2007/10/18

India's cultural power

I have for my pleasure a client of Metacafe, a service comparable to YouTube. The search function on their website is the worst ever and the service has some other drawbacks, but the client downloads videos and other content in the background when my computer runs and some of it is indeed worth a look or just outright funny.
One of the categories that are downloaded is the image category, and there's been a huge trend in the past months at least; Bollywood celebrities.
The Indians (those in South Asia...) have a very different taste concerning women beauty (round face, larger eyes, thicker lips), while their male celebrities remind me a bit of young George Clooney, a bit darkened.
Anyway; having noticed this I looked a bit around in the Internet and real world and it seems as if India's population is becoming more extrovert about its culture.

Cultural power is easily misunderstood or ignored, but cultural influence is in fact a great power.
Let's use Germany as an example. Once the every family had a house or flat for itself again years after 1945, (Western) Germany proceeded to gain some wealth. But it lacked a model to use the wealth and adopted the US American model. Well, not completely, but in large part. The influence was obvious - it's quite impossible to feel more connected or allied to a nation that's very foreign to you than to one that's culturally very close (and not offensive against your nation).

China might expand in terms of industrial production like no other country, but India seems to expand its cultural influence like no other country. China isn't doing any progress in this field because Hong Kong Chinese already seem to have spread most of Chinese culture that's attractive to foreign nations in the past decades.

What might be the result of growing Indian cultural power? It'll certainly progress in economic and military power as well, so there's a potent mixture.

Indians are still present in some African nations (former English colonies), but I'm not aware if they have trader networks there like the Lebanese and Chinese. So it might be that India's influence in Africa won't match the one of China.

It's living in conflict with its Western neighbour Pakistan (which is kind of allied with China anyway) while its Eastern neighbour Myanmar doesn't seem to be very important in the long term. South East Asia otherwise is rather in the Chinese influence zone.

Indian emigrants might influence Australia a lot in the future, but that applies to China as well.

Indian cultural/political/economic ties with Europe and North America might be most interesting. India has a lot of inhabitants that look almost like Caucasians, which might simplify a convergence.
Indian emigrants in the USA, UK and Canada could help to exercise cultural influence.

By the way; the U.S. model of culture has definitely reached its peak long ago - it's not safe to assume that the U.S. American cultural influence in the world will remain as strong as today forever.

Maybe the most relevant consequence of India's rise is that an industry-depleted USA might lose its influence in Europe in the next decades while India and Europe converge? This could be very relevant, as a triple alliance Russia-PR China-India seems not to be feasible due to Indian-Chinese conflicts and rivalry.

India might drift into the "Western" camp and have much closer ties to Europe than we can imagine today.

Sven Ortmann

http://defense-and-freedom.blog.de/

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