Concept of Westernization

Concept of Westernization:

In his study of the Coorg, Srinivas made several references to Western influence and remarked that improvements in communications, newspapers, book, radio, films etc. have resulted in greater Sanskritization. In his paper “A note on Westernization and Sanskritization” (1956), he further analyzed how westernization and Sanskritization reinforce one another and how they are in conflict also.

Under Westernization is included all the structural and technical changes in Indian society that took place under the British rule, and thereafter, and includes improvements in communication and transport- motorways, railways, airways, industrialization, urbanization, civil, military and legal institutions of parliamentary democracy and new occupations associated with these. These changes seem to have contributed to an increase in Sanskritization. Many castes, as they improved their educational, political and economic position also improved their ritual status, thereby Sanskritizing themselves. The Harijans, too, have the alternative to migrate from the local systems or to take advantage of the social, economic, educational, political and administrative redressal open to them.

Westernization has presented a new style of life mainly the British model which has not replaced the older one, only made additions to it. The acceptance of the new lifestyle is also differential. City dwellers are more receptive than villagers, educated and youth are more receptive than uneducated and old, some regions are more receptive than others. For some it is only a matter of dress, diet, speech and manners, to others, it also includes political ideology, education, liberal outlook, scientific temper. Yet even the greatly Westernized group has not alienated itself from the traditional culture and social structure of family, caste or region.

It is true that even those who have not accepted the western style of life as ideal have been greatly influenced by it in terms of education, occupation, politcal activity and performance of ritual obligations etc. Many orthodox Brahmins have received modern education and are employed as civil servants, doctors, professors, engineers, lawyers, parliamentarians- the effects of westernization and still regard themselves good Hindus, even if they do not have time for all ritual observances, without any Psychological conflict. Indian culture is rich enough and has always been flexible enough to enable the Indians to adopt new ways without losing social or cultural identity.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy & Brahmo SamajThe Khilafat Movement, 1919-1920
Swami Dayanand Saraswati & Arya SamajThe Nehru Report (1928)
Swami Vivekananda & Ramakrishna MissionGandhi-Irwin Pact or Delhi Pact

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