Indian society and culture are of multi-tier composition. India has pluri-societal structure and multicultural configuration. When one looks at the structure of Indian society at the bottom is a person, may be a child or adult, man or woman, casteman or tribesman, every person acquires roles during its life span and eschews roles with the passage of time. For example, the roles of childhood are eschewed at the adoloscent stage and the roles of adolescent period are given up at the adult stage and finally everyone acquires the roles of old age. Here it is needless to emphasize that right from adolescent stage, roles are bifurcated on the basis of gender.

In every society gender roles are culturally defined and limited in scope. Gender roles are different from biological basis of sex. Likewise, culture of a family, lineage, clan, community, sub-caste, caste, linguistic region and the national culture are all distinguishable from one another, yet they exhibit traits that are common to all distinctions. Culture of an individual, which is termed as culturolect is different from culture of a group or of the community. Whereas culture of a locality, sub-region, linguistic region, administrative province or national culture are all configurations of diverse cultural elements. Every culture has a spirit of its own and the spirits blossom into a cultural bouquet.

The similie of bouquet is considered appropriate here as each and every bonquet has a pattern and each consists of different types of flower. Thus a bonquet presents a wholesome and attractive design although it is made out of different types of flowers. Similarly, a composite culture of the village community, sub-regions within a linguistic region and all the linguistic regions within the country taken together exhibit a kind of configuration in which the cultural unity is discerning. Diversities, though are there, remain subordinate making way for the unified spirit of Indian civilization and culture (in social science jargon, culture and civilisation though have specific meanings, yet they are used as alternatives for each other).

The strength of the unity of Indian civilisation/culture lies in its manifold diversities Historically, as well as, synchronically many strands of diverse elements have reinforced Indian culture or civilization. There is no denying the fact that the crux of Indian culture and civilisation comprises both peasant and elements of intellectual higher culture.


Historically several ethno-cultural elements have been merged with Indian society and culture and have strengthened the core-culture of India. Similarly with influx of outsiders into Indian main-land from time to time have brought in different cultural elements to India which have been integrated with the existing Indian culture. Apart from this many world religions, sects and movements have originated and have influenced lives of millions of people.

For example, the Buddhism, Jainism, Bhakti movement, Lingayatl movement, Swamy Dayananda Saraswati’s Anglo-Vedic movement, Raja Rammohanf Ray’s Brahmo movement, Dravida Kazhagam etc. are all movements against Manuvadi society. All these movements have made some impact on the minds of Indians no doubt, but have not succeeded in eliminating the caste society. The traditional Indian social system has undoubtedly been impaired and Indian society takes fresh images and forms, yet the core-culture of Indian society remains the most important element of the central force of Indian society.

It determines the major or dominant value system of Indian society and culture and all other reformists and new value-orientations play the role of second fiddle to the main or generalized value system of Indian society which is based on caste norms. Here it may be emphasized that caste has proved to be an indomitable and irresponsible element of Indian social structure. Several studies have highlighted the fact that casteism or caste-like behaviour are found among Indian Muslims and Christians. The caste factor is so powerful that there are two distinct cementaries existing side by side in Kerala, one for higher ethno-cultural Christians and the other for Dalit Christians.

The configuration of Indian social system and culture / civilization suggests two distinct divisions within it. The so called Indo-Aryan and the Dravidian. The dividing line runs through the States of Orissa, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra in east-West direction. Each such division indicates a specific type of social system and cultural typology which includes housetype, settlement pattern, food habit, dress pattern, design of ornaments, oil presses,,husking levers, plough and yoke, celebration of festivals and languages.


One can visualise the broad differences, if one tries to analyse these cultural factors as a philosopher of history or as an empirical cultural anthropologist. In spite of the manifest and latent diversities in the social system and cultural elements both English and Hindi are being used as link languages as well as languages of administration, particularly for non-Hindi speaking areas.