India is a country of many ethnic groups, over 1,650 spoken languages, dialects, regional variations—a land of myriad tongues—numerous modes of apparel and countless mannerisms. For the most part, the continental size of the country accounts for the variations and diversities.Besides, there are many religions, sects and beliefs. At times the wide differences seem to predominate, and the resultant disharmony is regarded by many as irreme­diable, a phenomenon that the 100 crore people (ours is the second most populous country) have to live with, whether they like it or not.The cynics even regard the Indian people as quarrelsome, often at each other's throat, denouncing others as if they were inveterate enemiesholding irreconcilable ideas and subscribing to ideals totally different from theirs.But those who stick to this impression ignore a vital factor there is a basic unity which runs through the Indian mainstream of life and thought. There is a traditional culture which is truly oriental and which conforms to the teachings and precepts of our saints and sages.Culture and civilisation are admittedly difficult to define, though both these signify certain identi­fiable trends and traits of character, especially restraint, consideration for others and a high degree of tolerance.The lack of culture becomes evident even from the language and the dialect one uses, the conduct and manner of living, one's gestures insocial life, the tendency to have a closed mind, with doors and windows shut as if to disallow the inflow of fresh ideas and other viewpoints.Every process of exclusion betrays lack of culture, just as every trend indicating a willingness to broaden one's outlook shows a commendable cultural trait. The same idea is often put in different words: static culture envisages decay, just as dynamism ensures survival.It is the dynamism and the flexibility that have enabled Indian culture to survive despite its many diversities and heavy odds. Through these di­versities runs a common stream, as it were, and the similarity and unity of outlook can be noticed from North to South and East to West. Indian culture is actually a continuous synthesis, and has absorbed many external influences in the course of history.A significant recognition of the fusion of cultural trends comes through t he Constitution (Article 51-A), which says, interalia, that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.
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