Cultural Identity Formation

Identity is not a role and is often confused as one. As Kakar clearly states identity is not a garment that can be put on and taken off accordingly; a man’s identity is a vital part of his culture, it makes him recognize himself and be recognized by others. He goes on to argue the difference between those born into a particular culture, average age 20. They will never acquire a full understanding of other cultures. The possibility of fluidity and changing identities in adulthood are limited. Our identity is stabilized before we even have the choice to identify it as an essential part of our identity. As for Indian-ness, it is produced by similarities created by Hindu civilization that contribute to a cultural gene pools of India’s people. The ideology of family, view of social relations influenced by the caste system, image of human body and the bodily process based on medical process Ayurveda, and a cultural imagination shared with myths and legends are also major influences in the procedure of shaping one’s Indian identity.

India has curated several branches of beliefs that deeply internalized subjectivity of identity formation. The web of family life is the base of formation. Bollywood movies have shown Indian families to be large and noisy; with aunts, uncles, and grandparents and parents all living under one roof. Researchers have proven this to be unlikely. The ‘joint’ family feature that is so intertwined in the Indian culture has to do with ideals of fraternal loyalty, obedience and common social and ritual activities. Family occupies a much greater space among Indians unlike European and Americans where there is only parental influence subjecting their inner lives.

I relate with the Indian identity because I have many similarities among my own cultural background. Having influence of American culture where much emphasis is placed on the single partnership of the parents guiding the way for their child, as well as Spaniard influence where family is the major factor in the shaping the child’s life. Although there may be a disconnect in the child’s life where he may have to move away because he has reached adulthood and must study – there is never full detachment from the family. In the Spanish culture that child’s home will always be there, his family will always be there for support and vice versa. The child is to return home to his parents, and under that umbrella are his aunts’, uncles and grandparents patiently waiting with open arms to congratulate him on his highest achievements.

Christa Rodriguez

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