Most times when I try to address a topic that is even remotely connected to culture or religion, I give it at least 10 thoughts before posting anything on social media or making a public statement. While on the one hand it is true that I do not want to offend anyone by making statements based on partial knowledge, the other prominent reason for this is the self doubt that questions my own knowledge about what I am talking about. How well do I understand the constructs of culture and religion after all? How qualified am I to be making or refuting arguments about them? How would I hold up if there is a counter – regardless of whether or not the counter is justified?
This self doubt often causes me, and observably the likes of me to be apologetic about our own roots. Most youngsters today can be noticed to be wavering of faith in real life and social media owing to the many, many stimuli that make us question our own roots. While some of those stimuli might be reasonable, most of them are propaganda and we have no way of distinguishing them. Most of us have ended up confused and stranded when it comes to our cultural and religious identity – we neither embrace it completely nor give up on it.
This middle ground is sandwiched between the never ending fight between fundamental extremists and atheists. While I advocate being on neither of those sides, I also say that the middle ground needs a lot of honing as well. As opposed to the confused and apologetic state of mind, we would truly benefit if we turned to an ‘aware’ state of mind and found a firm ground in terms of our cultural and religious identity.
As we are constantly reminded by either of the extremes, there are many things wrong in where we come from – no matter which cultural or religious background we belong to. But I do notice that the things that are wrong about a particular religion ends up bothering youngsters more than everything else that is right – and has led to the formation of a whole generation of apologetic individuals. After all, it is much easier to be apologetic or pretentiously rebellious than get to the root of an issue and comprehend its true dynamics. If that is done, every apologetic Hindu or Muslim or Christian or Jain will know the reasons behind a concern-inducing religious issue and be capable of accepting or discarding it with good reason. That would be being well aware of our roots (even with disagreement), as opposed to being unreasonably remorseful.
And this is not an individual problem that a society can collectively ignore. Apologetic youngsters are much more dangerous to a society and a nation than extremists because this part of the population doesn’t even know what it stands for. Whatever they believe in shall be half-baked or pseudo versions of ideas and their actions inspired by such beliefs cause more harm than propaganda.
I cannot refrain from stating that cultural indoctrination or imperialism takes place through apologetic youth. While it is not right whatsoever to blindly accept a faith and make it our identity, it is equally important not to be influenced by every random statement or social media post pointing fingers at our roots. As far as my understanding goes, a rightful state of mind to have with regard to our roots and everything that is wrong with them is – “Yes, there are things that are wrong wherever we come from – perhaps it was right for the time they were created in and not anymore. Or perhaps they were not right at all, but my religion/culture is so much more than that. I do not stand by the wrongs of it but I embrace my religion/culture fully.”
This can lead to youngsters having a firm sense of identity and not one that they play around with on social media. Statements like “I am ashamed as a Hindu” or “I am a Christian but I hate going to Church” are despicably contradictory and meaningless, mirroring the equally shallow personality of the person making them. Be aware of what is right and wrong about your culture or religion, but never be apologetic of them in search of validation from other communities. No religion or no culture is completely flawless. The youth does not deserve to lead a life being apologetic of that.