International Studies May 16, 1999Developing India “He lives without memories of what has gone before or expectation of what lies ahead, and time is thus motionless” (Marshall). This concept may be hard for Westerners to grasp, but for 660 million Hindus in India it’s what they go by. Religion is only one aspect of Indian culture, along with the caste system and family life that influences India’s globalization and population. In a world that is constantly changing India has potential to develop in many ways. However, the question is if India’s culture will help it develop or hold it back with oppressive traditions as the millenium grows nearer. Karma, darma, Nirvana, astrology, and reincarnation are only some of the characteristics that is apart of the Hindu religion. Because of what Hindus believe it is hard for India to keep up in this rapidly changing world. Some of the older customs are hard to let go. For instance, darma, being one’s duty is nothing to question.
On account of the old tradition of darma it’s not possible for a person to move up in the business world. Once a person is born and has its darma, depending on the karma from their life before, a person is not allowed to change. They are not allowed to change their darma or karma; making it impossible for them to gain any incentive and make good economic means unless, they are born into a family with good karma, therefore living better off. Hinduism has a large hold over what goes on in India. “Hinduism has proved to be stronger than any of the governments of India, which have come and gone” (Humanity’s). Even a historian has noted, “India is Hinduism” (Humanity’s). Despite some of the drawbacks of this religion, astrology has helped further economy and business in India. Many Hindu believers and even non-Hindu believers turn to astrology to help guide their businesses. One man even turns to his astrologer to see if he should open a new factory, and what sort of pujas, or prayer ceremony to do when production begins (Coll).
Astrology could even be India’s closest account of becoming westernized though there are different uses of it. “Linked to, but distinct from the zodiac astrology in the West, Indian astrology is rooted in myths of the subcontinent’s millennia-old Hindu religion” (Coll). Along with these factors of religion and its connection to India’s modernization time is an influential matter. Though their lack of acknowledging time India’s “bloated, lethargic government bureaucracy survives in part because there is no correlation between time and money” (Marshall). But because two minutes can be an hour, or an hour can be a day their government can be held back when meeting with other countries or business can fail with others across country because they were late for an important meeting thus, causing money deficiency. However, “India’s continued industrialization has brought increasingly large numbers of it’s population under some form of time discipline during the last three decades, there are few signs of any fundamental change in the value a Hindu gives to time” (Marshall).Moreover, religion also plays a role in the large population of India. It’s noted that India has a birthrate “that adds 44 babies every minute of every day . . .” (Fineman).
Hindu followers are not large fans of contraceptives and family planning has only been brought up in the last few years. Abortion is also not apart of this religion, largely because that would be killing a soul. Killing a soul would consequently be bad karma and that person would suffer bad darma I their next lives. Population growth needs to be in control because otherwise there won’t be any more room for people to live in India. When Rajiv Ghandi was in office he exclaimed many times that “India will destroy itself from within if it fails to curb the growth of its population” (Fineman). But religion is not the only thing that adds to the economic frailties and population overdrive, the tradition of the caste system also adds to this countries laggard development rate.
The caste system in India is illegal in the government’s eyes, however it is still being acted upon. While castes are illegal they still seem to thrive in some areas of India. “It still operates because it is very difficult to legislate against religious tradition” (Humanity’s). There are five basic castes but those can be broken into 3000 sub-castes. Those five basic castes are determined by job. The higher and better the job, the higher and better the caste.
The fault for having the caste system is that people among these castes aren’t allowed to move from one to another. For instance, once an Untouchable (a person even below the lowest caste) than always an Untouchable, and it is difficult to gain respect or credibility. Also, because of not being able to associate with other castes, that holds back business deal. In addition, because castes are affected by the technology they’re scarce in the cities and mainly operate in the country. The caste system not only affects the economical growth of India, but also the population growth.The caste system came about because of Hinduism. Therefore because of religion again effecting the caste system population is influenced through the same reasons. Though there are separate castes, they all support the same ideas. Thus, abortion is shunned, babies are good for the families, and so many are produced. Moreover this rationale can be used for why families have lots of babies and increase the population. Because women aren’t educated and often forced into marriage and having babies at a young age, they spend their lives doing so. A woman’s role as a child bearer is very valued. They are valued more so if they are able to produce boys. Girls are not highly looked upon, because when they marry their families are to pay a dowry when the men get to receive the dowry. And so abortion, in that respect, can be acted upon. However, not enough of the staff in control of the family planning offices are that interested and aren’t getting the information to the men and women. But, if family planning and the idea of contraceptives work then in years to come population will be handled.
In parallel to religion and the caste system, family also plays a role in the economical development in India. Some development has already occurred in the old tradition of matchmaking. A computer company has been set up that marks the compatibility of people in India. One person says, “we are still too conservative a society to tolerate dating” (Fineman). This matchmaking idea then eliminates the idea of love and matches the couples according to their interests, castes and subsects since marrying outside of one’s caste is still very minimal. But however many traditions are being upgraded with technology, other traditions are still oppressing any great advancements. Since newly married couples are to live with the male’s parents until they die, there is no chance for them to leave and pursue a career of there own. Modernization isn’t going to occur unless men and women are able to branch out on their own and make investments by themselves. In conclusion, modernization and the growing population are greatly influenced by the traditions of religion, caste, and family. Though it seems that modernization coincides with some of the traditions it is still doubtful whether or not India is able grow along with the rest of the developing world. ” . . . it would be hard to suggest the variety of ways in which change is occurring or the many ways in which the old tends to persist side by side with the new” (Caste). As the millenium is rapidly approaching and technology is improving it is will be interesting to see if India will be able to resist the new developments in progress as a new generation grows in the ancient country of tradition. “Can Hinduism again incorporate the new ideas and still retain something of it own?” (Caste).
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