We must strive to kindle unconditional love in every heart!

Bangalore-based decision scientist Alhad Barbadikar gives his views on culture, world and peace.

“I believe that without culture, a person's identity is incomplete. No matter where you are born, you will have some linking with your culture, maybe the accent, the dance style, your perception, your thoughts process and perhaps the way of life. There will be a little part of culture imbibed in your personality and it will live within you. There is a possibility that in our quotidian life, we maybe not be aware of its presence, but come to think of it, if not for your culture, had you not grown up in those surroundings, you would be a different person,” says 22-year-old Alhad Barbadikar.

Currently settled in silicon city Bangalore, Alhad works with Mu Sigma as a Trainee Decision Scientist. But this introduction, he says, remains incomplete unless there is a mention of his hobbies, watching Game of Thrones, eternal love for ice cream and listening to music. Alhad is a part of the 65% youngsters of India, but don’t let his introduction deceive you of his thoughts that run deep when it comes to India and world affairs.

“One thing about India that makes me feel proud is the variety of food. Every part of India offers a different taste. A conversation over food becomes a memory and when we look back, memories are all that we need. There is a sense of warmth and assurance that you feel when someone offers you food or vice versa,” says the young man, who also believes that food is a just more than a conversation-starter.

Alhad does not culturally associate himself with one region as he has grown up at several places across India and so, has seen India very closely. “A lot of things like the effort that goes into celebrating every festival. But I feel that the enthusiasm and the openness to embrace another religion's festival is lost amidst the media frenzy, which is the outcome of views of a few narrow-minded people and their view gets projected as nation's view. In my strong opinion, India is a progressive country, which embraces every culture and religion in its entirety,” points out Alhad.

It is the youth population’s opinion that shapes the tomorrow of any nation and especially their thoughts on art and culture, which has been uniting force since time immemorial for the world. An upfront Alhad believes that art, culture and music is undermined in his life as he has less time to look at anything else other than his phone screen. “These days artists do not receive their due appreciation despite their constant to keep their art alive,” he opines, adding that for him art and music is an escape.

“I am not an artist or a musician. I can draw stick figures and maybe that is all. But as a viewer, it is very inspiring to look at things from an artist's perspective as it is different from the way you perceive it. I think the beauty in artists lie in how they look at ordinary things differently and make extraordinary things out of it. To look at things differently and to find beauty in the most ordinary is something that only art and culture can do. This exchange between the viewer and the artist helps in development of an individual, making him more open-minded,” opines Alhad.

In my strong opinion, India is a progressive country, which embraces every culture and religion in its entirety.

Apart from a conversation over food, Alhad thinks that exchange of culture and music can connect people too. Culture can play a potential role in helping the world, which is divided over region and religion today, unite. “Culture plays an important role and helps a person to go beyond the physical appearance of others. Only culture can help people overlook skin colour, accent and attire of others and unite them to learn more about each other’s world,” says Alhad, emphasizing on the need of exchange  of different cultures around the globe and across the borders.

The same culture and art that can unite the world, however, finds less takers among the youngsters and Alhad says it can be revived only when one starts associating pride with their culture and traditions. “To help preserve local traditions and cultures, one needs to first foster the feeling of pride associated with his/her culture, which is missing in many. Somehow, local traditions and cultures need to appear 'cool' for youth today. Some of them are embarrassed and some do not care. I believe to preserve it, we must start from the childhood. In children, we must create the feeling of pride and the adults who've got off this train will look at their kids loving their culture and probably fall in love with it all over again,” affirms the young man.

He also highlights how technology can help in cultural exchange, but in the same breath goes on to add that it is technology that we need to cut down on. “I'm not saying that technology can't help, but I feel the need now is to promote social interactions, cultural festivals and exchange of actual stories rather than forwarding the same old message of things that make you proud to be an Indian. Promoting debates, conversations, sharing old cassettes, books and seminars will connect and help in the long-run,” Alhad says.

One platform that can give the boost to cultural festival is the World Cultural Festival and Alhad believes that if you can't sing or dance, then you should be out there appreciating someone else’s efforts and celebrating their talent. “I will probably be the guy clapping like a crazy person at the Art of Living’s World Cultural Festival,” beams Alhad.

High on positivity, yet sensitive to worldly issues, one world family is also not a far-fetched dream for him as he says that it means unconditional love. “Just love in everyone's heart towards another without jealousy, hatred or bias is what we need to pray for,” he adds.

Ask this youth from the best available things on the planet, what will he choose if he had to make his own world and quick comes the reply, “I wouldn't take anything away from what the world has now. I don't know what the best things are or if I'll be satisfied with them. Perhaps, I wouldn’t mind non-fattening, tasty ice-creams if available in any part of the world.”