Modernization: Bringing Change with Preserving Culture

The real meaning of modernization is bringing changes in your day-to-day life with keeping a promise of the preservation of the past. A perfect example of this way of life is Mattur village of Karnataka. A village filled with people speaking Sanskrit as their mother tongue and having almost one IT professional per family. The statue of Goddess Sarasvati in the centre of the courtyard of the village school and the Sanskrit board shows the true meaning of erudition. Keeping one foot in deep-rooted tradition and another with the moving world has given them a lot of benefits like they have the least crime rate and there is no case pending about land dispute.

Almost in all families, the elderly people are also using mobile phones, riding bikes, and wearing jeans and T-shirts in normal life shows that they are moving with the society and are letting themselves ease a bit. In Mattur, there is no restriction between whom can speak Sanskrit and who cannot from a vegetable vendor to priest everyone has a habit of speaking Sanskrit in the daily course of life. There is no person left in a village of 5000 people who cannot understand this language.

The Vedic is taught to young boys from the age of 10 and at local school English is taught as a subject. Gamaka art, the ancient traditional art form of singing and storytelling is also practised in Mattur. Mattur is a closely-knit community and people in this village live in a peaceful environment. People living here are migrants from Kerala, they settled down in a village about 600 years ago. Till 1981 people used to speak Tamil and Kannada and Sanskrit were considered as a language for upper-class Brahmins. Then the priest of the local religious centre asked the resident to adopt Sanskrit as their native language.

If you make a visit to this place you either need to learn Kannada or Sanskrit, many of the tourist people take a translator with them. They often use Sankethis, a combination of Tamil and Sanskrit. The primary work in this village is to do cultivation. The teacher of the local school said that from the age of 10 students are taught shloka chanting which improves learning memories, because of the power of memorizing most of the students who became software engineers and are working abroad. Still, to do the main ritual on occasions these are called back to the village.

Everything in this small village seems to be as pure as white cloth, but it is not. As everything comes with a cost and is this deeply rooted place has its drawbacks. The right to learning and speaking of Sanskrit is given to every human in the village but getting the knowledge of Vedas is given to only boys of Brahmin Family.

There are a lot of drawbacks from society as the difference between young and elder is huge and to be on the same page it needs time. An experience shared by one of the software engineers was that he took a friend of his from north India and his mother got upset from his and she didn’t talk to him till his friend was in their house. They don’t believe the people from north-India are worth spending time with.

Another aspect is that the difference between rich and poor is huge. According to Vedas, the ritual of marriage should last for at least 7 days. All the rich people of the village enjoy the seven-day long feast program but for the poor, it is a burden as if they don’t perform a seven-day long ritual, priests scare them with the fact that in next life they will be having problems or god will get angry on them. There are strict rules for inter-caste weddings. In 2013 it was the first time when a boy from this village broke the rule for getting married to with-in the caste. People of the village have stopped visiting his house and most of them were not participating with them in any ritual.

When this question was asked by the youngsters why they don’t let themselves change the answer was common from most of them. They all were scared that the god might get upset with them. Another reason that came out from them was that they might get thrown out of the village. The boy who got married in 2013 belongs to a high-class family and dares to break the tradition. If this task would have been performed by someone else from the lower-class the family might have been thrown out of the village.

The Older generation of that village needs to understand that modernization also says that we should leave the bad in us and move forward for the betterment of society.

Official Writer - Honey Arora

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