It is very difficult to define culture. Different people have different views of culture, and their views differ so sharply that instead of clarifying they tend to confuse and mislead. Therefore, instead of wasting time in fruitless efforts to define culture, it would be well if we proceed to consider the various qualities of head and heart which distinguish a cultured man. In other words let us try to answer the question, which a really cultured man is.
A cultured man is one who has a friendly approach, an understanding approach to life and its problems. As Pandit Nehru once said, a cultured person has the capacity to understand the point of view of others and also to make himself understood by others. He is kind and considerate to all without distinction, but is especially careful of the weak and the suffering, and avoids doing or saying anything which may hurt their feeling. In short, a cultured man has tact enough to turn any occasion of friction and quarrel into one of co-operation and friendship. As a result of this friendly and sympathetic approach, he is at good terms with all. All are his friends, and none is his enemy.
A truly cultured man is one “who lives in contact with the best that has been said and thought in the world”. He is educated in the true sense of the word. He reads and re-reads the best that has been written not only in his own mother-tongue but also in other languages. And what is still more important, he ponders long and deep over what he reads. He tries to examine critically the view that a particular writer has expressed, and if he agrees with those views he tries to act upon them. In this way, his study transforms his thoughts and his actions. As a result of his study, he acquires serious depth and moderation of judgments-the signs of real culture. He loves learning its own sake because it enables him to correct his own errors and, by his own example, those of others as well. His study makes him nobler, better and more refined.
As a cultured man passes most of his time in contact with the noblest that has even written, he is entirely unselfish and honest in his dealings. Service of his fellowmen is his ideal of life. He does his best to extend his own opportunities to others, to make the path of others easy and smooth. His greatest pleasure is to remove hindrances and obstructions from the way of others. He knows that virtue is its own reward and that a good turn done to others carries with it, its own satisfaction As a result, he is always happy, contented and at peace with himself. He serves his fellowmen not because of any ulterior motives, but because service gives him pleasure. He does not expect anything in return. Besides this, he serves all without distinction. Just as the sun shines upon all and makes no distinction of good and evil, so also a cultured man is kind and loving to all.
Thus, a cultured man is noble, kind and unselfish. In short, he is a perfect gentleman such as is rarely met with in real life.