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Falling cultural precincts

By Ujjawal Krishnam

The mutual societal interactions have truly succeeded in developing a new era of mankind. This period has produced humans who are scientifically advanced but wilfully stubborn. They are technically networked but socially awkward. They are apparently emotional but actually detached.

 

Question arises: Why are the cultural precincts falling and limiting humans to the conservative solutions of challenging social problems? Another question entails—could solutions be florid and vivid if not restricted by defenders of faith?

Twenty first century despite being devoted to technological progress has seen the unprecedented rise of right-wing populism in its first two decades. Millions displaced, thousands butchered and hundreds of pogroms testify the fact that the defenders embracing any faith have embarrassed it more than anyone else.

This also invalidates the utility of social media to improve the ideology and develop good faith among hardliners. In turn, hardliners are excessively utilising the technology to fume hatred and deface the cultural precincts. Millions of humans are mobilised to the training camps so they can learn techniques and tactics to defend their religion or sect. “Religion is in danger,” they believe. The militiae defend their exercises by calling them the methods of self-protection.

It is not a bad idea to delve deeper into this apparently criminal activity but it is surely a better idea to trace the reasons behind its inception and execution.

Past shapes present and it keeps rolling—nothing unknown. Humans adopted munificence, distributed their knowledge and moulded plethora of ideas. This has been their unifying culture which throughout the history did not only help to build mutual relationships among distinguished communities but also enhanced their intellectual, physical and social abilities. Different cultures contributed different notions— now collectively bunched together to be promulgated. Cultures have protean to increase pulchritude of not only human world but also nature.

Hinduism—India’s major religion celebrates god in all including even a speck of dust. A shloka in Sanskrit glorifies its foundation.

Azam Nizah Pravettih Ganana Laghu Chetsam
Udar Charitanam tu vashudhaiw Kutumbakam

It says,”This is mine, that is yours- it is an impertinent thinking of insane but for a true human being- ‘whole world is a family’.”

Quran 41:34-35 boldly affirms the stance of Islam,” Goodness and evil are not equal. Repel evil with what is better. Then that person with whom there was hatred, may become your intimate friend; and no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self restraint, none but people of the greatest good fortune.”

Howsoever it is sad truth that Afzal Guru and Nathuram Godse shared a lot in common- the ideology, the agenda of hate and skewed propagation of innuendos to devastate the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb. The only difference is that one was Muslim and other was Hindu.

Is this scenario about flashing the opinions with trails of traditional truths or just to collide our heads with restricted opinions? Are we hungry for “change”? Yes, many times the line of change is heard, judged, personified or echoed-“we want a change” or “we have to change, change the society, broadly- the world”. Amid all these, we as humans miss the harsh truth of falsehood which itself personifies the deadly lane of xenophobic mentality, that is–the xenophobia to foreign ideas and to our own reluctance.

The cultural big bang in this epoch has motivated us to adopt the sustainable practices, to frame the ideologies and to improve our emotional skills. It is believed that human species could be able to survive only because of the introduction of punctuality, radiant emotional skills and technical manifestation. But the grandiloquence of emotion is unique among all—it is the logo of our species. This developed in humans the basic premise of closeness and kept the civilization intact after several battles and wars. Humans traversed and fought against drastic changes across history, different beliefs developed in the different corners of the world: myths, taboos, beliefs allowed so called ‘Culture’ to percolate.

None can suppress internal human emotions, they will emerge breaking the boundaries of oppression. Yes, ‘Emotion’ is a human culture. Emotion vibrates us; it pushes us to stand against prejudice, terrorism, Machiavellianism, perniciousness and to get dissolved in love and scientific gedankenexperiments. Openness to change— it is our collective culture.

We may not be abled enough to resolve all conflicting issues compassing this earthy sphere but at least we can try to resolve our internal conflict- our personal conduct of emotions. Channelising the flow of emotions for the betterment of self is an utmost necessity. If we are able to shun the hatred creeping somewhere in the middle of our internal thoughts, it will be the war truly won and the true enemy conquered.

This is not the war of flesh, this is the war of faith and unfaith and before we attempt at fighting it we must understand two spokes of our civilization— Demagoguery and Idealism.

Leadership is quite essential, it has always been a quagmire to unfold. All cultures and communities have in past developed the the concept of leadership roles but it is surprising today to see this aspect of civilisation failing us. Krishna in Mahabharata scripture advises Arjuna to not launch Brahmashtra, the weapon of mass destruction against Ashwathama. Krishna tells Arjuna that the use of Brahmashtra would destroy the environment and leave many innocent lives harmed. This message stands quite opposite to the present day scenario where right wing populists in India celebrate crackers by wearing masks as if pollution just only has an immediate effect.

We are failing as civilization because we are ruling out rationality in the garb of demagoguery. This is creating chasms among cultures and demeaning our meaning of existence. The time to solidify our emotions has come. Let not a vicious political agenda rule out our faith and integrity.

Utopianism has always been promoted in all cultures. The rush towards idealism is deeply instilled in our society. Absoluteness however looks impractical. Social interactions among various cultures contributed in constructing the sacrosanct worldly relations and that is why we are here as intact world villagers. We can only be idealistic about the fact that there is no room of idealism. An isolated system without interdependent inner sub-systems is not possible. Similarly, isolating a culture to embrace its characteristics is false.

We should either work to establish the foundations of universal culture of variegated ideas and ideals or rather a sophisticated and dull ideal sphere–it is solely upto us. This impractical idealism is a reason why right-wing populism has found space. It is not an end because it is this continuity which shapes tomorrow and when tomorrow coincides with present- it is what we call ‘a history note’ which we cherish as a reason of our existence. Socialism is a true faith.

Humans can’t hide curiosity, it is tangibly true and applicability of it solely led them to diverge across different regions, to settle amid evolutionary periods. This gigantic universe originated from the single miniscule reaction. We humans can always start with a single step and single step of each of us will surely bring stable age of better thinking and better living.

Whether we humans will be able to bridge the baobab of a common culture of humanity or will those fecund seeds imbibing the water of our thoughts survive amid this inhumane turbulence- either way humanity remains uncertain if our faith is wobbling.

(The writer is a journalist and serves as an Editor to Academia.edu with their editorial program. He can be reached at: [email protected])