Communal harmony and the question of cultural identity Essay
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Harmony and the co-existence of mutli-faceted elements are the two essential ingredients of any society which seeks sustainable longevity. In a pluralistic society the question of harmonious existence of its different structural units becomes all the more pertinent. An analogy can be observed with the human body wherein the different functional systems work in unison to create a perfect coherence. Like in the human body where, different organs combine to form organ systems, in a human society smaller population groups combine to form socio-cultural entities based on particular types of identification.
Unlike their biological counterparts this process of identification is not scientific and fully rational. The identification followed by human beings depends on ceratin social mores and socio-cultural guidelines which may vary from race, colour, creed, gender, class etc. to religion, region and nationality. This process is sometimes a skewed one as during the course of it a particular social grouping more than often identifies comparatively with respect to other grouping and instead of harmonising itself with other groupings differentiates with them.
In case of India, the scenario is not only a peculiar one but is also intertwined with its socio-political realities. We live in a highly diversified pluralistic society wherein the number of cultural elements outscore the structural ethos provided by any type of government. The different communities in India classify themselves according to different criteria which differ temporally as well as contextually.
The classification process is so well differentiatied that many of the times, people originally belonging to a particular group start associating themselves with completely different groups in different contexts e. g. people belonging to a particular caste group may associate differently with each other on the basis of economic class or educational standards. The concept of cultural identity is at the core of the Indian society. The historical formation of Indian society provides us with an idea of its multi-faceted diversity and non-inclusive cultural developments.
Social history of India outlines how various indigenous as well as foreign elements reacted and intermingled in an undefined manner to produce newer cultural traits for the population to identify with. Religion, language, ideology etc. have, from time to time, given various channels for cultural identification. The communal formation of Indian society is to be observed in not a narrow way. Though religion provides the most simple way of communal identification in India, we must remeber that the idea of community is central to process of communalization