Time for Hyderabad to Protect its Culture – Lessons to Learn from Switzerland
Hyderabad is the only city in Andhra Pradesh which has good cosmopolitan culture. The natives of Hyderabad replicate its culture, through the way they think, with their cosmopolitan outlook, broad-mindedness, civic sense, professionalism, courtesy and above all, their merit-driven mindset.
If we look at the current situation in the city, majority of the population is recent migrants, mostly from different parts of the state and also from other parts of India.
Nothing wrong with people coming in Hyderabad city and settling down. But, the real issue is arising when people from other places, instead of adopting the city culture, they are continuing with their own village/town cultures, stubbornly sticking to them and following them even after relocating to Hyderabad city. They even try to change everything around them to ensure things are similar to their village/town. They stay only in the areas which are similar to their native places. They even socialize with groups having their kind of mindset.
If this kind of people increase in number, the ratio of people in Hyderabad city with cosmopolitan nature will soon come down and thus degenerate the cosmopolitan Hyderabadi culture. In this context it is worth looking at one of the world’s best country – Switzerland and the way it protects its culture and heritage by being very particular about continuing its destructive country personality.
Switzerland – A multi-cultural, multi-lingual country
Switzerland is a multi-cultural and multilingual country. It shares borders with four different nations – Germany, Austria and Lichtenstein, Italy, and France. Thus, is influenced by diverse cultures. Similarly, it has four official languages – German, French, Italian, and Romansh. It also has multiple religions. Most people in the country want to preserve their national culture.
Now that it is clear that Switzerland has a unique culture, let us see what it does to protect its culture.
The Swiss way of protecting its culture –
Special authorities to protect its cultural heritage – Government directly involves in protecting the culture
- More than 980 museums to preserve and display the intangible cultural heritage
- Biggest Swiss National Library with a collection of more than 5 million documents
- Federal control over media broadcasting
- 193 newspapers that signify the diversity of the country
- 11 UNESCO world heritage sites
- Getting Switzerland citizenship is not that easy – Swiss doesn’t allow people from other countries to become its citizens easily; they have to integrate in Swiss community, get used to Swiss way of life.
- Not part of European Union despite being located at the centre of Western Europe Swiss doesn’t want to lose the traditional character of its people which could be influenced by the free-flow of foreigners in to the country.
Switzerland is clearly superior to other countries
- Leading the world in science
- Only country with nearly 3 Nobel Prizes per million people
- Has world’s top 3 most livable cities
- For decades Swiss had the world’s highest GDP per capita
- The world’s most sportive nations, receiving more Olympic medals
What to learn from Switzerland?
Switzerland as a country has a culture and it is paying enough attention to protecting its culture and therefore its competitive situation. Clearly, they are performing much better than many of the larger and more powerful countries. Similarly, every city has a culture. Pune, Mumbai, Newyork, London, etc. are different cities across the world but each has its own culture. Having a culture is not great but protecting it and passing it through generations like what Swiss is doing is required for the advancement of civilization.
Hyderabad too has a good cosmopolitan culture. For decades it has been a melting pot of different civilizations. It was ruled by different people like Quli Qutub Shahs, Nizams, French and British. All these influences shaped Hyderabad with a unique and interesting culture.
But today, many migrants, who have a ‘don’t care’ attitude for Hyderabad culture are coming in to the city. Some people who get good jobs are appreciative of the opportunity, for vast majority of immigrants, it is an easy route out of their village/town in search of a ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme. Those who get good jobs in the Hyderabad city look at it only as a commercial place to get good career opportunities; they do not appreciate the superior civilisation and culture. These people are creating irreparable damage to the culture of the Hyderabad.
We can also see huge number of people migrating into suburban areas of the city and creating an inferior versions of city. You can see a lot of activity in such areas – new buildings, shopping malls, hotels, etc. True, they may have big fancy buildings and wide roads. But what is really missing is culture – refined, intellectual and cosmopolitan people. Remember, it is easy to construct buildings, but it’s not easy to create a good culture.
What we are seeing today is not at all appealing. If Hyderabad had been this way at the start, then by 1950s itself no one would have wanted to stay in Hyderabad. People who came in 1950s talked about the good Hyderabadi culture. Then came people in 1960s and said good things and that is how the city kept on growing based on the good experience of the previous migrants. The key thing here is, along with seeking prosperity, people also came to Hyderabad because it allowed them to express their competence and required adherence to broad-minded outlook, civic sense, professionalism and a merit-driven outlook of life. May be it was difficult to adjust initially to this city way of thinking but once they got used to it, they appreciated how it was better than their village/town way of life.
Today, sadly this cosmopolitan culture is under threat, leave respecting it – most new migrants are not even aware of what a city culture is. It is unfortunate, things have come to this stage. Unless we prevent this kind of attitudes in people, we cannot ensure the future of the city.