Continued from “Essence of being a Global Indian – Part I”
Sometime ago, we at Caleidoscope sought your opinion about the emergence of a “Global Indian” amidst us. The Global Indian mindset is too complex to define. To get a grip on it we asked some pertinent questions and here are some of the enlightening thoughts expressed by our readers:
4. By providing the Global Indians a platform to share their experiences with the nationalists, are we strengthening the bond or are we increasing the economic gap?
Mohammed – A common platform for bringing together people and sharing experiences is always a great idea. Global Indians can give a third person perspective, while the nationals can always give a battlefront perspective. Common concerns and disagreements would come into the picture too.
Anamika – One hopes that the gap is diminishing, but though more consumerism has reached the lower middle classes, there is still a huge discrepancy in the standards of living.
Ambika – The Global Indian should keep in mind that the nationalists believe that the principles that they swear by are in the interest of the nation’s betterment. Same goes for the nationalists. I believe that if both the groups share their fears, goals and vision clearly, and keep the nation’s development in mind, the gap can be reduced.
Devangini – Strengthening the bond, one generation at a time would be more like it. The influx of attitudes is what will help a new India emerge – an India where shared interests form the basis of socio-political work.
5. Culturally, festivals define India. Now living outside India, how important do Indian festivals feel? Are they really as important as they are felt in India?
Mohammed – Festivities are in our blood, since we come from a plethora of religions and cultures, and this never seizes to amaze the average non-Indian. When other nationals ask about our festivals and the stories behind them, most Indians respond with a, ‘Oh, you didn’t know that?’ And since we are everywhere on the planet (even as Appoo, in the Simpsons’ universe), we take our baggage of festivities and local cuisine with us. Being one of the very few nations that can claim to have so many festivals and the authentic cuisine to our credit, we can easily spread the joy in whichever country we land. Festivals are all the more important when you’re not in India. It helps remind us who we are, where we come from.
Sangita – More so abroad especially in pockets that are craving for a taste of their roots or where these are a cause for community bonding.
6. Do you think that being a part of the modern society in India needs the adoption of western culture and western traits? Do you feel urban India is somewhere losing its cultural identity and giving way to western mix?
Shabber – Not necessarily. Western culture also has its own negatives. But we can look at adopting the best practices from the western countries such as: Keeping our surroundings clean and bring discipline in everything we do. We Indians are known to be indisciplined at whatever we do; be it following traffic rules or time management.
Mohammed – Does ‘being modern’ mean you have to shun your cultural entity? If it can go hand in hand and it doesn’t contradict our beliefs and customs, there is nothing wrong in adopting from the west. Generally, in India, ‘being modern’ doesn’t go well with your traditions, your religion, and your values. But that is just because we choose to lose our identity for something that is necessarily not better that what we have. If being ‘urban’ means you have to speak with an accent and fit in 15 swear words in each sentence you speak, (which you wouldn’t imagine saying in your own language), you are just taking in trash from the west!
Anamika – I definitely don’t think one needs to ape everything Western. To learn good points from any society is always prudent, and to be multicultural in understanding is essential to become truly a global society. Plain aping the superficial behaviors and culture of western lands, if they are in no way worth emulating, should hopefully not be done. There is good and bad everywhere, and one only hopes people go for good core values, rather than following the crowd without thinking. Unfortunately, people often follow the ‘craze’ of the moment.
Ambika – I do believe that today’s generation is losing sight of the big picture when it comes to westernization. Having a smartphone, dressing in skimpy clothes, swearing at a younger age, disrespect for people and property, being all about consumerism; people try to get away with such acts by blaming the Western culture. Nowhere are such practices embraced. We as a country should know the difference between the positive and negative traits of the western world and apply them accordingly. Why can’t one see the good side of the Western world?
Devangini – The richness in Indian culture cannot be lost out to its evolution in keeping with the Western ideals. Taking the best from the West and retaining what’s ours is an advantage that we have – an advantage that we must continue to make use of.
Parting words –
Mohammed – Looking at it from another perspective, the world is shrinking. A global, cross-border culture is growing. It is a cultural mix with culturally acceptable norms of its own. It has a virtual entity as well, that spans across nations. Facebook has more people in it than a small European nation, it can be declared a nation with people and cultures from across the globe! Staying away from the rest of the world will isolate and make you less tolerable of other cultures, which history has taught us is never a good thing. The key is balance and knowing what is good.
Shabber – Urban Indian is at crossroads with the old Indian culture on one end and the western culture on the other. We do have our younger generation feeding on western junk food more than our staple food. There is a clash of ideologies at home where the parents come from old school of thoughts and their ward is more “modern”. But such clashes have existed even in the past. For example:
- During the Mughal rule, subjects had a major difference of opinion on which religion to follow
- During the British rule, we have had Indians working for the British at the same time we also had a majority of Indians fighting the British for independence.