While having breakfast my wife and I were discussing how Punjabis are always proud of their culture, their language and their religion, especially people who actually speak Punjabi on a day-to-day basis, and especially Sikhs. Then my wife narrated an incident when she had met someone from U.P. who had gone to extra lengths to explain that although she belongs to a village in U.P. she has been living in Delhi since childhood and she has totally forgotten how to speak Bhojpuri, her native language.
I have personally seen people very proudly saying, “I can’t speak much Hindi”. This is also manifest in the way they use an anglicized accent while talking in Hindi or even singing Hindi songs. It’s jarring.
Punjabis on the other hand feel ashamed when they say that they don’t know how to speak Punjabi. They proudly speak their language and whenever they are in the world, they are proud of their village, their culture, their way of life and the way they dress. A Punjabi feels embarrassed when he or she cannot speak good Punjabi, rather than feeling proud.
Does it have to do something with the religion?
You will very rarely find a Punjabi making fun of his or her religion. Among Sikhs it’s blasphemous to joke about the 10 Gurus. They are so serious about their gurus that they cannot be depicted in movies. I’m not saying this is wrong or right, but somewhere it has an impact. If you go on the path of not being too uptight, you cannot draw a distinction between good, healthy fun, and total nonsense.
Look on the other hand how Hindus treat their religion. Their “elite” and their “secular” are constantly deriding their own culture and their own roots. It has become a fashion to say funny things about Hindu gods and goddesses. Recently I was watching a Hindi movie on one of the TV channels and the way the caricatures of the various gods had been portrayed was utterly repulsive. I do have a sense of humor but I couldn’t stand such revered figures such as Shiva and Brahma gyrating around scantily clad apsaras, or prancing around assuming crooked postures. Blame me of orthodoxy, but a free for all attitude is self-defeating.
There is a reason cultures and religions survive for thousands of years. Even Islam, despite being so violent and destructive, has it’s peaceful and progressive sides, and not every Muslim has been forcibly converted into Islam. Hinduism, on the other hand, has no such violent history. Of course it has been violent to its own people due to its caste system but nowhere in history Hindu kings have mounted attacks on other countries due to religious hatred. So why so much derision?
It is because of an inveterate sense of inferiority complex among Hindus that makes them criticize their own religion. Don’t mix analysis with biased and senseless criticism – as an intelligent person, you can easily make out the difference. Every religion evolves. Every religion has darker sides. As you progress, we change the way we follow religious practices, but it doesn’t mean that you have to deride your religion to show how progressive you are. When you do that, you actually show how intellectually, culturally and morally inferior you feel.