India: Globalization and Change

India: Globalization and Change

India: Globalization and Change

India: Globalization and Change

Synopsis

India changed in 1991 from state-managed socialism to market-dominated capitalism, and this up-to-date text highlights the impact of the changes taking place at all levels of society as the effects of globalization reach into all corners of life.

Excerpt

India's population is fast approaching a billion; this fact is easy to read but much more difficult to absorb - one thousand million people, each of whom sees the world in a slightly or radically different way from the others. This book contains about 100000 words, so each word has to stand for 10000 people. How can it possibly do justice to them? All it can do is generalize, exemplify and, most of all, introduce a country and its billion people, giving leads which will encourage more engaged knowledge.

When we generalize we are bound to do violence to subtlety and even to ignore the reality of some people altogether; but the alternative is to give up and to remain tongue-tied before a mass of detail. One has to blunder on and be ready to listen to the criticism afterwards. But there is another problem, that of authorship and authority. I am acutely aware of the criticism made by Madan (1994) that western academics have a tendency to raid India for data whilst obliging Indian academics to adopt western theory. As a white British national, I carry with me the baggage of an imperialist legacy; much that I observe in India is an outcome, direct or indirect, of an indefensible colonial encounter, set in train a quarter of a millennium ago, but still reverberating in our daily lives, whoever we are and wherever we may live. Indian readers, in particular, may well question my right to make any generalizations at all about contemporary Indian society and ask whether interpretation from outside is not just another round of cultural imperialism. I hope it will become clear as this book unfolds that my personal belief is that, in conditions of increasing influence of multinational firms and global institutions, it becomes an imperative that the ordinary people of the world make their own connections rather than slot into the globalizing strategies of powerful forces. I do not believe that we can afford exclusive nationalisms any longer. Although I shall be pleased if it attracts Indian readers, this book imagines a readership of interested outsiders, people who do not have much firsthand knowledge of India or the assumptions that Indian people take for granted. I ask Indian readers to be tolerant of the ignorance that exists in the West when I try to explain things which seem obvious to them; the colonial legacy means that India knows much more about the West - its values, practices and fashions - than the West appears to know about India.

This book addresses the state of India at the turn of the millennium. (Whose millennium? Whose calendar?) India is changing fast, but so is the rest of the world. Much of the change one experiences in India is certainly a part of the maelstrom referred to as globalization - that complex of American hegemony, transnational firms, flexible capital accumulation, new international division of labour, communications and information revolution, which has marked the later post‐ colonial era. I do not want to argue that India is simply responding to global pressures . . .

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