In the ancient times, a man was a nomad. It was only years later that he started living a social life by mingling with other people of the society. This made man a social animal. People cannot fulfil all their needs on the own. We depend on each other and also on the social groups to fulfil our needs. This is how we are understanding diversity.
The backgrounds such as religion, social status, and economic status cannot become barriers in making friends. Inequality comes only when a person does not have the resources and opportunities that are available to other persons. This led to the emergence of diversity.
The vast range of things that we find in and around us is known as diversity. For understanding diversity let us take an instance, say on our mother earth, there are different varieties of things such as plants, animals, rivers, trees, birds, flowers, etc.
In India, diversity can be seen in a variety of things such as religions, languages, food, clothes, races, tribes etc. The key aspects of understanding diversity are different religious and cultural backgrounds. However, there are certain programmes such as Right to Education (RTE) that have made provision for poor family children to study in public schools. This has helped to reduce the levels of economic inequality in education.
Within the different social groups of humans, different activities are performed depending on the culture, skills, geographic location, interests and understanding. However, with the advent of globalization, the interdependence of various social groups also increased.
Diversity in India
Let’s understand the diversity existing in India with the help of two very distinct states i.e. the Ladakh and Kerala.
Ladakh is situated in the northeastern mountainous part of Jammu & Kashmir. In this desert area, very little agriculture is possible. This is because the place does not receive abundant rainfall and is usually covered with snow. Even for drinking water, people have to depend on the melting water from the mountains in the summer months.
In Ladakh, people rear sheep and the wool. The wool acquired here is very special and expensive. It is known as the Pashmina wool. Ladakhis carefully collect this wool and sell it to the local traders. Pashmina shawls are woven in Kashmir.
Here the people eat meat and milk products. Every family has some cows, goats, and dzos (Yak-cows). Despite Ladakh being a desert, it has attracted many traders and it also has many passes for example Tibet. The caravans here trade wool, spices, raw silk and textiles.
In Ladakh, Buddhism came via Tibet and because of this, the city is also known as Little Tibet. Some 400 years ago, Islam was introduced in this region. The local version of the Tibetian national epic “Kesar saga” is sung both by Muslims and Buddhists.
Kerala is situated in the southwestern part of India. It is surrounded by sea on one side and the hills on the other side. A plethora of spices grows here. It is because of these spices that Kerala is extremely popular amongst the traders. Jewish and Arabs were the first to come here.
Some 2000 years ago, Apostle of Christ, St. Thomas came here. It was because of him that Christianity came to India. Before 700 years ago, Ibn Battuta also travelled to Kerala. He wrote a travelogue describing Muslims as the highly respected community. When Portuguese were discovering sea route from Europe to India, Vasco da Gama first landed here. It is because of all these historical influences that Kerala practices a diverse group of religions.
In Kerala, the fishing nets that are used are exactly like the Chinese fishing nets and are called as Cheena-Vala. The utensils that are used for frying are called Cheenachatti. On the whole, the word cheena was used to describe something that might have come from China. The land in Kerala is fertile and suitable for growing various crops. People here eat mainly rice, fish and vegetables.
Unity in Diversity
Unity and diversity run parallel to each other in India. In India we find people speaking various languages, celebrating different festivals, eating different cuisines, practicing different religions but still all live together happily as Indians. The diversity in India has always been its strength. Even during the British rule, people from different cultural, religious and regional backgrounds came together to oppose them.
India’s freedom movement had thousands of people of different backgrounds in it. They worked together to decide joint actions, they went to jail together, and they found different ways to oppose the British. Even, India’s National anthem composed by Rabindranath Tagore expresses the unity of India.
Question For You
Q. Which of the celebrations are shared by members of different regional and religious communities?
Ans: Festivals shared by different regional and religious communities are :
- Independence Day
- Republic Day
- Gandhi Jayanti
These are our national festivals, so every Indian celebrates them irrespective of region and religion.