What is modernization? Explain the modernization of Indian tradition. Discuss?

What is modernization? Explain the modernization of Indian tradition. Discuss?

In sociological terms, modernisation refers to the transformation of a rural, agrarian, and traditional society into an urban, industrial, and secular society. Eisenstadt opines,

“modernisation is historically a process of change that is oriented towards social, economic and political systems like Western Europe.”

Definitions of Modernisation

1. S.H. Alatas

“Modernization is a process by which modern scientific knowledge is introduced in the society with the ultimate purpose of achieving a better and a more satisfactory life in the broadest sense of the term as accepted by the society concerned”.

2. Rutow and Ward (1964):

“The basic process in Modernization is the application of modern science to human affairs.”

3. Daniel Lerner:

“Modernization is the current term for an old process of social change whereby less developed societies acquire the characteristics common to more developed societies”.

4. Prof. Yogendra Singh:

“Modernization symbolizes a rational attitude towards issues and their evaluation but not from a particularistic point of view”.

5. Smelser:

Modernization refers to “a complex set of changes that take place almost in every part of society as it attempts to be industrialized. Modernization involves ongoing change in a society’s economy, politics, education, traditions, and religion”.

Modernisation of Indian Tradition 

M.N. Srinivas dislikes the concept of modernization referring to it as a value-loaded term. He opines,

“Modernisation is normally used in the sense that it is good. He, therefore, prefers to use the term ‘Westernization’ which characterizes the changes brought about in Indian society and culture as a result of over 150 years of British rule”.

Yogendra Singh, however, defends it suggesting that modernisation is much broader than the concepts of Westernization and Sanskritization. He states,

“It is, indeed, a ‘cultural universal’ and not necessarily confined to any single society. Like science, modernity is not an exclusive possession of any one ethnic or cultural group. It belongs to humanity as a whole. This does not mean that everywhere it should reveal the same pattern. It need not always take place on the model of England, Germany, France or America. It can take place on the model of Russia, India, Japan, Australia, or any other country for that matter. What is essential to modernization is this – a commitment to “scientific world view” and a belief in the humanistic and philosophical viewpoint of science on contemporary problems.”

Yogendra Singh

Modernization in India took its root after the nation’s contact with the Western societies and the establishment of British rule.

Social and Cultural Effects of Urbanisation in India

As a result, many social and cultural changes approached the country which are as follows: 

  • 1. Increase and improvement in standard of living 
  • 2. Emergence of the middle class 
  • 3. Introduction of new institutions 
  • 4. Emergence of new value systems 
  • 5. Emergence of large scale industries 
  • 6. Shift in attitude from sacred to secular 
  • 7. Adoption of new cultural practices
  • 8. Restructuring of political system 
  • 9. Acceptance of scientific innovation 
  • 10. Emergence of new lifestyle like nuclear families 

A single factor does lead to modernisation but rather, multiple factors contribute to its emergence.

“National development depends upon a change in knowledge — what people know, skills — what people can do, and attitudes – what people can aspire and hope to get.”