India is a vast country. From Kashmir to Kanya Kumari and Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh, crores of people of different races and religions live in different parts of the country. They speak different languages, have different customs and put on different dresses, yet they are one. They are all Indians. They are one nation.

India is famous for its rich tradition of dance and music. In both dance and music there are two types called folk and classical. Different classical dances were born in different parts of India. Bharat Natyam comes from Tamil Nadu.Ka/ha/ca// comes from Kerala, Kathak from Northern India, Kuchipudi from Andhra Pradesh, Manipuri from Manipur and Odissi from Orissa.

Folk dances are much simpler. They are performed by villagers after their day’s work is done. Folk dances are mostly based around the seasons. Some of the well-known folk dances are Bhangra from Punjab, Garba from Gujarat, Chhau from Bihar, Ghumar from Rajasthan and Bamboo from Nagaland.

Folk music is popular all over India. People sing folk songs on the occasion of a marriage. Folk singers move from village to village and sing ballads. A ballad is a story of brave heroes. They sing them during fairs and festivals. Classical music has its roots in the past. It has mainly two styles — the Hindustani style and the Carnatic style. -The former is popular in the from Nagaland. North, West and East, while the latter is popular in Orissa and Southern India. Both the styles are based on Ragas, Different ragos are sung at different times and on different occasions. Tansen, Haridas, Baiju Bawra and Meero Bai were great singers of India.


Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan are followers of Hindustani music while M.S. Subbulakshmi has popularised Carnatic music. Instrumental music is very popular in India. We have our own different types of musical instruments like flufe, shehnai, sitar, sarongi and the veena. There are some instruments like the tabla, mridangam, pakhawaj a’nd the ghatam which are beaten with the hand or with sticks.

Indian film music is the most popular form of music in our country. Most of our films, whether they are made in Hindi, Tamil or Telugu have many songs. Indian art and sculpture, like dance and music, are mostly based on religion. The earliest art to be found in India is Buddhist art. It is based on the teachings of the Buddha. An example of Buddhist art is the cave paintings at Ajanta, in Maharashtra. You will read more about them in the lesson on Places of Interest.

Miniature art, as seen in Pahari, Rajput and Mughal paintings, is very beautiful. in the old days, beautiful temples and other buildings were built with support craftsmen received from kings. From Emperor Ashoka, who helped build the stupas of Sanchi, to Shahjahan, who built the Taj Mahal. In this way architecture received great encouragement.

After Independence, the Government set up .3 academies : the Lalit Kala Akademi to encourage artists ; the Sangeet Natak Akademi to encourage music, dance, drama and films; and the Sahitya Akademi to encourage writers and poets. The Government is trying to improve these academies.