Upholding the Responsibility: Preserving and Transmitting Cultural Values to the Next Generation

By Dr. Raju Debbarma

Cultural values are a series of beliefs, principles, norms, ideas, practices and social conducts that are deeply ingrained in a culture or society, passed on generations to generations by our ancestors. It acts as the vein and way of life in the society binding people together.

However, in an era of globalization, rapid scientific advancements and modernization, cultural values are fading slowly. Therefore, the duties of the present generation to preserve cultural and traditional values for the next generation have become more crucial than ever, especially among the minority indigenous tribes. As we are at the critical point of the past and the future, it is our responsibility to ensure that the rich tapestry of our cultural heritage or immaterial possession inherited from ancestors is not lost, but rather, passed down intact to inspire and guide those who will follow in our footsteps.

The essence of cultural preservation lies in understanding the significance of traditions and customs that have been nurtured over centuries. These cultural elements not only connect us to our roots but also provide a sense of belonging, identity and unity. It is the duty and responsibility upon the present generation to engage with these cultural practices actively, gain knowledge or skills about the historical context, and share the wisdom with the younger generation. Therefore, one of the essential duties or responsibilities is to act in protecting cultural values, safeguarding tangible and intangible heritage, and maintain it in museums, archives, community libraries and cultural institutions as these play a pivotal role in preserving artifacts, documents, and stories that conserve our centuries rich cultural heritage. Besides by supporting these institutions and encouraging young people to visit and learn from it as culture is learnable, we can ensure that the legacy of our culture is protected for future generations.

Cultural values should not be disregarded as the consequence of losing it are profound and far-reaching, impacting not only the identity and belonging but also its sense of unity, resilience, understanding and loss of intergenerational connection etc.

It is also not just about cultural preservation; it’s about sustaining living traditions– this involves passing down rituals or spiritual values, languages, folklore (stories, proverbs, riddles, songs), folk dances, music, attires, foods, crafts, kinship values etc., and other forms of skill and artistic expression. Therefore, the present generation must actively participate in and promote these practices, ensuring that they are not merely historical relics but living, breathing aspects of our lives.

Most significantly transmitting cultural values to the young generation requires ‘a delicate balance between tradition and adaptation’. While it’s important to preserve core values, it’s equally essential to ‘acknowledge the evolving nature of society with time and make the necessary adjustments.’ By engaging in open conversations and creating spaces where dialogue with young generation can flourish, we can help bridge the gap between different age groups and ensure that cultural values remain relevant.

Currently many of the other lifestyles are being adopted without knowing how good it can fit into one culture; this can cause identity crisis in the future. Thus, a balance adjustment is necessary as ‘identity can survive when while appreciating the complexities of a globalized world still maintaining one unique cultural values and heritage’.

In the age of globalization, the digital realm also offers unprecedented opportunities for cultural preservation and exchange. The present generation can leverage technology to preserve cultural practices, heritage and traditions in the form of digital document or archive or library, documentary, podcast and share it through social media and online platforms, that will not only reach the young generation but also help transcends geographical boundaries and reaches a wider audience.

As cultural values act as the bond of unity and treasure of society, the duties of the present generation to preserve and transmit cultural and traditional values to the next generation are both a privilege and a responsibility. By actively engaging with our heritage, supporting cultural institutions, nurturing living traditions, facilitating dialogue with young generation, promoting cultural education (integrating cultural education into school curricula, higher educations and community programs can help young people develop an appreciation for the rich cultural heritage), and harnessing digital tools, we can ensure that the vibrant tapestry of our culture continues to enrich the lives of generations to come. Those who values and carries the sense of pride in own cultural values to the future have the true patriotism for culture or society.

Educators and families have a significant roles and responsibilities in preserving, promoting and transmitting culture values and heritage to the next generation.

The fate of next generation depends to a great extent on decisions and actions taken by the present generation.

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