Adyar Gopal Parivar
Let us open up
LET'S OPEN UP
By Mohan Shenoy
There is a strong feeling among the intellectuals
of the world that the culture of a nation must be
protected and promoted, that the beliefs and
traditions allowed to exist, and that the methods
and manners be continued as they are. The
contacts among peoples and travels and trades
worldwide, in the past, opened up cracks in this
theory and allowed adoption of changes to suit
the existing.
When the European travelers and explorers took
spices from India back home, the citizens of
most of the cities in Europe began to use them
in their dishes. When fine clothes, diamonds,
gold jewelry and pearls from India were sold in
the markets of European cities there was a shift
in the style of dress among the elite. When
Marco Polo brought silk and paper from China to
Europe there was excitement among the people
of both the countries expecting huge profits from
trade in so many new commodities.
Even before this, the Roman and Egyptian
emperors were in close contact with the
countries of the East, mainly India and
exchanged not only merchandise but also
knowledge of art and science. Slowly and subtly
there was change creeping among the people
and as years passed by there was marked
change in the cultures of the nations. Rome and
Egypt changed and so did India. This was
globalisation of not only trade and contacts but
also the culture and living. Globalisation was
limited due to slow and tardy communication and
transportation.                      
The colonial British government brought English
language and a variety of English methods and
manners to the people of this country. There
was no chance to stick to the old dress,
mannerisms and even customs many of which
were undesirable and abominable to say the
least. Did we improve our living by this
importation of the English culture into our life?
Now a number of American mannerisms are
being imported through increased contacts and
associations between the peoples of the two
countries. This seems to be advantageous in
many ways.
The present globalisation is rather very fast and
some times instant. The adoption of methods,
manners and techniques by the people shows in
the changes of life-style and culture of the
people. We can not prevent the desire of the
people to use newer and friendlier goods that
keeps them happy. Use of newer words, and
syllables is just an example. We add new words
to our vocabulary out of necessity.
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We add new clothes to our ward-robe
because we like to look fashionable. We eat
some of the new exotic dishes and drink
newer beverages as we find them appealing
and tasty.
There is no point in trying to prevent people
from picking up items that are cheaper and
yet better for adoption in their life. The
culture and traditions have to give way to
change. The impact of the IT has been
simply revolutionary. Communication
technology has jumped in leaps and bounds.
Our minds are slower compared to the speed
with which information accumulates in our
computer hard-discs.  Time is gaining value
and each minute is becoming more and more
costly. There is uniformity and likeness in the
languages of communication, the buildings,
homes, vehicles, roads, markets, and also in
the food we eat, the drinks, and even the
dress people wear across the world. The
richer the country the more advanced the
likeness. The poorer countries are fast
catching up with the new world order. It is
futile and unnecessary to stick to restrictions
by advancing the theory of preservation of
culture and tradition. Although generations
have to pass to notice substantial changes,
the present speedy globalisation has made
changes noticeable even in the same
generation. We can not surrender to foreign
culture; rather we should strengthen ours by
taking in the adaptable versions of styles,
elegance, variety, shape, comfort and
grandeur that is found in the current
international civilisations to suit our tastes
and dignity. This adaptation should be subtle
and ingenious, both creative and innovative,
and should in no way resemble grossly with
the outside cultures.                 
Our icons should be all our own and the
representation and exhibition should look like
original. No copying and no imaging but an
entirely new equivalent. Ordinary consumer
and a man in the street should encourage
this innovative transformation of culture and
traditions resisting the drag felt on account of
the sentimental attachment with the past. We
have no options except to fall into the ocean
of change that is imposed upon us by the
globalisation. Let's open up to this new
challenge and keep ourselves comfortable
with the new ways of life

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