[Amiya Ranjan (1967- ) is a freelancer with a penchant for incisive exploration into the world and the affairs around him.]
East and West Fusion Culture
CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA AT LONDON - an east and west dilemma
CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA AT LONDON
(an east and west dilemma)
writer: AMIYA RANJAN
East is east, West is west and I don’t know which is the best. East obviously refers to the geographical location of countries east of the Prime Meridian and likewise west. Geographical distances notwithstanding, the cultural differences galore and a whole gamut of platforms where there are distinct differences. History certainly has a major role to play in what the countries stand for today.
Sensibilities of people in the east and west offer a wide chasm. There have been periods in history which have tried to close this gap but the basics remain intact. Over period of time people have adopted or adapted “ëast” or “west” as per conveniences. East and West Fusion; one could find in India. The fusion of civilization, culture, food and what not. We have even adopted language which was hitherto alien to us say 300 years ago. The education system, the system of measurement, length, the list is almost unending. Similar has been the case of west which now uses “jungle” for forest and “dacoity” for robbery. Chicken Tikka Masala is almost the staple food in Great Britain and probably eaten more in that country than India. However, there would be more men and women wearing western attire in India than the Europeans.
The fusion has found two distinct views that west has corrupted the essence of the eastern sensibilities that India thrived on. This has found wide support from the right- wing political leanings. The other argument cites the development of industries, railway, motor, education system to support their claim in favour of the western influence. Notwithstanding both these arguments what is there to stay is the fact that East-West fusion is something which has become so ingrained that it is difficult to extricate the strands of what is east and what is west.
There is nothing wrong or right in the fusion of east or west. What is not correct is the hegemony of one over the other. Take for example the Gregorian Calendar system that we use. It would require major revamping if the decision is to adopt the system of “Panchang”. It would topsy-turvy the whole system. Both the calendar systems co-exist and have different set of functions. The traditional auspicious dates and ceremonies are based on the traditional calendar system and for all other practical purposes use of the Gregorian Calendar is convenient. The beauty of the whole system lies in its co-existence.
Civilizations have thrived and developed on adopting things new to their sensibilities and the transformation happens slowly. Sometimes things change dramatically, sometimes it is slow or adopted in parts.
What started as Gondwana Land has been divided into parts known as east, west, north and south. The very fact that one does not understand is that it is not the one-upmanship of east or west, but civilizations have thrived taking something of this and something of that. Had this not been true then I would not have been sitting writing something on east or west fusion, but sitting under the sky counting stars wearing not a jogging pants but I do not know what?
Let us accept the fact that east or west is not something to be differentiated but is part of the wider world. Things change according to the local sensibilities, conveniences, practices and availability. Human Beings have learnt to best utilise these resources to develop a unique identity of the area that we call east or west. We cry the same way, laugh the same, feel hunger pangs the same way etc, etc… . I would end with the analogy! Fails me, I would end with the famous lines
“Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth”
Hope I have ended appropriately.