Although chutney is generally hailed as as originating in Indian cuisine, variants of the form have been adopted throughout the world.
Traditionally an Indian chutney is a paste made from raw ingredients, ground on a curry stone, for instance mango, ginger, mint, coriander etc. The idea being to use local, fresh ingredients in such a way to produce an interesting taste sensation; when eaten in a small amount to flavour a meal.
Generally Indian chutney is broken down into three types: sweet, hot and sweet/hot. The hot stuff is not to be taken lightly, as I'm sure anyone that's been to an Indian restaurant can attest to when they dig in deep with a poppadum!
The western form of chutney differs in that it is cooked, and combines fruit and/or vegetables with sugar, vinegar and spices, to give a savoury jam. Again the aim is to use fresh, seasonal ingredients (again often in at first glance unlikely, if interesting combinations) to make a condiment, however in the western case, the chutney is designed to keep. In fact my Grandmother lets her chutneys age for months or even years, the flavours intermingle, mature and deepen to give truly "vintage" years; which are brought out and savoured during the family christmas celebrations. It's quite often brought out with cold cuts of meat, goes well with pork pies, livens up a plain cheese sandwich; generally makes the mundane special!