Sometime back a friend of mine visited Ladakh and she was shocked that a girl is married to the house, so she has children by any man in the house and it as accepted without any moral taboo. Instead of understanding and accepting a different way of life she tried to educate them on morality. This is the precise space UNESCO is addressing when it dedicates a day for cultural diversity.
When Lakshmamma’s grandson took her to Darjeeling for a tour with his first leave travel concession. Lakshmamma was wonderstruck. What fascinated her the most were the momos since she realized it was quite similar to the iradya made down south. It was a moment of bonding with her hostess. The hostess spoke no kannada, and Lakshmamma knows neither Hindi or English but with hand gestures and broken words, some translatory help from the younger generation, they built an amazing bond enough to have occasional video talks to the day.
may 21st is the UNESCO day for cultural diversity and dialogue.
This came to being with in 2001 with destruction of the Bahamian Buddha’s in Afghanistan. Culture is essentially a way of being. It includes our food, our clothing, our belief system, aesthetics traditions, customs.
UNESCO dedicates this day to be multicultural. Dr. Caleb Rosado a research leader in multiculturism puts multicultural as “A system of Beliefs and behaviours that recognizes and respects the presence of all diverse groups in an organization or society…encourages and enables their continued contribution within an inclusive cultural context which empowers all within the organizational society.
Being exposed to diverse cultures increases the depth of learning. It also brings about confidence and growth. It allows us to prepare ourselves for a more global work place which is the future. It brings more empathy.
Travel, non-judgemental listening reading about other cultures opens vistas. It makes us innovative, productivity increases, new growth opportunities come by, we also develop a problem-solving ability.
This was the original idea of pilgrimages when people travelled, they would stay with different communities. Overnight sometimes for a day or two. This would open their horizons they would learn from the other culture as much as contributing to the economy and the exposure of that community.
Food is great way to experience a culture. If you have a friend or a colleague from another culture of course it helps, but it is not essential. You don’t even need to travel outside your home town.
Culture is not genetic unless we are talking of microbial ones. Cultures are learned behaviours and is passed down from generation to generations and changes over time. Yet we so often associate culture with one’s appearance rather than a learned behaviour that changes with time, place and context.
Think of this, we are all identical in the fact that we are all different. We are all identical in the fact that we won’t be the same. The reality that unites us, is culture, that is varied, distinct and individual. we are identical in the reality that the earth’s gravity holds us all together. We definitely do share blood, but we do share the air that keeps us alive. I will not say my brother is not different from me, or my sister is identical to me…I am not blind to the fact that my brother is as much he is as I am I, and my sister is as much who she is as I am I. Individually together can weave a way of life.
To be rooted in the local and being part of global is actually an inspiring concept.