Indians are one of the main contributors to the detriment of Indian identity and culture. The facts overwhelmingly support this opinion. In Trinidad where both UNC and PNM governments do not care to preserve our Indian heritage through the school systems by observing cultural events like Phagwa, Diwali, Janamashmi, etcetera, Indians have taken the initiative on their own by practicing habits that has carried over for generations. Indians can preserve their culture by using certain Hindi / Bhojpuri words (see below), how we dress, i.e. with a kurta, the kinds of music we listen to, dance, cook and by how we greet each other – Namaste or Sita Ram.
We can then thereby educate our kids about the Indian narrative without having an Indian History Month.
1. Using words in the house as saapie, dammaldo choka, bigan choka, bellna, chowki, churia, chadar, katya, cha cha, cha che, puwa, phuppa, nanee and nana, ajah and ajee, kaha jalah? (where are you going?) Tumhara naam kya hai? (What is your name?), paratha and chuulha to exemplify cultural pride. Now we have graduated to the microwave and there is nothing wrong with using it.
2. Greetings – Sita Ram, Namaste, tika on forehead.
3. Dress. sometimes wearing a sari or kurta for causal shopping and not only for special occasions.
4. Having Indian music often played in the house has a cognitive development on Indian children which allows them to appreciate their forefathers’ culture.
Using words of today is necessary but does not explain our past. Words like microwave, bedsheets, Good Day, tomato condiment, eggplant condiment, rolling pin etcetera, leave Indians with no special history and civilization association. Practicing such simple habits as outlined above among our children is an education on its own that explains who we are as a race and where we came from.
Let’s get back on the Pani and Masala Train.