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Culture speaks in its own language

Culture speaks in its own language

I have now spent nearly three weeks in India and today marks the opening of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir, a national celebration and reaffirmation of its traditions and heritage. Recent discoveries of the history and ravages of Empire have called for a rethinking of world cultures, social sciences, and a decolonised educational curriculum.

As I am a Gujarati, I have been reflecting on the world from my own cultural lens, even when I have always lived outside India. The depth and breadth of cultures are never easy to master but we ought to be curious and allow cultures to speak their own ‘languages of truth and wisdom’ as context and perspectives really matter in building a peaceful society.

At present Gujarat is very vibrant and confident about itself even when it is far from perfect. The lack of crime in Gujarat’s largest city, Ahmedabad with a population of ten million is clear evidence of a society self-regulated by high culture and belief. The predominantly vegetarian and teetotal society is a symbol of hope for the whole world. Interdependence here has to be witnessed to be really understood. It challenges narrow social science perspectives which are often deeply anthropocentric.

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Culture speaks in its own language
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At the world-famous Indian Institute of Management we met Dean Satish Deodhar author of ‘The Economic Sutra’ which expresses India’s economic wisdom on its own terms. Given that one third of world trade centred around India in the eighteenth century it ought to help us transform the global economics curriculum. Professor Deodhar has prepared a free online course accompanying the book which anyone can do. See the link below.

Professor Satish Deodhar (left) and Prof Devendra Jain (right)
Professor Satish Deodhar (left) and Prof Devendra Jain (right)

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Culture speaks in its own language
Glittering Ayodhya Ram Mandir ceremony reverberates world over

Next time you travel or read something from a different perspective be patient before you rush to judgement. Allow the culture to speak on its own terms and try to remove the colonial shackles of superiority, arrogance and repression. India lives and adapts in spite of the ravages of history. So do Indians living abroad. Be kind and empathetic and listen with both ears and eyes. Forget the stiff upper lip and develop some humility and tolerance.

*Info: Satish Deodhar Online Course

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