India is a very large country, with an estimated population of one billion (by comparison, Britain has 58 million). It has, after China, the largest population of any country in the world.
Most people living in India are subject to the caste system. The caste system in India is part of the Hindu religion, to which 82 per cent of the people belong. The caste system used to regulate who did what jobs, how rich people were likely to become, and many aspects of their lives. Only very high caste Hindus, called Brahmins, could become Hindu priests. Lower-caste people were generally the poorest. The lowest Hindu castes were called untouchables and did the jobs no-one else wanted to. The Indian goverment has introduced laws to modify the caste system. Untouchability in the traditional sense has been outlawed and the lowest castes are now called “Scheduled Castes” or “Dalits” (meaning the “oppressed”). Despite this the caste people are born into continues to have a strong influence on the life they can expect to lead.
The Spring Festival of India, Holi – is a festival of colors. Celebrated in March or April according to the Hindu calendar, it was meant to welcome the spring and win the blessings of Gods for good harvests and fertility of the land. As with all the Hindu festivals, there are many interesting legends attached to Holi, the most popular being that of Prince Prahlad, who was a devout follower of Lord Vishnu. It is the second most important festival of India after Diwali. Holi in India is a festival of fun and frolic and has been associated with the immortal love of Krishna and Radha. The exuberance and the festivity of the season are remarkable.
Unlike all the other festivals of India, Hindu Holi festival is one such festival where one can put down the social taboos and indulge in the intoxicating drinks and sweets prepared by using opium. It is a festival of romance often represented by the love-play of Radha and Krishna. Brij Holi is famous all over the world for its gaiety in spirit. Each year, young and old, men and women, all indulge themselves in the spirit of colors and for once forget the social taboos. There are mouthwatering delicacies to savor such as ‘Gujhias’ and ‘Papris’ and there are interesting traditions and customs of Holi that have their own regional variances.
India is a country of religious diversity and religious tolerance is established in both law and custom. Throughout the history of India, religion has been an important part of the country’s culture. A vast majority of Indians associate themselves with a religion; Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism…
Hinduism accounts for 80.5% of the population of India. Islam (13.4%), Christianity (2.3%) and Sikhism (1.9%) are the other major religions followed by the people of India. This diversity of religious belief systems existing in India today is a result of, besides existence and birth of native religions, assimilation and social integration of religions brought to the region by traders, travelers, immigrants, and even invaders and conquerors.