Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sample Issue topic - 1

"Rituals and ceremonies help define a culture. Without them societies or groups of people have a diminished sense of who they are"

Sample Writing:


The speaker affirms that rituals and ceremonies are needed for a group of people to define their culture and their identity. Without them the groups have lesser identity or altogether lose their identity. I agree with the author that rituals and ceremonies define a culture and give distinct identity to a group but they are not the only ones, which give identity to a group. There are many things, which preserve cultural identity of a group.


The purpose of rituals and ceremonies is no doubt to preserve the group culture. If we look at the tribal in various nations like Red Indians of the U.S.A or aboriginal tribes of various other nations like Australian aborigines or original inhabitants like Nagas, Mizos, Santhals etc of India or Khampas of Tibet, they have developed their own identity by developing some unique rituals and ceremonies. These rituals and ceremonies are performed when there is a birth or death in a family, coming of the age of boys and girls, marriages and betrothals, other festivals and worship of tribal gods and goddesses. These are outward demonstrations, which maintain the unique cultural identity of the group. Some groups have even distinct war dances and music.

In the present day, many nations and governments are making efforts to assimilate the tribal and other distinct groups into the National main stream. These groups are then in danger of losing their distinct identity. Many tribal resist this assimilation and want to preserve their own identity and culture by jealously safe-guarding these rituals and ceremonies. But there are some countries, where the governments are encouraging the tribal and other distinct groups to maintain their cultural identity by performing rituals and ceremonies within the national stream.


The origin of rituals and ceremonies was due to superstition and spiritual belief. Many tribal and groups were bewildered by the happenings in nature such as deaths, diseases, floods, eclipses, defeats, victories, peculiar weather conditions etc and attributed them to spirits and other supernatural beings as they could not find rationale for such occurrences. These groups must have felt helplessness for these happenings. Thus, a tribal priestly class has been developed to conduct these rituals and ceremonies and they had become the performers and also act as intermediaries between these groups and Gods. Even in modern days some of the rituals observe the rituals and ceremonies because of superstition and to appease the spirits.

But rituals and ceremonies play only some part in the distinctive identity of the group. Many tribals wear separate dresses, wear distinctive ornaments, use distinctive musical instruments and sing tribal songs of their own tribes. They have their own eating habits and also social behavior at gatherings of marriages and festivals. So they also preserve the group’s unique character.


In the case of religious groups, every religion has prescribed a distinct mode of worship, code of conduct and dress, beliefs, concept of God and a priestly class. Christianity has prescribed baptism and also other ceremonies for weddings and deaths. Islam has its own ceremonies and every other religion like Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism have prescribed their own rituals and ceremonies. All these provide distinct identity to the groups following a particular religion.

In sum, we can say that every tribal group and other religious groups maintain their distinct identity by ceremonies and rituals. They also follow a distinct dress and life styles. Even within the same Nation, one cans see the groups following their own distinctive identities, which may be considered as sub-nationalities. The groups follow these ceremonies and rituals for Temporal and spiritual functions and these serve as the means for preserving cultural identity of the groups.

4 comments:

<--sahdeV-- said...

One doubt... line "but they are not the only ones, which give identity to a group" in the 1st paragraph is never supported in any of the subsequent paragraphs. And isn't conclusion drawn contrary to stand observed in the introduction???

Prachi Pareekh said...

It is very much supported in the latter half -- dresses and life stlyes also give identity to a group.....hope this clears your doubt.

samam said...

i agree with sahdev.the essay lacks clarity and gives contradictory statement.

Prachi Pareekh said...

hmm..well to me it looks clear....

do not follow the tips for the same if you are not convinced....all the best for your exam