Inspite of the above mentioned bewildering diversity in the race, religion, language and culture of the people, there is a deep underlying fundamental unity which the superficial observer cannot see. There is unity in this diversity—a unity far more clearly apparent than that produced by geographical isolation or by political suzerainty—a unity that transcends the innumerable diversities of blood, colour, language, dress, manners and sects”. Havel remarks, lndia whether regarded as from the physical or intellectual standpoint, is herself the great example of the doctrine of the one.
The geographical unity of India is as ancient as the Puranas. There is an undercurrent of unity of India as one unit from the Himalayas in the North to Kanya Kumari in the South. Since the Vedic Age, all this land sorrounded by the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea and separated from Asia by the Himalayas has formed our country Dakshanapatha, the Deccan was one of the main natural divisions into which the country was divided. Emphasizing the fundamental unity of India, Dr. Radha M. Kumud Mukerjee writes, “Neither the spread of Graeco-Roman institutions, nor the empires of Augustus Charlemagne and Napoleon could produce in Europe the deep underlying unity that is characteristic of India.”
Ever since the ancient times, the rulers of our country set before themselves the ideal to become the Chakravartin i.e. ruler of the whole country. In the ancient times, Mauryan emperors dominated almost the whole country from the Himalayas in the north to the southern part of Deccan and from the Ganges in the east to the Indus in the west. Even the great rulers of the Pathan dynasty Alaud-din Khalji and Muhammad Tughlaq, Sher Shah Sun and the Mughal rulers like Akbar and Shah Jahan did not take rest till they had conquered the entire country. They attempted to introduce a common system of administration in all the territories occupied by them. Later, the British rulers of India introduced a uniform system of administration in a large part of their British Empire in India. India has thus enjoyed political unity in different periods of its history.
There is not much diversity in the social life of the people of India. There are many common social institutions and customs in the whole country. For instance, the caste system, respect for the Brahmans, the practice of untouchability, the joint family system, the sanctity of family life etc. are prevalent in all parts of India. The famous festivals of Diwali, Dussehra and Holi are celebrated throughout the country with gaiety. Similarly, the birth, marriage, death ceremonies are all alike in most parts of the country Since the ancient times to this day, the dowry system, child marriage, pardah system, the duty of women to respect their husbands etc. all these social practices are prevalent in all parts of India. Similarly, all the evil practices like pardah, dowry system, child marriage, untouchability are now on the decline in the whole country. The dress and ornaments used by men and women are also not much different in various parts of the country Men wear shirts, kurta, dhoti, trousers and turbans or cap everywhere in the country. The women wear shirt, lehnga, duppata, dhoti and sari. Women belonging to all classes of the society love to wear gold and silver ornaments like lockets, bangles, bracelets, ear-rings etc.
The British rule in India and the impact of western civilization have greatly influenced the social life of the Indians. They have adopted their table manners, dress, means of entertainment and amusement. The style of living of the people in the large cities is the same. They eat western food, wear western dress and visit hotels and restaurants. They play the same types of games such as cricket, football, volleyball, hockey, basket ball, badminton etc. In fact, the British rule has given social unity to the whole country.
There is undercurrent of unity even in the diverse religious sects living in India. Hinduism is the oldest religion of India. Hinduism is to India as the soul is to the body. In the medieval period, India was known as Hindustan or the land of the Hindus. Undoubtedly, Hinduism gave unity to India. The Hindus all over India consider the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Vedas and the Upnishadas as their sacred books. The stories of ancient Indian regligious heroes—Rama and Krishna are sung with as much devotion in the Tamil Land in the south as in the Punjab in the north. Shiva and Shakti are worshiped by the Hindus in all the parts of India. There are 68 places of pilgrimage of the Hindus spread all over India. For instance, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Varanasi and Mathura are in the Uttar Pradesh, Som Nath and Dawarka are in Gujarat, Jagnnath Pun in Orissa and Rameshwaran in the south.
Unity of Language
Though hundreds of dialects were spoken in ancient India, there was only one sacred language of the Hindus namely Sanskrit. It is acknowledge as such by all sections of the Hindu society even today. Due to the impact of the British rule, English has become the common language of India. English which was studied in all the states of India greatly contributed to the growth of national movement in British India. Great Indian leaders like Raja Barn Mohan Roy, Surinder Nath Banerji, Gopal Krishan Gokhale, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Mohammad Au Jinah, Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi were scholars of English.
Unity of Education System
In ancient times, elementary education was imparted in the religious institutions spread all over the country. Higher education was imparted at Taxila, Ujjain, Mathura and Nalanda where the students from all parts of the country came to receive education. All these institutions taught the same subjects.
The British Government made efforts to establish a uniform system of education in India. On the recommendations of Sir Charles Wood’s Despatch of 1854 A.D., it established universities in all the
aces. Colleges arid schools were affiliated to these universities. A uniform system of education was produced in the whole country. The present system of education in India is based on the system introduces by the British. The British education system no less contributed to the unity of the country.
Unity in Music and Dance
There is also unity in different spheres of art. The art of classical music
in the country. Since the ancient times, the seven “swars” of music are used in all parts of India. There are more than 100 Ragas and Ragnis in Indian classical music, yet the same basic Ragas w north as well as in the south India. Emphasising the unity of the music system in India,
Bhashan remarks, “Anyone who has heard a performance on the Veena by a good South Indian musician, has probably heard much as it was played over a thousand years ago”. The art of dancing in India also shows the same fundamental unity.
Unity in Independent India
Thus in spite of great diversities in its geographical conditions, religions, sects and creeds, India was regarded as one country But unfortunately, the partition of the country in 1947, broke its geographical and political unity. But independent India has maintained its basic unity. About 500 native states were integrated in the country which gave political unity to new India. The new Constitution of India has provided a uniform system of administration to the whole country. Although the Indian Constitution is federal in structure, it is unitary in spirit. The development of new means of transportation and communication has further strengthened the unity of the country. People living in all parts of the country have shown a unique spirit of unity and nationalism whenever the country was faced with danger to its safety and integrity.