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What Is India News Service
Tuesday, November 20, 2007


 

   Indian Arts, Culture & Heritage


 

Art in India has been synonymous with life, enmeshed into the daily existence of every individual born into this culturally rich and diverse land, long before written history became fashionable. The people born into this land developed alternative means of expressing themselves not only to record their stories, important events and their collective past, but also to embellish and enhance the simple objects of daily life. The range of material used to create art in India traverses the gamut from mud to metal; each medium handled in a unique, locality specific technique that evolved to best express the talents and needs of the people of that area. With royal patronage over millennia, artistic growth blossomed in a dynamic and competitive environment, with the highest standards of knowledge set for the King. The King, as patron was expected to know and critique the sixty-four mainstreams of the Arts and often was an artist himself. 

No other country has a diversity of technique and expression as India and her people. While the techniques of traditional “craft” handed down generations by the master craftsmen continues to date, the art, expression through these channels, continue to evolve and adapt to changing times. With a tenacity of endurance, such “folk art” has found its way into the voice and expressions of contemporary artists who paint and sculpt following the traditions of the West.

India is a modern civilization of nuclear capability that continues to nurture its roots that go back to a time before the written record of history. In the words of Linda Johnson, “if you had been around in the third millennium B.C.E, India is where you would have wanted to be. The quality of life was higher there than practically anywhere else in the world. In fact, the towns of North India in 2600 B.C.E. were more comfortable and technologically advanced than most European cities till nearly the time of the Renaissance!” 

India’s knowledge, springing from pre Vedic times, followed an oral tradition of documentation and research. Many of these streams of research were documented in the Vedas. The search for information was nurtured through observational research and guarded fiercely. Vedic scholar Jean Le Mee aptly stated, “Precious or durable materials – gold silver marble onyx or granite- have been used by most ancient peoples in an attempt to immortalize their achievements. Not so, however, with the ancient Aryans. They turned what may seem as the most volatile and insubstantial material of all- the spoken word- an out of this bubble of air fashioned a monument which more than thirty, perhaps forty centuries later stands untouched by time or the elements. 

For the pyramids have been eroded by the desert wind, the marble broken by earthquakes, and the gold stolen by robbers, while the Veda remains recited daily by an unbroken chain of generations, traveling like a great wave through the living substance of the mind.” 

One asks, what is this Great knowledge that these Indian Scholars sought, guarded and prioritized as their ancestral heritage. It is the concept of Zero, Geometry, the concept now known to the world by the translator for the Western world, the Pythagoras theorem, astronomy with details such as the color of Mars and the influence of the celestial bodies on our lives, the concept of time, the Age and Evolution of the Universe and the Cosmos, the dissolution of the Universe and the Cosmos, Agriculture, some of the earliest concepts of watershed management and environmental conservation, the art of Politics, warfare and peace, Medicine, physical Education and the body mind spirit connection, self control, the integration of the self with the Universe, philosophy, theology and the concept of God, Magic, genetic breeding and how to avoid inbreeding, the science of Art and the paths to the Ultimate Truth 

These have been documented in the various “scriptures”; the Vedas, The Shastras like the Yoga Shastra, Shilpa Shastra, Artha Shastra and applied Vedas like Ayur Veda, the medical science of Longevity, The Upanishads and the Bhagavat Gita. While these traditions continue to inspire and teach people beyond her boundaries, Modern India forges the way to make space technology cheaper and more accessible to the developing world.

 

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