Friday, August 1, 2008

Traditions of India

The culture of India has been shaped by the long history of India, its unique geography and the absorption of customs, traditions and ideas from some of its neighbors as well as by preserving its ancient heritages, which were formed during the Indus Valley Civilization and evolved further during the Vedic age, rise and decline of Buddhism, Golden age, Muslim conquests and European colonization. India's great diversity of cultural practices, languages, customs, and traditions are examples of this unique co-mingling over the past five millennea.

India is also the birth place of several religious systems such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, some of which have had a large influence in other parts of the world. The various religions and traditions of India that were created by these amalgamations have influenced other parts of the world too.

Language

The great number of languages in India have added to the diverse cultures and traditions at both regional and national levels. 216 languages are spoken by a group of more than 10,000 people; however there are many others which are spoken by fewer than 10,000 people. All together, there are 415 living languages in India. The Constitution of India has stipulated the usage of Hindi and English to be the two official languages of communication for the Union Government. Individual state's own internal communications are done in the state's language. The two major linguistic families in India are those of the Indo-Aryan languages and the Dravidian languages, the former being largely confined to northern, western, central and eastern India and the latter to southern India. The next largest language family in India is the Austro-Asiatic language group, which contains the Munda languages of central and eastern India, the Khasian languages of northeastern India, and the Nicobarese languages of the Nicobar Islands. The fourth largest language family in India is the Tibeto-Burman languages, which are themselves a subgroup of the larger Sino-Tibetan language family.

Literature


History

The earliest literary traditions were oral and have been passed down as such. Later, though, they were transcribed. Many of them derive from Hindu tradition and are represented by texts in Sanskrit such as the Vedas, the epics of the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Other are in Sangam literature from the beginning of the Common Era, and in Kannada such as the writings Prabhrita (650 CE) and Chudamani (Crest Jewel- 650 CE or earlier; a 96,000 verse commentary on logic)[1][2][3]. Furthermore, many Buddhist sutras and Jain works are in Prakrit languages like Pali (c. 250 BCE) and Ardhamagadhi, and later on in Sanskrit. All these represent some of India's oldest literary traditions.
Rabindranath Tagore became Asia's first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature
Rabindranath Tagore became Asia's first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature


During the period of the Delhi sultanate (after 1200 CE) and in the subsequent Mughal era, Islamic culture has influenced medieval Indian literature.This was especially due to the increased influence of Persian, including the work of famous poets such as Amir Khusro.

During the period of English colonial rule, modern literature exemplified by the works of Rabindranath Tagore, Subramania Barathi, Kuvempu, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Munshi Premchand, Muhammad Iqbal, Devaki Nandan Khatri became prominent. In contemporary India, writers like Girish Karnad, Agyeya, Nirmal Verma, Kamleshwar, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, Indira Goswami, Mahasweta Devi, Amrita Pritam, Maasti Venkatesh Ayengar, Qurratulain Hyder and Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, to name but a few, have been the recipients of critical acclaim.


Poetry

India has strong traditions of poetry ever since the Rigveda, as well as prose compositions. Poetry is often closely related to musical traditions, and much of poetry can be attributed to religious movements. Writers and philosophers were often also skilled poets. In modern
Illustration of the Battle of Kurukshetra.
With more than 74,000 verses, long prose
passages, and about 1.8 million words in total,
the
Mahābhārata is one of the longest epic poems in the world.
Illustration of the Battle of Kurukshetra. With more than 74,000 verses, long prose passages, and about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahābhārata is one of the longest epic poems in the world. times, poetry has served as an important non-violent tool of nationalism during the Indian freedom movement. A famous modern example of this tradition can be found in such figures as Rabindranath Tagore and K. S. Narasimhaswamy in modern times and poets such as Basava (vachanas) , Kabir and Purandaradasa (padas and devaranamas) in medieval times, as well as the epics of ancient times. Two examples of poetry from Tagore's Gitanjali serve as the national anthems of both India and Bangladesh.



Epics


The Ramayana and Mahabharata are the oldest preserved and still well-known epics of India; some of their versions have been adopted as the epics of Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. In addition, there are five epics in the classical Tamil language -they being Silappadhikaram, Manimegalai, Jeevaga-chintamani, Valayaapathi, Kundalakesi. Other regional variations of them as well as unrelated epics include the Tamil Kamba Ramayanam, in Kannada, the Pampa Bharata by Adikavi Pampa, Torave Ramayana by Kumara Valmiki and Karnata Bharata KathaManjari by Kumaravyasa, Hindi Ramacharitamanasa, Malayalam Adhyathmaramayanam.


Performing arts


Music


The music of India includes multiples varieties of religious, folk, popular, pop, and classical music. The oldest preserved examples of Indian music are the melodies of the Samaveda that are still

Purandara Dasa, one of the most prominent composers of Carnatic music.

Purandara Dasa, one of the most prominent composers of Carnatic music.


in certain Vedic Shrauta sacrifices. India's classical music tradition is heavily influenced by Hindu texts. It includes Carnatic and Hindustani music and is noted for the use of several Raga, has a history spanning millennia, and, developed over several eras, remains instrumental to the religious inspiration, cultural expression and pure entertainment. Alongside distinctly subcontinental forms, there are some similarities with other types of Oriental music.

Purandaradasa is considered the "father of carnatic music" (Karnataka sangeeta pitamaha). He concluded his songs with a salutation to Lord Purandara Vittala and is believed to have composed as many as 475,000 songs in the Kannada language. However, only about 1000 are known today.


Dance

Indian dance too has diverse folk and classical forms. Among the well-known folk dances are the bhangra of the Punjab, the bihu of Assam, the chhau of Jharkhand and Orissa and the ghoomar of Rajasthan. Eight dance forms, many with narrative forms and mythological elements, have been accorded classical dance status by India's National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama. These are: bharatanatyam of the state of Tamil Nadu, kathak of Uttar Pradesh, kathakali and mohiniattam of Kerala, kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, manipuri of Manipur, odissi of the state of Orissa and the sattriya of Assam.[9]

Children in Tripura prepare for traditional dance on the eve of Goria Puja.
Children in TripuraGoria Puja. prepare for traditional dance on the eve of

Indian dance too has diverse folk and classical forms. Among the well-known folk dances are the bhangra of the Punjab, the bihu of Assam, the chhau of Jharkhand and Orissa and the ghoomar of Rajasthan. Eight dance forms, many with narrative forms and mythological elements, have been accorded classical dance status by India's National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama. These are: bharatanatyam of the state of Tamil Nadu, kathak of Uttar Pradesh, kathakali and mohiniattam of Kerala, kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, manipuri of Manipur, odissi of the state of Orissa and the sattriya of Assam.

Martial arts

Kalarippayattu or Kalari for short is one of the world's oldest martial art. It is preserved in texts such as the Mallapurana. Kalari and other later formed martial arts have been assumed by some to have traveled to China, like Buddhism, and eventually developing into Kung-fu. Other later martial arts are Gatka,Pehlwani,and Malla-yuddha. There have been many great practitioners of Indian martial Arts including Bodhidharma who supposedly brought Indian martial arts to China.

Drama and theatre

Indian drama and theatre has a long history alongside its music and dance. Kalidasa's plays like Shakuntala and Meghadoota are some of the older plays, following those of Bhasa. One of the oldest surviving theatre tradition of the world is the 2000 year old Kutiyattam of Kerala. It strictly follows the Natya Shastra. The dramas of Bhasa are very popular in this art form. Nātyāchārya (late) Padma Shri Māni Mādhava Chākyār- the unrivaled maestro of this art form and Abhinaya, revived the age old drama tradition from extinction. He was known for mastery of Rasa Abhinaya. He started to perform the Kalidasa plays like Abhijñānaśākuntala, Vikramorvaśīya and Mālavikāgnimitra ; Bhasa's Swapnavāsavadatta and Pancharātra; Harsha's Nagananda in Kutiyattam form.

Natyacarya Mani Madhava Chakyar as Ravana in Bhasa's Abhiṣeka Nataka Kutiyattam- one of the oldest surviving drama tradition of the world
Natyacarya Mani Madhava Chakyar as Ravana in Bhasa's Abhiṣeka NatakaKutiyattam- one of the oldest surviving drama tradition of the world

The tradition of folk theatre is alive in nearly all of the linguistic regions of the country.In addition, there is a rich tradition of puppet theatre in rural India, going back to at least the second century BCE. (It is mentioned in Patanjali's commentary on Panini). Group Theatre is also thriving in the cities, initiated by the likes of Gubbi Veeranna Utpal Dutt, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, K. V. Subbanna and still maintained by groups like Nandikar, Ninasam and Prithvi Theatre.

1 comment:

ZHEJIANG SHUGUANG LAMPS CO., LTD said...

Hi AASHIRWAD nice blogger.I learn a lot in your blogger. Interesting.I like India dance. Impressive.wow!!Really great!