Westernization vs Traditional

Today, in our discussion about our position paper for the India simulation, my group and I had to decide whether we supported a westernized or traditional country. Within the Indian National Congress, Carly and I are Hindu’s. The Hindu’s in the INC disputed over India becoming Industrial or “cling to its rural village traditions”. Even within the divide between Hindu’s and Muslim’s in the INC, there is a division. Carly and I went back and forth trying to figure out a compromise. We were thinking that if we did industrialize, couldn’t there still be farms? Can’t they have a city and farm land around it? Will brought up the point, that even if we did industrialize, and there were farms, railroads, and roads would be around the farms- the farms would be, in their own way, industrialized. We finally decided India should be westernized, only because we both believe that westernization is inevitable. If it doesn’t happen now, another power country will come along and force it upon us. Do you agree?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Westernization vs Traditional

  1. Carly says:

    We also decided that once industrialization begins, you cannot control it. You either have to fully industrialize or stay rural. There are not parts of society that can stay traditional if the country has begun to westernize because westernization will spread throughout, thus making it easier for India to become a strong industrial power. Of course, there can still be farms, but like Maggie said, these farms will be industrialized. I think it is important for India to become a modern industrial power if they want to hold on to independence and further prevent other countries from trying to take over again.

    • Nick says:

      I am also representing the Hindus in the INC, and I agree that it is important for India to become westernized, especially if they wish to truly become a relevant and powerful country in the world. In a quickly industrializing world, you will quickly fall behind if you don’t adopt the same measures, as the degree of modern technology and innovation within a country are crucial factors in determining its influence within the world. Although it may seem like India does not really need to modernize, if they wish to keep the hard fought independence they have only just gained they must develop their own power to be able to compete with other countries and to show they are a force to be reckoned with instead of a weak country that can simply be taken over quite easily, especially when considering the plentiful resources which made India so atttractive to Britain in the first place. Therefore, the option is either to modernize or become weak and irrelevant, possibly even losing independence. I believe that in this case the first option is much more desirable, so I also believe that it is an absolute necessity for India to become westernized.

    • ryan says:

      The decision that India needed to make certainly wasn’t one between industrialization and rural villages. But there is no way in an industrialized society to keep traditional parts of it isolated from the industrialized parts. When a country is industrialized, people will naturally move to cities where the work is. And rural farms will probably not be a viable alternative once newer agriculture methods are introduced in terms of real food production. The results of westernization are clear in some areas. Specifically, western medicine is undeniably superior to the medicine that India had prior to westernization. But I think we would be looking at a much different scenario if westernization was introduced when India was not under colonial rule. Since industrialization was introduced under colonial rule, it is questionable whether the people of India would have wanted this outcome for their country. And ultimately, the decision should rest with them.

  2. Kelsey says:

    You make a very interesting point. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense that India would have to industrialize to maintain independence. I think we discussed a similar point when we studied the Russian revolution. I think at some point all countries must decide to industrialize. When they do they are between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand it would be nice to maintain a simple civilization and easier to not change the system and the routine of daily life. But on the other hand, the country would be at a huge disadvantage economically and would be far weaker than other nations that would like to acquire it. Industrializing, like Carly said, would be one more protection against other power hungry nations.

  3. Pho says:

    I would also like to bring up the point that not only was westernization inevitable, but also, the division of India into a Muslim and Hindu nation. I am a member of the group representing the Muslim League and as I was doing research, I found that Mohammed Ali Jinnah, leader of the Muslim League, wanted to divide India because he believed that Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, and literatures, therefore the two groups will never get along. I believe that what sums up this argument best is the concept of Social Darwinism. Social Darwinism is the idea of brutal competition among races. The strongest nation has always been conquering the weaker and the strongest tend to be the best. Although Social Darwinism is mostly applied to the movement between Britain and India, there is a similar religious struggle between the Muslims and the Hindus. Although they aren’t fighting for land, the two religious groups arguably need to separate because their religious philosophies and beliefs contradict each other. If the two groups didn’t separate, a war would inevitably rise because of their conflicting differences.

  4. jkleinabaum2014 says:

    To represent Gandhi’s opinion, I believe westernization should be avoided at all costs. First, I think its important to recognize that westernization inevitably leads to capitalism. The entire fuel for westernization is the promise of capital. Nick, you say that westernization is necessary for India to have influence in the world. But why is influence necessary? India has also seen how influence can have a negative impact. The Indian people were forced to change their culture when the British came to India. Why is that something that India must achieve? The India has also seen first hand how westernized countries and a capitalist system can exploit people.

    One of the major goals of the Indian National Congress is to unite India. Capitalism inherently preserves the rights of the rich by exploiting the rights of the poor. How can India be united if one of the major groups, the Harijans, are exploited and kept in the perpetual cycle of poverty by capitalism? The effect of capitalism can be seen in Britain. Factory workers work long hours and live in awful conditions with very little pay only for the benefit of their wealthy employers. Even if we accept that the ends are beneficial meaning, staying relevant and influential is necessary and this can be achieved by westernizing, how can we justify them if the means in which we reach them is exploitation of rights?

  5. Dr. K says:

    Aren’t people in this discussion thread conflating “westernization” and “industrialization”? The latter seems to be an economic matter, while the former is broader and seems to me to imply broader economic, social, and cultural changes. When I tried to conflate the two in class, I was called out. And yet here people seem to be making that equivalence. So I would ask: can you have industrialization without broader westernization?

  6. Madeleine says:

    I think this is a very interesting topic, that isn’t one true answer too. I found myself thinking about this issue when I was doing tonight’s reading, about China. Once again we have to address the issue of weather westernization is a good thing. Of course those of us in the west will say it is, because we don’t know any other culture. However China’s culture was functioning perfectly fine for many years, before the west became involved (or at least that is my understand of what happened). Some extent westernization can actually severely hurt a culture. On the other hand, because china was not westernized it was severely lacking the technology needed to properly fight and win wars, and because of those it suffered many humiliating defeats. I believe westernization is a double edged sword: you gain much technology, but lose a unique culture.

    • Elliot F says:

      I would have to disagree with your statement, Madeleine, that westernization calls for the dissolution of a culture, when it is implemented in a nation that is completely different from the traditional views of westernization. The most obvious example of this would be the retention of the caste system by the Indian people, even though they were underneath the reign of British imperialism. The caste system was not only just a tradition, but a cornerstone of the Hindu faith, as it allowed for the gradual progression of a person to rise into another caste if that person was faithful to the religion in their past life. This belief is nearly inconsolable with the western ideas of self edification and, through that, advancement in the social ladder, both of which were still present in India’s culture. It was that the caste system usually correlated to the similar corresponding social levels of capitalism, allowing for both systems of beliefs to occur at the same time. Westernization does not necessarily call for the removal of one’s heritage, but it does require for certain aspect of archaic traditions to be re-evaluated and altered, depending on how greatly they impair a society from progressing forwards, and reaping the rewards that westernization, usually, brings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *