IS TRADITION AN ENEMY OF PROGRESS?
TRADITION can be defined as a practice, followed in the past, dating back to hundreds or thousands of years. Almost all the traditions are meaningless. Perhaps India is the only country that glorifies and practices traditions, whether good or bad, most of them bad to some extent. Examples are many. Ceremonies at the time of the wedding, funeral, worship are some of the examples.
Even the most educated and the so-called elite classes of the metropolitan cities of India, including celebrities are no exception. So, one can imagine the plight of illiterate rural folk. When a newlywed Hindu couple enters the house, the bride is supposed to keep her right foot first at the doorstep as if the left foot is not necessary for walking. No one can give a credible explanation for this meaningless practice because it is followed for generations without anyone questioning it.
Similarly, a dead body has to be placed on the floor with the head towards a particular direction. What will happen if it is kept in a different direction? Definitely, the dead would not complain. Then there are other traditions like ‘Sati’, which was made illegal a long time back but is still prevalent in some parts of India, why the poor wife has to sacrifice her life if her husband dies first? In some parts of India, the birth of a baby is celebrated with the distribution of sweets. But there are specific types of sweets to be distributed in order to indicate the gender of the newborn. Why this gender bias?
Another practice among some communities is to Trimmed off the hair of a widow and she has to remain so till her death. Also, she is barred from wearing colored clothes, attending social functions, etc. Why the poor lady has to be abused in this fashion for no fault of hers?
There is a practice of lighting the traditional lamp, breaking a coconut, etc. If the coconut does not break in a particular fashion, it is considered a bad omen. The list is endless.
It is rightly said that change is the only constant. So, it is high time the mindset of the people also changes. The various types of traditions were started by those belonging to previous generations who were uneducated and were in the dark about the mysteries of nature. In the absence of inquisitiveness, no one bothered to ask why and how.
So, some practices were blindly followed and passed on to later generations. Now science has unraveled many of nature’s mysteries and man has increased his knowledge to a great extent.
Therefore, we can definitely do away with the so-called traditions of which mainly Indians are so much proud. Rather it is a shame to follow all these meaningless traditions. Tradition is undoubtedly an enemy of progress.
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