For any Indian, culture and heritage go way beyond just historical monuments, culture, and traditions. Here’s how!
What are culture and heritage?
To me they are emotions.
The goose bumps you feel when you hear of the countless people that died at the Jallianwala Bagh; The involuntary smile of pride when you stand at India Gate; The reflex of choosing a traditional outfit when you choose to go visit the Mahalakshmi temple; The way you bank on the beauty of the Taj when you’re talking to an international friend; The piqued curiosity in our history when you stand outside the Chittorgarh Fort; The eagerness to stand in the crowd to watch the parade at the Red Fort.
Culture is the values you emulate and the habits you inculcate too.
It’s the craving for that last piece of gulab jamun (an Indian sweet). It’s the elegance of the dressing. Noor Jahan and the peach, cream and gold linings on her dresses; The detail in the architecture; The palaces in Rajasthan, their intricacy and magnanimity; The delicateness of the designs; The ‘zari’ work on a bright green ‘nauvari’ saree. The butter chicken and butter naan combo or the oily street Chinese food; The Prasad and the Mithais.
It’s the small idol you will carry no matter where in the world you plan to shift. It’s the feet you will touch no matter what. It is the hands you will fold and eyes you will close. It is the prayers that you will never forget and sing even after years of no practice.
That childhood phase when every girl tries a classical dance form and boy tries a Hindustani musical instrument; That moment when you’ve binged on modaks during Ganpati (lord Ganesha) but don’t feel guilty because well, it’s Bappa (a colloquial term for lord ganesha); That instance while playing Holi (an Indian festival of colors) when you’re dreading that the color won’t come off but continue playing anyway; That special terrace you go to on Diwali (a festival of lights) to see the entire city’s fireworks.
Without these, the Oxford dictionary meanings of ‘culture’ and ‘heritage’ hold no significance for an Indian.
Article by – Trishala Kulkarni