Suprabhat/ Good morning/ Bonjour/ Guten Morgen/ Bom dia/ Ni Hao/ Sabalkher/ Sabah el Kheer
Dear friends, these are greeting in some of the dominant cultures in the world. They all would mean the same thing. All cultures have their own expressions for all human values or emotions or ideas. Culture is a distinct way of life how a particular community lives or choose to live. The settings might be different but the content would be the same. Similarly, we call jal (pani)/ water/ eau/ das wasser/ aqua/ shouei/ maji/ maa (Anyone can find out that in Google). So whether you are sipping Evian or Bisleri or directly from a mountain stream the content is the same.
CLASH OF CULTURES
I remember once in BBC a Nobel laureate in literature was asked what role literature played at times when people are more concerned with the solving or scientific puzzles/ problems and which the other sciences such as Physics/Biology/ Economics can do. If I remember the laureate then it was Le Clezio who simply remarked that most of the political problems the world was witnessing are simply a clash of cultures. Whether it was during the first millennium of the Hundred Years War or in recent history during Cold War period or now the trouble brewing in the Middle East. The problem appears to be when there is a clash of values a midst the major set of cultural values where significant and irreconcilable differences exist.
MINOR CULTURES ENDANGERED
There could be more than 6800 languages around the world out of which less than a tenth might be actively used. Language, being the main cultural symbol of any particular community apart from other features such as food or clothing, showcases the status of a culture. In the Great War between cultures, the victim would be these smaller ones who are gradually retreating back in submission simply because of the problems of sustenance. Increasingly the ‘democratic majority’ of the population, whether they are in India or in Brazil, in China or in America, have short-sightedly prescribed to the view that smaller cultures can be sacrificed for the good of the dominant majority. In India, Arundhati Roy and Medha Patkar’s views on such have been rubbished away by self-serving crowd of urban intellectuals (who usually see only one side of the problem) and espouses the idea that environment and human rights of small tribal communities needs to be sacrificed so that they can mine all the mineral resources these people sits upon. Ecology or environment is damned. The immediate need of the hour is to mimic the standard set by the developed world in terms of infrastructures. Little do they realize that the present lifestyle of the ‘developed’ is not sustainable if more of our 6 billion plus population follow that culture.
Not all models need to be unsustainable. There are scientists around the world who have been warning us about the impending ecological imbalance which puts humanity at a great risk in the near future. Sceptics rubbish every honest attempt by environmental whistle-blowers simply because of their fear of having to compromise with their lifestyle. The recent disasters in Uttrakhand and Kashmir are simply small symptoms of the price we have to pay for tampering with the ecology indiscriminately not only here but around the world. Matters of development is an evolution issue and requires consideration of all things concerned – including the little butterflies or frogs trying to survive in the sub-tropical rainforests. We have no right to commit a mass destruction of the habitats of these flora and fauna in the first place and also to forcibly uproot indigenous peoples from the land they help to conserve by being a part of its internal ecology.
I acknowledge Down To Earth magazine which I first came into touch during the early 1990s and which changed my views of our existence. What I say or think may not be the gospel truth but I am sure there would be logic in the deliberations of those scientists who have been studying about such developments since a long time. Now a considerable store of information is available but not disseminated to the common people simply because of the fact that it might interfere with the greater agenda. All in all, we shall witness the death of several cultures along with the death of rare species of plants and animals. What would be left are the rodents and cockroaches which can live in any environment. The beauty of diversity would be gone forever. Any youth reading this small impromptu write-up will be a witness of the times to come. Be prepared my friends. But I hope I am wrong as I too have children who will be there to witness this march towards a frightful future.