Millions of people around the world would go red at the sound of two words - 'Perestroika' and 'Glasnost'. This Russian pair hastened the end of a socio-political experiment and more importantly destroyed the balance of power among world nations. Even ardent admirers of capitalism would emote similarly given the aggression and injustice prevailing in the present day uni-polar world. Perhaps what started off with the noble intentions of reforming a dictatorial system of governance ended in the destruction of the natural symmetry of power that deterred World War III for many a decade.

Nowadays two other words ie. Globalisation and Liberalisation are doing rounds at almost all the international conferences. World Banks are working overtime to liberalise national economies and (thereby) globalise their citizens. Interpretation of these terms by different people at different forums leaves one totally confused about the real objectives and intentions. The official version is that it will usher in prosperity, equality and justice for all. But is that entirely true?

Old Wine

Human history is replete with instances of such socio-economic processes aimed at perpetuation of a certain way of living at all times. That 'certain way' is always that of the domineering section of the society is something to be taken note of. In India, we had 'brahminisation', 'anglicisation' and very recently 'computerisation' to impose the ways of dominant community on the society at large. What the dominators perceived as ways they are adept at is what they want the whole society to learn and adapt. This is a proven method to maintain their supremacy because of their own prowess in those ways. It is worth remembering that in all such ventures, the declared objectives have been different from the real intentions of the protagonists. The real intentions will always remain shrouded in sugar coated declarations.

While Sanskrit education was the tool for 'brahminisation', English education provided the excuse for 'anglicisation'. Brahmin leaders who spearheaded the former movement knew that they can always maintain the upper hand in a society that is struggling to learn Sanskrit. It is an unfortunate fact of our history that such a highly developed language is still neglected due to the animosity generated by its close identification with a very narrow section of our society. The next process that caught the imagination of many sections of Indian society was 'anglicisation'. At one stage, all rich Indians wanted to learn English, dress like Englishmen and even live like them. The British set off this process with the declared objective of 'enlightening' Indians but the real intentions were to develop an army of clerks for East India Company. And their ultimate objective was to mould generations of Indians subordinated to their language, culture and British monarchy. They could succeed partially in the first two but miserably failed in the third is a simple fact.

Again, computerisation (and mechanisation) as a state policy was initiated by those who already had the privilege of mastering it. We cannot question the intentions of all because at least some would have had only the good effects of computerisation on the society in their mind. But as it happens in all such cases, the process got hijacked by a few smart leaders with ulterior motives. Their intentions were only the resultant acceleration of consumerism and the profits that will accrue to 'brothers' in select industries. Nobody in power dared a debate on the merits and demerits of computerisation in a vast country with millions and millions of unemployed youth. The social impact of millions of jobs that it cut down in an overpopulated poor country has never been recorded fully. Several of our young men could utilise the opportunities and raise to world fame after years of struggle is another matter.

Ideal 'isation'

Some years back an MNC (Multi National Corporation) released a special variety of cotton seed (in India) with 'terminator' genes built into them. This is an incident highly symbolic of the times we live in. Most of the MNCs are Western dominated and similar 'terminator' genes are hidden in all their means and ends. Liberalisation being the deed and Globalisation being the end, we should all be wary of the real objectives in any 'isation' process that affect our lives. In very trivial terms, there are hidden elements of borrow & spend, lease & lend, coat & tie and even fork & knife culture in the process of globalisation as desired by the West. Those are the ways they are good at and they want the entire world to follow the same. This is in sharp contrast with the Indian ways of conserve & save, give & take, kurta & dhoti and hand & fingers.

However, these global processes are overwhelming and we simply cannot remain insulated from them in the global village that our planet has become. Liberalise we must and globalise we may but westernised we need not. Without going too much into the past and without demolishing the existing social structures, we should strive to arrive at a consensus regarding the ideal 'isation' process that is good for the Indian society. Globalisation as dictated by the West is definitely not the one we should fall into. Tremendous growth of communication facilities had a great levelling effect in the past decade and we are all globalised to a very great extent. Pants, full sleeve shirts, shoes, spoon, English etc etc., have already become 'accepted' symbols even in Indian society. But now it should end there and we must proceed to 'indianise' the Globalisation process. Indian ways and values should form the means & ends of our own efforts in this world phenomenon.

We can consider Indian efforts in globalisation as successful when an Indian living in New York or London or Chennai or Tokyo can save a good part of his/her salary, move around in Dhoti & Kurta and walk into any five-star hotel to eat Roti/Curry or Curd Rice with clean bare hands. On the other hand, if we have to necessarily carry a credit card, wear a three piece suit and are compelled to use fork & knife, the terminator genes have really succeeded in their objective. Then we can only aspire to live as second class citizens in any part of the world including our own country.


More by :  J. Ajithkumar

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