Also known as the land of diversity, India is blessed with the presence of various languages, religions, cultures, traditions, etc. Various elements of the Indian culture, such as Indian books on philosophy, Indian cuisine and Yoga have created an impact all over the world. However, despite a rich heritage, the Indian culture seems to be fading away. The urbane youth are getting more and more influenced with Western culture.
Ace businessman and philanthropist Sanjay Dalmia is one of the several people deeply worried about the increasing influence of Western culture over Indian youth. According to Dalmia, excessive influence of foreign customs and sense of morality is greatly changing the social and moral behavior, our love and respect for others. People are enticed by the ‘freedom’ that Western culture offers, forgetting about their moral and social obligations towards their family.
“Only a few are interested in making adjustments and share their things with other family members today. The word ‘privacy’ is given greater importance. Love and respect towards others, especially elders, is decreasing day by day. People are too busy to care for each other. This is strictly contradictory to what Indian values stand for – unity, mutual respect and care,” quips Sanjay Dalmia.
The nationalist business mogul is not entirely wrong in his concern. The traditional ‘joint family’ system has taken a backseat with the evolution of modern, nuclear families. However, despite all the freedom and privacy the system provides, it lacks in something pretty basic an essential to a family – the guidance and experience of the elders.
The fact that both parents in most families are working, only adds to the woes. While both men and women have the equal right to pursue their career, the absence of grandparents in the household often leave children alone, at the mercy of the domestic help. They lack the moral and ethical values that they should’ve been learning from their parents and grandparents, end up grasping whatever they are exposed to in the absence of the family.
Another aspect of Western influence on the current generation is the increase in failed marriages. While divorce rate in India still ranks among the lowest in the world, the number of failed marriages has been on a rise from the last few decades. Indian culture regards marriage as a sacrament, not a contract, and both participants make equal efforts to honor the relationship.
While Western culture is not outright bad, people in India have surely fallen under the negative influence rather than absorbing the positive ones. According to Sanjay Dalmia, it is our duty as Indians to preserve our cultural heritage. “It is our Indian culture that teaches us tolerance, solidarity and patience. Several aspects of our culture have gained widespread popularity in the West. The world is recognizing the importance of Indian heritage and adapting to the goodness of Indian culture,” he says.
The young Indian is obsessed with the latest trends of globalization, to him what is new is cool and fashionable and all that is old is not even worth trying. Whether it is the latest fashion in clothing, be it a low rise jeans or a trendy jacket, or a major lifestyle choice such as a ‘live-in’ relationship, the young Indian says newest is the best.
According to Sanjay Dalmia, if we want the current and future generations to cherish the cultural heritage of India, we must present them with something worth celebrating. “The sights of corruption and disorder will not do. Providing the gen-next an understanding of what Indian values actually stand for – unity in diversity, sacrifice, solidarity, kindness and peace – that would be a great start,” he says.