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Exploring New Cultures: Why Kids Must Learn About Indian Heritage

Exploring New Cultures: Why Kids Must Learn About Indian Heritage

What Are The Benefits Of Learning About Indian Heritage 

According to the United Nations, in 2020 more citizens of Indian heritage lived outside their home country than any other people from any other nation: the Indian diaspora totals 18 million people, with most of them living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United States and Saudi Arabia. With those kinds of numbers, it becomes critical that Indian culture and heritage are embraced, remembered, and taught to children of Indian emigrants around the world. Indian culture, traditions, and heritage tie all Indians, no matter where they reside, to their home country, more so their children who may never have set foot upon Indian soil, and fosters a sense of being, belonging, and a positive and healthy sense of self-worth and identity. Research indicates that understanding and appreciating one’s culture and traditions creates a strong self-image, and builds confidence and self-ease. Parents of Indian-heritage kids imbued with Indian culture, foster values like harmony and unity, and face diaspora challenges confidently and securely, contributing to their overall happiness and sense of belonging.        

History and Traditions of India

With a country as vast and old as India, books could be written (and have been written) on Indian history, culture, people, and customs. However, read on for a primer on the wondrousness that is the Republic of India:

  • Ancient history: Modern-day India was founded in 1947 after peacefully repelling the British Raj or the English rule of India. However, Indian history traces back to 70,000 – 50,000 BCE when people started settling in what is now Pakistan. 1500 BCE marks the Vedic Civilization and the Rigveda, one of four foundational, sacred and ancient canonical Hindu texts. India was the birthplace of the Buddha (Siddharta Gautama), 563–486 BCE, Jainism, tracing back to 500 BCE, and Sikhism, with origins in the 15th century. Islam arrived between the seventh and eighth centuries. Until British rule over present-day India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan in 1858, India was ruled by numerous dynasties. India is home to 23 official languages, including Bengali, English, Hindi, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, and Urdu. 
  • Religious beliefs and rituals: According to the Pew Research Center, India’s religious population breaks down with Hindus at 79.8%, Muslims representing 14.2% while Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains claim the remaining 6%. India boasts 94 percent of the world’s Hindus, earning it, and Nepal the world’s only two Hindu majority countries. For perspective, in the last Indian census (2011), India claimed 966 million Hindus, with Muslims a distant second at 172 million while Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains totaled approximately 62 million people.   
Photo by Yogendra Singh
  • Food and music culture: India is the seventh-largest country by area and the second-most populous country in the world boasting deserts, tundra, glaciers, and rain-drenched tropics. With 1.393 billion people of diverse religions and traditions, one can only imagine the diversity of music, food, and arts. With large vegetarian populations, rice, roti (round Indian flatbread), paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and potatoes constitute staples common throughout the country.

What Are The Main Contributions Of India To International Culture

Aside from a rich spiritual contribution, India has given the world huge swaths of knowledge that grew out of Vedic Age Indian philosophy and culture, with some calling India the birthplace of culture. Major Indian contributions include architecture (including the Taj Mahal), the concept of zero (mathematics), and vast medical knowledge. While Indian food is considered one of the world’s great cuisines, Indian arts, such as Bollywood (Hindi cinema) and other Indian filmmaking, known for its music, singing, and dancing, are now popular and familiar around the world. The Global Influential Music Index ranked Indian music 20th for its global impact and 6th for unique qualities, particularly its incredibly distinguishable folk and traditional music.  

How To Encourage Children To Explore And Appreciate Diverse Cultures

By participating in cultural and community events, parents, grandparents and other family members can help excite kids about diverse heritages, including their own! Museum trips, outings to ethnic restaurants and neighborhoods, family cultural movie nights, home celebrations emphasizing particular world heritages, appreciating world music, and learning new languages are all ways to inspire, excite and educate children. Language learning apps make teaching “Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, and other South Asian languages” easy and fun! 

Conclusion

We live in a world brimming with diversity. People of all languages and cultures share not only multicultural nations, but they share similar values, such as raising happy, well-educated children ready to meet this new and diverse world head-on. The best way to prepare your kids for the rich tapestry of the human experience is to immerse them in their heritage and culture and give them a lifelong gift that they can pass on to the next generation, proving that your heritage and culture live wherever you lay down roots!  

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