Access to homestead land, and housing in turn, are basic requirements for human survival. Every citizen needs to have a safe, secure and healthy place to live, work and lead a life of dignity. A house provides not only physical protection against the vagaries of nature, but also space and privacy to an individual and his family for physical, emotional and intellectual growth. More importantly, ownership of a house brings about a profound change in his social existence, endowing him with an identity, dignity and a sense of belongingness, thus integrating him with his immediate social milieu and enhancing his opportunity for participation in social, economic and cultural life of the society. Considering its importance for the overall well-being of individuals and families, right to housing has been enshrined as a basic human right in international human rights instruments and treaties as well as in the Constitution of India as interpreted by the Supreme Court in many of its judgements.
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The Indus Valley civilization, one of the world's oldest, flourished during the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. and extended into northwestern India. Aryan tribes from the northwest infiltrated the Indian subcontinent about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier Dravidian inhabitants created the classical Indian culture. The Maurya Empire of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. - which reached its zenith under ASHOKA - united much of South Asia. The Golden Age ushered in by the Gupta dynasty (4th to 6th centuries A.D.) saw a flowering of Indian science, art, and culture.
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