The Mirror of Society: Culture

Culture is the mirror of society that reflects the inner entity of a society and it vary from society to society and also generation to generation. It is the unique characteristics of a society. According to Tyler Culture is a complex whole which includes knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, law, customs and any other capabilities acquired by man as a member of the society. It is the sum total of a given societies way of life moulded and shaped by prevailing circumstances and environment (Brown, 1990). Culture is a collective term for socially transmitted behaviour patterns.

The culture of a people is what they perceive, the way of life, the things that they give value and also they don’t, their habits, life styles, the work of art that they like and do. But in present day we have seen the continuous degradation of our culture by which our own existence is at a stake. We are losing our own essence of culture. Due to rapid progress of scientific inventions and technological innovation man becomes more lazy and they are forgetting their own cultural entity.

Advancements of comforts in life has reduced conscience of man. Therefore they are gradually adopting others culture which leads to the advancement of material aspect of culture rather than non material aspect of culture.

Education is the process by which our cultural heritage can be transmitted. It is the powerful instrument by which the culture can be purified, transmitted, sustained and nourished. It is the tool by which cultural change can be met. Education can impart knowledge, training, and skills as well as inculcate new ideas and attitudes among the young generation. That’s why one of the major aim of Education is to protect and glorify the cultural heritage of one’s society by originating the seeds of culture in students character. In this case Teacher plays a vital role in the making of an individuals entire life.

They can deliberately transmit their cultural heritage, accumulated knowledge, values, and skills from one generation to another generation through providing righteous Education and also cultivate the seeds of dynamics of change and thus can keep pace with the changing world. Thus this paper elaborately and critically attempts to deal with the role of teachers to preserve and enrich the culture through education.

INTRODUCTION

Culture refers to the patterns of thought and behaviour of people. It includes values, beliefs, conduct, and patterns of social, political and economic entity. These are passed on from one generation to the next by formal as well as informal processes. Culture consists of the ways in which we think and act as members of a society.

Thus, all the achievements of group life are collectively called culture. In popular parlance, the material aspects of culture, such as scientific and technological achievements are seen as distinct from culture which is left with the non-material, higher achievements of group life (art, music, literature, philosophy, religion and science.

Culture is the product of such an organization and expresses itself through language and art, philosophy and religion, social habits, customs, economic organisations and political institutions. People and culture are inseparable since there is no denial of the fact that what makes any human society is its culture. For a society to be societal it must be cultural ,therefore, society and culture is also intertwined.

The culture of a people is their identity as it affords them due recognition. It is their underlying distinguishing factor from other peoples and cultures. In fact, all societies across the globe have various and divergent cultures which they cherish and practice. Nevertheless, no two cultures, when juxtaposed are absolutely identical.

Culture is the soul of a nation. On the basis of culture, we can experience the prosperity of its past and present. Culture is the collection of values of human life, which establishes it specifically and ideally separate from other groups.

Indian culture is an invaluable possession of our society. Indian culture is the oldest of all the cultures of the world. In spite of facing many ups and downs Indian culture is shinning with all its glory and splendor. In ancient Indian culturewe had the ‘Gurukula’ system of education in which anyone who wished to study went to a teacher’s (Guru) house and requested to be taught.He was treated as ‘God’ – ‘Brahma’. Guru was one who gave ‘Mantras’.

He showed ‘shishyas’ the right path of life through his vision and dedication. If accepted as a student by the guru, he would then stay at the guru’s place and help in all activities at home. This not only created a strong bonding between the teacher and the pupil, but also helps to build the parent teacher relationship among them. ‘Guru’ taught the student everything about running a house, (Gupta,2016). The guru taught everything the child wanted to learn.

The student stayed as long as he wished or until the guru felt that he had taught everything he could teach. All learning was closely linked to nature and to life, and not confined to memorizing some information Indian Education system during vedic period had given due importance to the teaching of‘values’ to the children.

Untiring efforts by some Indian sages and Seers of that time had developed priceless heritage of Indian culture that continued till the end of about 16th Century. After arrival of British Raj, the aim of education underwent a complete change. The British rulers needed clerks to run this country. So they developed a system of education which could produce people to do clerical jobs for them and nothing more.

British rulers were also responsible for demolishing Indian Centres of value education like Nalanda University etc. Our today’s education is proved failure in nurturing our ancient culture & values. Values are deeply rooted in our heritage & Culture. Any culture is identified by its values only. Our Indian culture is recognized worldwide unique because it is blossomed values. For example in Hindu’s perception there are four primordial embodiments- Dharma, Artha, Kam & Moksha and Five practices- Satya, Ahinsha, Astaya, Aparigrah, & Brahmacharya.

Concept of culture

The English word Culture‘ is derived from the Latin term “colore” meaning cultivating or refining practice, cherish and worship. In sum it means cultivating and refining a thing.The definition adopted by the World Conference on Cultural Policies (MexicoCit y, 1982) considered culture as ‘the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterize a society or social group’. It includes modes of life, traditions and beliefs, the arts and letters, while incorporating in its value system the fundamental rights of human beings.

The culture of a country is not confined to scholarly culture, but also includes popular culture. It is not restricted to the heritage, but is enriched and developed through both creativity and memory. A living culture cannot be inward looking; exchanges make it fertile.

According to Tylor “culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, arts, morals, customs, laws and other capabilities which are learned, shared by men as members of society, and transmitted from one generation to another.” Any kind of laxity would result in rapid erosion and disappearance of the uniqueness of the people and their culture. without culture, man is reduced to an animal. Culture therefore has two essential qualities: first, it is learned and second, it is shared.

Culture is a way of life. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the language we speak in and the God you worship all are aspects of culture. In very simple terms, we can say that culture is the embodiment of the way in which we think and do things. It is also the things that we have inherited as members of society. All the achievements of human beings as members of social groups can be called culture. Art, music, literature, architecture, sculpture, philosophy, religion and science can be seen as aspects of culture.

However, culture also includes the customs, traditions, festivals, ways of living and one‘s outlook on various issues of life. Culture thus refers to a human-made environment which includes all the material and non material products of group life that are transmitted from one generation to the next. Material culture consists of objects that are related to the material aspect of our life such as our dress, food, and household goods. Non-material culture refers to ideas, ideals, thoughts and belief.

Culture is the expression of our nature in our modes of living and thinking. It may be seen in our literature, in religious practices, in recreation and enjoyment. Culture varies from place to place and country to country. Its development is based on the historical process operating in a local, regional or national context.

For example, we differ in our ways of greeting others, our clothing, food habits, social and religious customs and practices from the West. In other words, the people of any country are characterised by their distinctive cultural traditions. Culture is essential to our humanness. Culture provides a kind of blueprint or map for relating with others. Culture supplies standardized formulas for dealing with various critical situations.

Cultural development is a historical process. Our ancestors learnt many things from their predecessors. With the passage of time they also added to it from their own experience and gave up those which they did not consider useful. We in turn have learnt many things from our ancestors. As time goes we continue to add new thoughts, new ideas to those already existent and sometimes we give up some which we don‘t consider useful any more.

This is how culture is transmitted and carried forward from generation to next generation. The culture we inherit from our predecessors is called our cultural heritage.Culture is liable to change, but our heritage does not. We individuals, belonging to a culture or a particular group, may acquire or borrow certain cultural traits of other communities/cultures, but our belongingness to Indian cultural heritage will remain unchanged. Our Indian cultural heritage will bind us together e.g. Indian literature and scriptures namely Vedas, Upanishads Gita and Yoga System etc. have contributed a lot by way of providing right knowledge, right action, behaviour and practices as complementary to the development of civilization.

Culture is closely linked with life. It is not an add-on, an ornament that we as human being scan use. It is not merely a touch of colour. It is what makes us human. Without culture, there would be no humans. It gives us meaning, a way of leading our lives. Human beings are creators of culture and, at the same time, culture is what makes us human. A fundamental element of culture is the issue of religious belief and its symbolic expression.

The need for coexistence makes the coexistence of cultures and beliefs necessary. We have to know other cultures, while also getting to know our own. The three eternal and universal values of Truth, Beauty and Goodness are closely linked with culture. It is culture that brings us closer to truth through philosophy and religion; it brings beauty in our lives through the Arts and makes us aesthetic beings; and it is culture that makes us ethical beings by bringing us closer to other human beings and teaching us the values of love, tolerance and peace.