Impact of Westernisation on Indian Society in Sociology

M.N. Srinivas states,

“Westernisation” refers to “the changes brought about in the Indian society and culture as a result of over 150 years of British rule and the term subsumes changes occurring at different levels – technology, institutions, ideology and values.”

He also used the term “Westernisation” to describe,

“the changes that a non-western country had undergone as a result of prolonged contact with the western one.”

Levels of Westernisation

Westernisation occurs in three levels which are as follows:

1. Primary level:

At this level, a minority of people were influenced by western cultures by coming into contact with the same.

2. Secondary level:

The secondary level of westernisation involves that section of the Indian society who are directly in contact with the primary beneficiaries.

3. Tertiary level:

The tertiary level includes those who came into contact with the British indirectly and the devices introduced by them.

Westernisation refers to adopting practices and culture of the Western Europe by countries and societies in various parts of the world, whether it is through influence or compulsion. Some important characteristics of westernisation include egalitarianism, humanitarianism, initiation of social reforms, predominance of science and technology, and initiation of social reforms.

Y. Singh (1973) observed the following results of Westernisation in India:

  • 1. The growth of a universalistic legal superstructure
  • 2. Expansion of education
  • 3. Urbanisation and industrialisation
  • 4. Increased network of communication
  • 5. Growth of nationalism and politicisation of the society

The introduction of English education in India led to the following two-fold impact:

  • 1. Inculcation of the western values and ideologies among the educated people, and
  • 2. The rise of social and cultural reformation movements.

The factors contributing to modernisation as mentioned above are prevalent throughout the country. Along with this, the enactment of various systems such as judiciary, law courts, legislations, law commissions and legal innovations related to rules of marriage, family, divorce, adoption, inheritance, minorities, land rights, trade, commerce, industries, labour, and the like were implemented.