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Culture Conundrum
By Melissa Nazareth

August 8, 2012

 
“Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.” – Rabindranath Tagore
 
All generations have one thing in common – their struggle to find common grounds with preceding and succeeding generations. We’ve come to identify this struggle as ‘generation gap’. In the wake of the recent Mangalore resort incident many are trying to analyse in vain as to who is guilty - the partying youngsters or the self proclaimed curators who man handled them? Well, it’s a conundrum easier debated than resolved.
 
The idea of recreation has evolved over the years and like everything else that undergoes change it too has its pros and cons. The New Indian Economic Policy of 1991 exposed Gen Y (usually those born somewhere from the late 1970s or early 1980s to the early 2000s) to a life style totally different from that followed by those who came before them. We not only started using global products and services but also consequently began imbibing global ideas and aping global culture. Overtime the threads of this ‘new way of life’ were inevitably sewn into the fabric of Indian culture; for better or for worse. Today, we follow a blend of various cultures; not just those since LPG (Liberalisation Privatisation Globalisation) but even long before that. A classic example of unity in diversity, India has tasted many a foreign rule and is the melting pot of a plethora of traditions, customs and cultures that these foreigners brought with them. How then can one individual or institution decide what ‘Indian culture’ is? One could only state inclusive definitions and not exhaustive ideas of the same.
 
The lifestyle change ushered in by global exposure trickled down to the minutest of aspects – food, clothes, language…Wearing baggy jeans or donning a tank top doesn’t spell indecency; it’s mere evidence of ‘the change’. In the past decade or so we have witnessed an alteration in the male-female rapport paradigm. This can be attributed to many factors like increasing number of co-ed schools, cumulative effects of gender equality initiatives and portrayal of the new male-female equation by media. It’s not surprising that the youth today enjoy a higher comfort level with members of the opposite gender as opposed to those in the past. Again, enjoying recreational activities with the opposite gender doesn’t spell indecency; it’s mere evidence of ‘the change’. So were these youngsters who were allegedly ‘partying’ at fault?
 
Well, sadly one only posses control over one’s own actions and so it’s best if the youth today finds safer or alternative recreational zones. Small precautions like trying to get home early, avoiding hard drinks especially during late night parties and avoiding regular late night parties with a mixed gender group wouldn’t cost our generation much. After all, all we want to do is have fun! That doesn’t mean one stops living life by one’s own rules; it only means that it is a bad bad world out there and a certain degree of compromise is demanded from each one of us unless we plan on migrating to mars. No, we cannot go about trying to change world and the sooner we realise this the better it will be for us and for those around us.
 
Now assuming that the group of boys and girls at the resort in Mangalore were ‘wrongly partying’, is the reaction of the so called curators justified? Was the violence exhibited by the ‘keepers of our culture’ the only solution – slapping and trashing the girls and man handling the boys? Who gave you right to discern right and wrong for these youngsters? And if you assumed the authority to safe guard your idea of Indian culture wasn’t it your responsibility not to resort to such preposterous behaviour?
 
The question here is not about who is guilty. Rather, we need to focus on how we ought to deal with what may be a social vice. One wrong thought, word or action doesn’t have the power to correct another wrong thought, word or action. No, we can not make two negatives a positive; this is not mathematics, this is life!

 

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Comments on this article
MAK , AL-KHOBAR (WG)Sunday, August 12, 2012
REPLY TO ANNA.....

THEY WILL SPEND 10K OR 100K FOR CELEBRATING PARTY, DO YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEM ... REMEMBER YOU AND EVERYONE "KUDLA KISI KA BAAP KA NAHI HAI, JO KISI SE POOCH KE PARTY CELEBRATE KARE"
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Koni Prakash Naik, Kundapur, MuscatSunday, August 12, 2012
Nice article and an eye opener Dear Melissa. But these hooligans may not read such articles, hence it may not make any sense to them. I would call it a generation gap. The so called self branded cultural curators have themselves acted as uncultured citizens because of this gap and their ignorance of global changes. There should be a control system, but should be governed by a good administrative system.

Without getting into the crux of the incident, the bottom line is that no one has the right to beat some one without any administrative power.

We are already having doubts about the sincerity of certain law enforcing authorities to do justice. In this scenario, how can we accept and tolerate these self proclaimed curators taking law into their hands.

Practically, even teachers are not allowed to hit children, and similarly Police are not allowed to hit anybody without proving guilty.

If this is understood by these moral policing elements, then the society will be much better.
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Sudheer, MangaloreSunday, August 12, 2012
Don, Dont dream too much....If your time is bad then celebrate the same way your birthday & see !!!!
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Christopher D' Cunha, M'lore/AUHFriday, August 10, 2012
20years down the line your children will never going to settle down in Mangalore....by that time the Mangalore name would be changed to "Manga-gala-ooru" so why worry now???
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STEEVAN, AJMAN/SACHERIPATEFriday, August 10, 2012
Good article fact is that we cannot blame anyone.both sides are guilty.all responsibility of this act should be taken by the police.who are sleeping in the day
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Stany Dsouza, Shanthigudde, ShirvaFriday, August 10, 2012
There is a a big gap among the people in India about the culture. In my village initially although people were angry about the HJV activists for beating the girls, after looking the girls in the video, their dress, bedrooms they started to blame the girls only for this incidents. Some of them said these girls are not Indians. One of them said how they celebrate birthday party inside the bedroom?

After looking at the comments appeared on Daijiworld, and the comments from the people of my village I realized that there is a big gap among the people in India.

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Jacintha Furtado, Mangalore/IrelandFriday, August 10, 2012
very nice article.It would have been better if people like Manjula reads such wonderful article , the thoughts of a younger generation .The recent mangalore home stay attack,forget about the cast and culture ,politics ..the live vidio shots shows there is no value for human life at all. the young girls and boys were treated like animals, and still Manjula is defending .. i am just worried about my growing kids in mangalore ..will they let them have normal life or no.. any way keep up the good work Mellisa.. God bless you..
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Juliet Mascarenhas, Bejai/MangaloreThursday, August 09, 2012
A very beautiful article in deed.
The saddest thing is to change the mentality of the Indians as a whole needs another century.
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R. M., MangaloreThursday, August 09, 2012
It's a good article Melissa. Well written.
If we think NAGATIVE....every matter and movement in our life will be (-) If we are OPEN and BROAD minded...matters and things in our life may become ( )
Sad part is even the some educated in India are NAGATIVE mentality.
Its a queation of WHAT you want...SWADHESHI or VIDHESHI...
Its similar I can say in our Parliament or State Assemblies if our elected MP's or MLA's more No's were NON-CURRUPT our country would have been much better today...!!!???
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Don, Udupi/bloreThursday, August 09, 2012
Mr Annaji!!! your time has gone!! this is 21st Century!!!
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Culture Conundrum, BugzyThursday, August 09, 2012
Dear Melissa,
A well written thought! Firstly I Think Annaji's points R baseless!not having cake/hotel is all ones choice as 2 where 1 wants 2 celebrate his/her day! Don't families at times rent out places so that no one invades thier privacy?
As I see it,D past makes our future! We invented technolgoy but we forgot 2 inculcate D habbit of using it right! It scares me 2 think in D coming 20 years what kind of culutre we wld be creating 4 our kids! generation gap will always remain until every individual takes responsibility for thier own actions! lets think for a moments if these kids were wrong, then what the attackers did, is this our culture?? isn't religion all about tolerance and non-violence! It was just a party not like they were planning to blow up a parliament! So Mr.Annaji and to all the people who think that you're going 2 stop some1 4m having fun by attacking or molesting them, you can't! unless U r just a bunch of sick creeps who can't see some1 enjoying themselves. And a food for thought for the youngs, respect others sentiments & beliefs D way u want 2 have ur privacy & thoughts respected! Its a give & take world out there!
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Lawrence, USAThursday, August 09, 2012
It's a good article Melissa. Well written. When I was growing up in 70's, there was a strong feeling of "Swadeshi" - a movement Mahatma Gandhi has initiated as a part of freedom struggle. The generation after Gandhi stick to that principle for another 30 years until the country was at the verge of bankruptcy in 1992. Foreign companies like Coca-Cola and IBM were asked to leave India in 1977 by George Fernandes.

Look at today. The word "Swadeshi" is forgotten. Change is good. Without change there is no progress. People are afraid of changes because it threatens their way of living. It takes lot of understanding and wisdom to keep up with change.
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jean, mangaloreWednesday, August 08, 2012
I don't agree with your comment Mr. Annaji. Is there any law to celebrate birthday with cake. What non-sense people are talking. Present generation children would like celebrate their birthday without cake. They like to celebrate with their friends and family also,separately.. Media has focused only boys and girls face, not culprits during the attack time. Why?. Please see the video again sir. No one has right to take law in their hands. Specially attacking girls, pulling their clothes and molestation is absolutely wrong. If we wear saree and go , people will see you in dirty sight and there are cases of rapes. Frankly telling no one knows what is true and what was happening in homestay.

If you with my friends, to food court with boys ( some muslim hindu) some sanga parivar people come & threaten you. That much of freedom we don't have in our society. It is our culture. Let us wait and see what truth is coming out and who is going to get punished.
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Annaji, MangaloreWednesday, August 08, 2012
Dear Melissa, please note the followings.
1.Spending Rs 10000 only for few hours as a rental to celebrate party.
2.Same amount of Rs 10000 could have been paid to any good hotel for a party hall.
3.Birthday celebrated without a cake.
4.Girls and boys (victims of the attack) closing their faces to camera after claiming that they were celebrating birthday party.

Dont you feel 'daal me kuch kala hai'?
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