Skip to main content

Modern Vs. Western Values

The topic for our LBC post this week has me racking my brains.  What are western values for heaven's sake?  I'm not sure that I know.  I know that when I came out here seventeen years ago, my father-in-law and his crowd of friends generally discussed 'western values' in unfavourable terms.  According to them, India would have been great if the people didn't chase western values and 'ape the west'.  And by western values they meant, the English language, materialism and no interest in family values.

I found it slightly irritating at times, the idea that all westerners lived a hedonistic existence and had no knowledge of  spiritual matters or family values. I bumped into an American tourist, Janet,  once in the city and we both expressed exasperation over this.

"Everyone thinks here that they have all the good values and that everyone in our part of the world is just screwing around and getting divorced," she said.  I had to agree.

Western philosophy and values, I have read, has come down to us from the Greek philosophers.  Christianity got in the way for a while, but during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, there was a return to the thinking of the ancient Greeks and Romans, which put man firmly at the centre of the universe.  Not God, man.

For my part, I know that spirituality is hugely important in India.  But I have seen people praying in a manner which is not spiritual at all, just a form of insurance.  The truth is, a human being is a human being.  Everybody values lifelong relationships, family life and love.  Things sometimes don't work out for people.  They are not to be despised for that.  I am as likely to encounter greedy and materialistic people in the east as I am in the west.  Besides, there's nothing wrong with being interested in earning a lot of money provided you're determined to work honestly for it and not trample on others and better again, give some of it away to help others.

While I would say that India and the west are in no way superior to each other in any matter, be it spiritual or otherwise, only different, I do feel that many of our Indian people have great moral and spiritual strength.  After all it is only a generation or two ago that India shook off the yoke of colonialism with a largely peaceful campaign of passive resistance.  It wasn't completely without violence but it had considerably less than many similar resistance movements.

At the moment, a social activist, Anna Hazare, aged over 73, is fasting unto death in order that a law will be passed to end corruption in India (Lokpal Bill).  I do admire his idealism and wish him well in his endeavour.

The letter from, a human rights website, urges it's members to stand with Anna Hazare in this mission.  It says:

"Right now, Anna Hazare, a 73-year-old Gandhian, sits fasting in the burning sun, and he will stay until death -- unless the government agrees to consider a powerful law that could rid Indian politics of the scourge of corruption."

There is no doubt that India has been plagued with corruption over  the last few years, just like many other countries and institutions.  As a Christian, I always remember the words of  Jesus Christ, who is both Guru (teacher) and God (the Son), "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied."  Well, as far as I am concerned, Anna Hazare is fasting for justice.  Whether he is a Christian or not is immaterial.  But I do know that a Christian is not supposed to sit on the fence when injustice is happening.  He or she is supposed to press on for a just society.  That is the way to building God's Kingdom on earth.  We should not have to wait until we die to go to heaven, we should create it right now on earth.  That's why I signed the petition to support Anna Hazare.  I hope anyone else who reads this supports him too.  You can sign the petition here.  Whether you are Christian, Hindu, or anything else!

This is my weekly post for the Loose Blogger Consortium. We are a group of bloggers from different parts of the world with diverse views and styles of writing, and we post simultaneously (well, we try to) on a weekly basis on a given topic.  We have been recently joined by two new members, Delirious and Padmini. Other currently active members are, in alphabetical order AshokConrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, and Rummuser. This topic ('Modern Vs. Western Values') was chosen by Rummuser.  I think he must have been asleep when he chose this topic.  It must have been meant to read "Indian vs. Western Values".

Intense Debate comment system is installed. If you would like to leave a comment, please click on the title of this post and allow a little time for the comment system to load - thanks

Popular posts from this blog

Kipling Got it Wrong! Or Eastern and Western Culture - Reflections

What Is Culture?
I’m opening this blog post with a question. What is that elusive concept which is commonly known as ‘culture? Culture is way of life. How we live. What our values are.  Our customs, attitudes and perceptions. And also, I suppose, how we express ourselves in art through, such as music, dance, theatre and cinema.  It’s quite a comprehensive area and not too easy to define, really.

The Journey
I was born in what is commonly known as ‘the west’. I lived in Ireland for the first thirty years of my life. When I was thirty, I married my husband and came out to India to live here with him. That was the beginning of an interesting journey, which is still evolving. I must have had some east/west comparison stereotypes in my head. But in India, I found that the people I met had huge stereotypes in their heads about what they called ‘western culture’ and ‘western way of life’. Not long after I arrived in India, I was struck by the number of people who said things to me like ‘in the …

Five Ways Social Media Has Changed Our Lives

Has social media changed the way we live? You bet it has! I’ve been in India for 22 years and have visited home in Ireland maybe half-a-dozen times. The biggest challenge about this, for me, has always been coping with the difficulty of making contact with old friends and family. However, that’s all over now, thanks to Facebook. I check my phone every morning and read that uncle Ned in Dublin is furious over the biased referee in the boxing match or that my cousin Paula in Dublin went to see Take That in concert (or whoever!). I speak to my cousin Veronica in Scotland every few days thanks to WhatsApp. We haven’t spoken this frequently since we wrote to each other as kids. Social media has definitely changed our lives forever. I can think of at least five ways that social in which it has affected life as we know it.

Social media makes the world more accessible to us. This is a fact. The world is at your fingertips. Find out which of your friends and family are on Facebook and once you …

The Climate in my Hometown LBC Post

I am originally from Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. We have a maritime climate, neither too hot nor too cold. Cool, wet winters and warm summers.  We get the odd freak weather condition, like several feet of snow, once in a while to make life interesting.  Pretty ideal really.  

Now I reside in Lucknow in north India. In the Indo-Gangetic plain.  Cold dry winters, roasting hot summers and a humid rainy season.  It seems like it's always too hot or too cold. Or too humid. Humidity is something I dread.  It brings itching, rashes and all of that.  Okay, too hot will work for me. So will too cold (although I hate dry cold, that's energy-sapping). But humidity is .......not at all good. And that's a euphemism if ever there was one,. 

I wish to dedicate this post to my beloved and erudite rakhi brother Rummuser, who suggested this topic.

And thanks to for the above illustration, 'Paper Weather Icon Illustration' by SweetCrisis.

The Loose Blogging C…