Our Disappearing Cultural Heritage

Our Disappearing Cultural Heritage
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Almost As the cultural heritage week is being observed, it should not surprise anyone that the focus is more on style than substance. The reference here is to the lip service that will be paid to culture and heritage, the flowery speeches by self important people and other decorative rhetoric. But, the prosaic reality, in terms of Kashmir, is that our culture and its heritage thereof is dissipating and diminishing by the day. Consider an indelible and important theme of our culture: language. The new generation, especially in public spaces, hardly speaks it. Our women folk, the younger cohort seem to feel inferior , while speaking it and mothers do not impart the language to their children. The reasons are ideational, psychological and contextual. Ideationally and psychologically , we seem to have an inferiority complex which makes us hesitant and tentative toward our culture, its icons and heritage. As such, we are becoming distant from these, by the day. Contextually, we seem to be overwhelmed by dominant cultures or cultures that are not our own. To make a caveat here, delineation of the gradual eclipse of our culture is not to suggest that the we should become ethno centric or chauvinistic; it is to actually put matters into perspective and is in the nature of a plea to take positive and healthy pride in our culture and its heritage. The question now is: how can be restore our culture to pride of place? The answer is multipronged. One is that we must respect and admire our cultural icons and accord them both pride of place in society and that they should nor suffer from want and need. Second, we must dig deep into our collective psyche and weed out the inferiority complexes that have smitten us. Third, is that we must not only accept but imbibe in us the ostensible symbols of our culture like the pherans, hats, outfits and so on. Once these measures are taken collectively, the desire to preserve and promote our cultural heritage will be the natural concomitant. If, however, the drift towards cultural suicide prevails, the day will not be far off when our culture and its heritage will disappear and it will merely looked back, with mere curiosity by outsiders and we will become clones of a mish mash of cultures which will bear no resemblance to our “original” culture. It is then time to stock take , review , preserve and promote our cultural heritage.