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Impact of Globalization on Indian Culture


The economic boom that is being experienced in India is largely attributed to the globalization and liberalization of the Indian economy. The era prior to the 1990s was quite averse to the concept of an open market policy and the Indian markets were predominantly closed in nature.

The government of India, however, ruled and regulated Indian markets but with the globalization and liberalization of the Indian economy, the whole market scenario changed in no time. The economic policy drafted in early 1990s by the government of India facilitated huge inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Foreign Institutional Investors (FII) in to the much insulated Indian markets.

Prime economic factors like Industrial Growth, Balance-of-Payments, Merchandise Exports, Invisible Accounts and Foreign-Exchange-Reserves witnessed positive growth and effected tremendous growth of Indian Economy.


The economic reforms were initiated in 1991 in India in a demonstrative way after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by Narsinmha Rao. Increased borrowing from foreign sources in the late 1980s, which helped fuel economic growth, led to pressure on the balance of payments. The problem came to a head in August 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait, and the price of oil soon doubled.


In addition, many Indian workers resident in Persian Gulf states either lost their jobs or returned home out of fear for their safety, thus reducing the flow of remittances.The direct economic impact of the Persian Gulf conflict was exacerbated by domestic social and political developments. In the early 1990s, there was violence over two domestic issues: the reservation of a proportion of public-sector jobs for members of Scheduled Castes (see Glossary) and the Hindu-Muslim conflict at Ayodhya .


The central government fell in November 1990 and was succeeded by a minority government. The cumulative impact of these events shook international confidence in India's economic viability, and the country found it increasingly difficult to borrow internationally. As a result, India made various agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF--see Glossary) and other organizations that included commitments to speed up liberalization.


People around the globe are more connected to each other today than ever before in the history of mankind. Information and money flow more quickly than ever. Goods and services produced in one part of the world are increasingly available in all parts of the world. International travel is more frequent. International communication is commonplace.


We live in an intensely interdependent world in which all the earth's peoples with their immense differences of culture and historical experience are compressed together in instant communication. We face today a world of almost infinite promise which is also a world of terminal danger. This phenomenon has been titled 'Globalization.'


'The Era of Globalization' is fast becoming the preferred term for describing the current times. Just as the Depression, the Cold War Era, the Space Age, and the Roaring 20's are used to describe particular periods of history; Globalization describes the political, economic, and cultural atmosphere of today.

While some people think of Globalization as primarily a synonym for global business, it is much more than that. The same forces that allow businesses to operate as if national borders did not exist also allow social activists, labour organizers, journalists, academics, international terrorists and many others to work on a global stage.


British Imperialism or Western Colonialism did not die after the end of World War II when the West gave up its colonies in Africa, Asia, Latin America, West Indies and the East Indies. Gradually it changed itself into a more subtle form which is proving to be more harmful to all non-Western cultures both in the short run and the long run.


Indian culture which in effect means Hindu culture, Hindu religion, Hindu society, Hindu civilization, Hindu way of life are under the lethal threat of the ruthless forces of Globalization today. What went by the name of Colonialism in classical history textbooks produced in the days of British Raj has been replaced today by the synonym of Globalization. The unbridled expansion of western culture has continued at an accelerated rate along with the denigration and decline of Hindu culture, civilization, religion, art, literature and customs.

This new Colonialism has taken on several new faces or rather put on new masks. It cleverly masquerades itself through labels and slogans like democracy, humanitarian rights, gender equality, internationalism, free trade and humanitarianism. In the name of modernization and Globalization it pretends to be uplifting peoples whom it is really exploiting. This is not very different in either kind or intent from old Western Colonialism – British Imperialism in the Indian context – which vaunted itself as the benign bringer of Civilization and culture to the uncivilized world. It was given the glorious title of 'White Man's Burden'.


Religion provided the needed rationale for this cruel plunder. All native Hindus were dismissed as heathens or pagans – despicable creatures who don't have to be treated like human beings till they take their fateful decision to embrace Christianity. According to the missionaries who came to India to play second fiddle to the British Imperial rulers, Christianity was the only true religion.

Jesus Christ was the only true God. All other religions like Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and many other traditional faiths and religions in India had to be eliminated to save the souls of India and Indians. All facets and all aspects of Hindu religion and Hindu society were dismissed as idolatry and superstition, in order to advance the noble Christian pursuit of salvation for the barbarous heathens of India.


Though all forms of Colonial Empire in the geographical sense came to an end after the II World War, yet the same forms of colonial exploitation continue even today in all parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America under the banner of that all-embracing umbrella called Globalization. What has been its impact on culture in India? Every educated Indian seems to believe that nothing in Hindu India, past or present, is to be approved unless recognized and recommended by an appropriate authority in the West.

There is an all-pervading presence of a positive, if not worshipful, attitude towards everything in western society and culture, past as well as present in the name of progress, reason and science. Nothing from the West is to be rejected unless it has first been weighed and found wanting by a Western evaluation.


Swamy Vivekananda foresaw the dangers of Globalization as early as in 1893 when he spoke at the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago. To quote his soul-stirring words: 'Shall India die? Then, from the world all spirituality will be extinct, all sweet-souled sympathy for religion will be extinct, all ideality will be extinct ; and in its place will reign the duality of lust and luxury as the male and female deities, with money as its priest, fraud, force, and competition its ceremonies, and human soul its sacrifice. Such a thing can never be'.


Precisely such a terrible thing is taking place in India today on account of the inexorable and immutable process of Globalization.
 
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