Prof Michel DaninoWe sometimes hear fears of attempts to “homogenise” Indian society. These fears are groundless, because the task is impossible. This huge unwieldy body, for all its dark spots, has antibodies that resist external, centralised or formal controls; it prefers decentralisation, which have become an intimate part of its temperament evolved over millenniums. – Prof Michel Danino

India’s beginnings—the Harappan or Indus-Sarasvati civilization, to limit those beginnings to the first urban development on the subcontinent—speak of civic order, the sharing of concepts of town planning, sanitation and craft, and their implementation through some degree of standardisation, despite substantial regional differences. If we jump two millenniums to the Mauryan Empire, the first large-scale one in historical India, we see most of the subcontinent brought together under one central rule; here too, sociocultural integration remained respectful of diverse regional cultures, in consonance with India’s ethos (“The Individual and the Collective in Indian…

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