Though the plethora of cultures and languages may have qualified India for the sub-continent status, the citizens are singly recognised as Indians abroad.
Obviously, the richness of traditions for which India is held in high esteem worldwide could be preserved for posterity only if the future citizens are made aware of the various facets of cultures, right from cuisine, dress pattern et al.
Deliberations on the theme: Know Your Country, conducted for school students through sessions of The Hindu - Newspaper in Education served this purpose. The final of the four modules on the theme: Cultural Diversity, handled by the Resource Person Bhooma Venkatesan for students of Kamala Niketan Montessori School recently provided an opportunity for the future citizens to know more about music, dance, festivals, languages and costumes of the people of different States. Students divided themselves into six groups discussed among themselves State-specific cuisines and recipes.
They understood how a common festival has different interpretations in different States and the modes of celebrations.
Three preceding sessions put students in the right frame of mind to sail through the final module. The first: Economic Development of My City, focussed on gaining a deeper understanding of the immediate environs, and the second on locally prevalent traditions exhorted students to develop an urge to preserve the cultural identity. In the role play during the second session, a student had to brief another about the spots of cultural and archaeological significance in and around the city.
The third module was a platform for students to narrate their experiences while travelling in train from one State to another.
They described the variations they found in the cropping pattern, dress, language, and in the celebration of festivals. A quiz on the topic: Pride of India, containing questions on the scientific contributions of Indians to the world, the places of architectural significance and other questions that contribute to India's uniqueness also formed a part of the module.
The ultimate purpose, according to the NIE Coordinator Radhika Vijay was to make future citizens proud of the country. An understanding of the various cultures of the country is what provides the fitting identity to Indians abroad, she said.