Thursday, May 10, 2007

Has modernization spoilt Indian culture

This was an article I wrote for an article competition in our office.

I once heard a definition of Change. It went thus: "A change is something which we hoped not to happen." And when it eventually happens, it can have one of the two effects. It can either be accepted by the majority and renamed as "Growth" or opposed by the majority and termed ... well, some people are good at feeding the hungry negatives like "social evil", "anti-human","anti-social", etc. English language dwells on such creativity.

Modernization is one such "change" happening right now in our country. Its not that "modernization" hasn't been happening, its just that its happening at a faster rate now. This "Change" has been termed as "growth" by some, "westernization" by some, "anti-Indian" by some, and what not. This "change" has impregnated our day to day life. But, how do we view it? How do we feel it? How do we accept it?

If modernization includes changes in the way the younger generation approaches the educational learning cycle, it is "Growth". We see kids nowadays with a higher IQ than the current generation of youth during their time. It is "Growth".

If modernization includes changes in the way people communicate, it is "Growth". Wherever your dad is in the world, he has become reachable right inside your mobile. The other end of the sword here is the loss of one's privacy. Mobiles and telephones are for the phone user's convenience, and not for the caller's convenience. But, this concept doesn't seem to have reached the Indian people. Whatever the situation you are, be it at the temple offering prayers or at office attending a meeting, when a phone rings, people go for it. The people who have graced the "modernized" mobile phones did not grace the concept of proper "phone sense". Is this OK?

If modernization includes changes in the way people see marriage, it is "anti-Indian". Indian style of life has seen marriage as the single binding force to close-knit families. With the "modernization" seeping in (rather pouring in), we see more divorces and more "live-in" relationships. Is this good? From the context of Indian culture - A big NO. Families have moved apart from each other. A feel of "togetherness" normally seen in our families is becoming more of a movie scene. But, this sword of "change" has its other end too. It has shown independence to people, the power of choosing the person to live and love. The power to "Choose". Is this good?

IF modernization includes the spread of the "web", it is "modernization" literally. Any information you need is in front of you within a few clicks. The spread of knowledge and information has reached speeds synonymous to the speed of sound. A gun shot in Iowa is heard by an Indian in Andaman in a matter of few minutes. Sports actions reach people in seconds. Businesses are being handled entirely through the "web". The world has shrunk into a 17 inch monitor. But, what does the "web"-coin's other face look like? Human interaction has come down. Students were so drugged with the web that the management of a particular institution had to restrict use of Internet inside their campus because of poor inter-personal communication. People have more friends "online" than in the real world. The world of "friendships" is seen more through e-cards and forwards than in face-to-face chats and sharing. Is this "acceptable"?

If modernization includes the financial state of people, it is "social change". More and more people are able to buy their own house, have their own cars, go more "site-seeing" trips, take the airlines more. With the growth in the power to spend, the variety in the ways to spend has also increased. People have more choices. The idlis and dosais are now competing with food ranges from the dish of the "Continental" to the "Kentucky friend specials", from "Szechwan" style to the "pasta" dishes. The once monopoly of "Maruti" has given way to the Fords, Hondas, Fiats and Opels. The other side of this sword is the increase in the amount of health issues. More and more people have diseases not known a few decades ago. Diseases occurring only to old age people have shifted ages to more younger age groups. Air pollution has increased to alarming proportions. With lackadaisical government policies in respect to the environment, this is already having its effect on the country and its people. How "good" is this?

I leave the decision to the reader.


Alphy said...

The perspective of change varys from person to person.A guy in AP,working on a Farm,able to surf the net and get good advice to grow crops efficiently terms the NET as Modernization.The same NET by a seventeen year old Girls father,terms it as an unwanted desire.

When it helps us,it is growth and when the same effect,becomes a hazard for our ego and all the vices that I can think of,it becomes a Bane.

Nothing else to add.

Nice one though.Makes u think twice before you speak out about modernization!!!

Anonymous said...

Modernisation can be effectively seen as both bad and good perspections and that depends on an individual.For example consider sleeping pills. They can be served for good and can be considered harmful when taken more. Similarly, modernisation is considered good when utilised effectively. Amuthamum neraya eduthaal visham thane. So its upto us to feel it good or bad.

Your article is very interesting and you seemed to be a very good observer of things happening around world. Keep writing and all my best wishes.

Anonymous said...

this didnt ans my question >>>