Chapter 2-Indian Culture: Cultural Influences: Westernisation, Emergent national Cultural Styles and Popular Culture

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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.

Image of Cultural influences

Image of 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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