The World since 1991
Key Concepts and Issues since 1991: Globalisation
Key Concepts and Issues since 1991: Humanitarian Issues
Contemporary India: Challenges to Peace, Stability and National Integration
Contemporary India: Good Governance
India and the World
Issues since 1991 - Social and Cultural Issues:
The revolution in global media and the easy access to the internet has made people aware of what is happening globally. This, along with the movement of the people within the country and the world has had an impact on the society and culture. We see the emergence of what is called ‘global cosmopolitan culture’.
There is a great deal of western domination on this global cosmopolitan culture. Values like modernisation, westernisation, secularisation are considered more important than traditional values. This is seen in personal lifestyles of the people. For example, there is an increase in the consumption of fast food like burgers, pizza, vada pav, etc. The method of celebrating traditional festivals like Christmas, Diwali, etc. has become more westernized. New ideas like celebrating ‘Mother’s Day’, Father’s Day’, ‘Friendship Day’, etc. have come in. There is also an increasing demand for ‘western wear’ in the clothes that are purchased in the market.
Another aspect of this global culture is the rise of individualism and materialism in the society. The breakup of traditional family system was mainly due to urbanisation. This has been further enhanced by the concept of individualism. We are likely to hear the words ‘I want my privacy’ or ‘this is my personal space’ right from school going children to elderly people. Similarly, the tendency to spend beyond one’s financial means has increased due to the introduction of the credit cards.
But there are also negative aspects. There is the fear that the welfare activity that the State provides would come to an end. There is also the fear that international competition would cripple local business, especially small business. In the field of agriculture, the fear is that the small and marginal farmer would not be able to compete with the big corporations.
In reality, India’s biggest problem is attitudes and mindsets. India has identified all foreign capital and trade with its history of imperialist dependence. Independence meant autonomy and self-reliance. India’s opposition to liberalisation has roots in its ideology of anti-imperialism. India’s socialists and capitalists are both hostile to liberalisation. The former for ideological reasons; the latter because of the fear of losing the traditional protection that they have enjoyed in India. In the long run, it is for the Indian State to protect its core values and ensure that the welfare net is maintained so the marginalized and the underprivileged people do not suffer. This continues to be an important role of the State in the age of globalisation.