Worldis like a garden brimmed with various kinds of alluring flowers (ethnicgroups). Everything belongs to one garden, it doesn’t mean everything is same; everythinghas its own unique quality within them i.e. everything is divergent in nature.Same way human beings are same as a species, but they diverse in colour,personality, physical appearance and most importantly culture. Cultural diversity cannot be explained in a single term,it can understand only by complex and it has been measured through generalizationof an individual, group, family or community within a society based on therace, language, dress, gender, sexuality, food and drug , religion, traditionsand local patriotic sporting, nurturing or hunting affiliation. Cultural diversity makes every country richer by makingit the most interesting place in which we live.
Plurality of culture plays avital role in dress, food, art, literature, language, religion and the way ofliving of people in National culture. India is the perfect example; in India weprefer western wears which are much more comfortable than our traditionalwears. We use pants, shirts, skimpy nighties and even foot wears which is basedupon the other cultural context.
Foodhabit plays a vital role in every country. Food habit of people differs fromeach other according to their climatic and body condition. Even though theimmigrants, migrants from different parts of the world accepts the food of thehost nation some prefer their customary food. But now both the Indian immigrants and the Indian citizens in US enticetowards the western food habits. Now in India we make our food much moredelicious by adding Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, German, French andAmerican food and its flavours. For the past few decades the Americanrestaurants like Dominos, McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut sprouts every nook andcorner of the world and providing all junk and western food.
Those restaurantscreate a complete reformation in the food habit of other nation. The taste budsof Indians too stick to the flavours of them.Languageboth reflects and shapes society. Culture shapes language and then languageshapes culture.
Little wonder that the words we use to talk to each other, andabout each other, are the most important words in language: they tell us who Iam, they tell us who you are, and they tell us who ‘they’ are. —RosalieMaggioLanguage plays a vitalrole in every culture, language and culture are interconnected. Scholars believe thousands of languagesspoken by people today are developed from few common languages. When peoplebegins to migrate throughout the world, to contact with other groups theyformed different languages. Like language art also varies from place to place.For a ceremonial dance, West Africans carve a mask out of wood and decorate itwith copper, early American Indians used to wear ornaments made out of seashells, feathers and animal bones all over the body. People made their art muchmore creative and imaginative out of local resources. People of different nation attempts to fix their roots inany place wherever they go they adapts its climate, food, culture, values andpolitical policies.
Cross-border population flows through migration andimmigration, this leads to increase diversity in societies. This diversity orplurality often refers to the existence of disparity of behavior, traditionsand customs. According to the US census bureau, the 2009 population in Americawas:· 80% White· 16% Hispanic or Latino Origin (may be ofany race)· 13% African American· 5% Asian· 1% American Indian/ Alaskan Native· 0.2% Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander There are many ethnicgroups in US, due in large part to its immigrant population; each of thesegroups contributes to America’s cultural heritage. From African Americans toRussian Americans, the US is one of the most diverse nations in terms ofculture. US got the 85th rank in the list of countries ranked byethnic and cultural diversity.
InChandrakant Yatanoor’s India’sContribution to American Heritage, he illustrates that cities like NewYork, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas has the largestconcentration of Indian immigrants. Each city has more over 150,000 residentsof Indians. Among other cities New York has the largest of about 250,000Indians.
The Indians settle in different cities as, large office going people,some sprout up everywhere to sell saris, every fifth doctor, every thirdcomputer expert, every fifth engineer and motel owner are Indians. Informationtechnology has its firm root in California. It has the greatest population ofIndian millionaires than anywhere else. Being the brainy people Indians hasumpteen numbers of opportunities in US. Cultural diversity leads to the country’s workplaces andschools incorporate with different culture, race and ethnic groups.
The peopleof National culture can learn many things from ethnic groups; this will help usor the people of Nation to understand different aspects within the world inwhich we are living. Cultural diversity makes every country much stronger andimproves them to compete in the new global economy. It also brings thepiecemeal change in language skills, advanced way of thinking, creative andpractical solutions to arduous problems and negotiating skills. Every good thing has its dark side; cultural diversitytoo has its own darker side. It is often said that immigrants poses a culturethreat to National identity.
Immigrants have their own histories, customs,traditions, values and ceremonies. They come and settle in the host nation withall those values imbued within them. The citizens of host Nations feel thatimmigrants abduct their job opportunities and poses security threat.
The trustupon immigrants and migrants is contracted. Inevery country the citizens sees the immigrants as parasites which benefits uponthe host nation. Everytime there is aproblem in workplace between the citizens and the immigrants. Citizens of theparticular nation often complaints that immigrants steal their job opportunitiesmost probably the immigrants become the higher officials in most of theworkplaces. This diversity also arises social tension, for instance in Europethe tension between the minority Muslims and the secular majority community isfrequently attributing the contrasting Islamic and secular values.
Thediversity of culture leads to various problems, the impact of alien culture ismuch worse than other social issues. The intrusion of alien culture leads tocultural crisis for generation to generation the impact is increasinggradually. The reformation of culture happens everytime with the nationalculture and also to the host or the sub culture and also in language. Theyounger generation fascinated towards alien culture, the impact is seen in theway of life, language, religion and cultural values. This novel Portable Roots depicts some of theproblem which arouses from that impact.
Gowri is the main character who is thechild of Tamil family who born in US who is fascinated towards alien culture(US culture).Gowrisays that:Inall my American friends’ homes, it doesn’t matter how rich they are, husbandsalways help their wives in the kitchen, do the laundry and all the choresthemselves in a natural way. But that never happens in Indian houses. (PR, 68).The mindset of youngergeneration changes when they introduced to new culture. Nowadays husbandsalways help their wives in the American way. In one or the other way it helpsto refine the host society.
But the true nature of culture begins to fade away.They begin to question every cultural aspects and norms. The language alsofades away along with culture. For instance, in India the native language isinflected and the patriotism upon language is decreasing. Like Latin and Sanskrit other nativelanguages like Tamil, Tulu and Irula are some of the languages considered to bethe endangerous language in India. Now English become universal language, beinginterconnected with culture it entice other native cultures. The trend ofnative language is blown out, only the traces of the native language is foundin India. In this novel Gowri makes fun of the religious belief andthe Gods and Goddesses, she questions her Mom that:Howmany times do I have to tell you not to enter the kitchen without removing yourshoes .
. . “oh shit, come on mother” . .
. “Mom, I have a question. You saythat I shouldn’t wear shoes in this room.
But it’s all right to wear slippers. Whyis it your gods like slippers but not shoes?”. . . “Is Saraswathy only inpaper? Not in other things? You keep saying ‘God is omnipresent. He is in apillar or in an atom.
‘ ” (PR 18-20).Being the Indian Hindu child,who lives in America, she often pronounces “Jesus” rather than Hindu Gods. Thiskind of cultural diversity creates tension and confusion between the orthodoxparents and modern children. Because of this diversity the concept of dating,choice of choosing life partner are prevailed in India.
The number of divorce has been increased.