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Globalization versus nationalism

We are told day in and day out that India has become the chief destination for foreign
investment. Our political economist class projects FDI as manna to India’s deficiencies in key
infrastructure sectors. International agencies’ credit rating agencies including, aver that India
will outshine China in the next two decades. Global moolah managers have presented a
developed India dream to our planners; computer based multimedia graphics highlight the
symptoms of India’s growing economic muscles.

India’s forex reserves have swelled to $ 160 billion. The number of poor people has been
reduced by 30 million to 230 million. The GDP is clocking eight per cent plus. If this growth
rate is sustained of if it is surpassed then it will be a perfect dose to remove backwardness
and eradicate poverty. And India’s life- line is showing signs of stirring out of slumber. Political
economists are happy.

A reality check leaves no room for optimism, though. Travels through the countryside shows
that GDP growth has not helped much to achieve a welfare state. Farmers mired in a debt trap
are committing suicide with the government still unable to come up with an effective credit
delivery mechanism. What we need rather desperately is good human material to achieve a
uniform social, cultural and economic growth.

India has no dearth of management gurus, IT professionals, economists, scientists, engineers,


doctors and other professionals. Funds are not in short supply either. Yet, we are witness to
our towns and cities turning into concrete jungles. Heavily polluted air and water, unplanned
construction, encroachment on public places, and traffic jam have made our urban centers
living hell.

Political economists put the blame for the urban mess on population pressure. It is a fact that
more and more rural people are leaving for cities in search of livelihood. What can they do
when they are left with few options?

Talk about e-governance and e-chaupal is interesting but middleman buying farm produce
often at just around the cost price or below production costs is distressing daily experience.
Migration has a negative fall-out on rural economy as well. In villages after village across the
country, labor is becoming as scarce as water.

Forests are tribal’s natural friends. Collection of minor forest produce has been a family
occupation to them for generations. But the development paradigm has pitted tribals against
forests and man against animals. Concern for Tiger and Lion is welcome but should that blind
our eyes to the reality of tribal life or the urgency of providing an alternative livelihood for
them.

Protect we must the wild animals but should we do so by deploying armed guards around
forests. Sadly, that is what the government is doing as it is unable to prevent killing of
elephants and tigers. It shows a bankruptcy of ideas and an ability to put in place solutions
after talking to the stake-holders.

sixty years after independence we have failed to come to grips with the need to evolve home
grown development models and we as a nation are content from borrowing ideas tested in a
milieu that has no bearing to our conditions or plans that come with few greenbacks.

There are many such examples from different walks of life. A small town like Indore shows the
way to the nation how to effectively run urban transport system by switching over to low floor
buses. The National Capital’s government of chief minister Sheila Dixit has been tossing the
idea for over six-years. It has set up several committees, sent “desi experts” abroad to learn
from others experience and announced plans that range from light rail to dedicated bus
corridors. Meanwhile Indore has stolen the march. What does this show? It shows political will
and bureaucratic will alone make “Mere Bharat Mahan”

It is the sports field where India can do really well, but what a ridiculous performance we
churn out year after year in Asian Games, Olympics and world cups of various hues. We are a
nation of 100 crore people. Yet we have a lone Abhinav Bindra with an Olympic gold. Suresh
Kalmadis and Arjun Singhs may not like the idea but time has come to forget international
sports events till our lads learn the ropes with the ball, bat and the stick. Till we spot out
talent and nurture it.

The question often heard and debated is who should be blamed for the ills afflicting India
these days. And general consensus is that politician is the fall-guy, and so, he (or she) should
bear the cross. Because that is easy to do and politician is the most visible symbol of India’s
failure in diverse fields. Our failure is much to do with our inability to develop good human
material with core human values, discipline, courage, commitment and a sense of belonging to
a nation.

India’s nationalism has been reduced to a cosmetic level, as majority of Indians do not know
how much torture their elders had silently suffered to achieve freedom.

Mahatma Gandhi said "it is impossible for one to be an internationalist without being a
nationalist. It is not nationalism that is evil, it is the narrowness, selfishness, exclusiveness
which is the bane of modern nations which is evil."

Globalisation concept is originated from the developed nations which are the practioners of a
brand of exclusivist nationalism. Market economy is another manifestation of their aggressive
nationalism. USA has become rich after tapping natural resources of other nations. Great
Britain became an industrial power in the 18th century by plundering raw materials from the
colonies and selling the finished products to them.

Globalisation per se is not bad. Inability to prevent exploitation under the garb of globalisation
is bad. Failure to measure up to the challenges thrown up by globalisation is bad as well.
Every Indian children needs to have a moderate dose of nationalism to achieve
internationalism. Indians divided on the basis of religion, language or caste can never let the
country zoom into the G-8 grouping.