Chapter 2-Indian Culture: Cultural Influences: Westernisation, Emergent National Cultural Styles and Popular Culture (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Our cultural identities are based on various factors such as religion and region. As a result each Indian possesses multiple identities.

  • Which of these identities asserts itself at a certain point of time and prevails over the others, depends on the political, social or economic context in which the person finds himself/herself.
  • Thus each person may have some things in common with another, but may be vastly different in some other aspects.
  • For example, except belief, forms of worship and rituals, there may be little that is common among those who follow a particular faith from the point of view of the whole country.
  • Even in the forms of worship and rituals there are sectarian and regional differences.
  • Thus culturally, Hindus are not all similar, nor are all the Muslims, Brahmins in Tamil Nadu are quite different from their counterparts in Kashmir.
  • In Bengal, both Hindus and Muslims take pride in being Bengalis, elsewhere one finds Hindus, Christians and Muslims sharing several elements of regional culture.

Cultural Influences

  • In the modern context, there are at least three significant influences on our culture. They are westernisation, emergent national cultural styles and popular culture.
Cultural Influences
  • Before independence some western modes were adopted by the aristocracy and members of the civil services.
  • The influence, over the years, has spread to the middle classes and to a small extents, to the villages as well.
  • The growing demand for English medium schools in the villages is a proof of this statement.
  • During the struggle for freedom a new style emerged. This became a national style.
  • Popular culture which is the product of mass media is another unifying factor. The impact of films has been tremendous.
  • Radio and television also reshape images and attitudes. Their holds on us is undeniable.
  • Modern media has promoted issues that are of both traditional and public interest.

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