I always fancy ancient India despite its flaws. Whenever I sit down to discuss the childhood of my parents and their life before the technological evolution, I am awed by the description. Their stories truly depict how advanced this generation is. From the days when there were no lights and people would eat their dinner before the sunset to the present day when we are aiming to have all-night restaurants and cinemas. The journey is prolific. However, this highlights the increased distance between two individuals as well.
I am no historian and was never keen on remembering those days from the textbooks. Nonetheless, the lifestyle did attract me in every sense. Whilst most audience would visit the museum as an amusement, I visit to admire the world we have left behind. It’s no secret that India was originally called Hindustan or Bharat. It is the British era when it got its present name, India.
Hindustan, Hind, Bharat, as it was earlier known, attracted people from various continents and regions. It is considered the land of one of the oldest civilisation. Mughals, Persians and later Britishers invaded it. With its long rich history in religion, science, astrology, Ayurveda and culture, it was once considered the education hub. The prominence if Nalanda University is still known to the world. Sanskrit is taught in foreign universities. In fact, many English words were derived from it. It not only gave knowledge to the world but also adapted from them. There was always an exchange of knowledge, without uprooting our own culture.
Today, however, things are way different. The picture we have of Hindustan is not what it used to be at one point of time. The land which was known for its rich culture and respect has forgotten everything. As per my belief, it is all the outcome of the gruesome British rule of 200 years. Let’s rewind and unlock what has caused us to rebel against everything. Let me explain this with a beautiful realistic live example of Punjabis.
We all know that Punjabis are known for their over the top lifestyle. They are one community that believe in service and don’t hesitate to show-off things. I once happened to share my journey from Delhi to Mumbai with a Punjabi couple and was curious to know what can be the reason behind this habit. The gentleman said, “Because we were the first to be looted during any invasion.”
The location of Punjab is such that invaders can only enter from there. Since, this community saw that no matter how much would save for the future, some invader would loot them surely. So, they started spending most of their earning living a lavish life. Also, this explains why they’re mostly aggressive. Likewise, the generation of thoughts and actions lays the foundation for the future.
When the British ruled India, they imposed certain rules and regulations to monitor and control the masses from a rebel. Freedom fighters opposed them and thus ‘Rules are made to be broken’ attitude inculcated into Indian society. This is just one example of how an action led to a course in the change of society. If you can observe, you would find reasons for various actions. Driving hastily on the road, spitting anywhere, loitering around, and a lot more are the result of an ancient habit that must change.
Whilst some changes were good, like the industrialisation or modernisation of the society for the better good, some changes are bad for the society at large. Let’s take celebrating festivals in India. The Ganpati Festival started to bring people in a group and educate them about freedom. Today, it is all about loud music and nuisance. There was a time when Diwali was celebrated by lighting diyas and sharing sweets. Today, it’s all about crackers. Logically, when Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya, people lit the entire city to welcome him. There were no crackers at that time and it’s not mentioned in any history book. However, today, the celebration is incomplete without crackers. Above all, people protest the ban on it that speaks of how well society has the society has evolved.
The change is not limited to how we celebrate festivals, but how we interact in our daily life. I have lived in Pune, which is also known as the cultural capital of Maharashtra. It has a rich history and is known for multiple reasons. There is a peculiar saying for some communities over there. It goes like you can sit at their house for hours, but they won’t ask you for tea. However, when you’re at their doorstep leaving, they would say “We will have tea the next time you come.” This story is shared to me by a friend who is born and raised there.
Things are different in my house. I am taught to not only greet the guests but also to serve them water the moment they settle down. It’s an unsaid rule that we have been following for ages. I will pass on this rule to the upcoming generation as well. After all, that’s how things pass from generation to generation.
Another habit of present India fascinates me, greeting. I have been taught to touch the feet of my elderly people out of respect whenever I see them, irrespective of the place or occasion. However, touching feet is going out of fashion. These days, people hardly say ‘Namastey’ by folding their hands. They’ve come down to ‘Hello’ and ‘Hi’. Some have even gotten to ‘Hey Bro!’
The constantly changing habits of the present generation worry me at times. People are forgetting about the true Indian culture and are blindly adapting Western lifestyle. When parents speak to their kids in English and not in their native language, they’re killing the language at that generation. Hindustan was once shined because of the culture and advancements we had. The situation now is completely opposite.
Do you think it’s valid to disown our culture for the sake of blending in the world map? Look at European countries like France, Spain, Germany, or Eastern countries like China and Japan. They follow their culture and language yet stand out in the world map. A tree can rise high only if its roots are strong. So, let’s strengthen our roots first before taking a leap.