By Bavna Achayya
Progress: We progress every day, progressing exceeding the expectations we set for ourselves. Building bridges; man on the moon, life in outer space, robots to replace man’s best friend.
Despite all this progress, life throws at us simple questions, a way of living, a lifestyle choice. There is so much we are born into, a family, a religion, a culture, customs and a sense of belonging even. Of this, how much must we keep and live by and how much is better forgotten?
We educate so we have thinkers and not blind followers. Ones we believe to be rational enough to make the right choice for them-selves.
But then rises the question of how much is this a decision of self. Inter caste marriages: an un-ending, un-dying battle, so much more in the kaleidoscope of cultures called India and well so much more in the little heaven of Coorg.
We Kodavas battle every day, the battle between personal choice and a race to protect. A race whose culture is so varied and so fascinating and almost unheard of in the many corners of the world.
Does intermarrying dilute this amazing culture or does it only add to a stronger gene pool and build the race further? These are qualms we battle with everyday. Constant intermarrying among a small race is known to put an end to many exquisite races.
Isn’t it then unfortunate that the stories of many lost races remain untold? Would marrying among other races, have saved them and let them live another day to speak the tale?
Well then, must we as Kodavas be more open to strengthen our race and our gene pool and thus open our closed circle to the many others out there. Or does this cause the absolute dilution of all we believe in and do we see our rich heritage being washed away?
When asked to write of Kodavas inter-marrying, I found it hard to take a stand. It was more like an open ended debate forming in my head with counter arguments on both ends.
But I do strongly believe that progress we must, and the narrow road to progression comes from the freedom of self expression. Promoting growth while imbibed in the many threads of a rich culture we are born into. To hear the folk songs my grandmother sang me fade away, would be a sad story. But change is the only constant, said someone dear to me once, and the thought has stuck on. As the world moves, we must move with it and allow the colours of our rich tradition seep among those who walk with us.