Are we a culturally proud generation

‘India’s population is its biggest strength. More people means more brains and more brains means more development’. This was an answer given by a beauty pageant contestant a few years back and I remember being amused at her optimism because in my opinion its our population that needs to be addressed first before any basic problem can be solved permanently. Today I agree with her to some extent.

Watching our big neighbour China put on such a splendid show for the Olympics made me realize that if you put your heart and soul into something, you can easily turn doubts into beliefs and beliefs into reality. China has embarked on this rapid economic development quest of theirs at a huge risk to their environment,culture and political standing but all that put aside they managed to achieve something great even with a population bigger than ours. We are in no way a lesser economic power but the problem is not with the country but with the people.

We find it below our dignity to pick up someone else’s trash and put it into the dustbin. I myself am guilty on many accounts and am not too proud of it. We also think that jeans is way cooler than salwar-kameez. I have nothing against people who wear western wear, it is just that do not degrade your own culture.Someone who wears jeans does not become a babe and someone who wears salwar-kameez does not become a behenji. It’s what in your head and heart that matters.

I think we need to start taking pride in our culture, our traditions and ourselves. It is only then that people outside will realize how awesome India is because we are walking talking advertisements for our nation.

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35 Responses to Are we a culturally proud generation

  1. Rishi says:

    I could not help but jot down a comment after reading this post.

    Some say that somewhere in the middle we became so attracted towards the ‘western culture’ that we forgot how beautiful our own culture was. I do not believe so. We never quite understood the western culture. We took bits and pieces and formed our own conception of it. It does take some time to break out of that mould but western culture isn’t what Indians perceive it to be. Over here, people don’t pass random comments at every other girl in a pair of jeans. Western culture is not all about partying and drinking. There are still families here who sit down for dinner every night, have a family get-together during festivities, just like we do. These people would find it quite unfair if they see the Indian version of their culture.

    We have a glorious nation and one that we should be proud of. We have pushed culture and art to limits that very few nations can boast of. From the simple sound of a flute to the complex one that of a sitar, from fashion to sports, almost everything.
    But sometimes we fail to appreciate all this.
    From my personal experience when I was in India, even though I respected my culture, it was hard not to be influenced and look up with some sort of reverence to western culture. Now that I have been in the States (and maybe since I am so far away from my motherland), India and its culture seems so much more beautiful, so much more glorious.
    I was never one for Indian classical dance, in fact I was quite bored by it. Until I tried to give learning dance a try myself. And although I failed miserably, I did realize the devotion and talent that goes into every step of a talented Indian classical dancer. Even people here in the states recognize the grace with which an Indian dancer can perform.
    The same goes for the various forms of music. Nothing can beat the way a talented Indian singer would use his voice itself as an instrument, and (with all due respect) being a real guitar LOVEr, I’ll have to say solos on the sitar are far far more amazing than the ones played on MTV nowadays.
    I don’t completely believe the part that says we believe that wearing jeans is way cooler than salwar-ameez. True, maybe the loafers along the streets would notice a ‘babe’ in jeans rather than a lady in salwar-kameez. But I don’t think it reduces the beauty of a girl. I think a salwar-kameez or a saree evokes (or rather emnates) a sense of respect that forces those loafers to change there attitude and treat a girl like a behanji.
    It does depend on whose responses are you counting. If you are counting on the jobless guys who would ogle at girls on the streets then I think you’d be better off without them calling you babe even once. But if one finds a guy in a tuxedo who can greet by saying namaste cool, then I am sure that very guy would find a modern Indian woman looking absolutely gorgeous in a saree just that, absolutely gorgeous.

    In the end, our country and our culture and our values are unique.
    As the old saying goes, “the grass is always greener on the other side”. It was the same case with me, however once you come over to the other side and start looking at things from a global perspective you realize how amazing your own culture is. On a personal note, India is our motherland, being so far from her I miss her a lot, and only when I missed her did I realize how beautiful she is and I can’t help feeling proud for her.

  2. Trisha says:

    Nice Discussion 🙂

    Firstly, may be i am being too critical, but would like to point out that your person in “tux” doesnot really adhere to your “salwaar-kameez” argument. Not that I care, like you said its more about “whats in your head and heart” and neither that it isn’t one of the several important points that you bring up.

    Enough about clothing, so personally believe that language, behavior and beliefs are clearly more important ingredients that make up a culture. And although I am proud of our language (s) and fundamental beliefs of non-violence, respect for elders and religious and environmental harmony, i dont think I am proud of our culture’s sexism, racism and just the disregard for equality of all human beings in addition to almost hereditary selfishness and monetary greed. But of course I am being too critical here :)I am more than proud of how much we respect education in the Indian culture, but I think we need to work on what education really is 🙂
    But then that brings up the point of population, in a democratic developing country, population is more of a handicap because of the more people, just more shortage of resources, more hungry bellies, more uneducated minds and more sick children. But then I guess there is a point in being optimistic and saying – “more people ..more brains”

    Anyways, great post and since you mention it, i think salwaar kameez is hot!! boys who dont agree are obviously not 😉

  3. Rishi says:

    Interesting comments.
    Trisha pointed out some really interesting aspects of our culture that we should be proud of.
    But then again, the sexism, racism, greed and disregard for equality, are not aspects that inhibit our culture.
    They are vices that inhibit in individuals and sometimes in a group of individuals. It would be wrong to consider these traits as part of our culture. It takes time for change, and quite a good deal of realization.
    Animal sacrifice, for example, is supposed to be a trait of Hindu culture, however, none of the ancient texts on Hinduism support animal sacrifice. These are traits created by men, generations ago, and in the absence of education and a global view of affairs, these practices carry on within the protective veil of religion, race, etc.
    Our culture teaches us to be religiously tolerant and the country with its various religions and languages itself stands a monumental example to that fact. The same goes for sexism, racism, selfishness, greed, etc. There are numerous incidents that will prove time and again of the immense humanity of our countrymen.

    In the end it boils down to every person. I believe every person is proud of his/her culture but the more important thing is whether he truly understands and distinguishes the good from the bad. Once he/she can do that and follow on that path, then picking up someone else’s trash would not be an issue of dignity. 🙂 And with the population that our country has, if every person can chose the good path, then if not much, atleast our country can be a lot cleaner.;)

  4. neuron says:

    Thanks, this post reminded me of an incident. Which, I’ve managed to transform into a blog post.

  5. neuron says:

    And for the record, I’m proud of my culture. From nawabi ishtyle of Hyderabad to the howlingly parochial lanes in my hometown, everything that it spans.

  6. Since you raise the question on culture:
    The wow effect that the Chinese spectacle displays has an American/Western stamp on it and nothing that is Chinese. In the words one of our Professors, referring to a Chinese thinker that it is as good as Chinese asking – we work so hard to make things possible, we manufacture goods but ultimately the brand is the American brand – so please give a share of the American brand which we can call our own!

    Creating an America/European world in China is no way forward, if we speak in the language of culture.

    Is there anything to learn from the spirit of unity of purpose that Chinese have shown in their pursuit of bringing a fabulous Olympics to the world? May be. Chinese have failed in defining a purpose that is culturally Chinese in nature. Can Indians come up with a purpose that is culturally Indian and learn from Chinese if there is anything to learn from.

    Finally, on salwar-kameez, jeans etc. – I think the quintessential cultural dress product from India is a saree. I come to know that in our campus – a lady switched from wearing a saree to a salwar-kameez – owing to the convention that is set. Men have long been colonized and it is women who have preserved the culture all along – and when women get colonized – there may not be much left for Indians.

  7. Karan says:

    @ Pranav. Hey, I thought a lot of the opening ceremony tried to display the Chienese culture. Whats wrong in taking from the West what is good?

  8. gopalkoduri says:

    wow.. that seems to be quite a good discussion.

    @agastyabhrata, They show cased so many splendid discoveries. And for technology, it’s no one’s property. By the scale & kind of research it’s going on in China, I’m damn sure that the West will soon have to _follow_ them. Underline the word ‘follow’. As per my personal opinion, I, having no knowledge of chinese world, have learnt a lot from that presentation.

  9. rahul says:

    For all i know, Hollywood movies are much better than ours

    China is a rigid communist country which enabled it in it’s economic growth, we on the other take pride in our dysfunctional democracy and corrupt politicians

    You might argue that we can’t blame the politicians for everything but if they themselves are corrupt, how can the citizens be otherwise?

    In the modern world, a person stays good only as long as he doesn’t have the courage to do bad, once he gets that courage the transition is imminent (and the politicians through their actions are giving us that courage)

  10. Anupama says:

    Love this post!
    I am a culture freak and I feel if there is something that is pulling back our Indians , it is “aping the west”. We have multi-traditions and multi-cultures here in India;Theres absolutely no need to imitate them. Hope such posts bring a sense of awareness in copy-cats.
    loll at this sentence: Someone who wears jeans does not become a babe and someone who wears salwar-kameez does not become a behenji.

  11. @gopal koduri

    Please look at the first line of my comment. The question is about culture. “Technology is no one’s property’ – wow, that’s quite a statement. If it were so, then why should you pay money to Microsoft to buy software? Why should you pay Samsung to buy a monitor? Why should there be a patent/copyright regime?

    What you may have wanted to say is that Science is no one’s property – for ‘science is universal’. Is it so?

    Science is a one of the many forms of knowledge. Technology being a beneficiary of science, and with time – there has been blurring between the two.

    What is culture about? Has science to do with culture? Is there anything culture-specific about science? Is there anything culture-specific about technology?
    These are important questions.

    A number of thinkers from across the world have brooded over these things in the past 400 years. I think I’d leave this comment at this stage.

    In one of the recent lectures on campus by Prof. Ashis Nandy – Prof. Nandy talks of the increasing homogenization of the world and the direction of homogenization is the direction that Europe and America have taken. Thanks to this homogenization, there were genocides which have destroyed several cultures in the world. American Red Indians is a case in point. Interestingly enough, Bertrand Russel wrote an essay called “Modern Homogeneity” as early as 1930.

    Karan says: What’s wrong taking from the west what is good?

    My question is: What is good? The whole talk of sustainable development in the world has come in the aftermath of realizing that the manner of development that took place in the West is not desirable in the interest of the sustenance of the planet. This is the argument behind Global Warming too!

    These are topics on which one can go on and on. But I think I have left sufficient pointers for enthusiasts to study deeper.

  12. I request the blog owner to excuse me for the lengthy comments.

  13. A culture is dependent on the “Samsakaras” (संस्कार) which flows through the society/tradition. When those “Samsakaras” are not supported with “Shiksha” i.e. Right Understanding then they are bound to get washed away by new things.
    Like, if my parents tell me something to do and do not tell me “Why?” then I find it difficult to continue to do it unless or until I understand the relevance of it.
    “What?” and “How?” come in “Samsakaras” and “Why?” is “Shiksha” i.e. Right Understanding.
    “Shiksha” has to be the base of “Samsakaras” and a culture.

  14. gopalkoduri says:

    @agastyabhrata,

    Technology, is no one’s property. I repeat this, just with an explanation now. Microsoft would not have come up with an office suite, had it been the case that ‘the thinking behind coming up with such an innovation’, is someone’s copyright! it’s not science, it’s just a thought. China, showed they had their own.. Indeed, I’m sure there will be some future innovations/ceremonies which will be derived from this. What I mean is they did not do a ‘all-the-same-west-thing’. They have shown there own creativity blended with their own culture.

  15. Karan says:

    @Pranav,
    You are talking about the development model. Yes, its noth sustainable, and hence, we should suitably reject it. But look at some other ideas. Look at the social ills which India had. Don’t you agree with me when I speak about the influence of Western culture on eradicating these ills? Take China and democracy for an instance. Are not democarcy calls in China inspired by ideas from the West? And if the Chinese are using techniques borrowed from the West to display their own culture during the Olympics, I see nothing wrong in it.

    The question who are raising, the development model, is a deeper one. Agreed that the world needs a correction course on this, and people & governments need to think about it.

    Please forgive me if I got my arguments wrong.

  16. Trisha says:

    @ Karan – I agree with your post. I am glad there are some people who are really thinking about not making the mistakes the developed world made. The developing world should come-up with its own whole new definition of an industrialization thats sustainable. this is one area we wont be able to afford being copycats in. ~peace

  17. I posted one more comment yesterday which I think needs approval.
    Adding it again,

    In addition to what Pranav said,

    We need to see our notions of development again. Is there is definition of development without first deciding what we really want to achieve? where we really want to go? Just running is not development or progress.

    US, as we say is a developed country has 3-4% of world’s population and they consume more than 30% of world’s resources. If we want to become developed like them then to sustain India i.e. 15% of world’s population we will need more than 150% of world’s resources and if every country wants to become “developed” like US then we will need 5 more planets! And we know that we have go only one.

    There is one good website http://www.storyofstuff.com which I feel all of us should go through it once.

  18. Indian says:

    I don’t see any point in writing lengthy comments for a post posted just for time-pass. Its better if the writer of this post puts in use the things talked about in the post and then write this post.

  19. Indian says:

    It is being a fashion for these to talk without putting these things into everyday life. As Gandhi said “First do and then talk” , so you better first do those things and then talk in posts.

  20. Amused Observer says:

    With all due respect to the rights, intentions of this blog owner I would like to point out following seeming contradictions:

    Without pointing my hand at any particular blogger in IIIT, I present my observations:

    First of all to clarify my own stand, I personally believe western education to be the greatest thing that happened to India since Asoka’s rule. But, unfortunately the superior marketing capabilities of combined forces of western market and media successfully transformed this respect for western education into mad, unscientific awe for all things western.
    Have a look at what gets treated in our blogs – Club Soccer, Formula 1, Cricket, Tennis, Beckham, Harry Potter, “Xabi Alonso”, the extra-ordinary lyrics of “Bob Dylan”, Lord of the Rings, the ‘rock nights’ (which were watched only by a handful of drunkards) at felicity……

    Blogs have unfortunately become a medium of expression of one’s sophistication (which by the way is unfortunately measured by your knowledge of western culture). The crowning of Vishwanathan Anand as world champion doesn’t even get a passing mention while the heroics of Nadal get accolades. Salman Rushdie getting the Best of Bookers for writing about the diversity of Indian sub-continent is not even congratulated while “ManU” gets a loud cheer from its distant supporters in India. I’m sure most of us not even heard about Siddarth Varadhan bagging Abel’s Prize for Mathematics, despite all of us studying in a technical university.
    I’m sure not even 10% of IIITians regularly follow Club Soccer, Formula 1, English Rock, leave alone the rest of uneducated India.
    I’m not being critical of only iiitians. It’s unfortunately one of the downsides of globalization.
    The Idea Mobile ad which glorifies ‘the english speaking India’ to be modern India is also a case in point. It makes me sick every time I watch it.

  21. Pingback: Culturally proud? « The IIIT Post

  22. gopalkoduri says:

    @Amused Observer, nice observations! I think this problem, the _recognition of local talent_, as it deserves attention, is getting it too.

  23. abbulugadu says:

    @ namrata:

    Okay here goes an alternate perspective reg the medals tally of china at least…

    Its not about culture at all!! Every nation goes through this indsutrial cycle of development and India technically speaking is (wrt liberalisation reforms,etc.,) 20 to 30 years behind china.So if you could wait … facilities will become better slowly for sports persons.And we might see some improvement.
    You should also notice that the performance this year is better than previous in several events.Its only a matter of finishing well now 🙂

    ********

    Ad reg the dress (light hearted part of my comment 😉 )

    Its not about babe / behenji by dress. Basically most indian girls (of for that matter several indian boys too) are al fat and plump while their western counterparts maintain their fitness at least at a minimum level.

    So most girls wear salwaar because they can’t pull off a western outfit without getting embarrassed ! Even in case of guys, they wear loose full hands’ shirts and loose pants to cover up their bulk
    This is a truth proved by a survey by India Today in 2004. (coudnt find the link sorry 😦 )

  24. Namrata says:

    I hope that people who have an opinion also have the courage to voice it as their own, by mentioning their names in the comments.

  25. @Author/Authoress

    This is how I used to reply when I was cornered by the comments of the readers. I used to digress the topic by asking them to quote their names for I could not defend my post. Looks like you came across my blog and borrowed my idea.

    adieu bro!

  26. Namrata says:

    @Captain … – Well what can I say, great minds think alike !!

  27. Prateek G V says:

    Looking at the above disco I can conclude only one thing, that is – the solution lies with in us. It is we who make a culture, we who can change it and we who can make it proud. Peace!

  28. Trisha says:

    @abbulagudu – about the light hearted dress part – i dunno what u r reading and i hope u r joking but if you are not, its finally time to cease being misinformed 😛

    http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/healthday/2008/08/19/obesity-rates-up-in-37-states-report.html
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/6254.php

    And here’s something about obesity in India – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obesity_in_India

    And in the US – http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/trend/maps/

    The Indian diet, since mostly vegetarian, impedes obesity, whereas the western one highly promotes it – and the result is clear. Yeah but a western Athlete, especially one of with the African gene is definitely more stronger than an Indian one, but that includes the men, and more so 😛

    I am sorry if I sound too critical, but I felt very weird that you seem so misguided on a subject I thought everybody knew about. -peace

  29. Jei kanthan says:

    Hai Maruti,
    Hai Namrata

    My name is Jei from Malaysia. I am coming down to Hyderabad to be part of the offical Launching of our Business on the 18.09.08. I will in Hyderabad on the 10.09.09. Is it possible for me to meet you and introduce you to our business, as I am looking to establish a good business contact to work with. My email :- jeikakhu@yahoo.com

  30. sandrar says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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  33. Pingback: 10 years of blogging | My three cents

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