Ancient Hindu principles of social and economic management: are they against globalisation?Abstract
Some literature has been recently evolving analysing the issue of globalisation from religious perspectives. Distinguishing between economic management, social welfare and cultural ways of life, this paper argues that the ancient Hindu principles of social and economic management have not been against globalisation. However, the paper does not accept an argument that cultural globalisation means Indians or Hindus give up their traditional ways of marrying and change their life-styles. Arguing that love marriages have never been beyond the Hindu traditions, the paper in particular questions, why new economic possibilities under globalisation should break the traditional social structures in any society?
Swasti panthaam anucharema Suryaa Chandramasaaviva (We move along a path of welfare like the Sun and the Moon
--Swasti Suktarn in Rug Veda)
One day, the editor of this journal thrust into my hands Steve Derne (2008)'s book, Globalisation on the Ground, saying that I review the book for the journal. Attracted by the title and with a hope to get enlightened, I accepted the task. The book is supposed to present currently prevailing scenario of the media, and the transformation of culture, class and gender in India under the "globalised" environment. Before I present my review of the book, I feel that many other issues need to be covered and discussed first. So the review of Berne's book will be taken up only towards the end of this article, meanwhile drawing attention to another book by Dunning (2003) which deals with institutional support for global capitalism. This write-up is in three sections: ancient Hindu principles for economic management and social welfare, and cultural globalisation. These sections respectively deal with economic globalisation, welfare globalisation and cultural globalisation.
Some ancient Hindu principles for economic management
John H Dunning (2003) is an interesting collection of papers on 'Making Globalisation Good--The Moral Challenges of Global Capitalism' with a foreword by the Prince of Wales. This volume presents 16 papers with strong arguments by a group of religious leaders, politicians, businessmen and academic scholars on the merits and demerits of global capitalism--supposedly the most efficient wealth creating system the world has ever known. Moral issues involved under the global capitalism (GC) are discussed in this book in three parts: analytical framework, religious perspectives, organisation and coordination of global capitalism and societies. The religious perspectives on globalisation and global capitalism are presented by several authors. Hans Kung wrote on ethical framework, Brian Griffiths on Christian perspective, Khurshid Ahmad on Islamic perspective, Jonathan Sachs on Jewish perspective, and David Loy on the perspective of Eastern religions. All these discussions are mainly in the nature of presenting general principles, ideals and morals followed in the respective religions, some comparative analysis, and how far such principles are in (dis)agreement with the basic paradigm of global capitalism and global society. Will ultimately globalisation in its true sense come to prevail, or whether the diverse societies with their own individual cultures, values and rigid traditions continue to remain segregated blocking the globalisation? Though our article here is not meant to be a review of Dunning's book, some specific points are important to be noted here.
1. On Hindu perspectives- what was said?
David Loy's paper on Eastern religions is basically on the perspective of Buddhism. Deepak Lal's paper briefly touches Hinduism. Not much was covered in detail on the Hindu perspective in Dunning (2003)'s book. We take up the Hindu perspective at some length below. Our discussion is in religious terms as have been some papers in the book.
On reading David Loy's paper one feels that the Hindu and Buddhist ways of life, economic or non-economic, are somewhat similar. Low levels of satiation in consumption and austerity in living are common hallmarks of Hinduism and Buddhism. That is understood because Buddhism is basically an offshoot of Hinduism. However, there are some quite important differences between the two religions.
On Hinduism, Loy (2003) says, "... emphasis on caste obligations based on caste differentiation, which remains a major problem in India today, has also meant caste restraints on economic freedom (eg. entrepreneurship), which continue to complicate inter-caste relationships and limit economic growth. It also explains why Hinduism has not been very successful in non-caste cultures outside India, and why that tradition may have less to contribute to the debate on the globalisation of capitalism". Loy also says later, "we cannot look to traditional Buddhist texts for perspectives on specific economic issues, such as the globalisation of capitalism". Several issues crop up from Loy's assertions, which are briefly taken up below.
First, it is not clear to me what Loy meant by unsuccessful Hinduism in non-caste cultures outside India. When does one say a religion is successful or unsuccessful? If success or globalisation implies spreading across several regions of the world, several religions seem to have been doing this for centuries! Islam, Christianity and Buddhism have achieved the feat of globalisation centuries ago spreading across various regions of the world. Some of these religions have been spending billions of dollars under conversion programmes. This has not been and cannot be the case with Hinduism. By definition, no conversion agenda can be entertained by Hindus, since proper channel for entry into Hinduism is only by birth. It has remained only in India and surrounding areas such as Nepal, Sikkim (now part of India), Bhutan etc. Singapore has lots of Hindus and Hindu temples but they do not form a majority there. Hindus as Indians might have migrated to all over the globe, but not Hinduism.
Second, Thengadi (1993) says there is no basic difference between the 'Buddhist' economics and the 'Hindu' economics. But on the other hand as noted earlier, Loy asserts that (a) traditional Buddhist texts do not provide perspectives on specific economic issues, and (b) Hindu tradition may have less to contribute to the globalisation debate. On the basis of which Buddhist texts Thengadi's assertion follows, and on the basis of which Hindu texts Loy's assertion follows? It is not clear. Even if one thinks that capitalism, private entrepreneurship, marketisation, globalisation etc. are the best ways of creating wealth, one issue is that, are they purely Western concepts, which the non-West world would find difficult to appreciate? On these economic issues there is plenty to look at in ancient Hindu scriptures. The next sub-section will cover some of it.
Third, another issue, i.e., caste culture coming in the way of economic growth and contributions to the "debate" on the globalisation, will be taken up shortly later.
Deepak Lal (2003) says that agrarian civilisations were not conducive to modern economic growth, an assertion that may not be agreeable as we shall see later on. Further, he says, capitalism does require moral behaviour which may be brought about by the influence of the behaviour of the governments, NGOs etc.
However, as we shall see shortly, private entrepreneurship, markets, external trade, governmental regulations etc. were well-known features of economics for the traditional agrarian India under Hinduism. Besides, with all these features generally prevalent, traditional Hindu principles simultaneously strived to sustain the countries' own morals and ethics intact through royal interventions. Therefore, one may agree with Deepak Lal when he says, "If one does want to strengthen morality, it is important not to undermine its traditional mainsprings in the non-Western part of the world in the name of a mistaken belief in a universal Western ethic. For, it is possible for countries to modernise (i.e., embrace capitalism) without Westernising (i.e., accepting the West's morality--its cosmological beliefs). In fact, if one looks at the non-Western world, the moral foundations of most--though by no means all--have remained remarkably intact over the years. It is in the West that there is growing doubt about its fractured and incoherent morality." This is a profound statement by Lal. Implicitly it means that if global capitalism were to fail to realise, it would be on account of the falling moral grounds of the developed Western capitalist countries themselves! If, under the name of globalisation or global capitalism, inappreciable morality and alien cultures are thrust on all sorts of countries destroying their domestic institutions and bulldozing native cultures, global capitalism would certainly not be welcome. After all, people need bread only to live, they don't live for bread alone.
Deepak Lal refers to Louis Dumont's analysis saying that Hinduism allows a person who renounces the world and becomes an ascetic to pursue his own personal salvation without any concern for the social world. Further he quotes Dumont: "renouncer is self-sufficient, concerned only with himself. His thought is similar to that of the modern individual, but with one basic difference: we live in the social world, he lives outside it". This, in my view, does not seem to be right at all for the reason that, Hinduism visualizes that every individual is born with lots of debts to clear off (to Gods, ancestors and sages). This is the karma (duty or fate) part of one's life, taking the individual from one life to another until the dues remain. Only after all the debts are cleared off, one can really renounce the world and may become self-centered. (1) Such renouncers are remote possibilities. Till then one may only appear to be a renouncer. A later section presents more on this issue.
The next sub-section takes up economic policy issues as enunciated in the Hindu scriptures.
2. Economic principles in Hindu scriptures
Proceeding further, one has to keep the following points in mind:
1. Our discussion below is on ancestral Hindu scriptures. We don't question their wisdom, sentiments, beliefs etc.
2. Ancient India (Bharata Khanda) was a group of several small countries ruled by some king or the other. Though there have been numerous languages in these regions, basically a common thread of ethics and culture prevailed all through, brought about by Vedaas, Srutees, Smrutees, Saastras, Puraanas etc. which are all in Sanskrit language. Vedaas are believed to be not written by any person; and hence called apaurusheyas. Sages visualised them mentally. Vedic Sanskrit significantly differs from the literary and present versions of Sanskrit.
3. When the Hindu scriptures were evolving, none had ever thought that in the future a brand called "Hinduism" would be named! The whole thing came out as a natural concern relevant for all societies, ecology and environment. The spirit has been 'vasudhaika kutumbakam' (all the earth constitutes one family). (2)
4. The economies consisted of only agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, mining and metallurgy, and services. Except mines, rest all is mostly private enterprise. Being agrarian, 'stock' concept was natural. Industry as we understand today and large scale production did not exist. Hence, terms or words equivalent to globalisation, capitalism etc. cannot be found in the ancient Hindu literature how much ever one digs into them, just as how much ever archeologists dig deep into earth today, they cannot find PCs, CDs and DVDs!
5. Caste system: Categorising people into separate groups is perhaps not unique to Hinduism, since such a phenomenon prevails in other religions also. Hinduism recognises four basic categories called "Varnaas" (castes): Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras. For each of them certain kinds of social duties are assigned. No one knows how and when this kind of social organisation or segregation evolved. Purusha Suktam in the Vedaas does refer to the system. By the time the Puraanaas, Itihaasaas (history books) and the Bhagavadgita came up, caste system became widely prevalent, which continues till today. Even today India recognises castes and communities; otherwise, the system of reservations would not have been prevalent.
A brief explanation of the basic tenets of Hinduism along with more information on caste matters is provided in the Appendix-1. Manu Smrutee and many other scriptures mention certain basic principles to be adhered to by every individual in the society irrespective of the caste. Known as Saamaanya Dharmaas, according to Manu Smrutee these are non-violence, truth, not stealing, clean behaviour and control of senses. Yaajnavalkya Smrutee further adds to them: offering out of compassion, mind control, kindness and patience. We shall return to this point later again.
Caste system, basically a scheme for division of labour, has had certain advantages, such as, the costs of imparting skills and training the young people in the corresponding trades got internalised within the families themselves; thereby the governments did not incur any expenditure on extension services. Besides, though it is underemployment, the young were not searching for jobs but continued with what their parents and grandparents were doing. Incidentally, even presently the same principle is followed when, as we observe, politicians' sons and daughters become politicians, lawyers' sons and daughters become lawyers, actors' sons and daughters become actors and so on. However, the major difference between the present times and the ancient time is that certain amount of coercion was imposed earlier, whereas that coercion is almost absent nowadays. However, in my view, it is not the caste system that created problems for India; rather, it is the imposition of certain other features such as untouchability (now practically eradicated), and restrictions on marriages across different castes, etc. that created the problems. In principle, cross-caste marriages were duly recognised in ancient India, but the social treatment meted out to such couples and their offspring became questionable. Cross-border trade could be allowed, but not cross-caste movements of assets and transfers of rights! Such impositions and restrictions became the evil spirits of the system. Unfortunately, a system of distinction became over time a system of discrimination.
A lot has been changing in India ever since. It was noted earlier that Loy (2003) says, caste system continues to limit the Indian economic growth. He seems to be unaware that nowadays caste restraints on professional and economic freedom are not so stringent that they affect the Indian economic growth. The caste system has had definite impact on income distribution in the past but not on the economic growth. When there are ten drycleaners available to dry-clean one pant and one shirt, the problem is not the caste of dry-cleaners; un(under)employment is the problem. If it takes only one drycleaner to do the job, the rest nine drycleaners are nowadays freely trying their luck elsewhere and many are successful in getting a different kind of job. In fact, it has become a pleasure to watch the youth in India over the last two decades. Everyone talks with an admirable sincerity and hope to become a highly paid professional (engineers, doctors, lawyers etc.)3. Caste as a restraint for getting jobs is nowadays less often mentioned, since the Indian Constitution provides ample scope for realisation of their aspirations. I however believe, as Loy does, that inter-caste relationships do continue to significantly complicate the Indian polity, politics and employment in government sector. Caste-feelings of political parties in certain Indian states are quite significant that certain communities hardly hope to get government jobs. Fortunately, that feature has no direct impact on economic growth yet.
There are numerous studies by economists and social scientists analysing the caste issues in India. Akerlof (1976) noting that social variables such as caste, race, religion etc. are indicators to predict the behaviour of individuals, develops an analytical discrimination model in which people who break caste customs suffer economically. In his model, caste equilibrium, defined as a state of the society where all the caste-customs are obeyed and no single individual would be better off by disobeying the customs, is feasible. The equilibrium is not Pareto optimal and income distribution is skewed along caste-lines. However, when coalitions form under certain conditions, the caste-equilibrium may get broken. In my view, his model is too simplistic to analyse the caste issue. First, for example, he believes that in the absence of caste all workers would receive the same wage. It need not be so because productivity and quality differences across workers would exist even in caste-less society leading to wage differences. Second, efficiency of resource use may differ across castes. For example, householders may prefer to use domestic water-supply, electrical washing machines and detergents to wash soiled clothes themselves at home (or get such work done at a dry-cleaner shop) instead of hiring (or in the absence of) a traditional washerman who washes at fiver-banks using washing-soda. Obviously, these two modes make a vast difference in the direct and indirect social costs involved, ecology and environment. Maybe, the existence of a traditional washerman leads to minimising social costs. This is a strange case where choice of techniques adopted depends on the caste associated! Third, non-egalitarian income (or expenditure) distribution does not necessarily mean non-egalitarian 'welfare distribution'. That is, though income distribution is non-egalitarian, there is a possibility for the welfare of the poorer households being taken care by other means. Therefore, in view of the above arguments, the real problem for analysis is to compare the direct and indirect social costs involved behind the sustainability of the equilibriums under the no-caste and caste-ridden situations - which is not the case with Akerlof's model. Freitas's (2006) empirical study taking into account bargaining power of castes provides a survey of several other studies.
With this background, let us now look at what kind of Hindu literature evolved over time (see the Appendix-1), and the kind of economic ideas prevailed. Our discussion will be confined to some examples where economics and social welfare are covered and see whether there is anything against the spirit of globalisation. Some parts of Manu Dharma Saastra, Aapastamba Dharma Sutra, Yajnavalkya Smrutee, Kautilya's Artha Saastra and Devi Bhagavata Puraana are presented below. (The codes given in brackets at the end of each point refer to the original Sanskrit text given in the Appendix-2; for example, A2-M1 indicates that for the point 1 under Manu Dharma Saastra, the original Sanskrit text is given at M1 in Appendix-2.)
Manu Dharma Saastra
This is also known as Manu Smrutee. (4) This is one of the oldest and the most influential treatises on social laws.
1. A king's responsibilities include overseeing the loans and mortgages, general sales, genuine ownership of the goods sold (checking the fake ownership), regular payments of salaries to the employees, disputes between employers and employees (a kind of principal-agent analysis). (A2-M1)
2. A king should never collect anything from the public that is not due to him even if he is in a poor state. But he should collect everything, however small that is genuinely due to him, even though he is already rich (Fairness principle). (A2-M2)
3. Having collected the taxes, if a king does not protect his people, he would go to hell. (We have been experiencing the fact that people pay taxes, but no public works of equivalent worth get done.) (A2-M3)
4. Commodity sales should not be out of the stipulated zones, and beyond stipulated times. Sales accounts should not be tampered. Against these crimes, tax would be enhanced eight times. King should monitor incoming/outgoing goods, changes in their volumes, and the extent of sales before levying the taxes. Every five days, otherwise every two weeks, he should check the business pattern. The tools of measurements (such as balances, scales, weights, containers etc.) should be checked every six months. Every day he should check the accounts, transport, mines and the treasury. (A2-M4)
5. Certain services such as crossing canals and rivers should be provided free to certain categories, such as pregnant ladies, ascetics, teachers (only Brahmins in those days) and kids. (This corresponds to our current subsidisation programmes.) (A2-M5)
6. If certain categories of people are unable to find employment, the king himself should employ them and bear their living. (This corresponds to the current employment guarantee programmes.) (A2-M6)
7. If a boat gets submerged due to the fault of the boatman, the boatman should be made to compensate loss of goods, if any. (It is a compensation arrangement to avoid irresponsibility of the service personnel.) (A2-M7)
8. If someone encroaches on the property of another person, the real owner loses the right of ownership if he does not protest within 10 years of encroachment. If someone has been stealthily enjoying others' property, it does not amount to that he is the real owner. (In our times too this is a social malady involving land-grabbing both in rural and urban areas.) (A2-M8)
9. Brahmins and Kshatriyaas should not collect interest for the loans extended by them--unless some special situations force them to do so to keep up ethics. But on such occasions they should keep the interest rate very low. (A2-M9)
Aapstamba Dharma Sutraas
1. Brahmins should generally not indulge in trading. In dire circumstances if it becomes imperative, they may trade in only those commodities which are not prohibited for them. Such prohibited commodities are service personnel, salt, gur, milk and drinks, coloured clothes, perfumes, food, food grains particularly rice and sesame, skins, old cows, gum, seeds, intoxicants, weaponry and fruits of his penance. Not even barter trade is permitted in these commodities. However, bartering in the case of food, personnel, perfumes and education is permitted. (Perhaps implicit in this is that a Brahmin should give away these things without a charge expecting no returns of any sort. However, he may take food for food, servants for servants, and so on. He may teach something to others to learn something else in return.) (A2-A1)
2. Brahmin in exceptional circumstances may sell products such as fruits, provided they are grown in his own orchard and farm. He may even sell firewood. However, he should stop any trading once he gets a job appropriate to him. (A2-A2)
3. A king should impose taxes fairly. He should not collect taxes from traditionalists, sincere devotees, all women, kids, students of residential schools, and servants working in the houses of upper castes, blind, dumb, deaf, sick patients, and ascetics who are unable to get offerings from the public. (A2-A3)
4. Property should not be divided between a husband and his wife. (In ancient times, there were no possession or ownership documents. Yet the concept of ownership of property prevailed which in principle belonged to the head of the household. Since divorce was not approved, the female could never claim alimony or share of the property. Writing up documents (as saasanams, i.e., royal orders) came over later, and much recently the concept of registrations. In India, particularly in rural areas, even now many households don't possess proper documents for the properties they hold, including farms they cultivate and houses they live in). (A2-A4)
5. Knowledge of anything that has not been covered in these sutraas may be obtained by consulting womenfolk of all castes and sticking to the traditions. (It denotes the importance given to the women who are the real carriers of ethical traditions from generation to generation.) (A2-A5)
This is the most influential treatise after Manu smrutee. Several commentaries were written on Yaajnavalkya Smrutee, the most well-known being Mitaaksharaa by Vijnaanesvara. It is believed that Mitaaksharaa was written during the 12th century AD. British judges used to rely on this commentary to interpret and determine the Indian issues in courts during the British rule of India. By the way, in a recent definitional controversy regarding the term 'animal-driven vehicle' for claiming/granting the state subsidy in Uttar Pradesh, a bench of the Supreme Court took help of the ages-old Mimansa Rules. The Hindu newspaper report (December 18, 2007) is as follows:
"Mimansa Rules of Interpretation (MRI) were still relevant and could be effectively used in courts whenever there was a difficulty or ambiguity in interpreting a principle or to understand the meaning of a word, the Supreme Court has held.
'It may be mentioned that the MRI were our traditional principles of interpretation laid down by Jaimini whose Sutras were explained by Shabar, Kumarila Bhata, Prabhakar, etc. These Mimansa Principles were regularly used by our great jurists such as Vijnaneshwar (author of Mitakshara), Jimutavahana (author of Dayabhaga), Nanda Pandit (author of Dattak Mimansa) etc. whenever they found any conflict between the various Smritis or any ambiguity or incongruity therein. There is no reason why we cannot use these principles on appropriate occasions,' said a Bench consisting of Justices A K Mathur and Markandey Katju.
The Bench used the Mimnasa principle to interpret the meaning of 'Animal-Driven Vehicle' and whether this would come within the ambit of 'agricultural implement'.
The Bench said: 'It is a matter of deep regret that Mimansa principles have rarely been used in our law courts. It is nowhere mentioned in our Constitution or any other law that only Maxwell's Principles of Interpretation can be used by the court. We can use any system of interpretation which helps us solve a difficulty. In certain situations Maxwell's principles would be more appropriate, while in other situations the Mimansa principles may be more suitable.
Since we have used a Mimansa principle in this judgment we thought it necessary to briefly mention about the Mimansa principles.' ...." (The Hindu, 18.12.2007)
The above report conveys enough of the relevance of the ancient Hindu scriptures to the present times. It is truly unfortunate that currently these works are not even taught at introductory level in most of the academic programmes in India. I understand that Srinivasan (2010) took into account some principles enunciated in Kautilya's Arthasaastra in his note articulating the vision developed by a committee he chaired for the future of Institute for Financial Management and Research, Chennai, and for designing its post-graduate diploma course in management. Let us now look at Yaajnavalkya Smrutee in some detail.
1. There is a vast chapter called "Runaadaana prakaranam" in this treatise, dealing with loans and the rates of interest to follow according to the risks involved, and who would clear off the debt in case the loanee expires, and so on. Due to space constraints, our discussion is limited to only the following points.
(a) If the loaner with any mischievous intention does not accept the amount (principal and the interest) which the loanee is willing to clear off, the amount may be deposited with an intermediary; and from that day onwards further interest need not be calculated. (A2-Y1a)
(b) If a loan is incurred for maintenance of the family, then as long as the family property is not divided, the head of the household is responsible to clear off the loan. In case the head expires or goes away abroad, then all the shareholders of that person's property become liable. (A2-Y1b)
(c) Unless the loan incurred by either husband or sons is for family maintenance, a female does not become liable to clear it off. Similarly, the father in the case of loans incurred by his sons, and husband in the case of loans incurred by his wife do not become liable. (A2-Y1c)
These rules are pertinent even in the present times. For example, when there is an ongoing dispute between a landlord and a tenant, usually courts advise the tenant to deposit the rent income in the government treasury so that interest does not build up further. The major weakness with points (b) and (c) is that a loanee can always declare that the loan is only for family purposes! It may however be noted that even currently the Indian Income Tax Act has a provision called 'Hindu Undivided Family'. There is another treatise called Naarada Smrutee that defines four kinds of interest rates: a rate if the interest is cleared on daily basis, another rate if it is monthly repayment, a higher rate which is voluntarily offered by the loanee, and a rate applicable to the already accumulated interest. (A2-Y1d)
2. A chapter called "Asvaamivikraya prakaranam" discusses in detail the feature of selling away things not owned. A few of those points are reported below.
If someone finds that a thing of his own was sold away by some other, the real owner can claim it. The person who buys such goods in black market or out of stipulated time (i.e., late in the night) too becomes a culprit in these dealings. The seller should be handed over to appropriate authorities. If the buyer realises that he bought stolen goods, he may himself hand over the goods to the real owner, in case the seller ran away abroad, or too much time elapsed. (A2-Y2)
3. In chapters called "Kreetaanusaya prakaranam" and "Abhyupetyaa susrushaa prakaranam", issues related to returning the goods once bought to the seller due to bad quality, the accepted percentage losses while making jewelry and other metallic articles, and refusal to carry out a job having accepted to do (principal-agent problem), etc. were discussed. If the agent was forced to become a servant, or he was kidnapped and got sold to the principal by thieves, king should see that the agent is set free. In the present times, this feature corresponds to the problem of bonded labour, child labour and young girls kidnapped for prostitution purposes. (A2-Y3)
4. The chapter, "Saahase praasangika prakaranam" deals with the punishments given for cheating in the trade either by fault weighing, measuring or adulteration. Two examples are as follows. If the cheating comes to about one-eighth of the total, a fine of 200 coins, and beyond that pro-rata, should be imposed on the seller. If articles such as medicines, oils, salt, perfumes, paddy, gur are adulterated, a fine of 16 coins should be imposed. (The problem of cheating never gets outdated!) (A2-Y4a)
The same chapter also discusses administered prices, price-wars, forming cartels and collusions - a highly relevant problem of imperfect markets even today. Even after knowing that certain level of price was stipulated by the king, if some of the traders (including artisans) group together and violate that price level, and also if such a group sells the goods at a price that becomes disadvantageous to other traders who are not members of the group, the king should severely punish them (A2-Y4b). In case such a cartel plays with their own price setting (raising or lowering) in the face of competition from the goods arrived from abroad, such a cartel should be severely punished. (A2-Y4c)
While the traders are supposed to sell the goods only at the price daily stipulated by the king, the king however should set it at profitable level for the traders. In the case of perishable domestic goods the profit rate could be five percent, whereas if the goods are imported the rate could be ten percent. In the case of fixing the price for imported goods, incidental expenses related to bringing the goods from abroad, locally payable taxes, and return travel costs etc. must be taken care of. And the finally set price must be to the advantage of both the sellers and buyers. (A2-Y4d)
External trade was possible in two ways: (a) natives taking Indian goods abroad and bringing foreign goods to sell in domestic markets, and (b) foreigners themselves bringing foreign goods to sell in India and taking native goods abroad. It seems both the cases were taken care while fixing the price on such goods. It is difficult to ascertain which pattern of external trade was more prevalent. One point has to be noted here, i.e. the erstwhile India being small, small countries, goods coming from Kashmir to Kerala could also be accounted as international trade, which would only be domestic trade now. Anyway, trade with far off countries was also widely prevalent. Apparently, 300 Greek ships a year used to sail between India and Greco-Roman world (consisting of Greece, Italy, Egypt etc. during a few centuries around Christ's birth) amounting to 300,000 tons of annual trade (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globalisation).
Kautilya's Artha Saastra
This is a well-known classical treatise on economics, believed to have been written around 300 BC. Kautilya declares fight in the beginning that his treatise brings together the principles already established by the 'artha saastraas' hitherto existing (A2-K0). Madhavayajvan wrote a commentary on it, called Nayachandrika. There is a controversy regarding Kautilya and Yaajnavalkya--who preceded whom? It is believed that the former preceded the latter. Kautilya's original work actually got lost over time, though he was widely quoted by many in the later periods, and was discovered only in early 20th century AD in Tanjore (South India) [see Fleet (1914)]. However, several versions of the manuscript exist now, including the one at Oriental Library at Munich. J J Meyer translated the work into German and published in Leipzig in 1926. Shama Sastry's work in 1915 seems to be the first translation into English. With profound appreciations from several foreign scholars, it ran into several editions later. The prefaces of these editions are quite enlightening. Shama Sastry informs us of the research by Bernhard Breloer in the 1920s on Kautilya's work, who says, "What, ..., must be borne in mind is that, while our knowledge of India makes a halt before the Indus, we should not think that India is therefore outside the world. The more we free ourselves from the prepossessed ideas, the greater is the impetus given to the advance of our knowledge of Indian History" [as quoted in Shama Sastry (1967)]. Also see Kangle (1986).
There is quite a bit of similarity in the principles enunciated by Kautilya Artha Saatra (KAS, henceforth) and Yaajnavalkya Smrutee (YS, henceforth). Usually KAS is in more detail. Since the YS was already covered earlier, let us now be brief in noting certain economic principles from the KAS.
1. Cartels, Collusions, Adulteration and Middlemen: Merchants who conspire to prevent sales, or try to affect sales and purchases playing with prices are punishable. Middlemen who cause losses to merchants or purchasers by false means are punishable. Adulteration of grains, oils, alkalis, salts, perfumes, and medicines are punishable. The entire difference between the sale price of the merchant and purchase price of the buyer is not the income or profit. The trader must pay some part to the middlemen for their livelihood. (The punishment rates are also specified here.) The profit rate allowed is 5 per cent for the local produce, and 10 per cent for the foreign goods. (A2-K1)
2. Excess supplies: In the case of excess supplies, the market superintendent should centralise the sales, and use this for daily wages (A kind of food-for work programme). Sale of non-centralised stock should be prohibited until the central stocks are exhausted. (A2-K2)
3. Taxes and Procurement: One of the chapters prescribes a salary structure for the government's employees. In another chapter, treasury build-up is taken up. This part stipulates the rates of tax collections applicable to cultivators, merchants, animal farm households, and artisans. The king may collect one-fourth or one-third of the harvest depending on the capacity to pay from the rich cultivators in the good rainfall regions. He should not collect from the cultivators with low quality land, from the households who generally participate in public works, from the people who are poor and from those who live in border areas. Rather he should help them with cattle and grains in return for their services in developing waste lands. If the king wants further amounts of grains beyond these taxes, he may purchase up to a maximum of one-fourth of what is remaining with the cultivators after the requirements of seed, feed are netted out, with payment made in gold (This corresponds to food procurement policy) (A2-K3). Further, certain categories were mentioned from whom such procurement should not be made. Later on, collection of taxes from merchants, animal farm owners, forestry, artisans and even brothels were discussed. Details are avoided here.
4. Importance of Treasury: Income from mines is a great source for building up treasury; treasury oozes power. Thus the earth (i.e. kingdom) shines both by the treasury and the power. (A2-K4)
Devi Bhaagavatarn and Agni Puraanam
While several dhaarmic principles are enunciated in Devi Bhaagavatam, occasionally one comes across economic features. At one point it talks of the attitudes of the small traders, saying they always look for low wholesale price and a far higher retail prices. In another episode, it says Brahmins are not supposed to save; they should spend away all their incomes in conducting prayers involving sacrificial fire, or else should donate to the deserving, or else happily enjoy themselves by consuming (A2-D 1). However economics was never the main issue in manypuraanas, with an exception thatAgni Puraana, basically an encyclopedia on numerous diverse subjects, discusses principles of taxation, tax exemptions, property rights, hereditary rights etc.
Gautama smrutee stipulates different kinds of tax rates depending on the nature of the commodities traded. Paraasara Smrutee says, self protection comes by justified earnings; living by unjustified earnings leads to exit from all kinds of duties (A2-O1). It also says, even by digging hundreds of ponds to provide water, the sin of grabbing away land from the weak by the powerful cannot be washed away. Bhupaala Mandanam by Naarada has several interesting discourses on governance. It advises the king to administer in such a way that the weak in the kingdom never get troubled by the powerful (A2-O2). It also stresses the importance of food and water for life and how a king should take care of problems related to both ground and surface waters. Further, it also argues for female education.
Aksha Suktam in Rug Veda pleads to the gamblers: Don't play with dice; instead cultivate your corn fields with the help of your cattle and wife. Enjoy your wealth with proper respect (A2-O3). Taittireeya Upanishat and Anna Suktam in Yajur Veda sing the importance of food production: produce plenty of food; do not abuse it; that should be your oath (A2-O4). Varaahamihira's Bruhat Samhita deals with crop productivity and growth.
One notable feature of interest is the extent to which the erstwhile India had enjoyed intemational relations and influence. Sanskrit, though believed to belong to Indo-European languages group, was extensively used only in India. The word 'Arab' seems a derivative of the Sanskrit word, 'Arba' meaning horses. 'Asva' and 'Arba' are equivalent. 'Russia', in Sanskrit means, something pleasant to watch. Burma (now known as Myanmar) seems a British distortion of the word 'Brahma' in Sanskrit. 'Singapore' means city of lion; Lanka means island. Today's Afghanistan was referred to as Gaandhaara. A common reprimand often heard all over India is the word, 'Apraachya', which means, someone from the non-East part of the world.
In ancient India's measurement scales, 12 Dhanakas = 1 Suvarna, 3 Suvarnas=1 Dinara. The 'Dinar' was introduced in Kuwait in 1960 as a replacement for the Indian Rupee (visit http://www.gocurrency.com/countries/kuwait.htm, also see Shama Sastry (1967)). Dinara is equivalent to the ancient Greek coin denarius. Modem currency codes Dinar, Rupee, Rupiah, Taka etc. all have equivalent terms in Sanskrit (Dinara, Rupyaka, Tankaka etc).
From the above discussion, it is obvious that the ancient Hindu principles were not particularly against external trade. On the other hand, they were biased towards competitive spirit and free markets, though regulated by the kings. They were also apprehensive of trade protections, cartels and collusions. India was rarely a cocoon. In fact the unwarranted openness was a cause for the loss of India's independence for some centuries. Could Loy (2003) be right in asserting that the Hindu tradition may have less to contribute to the debate on the principles of globalisation of capitalism! Given the above details, it may also be difficult to view that the agrarian civilisations were not conducive to modern economic growth. The markets and merchants might have been viewed as a necessary evil, but they were not suppressed, only regulated. Formulation of appropriate regulation procedures is a big problem even today.
Sometimes the Indian spirit could be puzzling. Jones (2006) wonders, "One of the ironies of India's excellent performance in the computer software and information technology industries is the vindication of the Indian strategic culture tenets that emphasise deep knowledge, knowledge as power and the enhancement of status this gives India in international circles. Yet these market-driven economic developments would seem to be at odds with the basic emphasis in the strategic culture on traditional mythology, symbolism, and timeless values. ... the very success of Indian entrepreneurs abroad and at home in these booming business areas also has a burnishing effect on India's sense of status and those traits of Indian strategic culture that suggest India is rightfully superior in what it brings to the modern world."
Some ancient Hindu principles for social welfare
First let us note that renunciation does not mean that the renouncing person necessarily leaves the social world, and goes away to secluded places. Nor going away to secluded places amounts to renunciation. Sage Visvaamitra went away to forests to carry on with his penance, but could not resist his temptations for a very long time, for which he repented heavily. King Janaka and Bhishma stayed on in palaces, but practically lived a renounced life. Great Hindu sages having renounced, though stayed in their huts in forests far away from the human habitats, always prayed for the social welfare (loka kalyana), without being concerned of only themselves. The most well-known prayer, for example, is that "Sam no astu dvipade, sam chatushpade"--meaning, let there be happiness to all the two-feet beings and four-feet beings. The Saanti mantras basically convey the hopes and prayers seeking divine blessings for the society to have peace and happiness (Ome Saantih Saantih Saantihi; and Saantireva Saantihi--let there be peace and peace and peace only). Sage Atri's well-known penance (tapas) was that "sarve janaassukhino bhavantu, sarvey santu niraamayaah" (let all people be happy and healthy). King Bhagiratha, sages Gautama and Agastya brought down rivers Ganges, Godavari, and Kaveri respectively from heavens (as believed) to earth to wash off not only their own sins but also others' sins and help the people and society with provision of water avoiding famines.
Mahabharata, Ramayana and Bhagavatam are three of the most sacred books for the Hindus. The story in the beginning of Bhagavatam becomes relevant here. When the king Pareekshit threw a dead snake around the neck of the sage Sameeka, the latter's son Srungee cursed the king with an inevitable death in seven days. When Sameeka heard this, he felt extremely sorry for the curse given by his son, explained to Srungee the ill consequences to the society if a rightful king dies, and further sent a message to the king asking him to take care of himself and the kingdom! Examples from the scriptures pointing out how the sages were always concerned with social welfare are galore.
Concern for the society is equally important for householders too. Some scriptures mentioned how much food grains one should save for future consumption, and how much of the daily consumption should be given away to the others in need. Notice the moral importance given in Rug Veda for sharing one's food: "Simply obtaining food is foolish with no purpose served; truly, that is as bad as death. One becomes an absolute sinner, if he consumes all the food by himself without feeding first the elders and friends" (A2-S1). Similar sentiments are expressed in Bhagavadgeeta also.
Thousands of households as well as the sanyaasins (renouncers) even now daily pray in their own homes and in temples chanting what is known as Namakam-Chamakam, which is a collection of verses taken from Rug Veda and Yajur Veda. In one of the verses in the Chamakam, the devotee prays to the Lord that he may be granted milk, sweet drinks, ghee (boiled butter), honey, smooth agricultural operations, timely rains, arable and fertile lands, trees and shrubs, gold and precious stones, well nourished body, also cereals, millets, pulses such as paddy, barley, black gram, sesame, green gram, castor, wheat, Bengal gram, and rice of superior variety and quick variety, in plenty and even in excess without any diminution, and food and drinks in the company of a good family and friends with graceful words, and never falling hungry (A2-S2).
The word neevaaraaschame in this prayer (paddy of quick variety--see A2-S2) may be of interest. There was once a great famine with no rains, crops and food. Poverty and hunger prevailed all over. Sage Gautama used to sow the seeds of this paddy variety early in the morning before the start of his daily prayers, and by the time he finished his prayers in the afternoon, the crop used to be ready for harvest. Using those grains he used to daily feed lots of hungry people. Obviously, seeds of such short-duration variety needed only earth and the Sun, but neither fertilisers nor much water!
In Namakam some of the prayers are as follows: "O Lord, see that none of our people or our cattle is frightened, or becomes ill. We orient our minds towards that strong and enemy-destroying Lord so that all the two-feet and four-feet beings in this village remain happy, and shine with fullness with no worries. Kindly don't harm our elders, weak among us, our kids born and offspring unborn yet, our parents and our bodies. Don't you harm our horses, cows and our heroes! We offer oblations and salutations to you" (A2-$3).
Tanme manas Siva samkalpamastu (Let this be the auspicious intention of mine)! Tannoe Rudrah prachoedayaat (Let Rudra the Lord initiate us)! The prayers in the form of Namakam and Chamakam are believed to be so powerful that the entire village or city in which a Rudraadhaayi (devout practitioner of this prayer) resides would not suffer from disease, hunger, theft etc. (A2-$4).
The striking feature is that these prayers were not about self, but about all the beings (humans, cattle and horses etc.) in their families, communities and villages where they lived. They were equally concerned with the ecology and environment.
Notice the following verse:
Dasa kupa samaa vaapee, dasa vaapee samoe hradaha, dasa hrada samah putraha, dasa putra samoe drumaha
The verse says, "Treat ten wells as equivalent to one stream, ten streams to one large lake, ten large lakes to one son, and ten sons equivalent to one tree."
The aayurveda (Vedic science of medicine--upaveda) is mostly based on the herbs and roots, leaves, fruits, condiments and spices. Medical treatises by Charaka, Susruta etc. are quite well known. Paraasara Smrutee provides a list of animals that should never be killed. This Smrutee also deals with purifications of polluted wells, ponds and tanks. Look at this elegant prayer daily recited by sages, priests and numerous households even today praising waters: "These waters are the dearest to our lives, giving us energy, keeping our limbs in attractive condition, bringing us auspicious occasions and making us participate, caring for us like mothers; they bring us progeny, ...," so on (A2-S5). Similarly, in a melodious vedic prayer called Mantrapushpam the importance of knowing the interdependence between the sun, moon, air, clouds, fire and water is gloriously sung--"Know that whoever realises this interdependence would possess virility, progeny and cattle" (A2-S6). Crores of people bathing in rivers at the time of Ganges Kumbha-mela, Godavari pushkarams etc. is not for fun! Discussing the case for protecting cows, Bhupaala Mandanam suggests that a king should appropriately protect the nature's welfare, unconcerned about whether something is a fact or not, liked or disliked by others (A2-S7).
Hindus cannot afford to ignore biosphere. Outwardly or inwardly, social welfare has been, is and will be a dominant concern for them whether they are sages, or ordinary mortals. Recently National Geographic has compiled "Consumer Greendex" for seventeen countries using data on energy use and conservation, transportation choices, food sources, the relative use of green products versus traditional products, attitudes towards the environment and sustainability and knowledge of environmental issues (see Deccan Herald, pg.7, June 7, 2010). India has topped the list of eco-friendly nations followed by Brazil, China and Mexico. America turned out to be the least eco-friendly. Britain, France and Canada have been respectively the last but 3rd, 2nd, and 1st nations.
There are obviously several aspects to globalisation: economic globalisation including global finance, global trade and global capitalism, agricultural crops-globalisation, linguistic globalisation, cultural globalisation, and so forth. The purpose of our discussion so far has been basically to react to two points: Hindu perspectives on (a) economics that may contribute to economic globalisation, and (b) concern for social welfare. Under Hinduism, state ownership does not appear to have been the main forte. It welcomes private entrepreneurship, fair markets with competitive spirit, and can put up with state interventions and regulations. International trade is widely accepted. More importantly, it places a very high value to the democratic principles, an issue that is not covered in this article. There is a lot more to react on Hindu perspectives in the context of globalisation and global capitalism. This section however closes with some brief remarks.
(a) Apparently there are numerous inter-faith organizations regularly conducting seminars etc. in the context of globalisation and global capitalism. Also the World Economic Forum brings religious leaders, statesmen and business leaders together for discussions at its annual meetings. No Hindu religious leader seems to have participated in these discussions so far. Dunning (2003. pg.363) suggests two alternatives. (i) Annual or biannual meetings of a group of the world's religious and spiritual leaders to discuss issues relating to upgrading the moral ecology of global capitalism, or (ii) setting up a United Nations Commission on the Moral and Ethical Implications of Globalisation. In my view, (i) and (ii) need not be alternatives; both of them can simultaneously exist and contribute.
(b) The Hindu concept of Saamaanya Dharmaas mentioned earlier may be acceptable to all religions. They may become good starting points to develop a set of ethical principles that are acceptable and applicable to all business and trading activities.
(c) Willingness to understand and cooperate: The experience of the developing countries vis-a-vis developed countries at the WTO rounds of discussions has been disastrous. No need to elaborate here further on who wants what from whom under globalisation!
(d) Trust Deficit: The face value of the economic policies suggested by the developed countries and the international organizations such as World Bank, IMF etc. is usually pretty low in developing countries, basically because of the suspicion that the suggested policies may eat into the countries' sovereignty. That kind of trust-deficit has to be closed first (including that prevails among developed countries themselves, among developing countries themselves, and between the developing and developed countries), before globalisation can become a welcomed feature.
(e) The concept of foreign investment might have come much later after several of the well-known regions as well as religions shaped up, and hence it is relatively new. For the transnational movement of investment resources, ethics and morals seem to be of lower priority than the exchange rates, interest rates, infrastructural facilities, final profits etc. Consider the attitudes of the Union Carbide and the US government in the case of gas-leak tragedy in Bhopal. They have been deplorable. The tragedy is so glaring that no code of ethical principles and moral responsibility needs to be specifically developed and written down on paper to figure out who the real culprit is, in this case. Compare the Indian case with the Mexican oil-leak case; one can easily figure out the US's lack of fairness in business activities.
We now move on to the next section where we shall discuss some important institutional aspects under globalisation. The discussion includes the concept of 'marriage', which the Hindus, unlike Deme (2008), view as also meant for social welfare.
Initially when I noticed the topic of the book, Globalisation on the Ground by Steve Derne (2008), Professor of Sociology at SUNY-Geneseo, I wished and hoped high to find some perceptions on international amalgamation of cultures. Apart from religion, crops, languages etc. music is one of the areas where globalisation has been a traditional feature for ages. Many studies including Cousins (1935) and Row (1944) deal with some aspects of international movements of music and musicology. (5) In recent times, Yehudi Menuhin collaborated with M S Gopalakrishan and Sabri Khan in concerts, Ravishankar, Sabri Khan and Beatles group collaborated, Zubin Mehta conducted Western classical symphonies; Jon B Higgins an American not only gave vocal concerts in Karnatic classical music but also obtained doctoral degree for his thesis on the music of Bharata Natyam; Ganga Grace, a Croatian, became super performer of Bharata Natyam! It, however, turned out that for Derne's research on globalisation such features are off the ground and do not matter. His grounds are different and quite mundane, dealing with arranged and love marriages, family systems etc. in "globalised" urban India.
Hindu perceptions of marriage are largely atypical. As mentioned earlier, Hindus view that every individual is born with lots of debts to clear off (to Gods, ancestors and sages). To clear off the debts to ancestors, one must have children. Therefore, marriage becomes essential in one's life. Besides, Hinduism distinguishes between four probable phases of life for every individual, one of which is being a householder (A2-C1). Taking care of the non-householder individuals (other three phases--bachelors, secluded and saints) is one of the duties of a householder. This aspect in maintaining social welfare too makes marriage necessary.
Derne has nothing to do with these debts and duties. Love and only love matters for marriages, nothing else. His book has plenty of love stuff based on Hindi films allegedly influenced by Hollywood movies and foreign TV channels, film magazines, heroines' exposures and heroes' physique etc. (pgs. 101-102, 150, 191). He is under the impression that to understand the causal dynamics behind the cultural change, if any, in India, all that requires is to watch a few Hindi films and talk to a few filmgoers, since Indians have nowadays (after 1991) a wider access available to these things.
Derne first informs the readers that economic liberalisation and cultural globalisation earnestly began in India in the year 1991 (pg. 11). But, to the best of my knowledge, in 1991 only economic liberalisation policies were initiated. Towards cultural globalisation nothing specific began in 1991 except that movies--whether from Hollywood or Bollywood or Tollywood--have also started appearing in good numbers on the TV screens. He also claims that by examining changes associated with globalisation in India, his book has improved our understanding of the causal dynamics associated with cultural change. Briefly, the understanding gained is as follows: "I soon discovered that while the lives of elite Indians were transformed by the new opportunities associated with economic liberalisation, the lives of non-elite Indians were characterised more by continuities than by changes. This suggested that the effects of purely cultural globalisation were relatively minor as long as economic and family structures were not simultaneously transformed." (pg 11).
How to define culture and civilisation? Who are elites and non-elites? Another question: transformation of lives in what sense? Derne's concern is not with respect to increased opportunities and possibilities for earnings. His concern is with aspects such as the way people marry, joint-family versus nuclear-family, women's restricted movements, male dominance, consumerism etc. However, he mainly deals with arranged marriages, love marriages and love stuff based on Hindi cinemas.
On my own, let me first narrate three simple love stories.
Story (a): The girl secretly loves a charming boy who is however anathema to her own kith & kin. Elders fix her marriage with someone else whom they like. The girl sends a secret message to her lover that she would be going out to a particular place at a particular time and that he should come over there so that the two could easily run away. The boy does exactly that; the two meet, run away, get married and live happy ever after.
Story (b): The girl declares her love for a charming boy. When the boy comes to know about her love, he wonders, why this girl is in love with him, a pauper with neither a proper house to live in, nor proper attire to wear. Yet, after assuring himself that the girl's love is sincere, he sends his elders to talk to the parents of the girl. The marriage is performed, and the couple lives happy ever after.
Story (c): The boy and the girl are already married. The girl is too beautiful causing jealousy and heartburns to many others. One day when the boy was not at home, a jealous villain kidnaps her. After serious investigations her husband identifies the kidnapper, confronts him and brings back his wife home, hoping to live happy ever after.
We shall return to the above love stories a little later. Meanwhile, let us look into Steve Derne's [SD, henceforth] book, where the 'Introduction' chapter is longer than any of the other chapters.
The basis of his research includes numerous Hindi films, fan magazines and interviewing some of the filmgoers. Some of his analyses and views are also based on the content of these films. Unfortunately, I rarely ever watch Hindi films; I don't propose to see them now to understand SD. Therefore, to some extent it is difficult for me to appreciate or depreciate his hard work. The only Hindi film which I saw in recent times (thrice) was Lagaan. Occasionally, I happen to watch Telugu, Tamil and English films (but not TV serials), which do not seem to matter for SD. Given the subject matter of his research on India, the reason why SD did not watch films in Indian regional languages is not known. I believe he missed to watch Mitr My Friend, and many, many such other films produced with themes relevant to his research. Better luck next time when he visits India!
Let me give a taste of his arguments: "New meanings, then, are layered on top of existing structural arrangements. A new focus on the individual, perhaps generated by new economic possibilities and/or new cultural imaginations, has not led to new ideas about how one should marry. But it has changed the meanings men use to understand how one should marry. While the focus on the individual has not led to a focus on individual choice in marriage, it has decreased the focus on social pressure as the reason men give for objecting to love marriages. The focus on the individual may have also generated reasoning that emphasizes individual characteristics (rather than group ones) that make the exceptional love marriage succeed. The increased celebration of love has not led to much increase in the number of men who believe that they will marry for love, but it has decreased the hostility that men express towards love marriages.
This suggests that non-elite Indians accommodate new meanings introduced by cultural globalisation to obdurate structural realities they face. They use an individualist orientation to understand love marriages and arranged marriages in new ways, but the orientation does not change their overall assessment of marriage arrangements--precisely because institutional possibilities have not greatly changed." (pg. 171)
Frankly, I have no quarrel with SD's observations as a matter of facts. However, the apparent interpretations and implications woven around these facts differ substantially between us. Let me briefly state the gist of his analysis, along with my comments and queries on some issues.
(i) Economic globalisation produced transnational capitalist class as well as transnational middle class (pg. 12 I). "Affluent Indians show themselves to be a transnational middle class by consuming products that advertise the emulation of the lifestyles of cosmopolitan consumers in Europe and North America while distinguishing themselves from the vulgar tastes and arrangements of poor Indians.... Since the class identifies with cosmopolitan consumers around the world, it is a transnational class for whom national identity is relatively unimportant." (pg. 120). Why does Derne think that the tastes of the Indian poor are vulgar! He corroborates: elite women following Western standards nowadays wear jeans and short skirts rather than saris and salwar-kameezes (pg.102). Transnational elite identity with global orientation is revealed in wearing jeans, drinking Pepsi and eating pizza instead of dhoti, Thums-up and samosa respectively (pg.103). Such consumption features are all the effects of globalisation. Styles, images and themes in the Hindi movies and TV serials are influenced by Hollywood movies and satellite television (pgs.33, 111-114, 133). (My competency to comment on these aspects is not adequate.)
(ii) New economic possibilities did not lead to break the existing social structural arrangements. The focus of the "individual" for marriage is not yet based purely on his / her own choice. Hitherto the non-elite individuals did not (and still do not) know 'the best way to marry', nor are they willing to accept the new ideas presented by the global media such as cable television, Hindi films, and Hollywood movies. Many men, watching Hindi movies and foreign pornography, have now started celebrating love; yet the cultural globalisation did not prompt them to reject the 'mantra' of arranged marriages. (pgs.38, 134, 168, 171,196)
(iii) The ordinary middle-class Indian-ness lies in confining their women to family duties and restricting their movements. Men of this class feel uneasy with globalisation with a different gender arrangement which may threaten their status and comfort. This class, with purely local horizons for employment and Indian-market oriented consumption, distinguishes itself from the Indian poor by women staying indoors and from the affluent by being sexually sober.
"Urban legends of elite Bombay women using chauffeured cars to look for sex in nefarious neighbourhoods and elite women running naked through their own neighbourhoods ... reflect the locally-oriented Indian middle class' efforts to distance themselves from affluent Indians who they indict for supposedly rejecting Indian sexual sobriety under excessive foreign influence" (pg. 158). This looks to me strange logic drawing inferences about the behaviour of a whole class based on stray events related to another class. (6)
(iv) ".. most Indians lack the institutional structures that would facilitate marrying for love. Most Indians lack structural opportunities to become close to someone of the opposite sex, or to develop the economic independence that would facilitate bucking parental guidance" (Pg.63). What is the import of this discovery? His understanding of the Indian society is that, we do not allow our sons and daughters to earn beyond a level when they may not care us once they become rich! We also don't allow our sons (daughters) to have girl (boy) friends--for what reason is not mentioned. If SD drew this conclusion specifically with respect to Hindu youths during their education, one should point out that even Christian missionaries run separate colleges for boys and girls. Such colleges exist in plenty not only in India, but also in Western countries, including USA and Canada (see: http:// womenscolleges.org/). Besides, though such separate universities and colleges do exist, there aren't any gender-wise separate office establishments. At homes, why should any married person become close with the opposite sex of the neighbouring families? For the unmarried youth so eager to meet the opposite sex, none can stop them anyway!
(v) "Facing the Indian situation of arranged marriages (and the negative consequences of marrying for love), most Indians who marry for love present the marriage as an arranged one by seeking parental consent and embracing the ritual public display of marriage with pandits (priests) and a showy baraat (wedding procession).... Even as they marry for love, they must contend with the obdurate structural reality that most marriages are arranged" (pg. 63-64). SD mixes up too many issues here. His view appears to be that the love-couple need not even inform the parents about the impending marriage. Further, whether the parents are informed or not, and if informed whether they consent or not, it is not necessary to go through the processions and rituals to make it appear as an arranged marriage. One implication of his view is that only arranged marriages are socially recognized but not love-marriages. Another implication is that arranged marriages are only for the sake of public recognition and for nothing else. Third implication is that only arranged marriages involve public display, processions and priests. I do not know whether in all those Hindi films that SD watched, the love-couple ran to temples or churches to get the marriage performed by the priests or Fathers, or whether they ran to sub-registrar offices to get registered. I believe the former is the case, and not the sub-registrar offices. An important point lies here. Several of my colleagues too, particularly those with left-leanings, argue with me on and off that Hindus unnecessarily indulge in the pomp of rituals and waste money; instead, they should go for the registered marriages. That sounds to me as silly as consulting a gynaecologist (still worse, a lawyer) for heart problems. Whether love or arranged marriage, generally the couple not only looks for legal sanction but also for divine blessings. A sub-registrar can only provide the legal sanction. If the couple believes that only priests extend divine blessings and not the sub-registrar, who are the others to question their beliefs? Neither is it SD's business to question. Coming to the issue of pomp, the style of the pomp may be different, but it can and does exist under both the kinds of marriages. 'Willingness and ability to spend' are the criteria here. As far as the negative consequences of marrying for love are concerned, that would take our discussion not only to social aspects but also to Indian scriptures again--and that would take quite a bit of space. Hence the discussion is avoided.
(vi) "Systematic counts in markets showed ... that roughly 10 times as many women wear saris and salwar-kameezes rather than jeans and pants..." (pg. 215). SD systematically noticed that ethnic Indian women wear saris, salwar-kameezes, burkas, or school uniforms but not jeans and pants when they go to films. Even in 2001, he observed that most women in Delhi, Dehra Dun and Banaras continued to choose Indian attire for their day-to-day public actions (pg. 160).
(vii) More men and far fewer women appear in market places: "Systematic counts in markets showed roughly 10 times as many men as women in public places" (Pg. 214).
(viii) Even during household functions, "women were inside the home, while men remained outside, eating snacks, in a tented enclosure--a space not one woman entered during my several hours there". (pg. 215)
(ix) World Economic Forum ranks India as one of the 10 worst countries where female participation rate in labour force is low. (pg. 214)
(x) The "institutional arrangements are crucial in shaping the response to globalisation" (pg.64). True; but what kind of response one is looking for? The last sentence of the book may be noted: " ... as long as economic opportunities remain limited and joint-family structures remain solid, the cultural orientation of most Indian men remains sociocentric, despite new media that celebrates individualism" (pg. 217). (7)
I understand that India is one of the least ranked countries as far as the gender gap is concerned. An international body 'UN Women' is expected to come up in 2011. Meanwhile, World Economic Forum's Gender Gap Review--2009 has computed an overall index for each country based on 4 sub-indexes (economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, political empowerment, and health and survival) which were in turn based on 14 different indicators. Indians certainly do not feel happy about the results. However, one should carefully avoid making hasty value judgments based on these rankings. First, once ranking is resorted to, even if all countries are doing well, some countries would be at the top, and some at the bottom. In this case, for example the first ranked country Iceland's score is 0.8276 (on 0 to 1 scale moving from perfect inequality to perfect equality between men and women), while 114th ranked India's is 0.6151, 132nd ranked Pakistan's is 0.5458 and the last 134th ranked Yemen's is 0.4609. Unless the significance of the qualitative differences between the scores of 0.8276 and 0.6151 etc. is appropriately evaluated, it is meaningless to read too much into these rankings. Second, the database and the measurement problems of the variables in this context are not beyond questionability. A large percentage of women particularly in rural areas and from agricultural and poor labor households in India participate in services-oriented unorganised labour force (such as domestic servant maids, washer women, curds and milk saleswomen, retailer-women etc.). Even in urban areas, roadside vegetables' saleswomen to female musicians, artists and artisans, who make substantial earnings, are likely to say they are not employed. The notion of employment for most of them is, going to a designated office six days a week and receiving a monthly pay-cheque. Whether it is ILO or UN or even a domestic agency, it is quite difficult to get appropriate database on them--since if one goes with a questionnaire, the respondents are very likely to say they are unemployed and not doing well. Granger (2005) though in a different context says," ... with the relative decline in the importance of farming and the industrial sector in most major economies, and the corresponding growth of the difficult-to-measure service industry, it is time for a reconsideration of the way that the macro economy is quantified. How to do this is a major research problem and a Nobel Prize could well be the reward for whoever provides the solution". Third, though I am all for female empowerment I would still like to ask: why a country with a lower rank is 'worse' than another country with a higher rank? Who decides what is 'good' and what is 'bad'? Wild animals think that the best way to survive is by killing the cohabitants, but that would be the worst way for humans. Similarly, even within humans what an average Westerner thinks 'good' may be utterly 'bad' for an average Easterner.
SD says, "The affluent embrace work by women when women have the skills to earn good incomes" (pg.158). But he didn't notice that there are also millions of women who do study, yet on their own accord don't prefer to go for a regular job when their husbands adequately earn. Besides, aren't there women from poor families embracing work? Next, womenfolk don't go to markets and often stay indoors, not because of the exposure problems or movement restrictions, but because of the transport hassles involved and formal dress codes required while in public. If SD prefers to see them in public, next time when he visits India he may go to temples, textile shops, jewelries etc. It would be a feast for the sociologist's eyes!
It is not clear to me, why should new economic possibilities break the existing social structures and arrangements. What is wrong with our traditions? Are the 'new' ideas freely flowing from the West worth adopting? Are they better than the native traditions? In fact the attempts of some developed countries to interfere with the local cultural values of the developing countries came in for severe criticism on several occasions. Apart from Dunning (2003) (which we extensively discussed in the previous sections), other well-noted critiques include the works of Nigerian poet-novelist-professor Chinua Achebe, John Gray (1998) who argues that free market globalisation is not sustainable, and David Frawley (a Vedic scholar from USA, now known as Vamadeva Sastry) fervently arguing in favour of the traditional Hindu Vedic principles. In Frawley's view, modern civilisation is doomed and Eastern values have a key role to play in fashioning a new culture that would be free of over-commercialisation and destruction of the environment. Let me reproduce below Frawley's opinions on cultural spread and globalisation.
(i) On cultural spread: "The American culture is spreading, but it's superficial. Many cultures--particularly traditional, native and indigenous--are being destroyed. Just as bio-diversity is necessary for the health of the planet, so cultural diversity is necessary for the health of society. Western civilisation is too large and intensely destructive. It doesn't recognise other cultural paradigms and civilisational models." (8)
(ii) On globalisation: "... the high-tech world is still at the level of information, not intelligence. Intelligence helps you grasp the fundamental principles behind anything. With just a lot of data you don't necessarily reach the right conclusion. The current globalisation is at the information level, but to have real globalisation you need a connection at the consciousness level. We exclude the role of nature in globalisation. Globalisation that destroys nature is not planetary. It becomes human destruction of the planet."
Even if globalisation were to affect cultural attitudes, why should it be a one-way traffic of cultural ideas including the way people dress, they marry, love and make love? I would rather welcome SD to wonder, why Mahatma Gandhi only wore a dhoti all through his political life whether in India or in Britain, why President Barack Obama does not wear dhoti and turban instead of a suit that he wears irrespective of the seasonal convenience, why didn't Hillary Clinton wear a sari even when she visited India! Why neither Americans play cricket, nor Indians basket-ball? SD is perhaps aware that there is no chance for anything else to happen, because tradition dictates certain ways of life. These are matters of natural preferences. Nature, ecology and environment determine the cultural anthropology; not globalisation.
Coming to the SD's lament on the Indian non-elites' poor knowledge regarding how one should love and marry, he seems to have missed several intricacies. Indian scriptures have acknowledged eight kinds of marriages (A2C2), and twelve kinds of progeny. It is believed that the quality of the offspring depends on the type of marriage and time of consummation. How can a researcher, who translates Nirodh to mean 'protection' (pg.54), explain the differences between these eight kinds of marriages! Concepts of love and love-marriages are not something invented by the Western cultures. The story (a) mentioned above is the "Rukmini Kalyaanam" from Bhagavatam. Story (b) is "Gauree Kalyaanam" from Skaanda Puraanam, and story (c) is nothing but Raamaayanam! Similarly, Maha Bhaaratam has many love episodes. Elites or no elites, love and love-marriages have been a part of the Indian culture since ages. Love marriages called Gaandharva vivaaham fall within the eight recognised types mentioned above. So too are arranged marriages (see A2-C2).
Of the eight types of marriages mentioned above, each process has its own risks, uncertainties, advantages and disadvantages. The story of Saakuntalam (a well-known historical event) tells the risks involved under the Gandharva Vivaham--Sakuntala was not even recognised by her husband Dushyanta after a child was born out of their love. Sri Rama's marriage with Seeta was neither a love marriage, nor an arranged one; it is Praajaapatya Vivaaham. If SD thinks that arranged marriages are preferred because they imply a gender arrangement in favour of male dominance, he should also note that there is no guarantee that all love marriages are free from male or female dominance. Obviously a lot more scope exists for SD's further visits to India to do more research.
Neither actors and transnationals, nor non-resident Indians (NRIs) are non-elites. SD did not enough inquire about why those actors and superstars themselves prefer arranged marriages after acting in such love-laden super-hit movies. (9) Most of them, after their actions of love celebrations on the silver screens, finally settled down in life with arranged marriages only! So is the case with most of the transnational class among the Indian households and the NRIs. Neither they have yet given up Indian traditions and values; it is quite common that the NRI bridegrooms pick up their brides through matrimonial columns and arranged marriages. SD should have also interviewed some women, actors as well as NRIs.
Saying all this should not be construed as though I am for or against the system of arranged / love marriages. Two points I want to stress are that,
(a) The concept of love marriage is quite traditional for Indians as mentioned in the above stories. Indian non-elites need neither globalisation (cultural or structural) nor films (English or Hindi) to understand love, or how one should marry.
(b) The system of arranged marriages turned out to be the most preferred process because, like equilibrium process, it generally assures existence, uniqueness and stability of marriage (A2-C3). Even illiterates and the unfortunate deaf, dumb, blind, lame and otherwise disabled persons have been able to marry and proudly own families only because of this system. Individual choice was rarely ignored even in arranged marriages. Nowadays arranged marriages are actually turning out to be arranged-love-marriages! In fact barring the sporadic and purely self-centric instances, the principle followed by average Indian is "love the girl if only you can marry her; or marry the girl if only you can love her". Existence (astitvam), uniqueness (ekatvam) and stability (sthiratvam) are of utmost importance for Hindu marriages. Neither existence of marriage, nor uniqueness of spouse and nor stability of the relationship--none of these three is assured in love marriages; it is a matter of luck and chance. In fact divorce rate under love marriages is rather high, leaving the children high and dry. Perhaps that is how we "fall" in love, but not "rise" in love!
On the emphasis on individual characteristics and orientation in love marriages that SD mentions above, let us note the experience of Peter Backus, an economics teacher at the University of Warwick. He adapted the well-known 'Drake' equation method (astronomers use it to determine the potential number of extraterrestrials) to determine the number of girls in London meeting his requirements (the girl should be London based, attractive, aged between 24 and 34, and university educated). Even with these simple requirements, his computations indicated that the chance of finding his 'right' girl is only 1 in 285000! In percentage terms that comes to 0.00034. What should Backus do now? Give up? No; he started dating the girl next door who meets only two of his requirements! (See Deccan Herald, January 21, 2010). Same phenomenon results in arranged marriages in India. One issue that could not be covered here is that of asymmetric information that prevails under both the systems of marriage, between the bride and bridegroom, or, between the marriage-parties. But a more serious problem in the Hindu marriages is not the issue of love marriages versus arranged marriages but is the shameful dowry system, which neither SD mentions nor is it an occasion to discuss here in this article.
One does not need any samples or rigorous empirical analysis to get to the discovery made by SD (i.e. the lives of elite Indians were transformed by the new opportunities associated with economic liberalisation, but the lives of nonelite Indians were characterised more by continuities than by changes). It is general knowledge that benefits of liberal economic policies (globalisation?) did not yet significantly benefit many sections of the Indian population either economically or socially. Even if such benefits would accrue sometime in future, I still do not see why that should affect their cultural bearings.
First, increased access to foreign media and Hollywood films available after economic liberalisation is not really meant to 'culturally globalise' India. Not all people anyway watch them; those who do, don't necessarily carry those ideas home in their minds. Therefore, second, when he says (pg.48) that there has been a dramatic change in the cultural landscape even for the non-elite Indians since 1991 (which is somewhat inconsistent to the position that he had taken elsewhere with regard to their attitudes for marriages)--it is disagreeable to me. Third, elites or non-elites, rural or urban, Indians have historically never been culturally dumb idiots that, after globalisation they would suddenly discover that they now have to acquire fresh cultural imaginations from Hindi films, Hollywood movies and Americans and other Westerners. Erstwhile Prime Minister of France, George Clemenceau, seems to have said, "America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilisation." On the other hand, Hindus had the opportunity of getting culturally reformed as and when the society felt the need. (10) Thus fight from sages Gautama and Paraasara onwards, recent Raja Rammohan Ray, Dayanand Saraswati (first person who demanded India's independence in 1876), Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Veeresalingam Pantulu, B R Ambedkar, Dhondo Keshav Karve and many others worked against undesirable practices such as Sati, child marriages, etc. and for widow marriages, female education etc. And these reformers are all native Indians, not Westerners!
The above discussion takes us to an important sociological feature of cultural transformation in India in the face of technological developments. Hindus wholeheartedly have been welcoming new ideas of technological advances such as use of TVs, CDs, DVDs, PCs, Internet and Mobile instruments etc. which are basically culturally neutral. However, cultural-neutrality is not the main issue here. Some new ideas which are not culturally neutral have also been readily accepted by Hindus. Hindu scriptures prohibit people crossing seas. Nowadays few foreign traveling Indians are aware of this taboo. Till a few decades ago using gas for cooking purposes was a severe taboo particularly in Brahmin houses. Nowadays except the poor there is hardly any house without LPG cylinders. More importantly, use of contraceptives was not welcome; and particularly abortion was considered by many as an act of sin. However that has nowadays become a common feature for Hindus, while there are some religious communities in the world who do not yet approve contraceptives and abortions. Now look at the opposite side of this cultural coin. Hindu religious practices still do not accept an electric lamp as a substitute for oil-lit lamp in the sanctum sanctorum in the houses and temples. In the case of gender determination of the baby in the womb, the law of the country itself prohibits such medical tests, due to sociological problems involved. In these cases, new ideas could not dominate cultural attitudes! To sum up, Hindus have historically always welcomed new ideas whenever certain cultural beliefs and practices became personally unaffordable and socially costly. Some ideas are welcomed, while some are outright rejected. Same holds true with respect to arranged marriages versus love marriages, joint families versus nuclear families, etc.
In response to SD's observations on protests in India on celebrating Valentine's Day etc., let us note that there are some instances of continuing with such traditions in a different style nowadays. Hindus have concepts of celebrating Viswakarma Day and Aayudha Puja, of which the former is practically forgotten nowadays. These are equivalent to May Day (May 1) celebrations. Hindu 'teachers day' celebrations used to be on Vyasa Purnima day every year. Now it is celebrated on September 5 every year. Earlier, these celebrations mostly used to be as per Indian almanacs. Hindus' concept of Mahaalaya Paksha Amaavaasya has equivalent in Christianity as All Souls Day and Day of the Dead. Bhaginee Hasta Bhojanam (having a meal prepared only by a sister) and Raakhee (getting sisters' best wishes) etc. are other traditions peculiar to Hindus--and I am not familiar with their equivalents in other religions. Yet, having preached 'Maatru Devoe Bhava, Pitru Devoe Bhava' etc., Hinduism did not prescribe annual celebrations equivalent to Valentine's Day, Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day. The reason is that spouse and parents should be treated with love and affection every moment, every day. It is not treated as a mere once-a-year celebration!
Derne spent 1 year and 9 months in Banaras, Dehra Dun and Delhi between 1986 and 2001 (pg. 124). He interviewed 22 (32) young men of modest means with limited knowledge of English ["locally oriented middle class"] in the year 1991 (2001). He again visited Dehra Dun in 2007 to interview 17 men. No women were interviewed. Based on these visits, watching movies, reading fan magazines and comparing the interviews with the filmgoers between 1991 and 2001, follows his book on the cultural attitudes of Indian elites and non-elites--with emphasis on marriages. With these sample sizes and interviews at theatres in 2 or 3 places in a country which has a population of about 1.2 billions, a look of scientific rigor is painted (pgs.37, 50); and the empirics are presented in percentage terms (with an error on pg.166). It is up to the readers to appreciate Derne's guts. Born in India, I have been living in this country for 58 years of my age 63 now. Yet I do not dare to claim that I completely understand India; the country is vastly diverse in many aspects of life, culture, customs and traditions.
Some of the issues discussed in the book have nothing to do with the interviews he conducted, and some not discussed here. The web site of SUNY-Geneseo where Steve Derne works displays a motto, "treasure the tradition" for one of their programmes (as noticed on July 2, 2010). Ironically, he has nothing to offer for preserving the traditions. Basically Derne (2008) is a coffee table gossip over the 'Bloke & Blonde' Hindi films, under the name of cultural globalisation. Though I don't watch Hindi films, I do take coffee (not due to globalisation!); to that extent the book has been useful for me.
Finally, this review may be concluded with one assertion. I remain an ardent supporter of globalisation. However under the name of new cultural imaginations if I have to give up vegetarian food and end up eating beef and pork, or I have to give up reading Ramayana and end up with Playboy and Pent House magazines, or I have to give up enjoying the Kuchipudi, Bharata Natyam dance recitals and end up with Samantha Fox, etc., or I have to give up listening to Karnatak, Hindusthani classical music and end up with rock and pop, or I have to throw my parents and other elderly dependents out from my home and end up only with my wife, with kindergartens taking care of my childrenH, or I have to give up my life style and end up living in suits and boots, or I have to give up my mother tongue and end up only speaking English, I would rather say, hell with that kind of cultural globalisation.
Ome Saantih Saantih Saantihi!
A. Some basic tenets of Hinduism: Generally it is difficult to understand Hindu perspectives without knowing certain concepts such as Dharma-Artha-Kaama-Moksha, Sattva-Rajas-Tamo Gunaas (soft-ferocious- dull natures of thought and action), Saamaanya- Varna-Aasrama Dharmaas (General ethics- caste oriented ethics--ethics depending on the phases of the life) and Aatma & Paramaatma (soul & Almighty). Dharma-Artha-Kaama-Moksha are chaturvidha purushaarthas (four kinds of ultimate purposes) that every Hindu prays for even today. Artha refers to all kinds of materialistic wants and wealth etc. Kaama refers to desires and Moksha to ultimate salvation. The latter three must be based on the first one, i.e. dharma (moral ethics). Hindus staunchly believe that only 'dharma' followed in one's life would accompany the 'individual' after the death, but not the spouse, parents, children, friends, nor foes.
Saamaanya Dharmaas: Ahimsaa satyamasteyam saucham indriya nigrahaha, etam saamaasikam dharmam chaaturvarnye abraveed manuhu | (Manusmruti 10th Canto).
Ahimsaa satyamasteyam saucham indriya nigrahaha, Daanam damoe dayaa kshaantihi sarveshaam dharma saadhanam | Yaajnavalkya Smrutee (Gruhastha dharma prakaranam).
These stanzas refer to the saammanya dharmas, which are also elaborated in several other scriptures.
B. Treatment of caste: While the saastraas (treatises on particular subject matters) stress that the caste is not to be considered by birth, somehow over time the social treatment such as Brahmin's offspring are Brahmins, Kshatriyaa's offspring Kshatriyaas etc. became prevalent. The saastraas of course delineated the tasks for different castes: Brahmins are supposed to learn and teach, conduct religious affairs, guide the kings in administration, etc. Some Smrutees such as Paraasara stress the importance of agriculture and allows Brahmins also to cultivate. Bhupaala Mandanam says, all the four castes may cultivate. (12) Kshatriyaas' role is to protect and rule the kingdoms, keep up social welfare, ensure property rights, fair commerce and trade, and perform religious activities. Though the king has certain rights over everything (land, forestry, cattle etc.), he does not have the ownership. Cultivation, animal husbandry, commercial trade, loaning to get interest incomes etc. are assigned to Vaisyaas. Sudraas are supposed to provide all the services to the other three castes. Under dire circumstances, trespassing of the assigned duties was allowed. Only Brahmins were entitled to learn Vedaas. However, learning other saastraas and particularly professional studies and training (vrutti vidya) was open to all castes. By the way, some Vaishnava scriptures predict that ultimately there would be only one caste in India (they don't name it).
C. Literature evolution: The four Ruk--Yajur--Saama -Atharva Vedaas are pre-ancestral and no one knows how they came into existence (13). Vedaas led to different classes of further literature: 108 main Upanishads, 5 Upavedas (artha saastra, aayurveda etc.) and 6 Vedaangas (Siksha, Nirukta, Vyaakarana, Chandas, Kalpa, and Jyotisha--basically etymology, grammar etc.). Upanishads contain mainly philosophic perspectives. Vedaangas consist of various Saastras. Kalpa sutraas are in four categories: Srauta (rituals), Sulba (mathematics), Gruhya (households), and Dharma (ethics) sutras--of which the dharma sutras become relevant for our discussion here.
For Hindus the concept of dharma is very important. Roughly it means ethics, propriety and righteousness. Many times in the day-to-day life there could be utter confusion regarding what is proper and improper. Generally, it is in the nature of our lives to follow our predecessors or ancestors, when we cannot judge things on our own. So, Vedaas have been given top priority to get dhaarmic ideas from. Unfortunately, Vedaas turned out hard nuts to crack and difficult to understand. Therefore several sages, who could comprehend the Vedic knowledge, developed some simple treatises, called smrutees. Most of this literature including Vedaas was not written down (perhaps scripts did not evolve yet). While the sages preached, their students learnt many parts of them only by listening and remembering. Therefore, these became known as Srutees and Srnrutees. (14) By listening, reciting and remembering them, the dhaarmic knowledge has been passed on from generation to generation. Yet there was another big problem; i.e., imparting the knowledge content to common people who were illiterates and not intelligent enough. Story-telling was the technique used for them. 18 Puraanas, and 18 upa-Puraanaas, basically fables on Gods and demons, thus fulfilled the gap in spreading the knowledge.
Plenty of economic and non-economic content exists in the ancient Hindu literature mentioned above. The several Smrutee/Dharmasutra treatises and commentaries on them deal with numerous aspects of the king's administration, and life of the individuals and households, and social welfare. The authors of these 18 treatises include, Paraasara, Narada, Bruhaspati, Katyayana, Angirasa, Rushyasrunga, Kaarshnaaji, Daksha, Pitamaha, Pulastya, Paithanasi, Pracheta, Prajapati, Marichi, Yama, Laugakshi, Vaisvaamita, Vyasa, Sabara etc. and Asvalaayana, Gautama, Aapastamba, Manu, Bhrugu etc. The vast coverage of the issues and intricacies in this literature is rather amazing.
All this literature is in Sanskrit (a lot still remains un-translated) and several thousands years old. However, over time a lot of literature got lost. One important point to remember is that, when we say, for example, Manu Smrutee, it does not mean that Manu actually wrote it; it only means Manu taught these rules. Some of his disciples, or disciples' disciples documented these rules in later periods. Bhrugu (between 200 BC and 200 AD) is supposed to have documented the Manu Smrutee. This feature is analogous to Plato and Xenophon documenting Socrates' teachings.
An important sideline to the story is that not everyone agreed on the supremacy of the Vedaas and Vedic literature. Jainism and Buddhism grew with non-belief in the Vedic principles. To them Vedaas are not authorities on dhaarmic principles. Space and other considerations do not permit here a large-scale survey of the intricate details.
For a comprehensive discussion on the economic content in the ancient Hindu literature, see Kazanas (undated), Kazanas (2009), Bokare (1993) and Nadkarni (2008). Nicholas Kazanas is an Indologist and Vedic-Sanskrit scholar from Omilos Meleton Cultural Institute, Athens, which provides web-links to a great deal of research on Vedic content (see http://www.omilosmeleton. gr/en/economics_en.asp).
I. Economic principles
Manu Dharma Saastra
(A2-M1) Teshaamaadyam Runaadaanam nikshepo aswami vikrayaha, Sambhuya cha samutthaanam dattassyanapa karmacha, Vetanasvaiva chaadaanam samvidascha vyatikramaha, Krayavikrayaanusayo vivaadaha swaamipaalayoh | (Manusmruti 8th Canto)
(A2-M2) Anaadeyam naadadeeta pariksheenopi paarthivaha, nachaadeyam samruddhopi sukshmapyartham utsrujet | (Manusmruti 8th Canto)
(A2-M3) Yo arakshan balamaadatte karam Sulkam cha Paarthivaha, pratibhaagam cha damdam cha sa sadyo narakam vrajet | (Manusmruti 8th Canto)
(A2-M4) Sulkasthaanam pariharan akaale krayavikrayee, mithyaavaadee cha samkhyaane daapyOshtagunam atyayam | Agamam nirgamam sthaanam tathaa vruddhikshayaa vubhau vichaarya sarvapanyaanaam kaarayet krayavikrayau I pancha raatre pancha raatre pakshe pakshe athavaa gate, kurveeta chaishaam pratyaksham artham samsthaapanam nrupaha | tulaamaanam pratemaanam sarvam cha syaatsulakshanam, shatsu shatsu cha maaseshu punareva pareekshayet | ... ahanyahani aveksheta karmaantaani vaahannani cha, aayavyayau cha niyataavaakaraan kosameva cha | (Manusmruti 8th Canto) (A2-M5) Garbhinee tu dvimaasaadi stathaa pravraajito munihi, braahmanaalinginaschaiva na daapyaastaarikaantare | (Manusmruti 8th Canto)
(A2-M6) kshatriyam chaiva vaisyam cha braahmano vruttikarsitau, bibhruyaat aanrusamsyean svaani karmaani kaarayan | (Manusmruti 8th Canto)
(A2-M7) Yannavi kimchiddaasaanaam vinasyetaaparaadhataha, taddaasaireva daatavyam samaagamya svatomsataha | (Manusmruti 8th Canto)
(A2-M8) Yatkimchit dasavarshaani sannidhau prekshate dhani, bhujyamaanam pariah tushneem na sa tallubhumarhati | ... | sambhogo drussyate yatra na drussyet aagamah kvachit, aagamah kaaranam tatra na sambhoga iti sthitihi | (Manusmruti 8th Canto)
(A2-M9) Braahmanaha kshatriyo vaapi vruddhim naiva prayojayet, kaamam tu khalu dharmaartham kuryaat paapeeyase alpikaam | (Manusmruti 10th Canto)
Aapstamba Dharma Sutraas
(A2-A1) Avihitaa braahmanasya vanijaa; aapadi vyavahaareta panyaanaamapanyaani vyudasyan; manushyaanrasaanraagaan gamdhaan annam charmagavaam vasaagm sleshmodake, tokmakinve pippalee mareeche dhaanyam maagm samaayudhagm sukrutaasaam cha; tila tandulaagm stveva dhaanyasya viseshena na vikreeneeyaat; kaamamutpaadya krushyaamtu svayameva krusheevalaha, vikreeneeta tilaan suddhaan dharmaartham achirasthitaan; annena chaannasya manushyaanaam cha manushyai rasaanaam cha rasaih gamdhaanaam cha gamdhaih vidyayaa cha vidyaanaam | (Aapastamba Dharma Sutra, Prathama Prasna, 20th canto)
(A2-A2) Akreetapanyaih vyavahareta munjala balbajaih mulaphalaih; trunakaasthaih avikrutaih; naatyamtamanvavasyet | (Aapastamba Dharma Sutra, Prathama Prasna, 21st canto)
(A2-A3) Dhaarmyagm sulkamavahaarayet; akarah srotriyaha; sarvavarnaanaam cha striyaha; kumaaraascha praagvyamjanebhyaha; ye cha vidyaarthaa vasanti; tapasvinascha ye dharamaparaaha; sudrascha paadaavanektaa; andha mooka badhira rogaavishtaaah; ye vyardhaa dravya parigrahaih | (Aapastamba Dharma Sutra, Dviteeya Prasna, 26th canto)
(A2-A4) Jaayaapatyoh na vibhaago vidyate | (Aapastamba Dharma Sutra, Dviteeya Prasna, 14th canto)
(A2-A5) Streebhyaha sarvavarnebhyascha dharmaseshaan prateeyaat | (Aapastamba Dharma Sutra, Dviteeya Prasna, 29th canto, last sutraa) Yaajnavalkya Smrutee
(A2-Y1a) Deeyamaanam na gruhnaati prayuktam yah svakam dhanam, madhyastha sthaapitam chet syaat vardhate na tatah param | (Yaajnavalkya Smrutee, Runaadaana prakaranam)
(A2-Y1b) Avibhaktaih kutumbaarthe yadrunam tu krutam bhavet, dadyuh tadrikthinah prete proshite vaa kutumbini | (Yaajnavalkya Smrutee, Runaadaana prakaranam)
(A2-Y1c) na yoshit pati putraabhyaam na putrena krutam pitaa, dadyaat rute kutumbaarthaat na patihi strrkrutam tathaa | (Yaajnavalkya Smrutee, Runaadaana prakaranam)
(A2-Y1d) Kaayikaa kaalikaa chaiva kaaritaa cha tatah paraa, chakravruddhischa saastreshu tasya vruddhih chaturvidhaa | (Quoted by Pullella (2003) inYaajnavalkya Smrutee, Runaadaana prakaranam)
(A2-Y2) Svam labheta anyavikreetam kreturdosho aprakaasite, heenaadraho heenamulye velaaheene cha taskaraha | nashtaapagrutam aasaadya hartaarm graahayennaram, desakaalaatipattau cha gruheetvaa svayam arpayet | (Yaajnavalkya Smrutee, asvaamivikraya prakaranam)
(A2-Y3) Balaaddaaseekrutaha chauraih vikreetaschaapi muchyate | (Yaajnavalkya Smrutee, abhyupetyaa susrushaa prakaranam)
(A2-Y4a) Maanena tulayaa vaapi yo amsam ashtamakam haret, dandam sa daapyo dvisatam vruddhau haanau cha kalpitam; bheshaja sneha lavana gandha dhaanya gudaadishu, panyeshu prakshipan heenam panaan daapyastu shodasa | (Yaajnavalkya Smrutee, saahase praasangika prakaranam)
(A2-Y4b) Sambhuya kurvataam argham sabaadham kaarusilpinaam, arghasya hraasam vruddhim vaa jaanataam dama uttamaha | (Yaajnavalkya Smrutee, saahase praasangika prakaranam)
(A2-Y4e) Sambhuya vanijaam panyam anarghena uparundhataam, vikreenataam vaa vihito danda uttamasaahasaha | (Yaajnavalkya Smrutee, saahase praasangika prakaranam)
(A2-Y4d) Raajani sthaapyate yo arghaha pratyaham tena vikrayaha, krayo vaa nissravastasmaad vanijjaam laabhakrut; svadesapanye tu satam vanig gruhneeta panchakam, dasakam paaradesye tu yah sadyaha krayavikrayee; panyasya upari samsthaapya vyam panyasamudbhavam, argho anugrahakrut kaaryaha kreturvikretureva cha | (Yaajnavalkya Smrutee, saahase praasangika prakaranam)
Kautilya's Artha Saastra
(A2-K0) Pruthivyaa laabhe paalane cha yaavati anya arhasaastraani purvaachairyaih prasthaapitaani praayasah taani samhrutya ekamidam artha saastram krutam | (First statement in Kautilya Artha Saastra). This implies that already some treatises were prevailing by 300 B.C. In fact 'Sukra Neetii' and 'Bruhaspati Artha saastra' are well known other ancient treatises on the subject.
(A2-K1) Kaarusilpinaam karmagunaapakarshamaajeevam vikrayakrayopaghaatam vaa sambhuya samutthaapayataam sahasram dandaha; vaidehakaanaam vaa sambhuya panyam avarundhataam anarghena vikreenataam vaa sahasram dandaha; tulaamaantaram arghavarnaantaram vaa dharakasya maayakasya vaa panamulyaad ashtabhaagam hastadoshenaacharato dvisatoe dandaha; tena dvisatottaraa dandavruddhih vyaakhyaataa; dhaanya sneha kshaara lavana gandha bhaishjya dravyaanaam samavarnopadhaane dvaadasapano dandaha; yannisrushtam upajeeveyuh tadeshaam divasa samjaatam samkhyaaya vanik sthaapayet, kretru vikretroh antarapatitam aadaayaat anyat bhavati; .... anujnaatakriyaadupari chaishaam svadeseeyaanaam panyaanaam panchakam satam aajivam sthaapayet, paradeseeyaanaam dasakam | (Kautilya Artha Saastra--Vaidehaka Rakshanam)
(A2-K2) Panyabaahulyaat panyaadhyakshaha sarvapanyaani ekamukhaani vikreeneeta; teshu avikreeteshu naanye vikreeneeran; taani divasa vetanena vikreeneeran anugrahena prajaanaam | (Kautilya Artha Saastra--Vaidehaka Rakshanam)
(A2-K3) Janapadam mahaantam alpapramaanam vaa adevamaatrukam prabhutadhaanyam dhaanyasyaamsam truteeyam chaturtham vaa yaacheta, yathaa saaram madhyamvaram vaa; durga-setu-karma-vanik-patha-sunya nivesa-khani-dravya-hasti-vana-karmoepakaarinam pratyantam alpapramaanam vaa na yaacheta; dhaanya pasu hiranyaadi nivisamaanaaya dadyaat; chaturthamamsam dhaanyaanaam beejabhakta suddham cha hiranyena kreeneeyaat || (Kautilya Artha Saastra--Kosaabhi Samharanam)
(A2-K4) Aakaraprabhavaha koesaha, koesaad dandah prajaayate, pruthivee koesadandaabhyaam prapyate koesabhushanaa || (Kautilya Artha Saastra --Aakarakarmaanta pravartanam)
(A2-D1) Na samchitavyam vipraistu dhanam kvaapi kadaachana, yashtavyam vidhivaddeyam bhoktavyam cha yathaa sukham | (Devi Bhaagavatam)
(A2-O1) Nyaayyopaarjita vittena kartavyam hi aatmarakshanam, anyaayyena tu yoe jeevet sarvakarma bahishkrutaha | (Paraasara Smrutee, 12th Canto).
(A2-O2) Prabalih durbalaanaam tu yathaa peedaa na jaayate, tathaa vyavasthaakrut bhupaha sobhate nitaraam bhuvi | (Bhupaala Mandanam, Gavaadi paalana kathanam).
(A2-O3) Akshair inaa deevyaha, krushim it krushasva, vitte ramasva bahu manyamaanaha, tatra gaavah kitava tatra jaayaa--Rug Veda.
(A2-O4) Annam na nindyaat, Annam na parichaksheeta, Annam bahu kurveeta, tad vratam--Yajur Veda.
II. Social Welfare
(A2-S1) Moegham annam vindate aprachetaah, satyam braveemi vadha itsa tasya, naaryamanam pushyati noe sakhaayam kevalaaghoe bhavati kevalaadee | (Rug Veda)
(A2-S2) Urkchame, sunrutaa chame, payaschame, rasaschame, ghrutamchame, madhuchame, sagdhischame, sapeetischame, krushischame, vrushtischame, jaitramchame, audbhidyamchame, rayischame, raayaschame, pushtamchame, pushtischame, vibhuchame, prabhuchame, bahuchame, bhuyaschame, purnamchame, purnataramchame akshitischame, kuyavaaschame, annamchame, akshuschame, vreehayaschame, yavaaschame, maashaaschame, tilaaschame, mudgaaschame, khalvaaschame, godhumaaschame, masuraaschame, priyamgavaschame, anavaschame, syaamaakaaschame, neevaaraaschame, kalpataam | (Chamakam 4th anuvakam)
(A2-S3) Eshaam purushaanaam eshaam pasunaam maa bher maaroe mo eshaam kinchanaamamat | imaagm rudraaya tavase kapardine kshyadveeraaya prabharaamahe matim, yathaa nah samasdvipade chatushpade visvam pushtam graame asmin anaaturam | maanoe mahaantamuta maana arbhakam maa na ukshantamuta maana ukshitam, maanoe vadheeh pitaram moeta maataram priyaa maanastanuvoe Rudra reerishaha; maanastoeke tanaye maana aayushi maanoe goeshu maanoe asveshu reerishaha, veeraanmaanoe Rudra bhaamitoe vadheeh havishmantoe namasaa vidhema te | (Namakam 10th anuvaakam)
(A2-S4) Rudraadhyaayee vasedyatra graame vaa nagarepi vaa, vyaadhi durbhiksha choraadi baadhaa na jaayate |
(A2-S5) Aapoehisthaah mayoe bhuvaha, taa na urje dadhaatana, mahe ranaaya chakshase, yoevas sivatamoe rasaha, tasya bhaajayateha naha, usateeriva maataraha, tasmaa aram gamaamavoe yasya kshaayaaya jinvataha aapoejana yathaa cha naha | (Varuna Suktam rendered under Sandhyaa Vandanam, Udaka Saanti, Abhishekam, etc.).
(A2-S6) Yoepaam pushpam veda, pushpavaan prajaavaan pasumaan bhavati, chandramaavaa apaam pushpam, pushpavaan prajaavaan pasumaan bhavati, ya evem veda, yoepaam aayatanam veda, aayatanavaan bhavati | (Mantrapushpam. Note: Pushpavaan implies virile person and also sun & moon).
(A2-S7) Satyam vaa yadivaasatyam ahitam vaa hitam tathaa, yathochitam karma kuryaat prakruti kshemasiddhaye I (Bhupaala Mandanam Gavaadipaalana kathanam).
III: Cultural globalisation
(A2-C1) Brahmacharyam parisamaapya gruhee bhavet, gruhee bhutvaa vanee bhavet, vanee bhutvaa pravrajet; Yadi vetarathaa brahmacharyaadeva pravrajet gruhaadvaa vanaadvaa | (Jaabaala Smrutee--quoted in Pullela (2003). One becomes householder after completing bachelorhood, after householding may go away to woods seeking solitude, and afterwards may attain sainthood finally. Abachelor, who has enough will, may become a saint skipping the 2nd and 3re stages.)
(A2-C2) Brahmoe daivastadaiva aarshah praajaapatyas tadhaa aasuraha, Gaandharvoe raakshasaschaiva paisaachascha ashtamoe adhamaha I (Manusmruti 3rd Canto. Braahma, daiva, aarsha, praajaapatya, aaasura, gaandharva, raakshasa, and paisaacha: these are eight types of marriages.)
(A2-C3) Anyoenyasya avyabhichaaroe bhaved aamaranaantikaha, Esha dharmah samaasena jneyah stree pumsayoeh paraha I (Manu Smrutee--9th Canto: Wife and husband should live with mutual affection without violating each other until their death. Know it as dharma.).
(including some additional readings):
Akerlof, George (1976). The Economics of Caste and of the Rat Race and Other Woeful Tales. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, XC (4): 599-617.
Ahmad, Khurshid (2003). The Challenge of Global Capitalism: An Islamic Perspective. In Dunning, J H (ed), Making Globalisation Good- The Moral Challenges of Global Capitalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bokare, M G (1993). Hindu Economics. New Delhi: Janaki Prakashan.
Bose, AC (1954). The Call of the Vedas. Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
Breloer, Bernhard (1927). Kautilya Studien 1: Das Grundeigentum in Indien. Bonn
--(1928). Kautilya Studien 2: Altindishe Privaterechi bet Megasthenes und Kautilya. Bonn
Cousins, Margaret E (1935). The Music of Orient and Occident: Essays towards Mutual Understanding. Madras: B G Paul & Co.
Derne, Steve (2008). Globalisation on the Ground--Media and the Transformation of Culture, Class and Gender in India. New Delhi: Sage Publications.
Dunning, John H (ed) (2003). Making Globalisation Good- The Moral Challenges of Global Capitalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Fleet, J F (1914). Introductory note to Kautilya's Artha Sastra (translation by Shama Sastry, 1967).
Frawley, David (Undated): Indology--I am a Bridge Between the East and the West--Interview with Suma Varughese. See http://www.lifepositive.com/mind/ culture/indology/david-frawley.asp
Freitas, Kripa (2006). The Indian Caste @stem as a Means of Contract Enforcement. Evanston, IL: Department of Economics, Northwestern University.
Granger, Clive W J (2005). Some Thoughts on the Future of Forecasting. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, LXVII (Supplement): 707-11.
Gray, John (1998). False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism. London: Granta Books.
Griffiths, Brian (2003). The Challenge of Global Capitalism: A Christian Perspective. In Dunning, J H (ed), Making Globalisation Good--The Moral Challenges of Global Capitalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Jones, Rodney W (2006). India's Strategic Culture. USA: Defense Threat Reduction Agency, SAIC.
Kangle, R P (1986). The Kautilya Artha Saastra, Parts 1, 2 and 3. Delhi: Motilal Banarsi Dass.
Kazanas, Nicholas (2009). Economic Principles in Ancient India (Parts I & II). IUP Journal of History and Culture, III (2, 3 and 4) (see: SSRN: http://ssrn.com)
--(Undated): Economic Principles in Ancient India. Athens: Omelos Meleton. (http://www.omilos meleton.gr/pdf/en/indology/EPAI.pdf)
Kung, Hans (2003). An Ethical Framework for Global Market Economy. In Dunning, J H (ed), Making Globalisation Good- The Moral Challenges of Global Capitalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lal, Deepak (2003). Private Morality and Capitalism: Learning from the Past. In Dunning, J H (ed), Making Globalisation Good- The Moral Challenges of Global Capitalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Loy, David R (2003). The Challenge of Global Capitalism: The Perspective of Eastern Religions. In Dunning, J H (ed), Making Globalisation Good- The Moral Challenges of Global Capitalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Nadkarni, M V (2008). Hinduism--A Gandhian Perspective. 2nd edition. New Delhi: Ane Books India.
Paglia, Camille (2010). No Sex Please, We're Middle Class. Deccan Herald, June 28,2010.
Pullela, Sri Ramachandrudu (2003). Yaajnavalkya Smrutee (Telugu). Hyderabad: Samskruta Bhasha Prachara Samiti.
Row, Girmaji KVSM (1944). Violin--An Essay in Telugu of a Research Made. Gooty (AP, India): The High School Press.
Sacks, Jonathan (2003). Global Covenant: A Jewish Perspective on Globalisation. In Dunning, J H (ed), Making Globalisation Good--The Moral Challenges of Global Capitalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Shama Sastry, R (1967). Kautilya's Artha Sastra (English translation, 8th edition). Mysore: Mysore Printing and Publishing House.
Srinivasan, T N (2010). Finance, Management and Development: A Vision for IFMR (Private document).
Thengadi, D B (1993). Quo Vadis? Foreword in Bokare, M G, Hindu Economics. New Delhi: Janaki Prakashan.
Vempati, L N Sastry (1983). Manuvu- Maanava Dharmamulu (Telugu). Vijayawada: Sri Lalita Vidya Mandiramu.
World Economic Forum (2009). The India Gender Gap Review 2009. http://www.weforum.org/pdf/gendergap/IGGR09.pdf
(1) Runaani treeni apaavrutya manoe mokshe nivesayet, anapaavrutya moeksham tu sevamaanoe vrajatyadhaha | (Manu Smrutee, 6th Canto--Only after clearing off the three kinds of dues, one should seek for salvation. Seeking for salvation without clearing off the dues leads to downfall.)
(2) Ayam nijaha paroe vetti gananaa laghuchetasaam, udaaracharitaanaam tu vasudhaika kutumbakam (Only inferior minds count some as insiders and others as outsiders; for noble gentlemen entire earth is one family.)
(3) It is a pity that sciences, social sciences and humanities have become a kind of victims during this process.
(4) Sanskrit is a peculiar language. Many times, interpretations of sentences depend on the context and certain codes. The (in) famous statement, "na stree swaatantryamarhati" from the Manu smrutee is time and again misinterpreted. While the actual meaning of the statement is that no woman should be left alone without protection, it is often misinterpreted as, no woman deserves independence! Similarly, 'Goe braahmanebhyah subhamsatu nityam' is often misinterpreted.
(5) Margaret Cousins, an Irish born in 1878, spent most of her life in India and was the first to demand women franchise. She says, "... about 500 BC Pythagoras after his travels in India systematised the primitive music of his times and gave it new vitality by standardising its sound combinations into seven scales which were developed downwards, not upwards, in selections of the combinations and permutations of seven sounds out of twelve semitones in an octave which have formed ever since the fundamental sound substance of European music. These seven scales are identical with seven of the melakartas (scales) used in South Indian music, and it is noteworthy that Strobo has written that Pythagoras was influenced by India in the reforms and developments he made in the music of his time."--Cousins (1935) as quoted in Row (1944). However, it is quite difficult to verify the veracity of such often-stated ancestral facts.
(6) My own middle class morality prohibits further discussion of this issue. Otherwise, the discussion would take me to the Deccan Herald (DH) reports on a UK Charity advising 11-year-old students to discuss whether women enjoy rape (DH, May 25, 2010), traveling nude on London tube for promoting a TV series (DH, 19 May 2010), a teacher not even stopping when two US school students were engaged in sex act in a packed class room while the others videographed (DH, May 14, 2010). Do they represent the culture and civilisation of UK and US? I pray, not.
(7) SD seems to be quite convinced that once economic opportunities become unlimited and joint-family structure is broken, Indian men's culture gets enriched. I know, a foreign-returned Indian Professor, living a nuclear family consisting of his doctor-wife and 5-year-old son, cried one day in the office saying his wife and son get to see and talk to each other only on Sundays. On working days, by the time the son wakes up she is already off to hospital, by the time she comes home for lunch, the son is in school, by the time he returns from school, she is away on her evening duty, by the time she returns home, the son is already asleep! There is hardly any significant research on the psychological development of the children growing without adequate parental care. We, however, seem to be more bothered about research on developing female Viagra. Camille Paglia informs us that a US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recently urged for further research on women with low libido. See Paglia (2010) for a short discussion on the cultural and sexual attitudes of the US middle-class women.
(8) Readers may forgive me for this anecdotal reference. Once an old gentleman commented as follows on what is meant by getting civilised. To defecate, in the old days we used to go away to the open spaces far away from the residential houses; we nowadays do in the attached bathrooms within the houses. Conjugal activity used to be confined to bedroom in the house late night; now it happens in cars and public gardens even noon time. To sneeze out mucus we used to go out of the house; nowadays wherever we are we sneeze into kerchiefs and hide it in our trouser pockets. We do everything exactly opposite to what our elders used to do. You call this as civilisation--he asked! The list of such contrasts between the past and present that he observed is surprisingly quite long.
(9) On page 147, when he talks about Shilpa Shetty, he comes close to this point.
(10) I owe this point to Shashti Ghosh, my colleague.
(11) In India, kids learn a lot from their grannies, more than what they do from their parents and teachers.
(12) Shatkaramaniratoe vipraha, krushikarma cha kaarayet--Paraasara Smruti (2nd Canto), Braahmanaaha kshatriyaa vaisyaaha sudraa ye cha krusheevalaaha (Bhupaala Mandanam)
(13) The only thing known is that originally there was only one huge Vedam. Sage Vyasa split it into four parts. In Sanskrit, Vyasa means division.
(14) Smrutee: something remembered, and Srutee: something heard or listened.
N S S Narayana *
* N S S Narayana is with Economic Analysis Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I thank Professors TN Srinivasan, VM Rao, Kirit S Parikh, RS Deshpande, MP Vithal and S Sivakumar for their suggestions and comments on some parts of an earlier draft of this article. Thanks are also due to an anonymous referee of this journal. Views and opinions expressed, and errors and mistakes remaining are entirely mine.