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English Essay on Indian Heritage

An introduction.

This article helps you in getting a gist of how to go about writing an essay on Indian heritage. So, continue reading to have a gist of various points on writing an essay on Indian Heritage.

The Indian Heritage

Indian heritage dates back several centuries. It is vast and vibrant. Flora and fauna, music, architecture, classical dance, and the innate secular philosophy of its people are the highlights of India's treasure. Ever since the beginning, we have preserved culture and tradition beautifully for our upcoming generations. We can never forget our tradition and culture as they are embedded in us and are an inseparable part of our lives no matter how far we plan to reach and how much we have progressed in all these years.

In India, people from numerous religious castes and creeds reside in the same country and so it is the land of diversified cultures and traditions. Each religion and caste has its own traditions and Customs. Each religious group follows the culture and has a deep unwavering faith and underlying roots.

Every religion has its own set of music, dance forms, festivals, and several other forms of art that have their own charming essence. Our respect towards our culture is equally divided in the culture and tradition of other religions as well, which is the reason for the survival of the vivid Indian heritage for centuries.

We take pride in our heritage and we also have a magnification of monumental Heritage. Most of the beautiful edifices exhibit a royal past that was built by the rulers and still stands tall.

Unity in Diversity

‘Unity in diversity’ - this depicts India very well. Thus the range of Indian heritage is also quite vast. As the number of religions is quite innumerable in India so does the diversity and so does the heritage sites. One will find various historical heritage sites in every corner of India (basically every state). These heritage sites are built decades ago and still stand alive with all the significance. These historical monuments and sites are proof of how India witnessed the footsteps of various religions, various dynasties, and traditions.

Below is a long and short essay on Indian culture and heritage that covers the richness of Indian traditions and the significance of the heritage sites.

Long and Short Essay on Indian Heritage

Sometimes we often stumble around to write an essay on any topic no irrespective of its difficulty level. Keeping that in mind, we have provided a few sample essays of Indian Heritage. These will help you to understand the structure of an essay and how to write it well during the exam.

Long Essay on Indian Culture and Heritage

If you get a question that reads ‘write an essay on Indian Heritage and Culture’, you must not be worried because you can now prepare yourself for the examination.

India is renowned for its rich history. From north to south, from east to west, every corner of India has its own story. Almost every state of India has one or more special Indian heritage sites which have now become the attractions of tourists. Some of the sites are so significant and ancient in world history that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recognized them as world heritage sites. These sites have immense historical and cultural significance in today’s date.

Various Architectural Sites

Among all the Indian heritage, architectural sites are the treat to the eyes of travelers from all over the world. Besides, Indians’ love for its rich history keeps these heritage sites alive. It is the duty of the older generations to invoke the same love and respect for these sites. They shall learn the significance and keep their willingness to preserve the heritage for future generations.

There are so many architectural gems lying around surrounding us.

Starting from Ajanta Ellora caves to Khajuraho to Hampi, all these sites are really marvellous. These hold immense value to the Indian tourism industry. Many people’s lives revolve around these. Some other names which deserve to be mentioned are Taj Mahal, Lal Kila, Qutub Minar, Fatehpur Sikri, Bhulbhulaiya, etc.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Heritage sites don’t necessarily mean only historical monuments or sites, it also includes various forests, temples, churches, etc. India has a total of 38 total UNESCO world heritage sites i.e. 30 sites are cultural sites, 7 are natural sites and 1 is from mixed-criteria sites. Below are some of the world heritage sites in India recognized by UNESCO.

Ajanta Caves in India (Maharashtra)

Ellora Caves in India (Maharashtra)

Agra Fort in India (Uttar Pradesh)

Taj Mahal in India (Uttar Pradesh)

Sun Temple in India (Orissa)

Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram in India

Kaziranga National Park in India

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary in India

Churches and convents in Goa

Khajuraho in India

Hampi in India

Bodh Gaya in India

Red Fort in India

Sanchi in India

Chola Temples in India

Short Essay on Indian Heritage

It might not be easy to write a 100 words essay on Indian heritage, which is why we have provided a sample essay for the same below. Give it a read.

Indian history is as rich as its culture. If we look at the architectural marvels of the heritage sites such as Hampi, Khajuraho, Taj Mahal, Lal Kila, Qutub Minar, Fatehpur Sikri, Bhulbhulaiya, these still hold immense significance in terms of their marvelous art, engineering, construction, and labor behind each site. There are many ancient and historical monuments that stand alive. Some of them took literally one decade to hundred years to be built properly. Such beautiful heritage sites are very rarely seen these days if we talk about modern-day architecture.

Hence, as responsible citizens, it is our duty to take care of these Indian heritage sites and monuments so that these could be preserved and witnessed by our future generations as well.

India is one of the world’s oldest countries which is deeply rooted in the ancient history of human civilization. Hence these heritage sites still remain perfectly preserved to date. Hence it is our responsibility as a citizen of India to preserve these beautiful monuments for our future generations.

Our various art forms, literature monuments, tradition, and culture forms a part of our heritage. These works have been appreciated worldwide. We should be proud of such a vivacious culture that prevails in our country. India's natural heritage invokes a sense of pride in each and every citizen of this country. The diversity adds beauty and richness to this country.


FAQs on Essay on Indian Heritage

1. Name a Few UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.

There are 38 total UNESCO world heritage sites in India i.e. 30 sites are cultural sites, seven are natural sites and one is mixed-criteria sites. A few names are - Ajanta Caves in India (Maharashtra), Ellora Caves in India (Maharashtra), Agra Fort in India (Uttar Pradesh), Taj Mahal in India (Uttar Pradesh), Sun Temple in India (Orissa), Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram in India, Kaziranga National Park in India, Khajuraho in India, Hampi in India, Chola Temples in India.

2. How to Write an Essay on Indian Heritage and Culture Easily?

With the help of the internet, it is very easy to write essays these days. Here are many sample essays on Indian heritage and culture easily available online. You can visit any renowned ed-tech portal to get access to such samples.

3. What is the Indian heritage?

It is an all-embracing confluence of traditions, customs, and religions. It is one of the world's oldest civilizations. Indian cotton textiles, the ethnicity of jewellery, the richness of silk, handiwork, and everything from ancient times still prevail and is kept alive generation after generation. Indian food is a part of Indian Heritage and is a legacy differing in taste and look in every state of the country.

4. What is the importance of our Indian heritage?

The heritage of our country provides evidence of evolution and our past. It helps us to develop an awareness of ourselves and examine our traditions and history. It helps us to explain and understand the reason for the way we are. Our heritage plays an important role in our business, society, worldview, and politics and is a keystone of our culture. It inspires, influences, and informs policy and public debate directly and indirectly.

5. Why is preserving our heritage important?

Heritage is fragile, it delivers so much in terms of enjoyment and important human experience. It allows us to define ourselves and enriches our lives but also needs consistent development and protection. The acknowledgment of the significance of our heritage is essential to be recognized by the government and reflected in inappropriate and reformed structures and increased funding. This ensures that the most suitable elements are passed on to our children and eventually to their future generations as well.

6. What is UNESCO?

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization encourages the preservation, protection, and identification of the natural heritage around the world and is considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. The international treaty called the Convention is concerned with the protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage which was adopted by UNESCO in 1972.

Essay on Indian Heritage for Students and Children

500+ words essay on indian heritage.

Heritage means what we inherit from our ancestors and from our past. India is a land of varied cultures and traditions. People from numerous castes, religions, and creeds reside in our country. Each ethnic group in our country has its own tale of origin and its set of unique traditions and culture. They have all contributed to the making of Indian history and culture. Nature has made India into a distinct geographical entity.

essay on indian heritage

Indian Heritage: A Gift from the Older Generations

Indian heritage and culture are vast and vivid because of the large number of religious groups residing in our country. Every community has its own set of customs and traditions which it passes on to its younger generation.

However, some of our customs and traditions remain the same throughout IndiaOur traditions teach us to inculcate good habits and make us a good human being. Our cultural heritage is thus a beautiful gift from our older generation that will help us become a better human being and build a harmonious society.

Respect for our Indian Heritage

The elders should take responsibility to invoke love for the Indian heritage in the younger generations. This must be done from the very beginning only then we can preserve our rich heritage. It is the duty of the elders to invoke love for the Indian heritage in the younger generations.

This must be done from the very beginning only then we can preserve our rich heritage. Schools must teach students about Indian heritage and how it has survived for centuries. They must also share the importance of preserving it. This would help in invoking a feeling of pride in them and they would be inspired to continue the tradition and also pass it on to the new generation. This needs a collective effort by the teachers as well as parents.

Our Literature

Indian literature is as rich as its culture. We have various books written on many topics since ancient times. We have the Vedic literature, epic Sanskrit literature, Classic Sanskrit literature and Pali literature among other kinds of Indian literature. Many of our books are being translated to other languages to provide access to a greater number of readers so that more and people can benefit from the knowledge. Such a wonderful and rich literature must be preserved at any cost.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Beautiful Geological Structures

Numerous beautiful geological structures found in different parts of India. Best of the splendid geological structures that form a part of our country include Lonar Crater Lake, Siachen Glacier, Jammu and Kashmir, Pillar Rocks, Kodaikanal, Barren Island, Andamans, Magnetic Hill, Leh, Columnar Basaltic Lava, Udupi, and Toad Rock. All these structures are true wonders of nature. A lot of tourists every year from around the world especially visit these places just to catch a glimpse of these marvelous creations of God.

UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites in India

The below geological places have been enlisted in UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites. These sites include:

1. Home for the rare one-horned rhinoceros, Kaziranga National Park, in 1985.

2. Home for numerous species of beautiful birds, Keoladeo National Park, in 1985.

3. A beautiful wildlife sanctuary, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, in 1985.

4. The biggest mangrove forest, Sundarbans, in the year 1987.

5. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Park, in 2004.

6. The Western Ghats, in 2012.

7. The Great Himalayan National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2014.

India is an ancient country. We are blessed with a beautiful heritage. We are solely responsible to preserve the same so that our future generations also get to see and experience the same.

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Home — Essay Samples — Arts & Culture — Heritage

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Heritage Essays

What makes a perfect essay topic.

When it comes to choosing a heritage essay topic, there is a world of possibilities waiting to be explored. To embark on this creative journey, consider a few key factors that will help you unearth a truly captivating topic. Delve into your personal interests and experiences related to heritage and let them guide you. Reflect on the aspects of heritage that fascinate you the most, whether it involves exploring your cultural background or unearthing the history and traditions of a specific community. Additionally, ponder the uniqueness and relevance of the topic at hand. A remarkable heritage essay topic is one that is specific, intriguing, and offers potential for in-depth research and analysis. Remember, the ultimate goal is to engage your readers and provide them with fresh insights and perspectives on the extraordinary world of heritage.

The Best Heritage Essay Topics

  • The impact of immigration on cultural heritage preservation.
  • The role of museums in preserving indigenous heritage.
  • Unconventional heritage: Exploring the intangible cultural heritage of a community.
  • Heritage preservation in the face of modernization and globalization.
  • Rediscovering forgotten heritage: The revival of traditional crafts.
  • The significance of oral traditions and storytelling in preserving cultural heritage.
  • The influence of colonialism on cultural heritage.
  • Heritage tourism: Balancing economic growth and heritage conservation.
  • The preservation of endangered languages as part of cultural heritage.
  • The role of technology in documenting and safeguarding intangible cultural heritage.
  • The impact of climate change on cultural heritage sites.
  • The representation of heritage in literature and art.
  • Gender and heritage: The role of women in preserving cultural traditions.
  • The cultural heritage of marginalized communities: Giving voice to the unheard.
  • The importance of education in heritage preservation.
  • The role of government policies in safeguarding cultural heritage.
  • Exploring the relationship between heritage and identity.
  • Heritage conservation in the digital age: Opportunities and challenges.
  • The impact of war and conflict on cultural heritage destruction.
  • The preservation of traditional cuisine as a part of cultural heritage.

Provocative Heritage Essay Questions

  • How does the preservation of cultural heritage contribute to the sense of identity within a community?
  • To what extent does globalization threaten the preservation of cultural heritage?
  • How has technology revolutionized the documentation and preservation of intangible cultural heritage?
  • In what ways does heritage tourism impact the authenticity and integrity of cultural heritage sites?
  • What strategies can be employed to ensure the preservation of endangered languages as part of cultural heritage?
  • How does climate change pose a threat to the long-term survival of cultural heritage sites?
  • What are the ethical considerations involved in repatriating cultural heritage artifacts to their countries of origin?
  • How does the representation of heritage in literature and art shape our perception and understanding of cultural identity?
  • What role does education play in raising awareness and promoting heritage preservation among younger generations?
  • How can communities effectively collaborate with governments and organizations to safeguard and promote their cultural heritage?

Heritage Essay Prompts

  • Imagine you have discovered a long-lost family heirloom. Write an essay exploring its history and significance in preserving your heritage.
  • You are an anthropologist tasked with studying the intangible cultural heritage of a remote tribe. Write an essay detailing your experiences and the importance of preserving their unique traditions.
  • In a time capsule, you find a document from the past that sheds light on an aspect of heritage that has been forgotten. Write an essay discussing the implications of this discovery and its impact on heritage preservation.
  • Imagine you have the opportunity to interview a renowned heritage conservationist. Write an essay outlining the questions you would ask and the insights you hope to gain.
  • Choose a heritage site that holds personal significance to you. Write an essay reflecting on your experiences visiting the site and the importance of preserving it for future generations.

Deeper Insights: Heritage Essay FAQ

  • Q: How do I choose a compelling heritage essay topic?
  • A: Start by reflecting on your personal interests and experiences related to heritage. Consider unique aspects, relevance, and potential for in-depth research.
  • Q: What makes a good heritage essay topic stand out?
  • A: A good topic should be specific, intriguing, and offer potential for new insights and perspectives on heritage.
  • Q: How can I ensure my heritage essay is engaging for readers?
  • A: Incorporate captivating storytelling techniques, provide relevant examples, and present well-researched information to keep readers interested.
  • Q: Is it important to include personal experiences in a heritage essay?
  • A: Personal experiences can add depth and authenticity to your essay, but make sure to connect them to broader themes and concepts.
  • Q: Can I focus on an unconventional aspect of heritage for my essay?
  • A: Absolutely! Exploring unconventional aspects of heritage can provide fresh perspectives and make your essay more unique and interesting.
  • Q: How can I make my heritage essay more impactful?
  • A: Incorporate diverse perspectives, consider the social and cultural implications of your topic, and propose practical solutions for heritage preservation.
  • Q: Should I use academic sources in my heritage essay?
  • A: Using a mix of academic and non-academic sources can strengthen your arguments and provide a well-rounded analysis of your chosen topic.
  • Q: How long should my heritage essay be?
  • A: The length of your essay will depend on the specific requirements. However, aim for a balance between providing sufficient information and maintaining reader engagement.
  • Q: Can I include visuals or multimedia in my heritage essay?
  • A: Including visuals or multimedia can enhance your essay, but ensure they are relevant, properly credited, and do not overshadow the written content.
  • Q: How can I conclude my heritage essay effectively?
  • A: Summarize your main points, restate the significance of your topic, and leave the reader with a thought-provoking final statement that encourages further reflection.

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essay about heritage site

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Why preserving historical places and sites matters.

Tom Mayes is the author of Why Old Places Matter: How Historic Places Affect Our Identity and Wellbeing (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018).

essay about heritage site

Why do old places matter to people?  Why should old places matter to historians, or to the general public that historians serve? What can we learn from the continued existence of old places in our communities, and in our nation?  Why does it matter if we save these old places or if we don’t?

There are many reasons old places matter, from memory, to civic identity, to history, to architecture, to beauty, to economics.  While even the fourteen reasons I name in Why Old Places Matterdon’t fully capture all the many meanings old places have for people, for the readers of History News Network, I’d like to emphasize one main idea: old places give us an understanding of history that no other documents or evidence possibly can.  

At Civil War battlefields like Antietam, historians and visitors alike can understand how a slight rise in the lay of the land could mean victory or defeat, and how one division was lost, while another survived.  At artists’ homes and studios like Chesterwood, the home of Daniel Chester French, who sculpted the Seated Lincoln, we can understand how a certain quality of light, or a clear mountain view, or the ticking of a clock, may have inspired a painting, poem, or sculpture – and may inspire visitors today. 

At the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, we can understand something profoundly visceral about cramped, dark, and crowded lives of emigrants in New York in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  

And at dirt-floored, often roughly-built slave dwellings, we can try to glean an inkling of the reality of human bondage that we cannot understand from documents alone.  We experience old places with all of our senses, like full body immersion, and because of that, we understand different aspects of history as it was lived.

This would be enough.  But I believe that these old places play a larger role.  The continued existence of these old places may foster a deeper understanding of history that tells a more full and true story. 

essay about heritage site

Yes, these places can be manipulated to spin a particular viewpoint, like the way, for many years, the reality of slavery wasn’t acknowledged at plantation houses, or Native American perspectives weren’t expressed at frontier forts, or the way countless workers were left out of the story altogether.  One reason people weren’t acknowledged is that their places were not often recognized, valued, and retained.  These are the places that were easy to erase – to pave over with interstates, sports stadiums, and urban renewal.  Many have literally been erased from our landscape and our memory.  

It’s easier to pretend that slavery was benevolent if the reality of the poor living conditions of slave dwellings isn’t confronting visitors.  Or that labor unrest didn’t happen if the places where it happened are bulldozed.  Erasure of places can serve to hide truths that can’t be hidden if the place survives.  The recognition of sites by the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund functions as an act of social justice.  As a descendant of the Chinese American builders of an 1850’s Taoist temple in Mendocino, California said to me, the fact that the place exists – a Taoist temple from the 1850s—announces to everyone that “we were here.”

If the place survives, it can also become the vortex and venue for understanding our changing civic and national identity.  The places we choose to save-or not-reflect our identity.  That’s why we see places that are important to the “enemy” being targeted in times of conflict, such as the Mostar Bridge.  The destruction of the old place is tantamount to the destruction of the group identity.  Old places may also be targeted precisely because they tell a deeper, older, and different story, such as the Bamiyan Buddhas, which were destroyed because they represented a different religion, or the archaeological sites of Babylon or Palmyra. 

I don’t want to suggest that we can understand everything about history simply by experiencing the old places where history happened.  In fact, I’d like to emphasize a completely different point.  These old places matter not only for what they can tell us, but precisely because they raise questions.  There are often things about an old building, or a battlefield, or a working landscape that will surprise or puzzle us.  It may only be a quirky door, or the etching of initials on glass, or an unexpected rise in an otherwise flat field, or an unusual place name.  

An old place continues to carry memories of other stories that we don’t necessarily understand today, like the way the bones of our ancestors continue to surface in our cities and towns where we thought there were no people buried, or the way a Hebrew letter on an ancient column reminds us that the Jews of Rome were not always forced to live in the ghetto.  

These puzzles upend what we thought we knew and help us remember that we can never know everything about the past.  These quirks at old places jab us to be less arrogant and remind us to be humble and open as we try to understand the past and what it means for us today.   

Old places matter because they give us a deeper understanding of the past – an understanding no other documents possibly can, while reminding us to be humble about what we know.  

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essay about heritage site


World Heritage Sites are outstanding natural and cultural features that merit protection and preservation. The following essays explore the role of United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in selecting sites of historical and cultural resources. Learn more about the World Heritage Sites in the United States and their significance worldwide.

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Last updated: June 9, 2020

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Guest Essay

The One Idea That Could Save American Democracy

essay about heritage site

By Astra Taylor and Leah Hunt-Hendrix

Ms. Taylor and Ms. Hunt-Hendrix are political organizers and the authors of the book “Solidarity: The Past, Present, and Future of a World-Changing Idea.”

These days, we often hear that democracy is on the ballot. And there’s a truth to that: Winning elections is critical, especially as liberal and progressive forces try to fend off radical right-wing movements. But the democratic crisis that our society faces will not be solved by voting alone. We need to do more than defeat Donald Trump and his allies — we need to make cultivating solidarity a national priority.

For years, solidarity’s strongest associations have been with the left and the labor movement — a term invoked at protests and on picket lines. But its roots are much deeper, and its potential implications far more profound, than we typically assume. Though we rarely speak about it as such, solidarity is a concept as fundamental to democracy as its better-known cousins: equality, freedom and justice. Solidarity is simultaneously a bond that holds society together and a force that propels it forward. After all, when people feel connected, they are more willing to work together, to share resources and to have one another’s backs. Solidarity weaves us into a larger and more resilient “we” through the precious and powerful sense that even though we are different, our lives and our fates are connected.

We have both spent years working as organizers and activists . If our experience has taught us anything, it is that a sense of connection and mutualism is rarely spontaneous. It must be nurtured and sustained. Without robust and effective organizations and institutions to cultivate and maintain solidarity, it weakens and democracy falters. We become more atomized and isolated, suspicious and susceptible to misinformation, more disengaged and cynical, and easily pitted against one another.

Democracy’s opponents know this. That’s why they invest huge amounts of energy and resources to sabotage transformative, democratic solidarity and to nurture exclusionary and reactionary forms of group identity. Enraged at a decade of social movements and the long-overdue revival of organized labor, right-wing strategists and their corporate backers have redoubled their efforts to divide and conquer the American public, inflaming group resentments in order to restore traditional social hierarchies and ensure that plutocrats maintain their hold on wealth and power. In white papers, stump speeches and podcasts, conservative ideologues have laid out their vision for capturing the state and using it as a tool to remake our country in their image.

If we do not prioritize solidarity, this dangerous and anti-democratic project will succeed. Far more than just a slogan or hashtag, solidarity can orient us toward a future worth fighting for, providing the basis of a credible and galvanizing plan for democratic renewal. Instead of the 20th-century ideal of a welfare state, we should try to imagine a solidarity state.

We urgently need a countervision of what government can and should be, and how public resources and infrastructure can be deployed to foster social connection and repair the social fabric so that democracy can have a chance not just to limp along, but to flourish. Solidarity, here, is both a goal worth reaching toward and the method of building the power to achieve it. It is both means and ends, the forging of social bonds so that we can become strong enough to shift policy together.

Historically, the question of solidarity has been raised during volatile junctures like the one we are living through. Contemporary conceptions of solidarity first took form after the democratic revolutions of the 18th century and over the course of the Industrial Revolution. As kings were deposed and the church’s role as a moral authority waned, philosophers and citizens wondered how society could cohere without a monarch or god. What could bind people in a secular, pluralistic age?

The 19th-century thinkers who began seriously contemplating and writing about the idea of solidarity often used the image of the human body, where different parts work in tandem. Most famously, the French sociologist Émile Durkheim put solidarity at the center of his inquiry, arguing that as society increased in complexity, social bonds between people would strengthen, each person playing a specialized role while connected to a larger whole. Solidarity and social cohesion, he argued, would be the natural result of increasing social and economic interdependence. But as Durkheim himself would eventually recognize, the industrial economy that he initially imagined would generate solidarity would actually serve to weaken its fragile ties, fostering what he called anomie, the corrosive hopelessness that accompanied growing inequality.

In the United States, solidarity never achieved the same intellectual cachet as in Europe. Since this nation’s founding, the concept has generally been neglected, and the practice actively suppressed and even criminalized. Attempts to forge cross-racial solidarity have met with violent suppression time and again, and labor organizing, effectively outlawed until the New Deal era, still occupies hostile legal ground. Decades of market-friendly policies, promoted by Republicans and Democrats alike, have undermined solidarity in ways both subtle and overt, from encouraging us to see ourselves as individual consumers rather than citizens to fostering individualism and competition over collectivity and cooperation.

As our profit-driven economy has made us more insecure and atomized — and more susceptible to authoritarian appeals — the far right has seized its opportunity. A furious backlash now rises to cut down the shoots of solidarity that sprung up as a result of recent movements pushing for economic, racial, environmental and gender justice. In response, programs that encourage diversity and inclusion are being targeted by billionaire investors, while small acts of solidarity — like helping someone get an abortion or bailing protesters out of jail — have been criminalized.

Awaiting the return of Mr. Trump, the Heritage Foundation has mapped out a plan to remake government and society, using the full power of the state to roll back what it calls “the Great Awokening” and restore a Judeo-Christian, capitalist “culture of life” and “blessedness.” “Woke” has been turned into a pejorative so that the word can be wielded to tarnish and break the solidarity that people have only just begun to experience.

Our vision of a solidarity state offers a pointed rejoinder to this project. Social democrats and socialists have been right to emphasize the need for redistribution and robust public investment in goods and services. We must restructure our economy so that it works for the many and not the few. But unlike conservatives — think, for example, of Margaret Thatcher, the prime minister of Britain who in 1981 said, “Economics are the method; the object is to change the heart and soul” — liberals and leftists have tended to downplay the role of policy in shaping public sensibilities. This is a mistake.

Laws and social programs not only shape material outcomes; they also shape us, informing public perceptions and preferences, and generating what scholars call policy feedback loops. There is no neutral state to aspire to. Policies can either foster solidarity and help repair the divides that separate us or deepen the fissures.

Today, the American welfare state too often does the latter. As sociologists including Suzanne Mettler and Matthew Desmond have detailed, lower-income people tend to be stigmatized for needing assistance, while more-affluent citizens reap a range of benefits that are comparatively invisible, mainly through tax credits and tax breaks. Both arrangements — the highly visible and stigmatized aid to the poor and the more invisible and socially acceptable aid to the affluent — serve to foster resentment and obscure how we are all dependent on the state in various ways.

Instead of treating citizens as passive and isolated recipients of services delivered from on high, a solidarity state would experiment with creative ways of fostering connection and participation at every opportunity for more Americans. What if we had basic guarantees that were universal rather than means-tested programs that distinguish between the deserving and undeserving, stigmatizing some and setting groups apart? What if, following the model of a widely admired program in Canada, the government aided groups of private citizens who want to sponsor and subsidize migrants and refugees? What if public schools, post offices, transit systems, parks, public utilities and jobs programs were explicitly designed to facilitate social connection and solidarity in addition to providing essential support and services?

We’ll get there only if we take up the challenge of building solidarity from wherever we happen to sit. Both means and end, solidarity can be a source of power, built through the day-to-day work of organizing, and our shared purpose. Solidarity is the essential and too often missing ingredient of today’s most important political project: not just saving democracy but creating an egalitarian, multiracial society that can guarantee each of us a dignified life.

Astra Taylor and Leah Hunt-Hendrix are political organizers and the authors of the book “Solidarity: The Past, Present, and Future of a World-Changing Idea.”

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

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    Ms. Taylor and Ms. Hunt-Hendrix are political organizers and the authors of the book "Solidarity: The Past, Present, and Future of a World-Changing Idea." These days, we often hear that ...