Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

August 30, 2009

Heritage/Identity/Self pride… Some thoughts

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 10:24 PM

Are we as a country loosing our self identity and are no longer proud of ourselves?

I don’t think so. But thats what some of the people I have talked to have told me. Being proud of one’s heritage is good but being militant about it is not. Take regional languages for example, in the Tamil Nadu Tamil is the dominant language, till 1998 they refused to talk to you if you spoke to them in any language other that Tamil. Now when I went there in 2007 that had changed. They still speak Tamil majority of the time but have stopped being militant about it and actually answer you when you talk to them in English. Does this mean that they are not proud of Tamil anymore? I don’t think so.

One of my friends in college was south-Indian and he used to joke that the south Indian languages sound like you take a box of cornflakes and shake them(He actually spoke pretty good tamil). Does that mean he is not proud of his language? Nope. It means that he had a sense of humor.

When I talk to someone who talks using big complicated words I have a tendency of making fun of the words they use and joking that people don’t understand half the words they use. Is it me being ‘not proud’ of Hindi as a language? I personally don’t think so… but others have told me otherwise. So I wonder…

Does having the ability to joke about something mean that you don’t respect it anymore? Or should you be a person who walks around with a stick up their backside getting upset about stuff that people joke about?

If you don’t have the ability to laugh at yourself then you have lost an important part of being human and you are on the way to believing that everything you do or say is correct and others should follow that. That in my opinion is what creates dictators and/or megalomaniacs.

Am I proud of being Indian? Definitely. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t joke about stuff that Indian’s do… I read Hindi books and novels, infact I have read a few hundred hindi novels. Does that make me a better Indian? If so how? Does preferring to read english novels (Hindi novels don’t usually cover sci-fi/fantasy) make me a person who is not proud of their heritage/culture?

What is the culture of a country? Is the culture we had 20 years ago the true culture of India? What about 40 years or a 100 years ago? Any culture continuiously evolves and attempting to stop the process at a specific time period doesn’t make sense and is not possible. Any person/country/culture that stops evolving will die and will be forgotten.

Just as an example, today if you ask someone to name the traditional dresses for women in India they will tell you Sari and Salwar-Kameej. However 100 years ago, Sari was considered to be something only girls into fashion wore, something that people nowadays have forgotten. Now Sari/Salwar-Kameej are the traditional dresses and Jeans/Skirts are something that girls into fashion wear. So culture changes. People evolve. Deal with it.

I agree that some jokes are bad and in poor taste, but that doesn’t mean that any jokes about that particular topic should be banned. As in all things a balance has to be maintained.

Well this is all for now. Its time for me to get off my podium and go read a book.



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