Imagine dangling in mid air, with no ground to place your feet and nothing to hold on to. Even if you keep on trying to find some sort of support, the pain, the suffocation and the darkness ends up engulfing you and everything is finished. Just like that, your identity vanishes. That is what happens when you let go of your past. Or most people think it does.
Admittedly, it is hard to leave old ways behind. Sometimes people don’t even realise that their precious customs are what’s holding them back. Such is their loyalty to the past. Those who do realise it, refuse to accept that and hold on to old practices even more fiercely. For them, letting go of the past is an unimaginable horror. But the bitter truth is that the past, no matter how precious, is gone, and nothing you do can change it. To try to remain in the a time that is long gone is a futile exercise that only results in you being cornered by the society since you fail to keep up. Surely there are things that must not be forgotten. Lessons, both good and bad, must be learned from history but that is that.
Being regressive is like a fatal disease. It stunts growth. Holding on to traditions blindly is one of the reasons of this malady. Yet many of us tend to follow this practice. We refuse to move forward and then complain when others get ahead of us.
Change is vital. Everything, human nature, ecosystems, norms, laws needs to change with the passage of time. To expect, to try to keep things the way they were before isn’t healthy. Inability to develop and evolve only leads to extinction. So while people think they are preserving their identity, they are actually ruining it. Stagnant water is always a source of germs and diseases. It is always the water that keeps flowing, that stays clean and sustains life.
Till people, and society as a whole, learn to accept change and move forward, they will continue to serve those who leave their past behind and will eventually perish. As Iqbal puts it:
To be afraid of the new ways, to insist on the old ones
This is the only difficult stage in the life of nations