Diminishing Culture

Diminishing Culture
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As the festivities over Eid al Adha draw to a close, it is time to stock take and review. Almost all of us, in one form of the other, except the most underprivileged segments of society, splurged on Eid day(s), made the sacrificial offerings , visited relatives and friends and so on. But, there are certain thematic issues and concerns that pertain to society as a whole and that all of us must ponder over and think about post Eid. The foremost of these is whether we actually did anything in deed to make Eid al Adha special for the less fortunate and the underprivileged. If some of us did, then it is great but if most of us did not, we, as a society must introspect and do our bit to help and assist those in need. Another issue that we must ponder over is the diminishing value that we attach to our cultural and culinary delicacies. This too is a vital point and issue. A culture’s vitality and longevity, broadly speaking, is defined by the value a given culture attaches to all of its positive attributes and features. This truism holds true for Kashmir too. But, alas, for some psychological reasons we, underestimate or even undervalue some of our cultural features. Consider our cuisine and the delicacies that we consume on Eid. Most of these are either Western and other imports like cakes, pastries, rasgullas , gulab jamuns and other assorted food and culinary items. There is hardly any or even no culinary food items from and of Kashmir like Besrukh, Khande Gazer, Nadir Monje, Rautt and related items. All this is not to imply that there is anything wrong with consumption of other items. No. Not at all. But what can be inferred from the absence of ethnic Kashmiri food and culinary items is that these are unfortunately no longer on our horizons and radar. While it is not entirely clear what accounts for the reasons, it might be speculated here that some sort of a psychological inferiority complex appears to define our attitude towards our own ethnic delicacies. If this holds true, then it is not only unfortunate but also suggests the presence of certain cultural complexes in our collective psyche which makes us recoil from what is our own. These omissions and avoidance(s) also warrant introspection and a review. If the larger issue is that of a lack of collective, individual and social confidence, then we must reclaim these. A first prudent step could be to retrieve these aspects and features of our culture.