The Awakening of a Sleeping Tiger: India in the Decades Post-Liberalization
“It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity.” Kofi Anan is attributed with this saying, one that succinctly summarizes globalization’s irrepressible advance in recent decades. In its literal sense, Globalization is the process of transforming local or regional phenomena into global ones. This process is a combination of economic, technological, socio-cultural and political forces. (Crouche 2) Although globalization’s reach is world-wide and no region or country on earth has been exempted from its influence, few countries have been more transformed by it in recent decades than India. Until the economic reforms of the early 90s, India remained by enlarge a closed economy and a sheltered society. Since that time, India has bloomed into a dynamic and global economic and cultural power, one that although beset by a myriad of problems, is filled with a hope and promise unimaginable even a generation ago. Exciting and opportunistic though the societal transformations of the past twenty years are, they have created enormous tensions in a traditional society unaccustomed to the new-found liberties many now openly embrace.
Globalization’s footprint can now be seen throughout India. Anecdotally, during my fieldwork in the state of Uttar Pradesh I visited a remote village school, one that receives power for only a few hours a day, equipped with a single computer. When I joined the teachers after-hours, they were huddled around it, playing Medal of Honor, a World War 2 shooting game available at any Wal-Mart. Walking through the second-class train cabin on the way to Allahabad, I spotted a boy on the cusp of adolescence reading Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress, a book that adorns my own bookshelf. MTV now runs its own Indian channel, replete with all the debauchery and crassness we American’s seem so fond...