Chapter 1-Culture: An Introduction Part 1

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The English word ‘culture’ is derived from the Latin term ‘cult or cultus’ meaning tilling or cultivating or refining and worship.

  • Culture is a way of life. The food you eat, the clothes you wear, the language you speak in and the God you worship all are aspects of culture. Culture also includes the customs, traditions, festivals, ways of living and one’s outlook on various issues of life.

  • It refers to a human made environment which includes all the material and non-material products of group life that are transmitted from one generation to the next.

  • It is the expression of our nature in our modes of living and thinking. Culture varies from place to place and country to country.

  • Its development is based on the historical process operating in a local, regional or national context.

  • In other words, the people of any country are characterised by their distinctive traditions.

Culture and Civilization

  • The word ‘culture’ and ‘civilization’ are often used synonymously. They have clearly defined meanings differentiating them.

  • ‘Civilization’ means having better ways of living and sometimes making nature bend to fulfil their needs.

  • ‘culture’ refers to the inner being, a refinement of head and heart.

  • This includes arts and sciences, music and dance and various higher pursuits of human life which are also classified as cultural activities.

Culture and Heritage

  • Cultural development is a historical process. Our ancestors learnt many things from their predecessors. Culture is transmitted and carried forward from generation to next generation.

  • The culture we inherit from our predecessors is called our cultural heritage, This heritage exists at various levels.

  • Humanity as a whole has inherited a culture which may be called human heritage.

  • A nation also inherits a culture inherits a culture which may be termed as national cultural heritage.

  • Cultural heritage includes all those aspects or values culture transmitted to human beings by their ancestors from generation to generation.

  • A few examples would be helpful in clarifying the concept of heritage. The Taj Mahal, Swami Narayan Temple of Gandhinagar and Delhi, Red Fort of Agra, Delhi’s Qutub Minar, Mysore Palace, Jain Temple of Dilwara, Golden Temple of Amritsar, Sanchi stupa, Christian Church in Goa, India Gate etc, are all important places of our heritage and are to be protected by all means.

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