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cultural milieu of India

Indravadan Modi
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In the modern age due to the colonial rule of almost two centuries at a stretch there has also been considerable western influence mainly of the British. This has made the cultural milieu of the country more glorious. Do u all agree with me

Posted On : 04/09/09 11:44:45 PM

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Priyadarshini Misra
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The answer to your question has two aspects of consideration...Today, there is a sense of deep satisfaction, of gloating even, in India. The economy is booming, there are more and more cars on the roads, shares are soaring, a plane is taking off every six seconds, hotels are full, shops do roaring business. It looks as if India has moved from tamas to rajas, and has come out of its slough of depression and inertia of the last so many centuries, which was characterised by lack of self-esteem, confidence and dynamism. Today, we see a much more dynamic and self-confident India, galvanised by the liberalisation taking place at this very moment. B and Westernisation. Yes, there are great values in the Western world: Freedom, democracy, equality not always though , respect for the environment, less corruption. And India must, and has already borrowed from these qualities. But since the last two, three years, it seems the Indian political and intellectual mind is pushing these qualities to an illogical extreme, as if it wants to prove to the West that we are as democratic, as liberal, as free as you are. Thus, democracy in India has been hijacked. It takes a fortune to be elected. Politicians, elected by and for the people, once they are locked in the ivory tower that is Delhi, forget all about the people. Thus we see that freedom is such an obsessive mantra in India that an artist who paints one of the most revered ancient Hindu gods doing unmentionable things to a Hindu goddess is defended by India s intellectuals. Thus we see that someone who is part of a diabolical plot to kill Indian leaders and storm Parliament gets the benefit of the doubt from the same intelligentsia in the name of judicial correctness. This process of copying the West to the point of aping it has, of course, already happened many times in the developing world. And it killed the soul of many countries, making them just another replica of the West - with a youth that wears the latest Calvin Klein jeans, knows the No 1 bestseller on the Time list, can quote a few lines from Dante, reads The Times of India, but knows nothing about pranayama, has never read a verse from Kalidasa and does not know who Sri Aurobindo is. The Westernisation of India must not be at the cost of her culture and spirituality. Yet, there are signs that it is already happening here. You may notice in the Indian media, that there is a witch hunt against gurus, a deriding and mocking of Indian spirituality, a marginalising of Hinduism and Hindus, who constitute the immense majority in India and are a billion worldwide, one of the most law-abiding, religious, educated, affluent communities in the world. More and more, Indian television particularly, but also newspapers and magazines, are casting a look on India that is not only very critical if you open any newspaper nowadays, you can only end up depressed , but which in its very nature is a Western look - which judges India according to Western standards. But these Western standards do not necessarily apply to this country, which has a different psyche, different culture and different standards. Why not judge India according to Indian wisdom, which is much more ancient than Western democracy and philosophy? More importantly, some Indians are more and more divided. Instead of feeling first Indians, they feel they are first Muslims and then Indians, first Dalits and then Indians, first Christian and then Indians. This is a dangerous trend and it spells the death of the minimum unified nationalistic pride that can take a country forward. Instead, Indians today take pride in melting abroad, or adopting a secular creed, which basically makes them soul-less and identity-less, however brilliantly they ape the West. What is it that which India is fast losing ? Its culture, firstly. Entire patches in the northeast are being converted to Christianity. Tribals are told by missionaries that it is sinful to enter a temple, women are asked not to wear bindis, children are taught to look down on their culture as animist or heathen. Its communal harmony, secondly. Whatever the shocks of invasions, there was always a certain syncretism in Jain, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian and Muslim communities. The ordinary Muslim in Kashmir or the Christian in Kerala, even if he thought that his or her god was the only true one, had a certain understanding and acceptance of the age-old Indian culture. Reverence for women, respecting others festivals and customs, harmony with one s neighbours were hallmark traits. Today, even the Sikh community feels it wants to separate from its Hindu brothers and Christian and Muslims are encouraged to look down upon Hindus. I feel that this blind copying of the West s ignorant and doubting mind, the aping of whatever is has proved wrong in the West - wild consumerism, or savage capitalism - will be a tragedy for India. And what is India s soul? The knowledge that there is life beyond life, the understanding of the different planes above the mind, the ancient wisdom on reincarnation, karma, maya. And above all, the acceptance that god manifests himself at different times under different names and that god is one in his infinite diversity. This knowledge, which once roamed the shores of the world from Egypt to China, is today lost everywhere. Yet it is the knowledge that humanity needs for the 21st century if it does not want to go towards catastrophe as it is now, with the world s two major so-called monotheistic religions still believing that only their god is the true one and that it is their duty to convert pagans. India must thus achieve its liberalisation and industrialisation, by taking the best of the West, but preserving what is good, pure, wise in her own culture. On a material level, for instance, there should be a revival of authentic Indian traditional forms, such as ancient medical systems like Ayurveda, or Siddha, instead of the total dependence on Western antibiotics. And what about Indian yogic sciences? Pranayama, for instance, is the most exacting, precise, mathematical, powerful breathing discipline one can dream of. It is also true of hatha yoga, a 3,500-year-old technique, which has inspired all kind of aerobic, so-called yoga techniques and gymnastic drills around the world. Meditation is also India s gift to the world. The art of relaxing the mind and cooling the nervous system, using simple methods such as observing the breath, or repeating one s god s name. If these three disciplines were taught in a secular, scientific manner to all Indian children in school, not only it would unify them in the same knowledge, but it would provide them wonderful tools of intuition, endurance and peace of mind, which they could use all throughout their life. But what we see today instead in India are IIMs or IITs churning out scores of Western clones good for export - the greatest cause of the intellectual brain drain of India. And this will be India s gift to this planet during this century: to restore to the world its true sense, to recharge humanity with the real meaning and spirit of life. India should become the spiritual leader of the world.

Posted On : 04/10/09 2:07:05 AM

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Manpreet Bharara
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Britain s expansion can be attributed to more than military power. Expansion was enabled economicaly because certain Indian groups motivations matched those of the English and they welcomed their presence. Without the aid of these groups, British rule would not have been possible Mansingh, 37 . Another decisive factor in British expansion was English assimilation to the Indian culture: English factors or agents of the East India Company that had been formed in London, became familiar with Indian customs and languages, including Persian, the official language of the Mughal Empire. They adapted to Indian clothes and lifestyles. The knowledge of the country so gained and the cooperative tie they enjoyed with various groups of Indian traders gave them a competitive edge over other Europeans Mansingh, 34-35 . Major changes occurred politically in the 19th century. Indian uprisings in 1857 brought an end to Company rule. Although this mutiny was quickly extinguished, Great Britain stepped in and the crown took direct control of India, remaining in power until 1947 when they withdrew and India became an independent and unified country. British influence had an effect on India s caste system, bringing more equality and a different sort of unity to the country. With the help of Mohamdas Gandhi the system has become more equal and less strict. Although the caste system did break up into many different castes, the develpments of the social system did aid the unification of India. Religion being one of the most central aspects of Indian culture, Britain could not rule the country without dealing effectively with its religions. They did not unify India religiously, but had they not accepted the existing religions, the political unity which they were able to achieve would not have been possible. Though probably not intentionally Great Britain played a major role in the unification of India from the time of the company s formation of trade, through their growth as a major political power, until the time that Britain, and then eventually India attained direct control.

Posted On : 04/11/09 12:46:21 AM

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Chetan Juneja
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Monday, April 28, 2008
The English made many external changes that led to the Indian people s desire and ability to become their own unified country. Although unification may never have happened without the influence of the British, it was the Indians themselves that eventually achieved their unity. The British could not completely unify India. This idea can be illustrated by examining some individual cultural areas such as language and technology. Trade was Britain s doorway into India. Originally, English interests in India were merely economical. On Dec. 31, 1600, Queen Elizabeth granted a charter to the Governor and Company of merchants of London trading with the East Indies, and the English East India Trading Company established trading centers in India. Political control came gradually as residential governors began to establish the foundations of English justice, a fixed land revenue, and the first English mint in India Benton, 143 . When security of the trade began to suffer because of hostility from neighbors and other rival European countries, Britain was forced to form a military presence in India. Factories in many cities began applying laws to disputes within their boundaries. they grew in size and population. Armed servants of the company were usually protectors of trade at the time, and the company armies equipped themselves well. Their assistance came to be requested by rival contenders of the time Mansingh, 35 . Through penetration by trade and through these spheres of influence, and then protectorate-like alliances, the company soon became the recognized political power in India. Britain s expansion can be attributed to more than military power. Expansion was enabled economicaly because certain Indian groups motivations matched those of the English and they welcomed their presence. Without the aid of these groups, British rule would not have been possible Mansingh, 37 . Another decisive factor in British expansion was English assimilation to the Indian culture: English factors or agents of the East India Company that had been formed in London, became familiar with Indian customs and languages, including Persian, the official language of the Mughal Empire. They adapted to Indian clothes and lifestyles. The knowledge of the country so gained and the cooperative tie they enjoyed with various groups of Indian traders gave them a competitive edge over other Europeans Mansingh, 34-35 . Major changes occurred politically in the 19th century. Indian uprisings in 1857 brought an end to Company rule. Although this mutiny was quickly extinguished, Great Britain stepped in and the crown took direct control of India, remaining in power until 1947 when they withdrew and India became an independent and unified country. British influence had an effect on India s caste system, bringing more equality and a different sort of unity to the country. With the help of Mohamdas Gandhi the system has become more equal and less strict. Although the caste system did break up into many different castes, the develpments of the social system did aid the unification of India.

Posted On : 04/13/09 9:33:59 PM

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Anju Malhotra
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The western culture brought the base of proper education in our country. How much we debate, this cannor be denied....From the first Five Year Plan onwards India s emphasis was to develop a pool of scientifically inclined manpower. India s National Policy on Education NPE provisioned for an apex body for regulation and development of higher technical education, which came into being as the All India Council for Technical Education AICTE in 1987 through an act of the Indian parliament.At the level of the centre the Indian Institutes of Technology are deemed of national importance.The Indian Institutes of Management are also among the nation s premier education facilities. Several Regional Engineering Colleges REC have been converted into National Institutes of Technology. The UGC has inter-university centres at a number of locations throughout India to promote common research, eg. the Nuclear Science Centre at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. 2001 government statistics hold the national literacy to be around 64.84%. Government statistics of 2001 also hold that the rate of increase of literacy is more in rural areas than in urban areas. Female literacy is at a national average of 53.63% whereas the male literacy was 75.26%. Within the Indian states, Kerala has shown the highest literacy rates of 90.02% whereas Bihar averaged lower than 50% literacy, the lowest in India. The 2001 statistics also indicated that the total number of absolute non literates in the country was 304 million. Since 1947 the Indian government has tried to provide incentives for girls school attendance through programs for midday meals, free books, and uniforms.

Posted On : 04/14/09 12:08:30 AM

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