How will you define a nation?
According to Wikipedia it is defined as “A historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, ethnicity and/or psychological make-up manifested in a common culture”.
For India this definition seems to be partially correct or partially incorrect. Partially correct because we(India) are a historically constituted and stable community of people but not on the basis of common language, religion, beliefs nor culture etc.
According to latest census India has 22 official languages. Total number of Mother tongues spoken in India is 1652. India is home to at least nine recognized religions. The major religions practiced in India are Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and the Baha’i. It is birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. But still after such a vast diversity in languages, cultural norms and religion India is always known for its unity.
But this unity is since ancient times. It is very important to know about ancient India to find how deep the roots of unity in India are. In ancient India many races and tribes intermingled. The pre-Aryans, Indo-Aryans, the Greeks, the Scythians, the Hunas, the Turks and many others made India their home. Each ethnic group contributed its might to the evolution of the Indian social systems, art and architecture, language and literature.
Max Mueller(renowned German Scholar) said “If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India”.
It is also better known by many other names such as Bharatvarsha or the land of Bharat (brother of Hindu god Rama). The word Hind or Hindu is derived from the Sanskrit term Sindhu, on the same basis, the country became known as ‘India’ (derived from name of river Indus and its ancient Indus valley civilization).
India is also the homeland of many renowned kings, poets and able administrators. The ‘Arthashastra’ of Kautilya leaves no doubt that Indians could run the administration of a large empire and tackle the problems of a complex society. India produced a great ruler in Ashoka who, in spite of his victory over Kalinga, adopted a policy of peace and non-aggression. Ashoka and several other Indian kings practiced religious tolerance and stressed that the wishes of the followers of other religions should be respected.
In medieval times many invaders raided India, many of them looted incredible wealth, destroyed the temples and tried to destroy its identity but were not successful in their plans. But many of these invaders also became a part of the empire, most notably the Mughals. Their most infamous emperor, Akbar showed incomparable respect and tolerance towards other religion.
Even in the recent past, people from all the religions fought together against the British rule in India, got independence and worked together to create this modern India for the new generations.The Constitution of India which is the most voluminous constitution adopted by any country, was drafted by a Dalit and its members were from all the religions.
I would like to end this with a quote from Lonely PlanetTravel guide book:
“With one foot grounded in time-honored traditions and the other fervently striding into entrepreneurial e-age, India embraces diversity passionately as few other countries on earth could”.