India, with its upward rise in modern infrastructure, followed by a flood of modern, revolutionary thought, has transformed radically. From the introduction of modern makeup products when Sushmita Sen became Miss Universe to Google’s current CEO being a former IITian, we’ve made huge strides. But in comparison to these achievements, we’ve constantly been caught up in between being cool and sanskari.
Indian millennials face what has now become a classic dilemma: balancing the modern thought that is characteristic to the life they’ve grown up with while also juggling the responsibility of being connected to their traditions a.k.a their roots. They continue to deal with an ongoing, everyday struggle of seeing the world through the lenses of tradition while marrying it with the pragmatism that modern thought has inculcated in them.
In perceiving the world by making rational sense of it instead of simply going by the motto “Well, that’s what my parents told to be true,” they come under fire for forgetting their roots, their traditions and the land they come from. Indian millennials get chided for retorting back at religious gatherings, they get told that their enamoured by the West so much that they’ve forgotten what it is to be ‘Indian.’
The real question though is about asking what being ‘Indian’ means. Everybody understands that differently. NRI’s see it differently, as do Indians residing in India. What millennials really face when they are deemed to be losing their roots is the authority and responsibility to redefine what having your roots mean. Everybody’s traditions and practices are different and with the times, they too undergo drastic changes. If culture remained stagnant, the world wouldn’t move and we’d still be living in the Stone Age. When culture transforms, so does what is understood to its roots. Moreover, millennials are today planting new roots for the future as opposed to losing theirs.
Indian millennials have ushered in a refreshing, radical change to Indian culture in general. Their forward thinking has played a vital role in redefining what roots mean. And no matter what roots really mean to them, they still love, appreciate and cherish their traditions and keep them alive in their own little ways.