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CULTURE OF INDIA

Culture is defined as a people's way of life. It also entails how they dress, how they speak, the type of food they eat, the manner in which they worship, and their art among many other things.

Indian Culture is one of the oldest cultures in the world. India had an urban civilization even during the Bronze age. The Indus Valley Civilization (Harappan Civilization) dates back to 3300 BC – 1300 BC. Distinct cultures cultures different from each other co-exist together in a single country. Thus, In India there is unity amidst vast cultural diversity. The way people live in India is reflected its culture.

1. Culture

  • Culture is a way of life → the way an individual and especially a group live, think, feel and organize themselves, celebrate and share life.
  • Culture thus refers to a human-made environment which includes all the material and non- material products of group life that are transmitted from one generation to the next.
  • In deeper sense it is culture that produces the kind of literature, music, dance, sculpture, architecture and various other art forms as well as the many organizations and structures that make the functioning of the society smooth and well-ordered.
  • Culture is the expression of our nature in our modes of living and thinking.
    Material Non-Material
    Dress Idea
    Food Thoughts & Beliefs
    Physical Goods Ideals

2. Civilization vs Culture

Civilization Culture
Making better ways of living and ending nature to fulfill our needs. Refers to the inner being, a refinement of head and heart.
A poor man wearing cheap cloths may be considered uncivilized. Still he/she may be the most cultured person.
A wealthy man may be considered as civilized. But he may not be cultured.
Civilization is advanced state of culture.

3. Cultural Heritage

  • Culture inherited from our predecessors is called our cultural heritage.
  • Humanity as a whole has inherited a culture which may be called human heritage.
  • A nation also inherits a culture which may be termed as national cultural heritage.
  • Culture is liable to change, but our heritage does not.

    Architectural creations, material artifacts, intellectual achievements, philosophy, pleasure of knowledge, scientific inventions and discoveries are parts of heritage.

    Culture is derived from Latin term 'cult or cultus' meaning cultivating or refining and worship. The term 'Sanskriti' has been derived from the root 'Kri (to do).

Kri Prakriti basic matter or condition When 'Prakriti' is refined it becomes 'Sanskriti' and when broken or damaged it becomes 'Vikriti'.
Sanskriti refined matter or condition
Vikriti modified/ decayed matter or condition

4. Characteristics of Indian Culture

  • A synthesis of various cultures came about through the ages to give shape to what is recognized as Indian culture today.
  • Spirituality and value based life style is the core of Indian culture but it has a scientific temperament too.
  • Unity in diversity is one of the major characteristics of Indian culture which makes it unique.

INDIAN ARCHITECTURE

1. Architecture

  • It is not a modern phenomenon → Since early Paleolithic times
  • Rise & fall of different empires influenced the growth & evolution of Indian architecture.

2. Architecture vs Sculpture

Architecture Sculpture
Design & construction of buildings in which various type of material used i.e. stone, wood, grass, metal etc. 3-D work of art made of single piece of material.
Involves engineering mathematics → depends upon measurement Involves creativity, imagination → may not depend on measurement

3. Classification of Indian Architecture

Ancient India Medieval India Modern India
  • Harappa Art
  • Mauryan Art
  • Post Mauryan Art
  • Gupta Age Art
  • South Indian Architecture
  • Delhi Sultanate
  • Mughal Period
  • Indo – Gothic Style
  • Neo – Roman Style

The history of India has been rich and diverse spanning across thousands of years. In these years the social and cultural life of India has undergone various changes. The Indian architecture and sculptures are the living expression of these changes in the Indian society throughout history. These architecture and sculptures bear the imprint of the various era in the history of India such as the Indus Valley Civilization, the rise of Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism, Delhi Sultanate, Mughal empire and the colonial history of India. Each of these eras in Indian history brought with it the diversity in Indian architecture and sculptures that we see today.

1. The School of Art in Ancient India

Three important schools of art flourished in ancient India which are Mathura, Gandhara and Amravati. These schools of art had distinct style but the theme underlying each of these schools were religion and religious symbols.

S. No. Gandhara School Mathura School Amravati School
1. High influence of Hellenistic and Greek art features. Indigenous in nature. Indigenous in nature.
2. Grey-sandstone is used. Spotted red sandstone. White marble.
3. Mainly Buddhist images are found. Buddhism, Jainism and Hindu images are found. Mainly Buddhism.
4. Patrons – Kushanas Patrons – Kushanas Patrons – Satavahanas
5. Found in north-west India North India (mainly region of Mathura, UP) Deccan region near Krishna-Godavari delta.
6. Spiritual Buddha images. Very stylish with wavy hair. Delighted Buddha and not spiritual look. Mainly depicts stories of Jatakas.
7. Has beard and moustache. No beard and moustache.  
8. Lean body. Strong muscular features.  
9. Both seated and standing images are found. Most of them are seated.  
10. Eyes are half closed and ears are large. Eyes are open with small ears.  
11. Eg: Bamyang Buddha (Afghanistan) and headless statue of Kanishka in Mathura museum. Eg: Parkham Yaksha (Mathura) and Standing Buddhas of the Sravasthi, Sarnath and Kausambhi. Eg: Amravati stupa in Nagarjunakonda (Andhra Pradesh).

2. Bronze Art in India

Bronze art is one of the most ancient art forms in India. Archaeological studies have confirmed that Indians were familiar with bronze about 4000 years before. Bronze has been used to make various sculptures and art forms in temples, the popular among them are Nataraja, Indo – Greek Coins, Chola sculptures etc.

3. Jain Architecture

The art and architecture of Jain flourished with the spread of Jainism in the Indian Subcontinent. Rock cut caves and Jain Temples were the prominent architectural forms developed in the period. Excellent Jain architecture and sculpture can also be seen in the rock-cut caves found in Mathura, Bundelkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.

4. Buddhist Architecture

Chaityas, Vihara and Stupa are the most important Buddhist architecture. The Buddhist architecture gained prominence during the reign of Ashoka who recognized Buddhism as a state religion. The Buddhist architecture developed and flourished during his reign. Later various kingdom supported Buddhism and it led to the development of various architectural forms in different regions of the country.

5. Temple Architecture

Temples are the religious structure associated with Hinduism. The earliest temples were built from rock-cut caves, inspired by Buddhism. Later, during the reign of Gupta's in the 5th century CE there was a revival of Hinduism and it led to the development of Temple Architecture throughout India. There are three major styles of temples in India. These are Nagara in North, Dravida in South and Vesara (mixed style).

S. No. Nagara style Dravida style Vesara style
1. Areas – North India states of UP, MP and Bihar. Areas – In southern states between the reaches of River Krishna and Kanyakumari. Area - in the state of Karnataka.
2. Period – 320 AD to 499 AD. Period – 7th century AD. Period – 3rd to 8th AD.
3. This style is the oldest one and flourished even before the Gupta dynasty. This style was pioneered by the Pallavas and flourished under Cholas and Cheras as well. This style was pioneered by the Chalukyas and reached its climax under Rashtrakutas and Hoysalas.
4. It has towers or shikharas with rounded top and curved linear outline. Towers in the shape of a pyramid called the vimana are present. The tower shows mixed features of the nagara and vesara style.
5. Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) is generally located below the shikhara. Garbhagriha is not found in all temples but where found, it is below the smallest towers.  
6. Pillars are absent in these temples. Pillars are prominent features. Pillars are present.
7. Gopurams (entrance gates) are also absent. Gopurams are present. Gopurams are not found in all temples.
8. A water tank may or may not be present. A water tank is present from where water is used for sacred purposes. Water tanks may or may not be present.
9. Eg – Jagganath temples (Puri, Odisha), Laxman Temple (Khajuraho, MP), Vishwanath Temples (Khajuraho, MP), Dashavatra Temple (Deogarh, MP) Eg – Brihadeshwara Temple (Thanjavur), Airateshwar Temple (Kumbakonam), Meenakshi Temple (Madurai), Shore Temple (Mahabalipuram) Eg – Lad Khan Temple (Aihole), Buddhist Cave Temples (Badami) and group of temples at Badami (a World Heritage Site).

6. Medieval Sculpture (Rashtrakutas and beyond)

During the early 7th century CE, The Indian subcontinent was fractured in various kingdoms. During this period various sculpture developed locally but these sculptures had a regional theme. The regional theme varied from North to South and the East. Some of the prominent kingdoms which patronized architecture during this period were Parthiharas and Chandela in North, Palas and Odisha in east and Rashtrakutas, Chola, Pallava in the south.

7. Indo Islamic Architecture

Indo-Islamic-Architecture Indo Islamic Architecture is a unique style of architecture developed in the Indian Subcontinent by the fusion of Indian Architecture with the Islamic Architecture. Indo Islamic Architecture started to flourish during the Delhi -Sultanate and Later achieved its pinnacle during the Mughal Period. Various Architectural marvel developed during this period some prominent examples are Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Qutub Minar etc.

8. Modern Architecture (including colonial architecture)

Modern-Architecture The arrival of the Britisher's in the Indian Subcontinent brought with them their own style of architecture. Earlier the architecture in India was heavily influenced by religion but with the advent of British Empire, the new architecture developed were mainly functional in characteristics. Some of the prominent examples are CST railway Station in Mumbai, Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi etc.

INDIAN PAINTINGS

The rock paintings of prehistoric times are one of the earliest Indian paintings. The petroglyphs (also called rock engravings) found in places like Bhimbetka are older than 5500 BC. The Indian paintings of 7th century with carved pillars of Ellora are one of the finest examples of such works. Cave paintings of Ajanta and Ellora caves appeared later on. These paintings whose purpose was religious in the beginning; had developed gradually over the period of time with mixture of cultures and traditions. Later taught in various schools, these paintings had come up with various styles and patterns of their own.

  1. Bhimbetka Rock Art - 30,000 years Old: Situated in Raisen District, Madhya Pradesh, India, 'Bhimbetka Caves' are one of the World heritage sites. These caves rock art is considered as the clues for the existence of human life. The markings on the caves are said to be almost 30,000 years old. The paintings depict the time and lives of the people who lived in the caves. These include scenes of childbirth, dancing, drinking hunting, and religious rites such as burials.
  2. Ajanta Caves Frescos - 2nd Century BC: One of the oldest frescoes of historical period had been preserved in Ajanta Caves from 2nd century BC. The paintings had survived till date in-spite of the climatic conditions. More than 20 locations can be found in India that shows paintings and traces of ancient art till early medieval times (up to 8th - 10th century AD). The most significant frescoes are found in the Ajanta, Bagh, Ellora, and Sittanavasal caves. The Jataka tales (stories of the Buddha' life in former existences as Bodhisattva) are seen depicted in the walls of the caves.
  3. Chola Frescoes - 2nd Century: The Chola Paintings were discovered in 1931 within the passage of the Brihadisvara Temple in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. The dark passage of the corridor and the walls on either side are covered with two layers of paintings from floor to ceiling. The technology used in doing these paintings is 'Frescoes' - a technique of mural painting drawn on freshly laid lime plaster.
  4. Manuscripts: A Manuscript is written information that is created by one or more people. These are not defined by their contents which may combine writing, mathematical calculations, maps, explanatory figures or illustrations. A manuscript can be in a form of book, scrolls etc. Some may be enriched with pictures, decorations at the border, engrossed initial letters etc. Below is Manuscript Illustration of the Kurukshetra War in Ancient India.
  5. Kerala Mural Paintings - 9th - 12th Century: Kerala mural paintings are frescos that mostly show mythology and legends drawn on the walls of temples and churches in South India, mostly in Kerala. Most of the ancient churches, temples and palaces in Kerala, South India, display the tradition of mural paintings which dates back to 9th to 12th centuries CE.
  6. Rajput Paintings - 18th Century: A style of Indian painting which was also known as Rajasthani Painting, was flourished and evolved during 18th century in the royal courts of Rajputana, India. It's derived from Persian miniature and Mughal painting. The painting styles of each Rajput kingdom was distinct but did had few common features.
  7. Mysore Paintings – 1336 to 1565 AD: The distinct school of Mysore painting emerged from this legacy around the time of the reign of the Vijayanagar Kings 1336-1565 A.D.
  8. Tanjore Paintings - 1600 AD: This art which dates back to 1600 AD has mostly form of classical South Indian paintings from town of Thanjavur. These are known for showing their richness, vivid colors and compact composition in paintings. Nayakas of Thanjavur encouraged art—chiefly, classical dance and music—as well as literature, both in Telugu and Tamil.
  9. Modern Indian Paintings – Late 19th Century: Modern Indian art is considered to have begun in late nineteenth century. One of the known artists of the time was Raja Ravi Varma (1848 - 1906). He made his debut into the world of art in 1873 by winning the first prize in Vienna Exhibition. He painted both – portraits and landscapes, introduced new elements, usage of canvas and oil colours. Most of his work showcased was based on Hindu epic stories and characters. Considered to be one of the finest painters for his work (Shakuntala) till then, was later criticized for being trivial.
  10. Modern Indian Paintings - 20th Century: F. N. Souza (1924 - 2002), the founder of the Progressive Artists Group of Bombay, was the first Indian artist to achieve recognition in the west post-independence.

    S.H. Raza (born 22nd February, 1922) – An Indian artist, living in France since 1950, whose works showcase mostly abstracts in oil or acrylic were filled with icons from Indian cosmology & its philosophy. His seminal work 'Saurashtra' was sold for Rs 16.3 crore at a Christie's auction making him one of the India's priciest modern artists.

    MF Husain (1915 - 2011) was known as "Picasso of India". One of the most famous, Indian- born Qatari artist /painter; has influenced whole generation of artists. He was associated with Indian modernism in the 1940s.

FOLK PAINTINGS – DEVELOPED REGIONALLY

S. No. Painting Type Location
TRIBAL
1. Bhil painting Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra
2. Warli painting Maharashtra
3. Gond painting Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha
4. Santhal painting Bihar
5. Saora painting Odisha
6. Kurumba painting Tamil Nadu
RURAL
1. Pattachitra painting Orissa
2. Madhubani painting Bihar
3. Kalamkari painting Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
4. Kolam painting TN, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana (even Indonesia and Malaysia)
5. Patna Kalam painting Bihar
6. Mandana painting Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh
OTHERS
1. Kalighat painting Kolkata (West Bengal)
2. Phad painting Rajasthan
3. Manjusha painting Bhagalpur (Bihar)
4. Baazar painting West Bengal
5. Bengal school of painting
-founded by Abanindranath Tagore (brother of Rabindranath Tagore)
West Bengal
6. Thangka painting
-Originally, Tibetan folk art
Ladakh (J&K)

Lawpreneurz Details of lecture

Sr No. Topics
Lecture 1 GK Material (History) vf
Lecture 2 GK Material vf

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Shipra DhankerTopper for Delhi Judicial Services 2019