Short essay on the Impact of Westernisation


In the whole process of Sanskritsation non-Brahmin castes have been trying not only to adopt Brahmanic customs and rituals but also institutions and values. But now due to westernisation, Brahmmism itself is being considerable influenced.

One finds that a Brahmin was supposed to marry his girl before puberty and if he failed to find a boy before that age, it believed that he had committed a sin. But today under the influence of westernisation be will not marry his girl before the age of 18.

Widow marriage which was not thought of earlier is now becoming common and today a Brahmin even thinks it absurd to shave the head of a widow.


A Brahmin woman treats her husband as a deity and will not take food before her husband has taken. She will also keep Vratas for his long life. Concept of Pativrata husband is still considered ideal.

Monogamy is also still considered most suitable. Prof. M.N. Srinivas says that, “Sanskritisation means not only the adoption of new customs and habits, but exposure to new ideas and values which have found frequent expression in the vast body of Sanskrit literature, sacred as well as secular.”

To quote him again, “The development of communications carried Sanskritisation to areas previously the accessible, and spread of literacy carried it to groups very low in the caste hierarchy. The introduction by the British of western political institutions like parliamentary democracy has contributed to the increased Sanskritisation of the country.” Thus westernisation has considerably helped in the spread of Sanskritisation.

But in many ways westernisation has come in conflict with Sanskritisation as well. It was under the impact of westernisation that the Brahmins adopted diet and dress of Western people. They began to get English education. Brahmin caste which is the superior most one in now in a dilemma.


Britishers found that Vaishya caste and traders were near to them in food, habits or more adaptable to their ways of living and thus went nearer to them than Brahmin. Thus in the eyes of rulers those encaged in trade were more important than orthodox Brahmin. Gradually some Brahmins began to accept British type and kind of diet.

Tuft was nowhere to be seen. Now morning meal was not first offered to the deity as was the custom earlier. Even many Brahmins have discarded sacred thread. For health reasons many Brahmins do not hesitate to take raw eggs and such medicines, which they know have been made from various organs of animals. Cigarettes and liquor is now used in some cases. The Brahmins have also given up their old occupations and instead they have taken up the new ones.

They now go beyond the seas to serve. Previously they were opposed to taking to medical profession as that meant touching the bodies of scheduled castes and also dead impure bodies. Now we find many Brahmins who have taken to medicines.

But whereas Brahmins have taken to westernisation non-Brahmins castes are still taking to Brahminic customs, traditions, rituals, etc.


Thus westernisation has its effect and impact on Sanskritisation. But there is something strange in the phenomenon, namely the role of untouchables. The untouchables have not been accepted by other three castes. In spite of the fact that tribals and others have been accepted in the folds of Hindu society, untouchables, have socially not been accepted and they have been kept out.

We might conclude with the words of Prof. M.N. Srinivas when he says that, “The consequences of the existence of the dual, the occasionally conflicting, pressure of Sansktitisation and westernisation provide on interesting field for systematic sociological analysis.”

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