Westernization – The Most Misunderstood Word in India
Acceptation of new culture brings with it a wave of opposition and disagreement as an unavoidable part. Similarly, when it comes to the acceptance of westernization in our Indian society, the time is nowhere near when the natives are acutely going to accept this change and where westernization is going to earn its value.
Well! The prime reason of accepting something is that you understand it. When you do not understand what exactly the notion of a concept is, you certainly can’t just go with it, and that too when it comes to the society like Indian society.
It is not that India is being targeted here; the point is that we Indians have this tendency of not accepting certain things. Our society has completely fallen apart, failing to understand the actual meaning of what we call ‘westernization’ which is the Occidentalizing of the world. Westernization (US) or Westernization (UK), also Europeanization/Europeanisation or occidentalization/occidentalisation (from the Occident, meaning the Western world; see “occident” in the dictionary), is a process whereby societies come under or adopt Western culture in areas such as industry, technology, law, politics, economics, lifestyle, diet, clothing, language, alphabet, religion, philosophy, and values.
Westernization has been an accelerating influence across the world in the last few centuries, with some thinkers assuming Westernization to be the equivalent of modernization, a way of thought that is often debated.
The overall process of Westernization is often two-sided in that Western influences and interests themselves are joined with parts of the affected society, at minimum, to change towards a more Westernized society, in the hope of attaining a Western life or some aspects of it, while Western societies are themselves affected by this process and interaction with non-Western groups.
Westernization traces its roots back to Ancient Greece. Later, the Roman Empire would take on the first process of Westernization as it was heavily influenced by Greece and created a new culture based on the principles and values of the Ancient Greek society.
The Romans emerged with a culture that would lay the new foundations of Europe and create the new western identity based on the Greco-Roman society.
Westernization can also be compared to acculturation and enculturation. Acculturation is “the process of cultural and psychological change that takes place as a result of contact between cultural groups and their individual members.” After contact, changes in cultural patterns are evident within one or both cultures.
Specific to Westernization and the non-Western culture, foreign societies tend to adopt changes in their own social systems relative to Western ideology, lifestyle, and physical appearance, along with numerous other aspects, and shifts in culture patterns can be seen to take root as a community becomes acculturated to Western customs and characteristics – in other words, Westernized.
Westernization can include Americanization and Europeanisation, with historical versions including Romanization, Hellenization, Francization, and Germanisation.
The phenomenon of Westernization does not follow any one specific pattern across societies as the degree of adaption and fusion with Western customs will occur at varying magnitudes within different communities. Specifically, the extent to which domination, destruction, resistance, survival, adaptation or modification affect a native culture may differ following inter-ethnic contact.
But what our society has conceived it as is a total myth by looking at just one shade of it. Westernization is a huge world where one gets to learn independency and self building. It doesn’t consist of all those ill cultures but knowing how to make decisions and live a life full of dignity and respect. It all depends upon what you want to learn and how you go about it.