February 24, 2015
Cultural Literature Analysis: Ramu and Rani vs. Geert Hofstede “Culture is the sum of all the forms of art, of love, and of thought, which, in the coarse or centuries, have enabled man to be less enslaved” (A. Malraux). There are many different cultures in the world but the Indian culture is a unique one. The Indian culture has been influenced by a history that is many millennia’s old, and still has a big influence on the world with over 1.2 billion followers who don’t just reside in India; but all over Earth itself. The short story, Ramu and Rani, is a cultural story from India and was written by Iqbal Ahmad. In this story, a soon to be married man learns about the tale of Ramu and Rani; two lovers and they’re struggle to be together because of culture. The short story, Ramu and Rani, written by Iqbal Ahmad, is a typical Indian culture story compared to Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions model. Ramu and Rani demonstrates similarities to Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions model through power distance, masculinity, and indulgence/restraint. Power distance is defined as the fact that all individuals in society are not equal and that power is distributed unequally. If a culture has a high amount of power distance this leads to different types of castes. Some castes that are considered poor and other castes that are considered to be above everyone else. According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions model this is India’s highest scoring dimension. An example of high power distance in Ramu and Rani is: “Ranis father… he was almost like a king to the villagers… apart from his wealth and rank that earned him honour and respect, there was his high cast too” (Ahmad 80). From this quote we learn that Rani is part of the high caste since her father and the rest of her family have a very high rank in their society. We also learn that Rani’s soulmate, Ramu, is a descendant from the low caste from the example, “the man who looked after his cows were indeed of the shurda caste, from the so-called ‘untouchables’. But everybody touched Ghasita… Ramu was Ghasita’s son and from his Rani’s childhood he was Rani’s playmate” (Ahmad 80). Because of this difference in caste the two lovers, Ramu and Rani, cannot be together because of the high power distance beliefs in the Indian culture. This causes and relates to a person vs. society conflict. An example of this type of conflict in this short story is ““Ramu was flatly ordered not to seek Ranis company”” (Ahmad 80). This also relates back to Hofstede’s research as he states that “paternalistic leader and management directs could be used as words and phrases to encapsulate the Indian attitude” (G. Hofstede). Since Ramu is being ordered to stop seeing Rani because of his caste he is following his paternalistic leader. Masculinity in a culture is traditionally defined as men having more power over women in a society. With a high score in this cultural dimension India is considered a masculine society. Ahmad portrays masculinity in Ramu and Rani mainly through the zamindar, who is the head of Rani’s family. An example of him showing authority to Rani is: The zamidar was furious. He called the girl up to his room and shouted at her. Where was her shame? She was playing with filth. She was not thinking of the family’s honour, not even of her own future. He told her that he had ordered Ramu to be sent to another village where he would live with his uncle. If he ever came back, and if the two of them were seen together again, he would simply have him beaten to death. (Ahmad 81)
Rani’s father had recently found out about Ramu and Rani still seeing each other after being forbidden. In order to make sure that she suffers the consequences for her actions, he takes the role of the masculine person and scolds and threatens her. Rani’s actions that followed this event were, “She did not protest; she did nothing either to oppose or support...
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