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    Results 1 to 14 of 14
    1. #1
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      So Long Sarees, Hello Blue Jeans
      http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=11904

      Srinand Jha, TomPaine.com
      November 12, 2001

      New Delhi, India -- Globalization has fueled a cultural revolution in India -- an American cultural revolution. The changes, spurred by the last 10 years of U.S.-centric economic policies, have forced a transformation almost as monumental as the 200-odd years of British colonial rule.


      Until the 1990s, India's semi-socialist regime had waged a fairly successful battle against American consumerism, but financial crisis finally forced the government to open up the country. Today, America's influence is corroding India's rich culture and unique traditions.


      Young people, mesmerized by popular television programs like "Baywatch" or "The Bold and the Beautiful," have taken to emulating program characters. Indian teens are also increasingly obsessed with going to the gym or jogging in name brand sneakers -- Reeboks or Nikes -- like their American peers. Western-style fashion shows are now common, and sexual promiscuity is on the rise.


      Teens today know the inside scoop on Madonna's private life, but often have not heard of Khudi Ram Bose, one of India's freedom fighters against British rule. This stands in stark contrast to the 1960s, '70s and '80s, when students were at the forefront of social and political struggles in India. Today, most youth dream of getting to the United States -- on a scholarship, through a job, or by marrying a green-card holder.


      "The Indian elites have never been more adrift from their cultural roots than at present," says Pawan K. Verma, author of The Great Indian Middle Class, about the social attitudes of Indians in the post-globalization era.


      Traditional dress for Indian women, the saree and the salwar kameez, have been cast aside in the bigger cities for Wrangler or Lee jeans with skimpy half-shirts baring the mid-riff. And countless Indian girls have taken to dying their hair blonde, as more and more beauty parlors pop up to fill the demand.


      "The process of globalization in the West was spread over a period of more than 200 years. In India, it has come in a compressed form of 10 years."


      America's influence has turned Indian values on sex and marriage upside down. Divorce rates have multiplied. In bigger cities, an increasing number of Indian women are deciding to live and stay alone, forming a new identity for India: 'the single woman.'


      The penetration of American values in India has forced a market shift towards greater service orientation, and a corresponding increase in manufacturing activity. Credit fever has infected Indians, encouraged by the greater availability of bank loans and credit cards.


      "The process of globalization in the West was spread over a period of more than 200 years. In India, it has come in a compressed form of 10 years," says Sheo Narayan Singh Anived, a senior government official and prominent intellectual. "And [the globalization process] rides piggyback on the American communications systems -- the world's most efficient and powerful communications systems. Therefore, [globalization] is bound to have the sort of impact that it is having in India and the rest of the Third World."


      Cellular phones have become indispensable for urban Indians. Internet use has skyrocketed as more and more Indians spend time in cyber chat rooms debating a range of subjects -- from love to politics or pornography. Hindi versions of programs like "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" and "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire" have also sprung up.


      "The Indian economy has been, or is being, liberalized while the [rural] society has continued to remain feudal and closed."


      Still, while American culture is revolutionizing India's urban centers, rural India largely remains untouched. Last year, then-U.S. President Clinton visited a village called Nyala, but 37-year-old Shahnawaz Khan, who lives in a village nearby, doesn't remember Clinton's name. He refers to Clinton simply as "Duniya Ka Shahenshah" -- "ruler of the world" in the local Urdu language. Khan, a father of six, is from Garhi Mewat, a village 140 kilometers from New Delhi in the northern state of Haryana. Khan recalls that Clinton talked about empowering Indian women and donated six computers to the village.


      "The [ruler] comes here and whiles away his time with silly women and donates these useless machines. If he had to donate, he could have given us cows, buffaloes and tractors. Or he could have taken us to America to work as laborers," Khan says.


      For Khan and his generation in Garhi Mewat, known as the Village of Thieves, life was fine up until the 1990s -- when globalization began to fully penetrate India. The villagers had been traditional thieves. But now, with globalization and the bombardment of American ideas, thievery as a profession is out of fashion. Today, the younger generation migrates to nearby towns in search of work as brick kiln or construction workers. One enterprising fellow even set up a cyber cafι in a nearby town.


      Life is tough now for Khan. Thievery is out. And villagers do not have the resources or training to be farmers. Many of the village wives and daughters turned to prostitution to make ends meet. Now, the Village of Thieves has come to be known as the Village of Prostitutes, and Khan blames Bill Clinton -- or George W. Bush -- and the past 10 years of the free economy.


      "The Indian economy has been, or is being, liberalized while the [rural] society has continued to remain feudal and closed," says Singh Anived, the government official. "Only small bits of modernity have been released into the Indian society from time to time."


      For most urban middle-class Indians, essentially upper caste Hindus, there is nothing wrong with India's changing economic priorities, nothing misplaced about the investments in golf courses, ultra-modern mansions or five star hotels, no harm done if the world's biggest fast food chains -- from Pizza Hut to Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonalds -- have set up shop. In Bangalore, the capital city in the state of Karnataka, a group of America-returned Indians set up an institute to familiarize Indian businessmen with the mannerisms, culture and work ethic of Americans.


      In the predominantly Hindi-speaking northern state of Rajasthan, the stage for an anti-English movement about a decade ago, tens of thousands of Indians are scurrying to English language institutes. Even villagers from adjoining areas of the capital, Jaipur, have enrolled in English language school. On last count, 40 such centers had opened in Jaipur, including institutes with high-sounding names such as the Gothe et Rolland Forum de Lingua and Havard Finishing School (a humorous misspelling of the renowned New England ivy league university).


      While globalization may have brought prosperity to some, studies show that for 80 percent of the population economic circumstances have remained virtually unchanged. More than 50 percent of the population in Indian cities live in degrading squalor, and about the same number are unable to afford two meals a day. Illiteracy is near 40 percent. Tens of thousands in India continue to die of malaria, tuberculosis, or even diarrhea. And every third person in the world without adequate drinking water is Indian, according to the Center for Science and Environment, an Indian nongovernmental organization.


      "Americanism essentially incorporates universal values of human rights."


      Other than a few notable incidents like the 1998 stoning of a Kentucky Fried Chicken shop, there has not been a significant public reaction against American cultural intrusion. In the Western state of Maharashtra, activists wage a continuing campaign against an Enron power project. And the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, a group affiliated with one of the main political parties, recently launched countrywide protests against the government's "sell out" to multinationals. The group recently began a campaign to support domestic consumer goods.


      Sudheesh Pachouri, a New Delhi-based media critic and sociologist, says U.S. influence has not been all bad. "Americanism essentially incorporates universal values of human rights," he says. "What this has come to mean in India is that a new space has been created for the oppressed sections and these sections have found a voice. Or, how would one explain the sudden demand that has emerged in India for the inclusion of the Dalit question at the United Nations Conference on Race?"


      The condition of the Dalit, or lower-class Hindus who make up 80 percent of India's population, is a sensitive and volatile socio-political issue. The debate over Dalit rights was re-ignited following the demand by some Indian groups that the issue be included in the agenda of the United Nations Conference on Racism, held earlier this year in South Africa.


      In some ways, globalization has drawn members of India's left and right together against what they see as the imperialistic designs of the United States. They say India is a battleground for the United States, eager to maintain a substantial presence in the region in order to contain China's perceived expansionist designs. They also say American business interests have dealt a deathly blow to India's self-reliant economy and are making Indians economically dependent on the United States

    2. #2
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      Its just not an Indian thing but many other countries are facing the same problem.

      Its natural for one civilization to influence another, and which region would know better than the Indian Sub continent.

      Not all change is bad, west or in specific America has some very good values such as freedom of speech & justice to all, liberation of woman ... which should be welcomed.

      The real dilemma is that with good influence comes bad ones too! Its the duty on the receiving part to acknowledge that difference and benefit from the good ones & disregard the others!
      I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
      - Robert McCloskey

    3. #3
      just another member.....
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      Muzna's Avatar
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      ahmadjee is right. It is the duty of the receiving party.....but what if the receiving party does not have the skill set to determine what is right?

      If I can reference another discussion and quote another member......one person's morality may not be the same as anothers'.

      What if they pick the "wrong" habits/traditions to adopt? What will happen to them then?

      "There are much tougher decisions that you will have to make. And you will make them silently and strongly; no one will see the storm within." -- Muniya, GS

    4. #4
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      Muzna, at least it will be their “own” decision what they pick. They will need to learn to live with that. I personally don’t think that by wearing Jeans will make Indians (or any other group) less Indian and more imported. They are what they are, and by changing appearance the only thing that changes is the appearance.

    5. #5
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      >>>but what if the receiving party does not have the skill set to determine what is right?<<<

      If they are not up to the responsibility then they better be for the consequences.

      Regardless, the dominating culture should not be held responsible, which usually is in such cases.

      >>>So Long Sarees, Hello Blue Jeans <<<

      Funny how only woman's change in clothing is regarded as a shift in culture!

      Wonder how many were worried stricken when the Indian men disregarded their dhoties/shalwars/pajamas etc. and started wearing jeans!
      I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
      - Robert McCloskey

    6. #6
      ZZ
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      i feel however much people may experiment with cloths and hair-styles, they are unlikey to eat american fast food, hollywood is not going to give major problem to bollywood, DDLJ, DHKMNH, or such long named hindi movies will do better business than recent hollywood blockbuster, shankar mahadvan's cassettes will sell more than madonna. in fact bollywood continues to influence many nations. malasian govt. stopped the TV channels from airing bollywood movies all the time and fixed quotas. my vietnamese officemate once showed me a poem in vietnamese newspaper on india, it had photographs of tagore, mithun and dimple as representatives of india. i found the selectio rather funny. of course, the entertainment scene in pakistan is ruled by indian movies and songs.

      been abroad and home many times, i dont think indian culture is going downhill, it is vibrant.

      there is yet anoher trend that author misses, punjabi families having dosa and rasam for breakfast and punjabi dishes being avilable in bars all over india. my uncle has a bigger collection of rabindro-songs than many bengali families.

      there are changes, nothing to worry about. madonna will get indianized, no worry.

    7. #7
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      hmm blue jeans.. I like rust colors on women.. especially when it's a low-cut, belly revealing http://www3.pak.org/gupshup/smilies/wink.gif
      JaddoN kaddya jaloos ghareeba tay shehr ich choatalee lug gayee

    8. #8
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      ZZ,

      I agree with you on some points. But don't you think that the Indian movies are ... booming cos they are following the western ideology?! Switch the western nung-phatung, clothes and fast music, with Dupatas, Sarhies & classical music ... and see how global those movies go. ;-)

      There is a big Indian (especially south Indian) population living on the far eastern countries. Most of my Malaysian friends are Tamil!
      I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
      - Robert McCloskey

    9. #9
      ZZ
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      Originally posted by ahmadjee:
      ZZ,

      I agree with you on some points. But don't you think that the Indian movies are ... booming cos they are following the western ideology?! Switch the western nung-phatung, clothes and fast music, with Dupatas, Sarhies & classical music ... and see how global those movies go. ;-)

      There is a big Indian (especially south Indian) population living on the far eastern countries. Most of my Malaysian friends are Tamil!
      who says dancing is not part of indian tradition. 'cholike piche kya hain' or 'pyar kiya to darana kya' were actually awadhi folk songs. in fact, songs in marathi tamashas or utterences in qawwali muqabalas will not pass indian censor. india is a land of yoga, but also land of kamasutra and khajuraho. we celebrated life, joys and sacrifices both, in full.

      in fact, i would argue that looking down upon these things is a post-british developement.

      there are reasonable followers among people of non-indian descent also. i believe with right marketting, indian movies can get even in west. women like to see crap movies like 'step-mom' and cry and in churning out crappy tear-jerkers, we r second to none.

    10. #10
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      I want to agree that change is good. But my observation is tht Desis , Indian and Pakistani younger generation is that, we have given up the best of our own culture and adopted the worst of the west. I know this is a big sweep of generalization. But here are some examples:

      1. We have given up our language, tehzeeb, music and modest dress.
      2. We have aquired, sexy dressing, english as the main language, and bongo drum rock music.
      3. We did not aquire the hard work, law abiding habits of the west.

      4. We maintain our habit of throwing garbage any where we like , on the street, in the gali or mohalla.

      5. Most desi movies are shot abroad, because the environment is nice and clean.

      5. very few movies are shot in India or Pakistan. because the environment has become filty.

      "Jinhe naaz tha Hind par vo kahaan hain???"

      Can I say tht we are advancing ? the jury is still out. I have my doubts..

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      http://www3.pak.org/gupshup/smilies/rolleyes.gif

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      "The devil has put a penalty on all things we enjoy in life. Either we suffer in health or we suffer in soul or we get fat."

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      Originally posted by ahmadjee:
      ZZ,
      the Indian movies are ... booming cos they are following the western ideology?! Switch the western nung-phatung, clothes and fast music, with Dupatas, Sarhies & classical music ... and see how global those movies go. ;-)
      Indian Movies are Hit or flop - It doesn't depend on western cloths or Ideology, I think Hit or Flop has more to do with the Script & Acting than Nung-Phatung http://www3.pak.org/gupshup/smilies/wink.gif

      Some of the Most Successfull Indian movies in recent years -

      1. Ham Aapke Hain Kaun (Had Enough of Sari & Dupatta - Wasn't even Shot Abroad)
      2. Maine Pyar Kiya (Again fully shot in India - with No western nung Phutang http://www3.pak.org/gupshup/smilies/wink.gif )
      3. Lagaan ( A Period Movie)
      4. DDLJ (mostly Traditional Dresses)
      5.Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Except for few Songs - mostly Indian)

      And About the clasical music Part - I dont think they were ever made for masses. Music in Indian movies has always played an important role in its success.

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      Indians have an ingenious answer to new cultures overtaking their own: stick an Indian label on it http://www3.pak.org/gupshup/smilies/hehe.gif

      ZZ is a prime example of the type who do this. Reminds me of the time gadaffi insisted Shakespeare was an Arab. Our ZZ will convince himslef that Levi jeans were invented in India no doubt.

    14. #14
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      Originally posted by Mr Xtreme:
      Indians have an ingenious answer to new cultures overtaking their own: stick an Indian label on it http://www3.pak.org/gupshup/smilies/hehe.gif

      ZZ is a prime example of the type who do this. Reminds me of the time gadaffi insisted Shakespeare was an Arab. Our ZZ will convince himslef that Levi jeans were invented in India no doubt.
      Hahahaha !!! Hilarious ...

      Well to add something to your discussion ... i think India sould preserve its culture and motivate the youth in doing so, after all thats what you represent and that is how the world got to recognize you not because people started adapting to western traditions or styles.

      The need for such overhauling is appearing so that youths of western nations can intermingle with other youth nations. I mean you wouldnt want to go wearing dhoti or pajama with you American friends in USA, its kinda uncouth to do something like that ... there isnt no way that you cant decently merge into a group unless its of bachelor nature.

      As for Indian films, i aint a movie buff but so far i've seen mostly films that follow the Indian cultural traditions are the ones that hit the block buster levels in India, even like kuch kuch hota hai was some what westernized but its the traditional cultural stuff that makes it outstanding.

      ------------------
      Its our Wits that make us MEN .... 'Braveheart'