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Preserving our heritage: Saving our essence

Preserving our heritage: Saving our essence

Modernization in Nepal has influenced youth participation in traditional cultural traditions. The interest among youngsters in old cultural practices seems to be waning. We are thus perhaps on the cusp of letting our stories and traditions fade away. Aaradhana Shrestha of ApEx spoke to three people to find out how modernization has affected Nepali youth interest in traditional culture, and how we can preserve our cultural heritage.

Lalima Shrestha, 29

Modernization has led Nepal’s youth to feel disconnected from their traditional cultural practices due to increased exposure to modern influences through new media and technologies.

To preserve and promote Nepal’s rich cultural heritage among younger generations, we must first recognize this issue ourselves. Then, we need to make young people aware of their cultural roots in a way that sparks their curiosity. Instead of forcing traditions on them, we should encourage them to explore and discover their heritage on their own.

There should be more opportunities for youth to engage with traditional cultural practices. These opportunities should be presented in an interesting and relevant way, so young people will want to participate and continue these traditions in the future. By making cultural practices appealing and accessible, we can help ensure they are preserved for generations to come.

Prajal Shrestha, 27

Modernization has significantly impacted traditional cultural practices among the youth in Nepal. Many young Nepalis prioritize higher education and better job opportunities, often leading to a detachment from their cultural identity. The trend of moving abroad for better prospects further exacerbates this issue.

To preserve Nepal’s cultural heritage among the youth, we need awareness programs, media campaigns, cultural education in schools, and celebrations of cultural events. Government bodies and cultural organizations, like Guthis, should actively involve youth in cultural activities. Engaging platforms such as workshops, traditional music and dance classes, and heritage tours can deepen their connection to cultural practices.

Local communities can organize cultural events and festivals that encourage youth participation, and mentorship programs where elders teach traditional practices to younger generations can also be effective. Leveraging digital platforms to promote cultural heritage can attract tech-savvy youth. Creating engaging content like documentaries, blogs, and social media posts about cultural traditions can be helpful in reaching a wider audience.

Birsana Shrestha, 25

Modernization is seen as a symbol of status. It’s perceived as being forward and progressive. Modernization in itself is not an issue but the expense it comes at often makes it an issue.

In the process of catching up with global trends, our cultural practices have been cornered. From my observations, and I’m not generalizing, youths are alienated from their own culture, as if they are disconnected from its stories. We are expected to act in a way that pleases our market system. The purpose of our culture has changed.

Cultural organizations can initiate gatherings where they can discuss things about our culture. For instance, the writing center of Thames International College organizes a ‘Heritage Walk’ where participants visit heritage sites with experts and learn about their stories and significance. This could be one strategy.

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