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Invading culture & Local culture



With the fast sweeping changes blowing beyond barriers, caste and creed, everyone is camouflaging with the changes. However, thereis something that needs to be intensively analysed. There are hazards anchored to excessive camouflaging. We cannot talk of invading culture versus Local culture. Both are equally important. They need to be integrated for the overall growth of a person and society. I say this, because of the fact that most people have the tendency to crown the invading culture and ventilate their own culture.
Traditions are very basic to every culture. We need to imbibe by the good traditions upon which our present is built. There have been inexplicable changes that have come up as a result of the invading culture. As a result, the local traditions and cultures are affected tremendously. In many places, the invading cultures have taken the lead. Unfortunately, good portion of the populace are deceived, supposing the alien culture to be more superior. There is no superior and inferior culture.
When we carefully and sincerely analyse the presentways of life, we will perhaps to our surprise, discover that the ordinary rustics are better behaved and mannered than those who think themselves to be superior. One good thing that I always admire of our old folks is their simplicity and their humility. Studies have found that tribals are the most cultured people living in the world and not the people who hail from the self-acclaimed elite societies.
Nagaland, by and large, when we look around,has number of classical age old traditions which are fading gradually. Though we have hornbill festival once a year, where people from across the state come to perform certain arts and display their cultures through various folklores, it is not enough. I feel every educated person should feel the need to attune with the beautiful and rich past. Our forefathers did not study mathematics, did not attend school to learn good manners, and did not study science to fore see their future, but they listened to nature. Today, we hear many things but we don’t learn to listen. It will have a very serious impact in the near future.
Listening to elders and asking them of our glorious past is out of fashion unless a person is engaged in some research. The past time offered to us in the form of television, mobile, computer etc. has deceived many of us. We stress more on information which suggests ways to attune to the life code of the time.  We are becoming more artificial. This trend is likely to continue and worsen. In the near future,there will be difficulties concerningtrusting people. In fact, something of that is beginning to make its appearance in various forms.
We need to be rooted in the tradition and refine our ways in the light of the present learning. By doing so, we become refined humans. No human can be considered integrated without knowing his/her culture. No person deserves to be called well-educated without even knowing his/her own village history. We people of today can memorise page after pageconcerning academics but fail in personalizing aspect. This kind of learning is useless because it is built on shaky foundation. Most often, what happens is that it evaporates with exams. I am sure there will be number of scholars in our state who may not know their village history. The saddest of all is the lack of interest to learn.These things may be like trifles to many, but it is like the butterfly effect that we talk about today in science. Butterfly effect here means small cause can fission to a very big consequence. Wedare to study and learn about what happened 200 years in the history of the world but rarely understand the significance of what happened in our own locality 50 years ago. Our elders of today have something important to communicate but they have no listeners.
If we seek education just for academic fulfilment, we are wrong. We will sooner or later become like programmed robots.
Most children belonging to the parents settled in the Towns like Kohima and Dimapur do not know how to speak even their own language, dialect properly. Instead, they would comfortably communicate in Nagamese which is a market language, developed during the time when trade relation was carried out between the Ahom kings and the Nagas. I have heard many say, we have not gone to our village for so long and we hardly know to speak our mother tongue. This is foolishness.
Many people outside our homeland admire our traditional crafts, our culture. They like to listen to us.In the next 20, 30 years from now, there will be a drastic change in the degradation of crafts both for men and women. Young people do not feel the need to learn these crafts. A day is coming where realization will surface but it will be like crying over spilled milk.
I am not just bringing out the possible facts about what could happen. Anyone could predict for that matter. But I strongly recommend our people in charge of the educational system in to look seriously into the degrading culture and have a subject where every student be given a chance to learn something about crafts. For me, honestly speaking, it must become a compulsory subject. Many subjects are emphasized which are alien to us in many respects. Why can’t the state government look in to this matter seriously and reshape our future which is going to be very crucial rather than just fancying about the invading culture. They are important to us but they are not superior to our culture. We will lose our identity sooner or later if our traditions and cultures are bracketed by assuming the invading culture to be the best.
It is true that unless we learn certain things outside our context, we can’t survive in today’s world. Life is however not just for survival alone. It is much more beyond. Education is neither getting excellent marks. It is much more beyond. It is an overall growth of a person, which unfortunately, many fail to realize. If we conclude that education is like a data fed into our systems, we are mere robots which are programmed to carry out the work directed. Personally, I feel that this trend is somewhat visible. Most students just consume everything that is taught, vomit out in the exams as it is and keep moving with the crowd. This is where the problem lies.
Something is really wrong with our education system. Seriously speaking, education is an overall growth of the entire faculty of the senses and how well they integrate. One sidedness is dangerous. In today’s context, we need to broaden our horizon by taking to account various dimensions.
My whole point in this article is not just to glorify the rich past we had and bracket the invading culture. Without the invading culture, we can’t survive in the today’s society.The invading culture has to a great extent boosted our lifestyle in many ways. For example, our life spans have increased with better medical facilities, people could travel far and wide, communication over the line and video conferencing can be done in spilt of seconds. But my only concern is that, there might be a time when we will lose our real identity. Whatever be the situation, there is always a need for transparency and authenticity, which is possible by being rooted in one’s culture. This is basic of any human. I wouldn’t call human as rationalbut rather a species with traces of rationality. The reason is that the application of survival of the fittestwhich is not very becoming of any rational being is operative in us most of the time.
Let us all grow deeper in our realization of our true identity as Nagas. Let us also accept the invading culture as it comes not forgetting that we are Nagas. Amen.
Vekupa George Rhakho
Papal Seminary, Pune.

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