Are we Indians losing our culture and values due to westernization? It seems as if we value everything from the west more than our own. Is modernization ruining India? Has western ideology highly influenced our lifestyle?There are several aspects of culture. Let us look at them one by one.
- Language: I am really worried about this. Everyone wants to be educated in English medium and I have no problems with that. But no one wants to care about his/her mother-tongue. That is the worrisome aspect. In my experience, it is more pronounced in the South Indian languages where (English) literacy rate is high and languages are fairly old (~1500 years+).
- Religion: Independent of the religion an Indian follows, there is some aspect of Hinduism left in everyone. The greatness of Hinduism is that it has survived several attempts at corruption by being open to other ideas and assimilating them into it slowly. After the onslaught of Islam and at the peak of Christianity, people like Sri Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharshi, Prabhupada have revived the spirit of Hinduism. If there is a danger to Hinduism, it is not from outside but from inside (Read: fake baabaas).
- Social structure: Clearly, it is being heavily influenced by the West. There are fewer and fewer large families, a higher divorce rate, more premarital sex and reducing bonds between relatives. Everyone of my friends says he/she hates relatives. This is the indirect price we pay for importing development. Nephews don't long to talk to uncles/aunts as they are crazy about a smart phone or a tablet. Not all of it is bad, but some of it is very dangerous. One point to note here is that, it is not like our previous social structure was pristine. Women were very oppressed until 1990's. Even today, they are but it is slowly reducing. So, to summarize, this is a mixed bag -- win some, lose some.
- Arts: Our original art forms have taken a beating. No one wants to watch stage dramas anymore. Everyone wants to pay 500 bucks and watch a film in an IMAX. Who cares about Carnatic or Hindustani music? Let's buy some western music to look cool. Part of the reason for which this is happening is because most of the work in this area looks religious. Other art forms like Hari Katha, Rangoli etc. are also slowly going away.
- Quality of living: I believe that the quality of life (not to be confused with Standard of living) has come down. Relationships are not as strong as what they used to be (with the exception of good marriages). Families do not live close to each other to stand by their loved ones in the times of difficulty. Pollution is everywhere, villages are virtually static, festivals are very superficial, liquor consumption has become a vogue.
We have definitely gained a lot from the rest of the world (like they did from us). But we have also picked up some dirt (like we passed some). At the end of the day, globalization is a double edged sword. There is little we can do about how the society progresses except by encouraging what we think is good and discouraging what we consider evil. But then again, in a heterogeneous society the very classification of good and evil is debated upon. And maybe, that's also for good.