There is a thin line between tradition and human nature. One is born of the other and vice versa. "I find that many Indian traditions such as respecting your elders is not really a Indian tradition at all. It is just about being a nice person and people irrespective of their nationality will follow it," says author Durjoy Datta. The same is true of traditions related to religions, marriage and how you interact with those around you and yourself. And when a group of people start confirming to the same values and behaving in a similar way, those beliefs and values take the form of traditions.
Not all such traditions are worthy though. If some are born of good nature, others are born of greed for power, wealth or dominance, and need to die an early death. But once they receive the stamp of tradition, it becomes difficult to root them out. Take the system of dowry for example. Legislation against the giving and accepting of dowry and years of social awakening, have failed to wipe out the tradition that is more of a social ill. The same is true of the relationship between men and women in the Indian society. Even as women continue to challenge stereotypes and make their mark in the outside world, the home and nurturing of relationships remain largely her domain. Change in the domestic set up is taking place at a slower rate than in the professional arena. What's more, women themselves often continue to give in to such expectations.
There is a comfort in tradition – change takes effort. It is not enough to break the mould to establish new traditions – one has to assure and convince the others. The transition is fraught with controversies, such as the transition from the marriage system where the family would choose a partner for their children, to one where the person chooses a partner for himself/herself.
Ultimately, it is the belief of the youth, the new generation – their decision to confirm or reject traditions, that decides which ones are to be preserved, and where to usher in change.