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On one hand where “socio-cultural diversity of India draws it
strength from India’s composite culture and civilizational thrust_” most serious challenges, which the country is facing in modern
times, are of socio-religious or socio-cultural in nature. Over centuries “India’s
culture has evolved through the process of assimilation and amalgamation”,
which also gets reflected in its internal and external policies (Muni in
Rupesinghe 1996). Similar is the case of Russia, though very rich in terms of
cultural heritage, traditional beliefs, cultural diversity, and has evolved
through the process of assimilation, the major challenge it is facing is at the
cultural front. Therefore, the root cause of majority of disputes, directly or
indirectly, remains associated with cultural diversity within a country or
between the nations. Whereas at the administrative levels it has been realized
that, “Interethnic harmony is one of Country’s key requisites” (Putin 2012).

The current Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi also considers the cultural
diversity as the strength of a nation, which was highlighted in his weekly
program “Man ki Baat” that, “India is a diverse country. People of different
castes, religion, different languages, different cultures are the strength of
the country” (2015). On the plurality of culture and ethnicity V. Putin pointed
out “Historically Russia has been neither a mono-ethnic state nor a US-style
“melting pot” most people are in some way migrant. Russia developed over
centuries as a multinational state in which different ethnic groups have had to
mingle, interact and connect with each other – in domestic and professional
environments, and in society as friends” (Putin 2012). Consequently, cultural
diversity, of both the countries, is a result of amalgamation and assimilation
of diverse ethno-cultural groups through centuries.

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The first image of India among Russians dates back Romanov in
1890-1891_, and Afanasy Nikitin’s “Journey beyond Three Seas” (1469 1472).

However, this ‘image of India’ was based on the observations made by individual
travellers. Slowly, with the development of culture and its use as a tool of
foreign policy it started playing an important role in strengthening relation
between nations. With time further development of relations between the two
countries changed the image and role of culture. Use of culture in promoting
cultural diplomacy as “deployment of a State’s culture in support of its
foreign policy goals” is a development of 19th – 20th century (Pratap 2015:
56). As the term “culture” is vast, therefore the question is which all aspects
of culture should be projected which will not only enhance the country’s image
but will contribute towards the improvement in their cultural ties? Hence, at
the outset it is important to redefine culture, cultural diversity and cultural
relations between the countries? 

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