India is a subcontinent that is also known as Bharat, Bharatvarsh, & Republic of India. New Delhi is the capital of India. She has the ageing elegance of an ancient civilization. Now, India aka Republic of India is a sovereign, socialist, secular Democratic Republic. Bharat has been trying to secure to all its citizens: Justice, social, economic and political; Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; Equality of stands and of opportunity; and to promote among them all. Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation.
In India, you will notice heart-stopping beauty, spiritual fervor, and abject poverty. She is always confusing and frustrating, inspiring and uplifting. She is really an incredible country, a dream laud. You will return home enriched and been used. Here, what it seems is always not true. This is true about objects and humans. The tattiest building can have precious stones inside. The man in the cotton pyjama and dhoti suit may be a clerk or a milkman or a teacher or a cabinet minister.
The surface of the earth is not the same everywhere. Some parts are rugged, very much elevated and several thousand metres above sea level. Some parts are flat and not much above sea level. These land features are broadly grouped under mountains, plateaus and plains.
The Indian Ocean is the only ocean named after a country, namely, India. It indicates the importance of India in International trade in former times. The ocean is bounded by land on three sides Africa in the west, Asia in the north and Australia in the east.
India has the second largest population in the world after China being the first. Roughly, it is estimated at over one billion, of whom about 70% live in rural areas. About 80 percent are Hindu and 16 percent Muslims. Besides, there are Christains, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jain and a small number of Parsees and tribal groups make up the rest percentage.
So far as Indian Politics is concerned, it is indeed a very remarkable thing that having diverse religions and regional groups, also a great disparity between the rich and the poor, India has sustained a democratic system (set up) since Independence. That has survived violent protests, riots, internal terrorism and assassinations.
The county has seen 17 general elections fought between many a political party amid reports of corruption and electoral rigging. However, the Indian voter remains committed to governance by people’s representation. The most wonderful thing about India politics is that there has not been any suggestion of a military comp. Freedom of press and speech are there. The judiciary is independent. India’s constitution is written. It is one of the most liberal and idealistic in the world.
In cities one can notice a number of men and women especially young ones and adults, living in western style liberalism, but a great majority of Indians lives traditionally. However, regional variations in language, food and customs are clearly visible. One thing is very remarkable that religion is more than a faith to all Indians.
Hinduism has a rigid caste system. But other religions also has a less determined form. Caste has nothing to do with financial standing or education. For example, the Brahmin peasant has a higher social standing than the Dalit doctor. A few daring petons may marry out of caste. The Dalit do not enjoy some constitutional right, but the struggle to get them is still bitter one.
Many Dalits are cynical and believe it is their Karma. They hope for a better deal in the next life.
There is a great (vast, huge) difference between rural and urban lifestyle. Indian males are undoubtedly hard working. It does not matter much where they work in fields or in white collar jobs. The Indian man seldom share in household activities. They have nothing to do with child rearing. They spend their leisure time in the company of other men. Most marriages are still arranged often between children into their teens. Dowry system is in vogue, despite efforts to eradicate it. Nevertheless values are changing among the educated in urban areas. Females assert their independence and occupy good positions on a par with males. More often the young in unban families are opting for independent houses, through among more traditional, the joint family system prevails where elders are given their rightful place in the family hiearcy in rituals and customs.
So far as religion is concerned India is a land of many beliefs. That is why it is called a mini America. The religion which emerged in India in the second millennium BC.is very flexible to include,” multitude of beliefs”.
Nevertheless, a traveler must have a knowledge of Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Buddhism.
Hinduism believes in transmigration of soul. A man’s deals in the present life determine his fate in the next. Dharma (right living),Artha ( Making lawful money),Kama ( satisfy desire), and Moksha ( ) are the main aims of human life. Puja (ritual worship), cremation of the dead and adherence to the caste system are the essential aspects of Hinduism.
There are rituals for every occasion, hundreds of festivals and pilgrimages. People enter into the temple to make offering flowers, sweet and money to receive blessing. Almost every house has a shrine. Women especially and men occasionally worship.
There is a long list of gods and goddesses, spirits and demons, but most are different incarnations of the same few. For instance Brahma (the creator), Shiva (the Destroyer), and Vishnu (the Preserver) are perhaps different aspects of Bhagvan. Hinduism; Islam; Christianity; Sikhism; Buddhism; Jainism; some Judaism, Parsiism (Zoroastrianism), and animistic tribal peoples.”
Islam was founded by the prophet Mohammed (C.AD 570 -630 ) in Mecca ( now in Saudi Arabia. The religion follows the teachings of the Prophet. Islam means “submission to God”. The essential duties of Islam are:
Muslims in India are both Shias and Sunnies. There are also many important shrines of Sufi Sants in north India.
There are 14 % Muslims in India.
Jainism founded in 6th century BC. is offshoot of Hinduism. Mahavira is believed to be the last tirthamkaras. After his death the religion spilt between the Digambaras and the Shwetambaras. The former rejects all clothes and latter bears simple white-clothes. The universe is divided into four levels: the underworld, earth, celestial world and paradise. The aim in life is to detach oneself from the physical through sacrifice, breaking the chains of body to let the soul go free. It takes many rebirth to achieve this. Monks and nuns travel for about eight months of the year, gathering to study and meditate during the monsoon. They renunciation all possessions and live celibate lives.
Jains are strict vegetarians; non-violence to any form of life is the essence of the religion. According Jains, commerce and baking are non – violent occupation. That is the reason why they are renowned trader. Their grand and superb temples are the result of commercial profit.
India is a land of festivals and fairs. Hardly, a month goes without festivities. Most never attract the visitor or tourist, but plenty of them naturally attract travelers. They are full of music and dance, fire crackers and processions. Besides, there are huge fairs, cattle or camel markets.
Let me consider a few ones.
26th January, all India.
India’s most attractive parade is along Rajpath in New Delhi. It includes highly decorated elephants, camels, horses, dances and musicians and a military procession, from all over India. Tickets for seats are sold month ahead.
It is especially for tourists. It is very noisy and colourful. Camel race take place here. A Mr. Desert ‘beauty’ pageant and a best moustache competition are very loving scenes. There is also Bikaner, Desert Festival.
March, North India.
It is a traditional Hindu festival of colour. It is celebrated in the end of winter. The destruction of the demon Holika is done with hue and cry. People throw coloured water, dye, or watery clay and cattle dung on each other. They drink opium-based bhang and county liquor (Country liquor is called Desi daru.). In the city of Jaipur, there is a grand Elephant festival.
It is mainly a women’s festival. It celebrates married bliss and fertility. Images of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati are decorated and carried in procession with dancing and music go without break.
It celebrates the reunion of Lord Shiva and Parvati. It marks the onset of the monsoon. Women dress up and take turns on shining decorated swings. There are processions with idols, elephants, traditional songs and dance.
September/October, All India.
It is a ten-day festival. It celebrates the victory of the goddess Durga over the demon, Mahishasura and Ram over the demon king , Ravan. People perform the Ram Lilla and burn effigies of the demons on the tenth day. Fire crackers are used immensely.
October/ November, All India.
Known as the festival of light, Diwali or Deepawali is biggest event of the Hindu religion. The sound of fire crackers is heard everywhere till mid-night.
It is the most famous fair( Mela) celebrated on Kartik Poornina. Hindu pilgrims come in thousand to bathe in the sacred lake. Alongside is India’s largest cattle, camel and horse fair. This festival attracts more than fifty thousand foreign tourists a year. Huge tented villages and entertainment programmes are laid on to keep them amused.
India is in reality the land of dreams and romance. One can note here richness and poverty live side by side. Blind faiths, diseases, criminals, thugs’ lies and frauds are common rights. Shrewd politicians divide people on the basic of caste, creed and color. To the best of my knowledge and belief sixty percent politicians are corrupt and devoid of any merit. But they lead happy healthy lives with their families. That is why it is the land that all men desire to visit.
Getting around is a not difficult enough person use bicycles, buses and bullock carts. A great majority of people use their own cars and two-wheels. You can find everywhere in cities cycle rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, battery rickshaws and private buses. Beside, private car agencies provide cars, drivers and guides at genuine rates. The guides speak better English and solve all your problems.
Fifteen official languages: Hindi; Bengali; Telugu; Marathi; Tamil; Urdu; Gujarat; Malayalam; Kannada; Oriya; Punjab;Assames;Kashmiri; Sindhi; Sanskrit; English widely spoken.