India is the oldest civilisation in the entire world. In the journey of 5000 years, we were ruled by many rulers belonging to different religions and cultures. Further, a lot of migration occurred from other countries and India accepted them with open hearts. Due to this, we found a lot of diversity in terms of religion, culture, race, language etc. in our country. However, despite all these diversities, India remained united and faced all the crises with a united spirit. The thread which binds all Indians together is known as “Unity among diversity”.
In this article, we will explore the meaning of the term Unity in diversity in India, the types of diversity, provision of unity in the constitution, its importance and the hurdle in achieving unity.
Meaning of Unity in Diversity
The term “Unity in diversity” implies the feeling of oneness or togetherness even after having a lot of diversity. Diversity can be in the form of religion, colour, caste, creed, cultural practices etc. It is believed that these traits are not seen as a conflict but they are the varieties that enrich society and our nation.
It is used as a symbol of harmony and unity among people belonging to different religions or cultural backgrounds. This term was first used in China and North America at 500 BC.
Type of Diversity
There are mainly 4 type of diversities that is evident in India which are namely as –
1). Geographical Diversity
2). Cultural Diversity
3). Religious Diversity
4). Diversity in language.
Despite all these diversity, we find that there is unity among them which is as follows –
Unity in Geographical Diversity
The diverse geographical area is a matter of dispute among various countries like Nepal and China which are separated by the Himalayas. However, in our country we accept this diversity with an open heart that further strengthens our unity.
The geographical area of our country is very vast. There is Himalaya on the top and the most fertile northern plains and the plateau of Central India. There is a lot of diversity in terms of rivers and natural wildlife. But, this diversity has nowhere impacted our unity. From the very beginning, the entire geographical part was known as Bharat Varsha. This name is also present in our sacred vedas and Puranas.
Unity in Diverse Races in the country
From time immemorial, there is a large number of diverse cultural and ethnic groups prevalent in our country. Broadly, the people of India shall be divided into four major groups on ethnic grounds. The first group is of the Neolithic and Paleolithic men who are living in this country from the remote past. The second group of people belong to the Mongoloid type and they are found in the area Sikkim and Nepal. The third group of people belong to the Dravidians group which is living in the Southern part of the country. The fourth group includes the Indo-Aryans group living in the Northern part of India.
Despite having different cultural groups, there is a lot of unity in terms of ideas, philosophy, literature, etc. Being the country of festivals, it is observed that people from all the cultural backgrounds come together and celebrate all the festivals. The manner of performance of social ceremonies is usually the same in all the parts of the country. Further, each and every achievement of our country is celebrated by all the cultural and ethnic groups. Thus, there is a feeling of unity among them.
Unity among diverse Religions
India is a union of all the diverse religions in the world. All the religions ranging from Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam and christianity are found here. They also have their sects and sub-divisions. The Hindu religion itself is divided in countless creeds namely the Vedic religion, the Sanatan Dharma, the Brahmo Samaj, the Arya Samaj.
However, the religious unity is still evident as all the religion provides the same teaching of good deeds and moral conduct to each and every one. Thus, a peaceful relationship is maintained among diverse religions in the society. Further, the incarnation of God Vishnu and Shiva is worshipped in various forms in northern and southern parts of the country. Our Holy books like Mahabharata, Ramayana, Bhagwada Geeta, etc. are read in various parts of the country. All the religious beliefs preaches the unity of India.
Diverse Languages and Unity in India
In our country more than two hundred local languages are spoken in various parts of the country. In northern parts, the main language in Hindi also had its subparts. The tribal people follow their own language and the hill tribes of Central India speak Austric types of languages. The southern area is mainly dominant with the Tamil, Telugu Malayalam and Kannada.
Despite the fact that there are numerous languages among various races, there is a feeling of national unity and togetherness among all the Indians. The feeling of togetherness binds us together.
Provisions For Unity in Diversity in our Constitution
The constitution of India was drafted while learning from our past hardships and experience. It was evident from the British colonial period that unity is the biggest strength of our diverse country. There shall not be a feeling of alienation in any section or subsection of our society as it may prove very dangerous for it.
Thus, a constituent assembly was constituted which itself composed of members from various castes, religion, sex, etc to represent the views of our diverse society. On the recommendation of the assembly, the constitution was drafted and it provides for numerous provisions to maintain unity in our society. The spirit of our Constitution i.e., preamble provides the term like equality, socialism, secularism, etc. to protect the rights of our diverse society. Some other provisions are as follows –
Provisions for Geographical Unity in the Constitution
The Article 1 of our Constitution stated that India is an “indestructible Union of the Destructible states. It simply means that the geographical unity of our country shall be duly respected. The borders and territory of India always remain intact from the internal or external pressure. The states and the union territories are not empowered to alter their boundaries if it affects the unity of India as a whole.
Provisions for ethnic and Cultural Unity
The constitution of India is the custodian of our pluralist society and respects its various cultures and ethnic groups. The constitution provides that our nation is a shelter home for people coming from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. It also ensures that the principle of equality and social justice shall be duly complied. Article 29 of the constitution put an obligation on the state to protect the distinguished culture and tradition of various ethnic groups.
Provision for religious Unity
The constitution of India defines it as a secular country. This means that the state will not have any religion but it will protect and respect all the religions in the society. As per Article 25 of the constitution, the people are allowed to preach and propagate any religion. The state is not empowered to interfere in the religious matter of the public. Further, the state is directed to ensure that there shall be no discrimination on the ground of religion with any person.
Provision for unity in Diverse languages
The constitution of India doesn’t impose any single language as it is a heterogeneous country. Schedule 8 of the constitution recognises 22 languages of our country. The southern belt of the country is not comfortable with the usage of the Hindi language, thus the official working of the parliament and the union is undertaken in the English language as per Section 3 of the official Language Act, 1963.
Lastly, the constitution of India gave every citizen without any discrimination to approach the court for the enforcement of their fundamental rights under Article 32 of the Constitution. The judiciary has from time to time held that Unity in diversity is the distinguishing character of Indian society and we shall preserve it.
Importance of Unity in Diversity
For any cultural and religiously diverse country, it is essential that unity shall be maintained amongst various groups. The failure of which will lead to the breakdown of the entire state machinery. The chief importance is as follows –
Maintaining Integrity and sovereignty
The integrity and sovereignty totally depend upon the sentiments or the feelings of the people toward the country. In a country having a different ideology and religious background, it is easy to get them disintegrated with the country. If they feel alienated, then it will be easy for the internal and external forces to harm our sovereignty. Thus, it is very essential that the feeling of oneness shall be run in the entire country.
Ensuring growth and Development
The development and growth of a country totally depend upon the efforts made by each and every segment of our society. So, it is very essential that we shall keep our country integrated so that each group works with their full efficiency and ensures the development of the nation as a whole.
To ensure peaceful habitation
It is possible that there may be some internal conflict amongst the people ranging from different groups and cultural backgrounds. At that time, we need to ensure that our unity comes into play and we resolve these issues peacefully for the betterment of all.
Obstacle in the Path of unity
The biggest challenge confronted by India is the religious enmity. Some selfish people try to disturb the harmony in the name of religion to get some political gain. The Hindu – Muslim conflict is the ideal example of this. We also witness religious riots in various parts of the country. They are mainly undertaken to fulfill their own agenda and create disturbance in the society.
India is a vast country with different religions and practices. The language of one area is different from that of another. The outfit worn by them also tends to differ from area to area. The physical appearance is also not similar throughout the country. Despite all these diversities, the beauty lies in the fact that we Indians feel a sense of unity and oneness among them. There may be differences of opinion but all the minds focused on the development of our country. Thus, we can conclude that Unity in diversity is our biggest strength.