Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Observing Indian Culture and Traditions
Yesterday morning, I had the pleasure to partake in a daily Indian custom with the secretary of the Ek Koshish team! Every morning, when people make "Roti"(traditional Indian flat bread, similar in shape to pita bread, but much thinner), the very first roti that they make is supposed to be saved for cows and bulls, who may come by the house in the morning. In case a cow or bull does not come by during the day, they save the bread for the next day, as I found out after having asked the question. A cow or bull doesn't usually just eat bread that someone holds up to its mouth: A person must affectionately offer these creatures the bread, while petting them and tenderly interacting with them. As cows are considered to be the archetypal mother-symbol in India (because it freely gives us milk, just like our own mothers did), Indians say that they offer cows and bulls this roti as a part of their spiritual duty, or "Dharm". As I learned more about this tradition while speaking with the rest of the team with Ek Koshish, they explained that there is another tradition they follow at the end of the day: The very last roti that is made at night, is to be saved for dogs. In feeding dogs, we play our role in society by keeping in mind to help the needy and hungry, a responsibility called "Karm." Though these words Dharm and Karm have very profound meanings, through this way every morning and every evening we remember that there are two essential types of obligations that we have as human beings: those to our mother, or more broadly, to the one who created us, and those to our fellow brethren.