Allah mentions in various verses of Quran to travel the different places and localities to see and learn from what Allah created and demolished in past. the travel brings the people to the close of other cultures that holds the diverse creation of Allah and being familiar with such culture, the ‘Eman’ of the Believers increases and nod before almighty and submit themselves with great respect and gratefulness. In that sense, cross culture is also a way of knowing the almighty Allah. Kim Ann Zimmermann in his scholarly article says that “culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music, and arts” i.e. Western culture, Eastern culture, Latin culture, African culture, Asian culture etc. in order to define the culture, the inclusion of “time” is necessary. In general, culture is dynamic since we use the term “modern culture” and “antique culture or old culture”. Due to technological advancement, people are habituated with using the new technology that ultimately forces to change the shared patterns and behaviors of individuals.
If we think about just the 15 years before when there is no “Facebook” in the world or no any social media in the world. How were the people on that time, how could they communicate with each other, what were the fashion and style they used? In Bangladesh, before introducing Facebook or social media people were using the government post services to communicate with each other. Every house had a note book where they wrote down the addresses of their relatives but now there is no more use of post services to express love, affection or emotion. Culture also represents attitudes, believes, goals and practices of different societies, communities and nations. Every society, community or nation has their own cultural values. Culture is long aged legacy or product of the “history” of a particular community. But nature as well as history plays an important role in framing the cultural values. Natural settings and history in the world are different from one region to another. Suppose, African people living in desert or forest can barely cultivate the food and get the pure drinking water. But they adapted themselves with these natural settings. They are accustomed to the foods which they find from nature.
Historically, Europe has long coffee culture. In Germany, coffee shop is available everywhere. Even though coffee shop sells out tea but people don’t call out it’s a tea stall. In Bangladesh, small tea stall is a common feature. These tea stalls also sell out coffee but people in Bangladesh do not call out them coffee shop. We use the term that Europe has “coffee culture” and Asia has “tea culture.” In this era of globalization, people are being closest with each other and experiencing cross culture by online and offline and thus, they can evaluate themselves by the mirror of other cultures and can overcome the narrow-mindedness. It is difficult to understand other persons because of different accents of speaking. Some faces difficulties to understand how to overcome the difficulties since language is the surface of understanding a culture. Nevertheless, people can understand the others if they couched with other culture not understanding their language. To travel in foreign countries, to participate in seminar or conferences and to participate in cross cultural events are some means to understand other people.
The problem and prospect of cross culture are many. It is well known that stronger always dominates the weaker in the exchange of cultural values. Moreover, inferior complexity is another cause for being dominated by other culture. So the motive of cross culture should be to accept those values which will enrich native culture, not demolish, or deform the very nature of indigenous culture. In order to not to feel inferior, one needs to know the emergence of his own culture. Bengali culture, more specifically ‘Bangladeshi Muslim culture’ has its long and rich history, which as a Muslin we shamefully do not know at all since we have been being dominated and tortured in terms of education, language, belief, culture, traditions for long 190 years by the British. Now we have been disconnected with our culture and thus, accepted British culture as a sign of progressive culture comparing to our own culture. Now we wear shirt instead of ‘Panjabi’, cap instead of ‘tupi’, towel instead of ‘Gamca’, tight jeans instead of ‘Payjama’, scent instead of ‘Ator’, rock song instead of Islamic Nashid like Nozrul Songs and thus, we have replaced foreign culture instead of our own, which is not our own cultural symbol. Similarly, our family and social norms have been broken down. Now offspring do not respect their parents, Youngers do not respect elders or aged persons, no one hears or feels the call or necessity of one’s neighbors about whom Mohammad (pbuh) said that I was in fear whether Allah makes the rights of the neighbors mandatory. So before going to meet with other culture, first responsibility is to restore the lost own Islamic cultures which had been being practiced in Muslim period consistent with Islamic principles. Use cultural signs and articles in our daily life and make it as mainstream culture of the country. In order to do that, we need to pickpocket the hesitation and to be confident in using or practicing these cultural as well as Islamic signs. Since family is the second smallest but strongest unit of the society, which plays like the pillar of the society and individual as brick, we need to reestablish long practiced Islam oriented family norms where children will be grown up in an Islamic environment, elders will be respected and so on. Then we need to take all initiatives to promote our cultures among the other people utilizing the technological advantage. Unless and until we cannot hold our own culture, such cross culture will never bring any good result for us.
The writer is a post-graduate student of Technical University of Munich, Germany.