TRADITIONALISM VERSUS MODERNISM
Traditions continue for a long time till they are checked by some modern trend. The old tradition is taken over by a modern tradition. This too grows old after some time and a new one replaces it. Thus all new traditions are the result of modernism. There is a tradition of burying the dead in a graveyard among Christians. The tradition has been continuing for two millenniums. Of late some people did not favour it. Instead of buying in U.S.A. they started cremating them. New types of crematoriums came up. These are multistoried graveyards having thousands of urns. You may chose one and keep the ashes of your dear one in it for as long a time as you pay for as rent. After some time some again came back to the old tradition. In Kerala the Christians started a new modern tradition. Instead of keeping flowers on the grave they would have flowery plants all around the grave. Thus the graveyards became flowery graveyards full of fragrance a healthy modern tradition was established.
There are some evil traditions too e.g. the tradition of Sati in Bengal and Rajasthan. But such evil traditions are controlled by modernization thought and ideas. Modern education played a big role. Where people are not educated the old traditions continue. In many villages and even cities, widows are turned out of the house in Bengal after the death of their husbands. These widows still go to Vrindavan, Varanasi for away from touch of modernism.
Modernism is based on scientific researches. In the field of transport and communication one hardly finds bullock carts, roaming on the roads. Trucks, cars, two wheelers have replaced then altogether. They can still be seen the rays of the sun. Where modernism has not seen the rays of the sum. There was a tradition of sending messages through pigeons. Modernism peeped in and it was replaced by postal services long back. Then began the tradition of telegrams and telephones- a modem trend of that age. But it continued as a tradition for a long time. It has now been replaced by cellular phones and computers. Dot com is the latest modern device of sending letters.
There was a time when many diseases, traditionally were considered incurable. Modernization entered the field of health care too. Malaria and dysentery were traditionally not curable. Modern medicines have rooted them out. Except AIDS and certain types of Cancer almost all the diseases are curable. Modernization has entered the health care in a big way. Heart and kidney can be replaced. Bypass surgery of heart has become common. Escorts and Apollo Hospitals are not limited to Delhi and Chennai only. They have branches in other cities too. But traditions too have not disappeared in this field certain grandmas prescriptions are still there. The Ayurvedic and Unani systems go along with the modern allopathic and homoeopathic ones. The village ‘jhad phunkwala’ can still be seen curing the ignorant villager-even city dwellers.
There are certain areas where modernism lags behind traditions. One of them is dowry. Even highly educated people believe in this tradition.
Another tradition where modernism has not entered is priesthood. In all the professions women have been given equal rights. She can become Managing Director or head of a joint stock company. But she can’t be the head pujari of a temple, a Shankaracharya, an Imam of a Masjid, a Bishop, Cardinal or Pope, Modernism has not touched this field. Let us hope that this leaf of tradition will also be torn off and women will be at par with men in handling the places of worship too.