It’s interesting to see that all those who like to bash something vaguely termed as ‘westernization’ are largely from privileged classes and upper castes- enjoying all the benefits of capitalism and consumerism. I prefer not to point it out but it is must to mention that they do have Bania-Brahmin- Kshatriya and Ashraf surnames. Many of them are also very cozy with ‘godmen’ and spiritual masters, who run massive empires which are not very different from today’s multi-national corporations. Their assumption is that ‘westernization’ means increased ‘cut throat competition’, ‘selfishness’ and ‘consumerism’ which is far from true.
Gandhi, Ambedkar and their favorites Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan and many other scholars were influenced by west. Marx, Darwin, Socrates, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X etc. etc. have left profound impact on Indian intellect and scholarship. They all were ‘westernized’ in their outlook.Reformation of Hinduism and Islam in many aspects was legacy of those from west.
Lets unlearn the framed core values of ‘westernization’ – capitalism, selfishness, cut throat competition and consumerism:
Cut throat competition existed in India even before colonialism. Exploitation of sub-ordinates was common and Varna Dharma provided divine framing of it. Cut throat competition may not be as explicit as it is now in many developed and developing countries. India was the most capitalized economy before colonization took over. Capitalism was in the blood of ancient and medieval India. In practice we all recognize that cut throat competition and consumerism are hereditary in all capitalist societies. May be the empirical evidence is yet to be garnered.
For consumerism, in particular, one can look at the history exploitation of Shudras by merchant class in ancient and medieval India. The greedy Vaishyas charged high rates of interest to Shudras. Many were forced in slavery as they were never able to pay the debt. Clergy class always looked for donations, many on very weird assertions. Ruling class taxed breasts. Are these not reflections of greed. Manusmriti and other ancient legal codes are absolutely consumerist which sanctioned such assertions.
Atrocities committed by Dwijas were fairly common which can be tagged along with another core value of west ‘selfishness’. The brutal crackdown on untouchables by Peshwas was not an outcome of westernization or ‘selfishness promoted by western values’. It is one of the many examples which are inherently native to the subcontinent. Better say there was no foreign hand.
It is also widely believed that many of those who are busy bashing ‘westernization’ are annoyed with the fact that ‘theoretical’ western values like ‘equality’ and ’empathy- a trait of modernity’ which at times also termed as ‘westernization’, have made it very tough to exercise one’s privileged on the subordinates. They are unable to command their word as divine order. Many of them may also have ancestors who opposed Hindu reformation laws brought by newly born ‘Republic of India’ in 1950s.
Chhota Moonh Badi Baat, stop bashing something as abstract as ‘westernization’!
On a different note:
Don’t give the bullshit that in ancient societies Varna Dharma was fluid. If it was, why killing of Dronacharya in Mahabharata is justified on the premises that instead of following the Dharma of Brahmin, he chose to be a Kshatriya like. Draupadi denied marrying Karna because of his Varna. Apparently Karna had no matrimonial relationship with Dwijas. These all are references from Mahabharata. Mahabharata is indeed the reflection of ancient society and not a mere story!