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Globalisation is good, say Indians

June 04, 2003 14:34 IST

Most Indians feel that consumerism poses a threat to culture, while globalisation is good for the country, according to the 2003 Global Attitudes Survey conducted by the Washington-based Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

The Global Attitudes Project consisted of interviews with a random sample of 2,189 Indians from September 12-October 21, 2002.

Those surveyed, mostly in urban areas, said that growing trade, communication and travel are good for India. The boom in technologies like television, cell phones, et cetera too has helped improve life in India, the survey said.

The positive changes seen in India -- like availability of food and modern medical treatment, apart from the technological and economic growth -- have been attributed to globalisation. But more than half of the Indians surveyed -- 53 percent -- said that consumerism and commercialism pose a major threat to Indian culture.

However, many foreign cultural imports (movies, music) and other products are viewed favourably by a large number of people.

Despite the growth in purchasing power parity and per capita income, a majority of the Indians say that the gap between the rich and the poor has increased further in the last five years (63 percent and 71 percent, respectively), but only a few say that globalisation is to blame for this economic divide.

Indians also feel that the influence of large global institutions -- like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation -- has been by and large good for the nation. Fifty per cent of those surveyed held the view that these global bodies have had a good effect on India, while 9 per cent said that the influence has not been bad.

A huge majority -- 90 per cent -- of the Indians say that learning English is imperative.

Despite the impressive strides that the country has made in software, computers have not yet made too big a mark on Indians. Only about 6 per cent Indians said that they use a computer at home, work or school, and only 3 percent use the Internet or e-mail.

Indians rate nationalism very highly, with 85 per cent saying their culture is superior to others. The sentiment of nationalism was much stronger in India than in any of the other 43 nations surveyed, said the survey.

Almost 73 per cent Indians feel that parts of neighbouring countries rightfully belong to their own. Sixty-seven per cent Pakistanis and 68 per cent Bangladeshis too say the same about their countries.

Religious freedom too ranks very high with Indians; 81 per cent Indians said it is very important and 78 percent say their country does a very good job of providing it.

Another consumer and home behaviour pattern that the survey revealed was that 63 per cent Indians feel that a marriage where both spouses work and share home responsibilities is more satisfying than the one where the husband works and the wife cares for the home and children.

Many Indians feel that a strong democracy is a more important that a strong economy. Indians also gave their government relatively strong marks for providing a fair judicial system and freedom of speech, democratic values which they hold in high esteem.