by Sultan Ahmad
Culture is a very complex and dynamic subject which has many dimensions to it. Ranging from the day-to-day life matters to attitudes, behaviors and ofcourse the religion, traditions, customs, language and values, culture is in a way our second skin which cannot be ignored. Culture in a sense evolves through a process and gets hatched in a particular society where people develop their traditions, customs and life style according to the emerging situation, however the values remain intact. Cultures have strong value systems which have certain meanings for the people around. This is what makes cultures so unique and important. It is important to notice that there are different cultures having their own distinct identities but they also share certain values and beliefs with other cultures. This brings us to the idea of multiculturalism which is an emerging field of study and research. How to create an enabling environment for different cultures to survive in a particular society is the test of multiculturalism. This requires a set of knowledge, skills and attitudes required to understand one’s own culture and others so that one is able to tolerate other cultures whilst practicing his or her own culture. In modern terminology the ability to do so is called cultural competence. Developing cultural competence means discovering a whole lot of knowledge about various cultures which have either been misunderstood or ignored because of various reasons. By the way much of discussions and deliberations are done in the West with regard to the cultural competence and multiculturalism for obvious reasons of growing immigrations from different parts of the world mainly South Asia!!
With this little background, I would like to raise some questions for discussions and debate:
1. Does culture really matter for us in a global society? If yes How
2. What are the core values that make our culture unique?
3. What are the key dimensions of culture which are at the verge of extinction?
4. What are the major forces that affect our culture in positive or negative ways.. media??
5. Is there any need to study, preserve or protect our culture, if yes how?
6. How do we see our cultural identity and what needs to be done to protect it?
The contributor is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Professional Communications from at the Royal Roads University, Canada. He belongs to Chipursan, Gojal.