I yesterday explained why I oppose the idea that it could be the fault of the west and the western culture that there are many young people in India nowadays who would like to marry someone they love opposed to someone their parents choose for them. People who are proud of their traditions and their culture loudly protest, claiming that their culture is being destroyed. Today’s diary entry is dedicated to all of you who believe that such a change means the doom of your culture.
You believe that these traditions like arranged marriage are part of your roots. You are afraid that you would lose your roots, your connection to where you are coming from, if these traditions change. You are afraid you will lose your identity or your children will grow up in a culture that is worse than the one you grew up in. You need to overcome these fears and get a sense of reality. The world is changing and if you cling to the past, you won’t be able to get any further. So stop clinging to old traditions like a child who doesn’t want to leave his old toy. See the development all around you on this earth and realize that it is the normal way of the world that things change!
In a stubborn attempt to keep what you are used to, you defend even a lot of bad things. You know that these traditions have brought bad but you don’t admit it because you are afraid you could accidentally approve to them being changed. You just shout that everything is great as it is without letting the small voice get heard that says inside you ‘There are some disadvantages, too!’
In the same way you simply condemn any kind of change, any new concept that seems to threaten what was there before. It doesn’t matter how many advantages a new idea or a new way brings, you see only its bad sides. Of course they are there, I am well aware of that! Nothing in the world is only good, there are always some negative factors, too.
Individuality is growing in India. Young people slowly stop placing the opinion of society higher than their own happiness. They choose love marriage over arranged marriage. With this focus on individuality however we have seen in the west what can happen: they had joint families in the west, too, it was the normal situation there, too. People were living together, just as they do in India today. With the rise of individuality, homes started breaking apart and people now don’t have time for their parents and older relative anymore. I am not advocating western culture here. I am well aware of the loneliness, depressions and other modern problems that this individuality caused and I know it started happening here, too.
The negative aspects cannot however be the reason to stop developing! The truth is, you cannot actually stop the development, regardless how much you try. Isn’t your country with its people and culture changing on its own? It is not the same as it was 100 years ago! It is not even the same as it was ten or twenty years ago! When I was small, a love marriage was a rare thing that made the whole town talk. Still, arranged marriages are what normally happens but love marriages are nothing that special anymore.
The world is changing and you won’t stop this development. You can only decide to make yourself unhappy because of it. We should look at history in other countries and learn from it. Try to take the lessons of other cultures and fix whatever went wrong there. Put your energy in creating something good instead of blocking every change altogether!