The soul of a civilizational state dies when its people feel indifferent to their culture and traditions. The things which once made the country culturally rich, are now seeming farsighted to its own preservers. This reflects in the current dissociation of Indian Youth from Bhajans and kirtans. In other words, Indians are themselves losing their cultural treasure, which once created the hall of fame. And the west is now embracing it!
The world adopting Indian styles
Amid the evolving vast swath of social media videos showcasing the adoption of Bhajans, it can be felt that people from all over the world are associating with Indian culture. Whether it’s in the context of ISKON Krishna Mandirs or the Haridwar Ganga Aarti, the foreigners are gradually being attracted to Indian culture and Sanatan Dharma in particular. Time and again, there have been incidences in fulfilment of the said fact.
As per a 2018 report by Business Standard, a popular Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali was one of the artists from over 120 countries who sang “Vaishnav jan to”. The singer sang the Bhajan while believing that “it is a peace initiative.”
According to the Indian Express, in 2020, a video of a bhajan being sung by an American singer grabbed the attention. Recording artist Mary Millben shared a video of herself singing “Om Jai Jagdish Hare” for a virtual Diwali celebration.
To put it more recently and indigenously, YouTuber Farmani Naaz turned all heads with her video singing “Har Har Shambhu”, a bhajan dedicated to Lord Shiva. The released video, reportedly, garnered 3.5 million views within just 10 days of its release.
All these instances culminate the narrative of the world embracing Indian culture across countries and religions. People from all walks of life are slowly adopting the Indic tradition of attaining peace through Hinduism. Amidst the period of “kalyug”, where individuals are in utter despair of mental peace, Indians are getting attracted to western styles in order to look “cool”- in juvenile terms. However, people are unable to realize the hidden riches of Bhajans and Kirtans.
A west wave that drew Indians
Being the world’s largest democracy, India is a secular country where people are allowed to practice freedom in every aspect. The country accepts all cultures freely and respects all traditions, irrespective of religion it belongs to. But the influence of western culture started to take roots in India around the 19th century when western culture was considered as more advanced and modernized.
Undoubtedly, during the initial phase of westernization, developments did knock on Indian doors. Clearly, it paved the way for avalanches of abundance. However, anything in excess is harmful. And thus, a rigorous continuation of westernization started to bury Indian culture under western cultural ‘debris’.
The consequences of western culture in Indian society are listed along the lines of:
- Affected caste, joint family, marriages and other social structures.
- Changes from Indic dressing styles to western coat-pants or skirts.
- Changes in food habits.
Not just this, the western world emboldened the youth of Indian civilisation to their benefit. Western music styles like jazz, and pop among others squashed the Indian roots. They tried to control the young brains of India through their music styles while detaching them from their original roots.
The real belonging of western culture
In the wake of Indians getting away from Bhajan Kirtans, the west is realising the power of Indian music. The peace-disseminating country has often been the land for many to attain peace. Sadly, Indians are themselves gradually being white-washed with western style, implicating “sophistication”.
Indians are unable to recognize that what (westernized model) is followed by them today is actually the culmination of Indian roots. The divine origin of music is actually derived from Hindu Devis and Devtas.
- The Goddess Sarasvati, depicted with vina in hand, who personifies the power of sound and speech is worshipped by all students and performers of Indian music as the divine patron of music and learning.
- Lord Vishnu, the Preserver, plays the soothing flute in his avatar as Krishna.
- Lord Shiva, the Nataraja plays the damaru during the dance of creation.
This depicts the blindfolded Indians, who are deprived of their original roots. In the worldwide race of shaping individuals as ‘intellectuals’, Indians are eventually getting detached from the ultimate goal of attaining peace.
There have been numerous foreigners who came to India, the spiritual land which includes Varanasi and Haridwar among others. They further realized the spiritual opportunity in Bhajans and Kirtans. However, there have also been singers who tried to transform various Bhajans in order to embolden the youth in a spiritual atmosphere. But these still lack the original significance.
The west has now recognised India as a peaceful land. To put it more recently, amid the worldwide tension between countries, India can use its cultural and traditional roots as a soft power. Amidst increasing rivalries, India can attain an increased advantage with its spiritual roots. However, this is only possible if Indian youth embraces the cultural treasures the country has to offer.
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