While India is still classist, there is a hybrid generation of Indians rising who combine the best aspects of Indian and world culture.
Context: A friend shared a blog post by well-known Indian author Chetan Bhagat. I found it very good and I wanted to share it on Facebook with some of my own comments on the matter. My comments became too big for a Facebook post aesthetic so I moved it here.
Please read Mr. Bhagat’s post first. It talks about how the new-age Indian liberal is a classist in sheep’s clothing – one who has pirated the word ‘liberal’ to suit an agenda of insecurity and ego.
Link to Chetan Bhagat’s Blog Post
Barring the ugly and embarrassing clickbait title from IndiaTimes – it is short and pertinent, without any sort of crude insults. Most importantly, it hits home with the idea that even all of us in the upper middle class, not just those from international schools or high affluent backgrounds, do look down upon the Hindi language, or any other Indian language for that matter. We deem inferior, with great prejudice, all Indian ideas and ideals, mannerisms and manufacturers, products and paradigms.
It stems from the old adage – “The grass is greener on the other side.” World culture is more inaccessible and hence more exotic. Indian culture is readily available and hence more droll. When you’re bombarded with “Dada ektu adjust korun” in between uncovered coughs on a regular basis, you don’t feel like reflecting on the vast musical background of Bengali culture.
While I usually stay away from political matters, I want to throw an idea out there. With the way we’re progressing currently, we WILL see the rise and coming-of-age of a class of young Indians who seamlessly blend the best of Indian culture with good aspects* of world culture – a hybrid culture. We already see it forming, near the corners of our eyes – the occasional example of Sharma uncle ka beta. Being sanskari is becoming cool again, slowly but surely.
*(I can’t claim the best aspects, because it’s a subjective matter.)
Since fashion is the most volatile and capricious, you can already see this class rising there – people in my age group are fashionistas blending elements of traditional Indian wear with elements of other cultures and creating hybrid outfits.
While fashion is easier to reform than principles, the current generation is capable of doing so. We currently have a fantastic generation of working-class people who are highly motivated to do two things:
1. Find independence (alternative careers, entrepreneurship)
2. Impress their parents/idols (ingrained ideals from film culture, not a bad thing)
We’ll not have to wait long to see men and women melding RSS self-discipline with organized English literature. We already see yoga combined with calisthenics, and kushti and kabbadi are gaining steam in international wrestling. We celebrate the Indian CEOs of big, multinational companies.
Cultural expectancies change every so often. What’s cool changes based on what people didn’t like about the previous time. A career-related example:
- The ’70s were a time of exploring indulgence, love, drugs and not bowing to “The Machine”.
- The ’90s saw the rise of the pure, clean salaryman who stood on his own feet, who worked in Infosys or Wipro.
- We see the 2010s being the age of the alternative career, with people exploring their passions in artistic domains such as photography, design, event management, and entrepreneurship.
Expect the next 20 years to be the time of the hybrid Indian.