Culture is not just a way of living, it is a part of the existence of humankind. We define, create and mould a culture and similarly, culture defines us, moulds us and has a role to play in creating our identities. But to consider culture a monolithic block is as dangerous as neglecting it. Our culture, heritage, customs, traditions reinforce debate, contradict and cross each other and in the process, synthesises and creates a new culture.
Often we find people, organisations and institutions who try to define culture for others. They, in the course of defining and refining the culture also tend to restrict the growth of the same culture by putting barriers on it. An exclusive cultural domain tends to alienate certain sections of the society who consider themselves part and parcel of the same culture.
So the question arises – how to reinforce and promote our rich and varied and, often overlooked culture without rupturing the social fabric? The answer is very simple yet profound – by going back to our roots.
As the famous dialogue of the movie “Swades” (2004) goes – “Apne hi paani me pighal jaana barf ka muqqadar hota hai.” (It is the destiny of ice to melt in its own water.) In the quest of searching for our roots, our local histories and culture are lost either in the myriad of conflicting traditions or the rhetoric of meta-narratives. Street plays, performative arts and exhibitions are great artistic and creative mediums to carry forward a legacy that traces its roots from our day to day existence, it is a commemoration of our existence.
This is our heritage, our culture that’s searching for a fertile ground to reassert its lost glory. Several attempts have been made in this regard, and the process is still on. Different organisations have made numerous attempts and every day, at every nook and corner you will find a cultural event taking place. A great example in this respect is a cultural group ‘Ma Fia’ who in their bid to search for different cultural roots are trying to find different cultural avenues for remembering local cultures.
From poetry festivals like ‘Kapaas’ to organising the grand 3-day extravaganza ‘Madari’ (23-25th January, 2017), they have come a long way in ensuring that cultural idioms get a platform through different mediums like street plays, exhibitions, etc. There isn’t a dearth of such examples in today’s world, yet every attempt is unique and worthy of emulation.
Now the question is, who will be the harbingers of this grassroots cultural upsurge? The simple answer is students and the youth. We all come from diverse backgrounds and hinterlands and we all, in a sense carry our culture with us, which later synthesises into a grand meta-culture. We are a group that can act as a mediator between the elite and the academic and the local cultures. We could ensure that urban cultures make their way to the rural hinterland and vice versa.
This is what cultural groups and organisations like the ‘Ma Fia’ and events like ‘Madari‘ aspire to achieve. They create a bridge between two distinct worlds and give a cosmopolitan edge to cultures and at the same time help in making people aware of the roots we all come from. And the great thing to note here is that the people backing such projects are the youth (DUSU, in this case).
And this is a never ending process; culture will always be a part of human existence and its synthesis, a way of reviving, reminding and revitalising it again and again. Such groups and events are not just a show of exotic and aesthetic qualities; they represent a group that is dedicated to the cause of preserving culture and folk art. It is an attempt on our part to connect with our roots. An initiative to reinforce art, culture, folk, etc. through every possible medium.
A commitment to the creative expression of our rich cultural heritage through a cultural extravaganza. We will achieve our goals, with a little support from you all.