INDIA: Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat - One India, Supreme India

If you can speak the local language and be a part of local festivals, you> tend to appreciate them more, and be appreciated in turn. This understanding and empathy is much needed to tell the world that we are “Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat

Rabindranath Tagore famously dreamt of a world “that has not been broken into fragments by narrow domestic walls”. As Tagore’s own nation sees people fighting just because they belong to a different region, or speak a different language, it’s high time to revisit the notion of Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat (One India, Supreme India). As a nation we can be more than self-sufficient – the need is for understanding and co-operation, rather than strife and distrust.

This could perhaps be done through increased cultural interaction. If you watch the Republic Day or Independence Day parades, the highlight is usually the tableaus from different states. We cheer not just for our own state, but for each andevery one of them as they are an integral part of our country. Guests from other countries appreciate the diversity we showcase, but consider it as a showcase of overall Indian culture rather than of different states.School functions also encourage folk dances from different states in an attempt to make children aware of the music and dance forms from all over India. But this is probably not enough. As we move out of schools and colleges, we tend to forget how we appreciated these, and instead start finding faults with them.

Cultural
Cultural exchanges should be mandatory for students. But even for adults, we should try to find ways to appreciate the cultures of those who are different from us. If you are travelling, give the regular hotel a miss, and opt for a home-stay. This is a fabulous way to understand the culture of the place you are visiting. If you’re visiting an exhibition or fair, don’t just go for food and shopping, find out if there is some cultural event happening, and join in. If you’re visiting Rajasthan, don’t just visit the havelis; take a trip to Chokhi Dhani to appreciate the local culture. Similarly, if traveling in Kerala, do try to spend time at a fishing village.

World over, cultural exchanges and interaction are a big thing. And it’s not just about traveling or school exchange programs. For example, Disney Career’s cultural exchange program offers interns a chance to interact with people from all over the world and understand and appreciate their respective cultures, while simultaneously connecting with industry experts.

Vision
In the modern work scenario, where people usually move out of home state or country to build a career, cultural exchanges help in giving one a cosmopolitan approach to life. If you can speak the local language and be a part of local festivals, you tend to appreciate them more, and be appreciated in turn. This understanding and empathy is much needed to tell the world that we are “Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat (One India, Supreme India)”

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