Years after India’s independence, communal and caste divides continue to assume alarming proportions. Standards in public life have fallen. Political parties are stoking religious and communal passions for electoral gains. The institutions of inter-faith harmony and unity are collapsing. India’s ancient culture and civilisation face threat from mindless consumerism. For some, the composite culture seems to be meaningless.
K R Narayanan, former President of the Indian Republic, cautioned the countrymen, on the eve of his assumption of office that, “Indian civilisation has had the unique honour of demonstrating to the world that man does not live by bread alone. Cultural, moral and spiritual values have always formed the fundamental underpinning of our society”.
Abid Hussain, in his talk on ‘Vision of good society’ on All India Radio, said, “It is ironic that at a time when India can boast of resilience in its economy and when its polity has been extensively democratised, some of the cohesiveness and uniting factors of India, developed over generations, with so much of effort and imagination seem to be getting weakened, running the grave risk of sliding into sub regional communal and caste trend.”
Vedic literature, which is the foundation of Indian culture and civilisation, advocates unity and solidarity of one universe wherein noble principles from all directions are welcome. The spiritual broadbase of this philosophy helped India in building its unity in diversity. Today, Indian culture is the necklace of pearls interwoven so inextricably that a little disturbance in its settled setting may spoil its beauty.
This culture believes in certain basic human values. Ekam satyama vipra bhuda vadanti (truth is one — wise call it by different names) is the philosophy of Vedas.
Indian soil has been a place for discovery for new spiritual ideas which have been assimilated in this ancient culture. Ethics and morals of all major religions are an integral part of Indian culture.
The unity in diversity keeps it ever fresh and ever green because of its resilience and flexibility.
Religious scriptures from all faiths do agree that there are common points which bring humanity closer to each other. They are: Belief in God and love of God for mankind, compassion, tolerance and universal brotherhood. There are other principles on which there can be no dispute. Indian literature, music, architecture, shilpsastra, arts are symbols of our common heritage and culture.
The spirit of India combines the message of Vedas, Qur’an, Bible, and adi-granth and other holy scriptures of other religions. Guru Nanak Dev preached to our society , in most difficult times, a new mantra for religious tolerance and service of mankind. Sant Kabir became apostle of Hindu-Muslim unity and combined Ram and Rahim in his message.