Characteristics of Indian Social System13th February 2020
India has a long history and its cultural tradition is quite old and extremely complex. India’s cultural division is not only one of the most ancient, but also it is one of the most widespread and varied. Traditional features of India are very strong. French, British and other cultures are seen in India, but Indian value systems still remain. It is second most populated country in the world. It has its own geographic, ethnic, religious, and linguistic background.
- Geographical Factor
- The natural boundaries provide India a geographical unity.
- It is a country in South Asia that lies entirely on Indian Plate in the northern portion of Indo Australian Plate.
- The area of Indian society was so vast. The land area is 33 million square kilometer. India is the 7th largest country in the world.
- It lies north Equator.
- Unity and Diversity
- India is the second most populous and seventh largest country of the world.
- It has 2.4 per cent of world’s land area and about 16 percent of world’s population.
- It has a history spanning over 5000 years of human habitation, 3000 years before Christ and 2000 years after Christ.
- It has a cultural heritage handed down by the immigrant Aryans from across the Himalayas, the natives – the pre-Aryan settlers called Dasyus or Dasas by the Aryans and invading civilizations.
- Its social, economic and cultural diversities are also reflected in habital conditions in rural, urban and semi-urban areas.
- Despite these diversities, what is observed about India is that there is unity in diversity.
- This unity in diversity has become a part of India’s self identity.
- Religious Factor
- India, being a democratic, socialistic and secular republic, has no state religion.
- India is the birth place of many world religions and almost all major world religions are practiced by their respective followers.
- India is a land where people of different religions and cultures live in harmony. This harmony is seen in the celebration of festivals. The message of love and brotherhood is expressed by all the religions and cultures of India.
- The major religions of India are Hinduism (majority religion), Islam (largest minority religion), Sikhism, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and the Bahá’í Faith.
- The languages of India belong to several language families, the major ones being the Indo-Aryan languages (a branch of Indo-European) spoken by 74% of Indians and the Dravidian languages spoken by 24% of Indians.
- Other languages spoken in India belong to the Austro-Asiatic, Tibeto-Burman, and a few minor language families and isolates.
- The principal official language of the Republic of India is Standard Hindi, while English is the secondary official language.
- The constitution of India states that “The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script”.
- Individual mother tongues in India number several hundred; the 1961 census recognized 1,652.
- According to Census of India of 2001, 30 languages are spoken by more than a million native speakers, 122 by more than 10,000.
- Three millennia of language contact has led to significant mutual influence among the four language families in India and South Asia.
- Two contact languages have played an important role in the history of India: Persian and English.
- Races and Ethnicity
Indian population is polygenetic and is a mixture of various races.
There are many diverse ethnic groups among the people of India.
The 6 main ethnic groups are as follows:
- The Negritos were the earliest people to come to India.
- They have survived in their original habitat in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- The Jarawas, Onges, Sentinelese and the Great Andamanese are some of the examples.
- Some hill tribes like Irulas, Kodars, Paniyans and Kurumbas are found in some patches in Southern part of mainland India.
(ii) Proto – Australoids or Austrics
- These were the next ethnic group to arrive in India after the Negroids.
- They were people with wavy hair distributed all over their brown bodies, long faces with low foreheads and prominent eye ridges, thick jaws, noses with low and broad roots, large teeth and palates and small chins.
- The Mongoiloids are found mainly in the North eastern parts of India in the states like Assam, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Tripura.
- They are also found in parts of West Bengal, Sikkim, and Ladakh.
- They are people with highly yellowish complexion, oblique eyes, high cheekbones, thin hair and of a medium height.
(iv) Mediterranean or Dravidian
- These are the people of South India.
- They have been believed to come before the Aryans.
- They have different sub-groups like the Paleo-Mediterranean, the true Mediterranean, and the Oriental Mediterranean.
- They appear to be people of the same stock as the peoples of Asia Minor and Crete and pre- Hellenic Aegean’s of Greece.
- They are reputed to have built up the city civilization of the Indus valley, whose remains have been found at Mohenjo- daro and Harappa and other Indus cities.
(v) Western Brachycephals
- These include the Alpinoids, Dinarics and Armenoids.
- The Parsis and Kodavas also fall in this category.
- They are the broad headed people living mainly on the western side of the country such as the Ganga Valley and the delta, parts of Kashmir, Kathiawar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
(vi) Nordic Aryans or Indo-Aryans
- This group were the last one to immigrate to India.
- They came to India somewhere between 2000 and 1500 B.C.
- They are now mainly found in the northern and central part of India.
- Caste System
A social structure used to designate any social class of extreme rigidity. It is composed of four varna or classes, and from this, a rank-order of different subcastes or jati was formed.
Note: This fig. is for Knowledge purpose only, www.theintactone.com doesn’t endourse any Caste System
(i) Brahmins: The first and the highest class; intellectuals of the nations such as landowners, scholars, and priests.
(ii) Kshatriyas: A class directly follows Brahmins; mostly rulers and warriors. They manage the land, military service, and administration.
(iii) Vaisyas: The third class composed of traders, shopkeepers, moneylenders, farmers, and artisans; Trading and banking.
(iv) Sudras: The fourth class composed of laborers, craft-workers, servants and slaves.
- India has the second largest tribal population in the world only next to Africa.
- According to 1941 census report tribal population of India was 2.47 crores.
- According to 1981 census it was 5.16 crores and it is estimated to have increased to 5.20 crores in 1991.
- It forms 7.8% of the country’s total population.
- About two-thirds of the total tribal population in India are found in the five states of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Gujarat and Maharastra.
- More than 20 lakhs of tribal population are found in each state of Rajasthan, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.
- In Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura tribals constitute 70% to 95% of the population of the states/territory.
- Cultural Factor
- Indian Culture is very different.
- Hindu, Muslims and Christian marriages has their own values.
- Hinduism is a mixture of various cultures like, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity.
- Hindu philosophies are very strong and its culture was not much changed.
- Political Factor
- India is called by other name Bharathavarsha.
- India’s political unity is an off shoot of the religious and cultural unity.
- India is a democratic country which has a written constitution.
- Indians enjoy certain fundamental rights and duties.
- India being democratic, socialistic republic is based on equality, justice, liberty and secularism.
- Indian laws apply all people without any discrimination.