Essay No. 208:
While In Rome, Do As The Romans Do: The proverb holds a considerable importance in the life of man. It highlights the importance of the quality of adaptability of man. Man is capable of adjusting himself according to the changed nature of circumstances. Hence if man wishes to lead a successful life, he must show flexibility and adaptability in life.
Man must accept the need to adapt himself to the changed conditions. This does not, however, mean that man when in a foreign land, should merge himself in an alien culture. He should respect for the law of the land and other social customs. He may attend their customs but should not seek his merger with them.
Young men who go to European countries in search of employment or getting higher education, often get themselves immersed in the western culture. They forget about their own culture but become a part of the western culture they show an alienation to their own culture and religion.
While there is a need to share the customs of the British while living amidst them, it is equally despicable to accept their culture in Toto. It is not a good way of going too far with alien culture and other social values. The West is a permissive society and there is looseness of sex.
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Most of the young men having loose roots in their own culture and religion fall a prey to the social evils rampant in the western society. They often take to drinking and do not refrain from taking pork, which is forbidden in Islam. The point to emphasis is that there is no harm in adapting oneself to the customs in a foreign land, however, to lose one’s own identity by merging oneself completely in foreign culture and its values, is not desirable.
The best way of seeking integration in the people of a foreign country, is to share their common problems. Love is a great force in life. If you love people irrespective of any social discrimination, they love you. I had a personal experience in Uganda. I was on deputation with the Maker ere University in Kampala.
I had a good stay over there, because I shared the problems of students rather sympathetically. On the eve of my departure from Kampala, students bid my farewell with tears in their eyes. While in a foreign land, throw your full weight with the people by sharing their aspirations and you get an encouraging response. Good intentions coupled with action bear fruit is dismantling the barriers of prejudice and bringing the human beings close together.