The statement by Gandhi, “do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any,” is quite important for people in many different ways. It suggests that Gandhi was open to the people of all cultures but would not have any culture taking over his own.
There are very many things that one can take from the statement. It can be as straight forward as it is talking about culture but it could as well be symbolic in many different ways. The wave of Islamic regime revolutions is here and many nations are going in support of rebels especially in Libya. This statement is quite important for leaders. It could be that they can tolerate the revolutions and even offer their assistance to the civilians of these nations but being drawn into a war in ouster of the leaders of these nations would be unacceptable. For instance, leaders cannot just sit and watch the regimes of tyrants like Muammar Ghadaffi waging a war against its own people but going to war against Ghadaffi would not be good for these leaders as they would be putting more people in mortal danger.
However, I would like to take the statement as literally as it is. With the development in technology and the world becoming a global village, different cultural experiences have been brought to the people via the internet and by immigrants. This suggests that there are those cultural practices in china that will be brought to Korea, Korean cultures taken to America and all. Note that by following the statement by Ghandi, each individual is expected to respect the autonomy of the cultures of other people but never let the influence of this people and their cultures draw them away. For instance, there has been development of gay and lesbian relationships where some cultures have accepted them while they are still considered abomination in most other parts of the world. Gandhi’s statement would suggest that in as much as we can tolerate those cultures in our society, we should also try much not to find ourselves trapped into those cultures as in so doing we will be failing in our morals and personality. According to Ghandi, one should be able to hold their principles and their cultures.
Balance was what Gandhi was referring to when he made this infamous statement. It should be noted that to coexist peaceful in the world today, the world must be ready to cope with each and everyone’s culture. In accommodating these cultures, some of which are not compatible with the cultures of other people, it must be a personal initiative for each person to see to it that they do not lose their culture to the new entrant. For instance, as an Asian living in America, I would expect people in America to respect the autonomy of my culture but would be disgusted if the people took over my cultures and ditch their own. I would not also in my position favor the cultural practices I found in the united states over my own culture. This is because in so doing I may not be true to my heart and my traditions.
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Long standing conflicts that have happened over generations between nations and clans rose because there was disrespect for the autonomy of the cultures of different people. For instance, there has been a war between Palestine and Israel for as long as can be remembered. This emanates that they had disrespect for the religious practices of one another and therefore the failure of this people to accommodate the cultures of their fellow beings. What Gandhi intends to communicate is that all cultures are taken seriously by the people who practice them and failing to appreciate this fact would only result to conflicts. He however cautions that one should not be so fickle that they show too much accommodation of these cultures that they end up getting alienated.
The cultural diversity that we experience should not be viewed as barrier to development; it should be able to strengthen us as human beings. Why Gandhi says that he could tolerate all cultures that exist globally is that they offer peaceful coexistence and being a global village at least any culture will be presented in the community. For instance in our learning institutions there will be people from china, others from Korea, Japan , some from Nigeria, Kenya, others from Madagascar. All this, will have different cultures that will be integrated in one community, the university. Since people must coexist peacefully in the university, they will have to learn to accommodate the cultural practices of the individuals. It is important that each person identifies the cultural practices of each other and still ensure that the cultures of this people do not influence their own.
Additionally, it is possible that Gandhi was speaking metaphorically. Suggesting that we should not stuff our windows and walls, it could be that he meant change. There is always a fact that we should welcome any change that comes to our life which could be quite important in strengthening our lifestyles. Change that comes along has the propensity for having an effect in all areas of our lives which includes our cultures. That we should be open to change but not let the change sweep us off our feet is very important. There are those changes in life that will change who we are and what we believe in. such changes should not be allowed to affect us as individuals but should be able to positively influence. Never should we let any change have a negative effect on our personality.
The intercultural communication according to the statement by Gandhi could be confusing as in one hand it tells about integrating into other cultures but still on the other hand it warns against abandoning ones own culture. It is however not as tricky as it sounds because the statement emphasizes what is most logical and more importantly in the present day. Due to different cultures in different parts of the world and globalization, there has been an extension and exposure of different cultures in the society and since this people will need to relate together in order to have mutual benefit, Gandhi saw that developing an intercultural communication between this cultures was the only way in which people would grow and benefit with one another.
There is one important thing that comes to mind when this statement is made. It brings all negative cases of prejudice, racist statements, discrimination and all. This is because people who have these negative attitudes not only fail to tolerate the cultures of other people but also cultivate their own strong opinions of the said culture without necessarily learning about it. In short, they let themselves be swept away under their feet by the fantasies they create. What Gandhi stated was basically to avoid such cases where a culture or a community is judged by the actions of a minority of their community. For instance, the war in Iraq has been blamed on America by many Iraqis who were loyal to Saddam Husain but basing this it would not be good that they view every other American as the cause of the war and therefore bad.