A Change. Good or Bad?

Indian society has more often than not, been welcoming and acceptable, consciously or unconsciously, to the western cultures and its ways. That phenomenon has at most times been subtly inculcated into the Indian culture and has gone on to become more of a subculture in itself. Ranging from the education system to changing lifestyle to even food habits, the western influence on the Indian mindset has been very large, to say the least and this change has been an outcome of mainly two things. Firstly, the advancement of the western culture, as it appears to the mindset of an average Indian and secondly, the growth in communication systems over the years, as is the rise in awareness levels across.

Historically speaking, there have been ample examples of western dominance over the Indian society – an outcome of the Indian disintegration and inferiority complex. Without running into the risk of sounding unpatriotic or ungrateful to the glorious past of this country, the wave of western culture has at times been a boon, and at times a bane for Indian society. This piece will primarily discuss the impact of western culture on the mindset of an urban Indian teenager, who lives in the new era with access to all forms of communication devices, including the power of the internet at his disposal. For anything and everything.

As I wake up in the morning, I check my mobile phone for any missed calls or new messages, rather than brushing my teeth. As I prepare going in for a bath, I tune into the radio or switch on my iPod, and play the heaviest metal song at the loudest possible volume and shower. Moving on, the poori bhaaji or aloo paratha for breakfast is probably replaced by cheese toast or baked beans on toast along with orange juice or cold coffee. But that’s ok; probably because that’s the life we all want to lead. Maybe each urban teenager has a part of Siddharth Mehra, from ‘Wake Up Sid!’ in him or her, and wants to own that Porsche SUV and live life the way he/she wishes to. But, amidst all this advancement, growth and confusion, are we losing ourselves? Are we trying to play cool?

Or maybe the idea of hanging out, with friends at home is too outdated over snacks that Mom has cooked and rather chill out over a beer at some pub, and run the risk of being shot? Going for long walks now seem a thing of the past and somewhere deep down, each of us wants to own the snazziest bike or car to impress the prettiest girl in college. Also, passing chits around class is a practise that belongs to the Stone Age and sending across a text on the mobile phone is simpler and safer. But amidst this, aren’t we becoming prey to the western culture, which is slowly eating its way into our lives, comfortably placing itself as a subculture in our society.

Rather than collecting stamps and coins from countries across the globe, the Indian teenager now wishes to collect pornographic movies and flaunt them off to his friends – in terms of the gigabytes worth of the banned stuff. The number of teenagers hooked onto social networking and consequently falling prey to ragging and social abuse, is rising and in retrospect is scary. With the continual growth in the number of children attempting to commit sudicide over bullying, have we as members of society become ignorant, in general? Or does the child see no better solution to the problems than death itself? Are these the methods we need to resort to, after all?

There are ample questions, most with answers that can never be found.

Who are we to blame? Our parents? Modernisation? Westernization? Miscommunication?

Or ourselves?

Naman Saraiya

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