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Unity in Diversity of India PDF
This unit deals with unity and diversity in India. You may have heard a lot about unity and diversity in India.
But do you know what exactly it means? Here we will explain to you the meaning and content of this phrase. For this purpose, the unit has been divided into three sections.
In the first section, we will specify the meaning of the two terms, diversity and unity. In the second section, we will illustrate the forms of diversity in Indian society.
For detailed treatment, we will focus on the four forms of diversity, race, language, religion, and caste. In the third section, we will bring out the bonds of unity in India.
These are geopolitical, the culture of pilgrimage, the tradition of accommodation, and the tradition of interdependence.
Above all, we will note that the unity of India is born of a composite culture rather than a uniform culture. Meaning of Diversity Ordinarily diversity means differences.
For our purposes, however, it means something more than mere differences. It means collective differences, that is, differences that mark off one group of people from another.
These differences may be of any sort: biological, religious, linguistic, etc. On the basis of biological differences, for example, we have racial diversity.
On the basis of religious differences, similarly, we have religious diversity. The point to note is that diversity refers to collective differences.
The term diversity is the opposite of uniformity. Uniformity means similarity of some sort that characterizes a people. ‘Uni’ refers to one; ‘form’ refers to the common ways.
So when there is something common to all the people, we say they show uniformity.
When students of a school, members of the police, or the army wear the same type of dress, we say they are in ‘uniform’.
Like diversity, thus, uniformity is also a collective concept. When a group of people share a similar characteristic, be it language or religion or anything else, it shows uniformity in that respect. But when we have groups of people hailing from different races, religions, and cultures, they represent diversity.
D.N. Majumdar wrote a book titled, Races, and Cultures of India. Mark the words in the plural: Races (not Race); Cultures (not Culture).
Thus, diversity means variety. For all practical purposes, it means a variety of groups and cultures. We have such a variety in abundance in India.
We have here a variety of races, religions, languages, castes, and cultures. For the same reason, India is known for its sociocultural diversity.
Meaning of Unity
Unity means integration. It is a social psychological condition. It connotes a sense of one-ness, a sense of we-ness. It stands for the bonds, which hold the members of a society together.
There is a difference between unity and uniformity. Uniformity presupposes similarity, unity does not. Thus, unity may or may not be based on uniformity.
Unity may be born out of uniformity. Durkheim calls this type of unity mechanical solidarity. We find this type of unity in tribal societies and traditional societies.
However, unity may as well be based on differences. It is such unity, which is described by Durkheim as organic solidarity. This type of unity characterizes modern societies.
Let us see it in a diagram. You may have seen people of different races in India. A race is a group of people with a set of distinctive physical features such as skin color, type of nose, form of hair, etc.
Herbert Risley classified the people of India into seven racial types. These are (i) Turko-Iranian, (ii) Indo-Aryan, (iii) Scytho-Dravidian, (iv) Aryo-Dravidian, (v) Mongolo-Dravidian, (vi) Mongoloid, and (vii) Dravidian.
These seven racial types can be reduced to three basic types–the Indo-Aryan, the Mongolian, and the Dravidian.
In his opinion, the last two types would account for the racial composition of tribal India.
He was the supervisor of the census operations held in India in 1891 and it was data from this census, which founded the basis of this classification.
As it was based mainly on language types rather than physical characteristics; Risley’s classification was criticized for its shortcomings.
Other administrative officers and anthropologists, like J.H. Hutton, D.N. Majumdar, and B.S. Guha, have given the latest racial classification of the Indian people based on further research in this field.
Hutton’s and Guha’s classifications are based on 1931 census operations. B.S. Guha (1952) has identified six racial types (1) the Negrito, (2) the Proto Australoid, (3) the Mongoloid, (4) the Mediterranean, (5) the Western Brachycephals, and (6) the Nordic.
Besides telling you what the various types denote, we shall not go into the details of this issue, because that will involve us in technical matters about physical anthropology.
Here, we need only to be aware of the diversity of racial types in India.
Negritos are the people who belong to the black racial stock found in Africa. They have black skin color, frizzled hair, thick lips, etc.
In India, some of the tribes in South India, such as the Kadar, the Irula, and the Paniyan have distinct Negrito strains.
The Proto-Australoid races consist of an ethnic group, which includes the Australian aborigines and other peoples of southern Asia and the Pacific Islands.
Representatives of this group are the Ainu of Japan, the Vedda of Sri Lanka, and the Sakai of Malaysia. In India, the tribes of Middle India belong to this strain.
Some of these tribes are the Ho of Singhbhumi, Bihar, and the Bhil of the Vindhya ranges.
The Mongoloids are a major racial stock native to Asia, including the peoples of northern and eastern Asia.
For example, Chinese, Japanese, Burmese, Eskimos, and often American Indians also belong to this race. In India, the North Eastern regions have tribes of brachycephalic Mongoloid strain.
A slightly different kind of Mongoloid racial stock is found in the Brahmaputra Valley. The Mikir-Bodo group of tribes and the Angami Nagas represent the best examples of Mongoloid racial composition in India.
The Mediterranean races relate to the caucasian physical type, i.e., the white race. It is characterized by medium or short stature, slender build, long head with cephalic index (the ratio multiplied by 100 of the maximum breadth of the head to its maximum length) of less than 75, and dark (continental) complexion.
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