Wednesday April 8, 2020

Preserve languages to preserve culture


By Harshmeet Singh

Over the past few years, a number of people have raised concerns regarding our ‘eroding’ cultural values without giving a thought to the probable causes behind it. And the few who tried to examine the reasons chose to blame the changing lifestyle for such amendments in our culture. But interestingly, we haven’t given much thought to the close connection between language and culture.

Language is much more than just a medium of communication. It enables us to leave behind thoughts, ideas and attitudes for the generations to come. Memories are based on languages. Different words are associated with different experiences. Our memories of certain events in our lives are based on the very words used during those events. The way we interact with each other, the words we use to express our feelings and gratitude are an essential component of our culture. It is beyond doubt that language forms the basis of any culture. With indigenous languages fast getting eroded in the country and English subsuming them all, the fundamental change in our culture shouldn’t come as a big surprise.

For instance, in our culture, people are addressed and treated differently based on their age and stature, which is not usually the case in Europe and the USA. Hence, while Indian languages offer different words to address people of different age groups, English doesn’t offer such variations.

The western culture puts emphasis on the individuals hence the most widely used words are I and You. In US, for example, ‘you’ is appropriately used to address anyone from the highest of authorities including the President to the kids. In comparison, Indian languages offer a number of other variations which highlight our values of inclusion and accommodation.

It is said that it is impossible to learn Japanese without learning about their culture. Japanese pay a lot of attention to the status and rank of the person while addressing him or her, unlike in Europe or the USA.

We often fail to acknowledge the fact that there are a number of words in our indigenous languages which can’t be perfectly translated to other languages. When the languages erode, they take such words with them, and hence a part of culture dies with the death of every language.

With changing times, new languages evolve while giving a miss to the older ones. Most of us term it as an ‘evolution’ and try to downplay its negative implications. Unless we put an end to this practice and start preserving our languages, we can’t expect our cultural values to stay strong.

Next Story

Jewellery: An Intrinsic Part of Indian Culture

Jewellery buying is not just a luxury in India

Jewellery has been an intrinsic part of Indian culture and no other country in the world shares a more rich history than us. Pixabay


Jewellery has been an intrinsic part of Indian culture and no other country in the world shares a more rich history than us. Gujarat-based heritage house Narayana Jewellers has been a prominent player in the domestic market who have evolved over time and has been a part of the spectacular history. IANSlife caught up with Ketan and Jatin Chokshi, owners of the label to talk more.


Tell us something about the history and lineage of Narayana Jewellers?

Ketan and Jatin: 2020 is very special for us as a brand as it marks our 80th anniversary in jewellery retail business. Though we have been into fine jewellery business for more than 138 years now, the company was founded in the name of M/S Ambalal Chaturbhai Chokshi in 1940 by Mr. Ambalal Chaturbhai Chokshi in the city of Vadodara. My father Mr. Narendra Ambalal Chokshi joined the business in 1969 and in 1984. restructured the company and re-launched it as “Narayan Jewellers” and introduced Jadau and Diamond jewellery along with gold.

While earlier gold was the only jewellery option preferred during weddings, jadau and diamond jewellery have found its place in the market now. Pixabay

How your history/famous lineage helping you evolve in the current market scenario?

Ketan and Jatin: The brand’s lineage of 80 years and the trust it has built amongst its peers and clientele have strengthened our foothold in the market. We have been catering to the generations in families with our heirloom designs being passed over from one generation to the other. A systematic and engineered approach to design with a USP of not creating a second piece of same design has helped us be a market leader in the wedding jewellery segment in Gujarat while building new clientele.

The brand has received more than 24 awards and styled the best of Bollywood, Hollywood celebrities over last few years, expanded its retail store, been a part of national and international fashion weeks including NYFW for last 5 season, Lakme Fashion Week, FDCI Couture Week. Narayan Jewellers has kept evolving and innovating to be relevant to today’s generations.

How have you seen the Indian jewellery market evolve over time in terms of customer preferences, price-sensitivity, designs-choices

Ketan and Jatin: While there has been a lot of evolution in the domestic jewellery market over the years, what remains constant is that jewellery buying is just not a luxury in India. It is a necessity and is considered auspicious. While earlier gold was the only jewellery option preferred during weddings, jadau and diamond jewellery have found its place in the market now.

Design choices in wedding and non-wedding segments have evolved with online exposure to fashion and what is happening around the world.

Who are your main target audience? Are you planning to expand your audience base?

Ketan and Jatin: While wedding and luxury clients are the main target audience, we are looking at everyone who understands and wants to buy jewellery which is high on aesthetics, design with the right mix of raw material and rightly priced is our target audience.

Since, traditional Indian customers buy jewellery on seasonal basis (wedding, occasions, etc), what are the different ways you can diversify your products?

Ketan and Jatin: We have been seeing jewellery buying all across the years, though the sales are higher during wedding and festive season. We are working on capsule collections for daily wear and to celebrate special days like Valentine’s Day, Rakhi, Mother’s Day, etc.

Jewellery buying is just not a luxury in India. It is a necessity and is considered auspicious. Pixabay

Tell us something about your association with Sotheby’s and Christies.

Ketan and Jatin: We had worked with Sotheby’s for “Emeralds for Elephants” Campaign to save Elephants and their habitats and with Christie’s for Gemfields project Blossoming for Project Nanhi Kali to help raise funds for the education of less privileged girl child. Our designs were very well appreciated and we helped raise 25% of the total auction funds at Sotheby’s and 40% of the total funds raised at Christie’s.

What are your future expansion plans?

Ketan and Jatin: Marking our 80th year in the retail business, we are planning to expand both domestic and international markets.

Also Read- Bollywood Actress Katrina Kaif Shares a Few At-Home Workout Tips

Since you started a manufacturing facility for cutting and polishing of diamonds in Surat before joining the family business, are you planning to come up with a school or training institute for budding jewellery designers?

Ketan and Jatin: No. Not as of now. (IANS)