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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 avaaz.org, 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".


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