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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Are we adopting western culture?

    Today in the 21st century, we say we are living in "Kalyug", as per the four Yugas that has been defined. We are living in this changing world, where everything happens for a reason, there is so much of logic behind every topic. People have become so rational and have developed thinking. This changing phenomenon has caused us to change even our living styles.
    I feel that we are somehow adopting the western culture to a greater extent. We are always passionate to go abroad and settle down there. We say there is fresh air, there is luxury in everything, the English speaking gentlemen. Have we forgotten what our Indian culture depicts and what it teaches.
    Are we really aware of the 'Vedas' being taught to us during our childhood. Do we ever follow the great sayings of the 'Bhagvada Geeta' or the 'Ram charit Manas'- a great epic by Tulsidas. Do we remember that Lord Shiva is the Supreme of all Gods. Did we ever try to know what these great epics depict and the meaning behind them. We people today are completely unaware of the reason as to why we celebrate so many festivals in our country and what significant role do they play.
    Also, we are least bothered to know all about it, because we are highly logical people.. sarcasm..

    Also, if we talk of the dressing styles , do we know that "Saree" that has been worn by Indian ladies in modern times ,originated since the Indus valley civilization (2000 BC). Yet, we like wearing western clothes a lot and we feel pride in that, you can count me in too.
    We are somehow behaving very high and strange in front of our parents in terms of paying respect to them, inspite of saying 'Namaste', or appropriate greetings, we just say 'Hi', these are a few human behaviour which the age old people will not like in any way.

    People today, are so busy making their livelihood, that they have forgotten that they have a child to take care off, the day care centres become the home for the child. And a child, who needs their parents guidance to grow and needs to be nurtured with right and good thoughts, gets very less time with them. And, so similarly, the things change here also, which in normal language we call as "generation gap". And, apparently, thought process comes out to be as I said.

    These all things make me feel as if we do not know our culture at all and that is the reason we are falling for the western culture. How are we going to appreciate our heritage and culture, until we do not have much and enough knowledge of it.
    On a serious note, I would request everyone to once have a thought on these words.
  • #609300
    We have already adopted. We have adopted thee negative aspects of western culture consciously avoiding the positive ones.

    On the other hand, I must say that I don't like to use the phrase 'western culture'. The culture of so-called western countries is not same. There are vast differences. For example, the people of France are culturally very different than the people of neighbouring England.

    Caution: Explosive. Handle with care.

  • #609301
    I do not think we are imitating a Western culture. If that were true, we'd be one of the cleanest most polite people. We would not be littering our streets nor would we be 'rude' in our everyday interactions. I rarely see someone hold a door open for a stranger. These are just examples, ones that are intrinsic to Western culture. Clothes do not make a man. So, changing the way we dress is akin to 'kauwa chale hans ki chaal'. I'll come to clothes later.

    The world is forever changing. We think we are the harbingers of this change, but that isn't true. People have, throughout ages, adapted to newer cultures and lifestyles.

    People go abroad to settle, study or work. There weren't so many opportunities available in the past because travel was difficult and needed many resources. Yet, people travelled, as far as they could, for business and to settle down. There is evidence, of Indians, migrating to African countries and to Malaysia generations back. Their reasons for moving were different, but they willingly settled in another country. Today the opportunities are different; it is just a matter of making the best of those that come our way.

    People have been travelling for trade over centuries. That was the 'in' thing then. Man is a social animal and we mingle with people, learn from others and adopt and adapt. There is chronological evidence highlighting all of this.

    I'll cover the rest of the points in subsequent responses.

    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak" - Michael Garrett Marino

  • #609302
    This was bound to happen and in the name of growth, development, moving forward we have imbibed what we felt is good from the West and we have to be blamed or take responsibility for the same. Imagine the era without shopping malls or multiplexes or fancy bars or Western Coffee shop brands, we still lived well.

    Apart from what both of you have mentioned, the reasons are complex and interlinked right from the grassroots level to high-level bilateral trade agreements.

    In a simple example, in the guise of FDI investment, creating business and employment opportunities many MNCs landed in India and slowly over the years changed the way we eat ( KFC, Pepsi, Pizzas), the way we dress (ultra short or ultra tight dresses), the way we socialise ( fancy pubs, discotheques, cocktail parties) and the way we lead life (foreign brand of cars, watches, shoes, furniture),

    Slowly with or without our knowledge, we have let down our own Indian products made by Indians by embracing similar articles made by or made for the Foreign brands. Thanks to this we have some dubious records " rapidly becoming the global capital of diabetes, obesity, hypertension, childhood obesity" unique and high-end crimes ( drugs, underage drinking, underage driving of fast cars).

    We took in all this with open arms and now questioning what did we do or how did this happen? I'm not claiming that the Indian Culture is the best but we need to make some individual and collective choices as to how we go forward from here.

    Often we come across Western countries taking on what's good in the India tradition: Yoga in the USA, Bharatanatyam in USA & Europe, Family oriented/ value based Indian movies are a hit in Japan & China; recently I heard about an Australian farm that does Homa every morning and evening, it uses Homa Ash and Vedic principles of farming.

    On one hand western countries have chosen the good things we stood for and on the other hand, Indians have chosen many things that have changed the very fabric of our existence and unfortunately, most of them have had an adverse effect on us.

  • #609310
    @ Partha Sir... If not western culture, then in what terms we will define this ? Just to clarify what I meant, saying western means "trying to adopt the living styles of others" here 'others' could be anyone , excluding the people of our country.
    @ Juana Mam : Since we are in the process of adopting it, we have been undergoing various thought processes. The biggest example I can take here is, the people speaking in English language, people who are not literate enough, they consider, it to be a sign of intelligence. While if a person speaks in Hindi, we consider them low and not intelligent enough. Our thought process changed. This is very common in metropolitan cities.
    Regarding clothing, we have this thought that we are more comfortable in the western outfit rather than a saree or a suit.

    A positive attitude will lead to positive results.

  • #609314
    Indians are becoming easy going. So they want to adapt easier things which are there in other cultures and keeping our culture for certain things which can be managed easily. Wearing a saree will take more time and wearing other dresses will consume less time. We want everything easy. So we try to choose easy things. So I can't say we are adopting other's culture. We are making our own culture which is a mix up of all easy things. Go to bed late by spending late nights before the TV. Eat or drink as soon as we get up. Think of other things later. Think of earning easy money. Thinking of all shortcuts. This has become the attitude of the people. Ultimately everybody wants to make quick money and enjoy. No other thoughts. We want to present ourselves as very great. We think speaking the language which other's don't understand is great. These are the thought processes of us. So we are going directionless. Not in one way. We don't know where we will finally land.
    drrao
    always confident

  • #609337
    Our country was under foreign rule for more than two hundred years. We the ordinary country people were leading almost a humble living. Many of the middle class were working under the British masters. These people often wished to dress like their masters and lead a life similar to theirs. They tried their best to bring up their children following their masters. They sent their children to England for higher studies. These trends slowly started changing their culture and life styles. Added to this the English medium schools also helped changes among children. Cinemas and TV channels brought the culture continuously into the minds of growing generation.
    These external changes have not much affected in the real mental set up of many. For example when it comes to marriages the rituals are more or less followed as used in earlier days. Hence what I feel is that the changes are external only.

    T.M.Sankaran
    Gold Member ISC

  • #609341
    First, I have not read Vedas coming from the part of country where we read Thirukural for ethics, sangam literature for social division of society and Bakthi songs for spiritual. In this place instead of Tulasi Das we have Kambar. I have read only philosophy of Vedas. Before going I completely agree that western influence have affected our culture. ( and not we have adopted western culture)
    First in Indian culture there was continuous process of continuation and change. In India cultural agglomeration have took place since time immemorial. In India the extent of influence of western culture can be studied only if we first understand what is Indian culture. In India there were two cultually ( not ethnic) distinct groups since the decline of Indus Valley civilisation. Some original inhabitants of land or Indus Valley people were called non aryans, Dravidians, Dashyus etc. ( not to be confused with harappan people or the great Indus Valley civilization people who were part of these groups ). They lived in harmony. Village based civilisations coincided with the mighty IVC urban civilisation. It was a commercial economy and had trade links with south India , Melluha people( Afghanistan ) and Mesopotamia( Egypt). Around 1500 B.C a new tribe enters the scene and they called themselves aryans. These people entered via India from steppe region of Eurasian land in search of a settled life. These people were welcomed into the land graciously by the inhabitants. Around 1700 B.C due to some unknown complex multiple combinations of reasons IVC collapsed. ( aryan invasion theory is a myth by colonial government) .Now these aryans brought in a new mode of life. They entered into economic alliance with native people. This can corrobrated by Dasrajanya war around 950. B.C. In this war peculiarly both sides had both aryan and non aryan people. This confirms India had no ethnicity based clashes. Now out of this cultural synthesis Indian people both aryans and non aryans attained certain characteristics.
    1. Indian culture is to be evolved by constant learning and un learning due to agllomeration of tribes.
    2. Indian society is divided into caste structure. This is peculiar feature attributed to only Indian culture which came out of the agglomeration between various tribes.
    3. In India philosophy was preferred mode of science. Again a very peculiar attribute. In other parts of world philosophy was attributed to only ideas and science was based on rationality.
    4. Indian women had been subjected to the concept of purity and divinity.
    5. A peculiar feature of perpetual feudalism emerged.
    But the above features were subject to constant debate. The above were not accepted by non aryan tribes in Indian particularly Dravidians. Even with the aryan people those who resented these concepts were seen as outsiders. The famous Magadha kingdom was seen lowly among aryans. But magadhans emerged to be the great empire builders and established the the great mauryan empire.
    Buddhism and Jainism evolved from the Kshatriya class questioned the above culture. Further charvaka school, Indian rationalist school questioned the Vedas. It must be noted that Jainism ideas were emphasised in Thirukural and sangam literature more than Brahminism( Hinduism never came into existence during this period). India had further agglomeration from Hunas, indo Greeks, Parthians and Scythian. They brought in Cloaks, boots into Indian clothing. It interesting that even these groups were initially referred as mlechas, ( outsiders). But it is interesting that they performed ashvemedha yagna to claim kshatriya status.
    This concludes that outsiders need to accustom with native culture to get legitimacy in India.
    In Gupta age Hinduism evolved from brahminsim. The difference in Hinduism apart from Vedas many new cultural practises were included from other schools of thought. Now the point to be noted is all these were not invasions because they allied with natives and fought against themselves. They were trading extensively with natives and learned new ideas from each other. So the concept that foreigners have imposed their culture on us is a blantant myth.
    Long is debated about Arab and Muslim rule in India. But we must understand that 500 years before Muslim entry as kings traders entered india via Gujarat and there was cultural synthesis. A vast majority of Indian population too converted themselves as Muslims without any political coercion. It was only in 1192 A.D Prithviraj chauhan's defeat brought Muslim king into Indian sub continent. Further Muslims rulers were mostly secular in their rule in India and had Hindu ministers, Generals in their army.
    So we can deduce certain points about Indian culture.
    1. There was continuous change and agglomeration in Indian culture. There was not single culture in India at any point of time.
    2. Accepting certain dressing styles, religious ideas from co existing tribes was a part of Indian culture.
    This is why Hinduism is regarded as a way of life.
    SC Jugement in 1996 corroborates this.
    The above Indian culture went drastic change during British rule. Certain concepts were forced by Europeans to suit their commercial interest. This brought in the concept of western style.
    This was effectively countered by Socio religious movements of 19th century. People like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Dayanand Saraswathi, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Gopal Hari Deshmukh etc.. brought in swadeshi feeling and brought great changes in Indian society. They changed the myth of Europeans and paved way for a variety of changes. They were responsible for swadeshi industries, freedom struggle. It would be correct to say that their efforts turned into up to 21st century. For eg RSS ideology can be traced back to Go back to Vedas concept of Dayanand Saraswathi, Tilak. It has both positive and negative effects.
    So Indian culture has always undergone self criticism whenever it confronts new challenges.
    The present western impact on Indian culture must be studied keeping the above things in mind. The new thing which has come due to the present western culture is this influence is supported by economic needs of society. People are shifting to new values, ethos, living styles because of economic needs. In previous cultural influences the influence was mainly due to political and spiritual reasons and less economic. This is the new feature of present western influence.

    Of course the family structure has undegone a way change. The concept of nuclear to sub nuclear families have arisen with very less family ethos. This is a disturbing trend. But Indian society has self criticized itself and it will do so in future too. The recent examples of jallikattu protests has displayed still Indian youths are with Indian culture and self realisation has started. The western influence is not to be worried as it has been part and parcel of our culture to get new ideas from our co- inhabitants of trade. In globalised world this is bound to happen too.
    Today many are understanding the necessity of mother tongue. Particularly in my state linguist feelings are deep. Governments must also do a lot more by starting universities in native language and technical research must be encouraged to convert many English works into simple native languages. There is a long way to go.

  • #609344

    Humans civilisation has undergone continuous changes since the start till now. In the earlier periods as there were geographic barriers, migration was too slow .Hence each geographical settlement developed and stuck to its own ways,means, tradition and communication medium(language). Even though people of one geographical area came t know about the life and culture of other areas from the occasional or rare traveller, migrant or vagrant they were not much influenced or affected, as these local cultures rested and depended on the resources, weather and natural environment at that area only.

    However by and by transport facilities became better and easier and trade and exchanges became better and frequent among he countries .kingdoms (or different geographical areas)more and more people started travelling back and forth . Slowly human development started by conquering nature and people started coming out of limitations of exclusion and segregation. That started the mixing of cultures.
    In our country it was the dilution of local culture started from the entry of Mughals and then continued with influx of the Portugese, French and culminated with the British rule.
    As the education system was totally changed by the British rule period, the changes started to be conspicuous from then leading to migration of this countrymen to western hemisphere .As a ruling power, they could effect these changes strongly with an intention of subjugation . Formal education is the main input source for imbibing local culture, tradition and language, So, once traditional education system and syllabus were toppled and replaced by the British or western systems, the new generations were getting only what was dictated by the education system.
    So all those generations who came through the British implemented education system did not know anything which was existing for millions of years in this country. Original sources were destroyed or damaged consciously or by time.
    Those countries which were not colonised did not suffer this type of cultural damage and decimation. Many colonies which got independence started reversing the damages and going back to their original roots.
    However, in India the influential leaders st the the time of transition did not think of a renaissance but simply followed the British system in everything .

    The advent of satellite TV and internet has now started diluting the local cultures everywhere in the world. The world is now moving to a single culture which is mostly decided by the commercial and media influences only.

    Hence today's generation do not have any complex of guilt or remorse, because they are born and brought up in this present culture only. That is what they take as their culture.

    However, even this will change. But I think we should regain our self confidence and bring back those old matters which were recorded as good for the people. The reason is that many countries are strictly enforcing old systems which were prevalent in their countries thousands of years. So there is nothing wrong or to be ashamed if we also do the same when we know that those will benefit us. We can have a hybrid of best from both worlds.

  • #609345
    To my mind, your tread combines the culture with sacrament. If we talk of culture, we have to differentiate between the Vedic culture and the dogmatic culture. Vedic culture is flexible and relative to time. Dogmatic culture is fixed and rigid. Nowadays, some politicians are fanning the dogmatic culture for their mileage. Our true culture is liberal. Tolerance, non violence, respecting other cultures and peace are some of the tenets of our culture.

    If we peep in the history, we find that dogmatic outlook of culture was the main culprit of our being slaves for centuries. I can quote so many incidences. Dogmatic culture (karmakand) gave birth to all superstitions and beliefs which are unfounded. This also gave rise to intolerance towards other religions and thoughts.

    There is nothing wrong in going and residing in western countries or elsewhere also. There is nothing wrong in accepting good things and modifying ourselves according to the environment. Now there comes the role of sacrament (sanskar) which saves us from becoming a beast. As you mentioned that our country rapidly becoming the global capital of diabetes, obesity, hypertension, childhood obesity" unique and high-end crimes ( drugs, underage drinking, underage driving of fast cars),all these owe to no sacrament in the new generation. I would say parents are solely responsible for this. I would like to say that parents should teach their wards the tenets of true culture so that they would be good human beings and good citizens of the country.

  • #609356
    We should never cheat ourselves by saying Kaliyuga, kaal etc. and thereby following culture of others, as who is there else other than us to follow our own culture? Many foreigners are appreciating our culture by considering ours as a great one. Once our first Governor General Sir Rajagopalachariar was invited for a meeting in England. During the dinner Rajaji started to eat with his hands. Accompanied official asked him to eat with a spoon as it was hygienic. Rajaji refused and told that 'my hands are so hygienic than the spoon as my hands are used only by me'.

  • #609360
    Of course the discussion is around the mainstream culture and way of life. If any member can tell us the experience of forest dwellers and North east in this western influence it will be of helpful. Has any member studied, experienced anything on their way of life and how it has changed in Globalisation.? Particularly the effect of these globalisation on Particularly vulnerable tribes, aboriginal population, Some interiror Rural population. This is mportant as recently it has commercial interest with several MNCs doing research in Indian forests by spending Billions of rupees on tribal knowledge and their culture.
    Recently UN has certified that the way of life of some of these tribes are sustainable to climate change.

  • #609634
    We have already adopted a hell lot of it. From clothes to food, we prefer western items. Right now, we are discussing things in English language and this is also a part of western culture. We are surrounded on all sides by them and its probably inevitable.

  • #609636
    Talking in English can be called as a positive influence of western culture, because everybody cannot understand our each other's native language. So, we need a common mode for writing and making other's understand our point of view. My point of discussion was based on our culture and rest many things which is changing drastically with that influence.

    @Gokul Sir... your question is still being unanswered as even I am not much aware of it. I will be very happy if you could describe the culture of north eastern people , how it is effected by the western culture, as you asked in above thread.

    A positive attitude will lead to positive results.

  • #609727
    #609636
    I am sorry for a late reply. I will just give some broad outlines on the issue. First since advent of European rule the tribes have undergone these changes.
    1. In the name of displacing them for development activities they were alienated from nature and from themselves. This continues unabated even today.
    2. Their knowledge on forest medicines is being misused by foreign companies in the name of patents.
    3. Tribal people relationship with nearby villages have changed tremendously and exploitative.
    4. They have lost their language and script. We must understand that the loss is more to us because these languages are aboriginal and we can find roots of our languages in them. Further we lose several information.
    5. Some of their methods of agriculture have been designated climate change resilient by UN.
    6.Their method of nature worship is being lost.
    I have just given a broad outline owing to constraints of the thread.

  • #609743
    There is no doubt that we are to quite good extent westernized and the process of transformation is still going on.

    It is not exactly westernisation but it is more related to affluent culture. We are copying what upper strata of society is doing. If speaking english is the in thing we are learning English. If food is to served in glittering cutlery we are purchasing it.

    So whatever glittering things are there in western society we are copying. At the same time we are not copying their hard working and disciplined life. We are not copying their housekeeping. We are not copying their good traits. We are simply copying their superficial things.

    So basically we are becoming distorted westerns inspite of becoming true copy of their various virtues.

    Knowledge is power.

  • #609791
    Learned a lot from above responses. Topic like these are bound to have various points of view. But the way in which some members have given their views and supporting points are informative.


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