India: A Cultural Melting Pot under the Influence of West?

As Western culture has mingled with the Indian society, it has given a vast array of choices to Indians. But it has reached a point where Indian morals, ethics, and dignity are in danger

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Source: Pixabay

October 31, 2016: Indian society is formed by the incorporation of culture followed by Indians since the ancient times. Undoubtedly, Indian culture is one of the oldest existing cultures in the world. With each passing decade, it’s evolving as per the needs of the Indians. But in the recent times, Western culture has been a heavy influence in the way Indian society is morphing. It has led to a few advancements, but at the same time, has caused Indians to disconnect from their roots rapidly.

The infiltration of Western culture is very much visible in the daily routine like choosing a pair of jeans over ethnic wear while going out, listening to rap music instead of Indian classical songs and preferring love marriage over arranged one.

Representational image. Pixabay.
Representational image. Pixabay.

As Western culture has mingled with the Indian society, it has given a vast array of choices to Indians. It enables each Indian to form a sense of individualism. But it has reached a point where Indian morals, ethics, and dignity are in danger.

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Indian culture boasts of its conservative attitude, but people are becoming more experimental and more curious. Peer pressure, lack of concern for family members and personal sense of gratification are the prime reasons.

Consumption of alcohol and drugs is getting excessive in India. Around 45% teenagers indulge in heavy drinking during their senior secondary exams.

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Representational image. Pixabay

There are over 3 million drug addicts in India. Cannabis, Opium, and Heroin are the most popularly used drugs. Most of these behaviors are glorified in western rap songs, movies and by the Western celebrities.

In fact, Indians have started looking down at their own culture. In a country like India where globalization is at its peak, speaking English is the norm. Around 10% of India’s population (approximately 125 million people) is fluent in English, making it next to The US among all the English-speaking countries.

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English was introduced in India as a way to empower Indians and to help them compete on a global level. It has helped in their progress, as many Indians are leading big American companies like Google and Microsoft, but it is threatening to diminish the value of Indian languages. As a result of colonization, speaking English has become a sign of sophistication  and intelligence. It is only because of this reason that the new generation devours English novels and newspapers while neglecting their mother tongue.

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Indians are walking a thin line. They have to adjust to the Western culture while holding on to their Indian values. It is important to adopt various Western influences which are helpful for their mental, physical and economic growth. But they must not devalue Indian culture which can lead to their emotional, spiritual and ethical growth. The new generation must emerge as a fine amalgam of both the cultures in equal ratio.

-prepared by Shivani Vohra of NewsGram. Twitter:@shivanivohra26

 

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Author Maria Wirth Shares Her Opinions on The Idea of Hinduism

Author Maria Wirth speaks on Religion, Indian Culture, etc

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Maria Wirth
A picture of Author Maria Wirth. Facebook

By Muskan Bhantagar

Author Maria Wirth belongs to Germany and has been living in India from past 38 years.  She is the author of the book ‘Thank You India: A German Woman’s Journey to the Wisdom of Yoga’. Newsgram gets in a conversation with her over a telephonic interview. Here’s an excerpt:

Muskan Bhantagar: 38 years back when you came to visit india, what was the thing about indian culture or precisely hinduism that made you fall in love with it and stay back in India?

Maria Wirth: Actually, it was not too much India that attracted me. When I was in Germany still i had many questions like i was very much intrested in what is life and what is the meaning of life and I was reading on Buddhism at a time and I was not connecting Buddhism to India strangely, and i knew very little about India. So a friend convinced me to stop over in India and only when i bought a book by Swami Vivekananda, i discovered what great treasure is in India. I had no idea, anything about what Hinduism is about. it’s just what you hear usually in the west, is about caste systems,etc. So I didn’t associate India with anything positive actually and then by chance, I discovered there’s such a great treasure here and it is such a pity that we don’t know about it.

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Maria recalls how initially she could not relate India with anything positive. Pixabay

Muskan Bhantagar: As we read in your articles that Islam and christianity have been promoting and propogating their religion for years now, but the hindus don’t do so. What do you think can be the reason behind this? 

Maria Wirth: Well I think, I was just writing an article I mean when you think how much Hindus have suffered over the last thousand years. So many were beheaded and tortured under the Muslims and then again under the British also. British were also very very brutual, especially after 1857 and etc. And hindus had no way to stand up for their religion. And I think this has gone very deep into the system of Hindus.

And then ofcourse after Independence, this secular education and even Hinduism is now put down even more than earlier. Earlier, education was not so under the Muslims, they had to lie low but they could still have gurukuls and their schools but not now.

So I think one reason is that you have been intimidated so much and also expect so much and like Arun Shourie, in his book he writes that 6th standard students learn in school, etc in Bengal that Islam and Christianity are the only religions which treat the human beings with dignity and equality. I mean such sentences. When you’re a child, it goes into you and then you just look down on it. And I think slowly slowly, even parents of these children say they have been brought up already like this.

Maria
Maria says that Hindus were previously tortured under the Islamic Community. Pixabay

Muskan Bhantagar: A large number of Indians are unaware about their own culture and heritage. What do you think can be a solution to this problem?

Maria Wirth: I mean it should get also in the schools. I was so shocked when I came to know that nothing is taught in Indian schools. Neither Mahabharata, Ramayana, Upanishad. Upanishad is philosophy, there is nothing to do with religion. It was very insidious that the British kind of bend or this stuff from being taught, because it doesn’t help them because it would make people strong. They wanted to destroy Indian sanskriti, Indian culture because it has lot of strength. Now like the young generation in India, they were brain-washed into believing that Hinduism is not worth anything. It’s so wrong, so wrong.

Author Maria Wirth spoke to us over various topics. We’re thankful to her for taking out time to talk to us and share her wise opinions. We hope to get more of her soon and help viewers know her better.

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The COVID-19 Impact Might Not Be All Bad For Indian Weddings

COVID-19 does not necessarily mean that all businesses associated with weddings are going to suffer

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Not all is gloom and doom for the Indian wedding scenario. Pixabay

BY SIDDHI JAIN                                                                                                            When it comes to Indian weddings, there’s a lot one can say about the wastage, over-the-top expense and outrageously grand exhibits that people indulge in. With wedding guestlists capped at 50 people, venues and banquet halls in lockdown, and a financial crunch for a majority of the population – the Indian wedding has no option but to downsize, and that may not be a bad thing.

While weddings may be smaller, the grandeur of the Indian wedding will far from pale. The rise of intimate, micro-weddings (though none the less lavish) has the wedding industry believe the ‘big fat Indian wedding’ might have a long wait before it makes an appearance.

Technology is allowing couples to get married and have their family and friends attend their ceremonies over Zoom calls. Over 500 people can attend a celebration in this manner even if they are miles away. Many couples have embraced the concept of intimate weddings after the sudden outbreak of COVID-19.

According to a The Knot Worldwide survey, around 80 percent of Indian couples who were planning to get married between April to August 2020, have chosen to postpone their weddings to the latter half of the year, over cancellations.

What would change?

“Taking safety into consideration, international pre-wedding shoots and destination weddings might take a back-seat depending on how the global scenario changes in the coming months. At present, couples are discussing weddings within their home city. Some are also planning on making road trips to places near their home city,” Ankur Sarawagi, India Country Head, The Knot Worldwide told IANSlife.

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The grandeur of Indian weddings will be pale post lockdown. Pixabay

“75 percent of couples do not plan on reducing their guest list. They will design and segregate their guest lists for separate wedding celebrations. Attention to details also plays a major role in big budgeted marriages. In case there is a dip in the number of guests, we can expect more tailored experiences like customised wedding seating ideas, wedding favours,” he added.

According to a Weddingz. in survey, a majority said that in the next 2-3 months, they would prefer intimate weddings with a smaller guest list.

Post-COVID era will force families and the bride and groom to re-evaluate their plans and priorities. Personalised and more meaningful guest experiences will take precedence. Personalised menus, change in traditional seating arrangement, and decor will all be part of the collective guest experience at any post-pandemic wedding. According to our recent customer survey, most respondents said that they would prefer in-house catering to ensure high-quality standards in procurement and food preparation, notes Sandeep Lodha, CEO, OYO’s Weddingz. in.

“Domestic destinations for weddings will be the norm with limited access or restrictions to international travel in the foreseeable future. Destinations that can be reached by road will be preferred to guarantee the safety and social distancing in a post-pandemic era. Unarguably the spend on destination weddings will be limited owing to limited international options.”

“Weddings will see a definitive shift to the virtual world. Couples and families will look for photographers and videographers that are well-equipped to live-stream events for their friends and family from across the globe. Families will be willing to pay a premium for good service and technology here,” Lodha told IANSlife.

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Many couples have embraced the concept of intimate weddings after the sudden outbreak of COVID-19. Pixabay

Not all gloom and doom

The COVID-19 “does not necessarily mean that all businesses associated with weddings are going to suffer” and some businesses may boom. With reduced number of guests, the expenditure on banquet halls, fancy decors, large scale food catering, extensive honeymoon travels will go down, but jewellery might not be all that badly hit, Rohan Sharma, Managing Director of RK Jewellers, South Extension-2 told IANSlife.

“Jewellery is an asset that one builds at their wedding and families would now probably spend more on jewellery than anything else. During the lockdown, we have experienced an increase in inquiries for gold jewellery. People have seen that in the time of need, gold is the only stable asset,” Sharma said.

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As and when things return to normalcy, weddings will slowly but surely become the quintessential elaborate gathering as always, planners are certain. Couples will focus on venue sanitization, frequent disinfection of common facilities and hygiene while serving guests, and prefer open, larger venues to ensure social distancing. (IANS)

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Plan Your Post Pandemic Destination Wedding Here

Destination wedding plans, but what about the pandemic?

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wedding
Here's how you can plan your post pandemic destination wedding. Pixabay

By Aditi Roy

Many couples have had to reconsider their upcoming nuptials due to travel restrictions, health and wellbeing concerns and lockdowns due to the pandemic.

Since wedding celebrations are an intrinsic part of the Indian culture, with a little creativity, you can still get married amidst the pandemic and also in a post-pandemic world. In the coming months some of these trends will transform the wedding industry and the way people plan destination weddings this year.

Divya Chadha, Founder and Director of A Klass Apart, curator of bespoke weddings and events, lists 5 ways in which the destination wedding space may evolve in the post-coronavirus era:

Eco-friendly

There is a shift of attitude towards as people are becoming more aware of their daily actions and thinking responsibly when planning events.

As a sustainability advocate, one should push for green weddings – whether it be something as simple as switching from a printed wedding card to a digital e-card (saves paper, money on postage, and it stays in your inbox until deleted vs a printed card which typically gets thrown away).

wedding flowers
You can replace real flowers with the artificial ones. Pixabay

Replace real Flowers

No wedding is complete without flowers – however, one can reduce the use of real flowers by using an appropriate mix of real and artificial florals.

The Experience Factor Rekindled

As an ethos – every wedding is an ‘experience’ so rather than focusing on over the top decor and excessive use of florals – couples can focus on providing their guests with unique experiences through each event.

Another personal touch is showing your natural talent – like surprising the entire wedding party by playing on a grand piano at the reception dinner – the guests will just swoon!

Live-streaming Of Events

Airfare might become expensive due to airlines looking to cut losses as soon as possible due to the lockdown and air travel suspension. International travel could also become more complicated as many restrictions might come into play; countries will look to safeguard their borders against disease.

In such a situation, there could be a rise in requests for live-streaming of events for friends and family who wouldn’t be able to fly out for weddings but would still like to be a part of the ceremony.

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Couples may choose a wedding destination within the country post pandemic. Pixabay

Travel Restricted To Destinations Within The Country

Domestic travel would become more popular as apprehensions around international airfare and visa requirements continue. People will prefer to have their destination weddings within the country so that their friends and family can easily attend the festivities and be a part of the celebrations. Destinations like Goa, Udaipur, Jaipur, Mussoorie will become popular wedding hotspots as they are car-friendly and people can travel in their own vehicles from major cities in India. Car-friendly distances will guarantee more safety amongst a post-pandemic India where people might not immediately want to travel in public transportation and maintain social distance.

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Scaled Down Weddings With A Focus On Guest Experience

While practicing social distancing in the post-pandemic era, weddings will scale down in size making it more meaningful. Couples can actually plan the affair for their closed ones and family making it more about the experience. The big fat Indian wedding of 500+ guests will reduce to 150-250 guests. Not everyone will travel or want to attend large public gatherings – and as a result – this would allow the couple and family to focus on the guest experience of the wedding. (IANS)