Conserve Tradition

Conserve Tradition
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The gales of change(s) that have swept the world in the past few centuries have left almost no culture unscathed ( except for very few primitive societies). These changes have been far reaching and even invasive touching all domains of life. While mankind , as a whole, has advanced by leaps and bounds but there is a dark side to the onslaught of change which can go under the terminological rubric of modernity. The phenomenon, both as a concept and process, whether in its colonial or post colonial avatar has been so overwhelming and so overarching that virtually every society and its culture thereof has come under its vise like grip. This is not to imply that all aspects of modernity are bad. If the concept means expansion of rights, economic development, spread of education and improvement in health and hygiene, and so on then there can’t be any real quibble with it. But, the problem begins when modernity assumes proportions that decimate and assault traditions of societies that are hallowed. Culture, which may or may not, be part of tradition is one such domain where modernity’s assaults are perceptibly felt. And, it is this domain that must not only be protected but also conserved. The question is how? This is a fraught and difficult question to answer but it must and has to be answered. One prong of the answer could lie in understanding that modernity is a double edged sword. From this perspective then, the dark sides of modernity must be pre empted and even resisted while at the same time, its salubrious aspects integrated. All this holds a searing resonance for Kashmir where we are gradually losing aspects of our tradition to a modernity that is not even straight line, so to speak. The result has been a condition where we, at times, are embarrassed of some of our cultural and traditional aspects and supplements. This insalubrious trend can be best observed in the gradual diminution of our language. The sad fact is that Kashmiri is no longer acceptable to us as a language that we must impart to our next generations. It is a truism to state that lose your language, lose your culture. In the nature of an alarming condition, there has to be both an introspection and then a course correction that synthesizes the good aspects of modernity with culture and tradition. This, in the final, analysis, is the need of the times.