Originality!! indigeneity!! How can we draw a line between original and borrowed? where to draw it? how to distinguish? There is nothing in this world which we can say is completely original and no person or culture who hasn’t borrowed anything. Then what is original and what is not? Does it matter? How can we blame someone for borrowing something? Is it in his control? Isn’t it natural?These are the linking of thought and questions which arise.
I think the answer lies in continuity and clarity. Continuity and therefore clarity of thought. Continuity of cultural thought and influenced by which is the continuity of individual thought.
Every indigenous culture had a direction of it’s own which led them to some beautiful original way of life. They interacted with other cultures and definitely got influenced. But what they borrowed, they gave it a different angle of their own. They interpreted it in their own way. When we look a bit closely, we can see that what they borrowed was never forced. These were the healthy interactions. Because of that they accepted only those things which their natural path of life or way of life or thought of life allowed them to accept, which was natural for them to accept, which was on their path, which they could digest. So the continuity never got disturbed.
We can see many similarities between the Greeks, Persians and the Indian culture, whereas Chinese culture is altogether different. So, by considering Aryan invasion theory discarded we have to accept they were the three cultures influencing a lot to each other but moving in their own distinct directions without disturbing the harmony. As the Chinese culture which never got included in this league and developed their own distinct way of life until the Budhhist influence from India, molded the Budhhist influence in their own unique way.
On the other hand the cultures which forced their way of life on other cultures contributed in the extinction of the original native cultures. To name a few, Arab conquest of Persia, Spanish conquestadors conquering Aztecs and Inca people, Alexander’s conquest of Egypt.
So now my point is, Originality is nothing but doing things in it’s culturally unique way ! An individual is product of it’s native culture. The cultural direction of thought and way of life is embedded in him. Unless and until this continuity is broken in his life he remains Original ! If this continuity gets broken in some or the other way at some point, he loses his originality. For example, I am completely unable to make any original contribution to the western way of life in a western way. But I definitely can contribute in an Indian way! So if I ever try to lose my Indian cultural identity, I’ll lose my Originality.
So the only way left is to understand my cultural way of life and thought in order to understand my way of life and thought and embrace it !
Continuity and therefore clarity of thought is the key to the indigenous life !