Cultural Globalization – An “Indian” Response
The majority of Indians, who are now for generations used to living with or without a critically reflected “plural” frame of reference, would respond to this theme also in a plural way. It is obvious that there cannot be ONE Indian response to it, in spite of a very clear and aggressive trend in the recent past to define the Indian identity by insistently referring to a glorious cultural heritage that was damaged not lastly by the colonization of India. This has led to the macabre happenings in Gujarat, forcing the Indian once again to ponder seriously the question of cultural identity.
It is obvious that globalization, if it means Cultural Imperialism – from within or without -; if it is going to put an Indian at dis-ease with himself in India by calling himself an Indian, then it will be generally resisted. There is also a noticeable feeling that there are more pressing questions like poverty, population and AIDS which need to be addressed first. It is also obvious that the traditional Indian stereotypes have changed radically ever since arrival of the cable TV. In spite of the enlightened image that India would like to project, when it comes to really “crucial” things in life, like marriage, jobs, or even finding a player for the Indian cricket team – all kinds of cultural references like region, religion, cast suddenly become important.
A land that takes pride in calling itself a world spiritual leader needs to practice what it preaches. Only then can its response to this theme be somewhat adequate. It is obvious that mankind needs a different culture. It has to be a culture that is deeply “religious”. It has to be a culture that is based on clarity and not on confusion and a convenient ‘political correctness’. This has to be a culture that is deeply self-reflective, ever willing to admit the wrongs of the past, to re-form itself, to grow together with the “Other”. Taken in this spirit, this culture will not make any claims to be “global”, for it will not have any such ambitions.
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Centre of German Studies, School of Language, Literature Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi|
Minister für Beschäftigung, Behindertenpolitik, Medien und Sport|
o. Univ.-Prof. der Soziologie an der Universität Salzburg||