आकलन (Aaklan) – A journey of Indian culture through my eyes

Introduction (Part 1)

My Namaskar to everyone. During a simple discussion on Indian culture, one of my media friends suggested that I start writing in-depth blogs on Indian arts, crafts, music and culture. Though it sounded exciting, I didn’t know where to make a beginning. I didn’t want it to become a piece of redundant information about Indian culture, which is readily available online. Rather, I felt that my purpose and commitment for writing this series could be an opportunity to share my personal and self-gained knowledge of around 2 decades of my performing career. So lets start the journey of ‘Aaklan’.

Over the centuries our country has nurtured thousands of art forms be it music, dance, sculpture or handicrafts. Standing like a proud parent, India has had a unique treasure of traditions and cultures, language or cuisine or attire, which changes just after a few hundred kilometers. A hub of musical genres, literature and various performing art forms, India is one of the richest cultures on this planet. But why are we still fighting for the survival of our cultural identity? It’s a fight, which is internal, about who we really are and who we are pretending to be. I'm not anti-globalization. In fact I equally understand its importance in science and economic development and also cultural exchange. But it’s for us to decide how much we can afford to lose with regard to our culture and personal identity in orders to fit-in into something, which is not really ours.

Why do traditional arts get buried under the foreign influence? Why is one foreign language “cool” compared to our own Sanskrit or regional languages? A study reveals how regional languages are losing their existence in the developing age and communities abandon native tongues in favour of languages like English, Mandarin or Spanish. I'm a fan of foreign cultures and I love travelling but I wonder what fun it would be if soon there will be just three spoken languages in the whole wide world. I hope this is not the universal unity that we talk about. Does it mean that globalization can have an adverse effect on our culture? Yes, if adequate policies are not formulated, implemented and executed, then perhaps yes. Statistics do suggest that cities have started looking alike, while losing their unique charm and age-old cultural identity.

Before I begin writing on various aspects, I thought of sharing my feelings and introducing the Aaklan series. But there are a few more points that I wish to share with you, which I will write in my 2nd part of ‘Introduction to Aaklan’.