About the Books
Book I : Introduction to Indian Culture
Book II : Popular Culture
Book III : Introduction to Indian Art
The first block in the Course I - Indian Culture and Cultral Traditions is a brief presentation of the account of the cultural heritage with special reference to India. There are many books available in this subject. However, our main purpose here is to illustrate how Indian culture evolved through ages and the way Indian culture achieved its significant position in the world. Indian culture has a very deep rooted and strong background. Inspite of many invasions and changing political conditions Indian culture retained certain inherent values. These values are significant in the sense of entire humanity. Indian customs, traditions are unique and find new meaning in every stage of cultural change. We will examine the uniqueness of Indian culture in this block under 3 units. We expect that after reading this block you will be able to:
understand how Indian culture evolved through centuries, how culture is the integral part of our endeavour.
appreciate the interdependence of several aspects of human life through which one develops oneself as a cultured person, also study the changes occurring from time to time during historical period and how Indian society sustained each time.
acquire a brief overview of the compositeness of Indian culture, its nature of plurality and also about the diverse elements of society in understanding culture.
objectively know the level of development of culture in India during various phases.
Before you begin to study this block, we would give you some advice about how best to study. The first unit in this block contains certain important ideas and concepts about Indian culture and its relevance to the growth of society. You may be coming across some of these ideas for the first time. You may find these ideas abstract, until you have a chance to read the units that follow. We would suggest that you let these concepts settle in your mind, even if it takes more than one reading. Keep on reading several times all these three units. This reading will help you to understand the other units in proper perspective.
We have also given many self assessment questions (SAQs) and terminal questions in each unit. At the end of each unit these questions are given. Answers are also provided but we advice you to attempt these questions on your own. If you work out these questions fully, you will grasp the ideas better. Our intention is not to make you memorise each fact, but to make you understand the ideas and concepts related to these facts. We have explained in simple way. If you find any difficult word you need to use the dictionary, Some of the words drawn from Sanskrit or other Indian languages italics is used to distinguish that particular word with that of English word.
Finally, if you need to go deeper into some aspects, you may refer to the books given as reference material at the end of the block. These books will be available in the library at your study centre.
The units we have studied in this paper have mainly dealt with the various ways in which the cultural heritage of India is seen and also felt. It may be in the religions we follow, the literature we study and understand, the greatness of Indian rock-cut and structural architectural heritage, it may be Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic edifices or some of the structures built in Colonial times, the types of icon, the murtis or images we worship etc. The entire portion what we have studied made us to understand how Indian cultural heritage is associated with the happenings in Indian history.
But what we are studying in this Block is very much different from the ones we have studied earlier. You must have visited a pilgrimage with your parents, attended a fair of a temple like Rathayatras, public events like Independence Day celebrations or festivals like Diwali, Holi, Ramzan, Christmas and such others. In the same way the tribal population in India and village folk follow many tribal and folk traditions. All these interest us in one way or the other. They are celebrated and observed in a common way. Such observances of common people are referred to be known as Popular Culture.
Popular Culture is seen in everyday activities of the people. It is the cultural ways liked by all or it is known as common ways of society. These common ways have been evolved on the basis of the belief systems, customs and religious faiths of common people. Popular culture refers to what is popular within the social context what is perceived to be popularly accepted among society.
Popular culture comprises the daily interactions, needs and desires. It would also include any number of practices and ideas, may be such as cooking, clothing, ways of worship, celebrations, festivals, fairs, visit to pilgrimages, folk songs, and dances, oral traditions like chanting, story telling etc. Popular culture also includes the way people enjoy to go for entertainment, sports or even literature. Before the television and film were invented the people in the villages in India used to organise many programmes and celebrations. They are all considered as popular culture.
Now television and films have become important ways and means to know present Indian popular culture. It is the expression in the mass circulation such as fashion, music, design, sport and film which get more attention by the common people.
Once you study this Block you will be able to:
understand what do we mean by popular culture; in what way the people in villages and tribal societies follow their traditions;
how oral tradition is so important to Indian culture;
you will know the significance of celebrating different festivals belonging to different faiths in our country; and
We also understand the importance the pilgrimages have in the lives of common people and their life-style.
In the Unit - 1, we will discuss about the meaning of arts, why art is necessary for human beings and the nature of various art forms. We will also try to understand the definition of art, scope of art and various functions of art in social life.
Once we understand the meaning and need of art in the Unit - 1, we will study the principles of arts in the Unit- 2 and these principles are responsible for the fine expression in arts like dance, music, drama or painting. Such expressions are seen in folk arts and also very much in classical arts. We will discuss in this unit the features of folk art and classical art.
In Unit - 3 we will understand the branches of art. Art can be categorized as visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, decorative arts and media arts. And also how this art is associated with life of people in every society. Each of these arts are studied in detail in this unit.
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