the question of Globalisation
There is an increasing demand
for making this world smaller with the buzz word 'globalisation'
becoming ever so popular of late. While I subscribe fully
to the core idea of globalisation, I am tempted to further
the discussion on the subject by referring to some of my
personal observations. I remember having said in an UNESCO
seminar in Manila, a few years back, that globalisation
does not necessarily mean imposition of the indigenous culture
of a technologically advanced country on its poorer cousins.
It also means that the indigenous culture of the poorer
or less advanced countries should also be globalised. I
dare say, I cannot bring myself to believe that any linguistic
or racial group would automatically be attracted to an alien
culture unless there is a desire driven effort to discover
and understand it.
Here the endeavours of Ravi Shanker to globalise
his music, starting with a scintillating recital at the
Woodstock festival in the USA, a long while ago, could be
a good example. His concert took the American youth, or
a substantial section of it, by storm. The jhala towards
the end of his music worked as a kind of intoxicant. Those
were the days of 'anger' and of 'peace'. Or of days when
peace could have been wrested through anger.
The global appeal of Ravi Shanker however,
simmered down soon. It only lived in the minds of a selected
few Indian Classical music enthusiasts within USA. Ravi
Shanker mentioned this himself on a number of occasions.
In order for his music to be universalised it had to get
concerted and uninterrupted support especially from the
electronic media pervading the wide-wide world.
Look at it from our end. We are being constantly bombarded
by culture that is not our own through the electronic media.
The reason why many an unknown music, song or even lifestyle
does not seem alien any more. Besides, it is cool to be
west bound. The situation would continue to be so as long
as the ownership of media did not proliferate with the entry
of people belonging to diverse cultural backgrounds.
The question against such a backdrop is
whether this uneven situation is going to go against the
cultural sensitivity of a substantially large section of
the world population. Because the number of people with
not so well off media coverage is evidently larger than
their better off cousins. The redeeming insight of the subject,
however, is that what we are worried about is being already
noticed by the media power that be. A case in point could
be an example that comes readily to my mind. I remember
having read in a leading local daily at Springfield, Massachusetts
a front-page commentary on globalisation. The scribe of
the article started with a question. He asked, whether what
was known as globalisation was actually Americanisation?
In the light of the fact that today's USA is, for all practical
purposes, the policeman of the world, what is happening
in the name of globalisation is activities driven by US
interest. But, as I have already pointed out, this phenomenon
is getting noticed. And the advanced west is also becoming
aware of the fact that they have to watch their steps. May
be much less in the field of culture than the others but
the awareness is there.
In this scenario, we have to take charge
ourselves. We should first be sensitive ourselves to our
culture much of which we have managed to decimate by being
utterly callous. We should stop aping the west and also
imbibe the spirit of taking a fresh look at our culture,
which has stood the test of thousands of years, amongst
our posterity. We should of course let fresh wind of the
world culture blow through our doors and windows but we
should also make sure that our own culture gets equal attention
the world over. I think one way to start it would be to
present to the world whatever is good and can stand the
test of time.