India is well-known for its cultural diversity. It is a part of our rich heritage. For years now the whole world has witnessed our culture and it has its fair share of admirers. Speaking of culture, it is a huge term especially Indian culture. We have our roots deep in culture but we surely are letting our branches spread out. We as a nation have opened up to progress and development and are technology savvy. How is culture related to technology or progress well in the same way as we have e-rakhi cards, ganpati stotra’s or hanuman chalisa on mobile apps, etc. We are advancing and conveniently are maintaining our cultural practices and religious beliefs.
However for the last few years I am experiencing a cultural drift in our society. In my opinion it has both a good and bad side to it. The age old practices like sati which were followed for years at large got abolished and widow remarriage was welcomed by the society and change had just begun. Today, people have started questioning rudimentary thinking and age old practices. People refuse to follow rituals and practices which seem irrelevant. The boom of science and technology has thrown light on various aspects which till yesterday were followed blindly. Education has awakened the youth who no longer wants to be a follower.
But there also is the other side to this drift. Festival celebrations today are all about fun and have lost its essence. Post Holi, the rangpanchami festivities has a flood of artificial colours; tonnes of litre of water are wasted, the fun of some becomes a punishment for others as many are hurt by revellers throwing balloons. The Ganesh festival is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and lack of devotion, during the ‘visarjan’ bollywood item songs are played to which people dance tirelessly for hours at stretch. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, friendship and Valentine’s Day have emerged to be major celebrations in the last few years.
We have sarees with noodle strap or backless blouses, the traditional ‘navari sari’ is a readymade outfit today which can be worn easily. During Navrartri we have a DJ mix of traditional garbas. Our food preferences have changed from dhokla to pizzas, vada pav to burgers, pav bhaji to pastas and so on. Today we want to hold our culture close but wrap it in a modern avatar something which suits our so called western sensibilities.
In this era of globalisation it’s important that we are aware and in loop with technology. But it’s time we realise the treasure we hold that of our rich culture. We have to preserve it and respect our own roots instead of swaying away in obliqueness. We have to learn to strike the right balance as that would not only lead our way forward and keep us abreast with the world but also keep are roots intact something the whole world reckons today.
– Anjani Nautiyal.