Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Let Romans be Romans in Rome

We have grown up listening to the phrase “while in Rome be a Roman”. It doesn't seem practical in today’s world where there are a lot of people moving to different parts of the world. Once you are in a new place you get to see more people of your culture and origin. This makes you feel very comfortable. Now that you have a lot of people in the place you want to make the culture similar to the place you are from so that you can help your children grow in that. This is also good.

But then is when you start noticing many things in this new land that are not aligned with your culture. There are things which are against your culture. It was fine to you when you came to this place. It was also there when you got yourself established in this place. You had no issues with the culture of the local people. You used to go back home and let people know about this culture and they also used to wonder about things happening there. You were also warned many times not to get attracted to the local culture from the elders in the family.

Now when you have a many people who are with you in this place, you start thinking that this is wrong. It is against your culture, so you do not want those practices to  be followed  by the locals too. Before jumping in to the any of the cultural practices, it is important to know that everyone has the freedom to practice their cultural practices. These practices are not just a hundred or two hundred year old ones, these could be thousands of year old traditions which are still followed.

I would say if you don't agree with any of the cultural practices of a local place, better go back to your own place. Do not disturb the local people. You are the one who intruded in to their land for making a better living. Let them live their life and you yours.

You can not blindly enforce your beliefs to every one. Raavana might be a demon for some, but there are people in India who believe that he was one of the best kings they ever had. And they still miss him and pray for him. Maha Bali is a demon king and is believed to be a bad person by most of the people, but people of Kerala believes that he is the best king they ever had and celebrates his visit every year. And it is a public holiday that day in the state till today. And irrespective of any religion people celebrate it.

If you have gone to a particular place to make a living, you have gone there because you have seen some good in there. You better enjoy that and come back. You should realize how good the local people were who welcomed you to the place. Now do not try to change their culture because you do not like things in there. All that you see there is what they are. That is their identity. A revolution if happens within the society, then it is different. Christianity to Communism everything needs to be localized if you wanted it to be sustain. Tying Taali in a Christian wedding in India is a part of the Indian culture. Since you are in India, you do it. It makes sense.

You can not generalize all the Hindus, all the Muslims or all the Christians. They are different from place to place. We cannot stereotype people as having a  common identity across according to the religion. This is not correct.

There are a lot of things that can be applied in the north of India but can not be in the south. And at the same time there are a lot of things that can be applied in the south of India and can not be applied to the north of India. When I say North and South, It could be East, West, North East, North West, South East, or could be any state specifically. It is only a representation to a region

This applies to so many people today. The animal lovers who want to stop Jellikettu and Seval Sandai in Madurai, Cow worshiping people from the some parts of India who wanted to ban Beef in Kerala.  Priestess of the Pentecostal churches who wanted to make prayer halls in Hindu thickly populated area. All are of the same category. People who wanted to dress up the Ahori people. People who want women not to wear Burkha. The list is endless.

But please mind that there are places in this world where it does not belong to any culture, for example. A train bogie. You should not be doing Pooja in a running train’s compartment for the reason that you are in a pilgrimage. Train may catch fire, and it is also not a nice thing for others in the train.  Opening a beef stall next to a temple is a bad idea. But near a church, you will have good business.

Forcefully asking someone to practice what you practice and asking them to stop practicing what they practice because it is against your culture in their place both are culture less, which ever culture you belong to.

So let Romans be Romans in Rome. We should not go to Rome and ask people of Rome to start practicing the culture of Mongolia.  This article has got nothing to do with Rome or Mongolia. It is in the way you think and understand what these two names are for.