Your grandparents must have given you information about the way they lived. Their memories are full of running around within the compound wall around their house. Most of them has lived in villas, if not mansions. Have you heard them telling you about playing around the mango tree, hiding behind the tamarind tree or even climbing up the jackfruit tree? Evidently, they were born into an environment of abundance. There was a river for every ten people, a well of water for every five people. When they a needed an extra shelter, they simply apportioned a 10,000 sq ft land within inside of their compound wall. This may have been the possibility for the older generation. Abundance of water, non-polluted air, lots of vegetables and fruits and plenty of space. The mindset was molded to live in a world of abundance.
Then came the trend of agglomeration. Agglomeration insisted that human beings should come together to smaller space. An acre of land that had about five inhabitants was converted into shelter space for fifty inhabitants. Suddenly, buildings had to have four storeys or floors. Every storey had four flats. The living space started to shrink. Over a hundred people began to cluster in smaller regions. And this trend did not stop. Agglomeration compelled more people from rural areas to migrate to towns. There became a disconnect between what grandparents would convey and that factual experience of today’s generation. Dynamics of living has changed. Abundance seemed to be a concept of the past. In its place came a new circumstance. This circumstance is called scarcity. The unchecked trend to agglomerate brought even more people to live in a space of one acre. People simply converged so as to be closer to each other. More flats had to be packed into taller buildings. Within a limited land area was skyscrapers so as to accommodate hundreds or even thousands of people. Dynamics of human living in the surroundings such as town, city or suburbs had to match. The new dynamics had to cope with yet another set of realities. People had to enskill themselves to live a mindset of scarcity. Suddenly, the mangoes, jackfruits and other fruits and vegetables looked precious. Water became scarce and even a whiff of fresh air seemed too far to reach. The transition is from a mindset of abundance to a mindset of scarcity.
Dynamics of living has changed. Abundance seemed to be a concept of the past. In its place came a new circumstance. This circumstance is called scarcity.
The resources that yester generations could leave unprotected in an open space, was considered foolish. Every little element of comfort became calculated as scarce resource. Severe checks and balances had to be established so as to protect resources. New skills had to emerge to enable interactions. Insecurity of livelihood became visible among people. Generating income occupied the space of activity. Generating income seemed to become, if not the only, at least, the chief occupation for the day. The thought processes became linked into six sections.
- Generating income
- Protecting resources
- Creating profitable transactions
- Interactions revolving around livelihood.
- Capacity to dominate
- Ability to persuade
These are the new empowering tools in a world blanketed by a mindset of scarcity.
Suddenly, people started perceiving threat in multiple dimensions. Inferior complex and superior complex in people were the visible symptoms. I went to Mysore the other day, a colorful function where a senior professor was honored for his literary contribution. The ceremony of decorating the professor had four parts. First was a Mysore pettah, a decorated and dignified turban. Then he was given a shawl. The folded shawl was opened and swirled around his head and rested on his shoulders. Many dignitaries then came on stage and garlanded him. The fourth event was that he was conferred a memento. The memento looked like a plate with inscriptions, kept secured in a glass casing. And finally came a bouquet of flowers and all stood in line for a photo opportunity. It was certainly a feast for the eyes and mind on the way to honor a personality. Contrast this with the ceremony of convocation in western universities. Certificates, mementos, the long cloak that looks like a gown and even the square cap with a ribbon suspended from it in one corner. That ceremony also has its academic dignity. Sometimes after the ceremony is a cap throwing event when the convocated graduates together fling their caps in to the sky.
Here is evidence of two distinct types of ceremonies. Here the effort is to differentiate the significance of varying cultural structures. It is obvious that different regions of the world has its own corresponding cultures. Each culture is ornated and decorated with substances which are available in plenty in respective geographies. But now the question is of abundance and scarcity. There are cultural ramifications, one that is founded on idea of abundance and the other on attitudes of scarcity. The question that needs answer is as follows. What are the dynamics of thought process in people of abundance? And what are the concepts of living in people of scarcity? People with scarcity has larger drive to procure resources. They have ambition to capture other people’s resources. People who grow up with scarcities seem to want to accumulate profits. This is different from people who has grown up in abundance. Every day as you step out to work from home, there is an uncertainty that you have to face – erratic traffic, impulsive decisions, road rage or even psychotic individuals. So the populace in general has equipped themselves to neutralize such challenges in a society of scarcity. The output effort has to be increased twenty fold to reach a product to its potential user or consumer, which is not easy. Over a hundred layers of obstacles and hostilities has to be circumvented to be able to reach a communication from the author to the consumer. Suddenly everything seems to have thickened. The atmosphere, the protective walls, the defense system, the fortifications are there as severe obstructions. And other modes of acquiring comfort have all to navigate through very very thick layer of stony enclosures. This is the reason that new enablers, skills and tools has to be discovered. The skillset in a society ridden with scarcities.
Even technological solutions seem to get saturated. The energy hungry electronic gadgets and devices, the saturated application solutions, saturation of workers in fields such as coding, compiling, testing, middle level languages and other expertise in software. Even cyber hacking and cyber security have been mastered by people in disorganized militant camps. Are we arriving at a level of scarcity even for information technology whizzes? The case in discussion is actually the importance of a culture and tradition. Like the culture and tradition of European convocations, other countries have their own culture and tradition of honoring, certifying and graduating. To what extent do we need to dilute an indigenous culture so as to superimpose it with a borrowed tradition? In India, the culture was about living in abundance. Visiting traders, capturing kings, expanding moguls and other religious crusaders has one thing in common. An attitude and drive severely founded on scarcities. Their culture therefore cannot be assessed as superior. It can no doubt be equal but local Indian tradition and culture is certainly not inferior.
In India, the culture was about living in abundance. Visiting traders, capturing kings, expanding moguls and other religious crusaders has one thing in common. An attitude and drive severely founded on scarcities. Their culture therefore cannot be assessed as superior. It can no doubt be equal but local Indian tradition and culture is certainly not inferior.
The confusion arises when one generation of Indian people fail to transmit the prevalent culture and tradition to the next generation. Today an attitude of scarcity has gripped people in cities of India. The proverbial saying that ‘dog eat dog’ routine in the industry is certainly an imported market behavior. The other adage called the ‘rat race’ is certainly from the foreign shores of scarcity. The generation that failed to pass on the traditional way of living in India can take some responsibility. But the ultimate accountability has to be shouldered by the millennial generation of India. They have reasons to feel proud of the history of India. They have reasons to adapt themselves to vegetarian food, practices of pranayama and yoga. Techniques of meditation are now taught in India by people from western shores. The export from India is spiritualty, as it is a result of lifestyle founded on abundance. Though the mix and match of culture and traditions can help diffuse severe mental barriers, yet, the Indian tradition of spiritual generation is in no way subordinate to the other ways of living that exists worldwide. The culture of abundance simply lacks a dna of offence or defense. But yet, their peaceful and harmonious progress has become visible worldwide. International day of yoga, meditation institutions, reach of Sanskrit language and influence of family living has given a good learning to all. The millennial generation, social media addicts and people who create the latest content in mainstream media are crucial players to investigate the richness of way of living of traditional India.
The export from India is spirituality, as it is a result of lifestyle founded on abundance. The culture of abundance simply lacks a dna of offence or defense.
Bharat was always a place that gave refuge to people. All foreigners who were naturalized as Indians, was never labeled as refugees. Prevalent was the culture of abundance. Grandparents are sharing fact and not stories. Millennials can work to establish the missing glory. The tradition, culture and spirituality that is essentially Indian, has the potential to resolve many world conflicts. Let us work to fill the gap of the generation that did not pass on the needed skills, talent and work principles. If anything is possible, then, the error in the generation can be replaced with more voices speaking for the glory of India.
About the Author:
Mr. Vinod Kumar is popular columnist from India who provides amazing insights and perspectives on diverse topics. He is a good writer, motivator, trainer, consultant and a mentor to many. His interests span media, politics, sports, food, travel, leisure, and study of the mind. His articles are provided exclusively on finomenon.org