Tag Archive for 'Globalism'

In India, the paradox of ‘choice’ in a globalized culture

Anand Giridharadas in International Herald Tribune:

A worker removing English signage in Mumbai on Aug. 26. (AP photo)

A worker removing English signage in Mumbai on Aug. 26. (AP photo)

Mumbai: A decade ago, the world hurtled toward a calendrical crisis, and India seized an opportunity.

An affliction called the Y2K bug impended. Thousands of Indian techies were marshaled to repair the software glitch. The rest is outsourcing history.

The outsourcing boom craved English speakers. Hole-in-the-wall “academies” from Kerala to Punjab began to sell English classes for a few dollars a week. A colonizer’s language was recast in the minds of many young lower-income Indians as a language of liberation, independence and mobility.

A decade hence, Indians who have achieved that mobility may struggle to understand the newspaper headlines in Mumbai in recent days. They tell of brigades of young men shattering the windows of shops and restaurants whose signs declare their names only in English, not in the regional language Marathi.

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