Tradition – An Obstacle to Progress?

155685809_568b9616e0.jpgTraditions are essential, for alone our vision is too narrow. Together our vision widens and strength is renewed”. These words of Mark Reed hold great importance in the present day where tradition has, for some, become a barrier in the path of growth and progress.

The dictionary defines traditions as customs, opinions and beliefs handed down to posterity. How ridiculous is it, then, to consider tradition as an obstacle to progress? Tradition lays the foundation of development. How are we to learn from our follies made in the past when we are ignorant of the fact that they were even committed? To evolve as human beings and as a society we need to look at the faults of our ancestors and their hopes that those are not repeated.

Religion is an often talked about issue. Most people follow a particular religion because of what it teaches them and helps them attain. Many people are passionate about their religion because it lends them an identity. However, if it turns to extremism, progress in any sphere is hampered. Respect and tolerance are essential prerequisites for the functioning of a secular society like India. Can we thus hope of being an erudite and holistic race if we shun out traditions followed by others in our society?

Some might say that tradition holds no relevance in the modern day scenario, that they restrict the thinking capacity of people. But, according to me, traditions lend us individuality. They are essential if we have to understand our past any better, because our present is the result of the past. Traditions broaden our horizons and make us better rounded. They lend a broader outlook to our vision for a global village.

An often talked about tradition is of married woman not being allowed to step out into the real world. But the woman today has proved herself by showing that, along with being a homemaker, she can also be a policy maker and not only for the family, but for the country as well. Examples of women like Kiran Bedi and Sonia Gandhi are a case in point.

All traditions require periodic renovation, a search for balance and the graceful acceptance of change. Of course,

if we remain rooted in outdated tradition we are bound to suffer. We, being the most superior creatures on earth, have the onus to absorb the best from traditions we have inherited and mould it to our convenience.

Tradition runs parallel to progress. It is the labyrinth of our development. In no way do they inhibit each other’s growth for both are processes that must be carried forward.

Uttara Balakrishnan

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