From time immemorial India has been known for her cultural supremacy. The excavations carried out at Mohenjo-Daro, Sind and Harappa has revealed that a well-developed civilization existed in the Indus Valley over five thousand years ago. This famous civilization represents a very perfect adjustment of human life to a specific environment which can only have resulted from years of patient effort. It forms the basis of modern Indian culture.
India came into intimate contact with the Persians, the Egyptians, the Greeks and several other peoples of the Mediterranean. Though she influenced them and was influenced by them, her cultural basis was very strong.
Hindu culture has become an integral part of Indian culture, It has always been based on the virtues of patience; industry, intellect and systematic suffering. While the Western nations are steeped in material pursuits, Hindu culture has always been altruistic and is founded upon the bulwark of communion with and sympathy for his surroundings by man. The poems of Kalidasa and his dramas indicate the appeal of Nature to the soul of the poet. According to Sir Alfred Lyall, there-are two other aspects of Hindu culture. They are the imaginative and the realistic as well as the mystic elements in the make-up of the Hindus. Popular Hinduism is quite different-from the intellectual Hinduism in its faith and form of worship. At any rate, it reflects the culture of the Hindus in its own way.
Indian culture has also been influenced by Islam, which lays great emphasis on the belief in one God. This belief had been prevailing at one time among the Hindus but subsequently became corrupt and various forms of idol worship were introduced.
The Arya Samaj founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswati is the foremost example of the revolt against idol worship and some of its reforms are on par with the tenets of Islam. The Sikh religion of Guru Nanak is another remarkable example of Islam in producing monotheistic faith in India.
Nehru feels that there is something very vital in the culture of India, which enables it not only to keep boiling but also to absorb new ideas and assimilate them into the old. India is the only civilization that has had an unbroken continuity. Thousands of generations have been fed and inspired by this civilization. It is a marvelous vitality that renews itself according to the demands of the changing times. It has eternal values, which endure all the vicissitudes of history.
Indian culture is noted for its diversity. Indian society is made up of diverse ethnic groups, split into countless castes, professing numerous creeds and speaking about two hundred languages and dialects. It represents every phase of’ social evolution.
If we examine this diversity, we shall be able to find that there is deep underlying unity. This unity has been strengthened by a uniform system of administration and the spread of education on modern lines. One may think that it is really the outcome of the struggle for freedom and that it did not exist in the past ages. This view is not correct.
The essential unity of India wasemphasised by Bharatvarsha or the land of Bharata, given to the whole country in the epics and the Puranas and the name ‘Bharat Santati, or the descendants of Bharata applied to its people. This sense of unity was always present in the minds of theologians, political philosophers and poets who spoke of the land that stretches from-the Himalayas to Adam’s Bridge.
India should not remain stagnant. Her culture should get intermingled with the international culture of the human race. To achieve this, she has to seek wisdom, knowledge and friendship and comradeship wherever she finds them, and apply herself to the great task of making her citizens internationalists and world citizens. Nehru, the architect of modern India, visualized such an India.