In olden times, our ancestors followed different lifestyles which varied widely from territory to territory. Back then, there weren’t specific divided boundaries to divide the land into states and countries. Monarchy prevailed then. Each territory followed a certain pattern of living which influenced their literature, clothing, monuments, etc. This was what made each territory’s culture unique from one another. People were identified from which territory they belonged to, based on the culture that they followed. Cultural Heritage is the intangible attribute of the people of their respective territory and the legacy of physical artifacts that they have left behind which validates their existence giving us solid hints of their lifestyle and ideas. So one’s culture was the only way in which their background could be recognized. Thus, culture did hold very significant importance back then.
As time passed, people began changing their way of thinking and have gradually become broad-minded. They started accepting a few aspects of the culture of other communities which they found either attractive or sensible according to their will. As education and literature were imparted to a larger number of people, they were able to independently make the right choices which caused people around them to be influenced by it too. People later realized that some changes ought to be made in their practices, culture, as they realized that it was actually causing harm, which they were ignorant about earlier. So like-minded people got together and protested against certain practices which were blindly followed only because it descended from their ancestors. For example, Sati, which was followed by certain people only due to their ancestral practice whereby widows were burnt alive in their dead husband’s pyre, may be due to the unforeseen circumstances such as humiliation or torture they would have to face after their husband’s death. Back then, these practices which we find irrational now would have been justified by our elders then. However, education has led us out of such evils which prevailed earlier. But despite justification given to eradicate certain practices, people with a thoroughly orthodox mindset don’t agree with it. Thus riots, wars, and murders take place due to intolerance towards new ideas irrespective of their benefits. People then believed their culture to be superior compared to any other culture, thereby compelling others as well to follow them due to their intolerant nature. This eventually led to the spread of hatred among different people of different cultures. This is where our cultural heritage caused a negative impact among individuals who wouldn’t accept changes as they thought it would disrespect their culture. They even go to the extent of destroying cultural evidence in the form of monuments, settlements, etc. which are discovered and preserved so that tourists too can witness and admire the works of our ancestors. But some believe that destroying such evidence will allow their culture to be recognized. Whereas the ones who have accepted the change with a broad mind, considering the pain or torture people had to go through, for trivial or unnecessary punishments, are the ones who can enjoy all the aspects of different cultures. Since secularism has been adopted by most countries, people are free to follow whatever pleases them. This has become possible due to the Fundamental and Human Rights we are given as an individual which provides us with security, which wasn’t so earlier.
Therefore, people joyfully celebrated different festivals, ceremonies, etc. which were not a part of their culture. They also learned various languages, dances, cuisines from all over the world which was only possible due to the advancement in technology that exposes people to the vast ocean of knowledge through which people got to know about various cultures and their origin. On observing the behavior of our ancestors, people then realized that they could make intolerant and inhumane decisions with the little authority they had, due to monarchy. Today as we are in the 21st Century, the Constitution of India strongly advocated the promotion of scientific temper, which will riddle off superstition, irrationally, and orthodox behavior out of the mind. We should look at the world with a broad mind. The present generation has accepted democracy and has learned to be tolerant towards people’s thoughts and views, unlike the olden times. Hence, Value Education and Personality Development are a part of education, right from the time they are toddlers to avoid unnecessary rancor ahead. Thus observing, learning, implementing, and adapting to different customs and methods has led to a sense of unity among people. As individuals, we are free to experience whatever pleases us. This has definitely caused a positive impact worldwide and so we need to take immense pride in our rich and varied cultural heritage which gives people their very own individual identity.
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