Globalisation – Expanding horizons or uprooting traditions

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Image – Zohar Manor-Abel

What is Globalisation?  If you ask me to define globalisation, I would say it is the phenomenon of ‘One World’. It is the coming together of people from different walks of life, having different languages, cultures, living styles for a common mutual interest. A world where people interchange ideas, thoughts, food, clothes, emotions, cultures, economy, philosophy, traditions, religions and habits and much more. Globalisation is a platform where differences arrive to a common ground and multi-national and multi-cultural societies become the norm.

The term ‘Globalisation’ can be traced back to 206 BC when the ‘Silk Route’ or ‘Silk Road’ connected the overland trade route between Asia, Europe and Africa. It lead to economic, social and philosophical growth and helped the different civilisations involved to grow, understand, adopt, respect and learn about the other. It lead to adaption of new ideas and thoughts which were found acceptable for the time and maybe urged civilisations to question if ‘their way is the only right way?’

During the modern time – with the availability of internet, social media, transport facilities, higher education, international workers – globalisation has increased many folds though the basics remain the same. Opening of a new Starbucks or McDonalds, hosting international Olympic Games and welcoming worldwide athletes, participating in online forums, reading international bestsellers, working in another country, going to vacations abroad, allowing foreign trade, and accepting multi cultural marriages are all ways of being globalised.

Globalisation is change. It occurs for the need of change, and in process it demands change. Its need starts when a society becomes stagnant. When a country can no longer provide for itself, or it wants to gain from what others already know.

Change is unpredictable and so is our reaction towards it. Globalisation is forcing us and our older generation out of their comfort zone into an era where new ideas and multicultural traditions are taking over their own cultural and religious traditions. Thus Globalisation has reached a stage where the definition of living has changed for many societies. Advantages and disadvantages of it are discussed frequently now and in some cases nationalists are advocating against globalisation. Along with the expansion of our horizon and knowledge of new arts and crafts, globalisation has lead to a deeper problem of ‘no sense of belonging’.

We humans are brought up with an idea of what life is and how we should live it. Our religion teaches us ways of reaching to out to our creator. Our society teaches us what is acceptable, our family teaches us emotions that are respected, our school teaches us our language and our work teaches us our qualities. With the mixing of different cultures and people, these ideas start shaking up. Hindus, Muslims, Christians and people from other religions working or living together sometimes realise the similarities among them or start ignoring the differences. And thus adaptability starts. Exchange of languages, literature, and art enriches our social and global skills and thus we are keen on adopting. But sometimes we transform into the other without realising that we have left behind what was our own. For many this is growth, some term this as anti-national.

The impact of globalisation is strong. Globalisation has changed cultures, it has made Chinese food available in Baden Wutternburg (Blackforest) in Germany, it has enabled watching someone thousands of miles away through video chat, it has made Indian people become doctors in the UK and USA and encouraged volunteers to go to Africa. It has provided opportunities but also uprooted old beliefs. It has transformed religions and questioned cultures. Each society needs to decide if moving ahead is more beneficial or staying grounded as both cannot be done at the same time.

Globalisation is a phenomenon that makes us faster and acceptable. But does it make us better? That, for me, is a choice…

(We would love to hear your comments. Has Globalisation been good for you? Let us know !)

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