GLOBALISATION VERSUS NATIONALISM

Globalization and Nationalism may at first seem to be completely different phenomena. But one thing that can be said to be a similarity is that they are both gaining momentum; in the Indian world at least. Globalization is a trend in which people look more towards spreading their cultures all over the world, so that the world becomes a closer place and Nationalism is a trend in which people try to promote their own country as superior or follow the culture of their country and feel proud about it. Both Globalization and Nationalism have got their good points and their bad ones. “Aurea mediocritas” is a Latin phrase for “golden mean”. It is mainly used to describe a situation in which both too less and too much are bad. It can be used here to describe the effects of globalization and nationalism. Too much of either is bad and too less is also bad. Aurea mediocritas is perfect and best. Too much of globalization results in what is called as a ‘culture clash’ with nationalism taking hold over people who oppose countrymen bringing in facets of other countries’ culture to their country. Too less globalization is bad too as it results in no intermixing of cultures, thereby lessening the value of our world; as it is only a mixture of flavors that make a good food. A singularly salty food is certainly not tasty and likeable. Variety on the other hand makes a culture both tasty and rich: the hallmarks of good food.

Thus we see that globalization and nationalism are in some ways fighting with each other. An excess of both is undesirable as in extreme cases a country’s richness and individuality is at stake. However, we see all around us that globalization has become rampant. Western civilization has infiltrated all over our culture. In all facades of our life western civilization has its mark. People are forgetting about their own rich culture and blindly aping the things that they see in the television-a medium of communication from the west. In our country at least, Globalization has the upper hand.

“Accordingly, globalization is not only something that will concern and threaten us in the future, but something that is taking place in the present and to which we must first open our eyes” said Ulrich Beck, a German sociologist who holds a professorship at Munich University and at the London School of Economics. He should know. Globalization has brought about several changes for the good as any one can see. Technology, business, development of infrastructure and an umpteen number of other things have been introduced to us by the West. Undeniable. Apart from these, changes have also been made on the social front. Abolition of practices such as Sati, polygamy et al. has been made possible I must say only because of globalization. Globalization has improved the lives of many a people in many a country. It has brought human kind to a stage from where he can alter the earth to suit his own purposes. There is even talk of changing our solar system in advanced scientific circles, but all that is far ahead of our time. Globalization has brought about invaluable changes in the field of science and technology-changes that have changed our world. I do not think people understand the effect of globalization properly because we have been affected by it completely. We should see cultures that have been isolated from globalization to see its true effects. We may still have been hunting and eating animals if not for globalization.

“Contagion has become very much a phenomenon, and it's a phenomenon of globalization” said Lawrence Summers, an American economist and the Director of the White House's National Economic Council for President Barack Obama. On the other hand, Globalization also has had a multitude of bad impacts on the world. Development has led to pollution and it has also led to the loss of several cultural values. The values associated with one culture i.e. the west has spread all over the world and the culture of several other countries has been lost. An undesirable effect as one can see. And old rule of nature is that variety must be present for any person or group of people to develop, to evolve to become stronger and stronger. Without variety, as I said earlier, the contents on the plate become bland. A variety of genes allows organisms to adapt-that is the key word. What holds for a single individual must hold for a group of individuals. A singular lifestyle every where I must say will be detrimental to the world at large. But the biggest problem that I think globalization has been responsible for is pollution, a phenomenon

that threatens to destroy our world. We may have been better off as Stone Age hunters than waging a losing battle against an unsustainable environment in some ways!

“A nation is a society united by a delusion about its ancestry and a common fear of its neighbors” said William Ralph Inge an English author, Anglican priest, professor of divinity at Cambridge, and Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, which provided the appellation by which he was widely known, "Dean Inge." Nationalism has been taking a back seat to globalization over the last few decades. However, it can be aroused to a searing, burning passion among the people as Hitler showed in the Second World War. It can be seen in the people of every country. It is a dormant passion in many ways. It can be aroused in such a way as to make the people of a country a force. Some times we see instances in which this passion flares up. We see activists who seek to preserve Indian culture. The Sri Ram Sena is a prime example of this. Every citizen has nationalism embedded in him in one way or the other and in the end if this force, this spirit is utilized, the effects can be destructive. Jawaharlal Nehru in his book “The Discovery of India” remarked that nationalism is an extremely powerful force indeed.

“Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception” said Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name, George Orwell, an English author and journalist. In some ways Nationalism is good and in other ways Nationalism is bad. It is bad in the sense that people some times resist the changes that are happening due to Globalization and this results in the lack of development in a country. For example if Nationalism had been present in an extreme form, Sati may have still been present now. On the other hand, if Nationalism is very weak among the people in a country, it may result in the values, culture and traditions of a country being lost to the world at large. In our strife to become better and better, and adapt to the changing world, by Charles Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ theory, that will be a loss that will set people back by quite a bit. So what is required for a country to survive and prosper and try to achieve a utopian condition, it will require the powers of Globalization and Nationalism to balance each other. This will result in an amalgamation of the cream of a variety of cultures thus a country can achieve a form of social ‘nirvana’

In some ways the whole issue of the Sri Ram Sena business can be seen as an example of Globalization versus Nationalism. The Sri Ram Sena say that they are the champions of the Hindu (or Hindi, as Nehru said) way of life. They feel that love should not be expressed publicly and disapprove of publicly seen relationships. They also are against fashion shows and Valentine’s Day. They genuinely feel that the Indian way of life, as perceived by them is losing ground due to globalization and that they have to do some thing in order to stop this free fall. On the other hand, its opponents feel that the Sri Ram Sena is doing wrong by violating the freedom of people, a basic freedom that every one needs and has to have. They feel that Pramod Muthalik’s Sri Ram Sena is abusing people wrongly and that there is no wrong in showing love publicly, or with fashion shows. The Sri Ram Sena can be seen as a manifestation of the forces of fervent nationalism and its opponents can be seen as the forces of globalization. Both are right in some ways and both are not completely wrong.
PRATHEEK PRAVEEN KUMAR

prytheek@yahoo.com

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