Paragraphs on Indian Values!
India has an ancient civilisation with a deep historicity. Furthermore, it is a continuous flowing civilisation and it is difficult to demarcate India’s past into clear-cut time boundaries.
The diversity of Indian society and culture is stupendous, so much so that it would be difficult to speak of it in the singular; at the same time, there is also a certain unity amidst the multiplicity, and when we speak of India’s past tradition, clearly we refer to this unity.
A basic aspect of traditional society in India was the principle of hierarchy, i.e., the ordering of units which constitute a system in relation to the whole in a superior-inferior gradation. The first item of hierarchy that would come to practically everyone’s mind is the ‘caste’ system. In the caste system the notion of hierarchy was present and it was all- powerful in regulating human conduct in every minute aspect of life.
While the ideology of hierarchy institutionalised inequality in every aspect of life, it allocated a secure and definite place to each individual and caste group. The valuation of individuals and groups and the distribution of societal resources were based on status and status was ascriptive, though birth into a group was believed to be based on moral merit gathered during the previous birth as implied in the theory of karma and rebirth.
The dominant religion of India, Hinduism, was essentially tolerant; it assimilated rather than converted other groups. Pluralism as a value implied tolerance of other styles of life while preserving one’s own.
As the Hindus believed in the existence of many paths leading to the same ultimate reality trustees of community wealth rather than private profiteers. This called for self-restraint in the interests of the community.
Such idealism, however, was not the rule, and aberrations were common. Disputes over caste positions did occur, often facilitating mobility despite rigid institutional framework. Pluralism implied tolerance, but not infrequently led to bigotry and domination, creating hostility between groups. There was always a gap between theory and practice, prescription and performance.
The spiritual emphasis in Indian life was never lost sight of, whether men lived in it or left society. Dharma was an important way of life. The stability of Indian life for long centuries rested on the firm foundation of Dharma.
Through the inculcation of the spirit of Dharma, high standards of ethics, clear-cut codes of behaviour, and widespread acceptance of non-material values as of higher importance than possessions, came to be the expression of true Indian culture in ordinary society.