Jan 232003

G11N, I18N, L12N, and Telugu writers

This is the globalization Document.Growing up, like all the kids in the neighborhood, we tried our hand at poetry and short stories. We wrote our share of “It was a dark and stormy night” stories. Only in Telugu, they started like “#aa rOju aadi vaaraM#”.

It was fashionable in those days to rally against “#samaajaM#”. In fact, we had a name for these poets called samaajaM kavulu. Each story ended the same way–with a rallying cry against the society. The more injustices you could trace to society, the more you could inspire the reader. I did win a few prizes that way.

Over the time, we became the society. Even before that, it was evident that our writings were at best inarticulate cries against our limited understanding, or at worst, opportunistic flings at story telling.

History repeats itself. Now, it is the turn for Globalization (or as we CS types call it G11N).

On one end of spectrum, there is a cry against the unfairness in making the rules and arbitrariness in enforcing them. On the other end, the very same forces that cry against the injustices, create the rules and enforce them. It is just that the shoe is on the other foot.

Lest I should sound simplistic, I would still offer the following: The forces of globalization have been at work, for ages. The moment we become a part of the society, we subjugate ourselves to an arbitrary decision making. Sometimes, even joining the society is involuntary. Ask anybody that tries to renounce the country citizenship!

Looking at the article in vividha it appears that G11N is a strong point will all the writers these days. The points that were made in the article (actually, it merely reported the points — the article being a report):

  1. Privatization is taking away livelihood,
  2. G11N is unifying the culture
  3. Liberalization is taking way values
  4. We are being alienated (what the heck is “paraayeekaraNa”)?
  5. Villages are being destroyed.

Now let us take one after another:


Privatization is taking away livelihood.

In stead of dealing with privatization as an economic issue, they are dealing with it as emotional one.

One could conceivably argue that some industries should not be privatized, especially the ones that award monopoly, or setting the standards, or encroach on fundamental rights. For example, can we privatize water supply? That presumes the state ownership of water, and that being transferred to private individuals. Or, can we privatize roads? How about postal dept?

Some of the privatizations leave some people behind. What if a private company says it will not deliver post to some places as it is uneconomical? Substitute water with post. Well, it could be justified in the name of efficiency, but in privatization, one surely anticipates local, and near term optimization at the cost of future.

Why don’t writers write about it? Why do the same people rally against the inefficiencies or corruption in the government? Why don’t they discuss the entitlements in the government? Why not discuss where privatization is unfair and where it is good?

G11N is fostering mono-culture.

Yes, the very same people use Microsoft too, instead of using Linux :-).

Seriously, is it a new phenomenon? The coastal AP language killed other forms of Telugu. Rama and other Gods killed mother goddesses like pOlEramma. The plains people killed the culture of hills people. Educated people killed the culture of uneducated. We are all a part of it.

The biggest culture threat in AP comes from Punjab, not Hollywood. Just look at our wedding dinner menus to understand what I mean. Or, count the number of half sareed girls attending St. Theresa’s in Eluru to get what I am saying.

There is a dichotomy here. We want “progress” and we want to preserve the native cultures. As long as it is not us, that is. We are ok with getting a convenient hair cut, but would want others to sport a tuft!

I still remember the case of clitodectomies in Africa. There is the enlightened thought that says they are wrong. And, on the other hand, it is a part of their culture!

Yet, there are more issues here. We have only a few traditions of progress, of enlightened thoughts. It is natural that there is always the “otherness”. So, if we use those yardsticks, we will jettison some native cultural traditions.

No wonder confused people look toward absolutist, god given rules! No wonder the reveal religions are doing roaring business these days!

The only way to fight against a mono culture is to empower the native cultures. Make them attractive to follow. Sell them to people, if you will.

Why, oh why, can the writers not talk about these issues? They can talk about the otherness, they can talk about deconstruction applied, they can talk about absolutism, and relativism. And, on this wide canvas, they throw a single color, red or saffron!

Liberalization is taking away our values

I am not even clear with this one. I cannot even make a causal relationship here. So, no response from me.

We are being alienated

Any change makes that happen. One surest way not to feel alienated it is to freeze everything.

Progress is a slippery slope. Once you choose the blue pill, you cannot go back. Once you came down the trees you cannot get back up. Once you tasted the apple, once you got your consciousness, you have to deal with it.

Every change makes some losers and some winners. It is unfair, of course. Spend a life time learning doing arithmetic, and calculators render you useless. Spend a few years working in computers and some kids half way across the globe take your job away, in the name of off shore development. You see, it is not only us that resent changes.

These changes are making so many restless that they are looking to the halcyon days. They are going back on the progress of tolerance, multi-culturism, and openness. In fact, the opposition to change is the only area the left and the right in India seem to agree on!

Actually, even though the writers are not investigating the causes well, they are doing a good job of describing these changes and effects. They are chronicling them well with some insights, and some prescriptions (often without full understanding of complications).

Villages are being destroyed

I am from a village. I am all for them being destroyed.

It is a pure nostalgic drivel that says villages are good. It is also insensitive to demand that just to preserve your life style, and your idea of culture, you condemn majority of humanity to slog it out in inhumane conditions.

Oh, you mean, people are suffering! Then, you must say that, instead of talking about villages as these quaint constellation of German hill side, red-roof houses!

Refer to the point above about changes and alienation. Then, read Charles Dickens a few times. And, for bed time reading, I would prescribe Chaduvu.

A few points about my rambling post:

  1. I do not have the answers or full understanding. All I know is lot of our writers are being at best intellectually lazy, or at worst painfully dishonest.
  2. There are some writers with good understanding of the current situation. They can sense the issues at hand, they can describe them well. But, they too are afraid to dig deeper, it seems.

Again, for treading on others’ toes, my apologies.

Rama Kanneganti,

PS: Shall I take this opportunity to prescribe some reading material from the history of trade guilds in France? Pay special attention to the fight against introduction of button manufacturing machines into Paris by the button makers guild!

The original message is there.

 Posted by at 8:41 pm

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