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Baba’s Explainer – India and Pluralism

  • IASbaba
  • October 3, 2022
  • 0
History and Art and Culture
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Syllabus

  • GS-1: Indian Society

Context: In the diverse society of India, pluralism is crucial for its smooth functioning. A pluralist democracy, allowing the masses the freedom of association, is necessary for the democratic culture to flow.

Meaning of Pluralism
  • Pluralism is an understanding of social diversity. It could be a nation’s cultural, political, or philosophical posture.
  • In any of these types, pluralism provides an account of social context appreciated as a relationship of contradictory and competing positions that cannot be seamlessly condensed or reduced to a single institutional system.
  • We have intense pride for Ajanta caves, the Kashi temple, the Taj Mahal, Gommatesvara of Shravanabelagola, the Golden Temple of Amritsar, etc. Though they embody different faiths, there is a sense of the emotional experience of being Indian. This explains the plurality of beliefs.
  • Concerning language, India never had a monopoly on one language. Various local, regional, national and international languages are spoken and learnt by Indians. We have the willingness to learn different languages. Indian culture encourages the learning abilities of several streams at a time and does not discard one for the other.
  • Religious Plurality: We do not adhere to the policy of worshipping one God throughout India or following one religion with one or two sects. Each community and caste have different Gods to worship and follow their customs and traditions.
  • Even politically, India was at no time ruled by one royal power, except in times of Ashoka or under the British. Various royal families ruled their territories simultaneously. They all ruled their domains but looked for an opportunity to overpower the other.
    • For Example, when the Mughals were ruling North India, the Vijayanagar rulers in the south and the Bahamani rulers in parts of Deccan and Central India were ruling their territory simultaneously.
    • At present, Indian democracy is unique for its multi-political party system.
  • The storyline, contents, characters, messages, and lessons we draw from our epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata are not confined to one geographical area.
  • In present day, an Indian lives with many identities, such as you can be a Kannadiga or Punjabi, Goan, a Hindu, Muslim or a Christian, etc. They all have their identities within the structure of homogeneous living.
  • So in many ways, plurality exists by way of co-existence and not by confrontations.
India’s Rich Pluralistic History
  • One of the most glorious aspects of India’s pluralist cultural history is the treatment that her states and people gave to the religious and minority groups that came to India as refugees.
  • Persecuted by their own countries with sacred places destroyed and fellow beings being massacred, the Jews, the Zoroastrians, the Tibetians, etc.
  • Our age-old traditions of tolerance and hospitality, attracted them and they found their hopes and aspirations fulfilled.
  • Rigidity and exclusiveness are unending sources of inter-cultural conflicts. Rigid cultures behave like billiards balls as they meet to collide only. The resilience and adaptability nurtured by pluralism in India led to assimilation and synthesis, which enriched our unique culture.
Uniqueness of Indian Pluralistic Culture
  • Cultural means the total accumulation of material objects, ideas, symbols, beliefs, sentiments, values, and social forms which are passed from one generation to another in any given society
  • The history of Indian culture goes back to more than 5,000 years, which shows that its subtle with a strong thread of unity that runs through the boundless plurality of her life
  • Good governance was always considered a necessary prerequisite for people’s happiness. So the rulers bestow happiness and prosperity on people, always treading the path of righteousness in governing the state.
  • India is an agricultural society; the people’s joy is linked with the well-being of the agriculture and cattle. For the satisfaction of all, the Pancha mahabhutas such as Prithvi – the earth, Akasha – the sky, Jala- water, Vayu – air and Agni – fire are pacified and revered. All these rudiments are adored in rituals, pilgrimages, and festivals and are respected in life in Indian culture.
  • Ahimsa – all religions upheld Non-violence, especially in Jainism and Buddhism. Many freedom fighters had championed the cause of ahimsa by waging war against the British during our freedom struggle.
  • Another perennial value that the Indian culture has taught is the universal brotherhood, which is now being called global consciousness covering the whole world was the foundation of Indian culture.
  • The old concept of ‘Unity in Diversity’ has been conserved over the years.
  • Unlike many other post-colonial societies, India chose a pluralistic constitution at independence despite complex counterbalancing pressures after a bloody partition in 1947 based on the two-nation theory.
    • The Constitution of India continues to endure as a standard in public life and enjoys legitimacy among India’s diverse groups.

Main Practice Question: Why can India be termed as a Pluralist nation?

Note: Write answer his question in the comment section.


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