As wisdom is passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth, it gives people a chance to make the knowledge that’s shared their own.
While the Western cultures documented their findings, Indians have always believed in the power of the oral tradition. As wisdom is passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth, it gives people a chance to make the knowledge that’s shared their own. Interaction is possible, as well as a healthy interchange of questions and answers. Storytelling was an unparalleled art that harnessed creativity, community bonding and a constructive way to spend time rather than frittering it away on mindless TV watching or playing mobile games. However, over the years, younger generations seldom spare the time to listen. Thus, a lot of the practices that we follow in modern-day India come from a place of half-baked knowledge.
It’s easy to write them off as dogmatic or debunk them. Most of the information we glean today comes from the internet. While it’s fantastic to have access to information in a way that no previous generation ever had, the fact remains that real, local knowledge still lies in the hands of the elders around us. While we Google which vegetables are seasonal, our grandparents can instantaneously tell us! Not only that, but they also know what impact they had on various body parts and what time of the day you should consume which kind of food. Remember the glorious days of summer vacations when grandmothers would line the terraces of the house with paapadams?
The heady aroma of mango pickles and their unique taste in each household conjures pleasant nostalgia. It’s only when they pass on their recipes that we can hope to recreate this feeling. Farmers and artisans seem to have retained their traditional skills better, but in the urban setup, especially in nuclear families, it’s easy to lose sight of our roots and merely imitate other cultures. There is much value to be gained from the legendary and inimitable Indian culture. It’s said that the Mahabharat contains every tale that ever was, is or will be. Imagine the lessons that are folded within those stories! The Bhagavad Gita alone provides invaluable counsel on approaching life. Similarly, the Bible or the Quran, Guru Granth Sahib or Jataka tales.
Studies have shown the societies that give a moral grounding to children from an early age are far more stable and crime-free than those who don’t make an effort in imparting value-based stories. Lessons are learned the hard way in such societies or not learned at all. So why break something that can be easily fixed with a glue called knowledge transfer.
At 2getherments, we bring together people of various generations so that we can all benefit from one another’s experience. For instance, elders could talk us through skills we find challenging today, be it handling money or separating work from life!