It would not be dubious if I assume that we all grew up watching those classic “Incredible India” or “Atulaya Bharat” TV Commercials, where the ads used to give us the visualization of various Indian states, in order to boost the tourism there, featuring the uniqueness about them, their iconic cuisines that purely originated from those states, their distinctive dance form, the language, the religion, the culture, the dresses that are being worn by them and other specialities of states. Little did we know that those ads hold great significance and actually mean what they illustrate. India has always been considered as land that shelters various cultures, traditions, religions, castes, languages and several other features that could be found in abundance in the country, which is one of the reasons why the country is called “Secular”. The government neither encourages nor discourages any religion. People are free to choose and practice their religion. The Government of India treats people of all religions with equal respect and provides asylum to people from all the communities.
But in recent few years, more often are we able to witness heated debates on Westernization and how its inclusion is questionable, where we have separate personalities exchanging their view points on how they personally feel about the espousal of westernized culture and if there is any impression of it. Evidently, it wouldn’t be considered respectable if one fine day, in the milieu of western culture, I kiss my girlfriend in front of my dad or a foreign native, out of blue, touches his mother’s feet so just to receive her blessings. Nevertheless, there are still certain aspects that we need to adopt from western culture, to name a few, we are still not as much open in front of our parents or any one elder to us, as people who follow western culture. We are still clingy if we have to talk about “Sex” (Yes, I wrote it) or a girl still feels uncomfortable if she has to talk about her periods to her mother. Greeting someone by touching their feet or any other traditional act which makes us look a little conservative, is out of question here since these are the things which are inherited to us or which we grew up watching others performing or broadly, we live in a space where we are surrounded by people who are indulged into performing these acts. Although, we still worry about and act according to the society we live in and hence, restrict ourselves in terms of our acts or what we do. The ones who raise their voice and want to live on their own terms, get discarded or disowned by family, relatives and apparently, the society.
Lately, I was made a hunt of this debate where a few colleagues of mine were supporting, somewhat, the pure adoption of western culture, stating how open and unbounded it is, which is unquestionably true and how people live freely without bothering a bit about what society would say or react to them. Conversely, I was more inclined towards a mixed culture, since we have our roots into Indian tradition and culture, we all grew up watching people around us performing various ritualistic formalities and certainly, we live on a land that features Cultural Mosaic. However, excessive credulous belief in traditional practices and dominance of stereotypical mind-set in innumerable rural areas where people are still stuck on practices like Dowry, Gender inequality, Superstition, which are just a few to name, is still a matter of concern and is the finest reason why we need to educate people and adopt western culture.
Assembling everything up, I neither intend to prove the superiority of one culture over another nor do I aim to demonstrate the dominance of one culture over any other. Both the cultures have their own alluring features and exclusivity. Undeniably, there has been adoption of both the cultures by numerous countries to a great extent. In fact, Government is also expediting certain inter-cultural programmes which are aimed at helping people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world. Also, there are a number of NGOs working in the same context so as to support and value initiatives that extend their “learning to live together” philosophy to make a real difference in the world, thereby doing their bit in order to make world more peaceful and a better place to live in for everyone.
Credits – Jayy