India is known for its rich cultural and traditional values. It is one of the richest and oldest civilizations of the world. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, a Sanskrit phrase originated from Vedic Scripture Maha Upanishad (Chapter 6, verse 72), which means the whole world is one family, is the best way to define Indian ideology.
It is clear that our Indian culture has been open-minded ever since Vedic period. But now things are not same. With the changing worldwide perceptions and evolution of many advanced technologies, the approach and values of Indian culture are been affected. The most prominent influence that is visible on Indian culture and perception is of western culture. It is a fact that none of the cultures practices negativity, it is a matter of time that people’s mindset change, traditions change with the progress of system and technologies. Every culture teaches values and is splendid in its own way as quoted by Cesar Chavez ‘Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures’.
Indian Vs Western Culture
The debate is on Indian vs. western culture. To be honest, there are innumerable values and customs to adore and understand. All over the world, the exchange of values and culture is normal phenomenon leading to a constant change in the society. Virchand Gandhi (who was a Jain delegate from India at the first World Parliament of Religions in 1893) had once quoted that “since the early beginning of history, India has been the Klondyke of the world” and how rightly quoted. It is the center of the gold rush of values and culture.
Hello Replaced Namaskar
‘Namaskar’ is an Indian way of greeting each other with folded hands and bowing gesture making the greeter discard all ego and retain modesty. This culture thereby removes all kinds of jealousy within the person and accepts the other person with warm gratitude and love. But these days, HELLO has replaced Namaskar making western greeting style more convenient. In fact, city youngsters find it extremely inspiring to do so. There’s no harm in doing so as far as you are humble. The moment the gesture of greeting surpasses to a mere egoistic handshake, things start taking a U-turn. So let us not ruin the significance of Namaskar as I feel it makes you what you are not what others think what you are.
Intolerance Overtook Tolerance
Tolerance is a culture deeply imbibed in every Indian, being a secular state; respect for every religion is seen. It is a country where you will find Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christian, celebrating Eid, Diwali, Baisakhi, Christmas with utmost dignity and love. The Indian culture teaches us to be patient under all circumstances, it teaches us to be resilient and be respectful to every community. This is a value which every citizen of India must be proud of. But with changing cultural values tolerance has been bypassed by several incidents of hatred and communal violence. People today are more self-centered and intolerant leaving behind the Indian attribute of being tolerant. I am sure; this approach is not going to yield any peaceful and resilient result in the history of humanity.
Diminishing Status of Sanskrit
It is a sad to see today students opt for other foreign languages to learn over Sanskrit. The game of marks and percentage is creating all the fuss. It is pity to see that such a rich language, Sanskrit is losing its charm and existence. Sir William Jones (the scholar and judicial officer of East India Company) while addressing at the Royal Asiatic Society in Bengal had said “The Sanskrit a language, whatever be its antiquity, is of wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either..” If these were the thoughts of a foreigner about Indian language why cannot we understand its value? Being an Indian, I am not boasting of Indian culture but it was admired and respected by non-Indians!
Indian Foods have taken a Backseat
Today’s millennial generation must realize the value of our literature, our Vedas, and our identity, for that’s where we all are from. I am not against any other culture or the tradition of language. My only concern is why to neglect Indian values, traditions, and language in the name of modernization? There is no harm in knowing other cultures especially English, but without uprooting from your grounds. Today children do not know their culture but take pride in adopting western culture. Parents find pride in projecting their kids speaking in English. Kids are more interested in eating fast food than relishing the richness and health benefits of Indian cuisine. We must realize where we’re heading towards. This is just the beginning. Days are not far off when gradually our integrity will diminish. It is high time to safeguard it. It is not wrong to practice English, but forgetting your own mother tongue is wrong. Keep a balance between these two approaches and you are all set to move along the globe.
Don’t Forget your Roots
Roland Joffe (a French Oscar Winner Film Director) had a generous and candid thought about India. He said, “Indian culture certainly gives the Indian mind, including the mind of the Indian scientist, the ability to think out of the box”. India is a place of non-violence, its unity in diversity is its plus point, and Parliamentary democracy is our pride. These are our values and culture which we need to cherish and retain. India is the epitome of Spreading Love. The love for your country should find a place in your heart, deeds, and thoughts not by posting on social media. The current trend suggests us to tweet every little small event of our life. “Love you Ma” is broadcasted to the world but her. There is no harm in being on social media, but at the same time pay respect to the present. Adore your elders and appreciate your country’s worth. Going abroad, studying or working there does not mean we can belittle our own culture and beliefs. No culture is flawless. What we pick up from the world is in our hands.
Adopt Attributes Wisely
Indian culture has been rich ever since Vedic times, with the changing society it got western influence, some for good and some not. The youth are perplexed with western brands, their lifestyle, the standard of living, societal values. Today living in a relationship is a common thing, premarital sex, abortions, suicides all are increasing at an alarming rate with every passing day. Adopting a western culture of lifestyle is not harmful, but it not all aspects that you should adopt. Be specific in adopting the right aspects that help and add value to your life, thought and career. Blindly adopting everything that comes your way in the name of westernization is not wise. Be thoughtful and pick the right thing not all.
What to Adopt
Our elders often nag us saying that we are falling prey to western culture. Is that true? And even if we are falling, is it that harmful? I am sure it is certainly not. What our elders mean is we need to embrace the best of everything. For instance, a culture in India of offering tea to guests, which is a Chinese tradition, is embodied now. Our culture is rich and has always been, be it our Vedic science from Sushruta times or the freedom of expression, we have a rich civilization, we are grateful to. Today people from western countries come to India to practice yoga and Surya namaskar. And surprisingly we are attracting towards their culture which even they are aware not better than India. Are we forgetting our rich culture and people from western countries are realizing its essence? The basic point is each country across the globe has changed in all aspects with times and incorporated the best from others. We must adopt those factors that add to our lives and help in progress not each and every bit of trend and culture.
Integrity in Diversity
‘Festivals promote diversity, bring harmony, increase creativity, offer opportunities for civic pride, and improve our general psychological well-being. In short, ‘they make cities better places to live’, were the words of David Binder. India is the top most country in the world to celebrate the most number of festivals with peace and harmony. Equal enthusiasm, joy, and patriotism are portrayed for all the festivals and this is the sign of a rich culture that is imbibed in every Indian’s heart and we should adore this value from the core of our hearts.
The cultural shift is always there but the inherited culture should not diminish. It is right to move with the flow of advancement as the global market grows. It is imperative that the adoption should be taken in proper spirits. However, the impact of some cultural changes is such that today’s youth have incorporated it all like the use of slang, being more materialistic, brand conscious, commercialization of everything and everything to portray larger than life. In this mad rush, the essence of culture diminishes somewhere. Mahatma Gandhi said “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people” and this is exactly what is expected from today’s generation. True patriotism is in valuing the cultural and traditional dignity, not defying its richness.
Friends, it’s high time to connect with our roots instead of ignoring its existence in the blind rush of modernization. Be informed and modern in your thoughts but without disconnecting from your cultural roots which are praised and adopted by almost every country and scholars across the globe. The early we would realize better it is!