Westernization in the Pakistani Culture

Topics: Western culture, Western world, Human rights Pages: 5 (2010 words) Published: May 26, 2012
Westernization is a word that is gradually becoming synonymous with modernization. There does, however, exist a clear and distinct difference between the two notions that must be clarified before moving forward. The former concept revolves specifically around the spread of western ideas to other cultures influencing everything from morals to general practices. The latter, on the other hand, involves a rather rationalist and positive essence to it [1] in that it could be a change in ways that are largely focused on long term improvement and prosperity. This paper however aims to look at the concept of Westernization itself, its impact in the Pakistani culture specifically and whether we can classify its impact as entirely positive or negative. Literature puts forward several examples that prove that the Westernization concept is one that has frequently been discussed and several opposing views exist with regards to it. Daniel Lerner, best known for his work on the Theory of Modernization, and M.N. Srinivas, one of India’s most renowned sociologists, had long engaged in this debate often disagreeing on the limitations of the Westernization model [2]. Srinivas believed that this is a phenomenon that is predominantly associated with changes at different levels including technology, education, ideology and values [3]. Lerner, however, questioned the classification of what exactly can be considered Western and what cannot be. Moreover, his opinions contradicted those of Srinivas mainly because the proposed ideas of Westernization such as humanitarianism, equalitarianism and secularization significantly pointed solely towards the good associated with it but there was no denying that Westernization did bring along with it a myriad of negative elements for example race prejudice, color segregation and the exploitative nature of the western economy as well [4]. This is where I’d like to bring in my personal opinion. To begin with, what exactly is the West? Is it solely the United States or Britain? Or do we consider places like Russia and even China to be part of it? We do have a tendency to classify anything that is even remotely alien to our own traditions, ideas and practices as being the influence of the West so then exactly what part of the West are we considering? It seems despite our best exhaustive efforts there still doesn’t seem to be a boundary that has been created to identify the geographical limitations of the West [5]. Moreover, if we take a step backward and analyze this concept without any sort of biases, we will realize that maybe Westernization isn’t as bad as it is made out to be. While it is absolutely true that there is a lot of negativity surrounding it, the positive aspects of it cannot entirely be ignored. Imran Khan, a staunch nationalist and burgeoning Pakistani leader had plenty to say on this subject matter in his article ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’. He termed those greatly under the influence of Westernization as liberal fanatics who are so reverent of the West that somewhere along the way they have completely lost their own identity so much so that they will look down upon their own culture and religion without any reservations [6]. These liberals view every aspect of our religion with Western eyes, thus believing that Islam is entirely regressive and that it hinders the process of Pakistan’s journey towards progress and prosperity. Khan’s views are largely anti-Westernization but he puts forth his argument rather impressively. He talks about freedom being given an entirely perverse meaning and such notions as women empowerment being exaggerated completely unreasonably. The founder of the nation, Jinnah, best put his thoughts on such matters as women’s rights when he stated ‘This is essential; but I do not want to ape the evils of the West’ [7]. I personally believe this stands for more than just women’s rights alone. Somewhere a line needs to be drawn to identify that while there is absolutely no...
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