PHOENIX NEW LIFE POETRY SPRING 2012 No:-44
The Indian Culture of harmony and its expression
in Poetry, Literature and Art of India(article published in U.K)
The long history and culture of India emerged from its unique geographical location and its ancient heritage dates way back 5000 years to the Indus Valley Civilization and considered most diverse nation in the world. The rare delights are found in the centuries-old temples, tombs and forts; in the exquisite crafts still made in the traditional way. Religion and ritual pervade almost every aspect of life in India. Four major world religions – Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism have originated on the Indian soil and they have greatly influenced not only India but also South East Asia and other parts of the world too. Though each sect has its own rules, rituals and taboos, ordinary Indians largely follow a “live and let live” philosophy. It is this underlying spirit of tolerance that has enabled India to remain a unique tapestry of varied cultures and faiths. Acquiring Independence on 15 August 1947, India became a Republic on 26 January 1950. Despite some political upheavals, slowly and steadily India grew from strength to stability in all spheres of development to be presently reckoned as one of the fastest progressing nations in the world.
The culture of India is a confluence of several religions, traditions, races, regions and castes which are harmoniously fastened with the world’s largest democratic nation. Indian culture is closely knitted with the melodious fabric of various cultures and traditions. The culture of India has its shades of influence by Persian, Arabic, Turkish and English cultures. A rare blend of architectural splendors, a recipe of distinctive multi-cultural entertainment and a hub of hi-tech amusement, India reflects a universal society. A living example to “unity in diversity”, every state of the Indian nation is governed on its own with its own language and customs to follow. The lively and lovely cosmopolitan culture is a feast to watch and as thought-provoking as it is explored. Possessing different customs, traditions and varied cultures, India is divided into twenty-eight States with six Union Territories (UTs) with New Delhi as its national capital. Indian democracy stands for universal oneness and reflects the harmonious co-existence of different sections of people as a whole, irrespective of their caste, creed, race and religion. To mention a few of India’s great grand divine temples, Kedarnath, Kalkaji, Lotus Temple, Birlamandir, Meenakshi Temple, Badrinath, Pushkar, Tirumala Tirupati, Golden Temple, Kanyakumari, Dwarkadheesh, Konark Sun Temple, Dilwara Jain Temple, Kasi Viswanatha, Mathura, Kanchipuram, Shiridi, Kali Maata, Vaishnodevi, Rameswaram, Madurai, Chamundeswari, Mookambika, Guruvayur, Ananta Padmanabha Swamy, Sabarimala and the architectural splendors of the Vijayanagara empire and the erotic sculptures of Khajuraho, The Buddhist murals of Ajanta; the inlaid carvings of flowers and animals in Mughal and Rajput palaces; the breathtaking architecture of the Taj Mahal, India Gate, Jantar Mantar, Qutub Minar, Charminar, Fatehpur Sikri, Golkonda Fort etc., have a unique history and glory of their own among numerous other landmarks.The culture of peaceful co-existence reflects in the historic Indian democracy. Economic freedom, providing voting right to ordinary people gives its citizens a great sense of participation in building the nation. It’s a blend of exceptional culture where realities shower delights of simple living and high thinking. Modern India has been fuelled by its vibrant, secular democracy, the largest in the world and, in recent years, also by new economic opportunities.
The roots of Indian literature in English have its origin at the end of the 18th century and they got firmly rooted by the beginning of the 19th century. Education and literary expression in English have been decisively established by a social reformist from the Bengal State in India, by Ram Mohan Roy (1774-1833). His relentless efforts for including India amongst the world nations yielded desired results and paved way for educating the Indian pupils through English medium. This pillar of foundation gave the much needed boost for mass communication amongst the people of various regions within the country as well as to the entire world enabling mutual exchange of high cultural values and heritage.
India’s languages are diverse with as many as 17 major regional languages and hundreds of dialects. The English language is among the lasting legacies of British rule in India. It is spoken by pan-Indian elite, widely used as a link language. During India’s freedom struggle, English language became a peaceful instrument in the hands of Mahatma Gandhiji, Father of the Nation, in revolting against the British Empire. Several political leaders throughout India, viz., Jawaharlal Nehru, Lala Lajpath Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, T. Prakasham, Kasturi Ranga Iyengar etc. emerged as literary legends. The most famous Indian literary figure was Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), a Bengali writer, whose book Gitanjali won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913.
The other earliest examples of Indian literature written in English which have academic acceptance were that of the novel titled, Rajmohan’s Wife, by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee and the poems of young poetess Toru Dutt. However, Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949) was a distinguished poetess of literary merit hailing from Andhra Pradesh State in India, whose romantically weaved poetry charmed readers not only in India but across the European nations too. And Aurobindo Ghosh (1872-1950), poet philosopher and sage is no exception, whose epic, Savitri and Life Divine is an outstanding example of English literature. Gradually English became the authoritative legislative and judicial language, as well as the official language in India for all practical purposes. Indian Poetry has always been dazzling and still dazzles with ever-new glitters and ever-pleasing poetic expressions, viz.
Sarojini Naidu in her Poem
Lightly, O lightly, we bear her along,
She sways like a flower in the wind of our song;
She skims like a bird on the foam of a stream,
She floats like a laugh from the lips of a dream.
Gaily, O gaily we glide and we sing,
We bear her along like a pearl on a string.
Ravindranath Tagore in his poem
‘WHERE THE MIND IS WITHOUT FEAR….”
Where the mind is without fear the head is held high
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Toru Dutt in her Poem “SITA”
Gigantic flowers on creepers that embrace
Tall trees; there, in a quiet lucid lake
The white swans glide; there, ‘whirring from the brake,’
The peacock springs; there, herds of wild deer race;
There, patches gleam with yellow waving grain;
There, blue smoke from strange altars rises light.
There dwells in peace, the poet-anchorite.
Govind Krishna Chettur in his Poem “NOCTURNE”
Dear God, what beauteous paths are Thine!
Now, all our being made divine,
Resurgent flows back unto Thee
Borne on this flood of ecstasy,
Knowing in moments such as these
Fulfillment of our destinies.
A poet with a quest to promote UNIVERSAL PEACE, a couple of stanzas from the poetry volume, ‘SERENE THOUGHTS’ of Dr. T. Ashok Chakravarthy, Litt.D, Hyderabad [A.P] INDIA :
“We got moved by droughts and famines
Yes, got shocked by wars and destructions,
We stood mute by the deaths of starvation
Being humans, let’s sow seeds of concern.
A change in attitude is the need of the hour
O human! Time is ripe to amend our manner”.
“Human, O human……
Besieging the human instinct
With unceasing greed
Often you become blind
You invade others’ weakness
You ignore others’ sufferings
You snatch others’ rights
You betray others’ faith….”