By Harsheen Sethi
This is how the dictionary defines ‘modernity’. On further research, you might find phrases like ‘post-traditionalism’ or ‘emancipation from religion’ — the period of secularism that gave rise to the concept of ‘State vs Church’, ending the religious hegemony of the Catholic Church.
Even though it is a rather universal concept, it is now somehow synonymous with the term ‘westernization’. In our Indian context, to be modern is to be compatible with the West, and even though the polarization indicates that for some the West is a level of glory we can only aspire for, the rest seem to consider it a curse-bearing epidemic, responsible for the corruption of the apparent nobility (and purity) of ‘culture’. In India today, the concept of ‘State vs Church’ doesn’t exist at large, and the current political climate of our country is proof enough for the same. When we try to move ahead from the ancient beliefs we seem to be living with, we are letting the West ‘get to us’ — because apparently, concepts of secularism and equality only concerns them, not us. They are only worth the paper of the preamble they are printed on.
This is because for us to move ahead, we would have to make religion— and the rooted traditions that come with it— a personal and individualistic concept. And in that fight, the Pious trump the Practical, because the latter ordered beef in a seemingly secular nation.The importance of seeing eye to eye with the world is irrelevant in comparison to staying in touch with our ‘roots’, no matter how decayed and dehydrated they get.
1. an evolution into relevance
2. being in touch with contemporary reality