What Can We Learn from Western Culture?
June 4, 2013
by Ramandeep Kaur
We live in a closed society. Every now and then we find someone condemning western culture for being too open, flashy and modern in a way that is disturbing our society and the present day generation. Most of us believe that western culture is weakening our own value system and with time our culture will disappear.
But do you think it right to put blame on others for all your wrong actions? What is happening in our society is because of us, not because of any other person or society. Is wearing modern clothes, using mobile phones, eating fast food what westernization means to us? The fact is, we are in a dilemma. We do want to stay where we were and, at the same time, want to fly high up in the sky. But flying high when you are deeply rooted to the ground won’t let you fall in any case.
Moreover, every society whether western or eastern has both positive as well as negative sides. It depends upon the person: whether he or she wants to imbibe a positive or negative aspect of the same.
At present, a majority of us are blindly running after modernization and have started believing that western culture is doing only wrong. But this is not right, as western countries are developing at a much faster pace than us. Crime rate in some western countries is far less than what India has at present. Their cities come in the list of the most preferred destinations to live in the world because of low crime rate, and high standards of living. So, we must learn good things from everyone leaving aside the wrong.
What can we adopt from western culture?
Society and community value system
Deep-rooted family values are part of the Indian culture. Parents perform their duties to raise their kids, kids once grown up take care of the elders in the family and marriage is the most sacred union in Indian culture, and so on. But when it comes to society or community, we show an altogether different attitude. For any terrible situation, we think it is not our responsibility but that of someone else. However, the same responsibility towards community is well understood in the West. Western people show their concern for society and make sacrifices, if required.
Habit of Cleanliness
Most of us have the habit of throwing garbage here and there instead of putting it in its proper place. But, if you have been to any western country, then you might have observed a big difference in cleanliness. They keep their surroundings absolutely clean and do not throw even a single bit of paper on the road, in parks or at public places. Everything is well maintained.
In some western countries, different types of garbage like plastic, kitchen waste, etc are required to be put in separate garbage bags. These are then kept outside the home to be collected by respective garbage collectors. But in India, throwing garbage in empty plots is a common scene. So, we must learn a sense of cleanliness from them.
How many of you have seen someone or the other breaking traffic rules in India? I have seen this many a times. But westerners follow all the traffic rules very strictly, even if there is no traffic policeman around.
Transportation system in western countries is much better than in India. A friend of mine once went to England. She was travelling by bus. The bus stopped at its scheduled stop and there was a handicapped person waiting for the bus. This bus had that space occupied, so the driver of the bus deboarded. He contacted another bus driver driving the bus on the same route and confirmed the space for handicapped person and his wheelchair. The driver then waited for that bus. He left the place only after boarding the handicapped passenger in the right bus. Bus drivers can communicate with passengers whenever required and they speak very politely. Such types of incidents are absolutely hard to find in India.
Sense of accountability is great in western culture and we must learn this attribute from them. We must be answerable to what we do. However, in India, generally important people are less answerable than commoners.
Be professional like people in the West who do not allow their personal feelings, problems and dealings to interfere in their professional lives. Along with this we must be punctual and respect the other person’s time.
Therefore, going ahead by preserving our values and culture is not wrong. Also, we should change with time for good as everything in this world is changing. We must adopt good values of western culture to our value system for betterment, growth and development.
Indian Culture vs Western Culture
There has been a lot of talk going on about the difference between Indian culture and Western culture. It is for sure that these two cultures differ to a great extent. Indian culture is said to be one of the oldest cultures in the world. On the other hand, Western culture is almost a kind of modern culture. The differences between these two cultures can be emphasized when studying the religion, family, clothing, food, language, music and other aspects which contribute to the formation of the culture of the country. Through this article, we will comprehend the differences that contribute to the contrasting features of these two cultures, while gaining an understanding of the uniqueness of each culture.
What is Indian Culture?
The Indian culture consists of various rituals, customs, values, lifestyles, and even caste systems. With a single country, the diversity that exists is gigantic. The Indian culture consist of a number of religions, namely, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Jainism, Sikhism, and Christianity. There are a number of languages in different parts of the country such as Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Urdu, etc. Indian cuisine is also very much different to Western cuisine, especially with the emphasis on spices. Indians pay more attention to the lunch part of the day. They have a heavier meal during the day followed by a light dinner. Etiquette in terms of manners and the way of dressing too differ between the two cultures. Indians do not wear revealing dresses. Most women prefer to wear saris or kurta tops. Since India has a collective culture, family life is given prime importance. There were big joint families in the past and are in present times too. When paying attention to the marital life, Indian culture does not encourage the concepts of multiple partners and nudity. Most marriages are arranged marriages; however this trend is now changing where Indian youth have more freedom to choose the partner that they prefer. The involvement of the family and their approval is given a high position even today. When it comes to modern trends along with globalization such as night clubs and social gatherings of the sort, Indian culture does not approve social mixing and night club entertainment. In India, there are various dance forms that highlight not only the diversity but also the artistic capacity and exoticism. Some of the dances are Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Yakshagana and other dances.
What is Western Culture?
Western culture is characterized by new philosophies and methodologies. In fact, Western culture has an altogether new approach to problems of life. Western culture differs from the Indian culture in several aspects such as food habits, etiquette, code of conduct, family, marital life, social life, and religious life to mention a few areas. In the Western culture, the main religion that is being practiced is Christianity. Languages such as English, French, German, Spanish are some of the languages spoken in West. When speaking of clothing, the denims, dresses, blazers, trousers and skirts are some of the clothes are being clad by the people. Even in terms of food, the West differs greatly from the Indian culture as the usage of spices is limited. The Western way gives more importance to the dinner aspect unlike in the Indian culture. They have a heavy dinner and a light lunch. Western culture does not boast joint family life as they encourage an individualistic approach. Western culture also does not say anything against multiple partners and nudity and social mixing and night club entertainment is quite common in the Western culture. These highlight that between the Indian and Western culture there are a number of differences. Let us summarize the differences in the following manner.
What is the Difference Between Indian Culture and Western Culture?
- Indian culture is a collective one whereas the Western culture is individualistic.
- The Indian culture consist of a number of religions, namely, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Jainism, Sikhism and Christianity whereas, in the western culture, it is mostly Christianity.
- In the Indian culture, there is a range of languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Urdu, etc. whereas, in the Western culture, the languages are English, French, German, Spanish, etc.
- Indians pays more attention to the lunch part of the day have a heavier meal during the day followed by a light dinner whereas the Western way gives more importance to the dinner aspect unlike in the Indian culture. They have a heavy dinner and a light lunch.
- When paying attention to the marital life, Indian culture does not encourage the concepts of multiple partners and nudity. Western culture also does not say anything against multiple partners and nudity.
1. “HinduMarriageIndia” by ricardo.martins[CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
2. “Aerobarmiami” by Pod talk [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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