Traditional + Modern = ???
Over the past few days of being in Goa, we have met many professionals from different fields. What was interestingly common about them was their lament over Goa’s changing environment and rapid development into becoming another ‘Indian city’.
India is special because its culture and heritage are deep-rooted. Every place one visits or travels has its own language, habits, style of dressing, eating and living. The architecture is unique, adapted to the local context and environment; as are the local crafts and arts.
Due to globalisation and a heavy western influence, people are tending to move away from this context, and traditional ways of living, which their forefathers may have practiced earlier. Local crafts and arts are dying, the new architecture or design aesthetic is very similar, standardised and moulded as per other countries; and there is hardly any pride in speaking the local language.
In the race to become global and ‘developed’, India is becoming a country of modern urbanization, but without taking forward its cultural and local ethos. Locals therefore are wary of ‘outsiders’, sometimes even of those who were born there but had moved out, and have returned.¬¬¬¬¬
Most people we met felt that this change was because of Privatisation in all sectors. Solutions, progress, money and power that comes through this route is often misused and misinterpreted to go against the flow of the grain or for a select few – thus creating urbanized models that have no semblance or any context to the existing / traditional way of living.
We are becoming global citizens, but are soon losing out the very reason of our uniqueness and identity. This change can already be seen in many of the upcoming cities, and is soon spreading to all of India. Local landmarks, dialects, specialties are all giving way to a standardised way of living, not necessarily progressive.
Change is inevitable. How one balances the development and yet progress taking everybody forward is something that needs to be seriously worked out. It would be wrong to say people are not doing anything about what irks them, or that they don’t care. But the ones who care enough to make that difference, are far and few. And change towards the better can only begin with us.