Texture Message

Texture Message

 

India is in a time warp.

At sometime in the future the past will catch up with the present.

I hope that I don’t live that long. I would hate to see all that makes the country so wonderful just swept away.

On one trip to India in the 90s I was wearing a watch with a face that I had replaced to commemorate my visit, and it simply said ‘India 1997’ on the dial. While on a train journey someone noticed, and thinking that I was wearing a watch that was made in India, they expressed shock that India might produce something that a foreigner might deem worthy of being worn.

On another trip I visited the art college in Panjim where the students claimed that Braque and Picasso were their true inspiration. The token Indian miniaturist was tucked out of the way in a dark corner. The young people there were in denial about their own culture.

On a train in Kerala; ‘God’s Own Country’, a seemingly affluent and well educated woman blithely threw all the packaging and remains of her lunch out of the train window.

In a smart eco resort in Gujarat a well-to-do couple with two spoiled children walked out when a group of tribal women and girls started to perform traditional dance for the hotel guests.

All that is modern, slick and Western is admired which is fine to an extent but why do so many Indian people defile and denigrate their homeland and reject their rich culture and history?

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Texture Message

  1. Thanks a lot for these words, I’ve noticed the same in India and in other countries. Some people think that being “modern” is more “cool”!
    But I’ve also seen that in other countries where the culture had been almost destroyed (Cambodia) people now try to find their culture again and try bring arts to life again.

    • The response I had from an artist in Mysore when I challenged them about their own cultural heritage was that they were born and raised in India and that was sufficient to ensure that their viewpoint was culturally based, so I suppose we don’t have to ape past styles in order to be true to our own culture.

  2. Excellent essay. Sometimes we have to leave our own culture to appreciate our own. Perhaps that is it? I’d hate to think that non-western cultures think we in the west are to be emulated.

    • In one sense culture is international especially in the Internet age. The other half of my pitch was about having a pride in your country, not in a nationalistic way but seeing its strengths as well as its weaknesses, and being positive in outlook. India is complex socially and finding and agreeing the common ground is always going to be difficult.

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