~ Vaishnavi Varier
What is Culture?
Culture is usually defined as ideas and behaviour that has been socially accustomed to being followed by people belonging to a particular interest group or community. The word Culture is subject to multiple interpretations and is dynamic beyond boundaries. Culture has different meanings and functions in a particular place or a part of the society and it is linked to traditions and religious beliefs. It is an inseparable part of any individual as it lays the foundation for his/her lifestyle. Often people tend to link culture to religious practices. However, this subjective concept has indefinite dimensions. It is indeed beautiful to learn, imbibe and understand the various cultures that exist around us.
India a Cultural Hub
India is a diverse nation that houses within itself multiple cultures across a huge population. The cultural diversity that our country beholds is way beyond boundaries. Across states, India upholds a wide range of diversity from spreading joy during Onam to celebrating Baisakhi.
As a home for over 10 different religious beliefs, the country is well aware to exist by embracing the culture around us. Indian culture and values are deeply rooted in each one of our minds and are very different from other nations across the globe. Traditions and culture are very closely linked here and it has attracted foreign minds to explore and learn from our nation. Apart from the religious-cultural differences, there exist a variety of cultural practices for each state in our nation. The diversity that we uphold is very rare yet so contrasting that is has resulted in conflicts and disagreements.
Today’s increasingly modernising world is a major threat to the preservation of the culture we possess. Hastily running to keep up with the pace in the world’s modern path is indeed a sign of progress, but forgetting the way we travelled is not something that can lead us to success. In recent years we had seen a sudden surge in the exposure and embracing of westernised standards. Although the making of a global village demands it, the only way we can stick to our ideals is by propagating, preserving and embracing our culture as ours and keeping it special and separate from others.
Although we had declared unity in diversity, it is often not in practice. People usually get discriminated against or undermined for their trait which comes along with the culture they possess. That has been recognised as a major issue in forgoing our ideals compared to others. Be it religion, gender, sexuality or a certain lifestyle, people always find a purpose to categorise and heavily judge others on the grounds of culture and blame it to be the reason for their behaviour. We fail to realise that culture is to be identified with individualism and personal interests and not as the pillars of a person’s birth in a particular religion or place.
Discrimination on the basis of culture has prevailed ever since evolution commenced. It is a bane to our society as it forces people to hide their own identity and denies them the ability to live the way they are. We come across hundreds of stories each day about people who are struggling to live within society standards. In a race to impress the people around us, we tend to forget ourselves and thus we know how society sabotages our life and pressurise to change things with which we could identify ourselves. As Walter Lippmann said, “Culture is the name for what people are interested in, their thoughts, their models, the book they read and the speeches they hear.” Accepting other’s culture while embracing mine is the road that each one should take ie., follow the roads not taken and be the change you wish you could bring into the world.
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