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In the race to modernize, the present generation is drifting away from our rich culture and Mythology, a fact very well observed by Mallika Sarabhai( Cat with a Nose Ring, THE WEEK, Aug 12,2012)
Westernization started about five decades back and in fact in the seventies, one of the very common topics for essays in examinations used to “Westernization-A Curse or a Boon” and since then we have been running nonstop to unidentified destinations and for a new identity .We have been running nonstop and without seeing back and in fact have gone very far, to a stage where the present generation is hardly Indian and in fact have an identity crisis as they definitely don’t have an exclusive new identity. What they have ,is a confused state of mind, neither here nor there!
The Gen next has reached a stage where being Indian, following culture, talking of mythology and being ethnic is considered Retro and even derogatory! Most kids don’t talk in Hindi or their mother tongue, don’t eat the food of their state, are unaware of the rich Indian mythology and culture and are unaccustomed to the rituals and customs of the family. They hardly know about their festivals, leave alone their significance. Advancement, Globalisation and modernization is mandatory and a very welcome step, and this cannot happen without the use of English and getting used to the lifestyle and mannerism which is globally acceptable. But we should keep in mind that modernization does not mean that we forget our culture and roots. No matter where we study or work, we can progress without totally abandoning these. In fact to be successful in life and to be good human beings and to shine as proud Indians, it is essential for us to stay connected to our roots and to maintain our originality.
The fault doesn’t lie with the youngsters, it is with us. We as parents and as the previous generation are failing in our duties. This knowledge was handed down from elders to the next generation. The previous generation has itself gone away from the culture and now in the fast life of metros today, parents have little time to spend with children .The nuclear families have replaced the joint families and so there are no grandparents available at home to teach the kids about the culture, customs and rituals.
But there is still time for us to prevent this situation from worsening further and to revert back .We at home have taken great pains over last two decades to ensure that we not only celebrate all festivals and rituals at home, but also make the kids take an active part in it, try to take them to our village, even if for few hours, every year and ensure that besides attending family weddings and other ceremonies, they also meet all immediate relatives as frequent as possible by organizing and attending family get together. We ensure the use of our mother tongue, cuisine, ethnic wear and the use of customs and ritual related to our country, state and family.
Parents have to play the most significant role, in brining this change and returning back to a stage where every Indian is proud of his or her culture and roots And they can do it by following a lifestyle which would be an example for their children to emulate and value their customs and keep their culture alive at home, in form of clothes, food and festivals, and should ensure that the children visit their native places and interact with relatives. Society has a very major role too, by organizing cultural festivals and accepting people in ethnic attire and use traditional food and customs.
Charity begins at home…………so let’s start out attempts to restore our rich heritage, culture ,rituals and customs
Brig Sanjay Kapoor ,Kolkata

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