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  • Writer's pictureGajera International Utran

Influence of Western Culture in Indian Society

India is a secular country where the people have the freedom to practice any religion and also to convert to another religion of their choice. So all the cultures are freely accepted and respected by the Indians. But the influence of western culture started in India during the 19th Century when the British established their Colony in the country-western culture considered as the most advanced culture on the globe has started surmounting its flavour on Indian roots.

Indian culture which is one of the oldest richest culture in the world with very language custom belief ideas tab use codes instructions works of art architecture ritual ceremony acceptor India’s cultural history of several thousand years old and it shows continuity and subtle change with a strong third of Duty epitomized in the relative power of culture and unique display of unity in diversity. Which the conquest of European power and subsequent British rule in India has had a profound effect on western culture on Indian society. Western culture has made its presence in various forms.

Impacts of western culture on Indian Society:

There were different kinds of westernization one kind to emergence of a westernise subcultural pattern through a minority section of Indians who first came in contact with the western culture.

This includes the subculture of Indian intellectuals who not only adopted many cognitive patterns or way of thinking like this style but also supported its expansion.

This impact of westernization was mainly in urban areas. But some villages are more westernised than urban areas.

Consequences of western culture on Indian society

Affected caste, joint family, marriage and other social structures. Introduced new institutions like press, Christian missionaries, etc.

Modern values like humanism, egalitarianism, secularism have entered Indian value systems. Our criminal law has been reformed. Evil customs like sati ended, Untouchability was abolished.

The concept of the welfare state was introduced and thus Governmental activities on welfare measures have expanded. Far-reaching reforms in Hindu society through social reform movements like the Brahmo samaj etc. under inspired by the Western-educated middle class in India.

Many political and cultural movements emerged like the movement for the eradication of caste spread of mass education. The emergence of an educated middle class as the vanguard of the freedom movement.

Agents of Westernization

British rule – The establishment of British rule brought about deep and far-reaching changes in the economic, political, educational, and cultural spheres in India. It offered some new avenues of social mobility to the scheduled castes, e.g., new economic opportunities, education, westernisation, conversion to Christianity and politicization. Indians employed in government offices or converts to Christianity. Those educated in modern schools and colleges. Some of them launched great movements like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Tagore, Sir Syed Ahmad etc. Those who went to England for study or medical treatment. Those who lived in port towns. The tolerant spirit of Indians was largely responsible for the spread of Westernisation. There was no wholesale but only selective Westernisation. Old styles continued side by side. There was also a movement to preserve Indian values.(eg. The Arya Samaj)

Influence of western culture on Caste

We find that the traditional social organisation exemplified by the caste system has undergone several changes yet continues to exist in Indian society performing some old and some new functions. During the last few decades, as a result of the forces of modernisation, the ideology of caste has become less pervasive in an individual’s day to day life. Caste rituals have become increasingly a personal affair, rather than public due to changed circumstances of living, forces of industrialisation, and urbanisation. Place of residence and food habits are influenced more by an individual’s workplace and occupation than by his or her caste or religion. Industrialization and the factory systems broke down caste barriers to a large extent. Urbanization made many castes live together. Transport broke down caste restrictions.

Impact of English education

Changes in dress and food habits Supply of water through pipes – you cannot ask the caste of the person who sends water down the pipes.

Impact on women

The educational advancement of women Entry of women into all occupations Social reformers also helped the liberation of women Discarding pardah.

Impact on social structure

Career open to talent and no longer based on caste money and wealth regarded important decline of rituals

Impact on marriage

Marriage came to be regarded as a contract and not entirely a sacrament

Influence on culture

English words came to be used commonly – Daddy, mummy, cutting the cake culture; contrast the Indian custom of lighting a lamp with the western habit of blowing out the candlelight. Western gadgets freely used; Television, washing machine etc

Impact of western literature on Indian literature, religion

Art – cinema, western dance, musical instruments, modern religion – decline of superstition, ritualism rise is scientific belief

Influence of western culture on Tribes

The Westernisation of tribals had begun during the British colonial rule when they first came in contact with them. Not all tribes were subjected to the efforts of modernisation. There were many which continued to survive in their traditional modes till India’s Independence. The fate of traditional material culture and styles of tribes were to be ‘preserved’ as museum specimens. Attempts were made to synthesize the customary and modern laws. In all these efforts, the focus was on modernizing the tribals.

The changes in the style of life have followed two trends. They are changes in relation to the political system

The political system, which developed during the British rule, gave increasing opportunities for the political articulation to the people of India, especially those who acquired western education. This facility was taken advantage of by the backward classes. The advent of Independence and the introduction of adult franchise and more recently Panchayati Raj institutions have increased the access to power, especially political power, to the backward classes. Such access led to a shift from Sanskritisation to competition for positions of higher bureaucratic and political power.

By Gajera International School, Utran


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