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India Unbound (Extract No 2)
“There is a powerful consolation that India affords to the world at all times, which is even more precious today. The relentless onslaught of globalization makes people everywhere deeply uneasy. The prospect of living in a homogenized and faceless world is not a pleasant one. No one particularly likes the idea of the global culture. The global media ensures that we increasingly watch the same banal shows, hear the same capsuled news, listen to the same silly advertising slogans, and are moved by the same collective emotions. Regimentation under a mass consumer society of worldwide dimensions is a stifling prospect. And for what – so that we may have more and more consumer goods and material possessions? We are lost in a maze of large and anonymous organizations. We are filled with a profound sense of being alone in this unheroic world, with little control over our destinies. At other times we react to our alienated existence with tedium and boredom. These feelings of loneliness and alienation are the most acute in the most successful and competitive economies – the United States, Japan, Germany, and South Korea.
To this lonely and banal world India offers a spiritual guide to the art of living. Despite the spread of the industrial society in the past fifty years, spiritual practice and family bonds continue to be nurtured in Indian life. This is not confined to the uneducated masses. Some of the most successful and rational people in all professions continue to turn to the spiritual. They do so for a number of reasons – as a solace against the madness and emptiness of contemporary life, as a true search for the meaning of life, as a matter of observing tradition, as a turning away from failure in the material world. Whatever the reason, religion and spirituality continue to have a powerful hold on the Indian psyche in all walks of life.”
Gurcharan DAS, India Unbound, Anchor Books, p. 355