Home Variety Culture and History India became a nation in 1947, but ceased to be a civilisation: 12 civilisational characteristics that India needs to achieve

India became a nation in 1947, but ceased to be a civilisation: 12 civilisational characteristics that India needs to achieve

Until around a thousand years ago, India had a single, highly evolved culture, a single unifying civilizational language (Sanskrit), a very large and powerful economy, and all the other hallmarks of civilization.

From the dawn of our species, we humans have organized ourselves into groups of various sizes and complexities. Human society began as small groups of hunter-foragers. Over time, as our numbers grew, we developed culture, formed larger and more complex societies with division of labor, and went on to build kingdoms, empires, and civilizations.

Every independent society develops a distinctive culture over time. Culture is a society’s distinctive set of values, norms, beliefs, teachings, practices, traditions, knowledge, arts, cuisine, language, literature and customs.

Historically, the human organization has taken the following forms, in order of increasing complexity:

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A group of people that has at least one thing in common.


A group of people that are involved in persistent social interaction, and who have many things in common, such as a shared social identity, common motives and goals, a common set of social values, norms, rules, and taboos, an established system of governance, an established system for the division of labor, and established social status relationships.


A society that has a monarchical system of governance.


A large group of kingdoms or countries ruled over by a single monarch.


The highest form of human organization, that has the following characteristics:

  1. A large territorial area that can encompass numerous nations, kingdoms, and even empires.
  2. A single, highly evolved culture.
  3. Robust social and governmental institutions that are grounded in the native culture.
  4. Laws, a system of governance, and constitution (if any) that are grounded in the native culture.
  5. A single, unifying civilizational language that has undisputed supremacy throughout the civilizational realm. This does not preclude the co-existence of local languages.
  6. A large area of cultural influence that extends far beyond territorial boundaries.
  7. A large area of undisputed military and geopolitical supremacy that extends far beyond territorial boundaries.
  8. A large and powerful economy (high GDP).
  9. Excellent living standards and widespread prosperity (high GDP per capita).
  10. A strong and stable government.
  11. Strong and effective judicial, and law and order machinery.
  12. Absence of significant internal conflict.

Today, the most common form of the top-level political division of society is the Nation-State, which traces its origin to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.

A nation-state consists of a finite geographical territory and its inhabitants. Every nation-state has a centralized government that has exclusive sovereignty over its territory.

Let us examine Indian society using the above conceptual framework.

The archaeological record shows that Indian society first emerged in the Sapta-Sindhu (greater Punjab) region at least 9,000 years ago, along the banks of the now-defunct Sarasvati and other rivers of the region. It soon developed into a full-fledged civilization, and by around 5,000 years ago, had grown into the largest ancient civilization the world has ever seen.

Until around a thousand years ago, India had a single, highly evolved culture, a single unifying civilizational language (Sanskrit), a very large and powerful economy, and all the other hallmarks of civilization.

India’s cultural influence was visible throughout Asia as far as Japan, and as far west as Greece and Rome. Central Asia was Hindu and Buddhist. The Hindu kingdoms and empires of South-East Asia were its military vassals (Chola Empire).

After that, came approximately a thousand years of foreign occupation, which was a period of unprecedented and sustained demic and cultural genocide. 100 million deaths is probably an extremely conservative estimate. India’s culture was systematically attacked, weakened and eroded, and foreign cultures were introduced by force and coercion.

The millennium of foreign occupation and colonization ended, technically, with Independence in 1947, when India assumed the form of a modern nation-state after the British handed power over to the Congress party.

Independence was a priceless opportunity for India to dismantle the edifice of British colonialism and undo the harms and injustices of British occupation.

That did not happen.


  • India adopted a constitution that is entirely foreign in origin and nature. The people of India were not given the opportunity to either accept or reject this constitution.
  • Colonial British laws remained in place.
  • Colonial British institutions remained in place.
  • The tens of millions of Indians rendered landless and destitute by the ghastly Ryotwari systemwere not given their lands back.
  • Collaborators and cronies who became prosperous due to British favours became the new elite in independent India.
  • The Congress party donated vast tracts of India’s ancient civilization lands to Pakistan without consulting the people.
  • Nehru willingly allowed China to engulf Tibet, thereby giving up a vast area of cultural influence.
  • The Congress mired India in a stifling web of socialism and corruption, dooming several generations to misery and penury.

The net result of all this is that India is no longer a civilization in its own right. It no longer satisfies the criteria for a society to be a civilization. It is merely a nation-state, an emerging economy at best.

Make no mistake: a nation-state is several degrees of magnitude lesser than a civilization.

And by virtue of its ever-increasing reliance on the English language and its mentally-colonizing education system (another gift of Nehru and the Congress), India is now reduced to being an appendage of Western culture and civilization. A poor knock-off, at that.

That is what we have to thank the Congress and the Nehru dynasty for: For reducing India from the greatest and most influential civilization of all time to a mere nation-state, a minor appendage of Western civilization.

That is now in the past. We must learn the lessons of history and move on. What should India aspire to?

India should aspire to become a civilization again. A civilization-state.

How can this be achieved? The answer can be found in the 12 characteristics of civilization listed above.

It will be hard work, but if done right, it can be achieved in as little as two decades.

This August 15th, let us resolve to work together to rebuild our civilization, together.

(This article has been written by @IndianInterest)

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