(Last Updated on : 11/08/2010)
The term, rather the coinage Indian communities perhaps cannot be credited to any single individual, fighting for a social cause or the like. In fact, ancient history in India does lend considerable and credible information regarding primeval communities, or organisations that had cropped up since the times of pre-Christian era. Indian communities refer to that structured and integrated group of people, belonging to a certain religion and believing in one single united cause, who establish amongst themselves a clustered bunch to discuss various issues on a general panel. Indeed, since the eras of Indus Valley Civilization and Harappa, the concept of organising communities had been well assimilated within both uneducated and educated classes. Indus Valley is known to contain both uneducated and educated society, with Indian history also informing that it was this very civilisation itself that perhaps had first traced lines of illustrious lineage and something now referred to as `sophistication`. Religious, economic, administrational, even, societal classed communities had existed during ancient Indian evolvement.
Caste system and class consciousness was one such idealistic concept that had driven these ancient Indian communities to behave the way they did. The gigantic awareness of belonging to a higher caste or higher religious order paved way for first ever establishment of Hindu religious community, divided into Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. These four cardinal Hindu caste systems were further sub-divided into their own specific community, a concept that is very much retained in present-day Indian society. It is also known that an omnipresent and unseen demarcation line had existed amongst these ancient Indian communities, with none daring to cross that `thin red line`. Hinduism had hugely dominated in ancient Indian religious systems, with the Mauryans, Guptas, Palas, Cholas, Kushanas, Vijayanagaras, Satavahanas, Pratiharas, Chalukyas, even Marathas (in much later times) assorting to significant establishment of communities, information from which are still being deduced by historians and researchers.
Islamic invasion and subsequent extensive Muslim rule upon India, wholly changed and metamorphosed the concept of communities in India. The Khiljis, Tughlaqs, Lodis and finally the Mughals had entirely altered the graph of Islamic communities in India, with an overwhelming mass of the erstwhile populace joining in the various causes to form organisational communities. Discussions and forums within these groups ranged from an assorted bunch of views, like religion, governance, conditions of society, economy, monetary involvements, literature and foreign tradings. It is also an acknowledged fact that legendary luminaries had indeed been shot to recognition and admiration from the masses, never for once denoting the class consciousness, a breakaway and distinct facet different from erstwhile Hindu communities. Emperors, army generals and high profile men had contributed whole-heartedly and honestly to each meticulous cause to make these Indian communities as well grounded as mountainous rocks.
With passage of time and advancement in Indian ruling and sovereign administration, arrived the concept of Christian communities in India, ushered in by the Dutch, Portuguese, French and British, uniquely accompanied by the former Jewish and Armenian settlers in the country. Till this period of time Christianity and Christians was not a thing much heard of in India, with Hindus and Muslims dominating the entire topography. However, with this very overpowering European encroachments, Indian population took on a dramatic turn, with communities within India looking towards rather modernistic domains in daily life, leaving aside religious dogmatism. The historic and long-drawn British Empire and its western outlook stood in vast difference with eastern phenomena, paving way for establishing innovative communities based upon creed and caste, that were divided upon religious basics. For instance, Hindu communities went regional into Punjab, Madras, Andhra Pradesh or Kashmiri.
Contemporary and present times stay witness to and believe in much more an amalgamation of various communities in India put together, with globalisation aiding in several occasions. The concept of Indian communities has become much more panoptic and international in conscience, almost lapping up everything coming to its way. Matrimonial alliances amongst these aboriginal Indian communities is another striking factor that is assisting in betterment of Indian citizens. Yet, some specific and historic communities that have gained prominence over these years comprise: Armenian Community, Jewish Community, Khatri Community, Maratha Community, Jat Sikh Community, Namdhari Community, Pothohar Community, Kannada Catholic Community, Parsi Community, Rajput Community, Nayar Community, Sindhi Community, Anglo-Indian Community, Bunt Community, Ezhava Community, Gujjar Community, Lingayat Community, Mahar Community, Reddi Community, Yadava Community, Ahir Community, Agrawal Community, Bania Community, Maheshwari Community, Kayastha Community, Dogra Community, Kumaonis Community, Baidya Community, Bhatia Community, Madhava Community, Maithil Community, Mohyal Community, Nagar Community of Gujarat, Saraswat Community, Anavil Community, Andhra Brahmin Community, Ayyangar Brahmin Community, Deshastha Community, Karhada Community, Kashmiri Brahmin Community, Madras Community from Punjab, Syrian Christian Community, Ramgarhia Community, Dawoodi Community, Bohra Community, Kashmiri Muslim Community, Sulaimani Community, Memon Community, Moplah Community and Ardha Brahmans Community.