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India is a land of rich cultural heritage. India is a multicultural, multi-lingual from the ancient days since the reign of Aryans and Dravidians. India has adopted all the cultures like from Greek, Persian, Arabians, French, Dutch, Mughals and British without losing its own identity. If we look into the past history it’s believed that north Indians inherit Aryan culture and south Indians inherit Dravidian culture. Both the regions have many differences in living style, clothing, art, jewelry, offering prayers and while performing few rituals like marriages/funerals; few common festivals are celebrated at the same time but few are celebrated at different times in a unique way. North Indians had influence of Persian and Mughal culture and South Indians had influence of Dutch, Arab, French, Portuguese, Jews and the British who had come here for trading purposes and later on settled through dominations. North Indian culture varies while considering dissimilar economical classes. The middle and lower sections are rooted in an age old fixed customs while rich people opt for western culture whereas in south, some customs permeates quite deeply into the upper classes. Behavioral wise north Indians seem to be more showy and aggressive may be due to the influence of wars over the years as compared to south Indians. North Indians think that people in south are dark skin color and south Indians think that north Indians have whitish skin color. When Arabians, Mughals, Portuguese, French, Dutch and the British invaded India they found that how India is rich in all means. Everyone tried to impose their cultural standards on us through forcible conversion or by threatening because they came to know that only way to occupy Indian land is by spoiling our culture and system of education. And probably to some extent they have been successful in doing so. Both north and south regions have mixed cultures imparted by the invaders.
After Indian Independence westernization has more affected our Indian youth and thus gradually today’s young generations are losing faith towards their religious culture, respect towards their parents and elders, love to towards one another, traditions and customs. In today’s scenario media is also one of the reason for creating negative impact on the youth about our culture especially television and film makers. They rather than showing good things always show divorces, violence, sex, reality shows with western dressing styles, extra-marital affairs which is actually not common to our Indians. By watching such kind of movies/serials/reality shows youth become curious and attempt to test it and finally result in losing their own individuality. Youth attracted towards western culture are not realizing that what they are missing; earlier we used to share our happiness and sorrows with our family members, relatives, friends and neighbors meeting them personally. We use to attend functions, marriages, ceremonies though they were miles apart from us. But now a days no one bothers about the relationship they only think about themselves, importance of joint family is not understood and wants to stay nuclear, there is no bonding between people staying around, rituals, festivals are not celebrated enthusiastically, there is no dressing sense especially among women. Whether its north or south women use to keep bindi on their forehead, wear decent sarees, chudidhars, bangles, anklets, ear rings, toe rings and other jewelry. Foreigners are more attracted by our civilized culture. But today’s young generations are blindly following the western culture without knowing its consequences. Our future generations may not be knowing the meaning of joint family, love and care shown by grand parents, uncle and aunt’s as we have remained single families, we do not know our own family background and its very unfortunate today that even children would want to be away from their parents, they expect freedom and wish to choose their own style of living. It is not wrong to inculcate good culture from westerns but not fair to neglect our own culture. We must preserve our culture and also should remember that westerners are looking towards India for its honesty and rich cultural heritageImpact of western culture on our societyWay back before the entry of British into our country, though India had the influence of mixed cultures each individual/families had respect towards their own customs and traditions followed over the years. Though there was caste discrimination in India, upper class suppressing lower caste, untouchability seen throughout the regions, families were united together and when freedom struggle against British started all were united together to fight against irrespective of caste, creed and religion. But then Britishers came to know that the only way to divide the people is by misleading them in following their customs and traditions, differentiation of lower caste by upper caste and thus brought changes in the cultural, economic, educational and political scopes in India.
During British rule many Indians belonging to various castes and creed were forcibly converted to Christianity to get education and jobs. At this time caste system was more affected because most of the dalits got converted into Christianity. But one good thing happened because many cultural and political reforms took birth in abolishing caste system, Arya samaj and Brahma samaj were found to keep alive the pride of our rich culture, and education was spread all over the nation for each and every one. There is a great influence of western culture on our caste system. As today everyone seems to be modern the thought of caste has become less persistent in peoples day to day life. Urbanization has made many castes to live together. Caste rituals have become more personal than public due to change in living style, food habits and workplace. Influence of western culture on Indian youth is so affected that they forgot to take care of their old age parents, many home care centres, baby care centres have rised commercially. Today’s children speak in English rather than speaking in their own mother tongue to which they belong. Everywhere we get to here mom and dad. Earlier we used to celebrate birthday by seeking blessings from our elders, offer prayers by lighting the lamp and distribute sweets but today young generations believe that birthday celebrations can be completed only by blowing out the candle, cutting cake, eating meat and drinking alcohol. We used to cook food on fire, wash clothes by hand but today we use western gadgets washing machine, used to have stage plays on why and how various festivals are celebrated but today due to the impact of media we do have entertainment programs during festivals but rather than showing the rituals performed importance is given only for singing and dancing which is irrelevant some times. Like during Ganesha festivals no stage plays are enacted on why idols are immersed in water, no devotional songs are played rather modern songs are played. During Deepavali which is called festival of lights, rather than lighting the lamps all around people display electric lamps and pollute the environment by bursting the crackers. This certainly has negative impact on future generations because they might not be aware of why and how festivals have to be celebrated. Young generations think that following religious customs is superstitious and always expect a scientific reasons and proof. Indian marriages are traditionally followed with huge values, mantras recited during wedding explains about the importance of bondage between husband and wife throughout their life whatever might be the consequences. But for the present young generations marriages have become like a contract. Any small difference they opt for divorce and marry again and again.
Women of India are more influenced by western culture. Instead of wearing our traditional costumes they are attracted towards jeans, shirts, frocks and pants. However it is good to be modern and wear western outfits but atleast wear India outfits, bangles, anklets, keep flowers and bindi during the visit to temples, while performing pooja and rituals, during functions and celebration of festivals. Recently we are living in the era of information and technology. Social media has also affected our culture. Before the existence of technology we used to greet our parents, elders, relatives and friends by visiting them personally but now because of technology we share messages through emails, facebook, twitter and whatsapp. May be it connects us instantly but is certainly bridging a gap between our dearer and loved ones. Conclusion:India is one of the ancient country in the world and rich in cultural heritage. We Indians must be proud to be born on this motherland, the mother of all religions and cultures. Western nations are looking towards India and are adopting our cultural values in their customs. Certainly western culture is also a boon to us which has brought some good changes in our system, but it is very unfortunate that our present generation has forgotten our own values and ethics and are following the western path. It is the responsibility of the younger generations to keep alive our culture and carry forward for future generations and for this to happen at first the present youth must know completely about our culture, customs and traditions followed over the years. Inculcate them and practice in their day to day life. Develop the bondage between their parents, grandparents, relatives and friends. Accept only good messages shown through television channels, cinema and other media. Respect every religion and its culture but not to betray our own culture and religion. Respect every language across the nation and continent but always remember to speak in our mother tongue with our parents and others.
The present generation can also be not completely blamed for neglecting our Indian culture because our elders should have contributed their time and knowledge in inculcating about our rich cultural heritage among them. Parents, grandparents must spend time with their children in explaining about the rituals performed, educate them how to behave in the society, instead of sharing messages or pictures of sweet on social media teach our children to go to our relatives house, neighbor’s house to greet them and distribute sweets personally. This will create a sort of bond between the peoples living in the society. Teach them to love and care everyone and not to discriminate anyone by means of caste, creed or religion. Even our education system, media, television channels and cinemas should play a vital role in promoting about our rich cultural heritage. Textbooks, syllabus in schools and colleges must include chapters on our various cultures followed across the nation, significance of celebrating various festivals followed by different religions. Television channels and cinemas should avoid showing more of violence and exposing the female artists. Indian Actresses must wear descent dress when they attend award ceremonies or red carpet functions. Hence the present and future generations must know the history of their owns and take necessary actions to preserve our culture.
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