I am Indian, and Bollywood does not define my culture! — The North Star Project Reports, sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal. By Srijita Kar
Since I came to the US, on multiple occasions I have been asked, “So do you have elephants walking around on the streets?” or “Do you actually start dancing wherever, whenever you feel like it?” My usual response is a polite no or a hearty laugh. I am pleased with people’s interest in learning my culture, but Bollywood does not define it. Just like Hollywood’s extreme action scenes, Spiderman’s existence, and remakes with newer, more unrealistic enemies,Bollywood is also just another entertainment industry. If people realize that what Hollywood offers is fiction, why stereotype other film industries? We don’t have millionaires and billionaires at every tenth step. We are a developing country with the second highest population in the world and a very high poverty level. I was once faced with the statement, “I love how they make everything so dramatic! All the crying and dancing and love scenes….” No, that does not happen in real life. No, we don’t always wear such gorgeous and heavy attire and jewelry. My culture is The Ramayana, The Mahabharata, The Geeta, The Quaran, The Bible, The Revolt of 1857, The Civil Disobedience Movement, and Independence Day. It is all the cultural celebrations that we have—Id-Ul-Fitar, Durga Puja, and Christmas. My culture is full of diversity, and we celebrate our culture by celebrating our diversity. The only way to learn a culture from afar is by making an effort to accept everything that it has to offer. Don’t isolate, because my culture is what defines me!
For all of the North Star Project Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/
The North Star Project Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also welcome Duluth East High School, Duluth Denfeld High School, Dodge Middle School and other schools around the world to the North Star Project. The North Star Project has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:
The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Student interns have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star Project students and teachers.
Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to contribute to The North Star Project Reports — HLIANG@CSS.EDU
Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA
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