Westernization and Modernization

Peter Chachei

The present development in our society is drifting more towards westernization rather than modernization which might have a bad impression on our generation or its citizens. Westernization and modernization are two comparatively different concepts which our younger generations have failed to comprehend well. Modernization, in simple words, implies an improvement in the standards of living, marching towards general progress and aspiring for the very best in every department of human activities. Modernization may also mean reaching out to a higher plane in thoughts, words and deeds. Westernization is merely the adaptation of the western culture. The concept of adapting western styles of living have strongly effected the younger generation of our society.

Western civilization is so powerful and so uniform in its character that it is bound to influence any national culture by way of affecting its external way of life. The process of adopting and imitating other’s culture might be dangerous if not adapted with proper knowledge and understanding. Half-backed knowledge always prove dangerous and the youngsters of our society are simply trying to fill it with (western styles) themselves. The western cup of material wealth is full and overflowing but the cup of spiritual and moral values are, sadly, empty. Broken families are highly present in the western society. Children are also exposed at a very early stage to obscenity, vulgarity, drugs and sexual abuse in the west, which our society has never deliberated upon imitating them.

Human race follows a certain stages of civilization: at first man lived in caves unknown of the art of constructing even rudimentary huts, he was a hunter and a food gatherer rather than a cultivator. Thousand of years after, he gradually acquired the art of cultivation then he developed into an ancient age. Followed by a medieval age and finally emerged into the modern age. At every stage of civilization man has spent a minimum of thousands years of life; it took man several millennia to move from ancient age to medieval age and a thousand years from medieval age to the modern age. While, the Nagas jumped from the ancient age directly into the modern age, mainly characterized by western culture, without passing through a millennium of the medieval age. Thanks to British colonialist and Christian Missionaries who came to the virgin hills of Nagaland and opened the window to the western civilization while the Nagas were still wandering in the ancient age unknown to the outside world. Thus, missing the experiences of a thousand years.

21st century is marked with the glitter of satellites, invention of super computers and availability of high technology gadgets. All this has contributed a lot and has transformed ones life to be a bed of roses. Elegant outfits, fashionable life styles, hairstyles, preference for pop music is now the demand of the younger generation. The society is so much influenced by western culture that our own rich culture is degrading day by day. The responsibility for this deviation from the main stream to adapt the western style of living can be attributed to the advancement in the field of communications. 

The Nagas in course of time have almost lost its identity and if one desires to preserve their own identity then one must understand that the identity of a people is determined more by the paradigm of its attitude, outlook and values than by the physical characteristics of the people. We the Nagas too wishes to maintain our own identity yet we have failed in one or the other way. The younger generations have forgotten to keep our own identity and diverted their life styles which are mostly drifting towards western culture. 

If we are to imitate western civilization, there is much good in the west to be adopted. Their spirit of adventure, their policy of earning while still learning, their sense in the usage of time, if we try to adapt and implement those few good life styles f them, then it might be very much obliging in modernizing our society. Moreover, there is no harm in adopting the good from any developed culture of the world. If we have to continue adopting the western culture blindly, then it is safe to predict that whatever the future may be, the coming generations would only be copiers of western styles which may not be healthy for our society in the long run.