India’s young population is its greatest advantage and yet one of the biggest challenges. The fact that today’s youth is very much aware and concerned about the future of their country is plausible indeed but is it okay to normalize forgetting their culture?
Culture is a learned pattern of acts, perceptions, beliefs and values shared by a particular group of human society. It gives us insight into our history, and civilization as a whole and has been followed by generations for some reasons. Neither all reasons might be correct or relatable in today’s time nor all traditions are followed in their authentic form. So, “You must dig into your culture and pull out something really valuable.” (Sadhguru)
Our geographical location defines our culture
The food that we eat, the language that we speak and the clothes that we wear, everything is a part of our culture which is significantly affected by our geographical locations, from people drinking vodka in Russia to keep their bodies warm in the snowy winters to South Indians eating dishes made of fermented rice to improve digestion in the hot weather. Now, imagine having a pizza or a burger on your plate every morning instead of idli or dosa. Will it help you survive in the scorching sun of Chennai? No, rather it will affect your health.
Only the youth is not at fault
In the race of being modern and cool, the significantly older generations have failed to show the younger generation the value of their culture. Indian youth is being highly influenced by American and European cultures and have started adopting them without questioning their value and relevance. Certainly, we are not at fault now but we might just be after a decade or two if we do not take steps to bring about a change.
Change is inevitable
With the advent of modern technology, not just social but religious and work culture is also changing. These habits and behaviours evolve with time by the environment and humans are adapting to their new environment for the better. We cannot just learn from the mistakes of our past but also re-create the good things when needed.
No, nobody’s telling you to wear dhotis and drape sarees every time. These are your lifestyle choices. Believing in God or not is also your personal choice. Earlier praying included meditation for mental peace, which can still be followed by doing Yoga and contemplation. There are so many non-natives out there who are coming to India to learn about our culture and feel the authentic experience while we are simply neglecting them.
Unity through culture
Our culture binds us to our close ones and keeps us connected to our roots. It is important to stay connected to one’s roots to stay happy in life. Nowadays, people are moving away and are secluding themselves from society. The breaking up of joint families has deprived us of familial emotional and social support. Living in metropolitan cities has led to the lack of social connections which is also one of the factors behind increased mental illness.
We’ll be able to respect other cultures only when we respect our own
India has a rich culture but with time we are leaving behind all its essence. If you have an understanding and value of your own culture, then only you can respect other cultures in the world. A relevant example of this would be the recent occurrence of the auspicious Hindu new year which most of the youth weren’t even aware of. While countries like China celebrate their new year as a festival for 16 days in their traditional manner and we should learn from them.
We are the representatives of our culture everywhere else in the world
Globalization and migration are responsible for diversity in cultures. While accepting other cultures is a positive thing, we must also preserve our own culture. the much-hyped book ‘IKIGAI: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life, which has been translated into 20 languages, represents the Japanese culture. If people around the world are trying these Japanese customs then what is stopping us from practicing and promoting our culture? Maybe ignorance. The obvious reason for colonization is always there but to prove our true independence, we should accept our culture and show it to the world. Unless we learn to respect our culture, nobody else will.