How Culture Impact Progress: Review of a Research Paper

CultureK Vijayabharati, an IIT Alumni, reviews the article Progress Prone and Progress- Resistant Cultures: Worldview Issues and the Baliraja Proposal of Mahatma Phule by Thomas Wolf, International Director of University Institute in New Delhi. Vijayabharati recollects how often Church also fails to live up to the teachings of the Holy Bible which in turn is a stumbling block to genuine seekers.  


Recently I was going through an article regarding progress prone cultures and progress resistant cultures by Dr. Thom Wolf is International Director, University Institute, New Delhi. That was an eye opener for me. I never thought that our belief system and culture has so much impact on our progress. And I am sad to say that though our Indian culture is 3000 years old still it is among Progress resistant cultures. 

I come from a Hindu family. Since my childhood my father had taught us honesty and equality. He emphasized us not to follow and believe the usual petty superstitions, which many of our educated Hindu friends still follow. Recently my friend was blessed with baby boy. But since the time of birth of the child was not good, her husband was not allowed to see the child for 15 long days, as it would not be good for father. Still if we believe in such petty superstitions how would our society progress. Since my High school time I always used to think that there are three major problems in India.

  • Corruption

 

  • Population

 

  • Pollution.

I used to think that mainly because these three problems still India is not developing, 40% Indians are still under poverty line, 40-60% of urban people live in unhygienic slum area without basic amenities. I believe that if these three issues are dealt with, we can easily become a developed country just in a decade! Free education and free healthcare should be provided, with more awareness of responsibility and community and wellbeing. The money which we spend in election campaigns, nuclear arms deal, festive celebration, if spent on upliftment of the downtrodden, we would see so much change.

 I have seen many Indians have the attitude of royal beggars. It might be expecting free help from Govt., organizations, relatives, and some go to extent of criminal activities like taking/receiving bribes, dowry and such kinds. We want free money and don’t want to work hard. I stopped giving alms to beggars because for many it is a profession and they enjoy it. They don’t think to improve their lives; they only want money at the cost of their self esteem. This doesn’t mean that we should stop helping others.

A few years back I met a family who were working for the upliftment of a tribal village in Bihar. This family shared to me that “They don’t give any money or monetary help to the villagers, except medical help. Their main attempt is to help the villagers to utilize their own resources, educate them and thus become self dependant.” Yes if we keep on giving them money they will never really progress. But as I read this article I saw the root of our progress resistance lies deep in our general belief system. Belief in the inequality of gender, caste, karma and horoscope etc.

From my childhood I have great respect for India and Indian Culture. We always read about its greatness. Yes India was called “The Golden Bird”. India has rich natural resources and is famous for its vegetation, gold, silver and even diamonds. Ancient India had produced so many great mathematicians, physicists, philosophers, physicians. Yet majority of the Indian society was deemed to be in darkness.

Most remarkable things to note are that there were no schools for women till late 19th century. We were also afraid to build dams and bridges over rivers out of fear of goddess of river. We don’t lack the resources or intellectuals but we lack something else. The author of the article had considered 8 parameters to compare the cultures. They are eight dimensions of time focus, work, merit, education, women, and sense of community, ethics, and worldview-and-civic pluralism/monopoly. Ours is 3000 years old culture, but it is very pathetic to know that we are lacking in all these eight parameters. I was introduced to Christ in my 8th standard. As me and my mother used to read Bible, the person of Christ, his holiness, his remarkable life, power, love, grace, justice and forgiveness had touched my heart and I decided to follow him.

As years passed by I am surprised to see that many kinds of the evils (corruption, dowry, inequality) are also in seen church. (This is mainly because many pastors don’t have formal Theological education and they don’t have proper worldview. They allow these things because of their own selfishness, ego or lack of knowledge.) That time, I thought Christianity also doesn’t provide practical solution to the problems of our society. Church is called to be the LIGHT in this WORLD. We ought to influence the society in a positive way and shine for Jesus. Instead Church is getting negatively influenced and it is following the society and its value system.

Then, I was almost about to take the back step and decide that I would no longer believe in Christianity. Then I was introduced to UESI. I thank God for UESI because this is the one of the Evangelical organizations, which doesn’t encourage all these social practices. UESI stands on the truth of historic Christian faith and presents solution to the problems of man kind through unshakable foundation of word of God. UESI begins with word of God and runs with word of God and ends with word of God.  

 

So I want to urge you and encourage each one of you by saying  “Let us be the LIGHT in the WORLD, Let us propagate healthy culture conducive to progress. Let us remove all the traces of these social evils in our lives and hence society. Let us shine for Jesus.”

 

Read the article  Progress Prone and Progress- Resistant Cultures: Worldview Issues and the Baliraja Proposal of Mahatma Phule by Thomas Wolf.

 

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22 Responses

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