We are living in a highly privileged society where families have transformed from joint set-up to single, individual or nuclear families. Cultural know-hows of one generation usually gets passed on to the next generation through word-of-mouth and continuous practice.
Institutionalisation of science in society
- 1 Institutionalisation of science in society
- 2 Decline of traditional cultural institutions
The term ‘institutionalisation’ refers to the standardisation or making/building a standardised pattern over the years. People living in a society begin to accept these norms or set patterns as part of their living and think that they have to live by these norms each and everyday of their lives.
This is where the concept of ‘institutionalisation’ sets in. Our society relies on education for their fundamental living, for finding jobs and getting better plans in society. It is education that culturally guides them to extend cordial behaviour and live in co-operation and harmony with others.
From our forefathers, we have inherited the spirit of scientific thinking. Science is the abstract knowledge or the core institution that we fundamentally received from our ancestors. The turning point or the application of this knowledge in user specific ways has created more modern society for us.
But the scientific institution from where we received and are passing on the basic fundamentals remain unchallenged. People have moved beyond this institution and not challenged scientific ethics after a certain point. The challengers lie in effective utilization of resources for meaningful and purposeful services to mankind.
Adaptive changes in religious values and beliefs
With time and technological advancement, reasoning and scientific temper replace age-old traditions, customs, religious beliefs and orthodox values. The aspect of ‘questioning’ our customs is not a very healthy motion though. Many traditional practices that were followed still have a connection with the world of science, only if we dug deeper into the subject matter.
The relation or inter-connection would be lost or forgotten in the course of time leading to selective changes and adaptive transformations in the way we see and understand religion and traditions as a whole. Religion should be a part of cultural upliftment and not a barrier in itself.
Indian society at crossroads
The older generations are now opening up to accept good and collective points of other cross cultures as well. We can broadly say that Indian culture to some extent has had a shadow of British influence in the past. Nevertheless our ancestors made sure to pull it back and behold the cultural enigma in a nutshell and preserved if for years. The grandeur of this lost tradition was somehow protected and put in its place.
With time, our people have got falsely attracted to pseudo western values and cultures making them think twice about embracing their own culture. For example, yoga practices are part and parcel of our own Indian culture, slowly making big business in the west. The Indian community embraced yoga to greater levels after the western community gave it recognition. Definitely, Indian society is at crossroads.
They say, father is the head of the family and it’s good to have the whole family for dinner. This was a thing of the past. Now, our lives are ruled by gadgets, people work in flexible hours and the cultural togetherness has become more of a matter of social re-union.
Earlier, joint families played a very vital role in our society. The older and younger generations interacted with each other and perceived, understood and imbibed our cultural values. When this set-up got slowly replaced by a nuclear family setup, cultural value transfer took a backseat. Time for daily chores, the need for one’s independence, career boost and gained more and more importance leading to severe social restructuration.
Paradigm shift in Indian philanthropy
India is a country with a lot of social issues. Some have been addressed, others are yet to gain a platform. ‘Giving’ has been a part of our greater culture since years. Apart from the common man who ‘gave’ to society-in-need in the form of charity, rulers, beings and their counterparts donated for the welfare of society and people.
In today’s world ‘giving’ is no more a fancy word found in cultural textbooks, it is part of a greater form of ‘contribution’. NGOs make name and fame by being part of this ‘philanthropy’! People do not necessarily refer to their culture to be part of philanthropy.
They seek relief from their taxable income, so as a means to their financial upliftment too, things have taken a dramatic change. For good reasons and on value based moral grounds, philanthropy has more outreach with advanced technology, people contribute in modern ways and has become a synonymous task with politicians too.
Emergence of new classes
When India was created an economic grounds, the backward classes or peeres classes took the lowest stream in society, followed by the middle class and then the upper class. The cultural values travelled in the other way, the upper class believed to be culturally more significant too.
The situation today is different. We have the modern class which is believed to be flying high with modern waves, yet has a touch of cultural roots attached to it. The ultra-modern classes that are believed to be taken off the cultural radar and living in a liberal society.
The gates-buffet model
People of the younger generation discard their cultural connection, way ahead to see a path of money making. Today, their role models are based on the likes of Gates and Waren Buffet. What makes this model interesting is the five fold theory it is composed of. The first working principle is the glory built with the vision they sought in their minds. People get attracted to the beauty of this glory.
The second principle is ruling out distractions on the way and focusing on the path to success. The third principle exemplifies efficiency, perseverance in our tasks. The fourth principal talks about is social status and well being arising out of his work. The fifth principle exudes inspiration to others on account of our well being.
These words are seen in role models like Gates and Buffet as per the choices of the present generations. In reality, these words can be found way back in our Bhagavad Gitta and has been treasured for long in our cultural values.
Decline of traditional cultural institutions
Religion is different from culture. Religion lays down certain principles that have to be followed in order to practice and preach specific belief. Culture on the other hand teaches a humane way of leading life. No religious text book will go far without the periphery of culture. Religion is the inner stuff and culture is like the extend contact periphery that helps follow religion in the righteous way.
For long, India has been a place of cultural extravaganza and is rich in its value-system. But slowly, due to the mindset prevailing and a bid to take people off their cultural roots, things like corruption and other social evils are thriving.
Traditional cultural institutions in the form of Gurukuls imparted knowledge and education to children in earlier days. The British invasion in India brought along formal education system and also imposed syllabi and rote learning methods.
So, to a great extent, christian missionaries had a very huge impact on our education system. To a certain known perimeter, our culture and values still found a place in these textbooks but with modernity, that started deciling.
India still has its huge share of institutions concerned with the likes of cultural roots of India. Things look bleak when we see the number of patrons and the general public associated with these institutions. Though they impart cultural knowledge in their medium, the number of takers are scanty. There is demand for knowledge in the cultural sphere, but people prefer going the western way.
Travelling to foreign shores in olden days was considered a taboo. Such practices had no base and were precariously removed. Many such upliftment were a welcome move. Along with this, population shift towards the European and American countries began with a steady rise.
So, we could see cross culture exchanges happening at a fast rate. This mixed with other cultures and gave rise to a new concepts of multi-lingual, multi-ethical culture. These days our cultural system is more accessible, acceptable and mobile too.
Composite culture of India
India is not just about Indians. We have people across nations, finding homes here. That is an external bird view. Internally within our own country, we have people from diverse cultures, of various beliefs and values coming together, tying themselves up on the common ground of being an Indian.
The composite cultural makeup of India has led to the concept of unity in diversity. We are one nation but we follow different religions, speak different languages, have cultural difference, yet accept each other on the sole grounds of being on Indian first.
With cross cultural interactions and multi ethnic cultures making in roads and affecting our values in small and big ways, there sure is a long way ahead to be travelled.
Cultural migration in India
Be it festivals, food practices, important days, ceremonies or events, there is a natural cultural affiliation attached to each one of them. Overtime, things change, get more updated with the time and that is when we see apart of our practices seeking a migration.
We can definitely see our cultural systems seeking more modern ways and approaches that suits different mindsets. It is about opening up to allow fresh cease of air. While letting out those threads that seems outdated and irrelevant at present times.
Modernism & traditional socio-ethical values
When we see modernisation of our culture, it does not mean leaving behind what was there and bringing in something that was non-existent. The concept of modernism in cultural contexts simply mean that we move ahead with our times. In a traditional social set-up, the families refrained from staying differently in individual houses. A joint set up with a primary head of the family was the norm.
Today we have small units living happily in cities. It is a necessity today. We no longer see large, joint family systems everywhere. It has become a rarity now. This concept does not mean that people have forgotten their ethics or customs or traditions. They still follow them. Festivals are still celebrated at homes. Only the way in which it is celebrated must have changed, owing to changing times and traditions.
Earlier a son used to carry on his father’s business and this continued for many more generations in the future. Today, if the father is in a particular city, his son may be working on an offshore unit. Times have changed occupations and opportunities have diversified mindsets have also changed accordingly. The bonding and cultural roots remain the same. But that does not inhibit a person to explore out of his boundary.
Cultural values impart good ethics in humans. Indians have always been enriched culturally. Indians are known for their good culture and mannerisms. No matter where we are employed or where we study, we should leave behind our negative traits. We should not forget our cultural setups and values that we are made of.
Transformations happen in the world at every sphere and every aspect of life. With improved science and technology, lives are more modernised. Thinking and reasoning has changed. People go back to their cultures as a reference point.
The 21st century human is more receptive of his culture to attain spiritual happiness. He uses his culture to find the right paths and in roads to derive his strength. Culture should not put a roadblock on a person’s success ladder, it should transform him from bad to good.