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Social Change and Development in India

We have already seen how the strength of Indian culture has been its open ended approach. We also saw how through the modern period our reformers and nationalists actively debated tradition and culture. Culture cannot be seen as an unchanging fixed entity that can either collapse or remain the same when faced with social change. What is more likely even today is that globalisation will lead to the creation of not just new local traditions but global ones too.


Very often defenders of a fixed traditional idea of cultural identity defend undemocratic and discriminating practices against women in the name of cultural identity. These could range from a defence of sati to defence of women’s exclusion from education and participation in public matters. Globalisation can then be taken as a bogey to defend unjust practices against women. Fortunately for us in India we have been able to retain and develop a democratic tradition and culture that allows us to define culture in a more inclusive and democratic fashion.


Often when we speak of culture we refer to dresses, music, dances, food. However, culture as we know refers to a whole way of life. There are two uses of culture that any chapter on globalisation should mention. They are the culture of consumption and corporate culture. Look at the crucial role that cultural consumption is playing in the process of globalisation especially in shaping the growth of cities. Till the 1970s the manufacturing industries used to play a major role in the growth of cities. Presently, cultural consumption (of art, food, fashion, music, tourism) shapes to a large extent the growth of cities. This is evident in the spurt in the growth of shopping malls, multiplex cinema halls, amusement parks and ‘water world’ in every major city in India. Most significantly advertisements and the media in general promote a culture where spending is important. To be careful with money is no longer a virtue. Shopping is a past time actively encouraged.


¾ Compare the traditional shop and the new

departmental stores that have come up. ¾ Compare the mall with the traditional market. Discuss how it is not just goods that change but

how the meaning of shopping changes. ¾ Discuss the new kinds of food that is now served in eating places.

¾ Find out about the new fast food restaurants that are global in their operation.

Successive successes in fashion pageants like Miss Universe and Miss World have lead to a tremendous growth in industries in the fields of fashion, cosmetics and health. Young girls dream of being an Aishwarya Rai or Sushmita Sen. Popular game shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati actually made it seem possible that your fortunes could turn over a few games.

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