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Backwardness of Local Muslim culture: Confrontation of western and Indian cultural aggression

Backwardness of Local Muslim culture: Confrontation of western and Indian cultural aggression

24-10-2023
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Humans are basically cultured animal. In general, culture is people's way of life. It differentiates humans from the other being. As humans have the soul and mind, they explore and express their will and desire of their soul and mind through different appearances and styles. As soul and mind differs from person to person, culture also rotates as per difference and as the end it takes a shape which is unique in terms of its character- through such way culture has been developed in human history. So definitely, culture is the driving force of human life. The person will be guided according to the culture he/she follows. In sociological terms, culture is a way of thinking and of doing things as per such though that pave the way of life. Culture is of two types, i.e. tangible culture and Intangible. Intangible culture includes nonphysical ideas, values, belief systems, norms, ideals, ethics, language, organizations, and institutions. On the other hand, material culture is the physical presence of culture in objects and architecture.


Culture is mainly inherited from ancestors. Again, many cultures are created by people based on time and circumstances. But the matter is not limited to this. Not all of the culture of the people of the present age is derived from their ancestors or acquired by themselves. A large part of it is imposed.

Some philosophies such as Marxist philosophy or critical theory try to argue that culture is sometimes used as a tool by the elite to exploit the lower class or create false consciousness. Without ‘Marx’, it is not too difficult to understand the matter. ‘Gramsci’ in his theory of hegemony called culture a tool of the ruling class to achieve the consent of the masses. Culture can control people's minds or brains, rituals and daily life philosophy.

In this age of technology, the scope of culture has increased a lot. Now, the culture of different countries of the world spreads worldwide. People can be influenced by other cultures in various ways such as: through music, film, television and art. Now the expansion of the culture of various countries depends on the universality, excellence or hegemonic attitude of that culture, i.e. on the tendency to impose.

From the perspective of Bangladesh, a complex picture emerges when looking at the country's culture. There are many debates among scholars about what the culture of this country should be. If the culture is calculated according to the religion of ninety percent of the people of this country, it should be Islamic culture. But the real picture is not that. Because culture is not always ancestral or self-acquired. Culture can also be imposed through cultural hegemony. Various cultures can be imposed on the people of the society according to which direction they will be driven. Here the larger group can also be managed by the smaller group if the reins of culture are in their hands.

Looking at the society of Bangladesh, it can be seen that there is widespread cultural aggression. The mainstream culture of this country is no longer representative of the larger part of the country. Gradually, the distance between the history and tradition with the culture of this country is increasing. Although most people are unaware of this. The culture of this country is day-by-day inspired by Hindutva and Western ideas such as liberalism and secularism. Aggressive power also continued it in the name of Bengali culture. 

There are various infiltrations in Bengali culture. It has lost its individuality and identity for the cultural invasion of powerful countries including the invasion of Indian culture. Moreover, conscious Muslims may not accept the current form of Bengali culture. Muslims do not find identity within mainstream Bengali culture as there is not much similarity with their culture which has been going on for ages. A Muslim, despite being a Bengali, is swayed by his Bengaliness. Is he first a Muslim or a Bengali? Where is his own culture here? Here the aggressor forces systematically erased Islam and Muslimness from Bengali culture. As a result, if the Bengali identity is enlarged, the Muslim identity becomes smaller. But Bengalis and Muslims were supposed to be one. For hundreds of years, Bengali Muslims could proudly display their Bengali identity but now they are facing problems.

The predominantly Muslim society of Bangladesh generally prefers Islamic culture and avoids non-Islamic culture. There is a large section who are culturally unaware. This segment prefers to follow what is popular in the country. They do not think much about where the culture before them came from or whether it is their own. The ongoing trend drives him.

A large part of the young Generation is being led this way. In the era of technology, a citizen is not only a member of Bangladesh but also a member of the global society or global village. For that, he can always reach different cultures of different societies through TV, internet, and social media. In addition, due to the cultural hegemony of Bollywood or Hollywood on the TV-Internet, he gradually started to nurture that attitude shown in the media. Then the philosophy of his life becomes as same as the cultural product he consumes. Sometimes he doesn't like the culture around him because his filter is another culture. Whatever passes that filter is acceptable to him.

As the majority of the country is Muslim, not all cultures are acceptable to them. They do not accept all current cultures. Rather, they want to continue with their own traditional and religious culture. Islam has many cultures. Islam prefers diversity in culture. Among the basic festivals of Islam are the two Eids, Ashura, Shab-E-Meraj, Shab-E-Barat and many more. Moreover, different cultures can be created due to geographical differences.

It will be seen that the amount of non-Muslim culture is increasing day by day and has surpassed the Muslim culture in this country. But what is the reason for this? Ninety percent of this country is Muslim but their culture is shrinking day by day and their opposite culture is flourishing. As mentioned earlier culture controls man, fixes his philosophy of life and sets his goals. Now the people will be led in the direction of whoever has the reins of that culture. Unfortunately, the reins of this country's culture are not with the larger Muslim-minded generation.

Since independence, the cultural leadership in this country has not been in the hands of the Muslim-minded generation. Aggressors have established cultural hegemony. They have succeeded. Today, Valentine's Day, Thirty Fast Night, Mangal Shobhajatra, Mother's Day and numerous festivals are celebrated in this country. Muslim-minded leaders are unable to create a new culture, even their existing culture is slowly becoming unpopular. Where there is constant free movement and infiltration of non-Islamic culture, Muslims are not able to do much and are constantly falling behind. Today, there is no Islamic culture in front of as many youths as the joy gets from going to Thirty Fast Night. The enjoyment of Idul Fitr and Idul Azha is also decreasing day by day. On the other hand, every month several days come before the young generation. It is not possible to defend against hegemony without creating a counter-hegemony.

In today's era, a large part of people's life is in the virtual world. Muslims are extremely backward here. A group of scholars has also spent a lot of time to determine whether television, the internet, pictures and videos are halal or haram. At the same time, their rival culture has advanced rapidly. The young are busy with TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, movies, TV series, music or games. Adults are also not far from it. The Internet has also caught up with them. In sum, people do not get enough Islamic culture even in the virtual world.

After all, one of the reasons for the decline of Muslim culture is the loss of cultural supremacy. Today people are controlled by a certain class. Muslims cannot defend their culture against an extremely aggressive culture. A young man enjoys listening to Hollywood music, but good music is absent in front of him. Boys watch TV series or movies. If you can dominate here, you can also dominate their mind. Some Turkish serials have already started doing this. The material culture that has been created as a result of the oppression of Muslims for thousands of years is also disappearing day by day.

In this age, there is no chance to deny the internet or virtual world. Now there is no opportunity to analyze whether taking pictures is halal or haram. This virtual part of human life cannot be excluded by the fatwa. Muslims have to dominate the virtual world too if they want to dominate the real field. A lot of quality songs, dramas, and movies should be made. If they are regarded as sins, then they have to be cultural slaves of others. 

Not only the seizure of political power but also the cultural dominance of Muslims in the society is important. It can also be said that due to a lack of cultural superiority, Muslims cannot come to power. And this will be possible through moral and cultural leadership. The point is that asking people to abandon their culture without showing them an alternative culture will not work. If we want to challenge the existing culture, we have to spread our ideology and culture at all levels of people's lives. A new culture must be created. Fundamental Islamic culture must be made more attractive and vibrant. Otherwise, cultural slavery is inevitable.

The author of this article is regularly contributes to international issues. He also regularly writes on culture, theology and so on. 

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Monir Hossain
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