Motown Blues

As I sit down and wait for the summer to unfold, images pass through my head. India is a country of cultural diversity and Delhi being its capital should imbibe it. Even though we have places like Delhi Haat, which brings cultural milieu to the table, yet, to a distant visitor, it may look as a strange coincidence brought together by effort and not in harmony with the city at large.

Culture is an effective medium when the surrounding architecture and people conjure up predefined images in context. A cultural landscape is an amalgamation of people, who belonging to different cultures are willing acceptors of other people's culture also. So, when this happens over a long period of time, what evolves is a cultural hub, a different entity in itself and somewhere within this amalgamation the distinctive identity of individual cultures persist. This add 'zing' to the experience.

Take Argentina's capital city 'Buenos Aires' for example. The city has settlers from Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Poland, Ireland, France, Croatia, England and the Middle East. They all have survived and prospered here. And, in some measure, this amalgamation has endured on to become a distinctive entity, which adds 'zing' to the experience of a distant visitor. They also call 'Buenos Aires' as the city of 'Good Air'.

Come back to Delhi now and think! Do we match up to 'Buenos Aires' in the cultural context? Some may say yes, others may disagree, but here more than ever, a clear heart is required to take a side. Even though, as much as I may admire my country and its culture, there are gaps which are hard to ignore. Delhi, with is impressive architecture is an enduring image to every Indian, but... to an outsider, this image stands for everything else, that may not be Indian (also in the cultural context). Delhi has grown up to be a monster in the business sense, and the old ways are fading fast, and culture, is an abrasive import of the american type. In short, Delhi is culturally empty soul.

When, a city or for that matter any living thing which survives without a soul, then its a machination personified. Though Delhi, is yet to to reach that distinction in full degree, surely its catching up fast. So, when we think of marketing this country's cultural heritage to the world, lets first get the capital ready, so that, when that distant visitor lands in the city, the 'zing' is strong enough to get him going around the country. Otherwise, the USP may exist in our mind, but would be hard to differentiate on the ground for that distant visitor.

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