Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Globalization: Good or Bad – A cultural perspective

All the time when you come across a debate on globalization, you might have noticed that it’s almost always on the financial perspective - How small businesses go belly-up, how ‘wal-mart’ization kills many small industries etc.

I had this interesting thought, today morning.

How globalization impacts the culture and tradition.

Recently a friend of mine requested me to take a visiting gentleman, who was on a business trip to Richmond, on a sight-seeing tour of Richmond. He was from New Delhi.

During one of our conversations I was asking him about New Delhi and the life style there. He mentioned that there was not much difference between New Delhi and Richmond. He said New Delhi had almost everything that Richmond has. McDonalds, Pizza Huts, Burger Kings, Starbucks, dance floors etc. He added that he did not feel any difference being in Richmond, as compared to New Delhi.

Welcome to globalization!

No difference between New Delhi and a US city!

Is that a good sign or not?

Coming from India, I can say that the road side or beach side ‘Idli-Dosa centers’, or the ‘Pani puri-Bhel puri carts’ are unique to India. I guess, I can include the ‘Dhabas’ and ‘Bakeries’ and ‘Tea kadai (shops)’ too.

With McDonalds, and Starbucks and Walmarts entering India, what will it be like, just say, in 10 years?

Imagine, the fast food chains, McDonalds and Burger Kings offering ‘Pani puri’ and ‘Bhel puri’ in their menu.
Imagine, the pizza chains, Pizza Huts and Dominos offering ‘Idlis’ and ‘Dosas’ in their menu.
Imagine, walmart selling anything from ‘paper plates’ to ‘plasma TVs’.
Imagine, Starbucks replacing ‘Bakeries’ and ‘Tea kadai’.
Imagine, JC Pennys and Hechts replacing our apparel stores.

Of course, we all know the financial impact of this on the families running the business.

But what about the cultural aspects?

We will not be having our traditional ‘Dhabas’ and ‘Idli-Dosa centers’ and the likes!

If Indian cities offer the same as in US, what makes us unique?

How many tourists will want to visit India?

Will our next generation will even remember, that once upon a time, we had ‘Dhabas’ and ‘Pani puri - Bhel puri carts’?

Are we losing our identity in the name of Westernization and Globalization?


Sunil Sharma said...

How about Hooters in Delhi.

Prabz said...

how about cancun type spring breaks?

vimal said...

Since we already have Prom, I guess we need to go ahead and include hooters and spring break also :) hehe

Iam also thinking, Costco, Walgreens, CVS etc

VJ said...

Interesting thought Vimal! Actually in major cities, whatever you mentioned is actually taking place. I am not suprised that New Delhi has most of the things that Richmond has! Sooner than later we may find Cheese based Kothu Parota in Pizza Hut. But I feel the Dhabas, Bakeries, Tea Kadai, etc will remain intact for a very very long time in rural India and small cities (The Real India!!) What do you say?

vimal said...

Cheese based kothu parotta!
"Apadi podu Aruvaala".

Hope 'Pepperoni puffs' and 'Bacon puffs' don't replace our NMB 'Egg Puffs' and 'Veg Puff'. hahaha.

Ya, I agree with you where you say that villages and smaller cities will be the real India for quite some time. How long?hmmm thats the scary question. 50 years? 100 years?
The longer it takes the better it is.

Sometimes, I wonder why I wasn't born in a village :-O