Indian culture is based on Sanatana values. The Sanatana values are eternal and functionally unifying; therefore, association with these values is absolutely necessary. These values are all-timely, ever-relevant and welfaristic. Humanity cannot escape from these Sanatana-eternal values as these are inevitable for an appropriate and the smooth functioning of the system, from the individual to the universal level. For thousands of years, the Indian culture, purely tied to Sanatana values, has been dedicated to greater human welfare without any kind of discrimination. There were continuous attacks on Indian culture; the invaders, the tyrants and the fanatics, internal and external, both, made many efforts to disintegrate the original cultural form of Hindustan. But, in their outrageous efforts they always failed. Glory and pride of Indian culture is still intact; Indian culture is in its original form still exemplary for the whole world.
The Sanatana-eternal values, which constitute the core foundation of Indian culture, include the active goodwill towards all living beings originating from the One and the Same source, to accept the truth of natural human equality, to move forward continuously to do anew with co-operation of fellow-beings in a state of harmony having the spirit of inclusiveness along with the determination to be always innovative on the pathway to the development making unity in diversity the basis of peaceful co-existence. These very Santana values are the foremost characteristics of the culture of India also, lie at the core of the strength of Bharatiya Sanskriti paving the way to preserve the unity of this country. Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar not only recognised this fact of Indian culture, but also adopted the culture of India as unique and great seeing India’s nationalism in the mirror of her culture. Dr. Ambedkar had said, “There is no country in the world except this (Indian) peninsula, which has such cultural harmony. We are not only geographically well organized, but our assured cultural unity is also unbroken and constant, which is spread all over the country, in all the four directions.”
In the ironic times, when India was under the foreign rule, Indian culture played an important role in awakening the spirit of nationalism in the country and also in uniting the people for the struggle for her freedom. The gigantic task of the unification of Hindustan under the leadership of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel after its independence from the British on August 15, 1947, could be to a large extent possible due to the common cultural heritage of the country, which called for the unity of India in various forms and emphasized its need. This reality could be well understood from an appeal-like statement of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel himself, which he issued on July 5, 1947 while starting the great Yajna of geographical-political unity of India and which, as I believe, played an important role in the mammoth task of establishing national unity. In his historic statement the Sardar had said, “This country with its institutions is the proud heritage of the people who inhabit it. It is an accident that some live in the (Princely) States and some in British India, but all alike partake of its culture (which is the symbol of unity in diversities) and character. We all are knit together by bonds and blood and feelings no less than of self-interest. None can segregate us into segments; no impassable barriers can be set up between us...I invite my friends, the Rulers of the States and ... people (that they) come to join hands in the spirit of friendliness and co-operation in a joint endeavour, inspired by common allegiance of our Motherland (her unity, integrity, re-building, defence and prosperity) for common good of us all.”
At the same time, adjustment in ideas, or attitude adjustment, toleration, pure heartedness and the nature of accepting and absorbing whatever is benevolent, good and all-welfaristic from every source (even if it is external), which are central to the basic Indian philosophy that has greatly influenced Indian culture, are also included in the foremost features of this culture. It is for this reason that along with “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, all-welfaristic proclamations like “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah”, “Sarvam Shanti” and “Lokanukampaya” and a unique wish like “Live and Let Live” appear as the core messages of Indian culture. Especially due to these characteristics, Indian culture became the center of attraction for people all over the world. People from various parts of the world saw their secure and development-oriented future in India, a country of very harmonious, tolerant and inclusive culture. During the last several centuries, those human groups from many countries of the world arrived on the land of India, from time to time, whose existence was under question mark in their own countries; those who were oppressed on their respective native lands and were severely tortured. When such people reached India, the culture of this country assimilated them. They got love and respect on the Indian land, Bharatbhumi. Their traditions, customs and beliefs got full protection. They also got equal opportunities to flourish.
The strength of Sanatana-eternal values-based Indian culture is immeasurable. Its role is very important in the building of the unity of the country, in the development of the nation and in establishing the prestige of India internationally. Indian culture has always been expecting its followers to be committed to the Sanatana-eternal values in line with above-mentioned proclamations and objectives; at the same time, it has been urging them to dedicate themselves to defend these values and apply them in their behaviours. Indian culture still wishes the same especially from Hindustanis. We have to bear the essence of Indian culture and its foremost characteristics in our hearts, especially when we celebrate our Seventy-Fifth Independence Day, and commit to move forward accordingly to make India iconic as a Vishwaguru.
- A Padma Shri and Sardar Patel National Awardee Indologist Dr. Ravindra Kumar is a Former Vice Chancellor of CCS University, Meerut; he is also the Editor-in-Chief of Global Peace International Journal.