Diversity is magic and India, The Elder Wand
I have always wondered about our ancestors, no, not our forefathers, but the cavemen and the entire human race before them. Today we know how the world looks like, that there are people in the remotest corners of the world, but our ancestors were oblivious about these facts. However, the most interesting aspect for me has always been, “How the homo sapiens must have reacted when two different tribes, unknown to each other’s existence, would have met?”
I invariably imagine them being fearful of each other, intimidated by distinct appearances, confused with the different dialects, but curious. My assumptions make me believe that their agitation may have been the reason for conflict between them initially. But later, when the two tribes must have tried to understand each other, they would have learned that there is nothing to worry about, they are just different, and that’s when they must have started appreciating the contrast between them.
Naming conventions may have been their way of making things easier and maybe that’s how the places would have acquired their names. The distinctively named areas or villages collectively formed cities; different cities with similar looking people and having a common dialect must have been bordered into states, and the cluster of states with compatible beliefs may have made countries.
This is what I think would have happened! Well, whatever may the reasons for our diverse cultures be, our ancestors learnt to co-exist and as the generations went by, the people, we, have learned to appreciate the beauty in it. Thomas Berry, a cultural historian and an author with a doctorate rightly quoted:
“Diversity is the magic. It is the first manifestation, the first beginning of the differentiation of a thing and of simple identity. The greater the diversity, the greater the perfection!”
Land of uniformity- Not so enticing!
The land of uniformity, which several people dream of, may have everything similar. There will be no different dialects; everybody would speak one common language. Does it sound boring just to me or you too feel that? I mean the literature would be boring, people from different states would have the same accent and there would be no fun at all. This is just one example, we could go on and on with clothes, style of living, food, marriage ceremonies, festivals, music, dance styles, local sport and so on. I think we are just lucky to have disparate living standards.
So, if diversity is magic, then India is the elder wand!
India is popular for its diverse culture and it is the most common reason for globetrotters to visit our motherland frequently. We have 22 official languages, innumerable cuisines, 29 different types of marriage ceremonies and around 62 festivals. We are able to live in harmony because we are different, our needs are different, our beliefs are different and everything about one culture complements the other.
Our cultural diversity is unlike any other country as those countries may have a rich culture with their citizens from various countries. India’s range of being diverse is due to her own people and not because of other country’s citizens. I feel like if diversity is magic, then India is definitely the elder wand! (if you didn't get it then you may need to either watch or read Harry Potter)
Maintaining peace for an elder wand should be easy, but why it isn’t?
If you have read or watched Harry Potter, then you must be aware how mighty the elder wand was. It had the potential to overpower any other wand, just like India has. However, our intentions have never had an overpowering instinct in it, we just want to develop ourselves. If diversity is magic and India has that magic in abundance, why are we surrounded by chaos? Is it just because we are different? Here is my insight...
The reason is - we discriminate and judge people coming from different cultural backgrounds. There have been incidences when a non-Mumbaiya or a non-Gujarati is discriminated and asked to leave the respective state just because it is not his motherland. Now comes the main reason!
If you have noticed, I have not mentioned “religion”, “caste” or “creed” in this entire writing. Well, these are some cultural aspects that has fuelled the discrimination process in our country and i’m not proud of it. Britishers were able to colonize our country just because we could be divided and ruled on the basis of religion. This diversity becomes discrimination very often and we have made it easy for other people to point out our weakness by becoming touchy when it comes to caste and creed. So if the wand is misused, the magic may lose its charm!
A few requests…
India as diverse as it is now, but with not a tinge of discrimination is my dream. To make it a reality, I have made a few rules for myself that you could follow too if you share my dream!
- Let’s not ask anybody’s religion or caste.
- For your inquisitiveness of knowing other cultures, substitute “aap logo mein kaise hota hai” with “aapki family mein kaise hota hai”.
- Quit saying “yeh toh gujarati, marathi, bihari, etc. etc. hai, so aisa hi hoga”. Let’s stop judging guys!
- Respect the distinctness of different cultures rather than comparing or trying to prove that you have a better cultural background.
Okay, these may do for starters! India loves democracy, so let’s be thankful that we don’t have a communal culture. Our culture is as beautiful, vivid and attractive as a spectrum, let’s manage to give proportionate light!