Wednesday October 18, 2017

After 20,000 years, world’s oldest people are facing Crisis of Culture

The San's people can be found across Botswana, Angola Namibia and South Africa. Also, known as Basawara, these people lead a very nomadic life which has not changed for over millennia.

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Image source : CNN

The indigenous people of Botswana (South Africa) are only living link to the ancient Africa, there hunter gatherer ways dates back to 20,000 years. They are known as San. DNA test show that they are direct descendants of first Homo sapiens. But now they sit at a crossroads where their culture, traditions and heritage can be lost forever. People sciences have proved that San’s are likely to be the oldest and continues population of human on the continent and on earth.

The San’s people can be found across Botswana, Angola Namibia and South Africa. They are known Basarwa in Botswana region. Basawara people lead a very nomadic life which has not changed for over millennia.

“If this Culture is not preserved, if this Culture is not passed on from one generation to another it is going to die later on. Culture is something that can die and we should understand that culture is dynamic,” says Bihela Sekere, part of the indigenous population who previously worked at the Botswana High Commission in London.

As a child Bihela and his family lived in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve. The national park in the heart of the desert is the second largest game reserve in the world. It was there that his father taught him the ways of the Basarwa. But in 1997 The Government began to remove Basarwa from reserve, to protect the area and integrate their community into the society.

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Now the Basarwa people live in the resettlement village, trying to pass on age-old tradition.

“Some of the kids, Basarwa kids, are taken to schools (and) they can lose their culture because they are taught other ways of living,” explains Sekere. “To start with the language — if they are taught Setswana and English, it means the language will suffer.”

“Culture is Dynamic it changes, as much as you interact with other cultures, more people and more development coming in you stand a chance to lose your culture. Culture is old but it is what lets you know who you are and a nation without its culture is lost nation.”

But San’s people still have hope that they can preserve their culture. A local man Xontae believes that through tourism their culture can be preserved . He guides people around “The mountain of God’s” Tsodilo Hills, which is also UNESCO world heritage site and a national treasure. The mountain contains 4500 rock painting spread across 400 different location which dates back to Stone Age.

Painting on Tsodilo Hills. Image Source: CNN
Painting on Tsodilo Hills. Image Source: CNN

Sekere said “It will be very good for the Tsodilo Hills to be used as a tourist destination. By using the locals the people who grew up here and know the history behind this hills and paintings that will itself make it unique and special for the people from outside world to come and see what the San’s people have.”

Meanwhile Kuru Art project is an initiative which seeks to revive the art making among the Basarwa once more.

“Gradually as time went on hunting and gathering lifestyle changed. With time obviously the land got divided and the people lost movement their rights like before and so the art provided that. Art project became a way through which they wanted people to understand who they were.” Said Ann Gollifer who is a visual artist in the Botswana who been involved in the project.

Kuru Project. Image Source: CNN
Kuru Art Project. Image Source: CNN

She also said that the work the Basarwa create mainly depicts a hunter-gatherer lifestyle of yesteryear. Using modern mediums to paint ancient traditions, these artworks have sold all over the world.

Hence there is still hope there for the Basarwa people, who want to preserve their culture and heritage.

-by Bhaskar Raghavendran

Bhaskar is a graduate in Journalism and mass communication and is a reporter at NewsGram. Twitter handle: bhaskar_ragha

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5 Events Of November Which Are Ideal For Family Vacations

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Events in November which will give you a vacation mood.
Events in November which will give you a vacation mood. Wikimedia.

As we approach the year’s end, Indians not just bid adieu to their summer outfits but also welcome the festival seasons. October and November are two months in India which are full of cultural events and festivals, which make these months, the ideal time for going on family vacations.

Below are the events of November 2017 which you will regret missing. They are worth the try for family vacations:

1.  Dev Deepavali, Varanasi

family vacations
Representational Image. The ghat of holy city Varanasi. 

Varanasi, the holiest city of India, celebrated Dev Deepavali on Kartik Poornima every year. The festival is celebrated with joy. The ghats of Varanasi are lit with beautiful diyas (earthen lamps). God is believed to have descended to the banks of Ganges, to take a holy dip. The festival will take place on November 3, 2017.

 2. Dharamsala International Film Festival

Filmmaker, cinema buffs or all those people interested in the art of films come together of Dharamsala International Film Festival (DIFF). This film festival will witness filmmakers coming from different regions to show films on various issues- socially relevant, contemporary etc. DIFF will take place from November 2 to November 5. If you are a movie buff, then you should immediately pack your bags and seal a date for attending the festival.

3. Pushkar Camel Fair, Rajasthan

Family vacations
Representational Image. Camel Fair is celebrated in Pushkar. Pixabay

Pushkar Camel fair, a cattle fair, in Pushkar which truly defines the real meaning of culture. The Pushkar Camel Fair has been in tradition for a very long time. The fair attracts a huge crowd every year. One of the most ideal and happy places for family vacations. It will take place between 23rd October to 4th November.

Also Read: 7 Beautiful Places To Visit In North East India

4. NH7 Weekender

The five seasons old Indian multi-city music festival has indeed garnered a lot of attention and love from the musically inclined youngsters across the country. It is a combination of national and international studies coming together. In Meghalaya, the event will take place from October 27 to October 28.

5. Guru Purab

family vacations
Sikhs celebrating Guru Purab. Wikimedia.

Guru Purab, one of the most important festivals for Sikhs. The golden temple celebrates it with a lot of joy. The celebration which Amritsar witnesses at this time are unbelievable. It will take place on November 2017. Golden temple is indeed one of the best places for family vacations.

-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.  She can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya.

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Rituals Exist in All Cultures and they are Important

Rituals play a prominent role in every culture

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Religion
Ancient Indian Religion.

Hinduism is a practice, which is known for its rich rituals. From the Vedic ages, Hindus perform certain activities right from the time they wake up in the morning until the time they sleep. These activities may include, Pooja (worshipping lord) and Karya (Working), which integrate their culture. The events manifest a certain beauty, without which Hinduism is incomplete.

Different sects of Hindus worship different deities. Various Poojas are held for different festivities and occasions called the ‘Utsavas’. People during different festivals not just gather to worship the god, but also come together to celebrate life, with beautiful colours, clothes and delicious food. This itself proves that rituals manifest the beauty and celebration of life in Hinduism.

Meaning Of Rituals:

However, certain sections of the society have a preconceived notion about the rituals Hindus perform, which leads to them being called ‘superstitious’ or ‘overtly religious’. But is it fair to tag them? What is the meaning of the ritual? Ritual can be any activity which you perform. It is a way of communication. A teacher teaching his or her students can be a ritual. A mother feeding her baby is a ritual. Ritual is a generic term, which must not be linked with traditions, religion and beliefs? And, even if it is associated with these customs, then Hinduism should not be the only target. Every religion follows some beliefs. For example, a Muslim reading Namaz is a ritual; Christians visiting church on every Sunday is a ritual or Thanksgivings, when people have dinners with their friends and families. Hindus may have more rituals to act on than Muslims or Christians, but this gives no one the right to invalidate their belief. The rituals which Hindus perform don’t just have a connection with God, but also scientific reasons behind them. For example, Surya Namaskar is good for health as facing the light at that time of the day is good for your eyes, and makes you a morning person.

Also Read: Navratri 5th Day, The Tales That Speaks About Mother-Son Relationship

The reason why people not like rituals is due to their stifling and obligatory nature. Since our childhood, we have been asked to adhere to certain activities, and never taught the reason behind them. This develops disconnection towards them.

Benefits Of Rituals:

Rituals should be seen as art. We must not do it for the sake of doing it. We must sense its meaning like we sense the meaning of art. There is a side of these customs which we don’t want as well, but at the end of the day, they generate a sense of unity and belongingness. They bind you as a community. As long as we live as humans, these practices will have an integral role to play in our life, which can not be neglected.

by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.      Megha can be reached at Twitter @ImMeghaacharya.

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Ten Inspiring Quotes by Famous Personalities on World’s Oldest Religion “Hinduism”

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A Temple in India, Hinduism
Hinduism is a choice of living and is only one absolute, pure and eternal reality that can be found through enlightenment: A Temple in India. Pixabay

– by Tusheeta Kaushik

About hinduism:

June 24, 2017: “Hinduism” Being the oldest and the third largest religion in the world and with over a billion followers – many believe that Hinduism is a choice of living (way of living) and is only one absolute, pure and eternal reality that can be found through enlightenment. Its all about spirituality.

Some Hinduism practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, “the eternal tradition,” or the “eternal way,” beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions,[7][note 5] with diverse roots and no founder.This “Hindu synthesis” started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE following the Vedic period (1500 BCE to 500 BCE)

Its sacred writings date as far back as 1400 to 1500 B.C. It is also one of the most diverse and complex, having millions of gods. Hindus have a wide variety of core beliefs and exist in many different sects. Although it is the third largest religion in the world, Hinduism exists primarily in India and Nepal.

The main texts of Hinduism are the Vedas (considered most important), Upanishadas, the Mahabharata, and the Ramayana. These writings contain hymns, incantations, philosophies, rituals, poems, and stories from which Hindus base their beliefs. Other texts used in Hinduism include the Brahmanas, the Sutras, and the Aranyakas.

This faith has taken on the form of everything we see today- including gods and goddesses. So even though they worship many gods, in reality it’s a monotheistic religion. 

10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism By Famous Personalities

 

  1. George Bernard Shaw believed Hinduism to be a monotheistic religion. He said that Hinduism is so elastic and subtle that the most profound Methodist and crudest Idolator are equally at home with it.”
    10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism
  2. Sir Charles Norton Edgecumbe Eliot didn’t consider Hinduism as a religion but a way of life. He also said “The Hindu has an extraordinary power of combining dogma and free thought, uniformity, and variety, here utmost latitude of information is allowed and in all ages Hindus have been devoted to speculation”.
10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism

3. Mark Twain believed that the only way to save oneself from any danger, loss or harm would be through Hinduism. He also said ” Our most valuable and instructive materials in the history of man are all treasured up in India, it is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if its not to end in self destruction of the human race. In Hinduism we have the attitude and spirit that can make it possible for the human race to grow together into a single family.”

10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism

4. Dr Arnold Toynbee believed in the concept of spreading love, honesty and attaining enlightenment- mentioned in the holy book of Hindus. He said that “This spiritual gift i.e Hinduism that makes a man human is still alive in Indian souls, go on and give the world Indian examples of it, nothing else can do so much to help mankind to save itself  from destruction.”

10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism

5. Mahatma Gandhi strongly believed in hunting of truth through non- violent means and that Hinduism is a constant trailing after truth. He also said ” Ancient India has survived because Hinduism was not developed along material but spiritual lines.

10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism

6. Swami Vivekananda was proud to belong to a religion which taught the world forbearance at the time of adversity and a worldwide acceptance. He also said “I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all the nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelite s, who came to the southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which there holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny.”

10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism

7. Sir Monier Monier Williams relentlessly believed in the strength of infinite adaptability to the infinite diversity to the human character and human tendencies mentioned in the holy books of Hindus. He stated that “no description of Hinduism can be exhaustive which does not touch on almost every religious and philosophical idea that the world has ever known.”

10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism

8. Will Durant fervently believed in the teachings of Bhagwat Gita on tolerance, gentleness of mature mind and spreading love in the world. He further added – “It is true that even across the Himalayan barrier, India has sent such gifts such as grammar, logic, philosophy, fables, hypnotism, chess and above all numerals and the decimal system to the west.”

10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism

9. Thomas Berry believed Hinduism to be a dynamic process and said “For this reason, Hinduism must be studied not as a fixed body of doctrine but as a developing tradition that has changed considerably throughout the centuries and which is still changing in the creative direction, everything in India makes sense in the light of the changing process.”

10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism

10. Alain Danielou a.k.a Shiv Sharan believed that the Hindus live in perpetuity, while in Banarus, Danielou converted to Hinduism taking the initiates name of Shiv Sharan.

– by Tusheeta Kaushik of NewsGram