Every now and again, we come across some people expressing their frustrations about how youths of this selfie-obsessed generation ruining our culture by resorting to speaking Hindi/English on social gatherings, or celebrating weddings/birthdays in ways borrowed from other culture, thereby letting our own culture/traditions systematically look uncool while making the borrowed culture/traditions appear hip & happening.
They miss the point and here’s why…
In reality, culture/traditions don’t flourish/perpetuate based on the food you consume, the dress you wear, the way you celebrate occasions, or the language you choose to speak.
The whole thing is about capitalism – things have been systematically made to look that way. It’s one thing to engage in constant decry about the dying culture, and quite another to resist the temptation to buy a new pair of jeans from an international brand.
Capitalism play a crucial role in shaping the social dynamics. In a state where most people are worried about earning more money so they can lead a comfortable life, who cares about the intangible culture anyway?
We grow up struggling for the basic facilities and learn there’s little scope or opportunity to make a living here, let alone pursuing our passion. Having already lived an inadequate life, dominated by compromises, we slowly begin to appreciate capitalism – being enamored with things that seem instantly cool and gratifying to our senses.
We become so obsessed with capitalism and find it so fulfilling that our ideologies become aligned with that of our policymakers who run public offices with vested interests and hidden agendas, hand-in-glove with the capitalists for their mutual benefits. And, we systematically become their sympathizers, even as we realize their policies are designed to perpetuate the status-quo and serve their vested interests for as long as possible.
The language we speak, the dress we wear, the food we consume, the culture we romance are all but an extension of the capitalism that we celebrate every time we breathe.
It’s hard to not find Hindi/English cooler than Odia just as it’s hard to not hire a DJ for one’s own wedding procession.
Those who want to preserve their culture must start with dismantling the capitalist world order.
So, the next time you find your Khanti Odia friend having fun speaking with friends in Hindi/English at any social gathering, hold your horses, take a deep breath and look within.