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This paper compares the civilization of the western world and the developing countries represented by India. This is carried out about the remarks of Benjamin Franklin. This article is an examination of two different cultures.
Franklin was quoted saying, “Savages we call them since their manners differ from ours, which we think the perfection of civility; they think the same of theirs” (Warner & Jehlen 981). To Franklin, in the examination of different nations without prejudice, there are no people that are very rude to the extent that they lack adherence to the norms of politeness, neither is there any polite individual to the extent that they lack some sense of rudeness.
Franklin further continued: “The Indian Men, when young, are Hunters and Warriors; when Old, Counselors; for all their Government is by Counsel, or Advice, of the sages; there is no Force, there are no Prisons, no Officers to compel Obedience, or inflict punishment’’ (Warner & Jehlen 982).
According to Franklin, a council of the sages is characterized by lack of force of any prison force to carry out their duty of compelling obedience or inflict punishment to those who destabilize order. Influence in the Indian culture is based on the oratory skills and the more the oratory prowess, the greater the degree of influence and vice versa.
On job specialization, the Indian women are tasked with the responsibility of tilling the ground, food processing, and nursing and bringing up of children; they also perform the task of preserving and perpetuating all public transactions. Franklin also compared the laborious manner of the lives of the Indians.
The tenacity with which the Indians held to their traditions came out clearly in the treaty of Lancaster in Pennsylvania. In this treaty, the Indians were required to release their youth to be educated in the modern ways of life which included speaking English. The youth viewed this offer in a negative manner and declined to accept it.
According to Franklin, the inability by Indian to accept the offer due to the reasons that it would make their youth unable to kill an enemy, perfectly speak their language and that they would not stand the cold for long and generally that they could not make warriors showed that the Indian youth was basically meant to be warriors and subsequently counselors as envisaged by their civilization.
The public councils in India depict civility, decency, and politeness; they arrange themselves in a manner that old men sit in the front, followed by the warriors and women and children sit in the hindmost. Women were invited to the council to take note of what happens, imprint it in the memories since there existed no writing and to pass it to the next generations of children.
Women are the records of the council. Interruption at the course of talking was considered indecent. This is civilized as compared to the conduct of business in the House of Commons and other countries of Europe where one is interrupted before he clears talking. The politeness of the savages is highly regarded; they do not contradict or deny the truth which makes it difficult to understand their minds.
Another quote from Franklin which shows the civilization of the Indians was: “The manner of entering one’s villages likewise has its rules. It is reckoned uncivil in traveling strangers to enter a Village abruptly, without giving notice of their Approach” (Warner & Jehlen 784).
Benjamin Franklin succeeds in showing the tenacity with which Indians hold on to their culture. A juxtaposition of civilization in the eyes of the Indians to the western countries is carried out.
Warner, M & Jehlen, M. (1997). The English literatures of America, 1500-1800. New York, NY: Routledge.