"Civilization is what we have, culture is what we are"—Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
In today's time there is a huge fascination and following for "western culture" in Asian countries. This following is at an even higher level in India and has largely affected the youth. The youth of today has somehow developed a misguided concept and perceive aping western culture as modern and their own culture as backward and primitive. The youth being engulfed by western culture is not a new thing in our country. It first came with the arrival of the British in our country. However recently the pace of westernization in our country has increased exponentially and this is mainly due to the technological advancements and the increased exposure of western culture and celebrities on our youth. This could've led to improvements in many flawed parts of our culture if the shift would have been controlled but sadly the youth has only practiced selective parts of western culture which seem appealing to them and don't try to imbue the benevolent and positive aspects of the same in our society. Due to this the socio cultural values in our country have degraded extensively.
The main reason for the loss of our own identity and culture is due to the fact that the younger generation conceives western culture as modern and believes that imitating western culture will make them more modern or so-called "avant-garde". What they don't realize is that there is a very clear distinction between being modern and westernized. Wearing salwaar kameez or kurta does not make someone any less modern if they like wearing it. Similarly eating Indian food does not mean the person is backward. Modernity comes with a change in mindset and thinking. In a way, we are becoming a distorted and flawed version of the western society which can neither hold on to its own traditions and values and nor become so-called westernized due to our shallow mindset which believes that everything western is cool and the new trend and anything else is uncivilized or rural because one of the most important part of a western society is accepting everyone for who they are but in our attempts to become westernized are losing sight of this fundamental goal.
Most of the youth recognized western culture as drinking alcohol, being self-centered and thinking about yourself, partying, using drugs for recreation, not respecting your elders, and doing what you wish without thinking about the consequences. However, this is only the glorified image of western culture which we have seen only in television shows and movies and is far from the actual reality. This has caused massive cultural erosion and destroyed everything that our culture has preserved and carried on from thousands of years. A country can very well become modern without losing its identity. A prime example of this is Japan as it has successfully become one of the modern countries in the world however it has still held on to its traditions and culture. There are many positive things that westernization has given us like the abolition of evil practices like Sati and untouchability, modern values like humanism, egalitarianism, secularism, reformation of our criminal code, the concept of welfare by the government and spread of mass education. These things are all more or less an influence of western culture and no doubt the western culture is versatile and teaches self-dependence, but this does not mean that we should forget our culture and blindly follow the westerners. We should always feel proud that we, the Indians, have such a rich cultural heritage which is very rare and should be carried forward and cultivated in the minds of our new blooms who are going to be our future.