Essay on Modernization: Modernization is linked up with the scientific discoveries and inventions


Modernisation is linked up with the scientific discoveries and inventions. It mainly rests on technological innovations. Modernisation though dates back to the period of industrialisation in the west, in the Third World countries it commenced after the Second World War. Many changes, such as sociological, economic, technological and ideological have occurred during the post-Second World War period. A part from production of modern weaponry, post- Second World War factors revolutionised social, cultural, political, and religious scenario.

Modernisation, of course, in India commenced with the western contact through the establishment of British rule. The contact brought about many changes in the domain of knowledge, social, cultural, political, and literary.The basic direction of this contact marched towards modernisation of the total life, but in the process the variety of traditional institutions got reinforced. There is a weakness, a need contrarity between traditional and modernity.

The polarity may be more heuristic than real. With the British rule in India modern cultural institutions and some new forms of social structural were introduced. For instance, feudalism which was reigning supreme and had engulfed the entire gamut of social life gradually became weak. The impact of western tradition fundamentally differed from that of Hinduism and Islam that Hinduism was heterogenetic. More changes could take place in Christianity and Islam as these were heterogenetic traditions than orthodox Brahmanism since it was a part of the orthogenic civilization. Islam and Chritianity began influencing the body politik of India as these were associated with political domination and leadership in India.


Cultural and structural changes slowly occurred in Indian society and culture. First of all, change in material culture, such as house pattern, sanitary practices, construction of septic latrines, supply of treated water to houses through pipe lines, formation of local self government, municipality and corporations took one the responsibility of ensuring overall sanitation of towns, cities and metropolis. Scavenging, disposal of excreta and garbage, maintenance of roads, drainage system and sewerage system were regularly maintained by local self government. Local self governments regulated urban transport, markets, hygienic, fast food supply, lighting of streets and roads and entry of goods and services into their respective areas.

As varieties of educational institutions were established in urban areas by municipalities and corporations, people got the opportunities for higher and technical education. Technological institutes provided technical skills and scope for setting up large scale industries to manufacture consumable goods and technical services. All these occurred through modernisation as several windows were opened up in the industrialised west through the British colonial administration.

Fancy goods and textile produce and varieties of gadgets poured into Indian markets and Indian consumers modernised their living style through these industrial products and gadgets.

Expansion of urban areas and urban people conversely affected traditional occupations, mainly agriculture and vocational occupations. Gradually people moved into urban areas in search of salaried cosy jobs, who abandoned their traditional occupation in the village, there by partially crippled village economy and self-sufficiency A lot of structure changes accrued in the village communities as joint families were greatly affected.


Joint family, in urbanisation, gradually lost its traditional structure which provided common shelter, food security, reciprocal help and common well- being of its members. The cohesiveness of village community and rural society gradually weakened and in its place individualism, latent competition, mutual hostility and serene homeostatis of joint gamily systems were lost in some kind of social morbidity.

Joint family system which functioned as a common wealth for all the constituent members gradually lost its socio-cultural importance. Its head looked after all the members, particularly doing sickness and crisis, equally and impartially as the social guardian. Joint family functioned on the principle of “each according to ability and each according to necessity”. Now in its place, there is receipt which is to commensurate with individual’s contribution. This has largely impired the joint family system. Joint family not only centred around the productive management of common property resources but also with all the rituals, offering of oblations to the manes and propitiation of family deities and performance of other festivities.

These days the ritual dimension of joint families has also been impired and marginalised. This apart, celebration of birth, marriage and death anniversaries in a joint family were not carried out uniformly for all members. For instance, the birth day of most competent earning member is celebrated with much pump and grandeur, whereas the birth day celebration of member whose income is meagne is celebrated without any funfare and elaborate arrangement. This, in fact, weakens the solidarity among the constituent members of the joint family and for this discriminating attitude and behaviour beakerings and frictions shimmer among the spouses of brothers. This is one of the major factors which ultimately contributed to its gradual disintegration.

The institutions of marriage also suffered from several setbacks. In traditional Indian village community most marriages were settled by adult male members of the family through negotiation. In the past there was absolutely no scope for prospective groom or bride to select the partner. Selection is altogether a different matter, even they were not allowed to signify their choices. They were required to accept whatever the quardian of the joint family alone or together with after senior male members decided about the marriage of a boy or girl of the family.


Western liberal education and mass media have tremendously increased the level of awareness of educated youth. The consequence of this sort of modernisation of knowledge, which comprises the basis of their rationality, they are now in a position to ventilate their views with gusto and courage. In several instances they registered their disagreement with the head of the joint family about their marriage proposals. Because of modernisation, they are no longer passive acceptors of views of their parents and grand parents, which they consider interference in their personal rights and affairs.

A lot of changes have taken place in interpersonal relations and within the structure of society which have influenced social change to a large measure. For instance, in the past, consanguines, affires, ritual friends, neighbours and co-villagers were used to be invited to participate in the marriage ceremony of a host through distribution of areca nuts and through personal contact. The number of immaculate areca nuts always matched the dignity and social position of an affine or consanguine or any other. For instance a set of ten areca nuts used to be sent along with the Mahaprasad of lord Jagannath through the family barber to mother’s brother, father’s sister’s husband, wife’s father, husband’s father and any other relatives occupying similar positions. This sort of traditional system of invitation was considered most prestigious.

The addresses or recipient used to receive the areca nuts and Mahaprasad with outmost respect and humility. The recipient is to pay a handsome amount to the barber who carried the invitation. Not only that the barber was used to be treated with due respect. This sort of invitation undoubtedly reinforced social solidarity and reciprocity among the relatives. The recipient of such invitations used to make elaborate arrangement to represent his family in the marriage ceremony of the host. Now a days, printed invitations are sent instead through errand boys, messengers of through post offices.

These invitations are deprived of the traditional sanctity and respect which was associated with invitations through areca nuts. The areca nuts used to be selected with lot of patience and care, which are supposed to be uniform in size, elegant and smooth to look at and unbroken and are daubed with turmeric paste and are propitiated with a view to deify them. These invitation are sacred, ritualised and changed with supernatural power In the past, the guests or recipients seldom disrespected such invitations. Even if one was in a crisis situation he/she would take all endeavour to make sure that his/ her family was represented in the concerned social function, Now a days, printed invitations are received very casually. It is treated as purely as a secular message and it does not evoke unflinching response from the invitee or the guest.


Similarly invitations are used to be sent to all relatives, friends and acquintances on the occasion of a bereavement in some one’s family. But in this case, the areca nuts are broken and not daubed with the auspicious turmeric paste. The number of broken pieces of areca nuts vary to signify the death of an old person or a young child. These are used to be sent also through the barber associated with the family in service relationship. These have been replaced now a days through printed invitation cards. These are not necessarily sent through the family barber. The barbers do not have annual service ties with their masters. Their services are acquired on payment basis as and when it is considered ritually unavoidable.

The traditional jajmani system of relationship with various ritual services and vocational caste groups have been done away with. There is no more economic tie up between ritual servant and the master. Likewise, as many people have given up depending on agriculture, because they have taken up salaried jobs in town and cities, they have snapped the traditional relationship with village potters, weavers, carpenters, blacksmith and with other professionals.

They have not been able to completely obliterate their linkages with their traditional barbers and washermen, because they have some kinds of joint family members still living in the native villages, and on the occasion of birth or death, they come to their native villages to wipe out birth and mortuary pollution. Thus, however, a wide range of cultural and structural changes have taken place in Indian society due to the impact of modernisation and mobility of people.

Significant change has occurred in rural Indian society through modernisation. Earlier poor and low caste people used to pay certain amount to the family of the bride, called as bride-price, to meet the marriage expenses. These days the reverse trade is on the rise; i.e. every young man, poor and rich, educated and uneducated of higher status or lower status demands dowry which is also paid by the parents of the bride.


Simultaneously marriage expenses have gone up several fold primarily because of ostentatious nature of celebration and conspicuous consumption. While marriage expenses have gone up marriage relationships are fraught with problems. Some persons who have no significant income or ability to manage their families even modestly pressurise their spouses to extract more and more dowry from parents of the bride. This is an unhealthy trend of modernization. This has affected every section of the society.

Education has became pretty expensive and more so technical and professional courses. Each education is indeed beyond the reach of average parents. The family with more children is indeed in precarious position. Upbringing of children with modest food, clothing and education in common educational institutions have become difficult for parents. But there is a craze now a days even among the daily wage earners for putting their children in English Medium schools with the hope that they would emerge as competent citizens of the country. How far this objective will be realised is anybody’s guess? Modernisation has created a seat of delusion for many.

Modernisation has created a consciousness about the value of time and everybody tries to acquire power driven vehicles to save time and produce more work. But it seems to be a misnomer. Many people have lost their sense of punctuality and in offices and organisations some employees report late at their work site, pretending that while coming from home they are caught in traffic-jams. Speed is no doubt a symbol of development and progress. But this has become a more exterior manifestation rather than an inner motive with many people.

Modernisation has greatly affected the traditional social network. In Indian rural society, village communities, caste groups, tribal communities, religious communities and their kinus were bound up by a fund of goodwill and fellow feeling through the exchange of goods, services and social visits.

Exchange of goods and services as well as courtesy visits in Indian rural society had been institutionalised to promote social cohesion, Goods produced by people are consumed and exchanged or given as gifts on ceremonial and festive occasions, such as birth, initiation, name-giving, marriage and death to reinforce social solidarity. In such occasions and in such events, for interaction family identity is very crucial because family constitutes the basic social unit for consociation. But the modern trend has disturbed and has eroded the traditional pattern of social ties. These days, instead of paying social visits people make a phone call to maintain the social relationship, as if they are awefully busy and they have no time to maintain social relationship.

In recent time, the forms and functions of the family have undergone adaptive changes in ideological and economic superstructure of the society. Change from extended to nuclear and from nuclear to friendship- family (Where a man is not married to a woman but they live together as man and wife) or temporary contractual family (where the conjugal relationship between a man and woman is based on a contract for a stipulated period) is an example of structure change.

In the nuclear family or an extended family or a joint family, role structure and authority system are really entrenched in tradition. These days, families are losing their identities as economic, social, religious, and cultural entities. In India, extended and joint families fostered sociological processes, that were conducive to the agrarian structure of the society. The recent trends of change in the family structure are not conducive to the growth of healthy society. The process of modernisation has put traditional social institutions in a flux.

The transition from joint to nuclear family is the process of disintegration of the older social order. Contemporary sociological literature views the process as one of alienation. Nuclear family became inevitable in the changing economic scenario. The present trend of change has no definite direction and it is affected by several factors. The process of modernisation produces new factors which affect the existing socio-cultural life. In the process of structure change, people in traditional societies remain more away from traditions. They fail to build up new traditions. They are losing contact with their traditional culture and are not able to imbibe the new cherished culture for various reasons and they remain as marginal men, poised in the vacuum.

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