Globalization is already a hard reality of our times, though the academic debate over its relevance,
especially for the developing nations, continues to rage, unabated. In fact, so strong are the currents of this debate that it has split the academic community vertically, among two diametrically opposed groups of die-hard admirers and equally dogmatic detractors.
Though the complex process of negotiating the internal and external dynamics of globalization is already underway; the economic, historical, and empirical forces unleashed by it have apparently stolen a march over time. In fact, our contemporary reality is changing at such a breathless, staggering pace that it often makes it difficult, if not impossible, to document, study, analyze, interpret and understand the dialectics of this change.
It was with an idea of initiating a meaningful dialogue on the theoretical as well as practical implications of globalization that we chose to introduce this thematic of Culture and Commerce for the current issue of our journal. For a long time now, the debate on globalization has been centered exclusively upon the problems and issues originating within the restrictive domains of economics and commerce. The questions of unequal distribution of labour and capital across the world, along with a differential spread of resources and materials have given rise to their own share of economic and political issues.
With the ideology of ‘late capitalism’ registering its hedonistic triumph, we find ourselves grappling with the questions of global dominance and hegemonic control, national sovereignty, economic determinism and territorial integrity, too. Only in the recent times has this debate threatened to spill over into the larger domain of cultural studies. With the rigid boundaries between and across different disciplines such as literature, philosophy, social sciences and natural sciences, ultimately collapsing, time is just ripe for assessing and analyzing the impact of globalization on all cultures, big and small, native and foreign, donor and recipient.
Exploring the symbiosis between Culture and Commerce, Sebastian Velassery addresses the multiple problems resulting from it, especially the loss of the metaphysical, within the larger context of modernist and post-modernist ideologies. In his article titled Culture, Commerce and Well-being : Metaphysical Loss of the Human, he argues that globalization has legitimized instrumental rationality, thereby affecting not only our consumption patterns, but also our existential choices and cultural belief systems. Upholding the richness of humanizing cultures, he offers a trenchant critique of science, commerce and technology, thus reaffirming his faith in the renewed search for the freedom of individuals, groups and societies across different cultures.
In my own paper, an attempt is made first to historicize the concept of globalization, situate the whole debate within its proper context, and then explore the linkages of economic growth, distributive justice and evolving cultures. My effort has been to address certain fundamental questions such as :
Will globalization lead to the acceleration or sustenance of economic growth and distributive justice in India ? Or what are the real issues facing a developing economy such as ours in this regard ? In this paper, I have argued in favour of a strong and urgent need for introducing a well-conceived package of institutional/infrastructural measures, with a growing thrust on participatory development of all, to enable us to tide over the multiple threats posed by globalization.
In her paper, Impact of Globalization on Culture, Migration and Indigenous People Navdeep Kaur has sought to capture the impact of globalization on culture, migration and indigenous people. She argues that cultures have experienced phenomenal changes in the wake of globalization, especially in terms of cultural goods, services and industries, and also the flow of people across geographical territories. She concludes by suggesting that multicultural policies are needed to manage trade and commerce and that globalization needs to evolve a more inclusive mechanism so as to effectively protect the interests of the marginalized, indigenous people.
In her post-colonial reading of Achebe’s novel, Manisha Gangahar deconstructs historical/cultural conjunctures between the colonizers and the colonized, thus underlining the debilitating, often ambivalent, impact of colonialism on the indigenous, African cultures. In her essay Colonial Subversion of Indigenous Cultures: Reading Achebe’s Arrow of God, she argues that interrogating cultural stereotypes is one of the effective ways of offering resistance, even re-telling history and re-claiming cultural identities.
In their joint enterprise, Management of Non-Performing Assets: Study of Banks in India, Sanjay Kaushik and Keshav Malhotra emphatically argue that the Indian Banking Sector is in crying need of appropriate policy measures as far as the non-performing assets are concerned. Pointing out deleterious effects of this trend in terms of the banks’ performance with regard to their credit policies and profitability, they suggest that the money thus locked up is decidedly not available for productive use. They have cogently supported this thesis with exhaustive and substantive empirical data.
In her essay, Women Grass-Roots Democracy and Constitutional Measures, Harsukhjit Kaur suggests that the 73rd Constitutional Amendment has undoubtedly allowed Indian women greater political space in the functioning of Panchayati Raj and other institutions at the grassroots level. Though this may have raised social expectations manifold, patriarchal culture continues to create multiple hurdles for the women, aspiring to participate in the process of governance and socio-economic development. While analyzing the effectiveness of various constitutional measures already in use, this paper makes far-reaching suggestions on how greater participation of women could be ensured in our democratic institutions.
In Job-related Values and Organizational Culture in Banks, Rupinder Bir Kaur has focussed her attention upon the organizational culture of private and public sector banks. Offering a comparative assessment, this study investigates the problem of job related values in relation to around fifteen organizational culture variables. Six private and four public sector banks were selected for this study and of these a stratified random sample of 339 employees consisting of 204 staff members and 135 managers/officers was drawn. This study establishes that in comparison with employees of the public sector banks, private sector banks have a higher identification with organizational culture and its well-defined goals.
In his paper, English Studies in India and the Problems of Literary History, Vipin Kumar problematizes English literary history recommended at the graduate and postgraduate levels in India, with a view to look at various forms of ‘alienation’ it has produced among the students. It also examies the pedagogical changes that have been introduced in the field of English Studies in India in the recent times. While claiming that the conventional library study and contemporary English language study are not mutually exclusive, he seeks a methodological resolution by drawing upon the works of the New Historicists.
R.S. Sangwan in his paper Babur’s Relations with the Ruling Elite and Tribes of the Punjab casts a tangential look at a period in the medieval history of the Punjab, seeking to establish Babur’s relationship with the ruling elite and the local tribes. His argument is that this alliance was a powerful factor in that it facilitated the victory of Babur’s small army over Ibrahim Lodi’s colossal army at Panipat. Basing his analysis on conventional and contemporary evidence, he highlights Babur’s diplomatic and military skills in subduing various tribes of the Punjab such as the Yusufzais, Niazais, Janjuhas, Ghakkars, Biluchis as well as some Afghan nobles of the Lodi Sultanate of Delhi.
In addition to nine main articles included in the current issue, there are two book reviews as well. Though we have made efforts to keep to the theme of this volume, there have been marginal departures, for which we do crave our readers’ indulgence.
We also take this opportunity to express our appreciation of the collective efforts of all our contributors, panel of experts/referees and members of the editorial board who made it possible for us to bring this issue before you.
We are profoundly grateful to our Vice-Chancellor Prof. R.C. Sobti for taking personal interest in the publication of this issue. We hope that we shall continue to enjoy his munificence and patronage in future, as well.