E-Pao! Essays - Indian Children's Choir And Its Culture Shock

Indian Children's Choir And Its Culture Shock

By L. Keivom IFS(Rtd) *

Much has been said about the ICC Tsunami. While the issue evoked a lot of reactions, some vested interests meanwhile are also trying to take advantage of the situation by attempting to inveigle the ICC authorities into shifting their operation in Mizoram. Remsang has put forward some practical suggestions, which, I believe deserve serious considerations.

However, even the remedial solutions we are putting forward are rather a repairing exercise, a case of closing the gate of a fence after the mithun jumped out of it's fold. The best policy always is: “Prevention is better than cure”. Unfortunately, even after much discussions, many of us still miss the real issue at stake.

First, the problem which people in foreign service are bound to encounter is CULTURE SHOCK which is, according to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, confusion and disorientation caused by contact with a civilization other than one’s own. When a person lives in a more advanced country, he comes to realize the abysmal gap that exists between his own position and those developed people.

He then hankers after those higher values he has never experienced before. When he fails to get those things, which he cannot afford to do so, a sort of discontentment is then implanted in his mind. The higher he hopes for, the greater is his discontentment. The root of his discontentment is thus the gap between the things he hankers after and the reality he is actually in.

If you want to make a very happy village boy miserable, take him away and put him at a luxurious place for sometime and then send him back to his original place and the boy will never be the same person again. Since you take away from his world of Eden, you can never restore the same world again to him. This is the chronic problem everyone in the Foreign Services has to confront with.

Secondly, when a boy or a girl lives in a more developed country, he tends to look down upon his own culture and land. This is the case even with adults also. This new experience inbreeds in the minds of a boy a feeling of inferiority complex, which is one of the most dangerous mental diseases. But at the same time, the boy tends to have superiority complex among his fellow beings who has not yet experienced what he has got in advanced countries.

In this way, he enters into two contra posing situations - that is, a drama of falsehood. As a result we have come across quite a good number of boys and girls who have lived in a foreign country for a short while, yet failing to enhance their real personal self or personality at the cost of losing their own self. Even in our own society, we come across many educated fools amidst us who have been educated in different educational institutions of the country, not to speak of foreign countries alone, who appears to be all knowing, speaking fluent English, having imbibed, in short, bourgeois values and yet fearing to lose their make- believe reputations.

They also think that the job they can get is below dignity. In short, it is these people who are incapable of adapting themselves to their own society. If people in foreign services and their children cannot avoid this CULTURE SHOCK, less is the chance for the ICC children to be free from this shock. Rich parents of these children will have fewer problems, but poor parents’ sufferings will be insurmountable.

It must be remembered that the effect of culture shock is not a one-day affair but it has a life long impact. The long-term impact of culture shock, particularly on those children who are in the process of impressionable age is much more crucial. It follows them throughout their life like a shadow and can even result in mental imbalances.

Sudden change, howsoever well intentioned it may be, often results in mental disorientation and imbalances. Many of the social ills we have been experiencing in our own society can also be attributed to the sudden changes that had been brought about with the coming of Christianity and the inroad of materialism. If we have to reform our society, we much first of all diagnose the cause of the diseases and imbalances in our society. If we can direct our present discussion on the ICC towards achieving that objective, it will be really appreciable.

Among the participants in our discussions, I may perhaps be one of the few who had eye-witnessed experiences about the ICC activities in the US. In 1990, we were invited by Pu Rochunga and his wife to visit them and see their ministry. It coincided with the visit of the first batch of the ICC in the US. We stayed there for about one month.

As a matter of fact, we also witnessed some of the singing ministries of the ICC in some churches. The objective of the project is no doubt good. But what we are concerned here for is the long-term chain reactions and psychological impact on the young minds. Needless to say, the ICC is not free from this danger.

In order to save Delhi from repeated onslaughts of foreign aggressors, Muhammad Bin Tughlak shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad in Central India thereby causing untold sufferings to the people. His idea and objective was beyond questionable. But he failed to fully comprehend the impact and untold hardships his project would cause; and later historians gave him the title “The Wise Fool”.

The impact and repercussions of the ICC on the young minds of children must be analyzed in this context and fresh re-examination of the whole issue should be done. If the long-term demerits of the project outweighs the temporal benefits, then it must be given up.

L. Keivom IFS(Rtd) writes regularly to
The writer can be contacted at
This article was sent by Isaac L.Intoate < >
This article was webcasted on 02nd February 2005.

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