Friday, August 6, 2010


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 13; the thirteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

There was a congenial time long ago when people – specifically the elders of eastern communities – heartily believed that their revered lifestyles and established practices would be relived and continued throughout the subsequent generations, by their own off-springs. Unfortunately, such a belief lasted only for quite a bit and later came the era of some absurd fashions which foolishly happened to be asinine mixes of both the west and the east. And now, I take you on a journey which – after much introspective thoughts – I have earnestly named Goodbye to the Eastern Traditions.

Before completely diving into the details, I would like to sincerely point out that the usage of the term “eastern” refers to both the countries – India and Pakistan – which are considered extremely wealthy in terms of renowned traditions. Most of Pakistan’s traditions are a variation of Indian traditions since both the countries were one unit in the olden days.

One doesn’t necessarily have to probe into the lives of overseas citizens of one’s country in order to examine closely the dire effects of western culture, primarily because such predominant changes can be seen in one’s own country as well – at least to some extent, if not completely. The newly initiated plethora of fashion shows marketing the desire for skimpy clothes, unyielding penchant for purportedly wanted and fame-causing western lingo and many other recently founded trends have proved sufficient enough to lead eastern youngsters to straw away from their defined traditions.

As for some of the youngsters who have moved outside of their country, – in an attempt to acquire degrees from renowned universities and attain a strong standing in terms of job search – they inevitably turn out to be inexplicably confused as to which way to pursue; either to westernize themselves to be welcomed or to retain their traditions and feel singled out. A simple moderation between the two paths is a notion which is mostly overlooked by many folks. The trend of fitting-in in foreign nations is apparently a major reason why much of the young souls feel alienated and impatiently look for ways to overcome such torturous emotions.
Shalwar kameez or Saris notably replaced by either highly altered forms of eastern dresses or skimpy clothes such as low-rise jeans and low-cut tops, traditional greetings replaced by derogatory short slangs – family traditions, praised cultural aspects; everything gone, and thus we say a Goodbye to the admirable practices which branded the eastern part of the hemisphere as eastern.

One can’t fail to notice the massive number of people who deem other cultures – specifically the western culture – much appreciated and desired, as compared to their own ancient eastern culture. Some of the western folks find our eastern cultural practices – such as magnificent weddings, astounding dances, vibrant clothes – much to their liking, but a few of the easterners mostly tend to thing otherwise. And thus, we come to a point in time, where we can see a sudden decline in the people who actually followed such traditions and possibly a disappearance of the renowned beliefs – or significant alterations changing them considerably. Let’s just hope the young generation of today realizes the notable significance of the eastern traditions before there happens to be a complete Goodbye to them.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.


Jaspreet said...

A unique take on goodbye!..liked it a lot. I too find it disturbing when people look down on their own culture and try to find faults with the system of their respective countries.I mean,they just don't have the right to criticize when they,themselves, are not ready to be a part of the system and when they,instead,prefer fleeing to some western countries blaming it all on the 'unfair practices' or 'lack of opportunities' back home.
Very well expressed!All the best!

R Zaib said...

Thank you for your comment Jaspreet. I am really glad you found it to your liking. And you are wholly right with your explanation..completely agreed. Best of luck to you too! =)

Komal Ali said...

Beautifully put. :) Acted like a mirror to the youth of today.

R Zaib said...

Thank you Komal. I'm glad you liked it.

theBollywoodFan said...

As others have noted, I really appreciate the intent behind this post. The identity crisis that accompanies a move to any land outside the native is inevitable, especially if it's a move for education, during the formative years and as our ideas and ideologies are being shaped. We can relate to that, certainly.

I've always been a fan of the middle ground. I'm very desi in my personal life, but very American in my professional life. (Just based on what I've seen of supposed 'professionalism' in India and Pak, I think I'm better off that way. :D) There's much to appreciate in every culture, and I think it's good to try to buy into the goods and shun the bads. (And the goods and bads are subjective, too, of course, but you get the point.)

Having said that, I agree that the trend we witness among South Asian immigrants in the west, or even among those in South Asia (and in many other parts of the world, really), to almost blindly assume that 'western is inherently better', is absolutely disturbing. We have such a rich culture, with so much that's so right (e.g. religion, teachings of role models from recent history, e.g. Iqbal/Gandhi) to guide us, a greater percentage of rational minds would have collectively done a *lot* more with it all than has been managed. (Particularly in Pak, but it's not like Ind isn't suffering within, either.) I do worry about what our generation will be like 10-20-30 years from now. It's scary.

But that's probably the history of the world anyway. Question is: What do/can we do about it?

Apologies for the long comment and the occasional tangent. :)

R Zaib said...

theBollywoodfan - I really appreciated the detailed and concerned comment. Many folks have forgotten about their renowned traditions mainly because they harbor a misconception pertaining to the west being extraordinarily desirable and prosperous. Current disasters occurring in South Asian nations (especially Pakistan) due to fickle governments are also contributing to such notions.

That's a tough question. As far as American desis are concerned, I think many might be attracted by the desi events and thus they should be held more often.

As for the people residing in Pakistan/India, they should cater to their traditions and be thankful of having a chance to make use of them fully as overseas residents can't really follow them; and therefore need to blend in the two cultures.

Having a middle ground, like you said, can wholly make one adapt to the western modernities, as well as keeping a firm hold on the eastern ones.

Sidra Sayeed said...

many many thoughts race through my head as I read through your post. You've brought up a number of issues - the east west paradigm, confused identities et all. Your post warrants a full fledged discussion on the issue as one thought or comment from my end will not suffice.

Nethra said...

Hey, that was a very thoughtful and thought provoking post. We are indeed saying goodbye to our culture, which we should not be doing.

Vee... said...

The strength of your post is the sincerity with you expressed your emotions on how our culture is at stake. Good job at that.

R Zaib said...

Sidra Syed - I'm glad that my post served as a medium for numerous thoughts to be triggered.

Nethra - Thank you for the thoughtful response.

Vee - A bunch of thanks to you. I'm glad you liked it.

Amity said...

perpetuation is needed, and never a goodbye...

a nice narration this is!

Makk said...

the good come out of BAT is come to see how can a single topic can be seen different lights.


Shahid Mukadam a.k.a Shady West Side said...

it is unfortunate to say the least...but our culture is something i am really proud of....i just hope it translates down to our future generations!

Someone Is Special said...

Hey a very provoking post.. Well done...

All The Best for BAT 13.

Yours Frendly,
Someone Is Special

R Zaib said...

Amity - Thank you!

Makk - Totally agreed.

Shahid - Rightly said.

Someone is Special - Thanks! All the best to you too. =)

Vipul Grover said...

Hi Zaib, its nice to c a Pakistani-American participating in this Blog-a-Ton; it being dominated by Indian and NRIs's..

As u have mentioned here, Indian and Pakistani cultures are basically same, so its easy to empathise with wat u'v written nere.. I am really impressed with the depth of ur thoughts and agree with most of ur notions.. U have brought out the dilemmas really well..

Welcoming u once again to BAT, keep participating :)

gkam said...

Very thoughtful post raising alot of issues.
Very nice!
ATB for BAT13
Gkam - Goodbye

R Zaib said...

Vipul - Thank you for the sincere and thoughtful comments. I really appreciate it.

gkam - Thank you. Glad you liked it.
Best of luck to you too.

Gyanban © said...

It s my first time reading thoughts of a regular Pakistani bloke in the blogsphere.
Your article is well written - well constructed and articulated.You deliver your ideas about the culture conflict and the erosion clearly.I liked the way you have presented your thoughts.

To me, culture is independent of a constant definition. Culture is what people make of it at that point in time.We are no one to govern/dictate whether a low cut top is unacceptable or not.

It s simple you know. A cultural norm is an oxymoron. Simply because we cannot make a rule and dictate everyone to follow it.It must be a mass consensus. There are about 6Billion people across the one has the same fingerprint,path or life.

Everyone is unique and in this day and age needs to live the life he or she wants to live taking full responsibility of success or failure thereof.While this might not be possible at all times,but certainly the endeavor should be in that direction.

Give you an example. In our parents generation,say 70's/80's bell bottom trousers were
the in-thing.A few decades later it is no where to be seen.Now should the flag bearers of the bell-bottom philosophy impose or dictate on our generation that we must wear bell bots or else...? I guess not.

Now think about the year 2030 for example. The new fad could be wearing jeans only on one leg.! So the same set of low cut ugly bum exposing loving people,might feel highly offended and complain how culture, jeans in this case, has eroded.!! Will they be able to convince the mass in 2030 that low cut ugly bum exposing jeans is the best thing to wear?
I guess not.

Likewise, what we feel right today, might become wrong tomorrow.What we consider an ultimate truth today might become false tomorrow.Such is life, and history is replete with instances to that effect. India and Pakistan are the greatest examples of this.

What was once a single dream for thousands of years is a harsh reality now of 64 years.

The idea is to find a balance.No form of extremism is good for any one in this planet - whether it is about a thought,action or culture.Not once dare I say it is easy.But it is the right least till the current mass consensus lasts.!

Ubaid said...

LOVED the post...

R Zaib said...

Gyanban - Thanks for the detailed reply and a unique set of thoughts. You are right about finding the right balance in order to avoid extremism.

Ubaid. Thank you for loving it. I'm glad you found it to your liking. =)

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