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India`s Cultural Shift

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14th June 2015

Changing Values – India`s Cultural Shift
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Since Globalization in India we tend to see a lot of changes in our culture, activities and living styles and day-to-day recurrences of various changes whether it is wanted or unwanted by us. The change has come into being with us and that is the order of the day. Any new infusion would be received with divergent views and opinions. Like this the present scenarios of change in culture and values too attracted lot of criticisms and when you look at them we tend to take a step a back and think for a moment whether we are in the right direction or not. Of course, the scientific developments have come into play many materialistic changes in lives and upgraded our values.However the culture has taken a back seat. We are not able to delve into that completely. We may like the same and wanted to adore the same, but still our values which have been established long and long back has not had its co-existence with the same in the same levels. We are little off beat from the canvas and we still have a doubtful existence whether to go with it fully or not. We have a paranoid of evolution which does not get into us immediately in spite of enough influence and encouragement. We have psychic affirmation with all its negative aspects and we do not convince ourselves fully to go with or without it. We are still sailing in the same boat but wanted to have a foot in the water and the other foot in the boat. Just think for a moment, can we either go in the boat safely or dwell in the land peacefully. We are caught in between and worrying always to have the cake and not eat it too. Strange isn`t it. Where we heading and what are our future and how are our children get into this and have a take. 
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Just go through the following few lines which would be food for your thoughts definitely.
By Emily Wax, The Washington Post
BANGALORE, India — at a trendy pub in this cosmopolitan IT capital, Hemangini Gupta, 28, and some of her girlfriends were relaxing and having cocktails recently after work. A group of Hindu men later followed them outside, orally accosting them for drinking in a public bar and for wearing jeans.
“These guys went psycho,” Gupta said. “This isn`t Afghanistan. But here in Bangalore, as a young woman on the streets, if you are driving a car or in a pub or dressed a certain way, you just feel this rising anger.”
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The incident was mild compared with some of the violent assaults on women that have taken place here. The attacks are part of what many see as rising Hindu extremism in much of the country over the past few years, especially in places such as Bangalore, precisely because it is a bastion of India`s fast-changing culture. Bangalore is home to an explosion of software companies , a lively heavy-metal rock music scene and burgeoning gay rights and environmental movements.
The growing extremism has sparked a nationwide debate — especially with national elections this month — over what has become known by the Indian news media and analysts as the “Italianization of India.” It features a rise of moral policing and an increasingly active constellation of Hindu right-wing groups that believe in a politicized form of religion known as Hindutva.
In Bangalore, recent street protests by Hindu extremist groups have targeted the emblems of globalization.
Political experts predict that the rise of Hindu extremism will spur greater participation during India`s marathon, month-long elections by the secular middle class and by those who support traditional values.
Some Indians see the growing number of attacks as a national embarrassment. The issue has resonated among young, urban voters, frustrated that politicians and police have turned a blind eye or have themselves taken on the task of moral policing.
For India`s young, the debate goes to the heart of India`s new identity. In this fast-changing society, long-held religious sentiments about public behaviour are still being negotiated in Indian homes and on the streets. The discussion is complicated by the fact that India`s economic growth has been lopsided: Well-paid urban youths tend to embrace Western values, while the country`s poor appear more eager than ever to stick to traditions that have been shaped by Hindu religious teachings.
“Before the IT culture, things were very peaceful. Our youth enjoyed their own Indian culture,” said Vasanth Kumar Bhavani, 32, president of Bangalore`s branch of Sri Ram Sena, a right-wing Hindu group involved in a string of attacks on women. “Now it`s been spoiled by all these outsiders flowing in, and it`s all because of this IT sector. They need to be taught a lesson .”
His lesson plan apparently includes violence. In January his followers — 40 men wearing saffron-colored headbands — barged into a pub called Amnesia in the southern city of Mangalore as television cameras rolled. They pulled down the skirts of several young female patrons in an effort to embarrass them and kicked others, accusing them of being prostitutes. Since the stunt, which was billed by the group as an effort to “preserve Indian culture,” nearly a dozen cases of attacks on women have been reported in Bangalore.

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“What they did was correct in some ways and wrong in others,” Bhavani said. “When something is wrong, you have to respond. Sometimes the reaction is too much. But you must respond.”
Bhavani also is at the forefront of crackdowns on the closing time of discos — known here as Cinderella laws — and protests against Valentine`s Day, which Bhavani and his followers say gives young people the wrong ideas about love and romance. Combined, the efforts have given Bangalore a new nickname in the Indian media: Bans-Galore.
In response, a group of artists and writers that calls itself the Consortium of Pub-Going, Loose and Forward Women mailed his group a Valentine: hundreds of pink panties. “We felt enough is enough. You suddenly see a state that is going berserk,” said Nisha Susan, 29, who organized the protest and started the consortium. “We didn`t want the protest to be wishy-washy. We wanted to thumb our noses at these right-wing groups.”

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The Indian Identity
In the aforesaid happenings let us see our identity for a moment,
The Indian identity of self has traditionally been defined by a sense of belonging to a group – of family, caste or community, religion, region and language. Indians did not think of themselves as `me, an individual`. There was always a context in which they are a part, and that context was always a group. The family has always been one of the most important pillars in Indian society. Unlike the western cultures, the concept of family in India has always meant the extended family, the entire network of people who are related to each other by blood or by marriage. This extended family maintains and defines social boundaries, norms and culturally prescribed behaviours. Relationships and social responsibilities within those extended networks are given prime importance. Individualism, independence and autonomy, which are considered virtues and values to be aimed for in the West, are frowned upon in India. Independent behaviour has always been considered `selfish` and `bad`.
An outcome of the family networks was the tradition of arranged marriages, which worked in the interest of the family as a unit. Spouses for children came from a background and culture that were aligned to one`s own. This helped adjustment and nurtured the interdependence that is a keystone of Indian families. Divorces were extremely rare and parents and children were taken care of. This has changed dramatically. There are many `love marriages` between young people who work together and unfortunately, the rate of divorce are extremely high too. The glue of common backgrounds, which helped pull individuals together by creating the magic ingredient of `adjustment` to each other and the family, seems to be missing. Many relationships seem to be breaking up on flimsy grounds, too – disagreements about the brand of car to be purchased, or destination for a holiday, can trigger a divorce. The facts that bring the couple together – physical proximity and easy access to each other, seem to not be deep enough to hold them together. And the social stigma that used to come with a break-up doesn`t seem to matter. All this impacts the value of extended families too. The cohesive nature of the family seems to be fraying. Indian culture has always been relationship-oriented; that too seems to be changing. Loyalties and unconditional caring for members in one`s in-group seem to have become diluted.
Hierarchy has always been an inescapable fact of Indian society – within the family and in society. Everything and everyone is sized up and ranked in relation to everything and everyone else. Roles, responsibilities and expectations depended upon where one stood in the hierarchy. Parents were awarded respect, and sons and daughters each had their role cut out for them. Sons provided for parents once they started earning, daughters were married off when and to whom the parents chose. Girls today are choosing careers over marriage, preferring to marry much later than before and to find their own life partners. They may choose to move out of their parental home or may stay at home and financially support the family. These things change the socio-dynamics within the family unit. Yes, the additional and generous income is usually welcome, but the accompanying change in values, expectations, attitude and behaviour causes a lot of tension and strife in most homes.

Controlling and withholding finances was one way parents were able to `control` their children in the past, to make them conform to values and behaviours which were considered socially acceptable. Family honour was placed at a premium and protecting it was the responsibility of all family members. This honour was very closely linked to acceptable behaviours. The financial independence of children today seems to have reduced the ability of parents to curb and control the behaviour of their children.
There also seems to be a difference in the pace of change between young men and women. The women seem to have become more empowered, independent and vocal than the men. They are unwilling to be passive players in their own lives. I recently met a young professional woman in Hyderabad and asked her what it was like to be a woman in modern India, and she answered, “The men are not ready for us. They like girlfriends who are westernized but want wives who are traditional like their mothers.” I do believe the women have moved ahead in bigger strides, but that was mainly because for decades they were relegated to secondary status.
How do we go about all the above, we have to think again and again whether to restructure our values and change according to the need and circumstances and go with the wind, Who has to decide, Who has to change and who has to propel these unwanted changes, and last but not the least who can take us to the next era without getting our roots not uprooted. Do you have the answer…?
Definitely it is a million dollar question?
Jai Hind,
Regards,
T Mohenchander

CEO http://www.comeongetgoing.com

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