According to this news in today’s TOI,
Wary Of Westernization,Parents Send 20 Children To Learn Indian Culture
About a month ago,they were strutting in their latest denims,but now,they are more keen on keeping their feet firmly on the ground and walking without tripping over their new,white dhotis. About 20 children born to Gujarati parents settled in the UK and Africa have crossed continents to bridge the gulf between their way of life and their heritage.
This started me thinking. Whereas the NRI parents are doing these things to introduce their kids to the Indian culture, what are the local, resident Indians doing?
When we, me and my sisters, were kids, we were very fortunate to have my grandparents staying with us. Almost every day, we accompanied my grandmother in her daily puja. Without understanding any word of it, we knew so many hymns, that my grandmom chanted everyday. Every night we slept listening to the stories from the great Indian epics, Ramayana & Mahabharata. Every festival was celebrated at our home ceremoniously, with complete rituals. And my parents also joined in wholeheartedly. We learnt about our culture, without ever being taught about it, or ever attending any gurukuls. It was more or less same in most households around us.
Things have changed now. Most homes now don’t have grandparents. The families have become nuclear. The parents are busy running the house. We don’t have time to worship our gods everyday. We have no time to tell stories to our kids, instead we put them in front of the television. I have heard young mothers saying very proudly, that their kid doesn’t eat unless he is watching a particular cartoon show. The only Ganesh & Hanuman that the kids know about is what they watch in animated TV shows. Most parents today, are really clueless about our culture, our religion. What kind of knowledge we can pass on to our kids? We celebrate all our festivals with great pomp, but do we really know about the values, legends and reasons behind them? We follow empty rituals, but does it mean we understand our culture?
So we leave this important job to the schools, or Gurukuls. May be, all of us, not just the NRIs, also need to attend such gurukuls and get back in touch with our culture, our values.