Be Your Own Aesthetic

These are my opinions on the matter and are not meant to be taken as maxims.

We are Generation Z Indians, born between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s. And we have an issue at hand- romanticization of the West.

Ever felt conscious of your Indian accent when talking to someone with, say, a British or an American accent? That’s a very small result of how toxic mainstream youth culture is to us. We’re constantly exposed to instances that glorify everything that’s from the west and downplay anything that’s our own. We all know that one friend who goes to New York for a week and comes back with a terrible, terrible fake accent. Being able to speak English is considered to be synonymous to being considered “cool” or “smart”. We take turns to make fun of our friends’ mispronunciations, as though English is the only language we’ve ever had in our country.  We all know people who wouldn’t ever hesitate to trash talk our societal rules, our traditions, our ethics.

The point I’m trying to make here isn’t really nationalistic, in the sense, I’m not trying to persuade you into thinking that India is incredible, and everything Western is evil. In fact, there truly is a lot wrong with traditional Indian values. They’re misogynistic, prejudiced, bigoted, and often plain racist. But it is our moral obligation as the first proper “woke” generation. Being the first cohort to be born and raised with the internet at our fingertips, we are exposed to more information than ever before. We are exposed to different cultures, with different value systems that we can learn from. And we must use this to forge our own identity, our own aesthetic. Having a more open-minded mindset than previous generations, we morally obliged to cultivate our own culture and do away with all the practices that have no room to exist in the 21st century.

But we cannot do any of that if we do not appreciate everything that we already are.

For example, I’m tired of seeing Indians on sites like Tumblr and Instagram romanticising Pizza like it’s the most god-like food on the planet. In my own experience, people would pick a steaming hot bowl of butter chicken and naan over pizza any day. That’s an oversimplification, true, but it’s still symbolic to how we’re messing up our own culture by not being true to ourselves. We constantly try to be something we’re not- the more “foreign” something is, the cooler it is.

I really hope I see the day that teenagers of our generation are true to themselves, their roots, and their culture, because there’s nothing our world needs more than ORIGINALITY.

-Aryan Nair

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