Dr.Ashma Begum

We are, because they were. Our past generations and the way they lived life have their bearings on how we eat, think and behave today. Unless and until we do not acknowledge this cardinal truth, we will keep living in the vortex of self-inflicted ignorance and the confusion thereof.

It’s so convenient to brush aside the old and selectively give our approvals of facts, beliefs and practices of the past as if the developments of yesteryears have frozen into useless hard rocks. All the tangible and intangible elements of our older generations have been passed on to us and that’s what cultural heritage is all about. And, cultural literacy is the understanding of traditions, language, regular activities and way of life of a particular community. Unless we care to know that, we will not know how intertwined we all (belonging to different communities in a specific geographic location) are today based on our condensed and unified cultural background together in the past.

Modernity with its array of magnificent technological inventions tends to become overwhelming and can easily make us impetuous. The ease at which things and comfort are accessible to us today is a threat to our spiritual and intellectual grind. And, that is where we need to explore how brave and imaginative our ancestors were in creating materials, crafting communication tools and achieving extraordinary successes keeping in mind the limited resources that they had at their disposal.

On the other hand, being culturally literate also helps us relate to and interact with people from eclectic backgrounds who might be different than us. Seeing, hearing and reading about how other people live can make us culturally more empathetic and sensitive. It can also wipe out various myths and prejudices that are hovering around creating misunderstanding and societal harm.

At an individual level, cultural literacy propels a plethora of sterling human traits which have their value both for self and the society. People who are culturally aware and sensitive, normally tend to possess excellent communication & relationship skills, which are undoubtedly the most important skillset to succeed in various spheres of life. It simply makes the world a better place to live.

Literature and folklore are peerless depositories of all the riches that we should be proud of and learn from. Using interestingly assembled words and modern methods of visually appealing contents, we can bring alive our heritage to the younger generation of today. To be seen and heard in this frenziedly fast paced world, even our opulent heritage of culture, literature and art forms need to be packaged well and brought to the fore. Literary festivals, cultural congregations, and sessions & summits go a long way in instilling the much needed cultural literacy in every individual who is an integral part of a given society.

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