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International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
Harshada Rathod  
There exists a long tradition of research and analysis in India on the conceptual and substantive dimensions  
of culture at various levels of its existence: the local, the regional and the national. The anxieties about  
the impact of globalization and marketization of economy, media and information systems, the leisure  
and style of life etc., which have direct impact upon the symbolic contents and the foundations of the  
tradition, have today generated anxious debate among the scholars, the people and the political parties  
on the policy responses of the state.  
The new institutional innovations that globalization may bring about in society are: market, trade and  
finance, communication and media, technology and science, migration and inter-cultural transactions.  
There are related issues of tourism, mobility of professionals and the emergence of diasporic sub-cultures.  
It has been experienced that every step of movement towards economic, political and cultural  
modernization, taken by the state in India, is responded to by the people with an enhanced sense of self-  
consciousness and awareness of identity. Cultural modernization, sponsored by the forces of globalization,  
is resented if it encroaches upon or does not promote the core cultural values of society, its language,  
social practices and styles of life.  
Keywords : Globalization, Local Culture, Global Market & Trade, Inter-Cultural Transactions, Social and  
Political Institutions.  
There exists a long tradition of research and analysis in India on the conceptual and substantive dimensions of  
culture at various levels of its existence: the local, the regional and the national. The anxieties about the impact  
of globalization and marketization of economy, media and information systems, the leisure and style of life etc.,  
which have direct impact upon the symbolic contents and the foundations of the tradition, have today generated  
anxious debate among the scholars, the people and the political parties on the policy responses of the state.  
Such policy has long been in the making, but today the process of globalization and its impact on culture,  
both local and national, give it a new urgency (Singh, 1994). In most studies of cultural change in India the  
significance of locality and local culture and its relationship with the nation-state and the national culture has  
been widely recognized.  
Globalization, as a process, has far-reaching cultural potential. India, which still remains largely a nation of  
peasants and working classes totaling about 70 per cent of population, renders the influence of the institutional  
structures of globalization to some extent self limiting. The process is further constrained due to illiteracy about  
0 per cent of population. Nevertheless, a very high rate of growth of the middle classes now ranging between  
50 and 200 million. There are strong social, political and cultural movements that are extremely suspicious of  
new institutions and linkages which globalization brings into wake in society.  
The global culture and its impact on Indian society has been widely discussed (Kothari, 1995, 1995b; Singh,  
1994; Krishna Kumar, 1996; Peggy Mohan, 1995) in the recent social science publications. The new institutional  
innovations that globalization may bring about in society are: market, trade and finance, communication and  
media, technology and science, migration and inter-cultural transactions. There are related issues of tourism,  
mobility of professionals and the emergence of diasporic sub-cultures. In social structural terms, globalization  
is a historical process of transition from the agrarian-industrial post-industrial and finally the stage of the information  
society (Dissanayake, 1988).  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
To evaluate the implications of globalization on market, trade and finance.  
To examine implications of globalization on communication and media, technology and science, migration  
and inter-cultural transactions.  
To find out implications of globalization on local cultures and social and political institutions.  
Cultural Impact of Global Trade and Market  
The scope of trade and market which are accelerated by the process of globalization poses formidable cultural  
problems in both the developed and the developing societies. In India, which traditionally had quite a developed  
pre-industrial base of trade and market, the impact of the changing role of these institutions has been gradual.  
The market and trade relations continue to be located in local cultures even today. (Ostor, 1980). Also, the  
economic policy of India upto the 1980s has been that of import-substitution and protectionism in trade and  
market. The full momentum of the globalization of economy started from 1990s onwards, but many checks  
and balances continue to persist. The new changes have been noticed in the lifestyle, consumption pattern,  
production of cultural objects and their circulation (marketing) and usages, in the cultural ecology and habitat  
and the religious practices etc. These changes have altered the traditional modes of cultural expressions,  
usages of language and communication media at the local, regional and national levels.  
The forces of industrialization and developments in agriculture had a major impact upon the consumption style  
of people. The Green Revolution in agriculture during the 1970s gave spurt the changes in the consumption  
style of villagers which will then was largely a preserve of the residents in cities and metropolises. Various  
rounds of the surveys conducted by the National Sample Survey (NSS) and Anthropological survey amply  
testify to the changing patterns of consumption and lifestyle, both in the urban centres and the countryside.  
The NSS data show noticeable decline in the consumption of cereals both by the rich and the poor in India.  
The shift is towards consumption of milk, poultry and meat products. It is a phenomenon universal to the  
process of economic development.  
This decline is a part of a secular change in the composition of the Indian diet; consumers, both rich and poor,  
are spending relatively more on the non-cereal food such as milk and meat than on the cereals. Some authors  
have argued that such shifts in expenditure shares are not merely a reflection of increased prosperity; rather  
food preferences have been changing over time (Meenakshi, 1996; Radhakrishnan and Ravi, 1992).  
The electrification in villages has changed the energy-use pattern, particularly in the suburban villages; in  
remote villages, the use of firewood and cowdung is still common, although “the tribals are less dependent on  
cowdung than other communities. Sawdust is a new source of energy. The use of kerosene oil is widespread.  
Gobar gas plants have yet to make a major impact, and the use of Gobar gas plants have yet to make a major  
impact, and the use of solar energy has only made a beginning” (Singh, 1992:93). The expansion of road  
networks and means of communication has brought about some homogenization in tastes and consumption  
patterns, such as increased popularity of tea, coffee, egg, meat and fish. Following the Green Revolution, the  
country is now going through a White Revolution being the largest gross producer of milk in the world.  
The use of synthetic materials for utensils, jars and cans is now common. Yet, most such artifacts still maintain  
ethnic tastes and designs and the traditional forms. A remarkable change in the style and pattern of women’s  
wear has taken place. It is marked by a shift from saris to salwar kameez.  
The middle classes are increasingly taking to use of designer dressed marketed by the multinationals. The  
uses of cosmetics, soaps and detergents have reached all sections of the people in India. The vocation of  
beauticians, and the number of beauty parlors and health clubs, etc., have grown very rapidly. The changes  
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are more remarkable in the lifestyles of youth and the adolescents, but the elderly are not totally apathic or  
untouched by these changes.  
Culturally, therefore, the new changes may not have deeply subversive effect upon the core traditional values or  
the worldview of the people. Yet, one witnesses periodic incidence of consumer resistance against multinationals  
promoting new consumer goods or agro-products; e.g., sporadic movements against products like McDonald’s  
hamburger and Kentucky fried chicken; farmers are resisting the penetration of agro-multinationals in the  
production of seeds, herbs, new cereals, etc.  
The changes in consumption and lifestyle have been accelerated by the market forces and their changing  
structure. India has had a developed private markets are not only extensive in their network, they also perform  
qualitatively new functions. With such an extensive network of markets and with changing style of living, the  
challenges of globalization to local culture in India assume deeper significance. A part of the change is related  
to the shift in occupation which has occurred in a very substantial measure. There no longer exists a link  
between caste or community and the hereditary occupation.  
Economists have also observed substantial rise is non-agricultural occupations in the country side due mainly  
to the changes in the style of life consequent upon increased uses of consumer durables such as bicycles,  
motor-cycles, jeeps and electronic devices like radio, television and audio/ video systems. Links with roads,  
railways and proliferation of developmental institutions have further augmented this process.  
Markets are the vital mechanisms through which globalization extends its reach. There are significant areas  
where it has a disruptive influence upon the local cultures. For example, globalization of markets has led to  
conservation of traditional objects of art and aesthetics having mostly ritual uses in the local communities into  
marketable commodities. This has not only rapidly disrupted the autonomy of folk cultures, but also destabilized  
the life of the artisans by creating new networks of competition and price war and a new class of exploitative  
middle men.  
It has disrupted the balance in the cultural, social and economic life of many communities including tribes,  
artisans, traditional cultural performers, etc. Being in minority and economically vulnerable, these communities  
suffer loss of their cultural identity the most in the process of globalization.  
Globalization of Communication, Media and Local Cultures  
Most revolutionary aspect of cultural, social and economic globalization is reflected in the advances in technology  
of communication. The electronic media of communication such as radio, television, computer networks via  
satellites, paging services, telephony, electronic mail and Internet web, etc., are modes of communication  
which are revolutionizing the banking, trade and management practices, uses of culture and leisure, and most  
other modes of inter-cultural and inter-group communicative actions. It is possible to have individual to individual,  
group to individual and group to group communication contacts globally. Most of these media transcend the  
territorial national cultural boundaries.  
The notions of time, space and symbolism of culture undergo new transformation of meanings under the  
impact of these new telecommunication technologies. Its impact on cultures – local, regional and national – is  
multifaceted and can be integrative as well as disruptive. Moreover, these changes play a strategic role in the  
process of social, economic and technological development of society.  
For centuries India remained largely an ‘oral society’. The oral mode of communication played a major role in  
its freedom movement, the incidence of illiteracy being very high. The print media soon added a new dimension  
to communication process. After independence, the Indian Constitution guaranteed its citizens “the right to  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
freedom of speech and expression”, and the new policies about the press were evolved by a series of Press  
The Press Commission recommended to promote development of Indian languages news agencies, and to  
oversee their financial health; to provide development assistance to the press, especially to the small and  
medium newspapers; and to assist the emergence and growth of daily newspapers in remote and interior areas.  
Thus, the policy has been oriented to the protection and development of local and regional linguistic and  
cultural aspirations and interests. In addition, there are several other agencies and services provided by the  
government to promote newspapers in India.  
Besides the major telecommunication means, viz., radio, television and films, the role of telephones,  
mobilephones, email, fax, Internet, etc., is also expanding. The radio, even today, continues to be the most  
accessible mass-based medium. It broadcasts educational, developmental, informative and entertainment  
oriented programmes in almost all regional languages in India. In addition, it also broadcasts programmes of  
national interest including regular news. There are local, regional and national channels, besides an external  
services division, which cater to various types of entertainment, information and developmental needs for  
expatriates. Specific programmes for children, women, farmers and on matters related to health, sports, etc.,  
have a priority in radio broadcasts.  
Films have played a very important role in India, and even today remain the most popular form of entertainment  
and recreation. They have also played a crucial part from time to time in promoting educational and reformative  
values. They have proved to be a major source of linguistic and cultural integration.  
Films have also been produced in languages of the smaller communities reflecting local or regional cultures  
such as Manipuri, Konkani, Urdu, Garhwali, Rajasthani, etc.  
India launched eight INSAT- series satellites which have contributed to a massive expansion of the Doordarshan.  
Doordarshan now showcases educational programmes, entertainment channel, infotainment channel with  
programmes on culture and current affairs. Movie Club and offering 24 hours current affairs programmes.  
With new impetus towards globalization of telecommunication, the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (VSNL) has  
been established which administers policies approved by the government in the domain of global communication.  
It offers service of cellular telephone with roaming facilities – regionally, nationally and internationally. India, with  
its new policy of liberalization and privatization of telecommunication, is now moving fast towards global  
linkages – economic, cultural and social.  
There is clear evidence that electronic mass communication has revolutionized economic growth, trade and  
banking practices and exchange of information in health, management, profession, etc., leading to new growth  
possibilities. These are making growth-related outputs with global linkages. The new means of communication  
also augment and empower the local communities, local cultures and minority sects by extending the reach of  
their interactions. The cultural and emotional bonds are strengthened due to their global reach through new  
telecommunication linkages, e.g., video-meetings, tele-discussions, etc. The new media also creates ‘virtual’  
communities and cultural enclaves by offering the possibility of sustained communicative interaction among  
members scattered in far off places.  
Apart from such empowering impact, the local communities and cultures are also inspired by the new  
telecommunication media to reassert their cultural identity and reinforce their resilience. This is particularly true  
in India where in course of three decades of exposure to mass culture of films, radio, television, video, etc., the  
self-consciousness of the local cultures and communities has not diminished. It has become more articulate  
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about its identity and interests. Globalization, therefore, not only makes people’s sense of cultural identity and  
cultural values more caring of a shared existence within diversity, but it also makes them highly critical and  
conscious about the ‘hidden packages’ of self-serving ideologies in communication.  
Globalization of Local Cultures, Social and Political Institution:  
The process of globalization has triggered off forces of change which have set people rethinking about the  
political institutions such as the state, the democracy and the civil society. New thinking is taking place about  
the changing role of nation-state, its sovereignty and the role of political party, etc., under the growing forces  
of globalization. The changing relationship between the state and the civil society, following globalization of  
economy and pluralization of cultures, now poses a major problem in most societies, both developed and the  
The policy of positive discrimination favoring the weakest communities amongst the caste groups, the tribes  
and the backward classes. Reservations are provided for these communities in educational institutions, political  
offices and government services. The tribal policy of the government has consistently aimed at encouraging  
their autonomous growth with protection to their local culture. There is an innerline protection policy pursued  
by the government which protects tribals from intrusion by outsiders from other states or the foreigners.  
During the past few decades, these forces have progressively gained more and more strength giving impetus to  
movements towards strengthening the institutions of the civil society. The role of the non-governmental agencies  
has been pivotal in this process.  
Women have been accorded 33 per cent reservation in the council of the village panchayats, this for the first  
time empowering them to have a more decisive role in formulation and implementation of policies.  
Globalization, market economy and powers of the media or information technologies are bound to put pressures  
on the local cultures. Some degree of acceleration towards homogenization of cultural forms and activities can  
also be envisaged. Its consequences to the local communities may be progressive or developmental if the  
disintegrative tendencies which these forces generate are minimized.  
Other Process of Globalization  
Globalization, both of economy and information systems, accelerates the process of migration, tourism and  
travel. Cultural tourism, both as an organized industry and as a source of leisure or recreation, gains momentum  
as communication and travel facilities are modernized. Yet, tourism does pose the problems of cultural intrusion  
on the local cultures in selected high – intensity tourist sports, e.g., in Rajasthan, Goa, Uttar Pradesh and  
Karnataka. In most of these, states the cultural impact of the foreign tourists is viewed with suscpicion; there is  
need for an integrated planning.  
This has strengthened the festive and celebrative activities of various religious groups and communities and its  
diffusion effect has been strong. Each religious group, including the minorities, now in increasingly celebrates  
their cults and festivals on a much larger scale than ever before by taking the advantages of the new means of  
Studies of folk culture and its patterns of distribution in various regions have demonstrated strong similarities in  
thematic, stylistic and ritualistic expressions in the form of songs, ceremonies, rituals and conventions. Its  
findings substantiate the fact that culture traits are not only shared in common between regions but also among  
diverse communities and religious groups in India.  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
The basis of a common cultural identity or contributed to collective efforts in the celebration of traditional fairs,  
festivals and major cultural events etc., has now become rare. Many such fairs and festivals are increasingly  
being commercialized and market impulses are fast encroaching upon the cultural landscape of Indian villages.  
Many cultural features which were once attributed to the urban cultural styles are now frequently observed to  
have a place in the local culture of a rural community. Cultural activities in rural areas which earlier were based  
on the participation of the entire village or local community have now increasingly become associative and  
entrepreneurial. This has been happening to local cultures in most parts of the country even before the  
globalization process gained policy support are brought in possibilities of new dimensions of inter-cultural  
contacts through new modes of communication and market openings.  
On the one hand, globalization extends the scope of commercialization of culture, and on the other, it also  
threatens the identity of local cultures of appropriating culture from people’s rhythm of life to the market  
situation. It had its origin before the globalization process began, but its pace now is much more intense and  
its reach through global market very extensive indeed. Particularly affected in this process are the castes or  
communities engaged in productions of arts and crafts, a large part of the household ritual activities in which  
women engage themselves, their sacred paintings and graphics or other sacred objects of artistic value.  
Globalization of market for such ritual-artistic objects also provides much needed support to the local artisans  
both men and women- engaged in the production of ritual objects of artistic value for which the demands in  
the local community had already suffered as a result of deadline in patronage due to the disintegration of the  
traditional community ethos resulting from the impact of industrialization, urbanization and migration outside  
the local or regional habitat.  
It is to be noted that the social structural basis of the local culture though anchored into the boundaries of  
territory, caste, tribe and ethnicity extends also to the social and cultural structure of a region. Even though  
language may constitute a distinctive demarcation by which regional identities may be easily denoted or  
constructed, it does not exhaust all the social and cultural features which may go into making of a region.  
The process of globalization which involves tremendous exposure of local, sub-regional and regional social  
entities to the forces of market and finance on the one hand, and on the other access to revolutionary means  
of communication and media, not only influence but also energize latent aspiration of these groups to re-  
invigorate and re-fashion their cultural identities.  
The process of globalization does usher in many technological, economic, ecological and social changes in  
society which affect the traditional cultural styles, forms and ideologies. The extent to which it may constitute  
a threat to local and regional cultural identities in India depends largely on the manner in which globalization  
is perceived by the people concerned. Where it hurts the vital economic interests of the farmers, traders,  
industrial and agricultural workers, etc., its threat perception remains rather strong. There is even social  
mobilization to withhold rather than withstand the encounter with globalization. In the realm of culture, the  
threat that local and regional cultures perceive from globalization is strongly qualified. Several factors seem to  
influence and qualify its impact. In the first instance, globalization is only in its nascent phase, and India still has  
about 70 per cent of population dependent of agriculture. The traditional community ethos of the village has  
been eroded by politicization of people but the ties of caste, family, religion and rituals remain strong. The  
plurality of these structures endows local and regional cultures, which are anchored to them, a strong sense of  
resilience. It substantially subdues the threat perception. Globalization, in fact, is perceived as a friendly process  
by traditional local artisans, craftsmen and artists, etc., because they find in it a scope for economic empowerment  
and social mobility. Globalization also encourages them, linked as it is to the international market and capital,  
to innovate upon their ethnic style, forms and materials in the cultural products. It adds new dimensions to their  
sense of cultural identity instead of leading to its erosion.  
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In the realm of the non-material culture, values, beliefs, rituals and religious practices, it is observed that  
globalization only enhances the consciousness of cultural identity. This process is aided by increase in cultural  
self-consciousness in the local, regional, ethnic and migrant communities as they come into contact with other  
cultures. Communication media are made use of to extend the scope of coverage of the cultural celebrations  
and rituals across local, regional or even national boundaries. The ethnic Diaspora only reinforces this urge for  
celebration of one’s cultural identity. It is also strengthened by the rising section of the new middle classes and  
the series of cultural and social movements which today they lead in the country with a focus upon local and  
regional cultural identities as a part of their political, economic and cultural agenda.  
References :  
Dissanayake, W., “Communication, Knowledge and a Post-Industrial Society: The Need for Values-Centered  
Approach”, in Christian Academy (ed.) World Community in Post-Industrial Society, Seoul: Wooseok  
Publishing Co., 1988.  
Kothari, Rajni, “Globalization and Revival of Tradition: Dual Attack on Model of Dramatic Nation-Building”,  
Economic and Political Weekly, March 25, 1995.  
Krishna Kumar, T., “Management of Development in the Newly Emerging Global Economic and Political  
Weekly, June 22, 1996.  
Meenakshi, J.V., “How Important Are Changes in Taste? A State Level Analysis of Food Demand”, Economic  
and Political Weekly, December 14, 1996.  
Ostor, Alos, The Play of the Gods: Locality, Ideology, Structure and Time in the Festivals of a Bengali  
Town, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1980.  
Peggy, Mohan, “Market Forces and Language in Global India”, Economic and Political Weekly, April 22,  
Radhakrishnan and Ravi C., ‘Effects of Growth, Relative Prices and Preferences on Food and Nutrition”,  
Indian Economic Review, Special Number, 1992.  
Singh, K.S., People of India: An Introduction, Calcutta: Anthropological Survey of India, 1992.  
Singh, Yogendra, Significance of Culture in the Understanding of Social Change in Contemporary India,  
Presidential Address, New Delhi: Indian Sociological Society, 1994.  
Principal Department of Economics, Maniben Nanavati Women’s College, Mumbai – 400056.