Apart from being serene, peaceful, and rejuvenating, rural India can teach us a lot of things about life. Here are a few things, among many others:
1.Ethnocentrism vs. Cultural Relativism
In sociology, ethnocentrism occurs when we use our cultures to judge or measure the worth of other cultures that may be different from ours. Often, without meaning to, we in urban India do this when it comes to rural areas.
Compared to this, cultural relativism is the act of viewing and understanding a culture from its own eyes. Travel to rural areas ultimately helps us to be less ethnocentric and more accepting of the ways of a different culture, especially in a country as culturally diverse as India.
- A Need for Environmental Responsibility
Rural India, being largely agricultural and often even subsistent, relies heavily on nature. There is little overconsumption and often a reverence for nature among tribes and villages that is missing from urban India, where too often goals of profit and industrialization for ‘progress’ overlook the necessity for sustainability.
Visits to rural India can wake cities up to the reality that we can survive, and even be happy by having just what we need. Even more so, travel helps us understand our carbon footprint and how on any level we can reduce it and make many lives better, especially lives that depend on nature for their survival.
- Learning and Acculturation
Acculturation is, in sociology, the inevitable exchange that occurs when two cultures meet. Rural India can definitely benefit from many of the comforts created by industrialization. However, we have a lot to learn from village life too. Many skills to do with agriculture, sustainability and sometimes, even subsistence, can be taught to us by those who do much of this on a daily basis.
- Collectivism vs. Alienation
Often in industrial setups and large cities we are alienated, individualistic and disconnected from the world save for anything that goes on online.
The collective culture of small villages and tribes help us form a bond with the people around us, and viewing interdependence in a completely different way. You may end up personally connecting with your neighbours and even those whose services you employ, forming a primary group with face-to-face interaction rather than only a cold, contribution and work-based secondary group.
5.Finding Comfort in Discomfort
Learning to step outside the comforts of urban life and facing the hardships of rural life really helps us value the contribution of rural India. Among other things, living without Wi-Fi, bathtubs, and colossal malls is a lesson in humility, learning to accept and adapt to discomfort. Living without the often-inane luxuries of cities can help us get rid of being (overly) entitled and uptight about many things and instead learn to be patient and go with the flow.
Yashvi is a cat enthusiast whose talents (sometimes) lie in writing and having an insatiable wanderlust. When she isn’t reading in her room or sitting by the sea, she studies Arts at St. Xavier’s College (Mumbai). She is a lover of learning, travel, poetry and languages.