The Influence of the Western Culture on the

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 1247
  • Published : August 30, 2008
Open Document
Text Preview
Culture is a broad term which has been described by various philosophers since decades. It has been claimed by Raymond Williams to be “…one of the two or three most complicated words in English language” (Williams, 1976). Different definitions of the term, culture may have distinct descriptive ways and criterion to evaluate human activity. It is important to define the broad base of the sophisticated term ‘culture’, in the sense used later in the paper, to narrow down the discussion on our topic. Culture is a word stemming from a Latin word ‘cultura’ which means to cultivate (Harper, 2008). It is defined by Findley and Rothney as, “systems of symbols and meanings that even their creator contest, which lack fixed boundaries, that are constantly in flux, and that interact and compete with one another" (Findley & Rothney, 2006). This is the defination of culture I would be using here on. The authors describe culture to be a system of symbols having blurred boundries. The curx however is to see how do we recognize these system of symbols? The answer to this question is provided by Williams who says that culture can be judged or embedded in music, literature,lifestyle, painting and sculputure,theater and film and similar things (Williams, 1976). These dimensions are common to all cultures. In the foreface of the rapid globalization and the interaction in the past, these dimensions of various cultures are often influenced by each other. The following Paper discusses the influence of the dimensions of western culture to the respective dimensions of the subcontinental culture and vice versa. The subcontinential culture, is the culture refering to the South Asian region which includes the modern day India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sirilanka. The major influene on the subcontinental cultrue came first with the arrival of the British in India in the early 1600’s. The British brought with them the rest of Western culture customs and traditions. The traditional religions and cutltures in the subcontinent were slowly subverted. The conversion of people from the prevailent religion in the subcontinent played an important role in the change in the traditional culture. The converts to chiristanity were encouraged not only to give up their religion but also their traditions and cultures. A fine christian convert would dress like an Englishman and imitate English behaviour in all things.Thus the converts to Christanity were buoyant to think behave and live like the Englishmen. The English education system was introducced by the then Governer Generals’ council in Calcutta (East India) 1

The influence of the western culture on the Sub continental culture and vice versa Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800 - 1859), aimed at producing Indians who were English in taste. This progressive system was implemented all over India providing Western education. To the Sub continent people, this was perceived as much more of an enlightenment than exploitation as more people could go to collages built by foreign rulers. It gave them the aura of becoming more civilized, rational and modern by acquiring the knowledge. This is also one of the reasons of no significant initial resistance to the shift in the cultural values (Sundaram, 2006). This extensive educational programs resulted into well read sub continent scholars and writers. In the late 1800’s the literature started to take its turn and produced much more writings in English by local people than ever before. It also gave birth to notable writers such as Bharati Mukherjee and Jhumpa Lahiri. Globalization of the world has had its influence on the sub continental culture as well. In a modern day scenario people are instantly connected and communicating with each other than ever before. The products produced in one part of the world are easily available in the other part and international traveling has just become a norm. The world is very interdependent today and we are living in an...
tracking img