakaran
Key attractions:
10th day of the month of Ashwin according to
the Hindu lunisolar calendar,
which corresponds to September or October of
the Gregorian calendar
NavratriNavratri festival is celebrated by all people
throughout India in different ways. In
Gujarat, it is a nine day celebration of
rejuvenating Garba nights and highly
energetic Dandiya Raas dances. People are
dressed in beautiful, colorful traditional
clothes and the environment is very youthful
and invigorating.
It represents the celebration of the Goddess
Amba (Power) in nine
different forms.
33

INDIAN CULTURE

Significance:
The 9 days of dance festivities in Gujarat, the
exquisite Chaniya
Cholis (traditional skirt & blouse), and the
Gujarati cuisine Sabudana Khichdi,
Mandavi Paak, Singoda ki Kheer, and Potato
Wafers
Key attractions:
The first nine days of the
month of Ashwin
according to the Hindu
lunisolar
calendar, which
correspond to September
or October of the
Gregorian calendar
Durga PujaOne of the important festivals of India, Durga
Puja is celebrated with grandeur by
Bengalis, throughout the country. The 10 days
of fast, feast, and worship of
Goddess Durga are accompanied by cultural
songs, dances, and dramas. Huge and
beautiful Durga idols are made and placed in
specially made artistic Pandals
(canopies). People dress in traditional wear
and go around the pandal hopping,
praying, and feasting.
It commemorates Lord Ramas invocation of
Goddess Durga before
going to war with the demon king Ravana.
Significance:
Plush pandals, incredibly beautiful ten armed
Durga idols, and the

34

INDIAN CULTURE

puja
Key attractions:
10th day of Ashwina shukla paksha according
to the Hindu lunisolar
calendar, which corresponds to September or
October of the Gregorian calendar
Ganesh ChaturthiGanesh Chaturthi, another one of important
Hindu religious festivals of India, is a
10-day affair of colorful festivities. Huge
handcrafted Ganesh idols are installed in
homes or outdoors, in public pandals.
Pujas are performed in the morning and
the
evening. The last day is the day of Visarjan
immersion of an idol in a water
body. Cultural activities of singing,
dancing, and theater, and free medical
and
blood donation camps are held.
Its the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the
elephant-headed God. Significance:
The beautifully crafted life size
idols of Ganesha, and the
immersion ceremony
Key attractions:
The 4th day of the first
fortnight (Shukla Chaturthi) in
the month of
Bhadrapada of the Hindu lunisolar calendar,
which corresponds to August or
September of the Gregorian calendar
When:
Celebrated in the states of Maharashtra and
Andhra Pradesh with fervor
35

INDIAN CULTURE

and gaiety
Raksha BandhanOne of the famous festivals of India, Rakhi is
celebrated among Hindu. Signifying
the brother-sister bonding, during Rakhi, the
sister performs (prayer), applies
, and ties rakhi (a sacred thread) on the
brothers wrist wishing his well being.
The brother, in return, vows to protect the
sister. Another festival which has
strong similarity to
Rakhi is Bhaidooj
which comes just
after Diwali.
Aarti
tilak
It symbolizes the
strong bonding of a
brother and sister.
Significance:
The ritual of Rakhi and the brightly decked up
markets
showcasing a colourful variety of rakhis and
sweets
Key attractions:
The full moon day of Shravana month of the
Hindu lunisolar calendar,
which corresponds to August of the Gregorian
calendar
When:
Particularly in North, Central and West India
EID
Eid is one of the major festivals of India for the
Muslim community. People dress up in fineries,

36

INDIAN CULTURE

attend a special community prayer in the


morning, visit friends, and relatives and
exchange sweets. Children are given (money
or gift) by elders. idi
It celebrates the conclusion of the holy month
of fasting called
Ramadan.
Significance:
The beautifully decked up markets and
mosques, the morning Eid
namaz at the mosques, and the sweet dishes.
Key attractions:
On the 1st day of the month of Shawwal of the
lunar Hijri calendar, which
corresponds to July of the Gregorian calendar
When:
Celebrated by Muslims all over the country

37

INDIAN CULTURE

DANCE IN INDIA
Bharata Natyam

Bharatanatyam is the most popular


of Indian dances and belongs to the
South Indian state of
Tamilnadu. Its antiquity is well
established. In the past it was practised ad performed
in the
temples by a class of dancers known as the
devadasis. It was a part of the religious rituals and
has a long and hoary past. The kings and the princely
courts patronised the temples, as well as
the various traditions sustaining the dance form.
The salient features of Bharatanatyam are
movements conceived in space mostly either along
straight lines or triangles. In terms of geometrical
designs, the dancer appears to weave a
series of triangles besides several geometrical
patterns.
In nritta (pure dance) to the chosen time cycle and a
raga (melody), a dancer executes patterns
that reveal the architectonic beauty of the form with
a series of dance units called jathis or
teermanams. The torso is used as a unit, the legs are
in a semi-plie form and the stance
achieves the basic posture called araimandi. The
nritta numbers include Alarippu, Jatiswaram
and Tillana, which are abstract items not conveying
and specific meaning except that of joyous
abandon with the dancer creating variegated forms
of staggering visual beauty.
In nritya, a dancer performs to a poem, creating a
parallel kinetic poetry in movement,
registering subtle expressions on the face and the
entire body reacts to the emotions, evoking

38

INDIAN CULTURE

sentiments in the spectator for relish - the rasa. The


numbers are varnam, which has
expressions as well as pure dance; padams, javalis
and shlokas. The accompanying music is
classical Carnatic. The themes are from Indian
mythology, the epics and the Puranas.
Chakiarkoothu
This dance form is believed to
have been introduced to Kerala
by the early Aryan immigrants
&
is performed only by the
members of the Chakiar caste.
A highly orthodox type of
entertainment, it can be
staged inside temples only &
witnessed by the Hindus of the
higher
castes. The theatre is known as Koothambalam. The
story is recited in a quasi-dramatic style
with emphasis on eloquent declarations with
appropriately suggestive facial expressions & hand
gestures. The only accompaniments are the cymbals
& the drum known as the mizhavu, made
of copper with a narrow mouth on which is stretched
a piece of parchment.
Chhau
With origins shrouded in mystery, the Chhau dancer
communicates inner emotions and themes
through cadences of body flexions, movements and
kinetic suggestions. The word Chhau is
interpreted differently by scholars. Shadow,
Disguise and Image are the most common
interpretations due to the extensive use of masks in
this dance form. The martial movements
of Chhau have led to another interpretation of the
word as meaning to attack stealthily or to
hunt.

39

INDIAN CULTURE

Three styles of Chhau exist born from the three


different regions of Seraikella (Bihar), Purulia
(West Bengal), and Mayurbhanj (Orissa). Martial
movements, strong rhythmic statements and
dynamic use of space are characteristic of Chhau.
Seraikella Chhau flourished under royal patronage. Its
vigorous martial character made it
suitable only for male dancers. The princes were not
only patrons but also dancers, teachers
and mask-making experts. The Seraikella masks are
similar to those used in the Noh dance of
Japan and the Wayang Wong of Java.
Purulia Chhau uses
masks which is a
highly developed
craft in the region.
The barren land with
its tribal inhabitants
and multi-layered
influences of Vedic
literature, Hinduism
and martial folklore have all
combined to shape the Purulia Chhau dances which
have only one message - the
triumph of good over evil.
Mayurbhanj Chhau has highly developed movements,
no masks and a more chiselled
vocabulary than the other two Chhau styles. Like
Seraikella Chhau, it had also thrived under
royal patronage and is considered a link between the
earthy Indian dance movements and the
flying, springing elevations of Western dance. Unlike
other Indian Classical dance forms, vocal
music in Chhau hardly exists! Instrumental music and
a variety of drums like the Dhol, Dhumba,
Nagara, Dhansa and Chadchadi provide the
accompaniment. Combining folk, tribal and martial

40

INDIAN CULTURE

traditions and yet covering the three aspects of


Nritta, Nritya and Natya as well as the Tandava
and Lasya aspects of classical dance, the Chhau
dances are complex combinations of Folk and
Classical motifs.
Kathak
Prevalent in the North as a classical dance form,
Kathak has a long history. Nurtured in the
holy precincts of the Hindu temples, Kathak has over
the centuries attained refinement and
enriched itself with various hues and embellishments.
Kathak means a story teller and it
developed as a dance form in which a solo dancer
tells and interprets stories from mythology.
In nritya, the expressional numbers called gats are
danced by delicate glances of the eye and
by using the art of mime. Themes from life are taken
like enacting simple chores of carrying
water from the well or walking gracefully, covering a
face with a veil and looking through it in a
tantalising manner at the lover.
Also, to the lyrics, expressions are shown evoking the
rasa or emotion in the spectators, who,
if the musical traditions are shared along with the
songs, enjoy it by expressing their
appreciation with a round of applause.
The themes of Krishna, Radha, Shiva, Parvati and
mythological characters find a prominent
place in the Kathak dancers repertoire. Nowadays,
experiments are being carried out with
group choreography exploring the dance form. Both
men and women perform Kathak which is
also used to present dance dramas of historical tales
and contemporary events.
Kathakali

41

INDIAN CULTURE

Kathakali means a story play or a dance drama.


Katha means story. Belonging to the SouthWestern coastal state of Kerala, Kathakali is primarily
a dance drama form and is extremely
colourful with billowing costumes, flowing scarves,
ornaments and crowns. The dancers use a
specific type of symbolic makeup to portray various
roles which are character-types rather than
individual characters. Various qualities, human,
godlike, demonic, etc., are all represented
through fantastic make-up and costumes.
The world of Kathakali is peopled by noble heroes
and demons locked in battle, with truth
winning over untruth, good over evil. The stories from
the two epics, the Mahabharata and the
Ramayana, as well as the Puranas constitute the
themes of the Kathakali dance dramas.
The macro and micro movements of the face, the
movements of the eyebrows, the eyeballs,
the cheeks, the nose and the chin are minutely
worked out and various emotions are registered
in a flash by a Kathakali actor-dancer. Often men play
the female roles, though of late women
have taken to Kathakali.
The pure dance element in Kathakali is limited to
kalasams, decorative dance movements
alternating with an expressional passage where the
actor impersonates a character, miming to
the liberetto sung by the musician. A cylindrical drum
called chenda, a drum called maddalam
held horizontally, cymbals and a gong form the
musical accompaniment, and two vocalists
render the songs. Using typical music known as
Sopanam, Kathakali creates a world of its own.
The most striking feature of Kathakali is its
overwhelming dramatic quality. But its characters
never speak.
It is danced
to the

42

INDIAN CULTURE

musical compositions, involving dialogues, narration


and
continuity. It employs the lexicon of a highly
developed hand-gesture language which enhances
the facial expressions and unfolds the text of the
drama.
Koodiyattam
Practised and preserved by the Chakyar community
in Kerala, Koodiyattam is the oldest
surviving link with ancient Sanskrit theatre. A
precursor of Kathakali drama, Koodiyattam has
several conventions which reflect the aesthetic
conventions of the Natyashastra. The stylised
mode of acting, the same character playing different
roles, the use of the spoken word akin to
chanting, stories within stories, flash backs,
improvisations, eye expressions (netrabhinaya), an
extensive gesture vocabulary or 'hastas', body
movements (angika abhinaya) and facial
expressions (mukhajabhinaya), the use of Sanskrit by
the main character and Malayalam by the court
jester or vidushaka who comments, satirizes and
ridicules the protagonists... these are the salient
features of Koodiyattam.
Performances are traditionally held in the
Koothambalam which are special theatres attached
to temples. The Sanskrit play selected for the
performance usually takes over several days.
Female dancers called Nangiars deliver the
invocatory songs and also participate. The use of
the tirashila or curtain, different colours for the face
to depict characters and elaborate
ornaments are all similar to Kathakali. The mizhavu is
a special drum used as an
accompaniment for Koodiyattam performances.
The repertoire consists of Sanskrit dramas like
Ascharyachudamani of Shaktibadra,
Subhadradhananjeyan of Kulasekara Varman,
Abhisekha Nataka and Swapnavasavadatta of
43

INDIAN CULTURE

Bhasa, Kalyana Saugandhikam of Mahendra Vikrama


and Bhagavadajjukiyam of Bodhayana
which are the popular favourites. With disciplined and
dedicated performers like Ammanur
Madhava Chakyar, Kocchukuttan Chakyar and
Kitangur Kuttappan Chakyar, this ancient
classical form has a growing legion of students and
afficionados in India and elsewhere.
Krishnattam
It is intended for presentation on eight successive
nights to unfold the entire story of Lord
Krishna, the style is almost akin to Kathakali.
Kuchipudi
Kuchipudi, like Kathakali is also a dance-drama
tradition and derives its name from the vilage of
Kuchipudi in the Southern State of Andra Pradesh. In
recent years, it has evolved as a solo
dance for the concert platform and is performed by
women, though like Kathakali it was
formerly the preserve of men. The female roles were
enacted by men and even today, the
tradition boasts of gifted male dancers enacting
female roles with such consummate artistry
that hardly anyone would notice them as male
dancers.
The movements in Kuchipudi are quicksilver and
scintillating, rounded and fleet-footed.
Performed to classical Carnatic music, it shares many
common elements with Bharatanatyam.
In its solo exxposition Kuchipudi nritta numbers
include jatiswaram and tillana whereas in nritya it
has several lyrical compositions reflecting the desire
of a devotee to merge with God symbolically the union of the soul with the super soul.
The songs are mimed with alluring expressions, swift
looks and fleeting emotions evoking the
rasa. A special number in the Kuchipudi repertoire is
called tarangam, in which a dancer

44

INDIAN CULTURE

balances herself on the rim of a brass plate and


executes steps to the beat of a drum. At
times she places a pot full of water on her head and
dances on the brass plate. The song
accompanying this number is from the well known
Krishna Leela Tarangini, a text which
recounts the life and events of Lord Krishna.
In expressional numbers a dancer sometimes
chooses to enact the role of Satyabhama, the
proud and self-assured queen of Lord Krishna, from
the dance-drama Bhama Kalapam. She
goes through various stages of love. When in
separation from Lord Krishna, she recalls the happy
days of union and pines for him. At last they are
reunited when she sends him a letter.
One more number from the Kuchipudi repertoire that
deserves mention is Krishna Shabdam, in
which a milkmaid invites Krishna for a rendezvous in
myriads of ways giving full scope for the
dancer to display the charms of a woman.
Manipuri
Manipuri dances originate from the North Eastern
state of Manipur and derives its name from
its native state. Intensely devotional in mood, the
Manipuri dances are a part of the daily life of
the Manipuri people. Essentially presented as a group
dance with gorgeous, colourful costumes
and gentle, swaying petal-soft movements, Manipuri
dances create a hypnotic impact. The dances are
influenced by the religious movement of
Vaishnavism, the worship of Lord Vishnu,
and have flowered in exquisite Rasalila
performances, the favourite dance in a circle by
Krishna
with his milkmaids. Various types of Rasalilas are
performed on special occasions and festivals.
Besides Rasalilas, there are other dances called
Natasankirtana, in which a group of men play

45

INDIAN CULTURE

cymbals and dance in a circle or in two rows singing


praises of God. In Pung Cholom, the
dancers play upon pung, the drum, and dance while
playing the intricate time cycles, executing
somersaults and breathtaking acrobatic feats. In
group dances like Lai Haraoba, the merrymaking for the gods, the dancers perform various
steps and weave patterns, involving various
choreographic compositions. From the corpus of
Manipuri dances, one sees on the
contemporary stage solo, duet and group
performances. The music is typical of the region and
is influenced by the kirtan school of Bengal due to
the influence of Vaishnavism.
Rasalila, Lai Haraoba, Choloms, Pung Cholom,
Natasankirtana, Khubak Ishai and other Manipuri
dances share both nritta and nritya aspects and are
edited judiciously for the concert platform
to suit the urban audience. However, to enjoy
Manipuri, one should see the dances in their
natural setting. Gossamer veils, cylindrical mirrored
skirts and ornaments dazzle the audiences
with their colourful costumes which create a dreamlike effect.
Mohiniattam
Mohini Attam as a dance form has developed in
Kerala. Performed by women it has graceful,
gentle bobbing movements. Mohini means an
enchantress and a dancer with enchanting
movements, dressed in a typical white saree with
gold border, hair gathered in a bun on one
side and with golden jewellery epitomises the image
of a beautiful maiden. Apparently it
resembles the Bharatanatyam dance form but is
quite distinct in its execution of movements,
usage of hand gestures and its stark, simple
costume.
Mohini Attam has enjoyed a revival in recent times
and is the most popular dance form among

46

INDIAN CULTURE

the young aspirants in Kerala. It has a format which


follows the Bharatanatyam form and the
repertoire has common names. In nritta a number
called Cholukattu consists of pure dance
movements at the end of which is tagged a poem
that is in praise of a deity and also narrates the story
of the Ramayana in a nutshell. The mnemonic
syllables are sung instead of being
uttered by the musician. Another item of pure dance
is Tillana which follows the musical mode of
Bharatanatyam with classical Carnatic music.
However, of late, kerala's Sopana music is
being employed for Mohini Attam and the repertoire
has also been enlarged with the
choreography maintaining the typical movements of
this graceful style.
In nritya, the padams are mimed with facial
expressions and hand gestures and the themes are
drawn from mythology. The nayika or heroine longs
for union with her beloved. A confidante
goes and conveys the message to the lover and the
nayika describes the pangs of separation.
A varnam follows the structure of a Bharatanatyam
varnam dwelling upon the narration,
impersonation and alternating with pure dance.
Though the dance units in Mohini Attam are
limited, the quintessential grace and the measured
movements are its distinct features.
Odissi
Odissi has been revived in the past fifty years and
can be considered as the oldest classical
Indian dance on the basis of archival evidence. The
form belongs to the East Indian state of Orissa. Odissi
has a close association with the temples and its
striking feature is its intimate relationship with
temple sculpture. Tribhanga, the three-body bend
characterises this dance
form. It has a vast range of sculptural body
movements which gives one the illusion of the
47

INDIAN CULTURE

sculptures coming to life.


In nritta the numbers consist of batu nritya, pallavi
and mokhya. In batu nritya the dancer
strikes poses holding various instruments like veena,
flute, cymbals and drums and the
choreography of this number reveals the imagination
of the choreographer-gurus. Pallavi
means to elaborate, and a dancer performs pure
dance to a chosen time cycle and a musical raga
(melody). Various body postures similar to temple
sculptures are woven in this number. In mokhya,
before the dance concludes, a dancer employs
various dance units creating arresting visuals. In
nritya, the songs from the celebrated Gita Govinda of
poet Jayadeva written in the 12th century A.D., are
used by dancers for expressional numbers.
The exquisite Sanskrit poetry and the sculptural
movements to the typical Odissi music almost cast a
spell on the spectators. Songs of other Oriya poets
are also danced with subtle
expressions, replete with emotions. In
its revival period Odissi has received
enthusiastic support from the young
exponents and often one finds
Bharatanatyam dancers also
mastering the Odissi technique and performing both
the dance forms though while doing so, they
maintain the clearcut differences in the execution of
the movements. In recent years, group choreographic
presentations and dance dramas are also attempted
in order to bring out the full glory and sculptural
wealth of Odissi which is truly a visually fascinating
performance style.
TRANSPORTATION IN INDIA
A well known and co-ordinated system of transport
plays an important role in the sustained economic
growth of a country. The present transport system of
India comprises several modes of transport including
48

INDIAN CULTURE

rail, road, coastal shipping, air transport, etc.


Transportation in India has recorded a substantial
growth over the years both in spread of network and
in output of the system. The Ministry of Shipping,
Road Transport and Highways is responsbile for the
formation and implementation of policies and
programmes for the development of various modes
of transport save the railways and the civil aviation.
ROAD TRANSPORTIndia has one of the largest road networks in the
world, aggregating to
about 33 lakh kilometers at present. The country's
road network
consists of National High-ways, State Highways,
major/other district
roads and villages/rural roads.'
RAILWAYS

49

INDIAN CULTURE

-The Railways in India provide the principal mode of


transportation fo freight and passengers. It brings
together people from the farthest
corners of the country and makes possible the
conduct of

50

INDIAN CULTURE

51

INDIAN CULTURE

business,
sightseeing, pilgrimage and education.
Indian Railways is the largest railway system in the
world under a single
management.|SHIPPINGShipping plays an important role in the transport
sector of India's
economy. Approximately, 90 percent of the country's
trade by volume

(70 per cent in terms of value) is moved by sea. India


has the largest
merchant shipping fleet among the developing
countries and ranks 20th
amongst the countries with the largest cargo carrying
fleet with 8.83
million GT as on 01.06.2008 and the average of the
fleet being 18 years.
PORTScoastline of India is dotted with 12 Major Ports and
about 200 Nonmajor Ports. The Major Ports are under the purview of
the central while
the Non-major Ports come under the judrisdiction of
the respective
State Governments.

52

INDIAN CULTURE

NAME PROTOCOL
Younger never uses the proper name of their elders.
(eg: Anna, Akka etc.)
Only people of the same age will address each other
by first name.
A Hindu wife never speaks the name of her husband .
CAUTION WITH FOOTWEAR: It is very important to
apologize immediately if one touches someone with
his or her shoe or sandal

53

INDIAN CULTURE

Languages

India is a vast country, with lot of cultural and


geographical diversities. This
has resulted in a number of
different languages spoken
across the country. Some of
these languages are accepted
nationally, while others are
accepted as dialects of
particular regions. All these
languages originated from the
great languages of the
past, with most of them
belonging to several major
linguistic families, like Indo-Aryan (spoken by 70%
Indians), Dravidian languages (spoken by 22%
Indians),
Austro-Asiatic languages and Tibeto-Burman
linguistic
languages.
The Indian Constitution (Article 343) declares Hindi to
be
the official language of the Union. Hindi is also the
mother tongue of about 20% of the Indian
population,
living in the area known as the
'Hindi-belt' or the 'cowbelt' of northern India. This
includes the states of Uttar
Pradesh, Uttarakhand,
Uttaranchal, Bihar, Madhya
Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and
Rajasthan. Haryana and
Himachal Pradesh also have Hindi as their official
language.
English language is the commonly used official
language
of India. It enjoys a special status and remains the
additional official language of India. It is also the
54

INDIAN CULTURE

authoritative legislative and judicial language. Apart


from
the more widely spoken English and Hindi, there are
the
various regional languages as well. In fact, each state
of
India has its own official language, apart from the
numerous dialects. However, the 8th schedule of the
Constitution of India lists 22 such regional languages
only, giving them official status.
India has 22 languages which have been given the
grade of National Languages.

55

INDIAN CULTURE

56

INDIAN CULTURE

CONCLUSIONThe Indian culture is often labelled as an


amalgamation of several cultures.
It spans across the Indian subcontinent and
has been influenced by a history that is
several millennia old.
Many elements of India's diverse cultures,
such as Indian religions, yoga and Indian
cuisine, have had a profound impact across
the world.

57