Traditional Values

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, the syncretistic nature of Hinduism and the adoption of secularism by post-independent India not only sustained religious diversity but also preserved many religious values.
  • 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 an agrarian economy, attached more value to land. Joint family values helped in preventing the disintegration of the land.

However, several changes have been taking place in these value systems:

Positive changes

  • The 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.
  • An increasing sense of individualism and decreasing collectivism is reflected in the growing trend of nuclear families, increasing age of marriages and divorce rates.
  • Caste identities have given way to class identities, especially in urban areas. Ex: Inter-caste marriages in urban middle-class families.

Negative changes

  • Growing tendencies of intolerance in Indian society is manifested in growing instances of hate speeches, attacks on minorities, communal violence etc.
  • Growing individualism is one of the major factors behind mental complications in the younger generation.
  • Disrespect for elders leads to an increase in old age homes in urban areas, which shows a lack of emotional attachment with parents in the later phase when they need it more.
  • Priority to economic achievements leading to a rise in care services in urban areas is reducing the affinal ties between child and parents.

Despite these changes, 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 adapting from time to time.

Modern yet traditional

Modernization is a process of social, political, economic and cultural change associated with a society’s journey of development. It involves urbanisation, expansion of modern education, scientific developments, secularisation, increased rationality etc.  The phenomenon of modernization has been influencing traditional values and institutions of Indian society:

  • Weakening influence of caste: Modernisation has reduced the belief in purity and pollution, which is central to caste practice and the caste status does not determine modern occupations.
  • Nuclear families: Industrialisation and Urbanisation eventually led to the disintegration of joint families.
  • Secularisation: Increasing rationality and advancement of science & technology declined the influence of religion on individual behaviour & attitudes.
  • Intergenerational conflict: Inculcation of modern values made generational differences more complex. Changes in the economy’s structure and the scientific revolution made traditional knowledge held by the older generation irrelevant in the contemporary era, eroding respect for elders in society.
  • Gender parity: Growing awareness about gender rights and modern feminist movements contributed towards the dilution of patriarchal values in Indian society.

Despite the impact of modernization, traditional values and institutions continued to exist in Indian society:

  • Though Caste as an ideology is withering away, caste as an identity is continuing to thrive in India in the form of caste associations and caste political mobilizations.
  • Though structural patterns of the family have been changing, nuclear family members still retain close connections with extended families to fulfil various ritual obligations.
  • Traditional festivals are being celebrated with more vigour as a response to the loss of culture and ethnic identity under the influence of modernisation. In fact, modern forms of communication enabled the expansion of religion. 
  • Increased Gender parity couldn’t prevent the latent manifestation of traditional patriarchy in the form of Gender-stereotypes in modern-day society.

Modernisation could only make adaptive changes to Indian traditions and didn’t result in completely breaking away from the old traditions.

Online Counselling
Table of Contents
Today's Current Affairs
This is default text for notification bar