Of Values and Culture

I wouldn’t consider myself among those who are termed as the highly acclaimed, successful people on the planet, or even in my extended family. But I have held on, against all things vain, and I have done that without losing hope. I have never been after titles, and never did I try to get a position better in comparison to someone else. I have been told that being good, and being fair to others is what matters the most. The same has been part of our culture, and success is something that will come to you sooner or later, as long as you keep the goodness factor alive, along with working hard. It is from the good deeds, that we make ourselves, and our nation proud.

There will always be the cousins, the distant relatives who have done so much with their lives, that people will always talk about how much they earn. It something that you will always have the ears to hear, and these people are certain to make sure that you are going to listen to the same. By any means necessary, more salary is required, and so is a wonderful married life which includes a partner with lots of money, and his or her family with more wealth. This is more of a deviation from what our culture has been. We are affected so much by the modern world that we have forgotten that our culture was not based on wealth, and it was all about the quality of an individual.

One would wonder if the problem is with the individual who keeps looking forward to only being successful in one way or the other, or with the society that keeps asking for the same. Growing in a family which has been so close to the Indian values, did make me wonder about where these qualities are going, during my youth. Maybe, the current situation has too many easy paths – but I would say no to them, and will work of my own to reach where I need to be; this has been my decision. There is a lot to do in this world and a lot to achieve, I agree to that – but I would also say that it has to be done in the right way rather than choosing a path which has all wrong letters written on the sign boards.

I am also not denying that the decision has been something that did prove effective for me in the long run. There were so many opportunities for me to go the wrong way, as the chances to lie and cheat one’s way through for money is quite natural in a world which has its people closer to each other with the social media and the internet. What the society has been asking was success, and beyond our culture, there is a new generation who are forced to take the easy way out, and some of them are really happy about the same. But I would not believe that everything is fair in love and war – it is just not the kind of saying that we can believe in, when we look from our culture and values.

Boasting has also never been part of our culture, which is why, the great figures further into the Indian history have been known less in the past, but have come to the picture now. We have always wished to live a simpler life, trying only to live fair and set a good example for a future generation. It is the same reason why, we have kings in our history who have sacrificed so much for their people, and it is on this sacrifice that our values are based on, even though there are still a lot of people who find it convenient to forget the same, and become the greedy, vain human being that has no part in our culture.

I would consider holding on to my values to be more important than stealing success, and showing off with my income and lifestyle. It was the same thing that I thought about when I attended one of those very few interviews which I came across during those early days after finishing my post graduation. I was asked about how good I was, and I replied that I am only that good as the resume says. I said that I would not go on to create magic all of a sudden, and I can only give my best, which was reflected on my qualifications and experience. That might be the only reason why I managed to get the job.

This might be the right place for me, or maybe it is not. I was never sure how long I was to go about with the job. But there was one thing that I was confident about, and it was that my life had to go on the right way, with the Indian values and culture, and not some fake ideology which has been brought on us just like on the other nations due to globalization, and the rest of the things that came as part of modernization. We are what we are, and we have our roots; it tells us to be true to ourselves and to the others; to lead a simple life, and to value humanity over wealth. It is how the hermits have earned so much respect in our history; we are a civilization that are beyond accumulation of wealth. It is how the trust is built, and a better world is constructed.

The same is reflected in Lufthansa’s TVC that is #MoreIndianThanYouThink.

TeNy

This is Dogville

Dogville gives you an order, and that order is to talk about it which can’t be avoided. The effect of knowing about its mere existence is that you have to feel and talk about it. Dogville is that cute town in the middle of nowhere, where people are supposed to be simple and good. It is that place where civilization has less effect and therefore it should be beyond the evils of modernity. But William Golding’s Lord of the Flies has already taught us about the danger of the same, but this one has some distant contact with people and therefore that problem is not directly visible.

Dogville is a 2003 movie which has Nicole Kidman as the central character of Grace who runs away from gangsters and is provided asylum in Dogville. They do demand things in return, and even as it begins as some physical labour, things get worse and she is turned into a slave. It is not a bloody violent movie, but is still disturbing in many ways, and it strikes a poisonous arrow right at the heart of the innate goodness which is supposed to exist in all human beings. Once we are poisoned with that arrow, it will grow in us, not like an idea in the mind, but like a stake in the heart. I will share just four areas of that infestation.

Grace (Nicole Kidman) among the apples, a shot which stays in the minds of the viewers.

Grace (Nicole Kidman) among the apples, a shot which stays in the minds of the viewers.

1. Inherent evil in man: The innate goodness in man is replaced by the inherent evil which goes back to centuries while leaving a mark on the way as time flies. This evil can spring out of anywhere, whenever the situation is appropriate. As the Overlord (game character) would say, “evil always finds a way”. This tendency to sin which stems from the idea of original sin is something from which humans can never really escape. It is easy for humans to fall into the abyss of temptation, and it has even happened to saints. The same can be said about the townfolks’ treatment of Grace.

2. Contempt for outsiders: Here, Grace was not one of them and therefore an outsider who was to be treated differently. They can’t show that directly, but there is always the fear of the unknown, and it develops into hatred up-to an extent. These people will never be accepted into the group, but are often considered as an appendage who can be thrown out or even abused. The beginning should be from denying some basic human rights. We can see that certain people in some religions and castes do talk in the same way and only caring for their own people. Such people are just another version of these inhabitants of the town.

3. Biblical connection: The name of our heroine Grace, which can be seen as “the grace of God” is rather the person sent to that world to help them as they give refuge to her, as she does prove herself more than just useful in their daily life. But she would be tortured and abused just because she was not one of them, and there were enough reasons created by random thoughts just to mistreat her. In the end, she will be called back, but she will be willing to offer them another chance, but not for long as another Sodom and Gomorrah awaited.

4. Democracy’s limits: The town depends on votes, and this might be the best form of government. But if their supposed leader could choose by himself, wouldn’t it have been better for Grace? Everyone is so much powered by their own selfishness, and instead of thinking for the common good or about the damsel in distress, they choose wrong. The evil people can always outnumber the good and devastate the purpose of democracy. The people who are lesser in number will never get their rights, even if their demands are justified.

The outsider in chains, as the society turns more and more against the other.

The outsider in chains, as the society turns more and more against the other.

Dogville can be your religion, caste, creed or community. It can be your land, and when you mistreat someone in your world for being an outsider, you are only strengthening that presence of inherent evil. It is okay to fear and take precautions as we know the story of “the camel and the arab” and there will some people ready to do the same to us, but that won’t give the right to hate. There are two things I am sure about; I have never loved a performance from Nicole Kidman like this, and there is no movie that has kept me thinking like Dogville. But be warned that this is not a movie for entertainment.

TeNy.