Globalization and its impact on our daily lives

Ed X – Academic and Business Writing Final Article

Every individual experiences globalization in a unique way – that leads to various ideas, debates and points of view. There are many opinions about the origin of globalization – some hold the view that it is a modern phenomenon while some others say that it dates back to centuries. The overarching concept of globalization as held by most people is predominantly economical. It relates to trade, imports, exports, free market economy and so on so forth. However, the concept of globalization is much larger than that.

Wikipedia defines it as – “Globalization is the increasing interaction of people through the growth of the international flow of money, ideas and culture.”

When I was a kid, my taste of globalization started with Pepsi and Coca Cola. My interaction with the western world was limited to Sunday morning shows of Mickey Mouse and the Donald Duck. That was followed by He-Man. As I grew up, Doordarshan (the National Television) slowly began to expand its selection of programmes to expose the Indian people towards the western civilization and its culture. Hollywood Classics such as The Godfather, My Fair Lady, and Guns of Navarone were telecast and I watched them with great enthusiasm just like many others. However, I used to learn about other countries and what was happening in the world only by reading newspapers and books. Interactions with someone outside the country were limited, time consuming and expensive.

The regulatory bodies were very mindful of what should be available to the Indians – they wanted to control the impact on our economy as well as on our culture. The Indian businesses and the economy had to be protected against foreign devils that had more opportunities to produce better goods. And the Indian children or the youth needed to be protected against the foreign culture so that the Indian values and traditions did not suffer any erosion. After almost fifty years of independence, the Indian Government decided to truly open the flood gates of global products and companies to the Indian market. Where owning a landline (phone) was a luxury before, now cell phones became a regular commodity for all. Expensive desktops gave way to cheaper desktops and laptops to many households. Doordarshan became almost extinct as the cable T.V. and satellite channels flourished. Channels such as MTV, HBO, Star World, and Fashion TV became available even to kids. So much for the protection of the Indian tradition and culture! We only knew jeans were a particular type of trousers, now we could choose between Levis, Lawman, Lee and many more. There were only shops when we were young, now we have shopping malls and they are ever increasing, thus reshaping the retail industry. Jobs became available in the IT sector and the ITES sector and the BPO industry was born. Even new banks came into existence. As the infrastructure developed, tourism also benefited and more people from other countries started to visit India. Slowly but surely, we all changed. In a way our lifestyle changed, in fact it got Americanized. We all plunged into a mindless whirlwind of consumption and our philosophy of sacrifice and selflessness (at least whatever was left of it) was replaced by an overwhelming desire to possess materialistic pleasures.

Then the Internet happened. It opened us to a plethora of information that was not easy to obtain earlier. It allowed people from far flung corners of the world to communicate with anyone they wanted to. The library which we used to hold as the most sacrosanct place to learn about the outside world has been replaced by online resources. Classes which we could never attend in the past can now be attended from the comfort of your home by the power of the internet. You can enhance your knowledge and develop your skills at unimaginably low costs and thus empower yourself. Exchange of ideas, information, and discussions on them with anyone in the world is at your fingertips now. The power equation has now changed drastically, thanks to the social media. Anyone can exert tremendous influence if he or she desires to do so. The power to reach out to the world and influence people is no longer confined to the upper echelons of the society. This, I believe, is by far the strongest impact of globalization in our lives.

What does this mean to all of us, Indians? As students some of us were fortunate enough to travel abroad and study in the western world and some lucky ones will continue to do so in future as well. In the past only these few students and those who came into contact with them had to deal with the cultural gap. Few officials used to visit other countries for the purpose of business in the past, now such travels occur more frequently and the number people travelling has multiplied. Interactions with different parts of the world are a daily occurrence, thanks to the magic of the internet and telecommunications. Now an overwhelming majority of people (students, business people, artists, journalists, in fact every one) have the opportunity to connect with peers from different countries. People from different races, ethnic backgrounds, cultures, values and idiosyncrasies that are intricately intertwined with those values and cultures are interacting with one another – for academic, business, political or economic reasons. This means that more than ever before we have to learn to embrace different cultures, different ways of life and different thought processes. We have to learn tolerance and accept each other for who we are. Technological progress combined with the forces of globalization has brought people closer to each other than ever before.

As Indians, I believe that we have the golden opportunity to spread the message of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” which originated from this very land thousands of years ago. In Sanskrit, ‘Vasudha’ means the ‘Earth’, ‘Iva’ means ‘is’ and ‘kutumbakam’ means ‘family’. So Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam literally means the whole world is one family. It is a great cosmic organization at play. Countries don’t matter, political or geographical boundaries don’t matter, cultures, race, ethnicity, religions don’t matter – all of humanity needs to celebrate itself as one massive family. Learn from one another, love one another, respect one another, support each other, be kind to one another and prosper with each other not at the expense of one another. This is not a new message and has been shared before by some of the most exalted characters of this country. But few in the world are aware of this unique yet profound message. Imagine a world that is defined by these two Sanskrit words. This concept may not dissolve political boundaries, but it has the power to change the way people view each other. Majority of the social issues that exist today around the world can be resolved by embracing just this unique philosophy.

How did you experience globalization? How do you think it has impacted us? Please share this post and feel free to share your ideas.

 

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