Positive and Negative effects of Westernisation in India
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.
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.
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.
Y. Singh (1973) observed the following results of Westernisation:
- 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
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.
Positive Effects of Westernisation in India
Introduction of New Values:
The introduction of new and important values such as secularism, humanism, and egalitarianism was made to the Indian value system.
Reformation of law:
The law was reformed with various new practices such as abolishment of the sati system and untouchability thereby putting an end to evil customs.
Introduction of welfare state:
The introduction of welfare state took place leading to the expansion of government’s participation in welfare activities.
Globalisation of economy:
Westernisation also introduced more efficient and effective methods of producing goods and services that led to the globalisation of the economy.
The introduction of English language has enabled the diverse Indian citizens to communicate with one another using a common language.
Negative Effects of Westernisation in India
Reduced Religious Values:
People are slowly forgetting the religious values as a result of western influence.
Impacts Cultural Practices:
It influences people to be fond of and adopt Western culture due to which the people may forget their own culture and moral values.
Due to westernisation, people are not advocating independence and sometimes it may lead one to abuse drugs, become an alcoholic, and the like. Some people may exploit the use of this freedom.
Affects Social Structures:
It impacts the social structures such as joint family, marriages, and the like as it births difference of opinions.
Loss of Identity:
Adapting too much Western culture might lead one to develop a loss of identity and they may long for a sense of belongingness.
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.