The Jawaharlal Nehru quote above I found, while involved in an unrelated project. I’d like to share my musings about it and idea(s) on culture in the short essay below.
Culture Is the Widening of the Mind and the Spirit states Jawahula Nehru former and first Prime Minister of India.
I read his quote as defining the affects of culture: How culture develops the human mind and grows the human spirit.
Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, gives several definitions of culture. 6a) the ideas, customs, skills, arts, etc. of a people or group, that are transferred, communicated, or passed along, as in or to succeeding generations, b) such ideas, customs, etc. of a particular people or group in a particular period, civilization; c) the particular people or group having such ideas, customs, etc.
I would add to this definition, that a culture, appears to be created by the people’s or group’s need to provide food, clothing, and shelter in the place it inhabits/peoples. To me, it speaks to the differences in cultures, and the changes in culture(s).
For example, The Arts of Antiquity: Ancient Nubia and Sudan, Part 1 (c) 1978, The Brooklyn Museum, a department of the Brooklyn Institute, discusses the annual overflowing of the Nile River, which resulted in the settling of the land by desert nomads, who farmed the land around the river, using the river as an irrigation source, and resulting in the civilization of Egypt.
Nehru and the others involved in India’s struggle for independence from Britain, possibly addressed the questions of culture in discussing the National Identity of India, post-colonialism. Amir R. Mufti, in Enlightenment in the Colony The Jewish Question and the Crisis of Post-Colonial Culture, quotes Johann Golfried Herder, saying that languages are markers of national culture – “This language in this place for this people.” There is a sanctity to language which is a result of the national culture.
Culture, widening the mind – giving it breadth and developing its ability to look forward, and into and underneath what is presented and visual. Culture, widening the spirit – spreading it, glorying in it, opening it, making it inclusive.