2021 GS1 Answer

Q. How does Indian society maintain continuity in traditional social values? Enumerate the changes taking place in it.

Question from UPSC Mains 2021 GS1 Paper

Model Answer: 

Indian society is known for its rich cultural heritage and traditional social values. These values have been passed down from generation to generation and have played a crucial role in shaping the social fabric of Indian society. However, as society evolves and modernizes, traditional social values are also undergoing changes. The following discussion explores how Indian society maintains continuity in traditional social values and enumerates the changes taking place in it.

Maintaining Continuity in Traditional Social Values:

  • Family Structure: One of the ways Indian society maintains continuity in traditional social values is through its family structure. The family is viewed as the basic unit of society, and it is responsible for instilling traditional values and customs in the younger generations. Family ties are still strong in Indian society, and intergenerational relationships are highly valued.
  • Religious and Cultural Celebrations: Religious and cultural celebrations play an essential role in maintaining continuity in traditional social values. Festivals like Diwali, Holi, and Dussehra are celebrated with great enthusiasm across the country, and they serve as reminders of the cultural and religious values that underpin Indian society.
  • Education: Education is another crucial factor in maintaining continuity in traditional social values. While modern education is widely available in India, traditional education systems like Gurukul and Ashram still exist in some parts of the country. These systems emphasize the importance of traditional knowledge and values and ensure that they are passed down to younger generations.

Changes Taking Place in Traditional Social Values:

  • Family Structure: The traditional family structure is undergoing significant changes in India. Urbanization, migration, and changing attitudes towards marriage and family have led to smaller nuclear families replacing larger joint families. This has resulted in a shift away from the traditional roles of men and women within the family.
  • Gender Roles: There is a growing awareness in India about the need for gender equality. Women are increasingly pursuing education and careers, and there is a growing recognition of the importance of women’s participation in the workforce. This has led to changes in traditional gender roles and the way women are perceived in Indian society.
  • Attitudes towards Caste and Religion: While caste and religion have historically played a significant role in Indian society, there is a growing trend towards secularism and inclusivity. There is a growing awareness of the need to break down caste and religious barriers and promote a more tolerant and inclusive society.


In conclusion, Indian society is undergoing significant changes, and traditional social values are evolving to reflect these changes. While maintaining continuity in traditional values is essential, it is also important to recognize the need for change and adaptation in response to the evolving needs of society. Ultimately, a balance must be struck between tradition and modernity to ensure that Indian society continues to evolve while also preserving its rich cultural heritage.

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