When it comes to being ahead of the curve, Bengali families seem to have one naturally occurring advantage – They’re one of the most progressive subsets of people in India. The torchbearers of kalchaar may be a curious lot, and they most definitely have their own hang-ups, but that’s one fact you can’t deny.
While arts as a stream is widely looked down upon, one thing that makes Bong families stand out is their love for the arts and how they encourage their kids to take it up.
Let’s face it, the Indian population as a whole doesn’t exactly value the arts all too much. That’s very understandable, considering the utilitarian necessities of our society and resources. But there’s always space for creativity, and most Bengali parents would never deny that.
An affinity and ability for music is instilled in us from a very early age. Growing up in a Bengali household, music is inculcated. Music is celebrated.
We grow up learning Rabi Thakur’s music, we’re regaled with stories about his genius from every imaginable relative, and more often than not, there’s at least 1 instrument and five able singers in the house. With such a rich upbringing, it’s easy to get why most Bongs have some intrinsic musical ability.
There’s a stimulating culture of debate among the Bong fraternity. The adda culture teaches you from a very young age to be inquisitive, to have your own individuality. It teaches you to accept other peoples points of view.
Chai aar adda. What else is there to say? Issues ranging from the PMO’s policies to the presence of belly button fluff are discussed over hot tea and Marie biscuits. This culture of debate lends itself to a more tolerant and aware state of being.
We take great pride in Satyajit Ray, which helps instill a healthy love for good cinema.
Masterpieces like Pather Panchali and Ghare Baire, which every Bengali has seen, help shape a person’s taste in film. It helps us understand and differentiate between good cinema and bad.
Thanks to a legacy of historic reform and of questioning societal norms from the likes of Raja Ram Mohan Roy and the Tagores, the position of women in Bengali society is slightly better in India, at least in terms of the urban population.
Problems like dowry and the looming presence of arranged marriage are a lot less prevalent. Obviously, there’s always pressure to get married from the older folk, but Bengali families as a whole are a lot more lenient when it comes to it compared to the rest of India.
Every single Bengali household has a stacked shelf of books.
Growing up with books in every corner, as well as at least one avid reader constantly around, you tend to develop a love for literature (not the Chetan B kind).
All of these factors combine to create a more progressive, tolerant and unprejudiced familial environment. One filled with love, chai and Tagore.