Modernización versus occidentalización

Hoy en día todo el mundo parece obsesionado con la pregunta de si el Islam se puede o no compatibilizar con la modernización. Al tratar este problema, lo que constituye la modernización a menudo se confunde con occidentalización. Es vital comprender la diferencia.

El encuentro de la India con Occidente durante los últimos tres siglos subraya la distinción entre los dos procesos, modernización y occidentalización, que a menudo se toman como sinónimos. De hecho, el concepto de modernización no implica necesariamente occidentalización, como lo demuestra el ejemplo del Japón contemporáneo. Mientras que la modernización implica un cambio en las concepciones acerca de cómo opera el mundo material, la occidentalización implica un cambio en las concepciones cosmológicas sobre la manera como deberíamos vivir.

Como China y a diferencia de Japón, la India resistió los cambios, que implicaba la modernización, a sus antiguas creencias sobre la manera en que funciona y debería funcionar el mundo. En lugar de ello, como muchos países islámicos hoy en día, la India creyó erróneamente en la doctrina de Gandhi de que la modernización necesariamente significaba occidentalización. De manera irregular, y bajo la influencia del dominio británico, partes de la economía y la sociedad fueron modernizadas durante la segunda mitad del siglo 19, caracterizada por el laissez faire y el libre comercio. Algunas de las castas literarias tradicionales también abrazaron la occidentalización.

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