Haryana is best known for its language, culture, and traditions. We fear that the cultural identity painstakingly preserved over the decades may collapse into oblivion. In an effort to preserve our culture, we have fallen prey to a number of conservative and orthodox evils such as honour killings and female foeticide. These have merely served to highlight the inglorious practices while ignoring the ideals that had originally been envisioned by our forefathers. Development and progressiveness when built on the firm foundations of a rich culture such as ours, is certain to take Haryana to hitherto unexplored heights.
While examining the matter of preserving native Haryanvi culture, let us first look at the native language - Haryanvi. Though widely spoken in the state, Haryanvi has never been recognised as a language. Referred to as a dialect of Hindi, we stand to lose the identity of our mother tongue. In 1969 when the state of Haryana was formed, Hindi became its official language. In a major rebuff to Punjabi, the state declared Tamil as its second language. This comes as perplexing news to many as the presence of Tamils in the state is next to negligible. In 2010, Tamil was replaced by Punjabi. Currently, there are no major institutions teaching Haryanvi, no major adulations to Haryanvi poets, playwrights, or writers. It is imperative that Haryanvi be accorded the importance that it deserves in its own state. Young men and women desiring to study the language should be provided with the necessary opportunities.
Music and dance has been the soul of Haryana. It is indeed unfortunate that folk dances such as the Ghumar, Jhumar, Gugga, Dhap, Chaupaiya, Phag, Loor and Dhamal are almost unheard of outside the state. Such vivid and colourful art forms can be highlights of tourism in Haryana, and instead they have been pushed to the verge of extinction by negligence and neglect. It is often with pride that citizens introduce their state - Hara-Bhara Haryana, Jit Doodh-Dahi ka Khana. Haryanvi food, however, unlike the cuisines of neighbouring Punjab or Rajasthan, is not widely known. Is that not a part of our culture worth highlighting?
The need of the hour is awareness, education, and a thorough understanding of the sentiments in rural society. A new Haryana must be engineered by removing the hierarchy of a caste-based society while preserving and encouraging the skills and industries that have been nurtured by caste-based occupations in rural sectors. Encouraging Dalits and backward communities to showcase their rich legacy of industry and home produces is an excellent way of creating such awareness.
Our vision for Naya Haryana encompasses technological progress, prosperity, and development. Such a progressive state, however, is not to be built at the cost of our rich and varied cultural heritage. Nor does it mean that we should collapse into a state of fanatic backwardness and cultural isolation. What is imperative is that the state should make a conscious effort to preserve its history, glorify its rural heritage, and showcase its cultural richness. Our state must be such that each citizen may take pride in the legacy that is being carried on and be proud of the glorious union of development and traditions that Haryana represents.