Since the mid-1980s, Indian society has undergone a dramatic shift in social values. The traditional caste-defined view of Indian life, which undervalues social and economic mobility, and the dominance of the Brahmanical culture’s disdain toward commerce have been challenged by the middle class in contemporary Indian society. Getting rich and enjoying a good life has become the new mantra of social existence for the Indian middle class. With more income and more purchasing power, the status-conscious Indian middle class now seek to buy good quality consumer products and spend more money on food and entertainment. In metropolitan cities, extensive foreign media exposure and the Internet revolution have contributed to the emergence of a new social attitude which accepts Western values and culture. The contemporary Indian society can be understood on the basis of a 70/30 dynamic. While 70% of Indians are still traditional, poor, and live in rural areas, 30% of Indians (more than 300 million people) have emerged as rich, modern, Western-exposed, English-speaking, urban dwellers.
In India’s metropolitan cities, the young and rich have embraced the spirit of American culture.22 America has come to be associated with success, productivity, and a good life. This growing acceptance corresponds to the big impact of the American influence on Indian business, education, and entertainment. The U.S. is India’s largest trading partner, investor, and business collaborator. Top U.S. corporations like General Electric, General Motors, Ford, Citibank, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Microsoft, IBM, and Intel are entrenched in India. American universities in general, and a few in particular like Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, Princeton, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), are instantly recognized in India and have become the most preferred destinations for today’s generation. The growing popularity of Western pop culture, MTV, Hollywood movies, and American-type...
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