Few thoughts on culture and westernization of Indian culture.

The modern term “culture” has a classical origin. Cicero, in his Tusculan Disputations, wrote of a cultivation of the soul or “cultura animi”, thereby using an agricultural metaphor to describe the development of a philosophical soul, which was understood teleologically as the one natural highest possible ideal for human development.
– Wikipedia

How important is one’s cultural identity and values?

Culture is what defines a human being, give him self-esteem and values. By culture I am not referring to Rabindrasangeet etc. I am referring to the core values of Bharat like honesty, integrity, respect for teachers, parents and elders, respect for knowledge, leading the life of an ideal “Grihasthya” (householder). When I say respect I mean “Sraddha”. Parents are greatly responsible for educating their children about Indian culure and values.

Do you think, today’s youngsters who are obsessed with fashion and style, addicted to metropolitan culture (nightclubs, discotheques) retain their cultural identity and have any cultural values?

It all depends upon their core values and education he grew up with. Personally I have never been a part of metropolitan culture as you mention so it would be incorrect for me to judge. Historically we tend to adopt the not-so-good attributes of Western civilization while ignoring their noble traits like simplicity, work culture and honesty.

What is your view about the rising metropolitan culture that is all about eating, shopping, hanging out and maintaining social status in the city?

In and of itself nothing is bad or good. It all depends on the mindset of an individual. Eating out, shopping and hanging out by itself aren’t bad things nor by itself they can lead to destruction or even undermining of culture. Culture is about the core values of an individual.

What is your view about the present condition of theatre culture, a cultural heritage of Bengal, in Kolkata?

No idea. I have never gone to a theater.

What is the future of Bengali language and literature, according to you when most of today’s city kids read in English medium schools and can’t read or write their own language properly?

It is sad that parents don’t encourage Bengalis to read and write their own language and know their heritage. I am not an astrologer so I cannot predict the future. However any effort to encourage learning Bengali and Sanskrit among young people is very welcome and should be encouraged.

What would be your advice for today’s metropolitan parents who are not concerned about the cultural development of their children?

Teach them their native language, the core set of values they grew up with, encourage them to read about our original Vedic culture and know more about their heritage. After all your heritage defines you in many ways.

What changes do you find unacceptable in the present cultural scenario of the city?

Lack of respect for teachers, parents and elders.

What would you like to tell the young Kolkattns about the cultural treasure of the city?

India, unlike Europe or modern USA, has very rich cultural heritage which still defines us and many of our daily activities. Read more about it, on net or get some books from college street. Understand where you come from and what we have achieved philosophically in the past, lot of which still remains.
India will always remain the land of Swami Vivekananda, Sri Krishna, Gautam Buddha, Kapil Muni, a land where the greatest philosophical ideas were preached and pinnacle of spirituality was achieved over and over again.

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