Owing to its rich heritage and cultural diversity, Indian society possess many traditional social values like Tolerance, collectivism, patriarchy, respect for elders, religiosity, spiritualism, casteism, jointness of family etc.
These values have been preserved as salient features of Indian society for centuries together due to the following reasons:
- Tolerant leaders of India from Ashoka to Akbar, syncretistic nature of Hinduism and adoption of secularism by the post-independent India not only sustained religious diversity but also preserved many religious values.
- The family as an institution preserved the values of patriarchy and respect for elders through socialisation.
- Functional interdependence of communities through jajmani system of caste sustained casteism as an ideology for centuries.
- Indian civilization, traditionally being an agrarian economy, attached more value to land. The joint family values helped in preventing the disintegration of land.
However, several changes have been taking place in these value systems
- Growing tendencies of intolerance in Indian society is manifested in growing instances of Hate speeches, attacks on minorities, communal violence etc.
- Increasing secular attitude among individuals reduced the authority of religion over day-to-day activities. Ex: Decreasing rituals in daily life, increasing civil marriages.
- Due to growing awareness about gender rights and some legal measures, Gender parity is being witnessed in modern day society.
- Increasing sense of individualism and decreasing collectivism is reflected in growing trend of nuclear families, increasing age of marriages and divorce rates.
- Caste identities given way to class identities to some extent, especially in urban areas. Ex: Inter-caste marriages in urban middleclass families.
Despite these changes the salient values of Indian society couldn’t be uprooted. Indian culture has a rich tradition of accommodating various new ideologies and values in its civilization and adapted from time to time.