Nowadays, we seldom feel the need to explore our heritage, be it national, cultural, linguistic, or religious. We have all but forgotten (or at least chosen to forget) that our heritage forms the core of our identity since it is both rooted in our personal histories, as well as in the manner we express ourselves every day to the world.
Heritage is Omnipresent
It is pretty easy to think of heritage as a ghostlike presence in our lives, albeit it is much less scary than spirits and ghouls. In short, heritage is everywhere, whether it is the language we speak in or how we conduct our daily lives (even the 8 hours workday has been made common through a long struggle for rights and privileges conducted by our historical forefathers). So, to learn more about our histories, where we come from, why we should take pride in our culture, and so on, we must learn more about our nationalities to learn more about ourselves truly.
National History as a Form of Identity
We’re indeed able to enjoy the perks of independence and democracy today due to the national struggles conducted by great men and women of the yesteryears. Publications and journals aptly glorify their lives, and we come to read them and feel an overweening sense of pride in our heritage. Statues are also built with reverence to great political leaders who have attributed to countries’ independence so that their romantic viewpoints live on in the memory of the people who form the culture and heritage today.
What is Cultural Heritage?
Cultural heritage refers to a broad understanding of a set of people, defined by customs, roles, traditions, buildings, artifacts, museums, and so on. As is evident from the last line, culture is not solely limited to tangible artifacts like books and documents. It extends to include within its purview things like customs, norms, societal traditions, etc. In short, it refers to a way of ‘living, passed on, remembered, and celebrated by generations after generations.
The Role of Museums in Preserving Heritage
Museums play an integral role in preserving artifacts, maps, statues, books, artistic structures like clay models, etc., that are linked to one’s cultural and national heritage. It commemorates ideals like sacrifice, courage, and selflessness. Massive edicts and monuments are often built in the memory of great men and women of historical significance, or even in memory of an incident, be it joyous or tragic (for instance, the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, a built-in park memory of the people martyred there by heinous colonial actions). This serves the very important role of reminding us where we come from and what our ideals as a collective nation or culture should be.
Heritage is an important marker of identity, and it is loaded with customs, traditions, and norms which define the people one feels most linked to in their daily lives. So to foster the development of unity and peace, we must all take pride in our heritage and work together as brothers and sisters partaking in the common goal of friendship and solidarity.