Cultural Superiority: A Wind from the West

Archana Gupta
Lost eyes on the Gold that Glitters
A strong wind from the west blows
Running to catch up with the new trend
My ethnicity tarnishes and, my country slows.
The 21st Century has embarked on the dissolution of age-old superstitions and given life to modern aspects. But as we all know, nothing comes free within this world. The arrival of modernization has cost India its originality. The trade of clothing has created a disrespectful void. Hence we observe that people in our unique attire are looked down upon and given names like ‘bhenji’ or ‘old fashioned.’ These shifts are focused on the unexplained idea of Ethnocentrism.
What is Ethnocentrism?
Ethnocentrism, also known as cultural superiority, is confidence in the supremacy of a particular culture where people are blind spotted to differentiate between their own beliefs and traditions and those of others. For something to overtake the world with a storm, it is essential to have a propagated existence. It diverts our mind to the birth of Ethnocentrism. Its popularity began with the disintegration of the USSR. The USA became the only superpower of the world, which created a unipolar world. The USA started using its soft power hegemony by dominating the world culturally. Various components like Western food (KFC, Pizzas, McDonald’s and many more) western clothes (blue jeans) became a symbol of freedom and modernization.
Doesn’t it somewhere hold connections with globalization?
The effect of globalization has been seen in what people wear, eat, drink or think. It has led to the rise of uniform culture, also known as cultural homogenization, which further led to the shrinking of rich heritage and age-old values of the entire globe. Let us divert our attention towards an important pillar that holds a key influence in Cultural Superiority.
The language barrier:
English has become a status symbol. English speakers are considered educated and sophisticated. On the other hand, those who prefer their mother tongue are usually viewed as uneducated and face an inferiority complex in public. Even in schools and colleges, various other languages like Russian, French, Japanese and many more are being taught with significant ignorance towards their state languages getting visible. Few universities who think of promoting their languages do not get the support of the students as youngsters are blindly getting trapped in the abyss of influence. A small child is tutored to speak English at home and with relatives and friends. But what astonishes me is that have parents ever pondered about their child having an Indian birth yet not connected to his roots. I think language is the thread that connects people with their native land and, young buds not being aware of this is a red flag for our country.
If we look at our history, the answer will be no. In ancient times people were only aware of indigenous festivals like Diwali, Holi etc. Nowadays, there has been a prominent craze for western festivals like Halloween. Halloween is not yet recognized as a festival but, it has become a trend in India. When we mention cultural colours, we can’t miss out on the entertainment quota provided by Cinema.
Hollywood has become a fierce competition to Bollywood. The extent could be in the criteria of remixing, more like copying Hollywood movies into Bollywood remakes. International platforms like Netflix, though not originated in India, have gained immense popularity. People rarely rely on Indian television. Instead of blaming the influence, it is essential to pinpoint the failure of Indian television and Cinema. Impactful ideas are inadequate and, the exaggerated saas-bahu dramas have disappointed the Indian audience. The vibrance of culture also includes the fragrance of books. The strong roots of international bestsellers have also sprouted in India for decades. Be it the spooky series of Harry Potter or Bold Romantic classic Pride and Prejudice, it has captured the interests of Indian audiences. People have differences in opinion and choices but, it’s hurtful to see our youth having zilch knowledge of Indian Authors. The traditional market or shopping systems of India was filled with hustle-bustle on streets, catchy Melas and loud yells of shopkeepers. But, with passing years, the air of enthusiasm has disappeared. Now, all we hear are bumper offers on Online shopping sites. Online shopping has helped people to buy goods and services directly from the internet web. It has helped people to save their time and resources. Platforms like Amazon and Shein are the most visited sites by the people. It’s saddening to see empty streets with silent sellers, further fuelled by COVID. My instincts ignite a belief that Indian traditions are on the verge of extinction.
Culture can never be complete without music:
The global wave of international music and Tic Tok trends has thickened the mist over Indigenous tunes. The fact that little budding kids prefer Pianos and guitars over flute or Sitar verifies the lack of knowledge of Indian Instruments. Just one lesson of Sa Ra Ga Ma cannot do the magic. It requires proper classes and practical sessions to generate the craze for our euphonic treasures.
The joint family tradition was a habitation trend in India but, cultural superiority diverted the people towards the nuclear system. People living together used to share their thoughts and ideas expanding, their love for their close ones but, now the lifestyle trend is scattered. Thanks to technology, distance is replaced with devices. Our closed ones are One Call Away.
“Time and Tide wait for none.”
The above quote is a perfect example to show that it is essential to change with time. But it nowhere states that the change has to be accentuated by submission or dissolution of Cultural Ethnicity. Progress should not be disastrous. No matter how tall the tree grows, it holds its roots to the ground and, that is the secret mantra of longevity and strength. It means we need to contribute to a country’s progress not by suppressing our culture but by uplifting it on the global level so that people can recognize the power of a developing country like India. Replace Cultural Superiority with Cultural Empowerment and then witness the big change.