Post independence we can say our constitution defines the idea of India, apart from its physical boundries carved out through historical corrections and blunders. But the idea of India is an ancient one, as ancient as perhaps when efforts were taken to sanctify its mountains, rivers and all other important natural landmarks and link those with local/pan Indian deities and events of our great epics. It is not great kings or factors like language or ethnicity that created and sustained the idea of India, but rather the footsteps of the humble pilgrims.
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“A specialty of India’s landscape is that all its physical features such as rivers, mountains and seashores, are associated with myths and stories, ranging from local to pan Indian, from obscure tales to famous legends known throughout the length the breadth of the country,” writes Durga Prasad Dash
There have been numerous western scholars who have written books about India and Hinduism. Most of them have tried to see India through the lenses of either orthodox Christian values or liberal western values. Having done away with the pagan Gods at the advent of Christianity, it baffled the Europeans who came to India to see a thriving civilization with polytheistic beliefs and multicultural identities. However, instead of probing India’s cultural roots and taking a holistic view, some authors focused selectively on only the negative aspects of Indian society such as the caste system, and tried to establish that their own culture…
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