Impact Of Western Culture In Nepal

5 07 2012



Civilizations do meet and even merge but never has such an impact been witnessed as the impact of the west on Nepal.  We can see both the positive and negative impact of western culture in Nepal. The impact has been so great and so deep that, wherever we go, and, as far as the eye can see, we notice only western modes and we are for a moment set to wonder if we are in Nepal or in some western country. To find western impact on Nepal we do not have to go far to seek. Each and every home, each and every sphere of life has been completely influenced by the west that it is difficult to recognize what is Nepali in Nepal. Our food, and food habits, our dresses, our dances, our songs, our music, our education system, our life style are all of  the western pattern. (Nepalsociety)

First of all, let’s discuss about the impact of west on Nepali education system. In the past there was ‘Gurukul’ system of education in Nepal. In this system students had to go to the teacher’s house and read and learn along with serving the teacher. But today ‘school system’ has been adopted from the west. Students go to school in the morning and return home in the evening. Not only reading the book, students perform the extracurricular activities like swimming, dancing, singing, etc. in school. They do group activities, projects, assignments, etc. in school.  Nowadays, English language is given more emphasis than Nepali language in schools. The medium of instruction is also English. In this way the number of English language speakers is increasing rapidly in Nepal.  However, the sad part of this system is that, the schools that lay more stress on Nepali, or use the Nepali Medium of instruction, are known to be second rate schools. A person who can communicate in English is known to be smarter than a person who cannot. It implies that, not only have we taken to western styles, we also admire only them.

Food habit of Nepali people is greatly changed due to the influence of western cuisine. Most of the Nepalese people needed belly full of rice to satisfy their hunger but today the ‘pizza culture’ has changed full belly rice culture. People go to the restaurants with their families and have pizza, burger, chicken and all the western food. There are many castes and ethnic groups in Nepal. They all have their own culture and food habit. Magars, Newars, Gurungs, etc. have the culture of drinking special local wine prepared at their own home. But slowly the western culture has entered in these groups too. They have started to drink beer and coca-cola in instead of the self prepared local wine. Most of the people in Nepal were farmers in the past. Farming was the dominant order of society and the mainstay of the economy.  But nowadays they have stopped farming. People are in search of jobs in offices, factories and industries. So they don’t have enough food produced at home. Hence the culture of buying food from market is increasing. Nepalese people used to have spiritual thinking but the impact of west have translated into materialistic people. Most of the Nepali people have become money minded people. A lot of banks have been established in Nepal which provide service to the costumers round the clock. Nepalese people have started night jobs too. Keeping the link with western countries, a lot of call centers have been established in Nepal. Night clubs, Discos, Dance bars have attracted not only the youths but many people from old generation too. There are a lot of people who have established sex as a business. People keep sexual relations by paying money which is the influence of red light areas of western culture.

Shopping at the departmental stores and shopping malls is the next impact of western culture in Nepal. A lot of shopping malls and departmental stores are established in the most of the city areas of Nepal. Most of the items found in shopping malls and departmental stores are imported from American countries. A Nepali boy or girl prefers jeans and t-shirt than any other dress. There was a system of wearing national dress ‘dhaka topi and daura suruwal’ by male and ‘gunyo choli and patuki’ by female in Nepal. But nowadays it is rare to see such dresses. These were worn by some people in special occasions only. Nowadays people wear jeans, t-shirt, cap, coat, hat, goggles and heavy shoes. The shorts and miniskirts wore by girls are the main impact in dress culture of Nepal from the west. Today many Nepalese girls don’t feel shy to wear any short dress while going anywhere which does not belong to Nepalese culture. Such dresses are not accepted by many parents till today. But the youths of new generation are influenced by the Hollywood movies. They watch a movie and want to follow the same customs as the characters in the movies used. Boys want to wear a goggle and ride a bike whereas girls want to go beauty parlor and color their hair. The establishment of film halls in Nepal is also the influence of western culture. Not only the film halls but movies are also made in Nepal by the influence of American movies. There are a lot of kiss scenes and use of vulgar words in Nepali movies these days. Nepali films were copied from Indian movies but recently the trend has been changed. Most of the movies made recently are influenced from western movies.

The local people of Kathmandu known as ‘jyapu’ used to produce vegetables in their fields and sell them in the market carrying in the device called ‘kharpan’. They used to wear ‘daura suruwal’ and ‘dhaka topi’ and work hard the whole day in the field. But the youngsters from ‘jyapu’ society are different. They wear T-shirts printed with Michael Jackson or other Hollywood celebrities and watch American television shows. The urban areas such as Kathmandu, biratnagar, and Pokhara are interrupted by television antennas. Copying Western popular culture and values has become the thing to do. Nepalese youth even take drugs. In the 1960s and 1970s, many Westerners, so-called hippies, were attracted to Nepal, looking for inexpensive marijuana and hashish. (Nepalsociety) . Nepal suddenly emerged as a “hippie Shangri-la.” There were no laws or legal restrictions on the sale and purchase of such drugs, and they could be used openly. In fact, some Westerners thought the Nepalese were generally happy and content because they were always high. Although this view was a distortion, nonetheless it was very common to see elderly Nepalese men smoking marijuana, invariably mixed with tobacco, in public. Marijuana plants grew almost everywhere; sometimes they were found growing even along main streets. Locally produced hashish also was widely consumed, particularly during festivals celebrated by some ethnic groups and tribes. It was, however, very unusual for a Nepalese to develop a marijuana or hashish habit until reaching about forty years of age.

Nowadays, in Kathmandu, a lot of apartments are made. Many people prefer to stay in apartments rather than any other’s house. And if you went to search for a room to stay in rent then you will get a single flat. The apartment system and flat system are the results of influence of western culture. In the past people had to buy a single land to build a house or had to buy a single house. But nowadays we can buy a flat or apartment. It’s not necessary to buy land or a single house. Similarly, the flush toilet system is flourishing in Nepal. In the past it was believed that toilet should be built far from the house. But nowadays attached toilet and bathroom is preferred. People used to go to the public tap in the middle of village. They used to take a bath there, wash their clothes and talk about the events and happenings taken place in the village. But nowadays bathroom and toilet is inside the house. So people don’t meet with each other as frequently as they used to in the past. These are all the influence of western culture.

Nepal is characterized as a country caught in two different worlds, having one leg in the sixteenth century and another in the twentieth century. There are a lot of villages in terai, hilly and mountain region where there is no reach of any media. They can rarely listen to a radio there. But the surprising thing is that such places are also influenced from western culture. It is so because the Nepali market is westernized. All the goods available in the market are from western style. Star hotels with swimming pools and gymnasium are the product of western societies which have been adopted by Nepalese culture. In one hand they are adding luxury to our lives but on the other hand all the Nepalese people cannot afford such things.

There are a lot of things adopted by Nepalese from the western culture. Nepalese people listen English songs and western music in their ear via earphones. Hugging culture is also the impact of western culture. Nowadays Hindu Nepalese also attend Christmas along with Dasain and Tihar. The way of getting married and celebrating other functions are also westernized. Nowadays in the parties of Brahmin and chhetries alcohol is also included. A lot of Nepali youths are going to western countries by watching western movies and being impressed by the western culture. Thus, we have not only adopted the western ways but we also appreciate them only.

Hence, emphasis on development, attention to improved infrastructure, improved educational systems, sincere efforts to reduce the margin between the poor and the rich, etc. are the positive aspects of western culture whereas decline in moral values, unhealthy openness to immoral sexuality, commercialization of everything, materialism, pre-marital sex, etc. are the negative aspects. So we should be able to identify the positive and negative aspects of western culture and  act accordingly.



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4 responses

1 01 2014
Rishit Karki

Wow mate, I would really like to thank you for this. It helped me to do my project work for Social Studies and I really learnt a lot of things in my research and by reading this blog.

6 06 2014

thanks alot.
a well descprition abot the present situations it’d be better if you’d also talk about the impacts of ballywood,hollywood and kollywood as well as future prospests or possibilities….
however its agood work to provide lots of inf..

16 01 2015

Wonderful article! Detailed info and a lot to gain about Nepali culture from this post. Nepali people have their own unique way of following their culture, traditions and festivals and also follow their own Bikram Sambat Calendar.

3 03 2017
pratikshya sharma

thanks for this article.

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