The first time I set foot on a foreign/non-hilly soil was during my years in high school studying class-IX. I was a part of a student exchange programme for our school along with the students of the same school from Madhya Pradesh. Those days, I was a young, comparatively less-experienced and unaware about every little tribes, customs and traditions that were prevalent throughout our country. And it was also the first time I get to really face and live amongst Hinduism believers and followers which are juxtaposed our own.
So, I along with my fellow mates reached our destination with open arms, thrilled and ecstatic to embrace and respect their faith and rituals. During my stay, I was able to observe a peculiar thing about them which was, Whenever I have any doubts about their customs and traditions or their way of living or what they do, how they do it and why do they do it, they were more than obliged to explain and narrate the whole thing to me in spite of being ignorant of the fact that I do not hold any relevance whatsoever to what and how they do things or how they conduct their rituals and traditions.
This memory doesn’t struck me until recently since it obliged me to ponder about how well and how much are we proud of our rituals and traditions ourselves. The very fact that they are proud of their faith, their customs and traditions is an eye-opener. But most importantly, it made me realized how much importance they hold and how much regards they have about their roots and their identity which further compel me to contemplate if the same feelings occur to us?
As we all know, MP (Madhya Pradesh) is undoubtedly one of the largest state of the country, also dramatically coined as the “Heart of the Country” and one can’t ignore the fact that people of diverse nature and tribes inhabit this state with their own uniqueness in their customs and traditions.
During my stay, I get to visit 3 other district within the state apart from the one we were staying. It was for an inter-school sports meet and wherever I and my friends go, we were always the centre of attention (not in the despicable sense of course). What I meant to convey here is the fact that due to our different physical features, everywhere we go, people gorge at us and stared as if we are pleading to them for their kidney! But when they realized where we are from, they were more than keen to know more and learn about us especially our state- where in the country it is located and the what not’s. They were always filled with questions which get irritating at times. And the shocking part was the fact that they knew at least about the “Bamboo Dance” – the indigenous tribal dance of the North-East. But the greater shock came when they requested us to perform the dance during the closing ceremony of the sports meet and we don’t have any choice, but to perform it. It was quite an overwhelming experience I would say as we had to replace the ‘bamboo’ of the bamboo dance with iron water pipes due to non-availability of bamboos in the area(Picture that!).
Evolution does create a huge impact on human beings, changing us, our mindset as well as our perspectives but no matter what changes for us and what change us, let it not change the old and cherished custom and traditions that our forefathers had proudly followed and preserved. Correct me if I am wrong, but some of us who leave our hometown and go to metro cities in search of job and better opportunities feel ashamed of themselves to let others know their origin and where they come from, and especially deny to identify themselves as a “tribal”. Also, some of us who get so acquainted with life in the fast lane or cities tends to distinguish themselves with their fellow friends in our hometown considering themselves as the superior being just so because they have tasted and set foot in a more developed place than their friends. Some even reached the maxim of identifying themselves with city life and city people- little did they know that they are tribal and their origins and identity remains the same no matter where they are and what they do. I don’t have any intention whatsoever to oppose the notion of migration to a city for better opportunities but I am strictly against the notion of losing or forgetting our identity based on where we settle. We may be able to change where we are and what we do, but we cannot change who we are and what our roots is.
So, Let us promote our roots and identity by feeling proud about our roots, our tribal-ness and most importantly our traditions, rituals and customs- no matter how orthodox and weird it may seems when we compare it to the modern times. The bottom-line being, let us be proud and cherish our roots, our identity, let us willfully proclaim it to the world about our origin, our long old history, our customs, our traditions so that others will know about us, learn about us and ultimately be keen to know more about us and distinctly identify us.