Cultural Change

Cultural Change

Question

Write short notes on:

Rites and secularisation.

Answer

Rites and Secularisation: (i) We often marry within a caste or community. Religious beliefs continue to dominate our lives. At the same time we do have a scientific tradition. We also have a vibrant secular and democratic political system. At the same time we have caste and community based mobilisation. How do we understand these processes? This chapter has been trying to understand this mix.

(ii) It would be simplistic, however, to term the complex combination just as a mix of tradition and modernity as though tradition and modernity themselves are fixed entities. Or as though India has or had just one set of traditions. We have already seen that both plurality and a tradition of argumentation have been defining features of ‘traditions’ of India.

(iii) Rituals have also secular dimensions as distinct from secular goals. They provide men and women with occasions for socialising with their peers and superiors, and for showing off the family’s wealth, clothing and jewellery. During the last few decades in particular, the economic, political and status dimensions of ritual have become increasingly conspicuous, and the number of cars lined up outside a wedding house and the VIPs who attended the wedding, provide the index of the household’s standing in the local community.

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