We are lucky to live in a country that has more than 100 different languages, spoken in various states. It is not an easy task to have people from different religions, castes and cultures live peacefully. Believe it or not, to a very large extent, India and Indians are in a very good society when it comes to communal harmony and traditions.
However, one thing that the countrymen lack is – pride. The pride of calling themselves an Indian. Somehow, somewhere, deep down, people are so keen to ape the west that we are letting go of our values, culture, and most importantly our roots. Our strong roots that set us apart from 6 billion other people spread across the globe.
Indians have always been fascinated by the West. It is always good and definitely important to be progressive and move ahead with time but not at the cost of your own identity. Today we determine a person’s status or character on the basis of their English speaking skills or branded clothes.
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Fluent English + Western clothes – Very good.
Fluent English + Branded western wear – Great!
Fluent English + Branded wear + knowledge of another foreign language – You are perfect!
And fluency in English is not enough. We want to have an American or British accent.
Please explain one thing to me:-
Americans have an American accent.
The English have a British accent.
The Chinese, French, Japanese etc talk in English in their own accent.
THEN WHY ARE INDIANS ASHAMED OF THEIR INDIAN ACCENT??
Have you ever noticed, when we go to France or Italy or Spain or China, we learn the basics so that it is easy for us to survive there. We have to do that because they are proud and happy with their own language and/or dialect.
Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves and others around us to be something we are not or don’t want to be or can’t be or rather – should not be!
Let us now come to clothing.
Wearing Jeans and T-Shirts or a bikini is a matter of choice.
A person is not cool because of their dressing style. They are good individuals due to their personality. People should be appreciated for the way they carry themselves with dignity & honesty. Not because they are wearing Diesel jeans or carrying a GUCCI handbag.
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See the current education pattern now:
Our kids, nephews and nieces are enrolled in IB, IGCSE, ISC and god-knows-what-all new kind of educational pattern adopted by schools. These kids have knowledge of everything around the world but cannot talk in Hindi or their mother tongue fluently. The think going to a small city is not cool. For them the Holocaust is far more painful than the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.
Honestly, it is not their fault. Parents enrol their child in such institutes to make their child the best.
I was sitting in a restaurant and dining with my Ma. On the table next to us, was a family of 5 including 1 child. The parents were talking to each other in Gujarati but the moment they spoke to their child – “What would you like to eat? What should we order for you? Yes, we will leave soon”, et cetera.
How difficult or degrading would it have been if they asked the child the same questions in Gujarati! What will the world say!
Come to the most common thing we all see: – TV & FILMS
Actors earn their bread and butter by being a part of Hindi or Regional Cinema and TV. But when you see their interviews, suddenly it feels like the ghost of an American has entered their body and is speaking to the interviewer.
During promotions of Hindi films, actors talk in English.
We sit and make fun of people who cannot talk fluent English.
We should be ashamed of our own selves if we do not know Hindi or our mother tongue fluently.
We should be ashamed of ourselves if we feel that we should not be seen in our traditional attire in public.
We should be ashamed of ourselves if we do not like our desi food and always opt for “International” cuisine. (Now this one is funny because in India we want to eat Pasta and when we go to Italy we look for Paneer Makhani and Roti!!)
Today, people in America are keen to learn Hindi and Sanskrit.
“Turmeric Milk” and “Turmeric Latte” are the “in-thing”
Sarees are considered “wow!”
Indian classical dance forms are performed across the globe by International artists.
There are a lot of other things we can keep discussing and the conversation shall never end.
Thus, to conclude, all that I would like to say is that I am not at all against progress and nobody should be. Moving ahead is the law of nature. But if progress means losing your roots and giving up your individuality or the essence of your core – you need to think things through. Some soul-searching is on the cards.
If this blog has somewhere touched your heart, go and sit with your parents or grandparents and listen to an old song in your mother tongue. The smile you shall see on their faces would worth a billion. Give it a shot!
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