We Must Hold On To Our Cultural Values
One of the most beautiful things of our culture is the way we respect others, especially the older people - parents, teachers, or religious leaders.
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All these 40 years, I have travelled the length and breadth of this country; most of the European countries and to every continent. But the most vivid and exhilarating memory that remains with me are the years when I travelled through India. During my travel I’ve seen incredible diversity in all areas of life. But the diversity is strung together with a thread of kindness and empathy which leaves one with the longing to return to the roots of our culture.
One of the most beautiful things of our culture is the way we respect others, especially the older people - parents, teachers, or religious leaders. We dare not call them by nicknames nor show disrespect of any kind. But today in the modern movies made by young Indians, imitating the western culture, one can see the profanity and disrespect that is totally contrary to our culture seen in the beautiful villages of Rajasthan or Bihar. I am not against material prosperity and adequate or good living standards for every Indian. In fact one of the reasons I have great respect for our Honourable Prime Minster is because of the passion that he holds for the development of the country and especially his concern for the poor. And I am glad much progress has been made on many fronts. That will continue to make India into one of the most powerful nations in the world.
The question is, can we travel on the highway of economic prosperity and not abandon the values that held our country as one nation and one people for thousands of years? Republic Day should be an occasion for all of us fellow Indians to ponder about the small things that made our nation unique.
When I was a tiny boy I remember the first day my mother took me to the kinder garden. Being a simple Indian village woman, the first thing she told me was,“Go and touch your father’s feet and get his blessings.” When I started formal schooling she said the exact same thing albeit to a different person. “This is your teacher. Go touch his feet and get his blessings.” There I saw myself bowing and touching the feet of this half naked elderly man; and hearing his words - ‘God bless you child.’
Believers Eastern Church has some 300 schools scattered throughout the country and I constantly encourage all our Bishops, teachers and leaders not to lose our values by neglect. The law of atrophy remains always true; if you leave something alone without working on it; automatically it deteriorates. All you need to do is to look at your health and you’ll see this. As a follower of Christ when I read the Holy Scriptures I see clearly that Jesus did not come to change our culture in any form for that matter. He came to restore that which was broken and damaged in our lives, through a wholesome relationship with God.
In the classic historical book - ‘the rise and fall of Rome’ it’s obvious that Rome fell from within; not from without …the walls caved in. The walls of our heritage, culture and value for life, let it not cave in.
Happy Republic Day!
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