Unity in Diversity | Unity in Diversity in India – meaning, types, importance

Diversity in India: Meaning, Types, Importance, Aspects, and the Indian Culture

India is a very diverse country in terms of tradition, culture, religion, race, language, festivals, cuisines and much more. It is said that Unity in Diversity which fits appropriately alongside the diversity in India.

In this write-up, we will discuss the diversity in India in various aspects. Understand the meaning of diversity and the reasons behind it.

Alongside, explore the meaning of unity in diversity and what factors ensure the same. Adding to it, we have listed down the types of Unity in diversity in India.

Additionally, we have included the information on importance, threats, and the aspects in which diversity is found in India.

Know in detail about the Indian culture and its importance. Explore the traditions, languages, cuisine, handicrafts, festivals, marriage systems, dance forms, music, heritages of India, and more.

Get to know the influence of western culture on Indian culture and how are they different.

Also Read:-

Geography of India

Physical Features of India

Types of Forest in India

Types of Soil in India

Latitude and Longitude of India

What are the important rives of India?

States and Capitals of India

What is diversity meaning?

Diversity refers to the reality created by individuals and groups with the concept of acceptance and respect.

It is based on the spectrum of demographic and philosophical differences.

Diversity can also be alongside the dimensions of ethnicity, race, gender, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, physical abilities, age, political beliefs, religious beliefs or other ideologies.

In simple terms, it is the degree or measure of differences in identifying features. The features are similar among the defined group.

What are the reasons for diversity in India?

The diversity in India binds all the cultures, religions, and practices together. India is one of the most diverse countries found in the world and has the most complex amalgamation of various cultural identities.

  • There are plenty of reasons which contribute towards the diversity in India which are as follows:
  • India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism. Over the centuries, many people from across the world migrated and settled in India bringing more religions such as Christianity, Judaism Zoroastrianism and Islam to the country.
  • India has been ruled by various rulers belonging to different religions and cultures for a long time. The beliefs and practices of all the rulers or Emperors still exist in the country.
  • Only people from single ethnicity do not inhabit the Indian subcontinent but it has experienced a series of migrations from all across the globe contributing to the ethnical diversity of the country.
  • India has various geographical barriers which were difficult to cross and became the reason for isolation. This leads to the independent development of varieties in the country.
  • The political, trade and commercial practices had a different set of rules and policies which contributed to different socio-cultural practices.
  • India is one of the oldest societies in the world with the oldest civilizations. Over time it led to the growth of several social institutions in their way.

What do you mean by unity in diversity in India?

Unity in diversity is an ancient phrase which has been used in some societies for several centuries. The phrase has been used in North America and China since 500 BC.

Unity in diversity refers to a concept of unity without “uniformity and diversity without fragmentation”.

It is used as an expression of unity and harmony between individuals or groups belonging to different backgrounds or following different practices.

The phrase shifts the focus from unity based on the tolerance of linguistic, cultural, physical, political, social, ideological, or physiological differences of individuals or social units to the unity based on appreciation and acceptance.

India is the best example to prove the concept of diversity and unity in diversity. Being a 5000 years old civilization, it a land of rich diversities.

People, despite belonging to different backgrounds, respect each other, and live with the feeling of harmony and brotherhood.

The country homes almost all the religions of the world and is the birthplace to a few of them. It also has a linguistic diversity.

The 29 states of India have their culture, tradition, and language. The people of the country celebrate more than 30 major festivals of various religions, cultures, and communities.

Therefore, it is said “United we stand, divided we fall” because the country falls when the people are not united.

Why is Unity in diversity important?

For any country, unity in diversity is important. We have listed down a few reasons that explain why unity in diversity is important as follows:

National Integration

Disintegrating people having different views and ideologies is very easy. Therefore, unity in diversity is very important for a country like India.

If unity exists among the people, it becomes impossible to disintegrate the nation and its people.

This helps in maintaining peace, harmony, and prosperity in a country.

Development and growth

For the development and growth of the country, unity and diversity have a crucial role to play.

A country that is integrated and people live in harmony always moves o the path of development. Such countries face fewer internal issues and continue to prosper.

Peaceful coexistence

There can be certain internal conflicts wing to people belonging to diverse social or cultural backgrounds and customs.

However, having unity despite such conflicts pave the way for maintaining peaceful co-existence among all.

Global recognition

A country that is diverse and unified adds to the value of the nation and attains respect on the international platforms or scale.

It sets an example of values and morals for others as being a country that respects ad supports each other despite belonging to different religions, castes, cultures, races, or creed.

What are the types of diversity in India?

India is a unique country with a large population representing endless varieties of cultural patterns and physical features.

People belong from all the major religions of the world and the land has many languages.

The vast population of the country is composed of people hailing from diverse creeds, customs, and colours.

A few of the important types of diversity in India has been discussed below as follows:-

Physical features diversity

India is diverse not only in terms of its people but also geographically. The northern part of the country homes the largest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas, that is covered with snow throughout the year.

The Himalayas is the source of plenty of major Indian rivers like Ganga, Indus, Yamuna and more.

The western part of the country boasts the vastness and magnificence of the Thar Desert.

The southern part of the country has the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea to add to its charm.

Racial diversity

India has a diverse group of people with a set of distinctive physical features which categorizes them into a particular race.

The grouping is based on plenty of features such as skin colour, the form of hair, type of eyes or nose, and more. These features are distinctive and inherited characteristics.

India has a large number of migratory races which hails mostly from the Western and Eastern directions.

The population of India is identified into six main ethnic groups which are as follows:-

  • The Negrito’
  • The Proto-Australoids
  • The Mongoloids
  • The Mediterranean or Dravidian
  • The Western Brachyphals
  • The Nordic

The Mongolian and Dravidian race majorly accounts for the racial composition of tribal India.

Linguistic diversity

India has as many as 1652 languages and dialects. A very few people speak most of these languages or majority of the languages are confined to a particular place, state or area.

As per the 8th schedule of the Constitution of India, there are 22 recognised languages which are Assamese, Bengali, Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Manipuri, Malayalam, Nepali, Marathi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Oriya, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Sindhi, Santhali, Boro, Maithili and Dogri.

Hindi in Devnagri script is recognised as the official language of the Indian Union by the constitution.

However, all these languages along with certain other languages are rich in Literature and their references can be found in many places.

Telugu is the second largest language spoken by about 60 million people in India. That is why it is said that India has a spectacle of Museum of tongues.

Religious diversity

The Preamble to the Constitution of India declares India as a secular country where people have the right to follow any religion of their choice.

Although India is a land of multiple religions, 80% of the Indian population follows Hinduism.

Other religions to which the people belong are Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism and Zoroastrianism.

Hindus and Muslims are found in almost all the parts of India with the remaining minority religion having their places of concentration.

The southern states of Kerala, Tamilnadu and Meghalaya have the majority of the population as Christians.

Sikhs are concentrated largely in Punjab followed by Buddhists in Maharashtra and gents spread over Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.

Caste diversity

There are over 3,000 castes or Jatis in India. A caste is a similar social unit that is hereditary and practices a specific traditional occupation.

Among the Hindu population, the caste system prevails most dominantly. However, there is hierarchical grading in different ways in other religions as well.

The practice of caste system in India has been prevalent since ages. This helps us in imagining and understanding the extent of caste diversity in India.

What is the importance of diversity in India?

Diversity recognizes and appreciates the distinct characteristics of an individual or a social unit or a community as a whole.

It exists in the form of age, colour, religion, gender, ethnicity, physical appearance, place, language and many other factors.

Diversity is important in the following ways:-

  • It provides the culture with perspectives and aspects which contributes to the development of the country as a whole
  • Offer a blend of uniqueness not only in religion or beliefs but also in practices and various other things
  • Melts down a pot of cultures, traditions and religions and carry the potential to make a change for the better
  • Enhances the social development of individuals and develops an increased understanding of the world
  • Enables individuals to come together and make a strong and beautiful community rich in cultures and practices
  • Promotes the values of tolerance and true acceptance for each other in the people

What are the threats of diversity in India?

Along with having plenty of positive notes and important aspects of diversity, everything has its negative side too.

In certain ways, diversity can pose a threat or problems at smaller or larger levels which is as follows:-

  • Cultures or religions follow different languages. This could act as a barrier in communication when a common language is not known
  • Very religion or culture has its particular practices or beliefs. They might not be as significant for others than the people having faith in them
  • There is diversity in the form of the caste system as well. People considered to belong to the higher castes often mistreat the lower caste people.
  • In workplaces or schools, it can lead to conflicts, difficulty in achieving harmony or other things.

The Indian culture

The people’s way of life is defined as a culture that also entails the way of dressing, speaking, cuisine, worship and many other things.

Similarly, the way of life of Indians is Indian culture. It is one of the oldest cultures in the world dating back to 3300 BC.

There is great population diversity in the country that brings variety in the India culture. The varieties can be identified in the form of religion, languages, dressing, cuisine, art, festival and much more.

Explore the various aspects of diversity in the India culture which we have discussed below:-

What are the traditional cultural values?

There are plenty of rich cultural values in Indian culture. This includes touching the elders’ feet to express respect towards them.

In India, people greet others with a gesture of Namaste by joining their hands. Fasting is also a practice followed by people belonging to all religions in different forms and occasions.

Indian believes in the concept of “Atithi Devo Bhava” which means the guests are considered as God.

Also, people believe in chanting the ancient Vedic mantras during religious events. Yoga and meditation have also been a significant part of Indian culture since ages.

Explain religious diversity in India

The Preamble to the Constitution of India declares India as a secular country where people have the right to follow any religion of their choice.

Although India is a land of multiple religions, 80% of the Indian population follows Hinduism.

Other religions to which the people belong are Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism and Zoroastrianism.

How many languages are spoken in India?

As per the Constitution of India, Hindi is the official language. The Eight Schedule of the Indian constitution enlists 22 languages which are the scheduled languages.

However, there are as many as 1652 languages or more than are spoken in various regions of India.

The marriage system and traditions in India

In India, there are two types of marriage systems that exist – Arrange marriage and Love Marriage.

In Indian society, the preferred and prevalent form of marriage is the arranged marriage. This practice of marriage has been followed in India since ancient times.

Over the years, the practice of love marriage has also been adopted in India. In this, the people who are going to marry each other arrange the marriage.

Handicrafts and traditional clothing of India

Indian Handicrafts have been in existence since the Indus Valley Civilization. Several regions in India have established crafts industry which follows the ancient practices.

There are plenty of examples like pottery, carpets, textiles, and more. There are wide ranges in handicrafts in India which reflects the tradition and rich heritage of the country.

The richness can also be witnessed in traditional clothing and attire of India. However, Indians now wear both traditional and western attires.

The clothing style in the country varies from region to region. The ethnic wear for men includes dhoti, kurta, salwaar-kameez, turban and more.

The traditional attire for women includes saree, lehenga, Anarkali, Kurtis, and many more to name.

Festivals of India

There are several festivals celebrated in India. Every religion, caste and culture has its festivals and occasions to celebrate.

There are national festivals like Independence Day, Gandhi Jayanti and Republic day celebrated across India.

The most celebrated festivals in India are Diwali, Holi, Dusshera, Durga Pooja, Eid, Guru Nanak Jayanti, Mahavira Jayanti, Christmas, and many more.

Art, literature and architecture in India

India has very rich art, literature and architecture from ancient wonders to the modern marvels. They have flourished in India for centuries.

One of the most popular and oldest known works of literature is the epic Ramayana.

There is plenty of contribution to arts and architecture over centuries in India. The momentous castles, palaces, forts, temples and more display the grandeur and excellence in the field. Ajanta and Ellora caves stand as examples of rich art and paintings in India.

Dance and music forms in India

Indian culture is incomplete without the various forms of classical and folk dances. The land has diverse dance forms with folk dance and classical dance as the main Indian dances.

The classical dance forms of India include Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, Manipuri, Kathak, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Mohiniyattam and more.

The folk dances are performed on several occasions like festivals and celebrations. They include Bihu, Gaur, Chhau, Padayani, Dollu, Dumhal, Garba, Dandiya, Kunitha and many more.

The Indian cuisine

The culinary culture of India is diverse and rich. From the spicy Punjabi food to the sophisticated south Indian curries, one can find plenty of varieties in dishes as well as cuisines.

The food in India is different from other country cuisines. The kinds of Indian foods are as per the state or the region like South Indian food, North Indian food, Rajasthani Food, Gujarati food, Bengali food and many more.

Also, the spices and ingredients vary in every region or cuisines which provide a distinct character to it.

What are the world heritage sites in India?

India has plenty of historic, cultural and natural heritages and monuments. The country has UNESCO world heritage sites like Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, The Western Ghats, Great Himalayan National Park, Elephanta caves, Sanchi Stupa, Ellora caves and many more to list.

The Indian culture v/s the western culture

Through the given comparison chart, explore the difference between the Indian and western culture.

Basis of ComparisonIndian CultureWestern Culture
What is it?It is the culture followed in India.It is the culture followed in western countries which include but are not limited to the USA, Europe, Canada and Spain.
Religions practisedHinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism and BuddhismChristianity and Judaism
Languages spokenThe official language Hindi is the most spoken followed by Telugu. There are over 1652 languages spoken in India.English is widely spoken almost of the western countries followed by French and Spanish.
Family structurePeople majorly live in joint families. Nuclear families also exist.People mostly live in nuclear families.
Music preferencesClassical, Bollywood, Sufi, Folk etcRap, Pop music, jazz, Hip-hop, rock music, heavy metal, EDMs etc
AttireEvery religion or region has some traditional clothing.People prefer clothing as per their desire and comfort
Marriage systemArrange marriages are prevalent in IndiaPeople often prefer love marriages over arranged

What is the impact of western culture on Indian culture?

The western culture has had a great impact on Indian culture and values. From clothing to language and food to celebration, the western has its influence.

  • Clothing: The western dresses have replaced the Indian traditional outfits to a great extent. People have an inclination towards western clothing over the Indian ones. This change in clothing has brought a positive as well as a negative influence along with it. Indian society is coping up in the race of matching the other cultures of the world. The adoption of western clothing has made Indians move away from the beauty and charm of the Indian culture of the traditional outfits.
  • Language: Hindi is the official language of India and the mother tongue to the majority population of the country. However, with the growing importance and prevalence of the English language, the majority of the population speaks English too. Moreover, the education system also focuses on the English language over Hindi or other Indian languages. Also, this has become important due to the importance of it in attaining jobs.
  • Cuisines: Indian cuisine is not untouched from western influence. The authentic Indian cuisine and dishes were healthy and made people stay fit and great. With western food, people have started eating more fast food like pizza, burger, pasta, noodles, soft drinks, and more.
  • Music: The traditional and classical Indian music is soothing and stress releasing. The wave of western influence has rubbed the significance and importance of classical music. People now prefer Rock music, Pop music, Jazz, and others over classical Indian music.
  • Festivals and celebration: There are plenty of religions in India with several festivals and celebrations throughout the year. Following the western culture, Indians have adopted different ways and occasions of celebrations. People like hanging out with family and friends, going for a vacation. Also, Indians have started celebrating Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Children’s Day, and more apart from the Indian festivals.

Diversity and unity in diversity teach us that despite belonging from different religions, races, cultures, or anything else, the differences cannot keep people apart.

Individuals should always be united for the betterment of self, society, and the nation as a whole. This makes India an incredible and unified nation with diversity in the world.

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