Indian history and culture

The history and culture of India is the way of living of the people of Indian subcontinent. India's languages, religions, dance, music, architecture, food, and customs differ from place to place within the country and an amalgamation of several cultures.
Who are we Indians? Difficult to say, with so much of invasion, immigration and interaction with rest of the world. Many empires have disappeared, with out a trace including last British empire after second world war.
India as we know today is very different from the notion of 'ancient India'. Ancient India spanned from Iran, Afghanistan to Indonesia, Tibet to Sri Lanka in present.
Geographically, it is a land of contracts in numerous ways. It provides almost every type of climate, from extreme heat to extreme cold all the year round. The hilly regions in the North and elsewhere are as cold as some of the coldest parts of Europe. Certain areas in South are the hottest in the world.
India is a plural society and a repository of multiplicity of cultures.
Indian civilization, stretching over five thousand years, provides the most distinctive feature in the coexistence of unity in diversity.
And one rule, or one food, or one clothing cannot be ascribed to entire India or even for Hindus. Women living in Hindkush mountains, Himalayan regions do not wear dresses which people in Northern India, or Southern India would have.

History is a dots game

Everything is a dots game of connecting dots. We observe some dots (shapes) and can create our own dots. Every one connects in whatever way he wants and creates shapes. History is also like dots representing some facts or information. Each historian or a story teller create their own story, with his own additions. Few out of many, become popular and gets established as authentic. Others are lost for ever.

We don't record peace. We record things that are Important: war, agreements, leaders. Nobody cares about the half a century of bumper crops except for farmers and taxmen. The famine that killed a million people that one year gets written about. Great empires are more known for their wars and size, rather than their contributions to art, science, culture...


From Early Neolithic culture to 20th century (Tentative period only)

7500 BC Early Neolithic culture
4300 BC Mehrgarh Neolithic sites in archaeology begins on the "Kachi plain" of now Balochistan
3300 BC Kot Diji phase of the Indus Valley, Indus signs or script.
3000 BC Indus Valley (Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro), Saraswathi river
1500 BC Indo-Iranians, Chaldeans, Akkadians etc, Rigveda (to 1000 BC)
800 BC Upanishads, Shatapatha Brahmana etc..
500 BC Magadha, Kalinga, Darius of Persia
300 BC Alexander, Chandragupta Maurya, Cholas and Pandyas trade with Greek and Rome
100 AD Kushan,
200 The Sunga state, Sassanid, Satavahanas disintegrate
300 Ganga, Pallava, Gupta, Kadambas
400 Shakas Licchavi, Huns, Vakataka
550 Chalukyan, Pallava Gupta, Harshavardhana
700 Arabs, Palas, Rashtrakutas,
800 Cholas, Pratihara, Pallava
950 Rajputs, Chandellas
1000 Mahmud of Ghazni, Solanki, Chola, Palas
1200 Turks, Ghurid, Yadava, Kakatiyas
1300 Delhi sultanate (slaves, Khalji, Tughluq, Lodi etc), Hoysala, Vijayanagar, Kadambas
1500 Bahmani (Deccan sultanates), Mughal/Mogul Afghan, Safavids, Mysore, Rajputs, Maratas
1600 Europeans, British entry, Mughal, Nayakar, Maratas (Sivaji), Rajputs
1700Britain colonial power, Mysore sultans, Nizam
1800East India Company replaced by British India, Queen Victoria empress of India
1900 The Indian National Congress, Muslim League, Justice Party. So called independence from British dynasty, not freedom from British colonial mind set and bureaucracy. Slave attitude continues.
2000 New Political alignments, Globalization, IT age. Professionals and commoners can take part in administration, ending in dynasties

Tribes, castes and class

Indians are more than thousands of tribes. Castes or jatis meaning birth, are are complex social groups that lack universally applicable definition or characteristic, and have been more flexible and diverse to fit in to any model. Varna, a theoretical model may be translated as "class," and refers to four social classes, namely Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. Like Aryan and Dravidian theorey, these are very over simplification of reality. The four varnas can not represent complex systems of thousands of castes. The term Castes, means different things to different Indians. It might be more to do with the tribe to whom one belongs to.
There are more than 50 tribal groups in India. Actual tribes may be few thousands. Most of the tribals belong basically to the Negrito, Australoid and Mongoloid racial stocks. A large chunk of Tribal community or Adivasis, now isolated to distinct regions, especially in the hilly and forested areas. 645 tribes are listed as Scheduled Tribes in India.
Northeast India, considered as one of most culturally diverse regions in India, is a land inhabited by more than 200 known tribes. North East Indian tribes have originated from the ethnic groups of Tibeto-Burmese, proto Austrioloids and some groups of Indo Mongoloids. Arunachal Pradesh consists of around 25 types of tribes and Nagaland has around more than 16 major tribes. They still have their indigenous beliefs, unique to each tribe. They also show a strong cultural link with the neighbouring countries.

India is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world, with some of the most deeply religious societies and cultures. Religion plays a central and definitive role in the life of many of its people. According to the 2011 census, 79.8% of the population of India practice Hinduism followed by Islam (14.2%) and Christianity (2.3%). There are other religions such as Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and the Bahá'í Faith and tribal religions, such as Sarnaism. Atheism and agnostics also have visible influence in India, along with a self-ascribed tolerance to other faiths. There are also numerous cults in India, each practicing their own ideologies and interpretations of the major religions.

Indian language

There is no such thing as the Indian language. By some counts there are over 200 major languages in India (total may be 1600), with about twenty of them being very prominent ones. Imagine a nation where the population does not understand their national anthem or the President's address to the nation. That is India. The Indian currency is printed using 15 languages.

Modern India

Modern India is a country of very diverse cultures with many languages, religions and traditions. Children begin by coping and learning to accept and assimilate in this diversity.

Indianness

Inspite of all these India is united by Indianness. There is a strong unity among diversity due to: