A recent article I read from one of my favorite blogs titled “The Spiderman Paradox” by Seth Godin was most entertaining, but the last line in the article was thought-provoking.
He said, and I quote “Culture is what we build, and that’s powerful”.
Having lived in multiple countries at various times, I have been exposed to various different experiences; mostly good, some bad and a few very ugly ones. Most of the times each of these experiences were due to the concerted efforts of a single individual or a small group of individuals. While these experiences do not necessarily define the culture of the country, they certainly color one’s perspective and opinion about a country’s culture.
In the USA as a graduate student in the early 1990’s the culture was very welcoming. On a recent visit in Oct 2018, I think there has been a cultural shift and I did not feel very welcome there; mind you the people I interacted with were very civil and propah; but the warmth and camaraderie were missing. It was the handiwork of only a few individuals or groups, but it taints the culture of the entire country.
The ability of the people in power to change the narrative is being used to create protectionism and erect barriers to trade and commerce. For the USA – the land of the free and the brave and inherently pro-immigration – to swing so far to the right was unthinkable some time ago. There have been protests and demonstrations, but these have been few and far between to influence a change in the administration’s policies.
The US President’s pet project to build a physical wall on the Mexico border may be built or may not see the light of day due to lack of funding, but slowly but surely the walls in the mind are getting erected – layer by layer. It seems to me that the USA is heading towards being an insular culture.
How are we doing in India? India has always been very welcoming of all cultures through the ages. There have been myriad influences over the millennia; however Bharatiya culture has been to welcome one and all with few reservations – if any.
The people in power in India today (and hoping to get elected back in the next general elections) are making an all-out effort to change the culture of intransigence and lethargy that have characterized Indian polity for too long. Their attempt seems to be to build an open, dynamic culture (targeted primarily to the youth) where each and every citizen (or resident) is empowered to contribute.
What kind of culture are we building in India today in 2019 – is the current generation even thinking about it – our actions today will define the future – are the youth participating or letting a few old blokes drive the agenda?
Our actions today will define the future. Hope we make the right choices…
Your comments welcome…