Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Predictions - I

I used to think South India would herald Indian Renaissance. Now, I'm more and more getting convinced that it would be Pakistan. I should have guessed it earlier. After all, it was Christian heartland of Italy that heralded the Renaissance in Europe.

5 comments:

Jhangora said...

I am not really aware about the history of Europe but the recent attacks in Bangalore did surprise me. I have never been to South India but used to think people are much more progressive there compared to other parts of India.

Looks like right wing forces are gaining ground in South India.

Manjunat said...

The attack that grabbed the headlines happened in Mangaluru and not in Bengaluru. I never heard South Indians being progressive. The stereotype has been South Indians are "conservative". Other stereotype was South Indians are law abiding as compared to North Indians.

Maju said...

Now, I'm more and more getting convinced that it would be Pakistan.

Why? I see no apparent reason.

After all, it was Christian heartland of Italy that heralded the Renaissance in Europe.

Uh? Italy heralded Renaissance for various reasons. I can think of the following:

1. That it was divided in many small/medium states, each one with independent policies and rivalling each other in political, military, scientific and prestige fields.

2. That it was still then the most urbanized and "industrialized"(advanced) area of Europe, a remnant from the Roman age in part.

3. That they had privileged connections with the decaying and finally sucumbing Byzantine Empire (and secondarily Islam and therefore all Asia), which was actually the source of most new trends of Renaissance, inclduing the revival of Aristotalian thought.

Notice anyhow that the second stage of Renaissance and the core of North European rise was in the Low Countries and nearby areas, largely due to the liberal policies of the Dukes of Burgundy (and other local lords) before their incorporation to the Habsburgian Crown, that was very conservative and hence caused some decline. The negative effects of these conservative (or even reactionary) policies can be percieved too in Italy (which also fell largely to the Habsburgs) and Spain and Portugal (same).

The peak of the Italian renaissance was ironically when the Papacy was under the "satanic" control of the Borgias, prior to French and Spanish intervention.

I cannot think how any of these factor actually relates to Pakistan, which I percieve as a most conservative society. IMO India (as a whole) looks much more open and dynamic, even if it still lags somewhat due to "rural" conservatism.

Manjunat said...

Maju:
I'm glad you also believe there has been no renaissance in India. It is one of the reasons for my conviction that European society did not influence Indians and all the talk about Westernization is absurd.

Maju said...

I'm glad you also believe there has been no renaissance in India.

I did not say that. In fact the last decades have been ones of increased international presence of India, both politically and economically. And you have nukes too, yah, just to make the point clear.

"Renaissance" is a relative term. India like everybody else is now in the midst of a crisis. We'll see who and how makes the best decissions within it and leades the way out. For what I know it could be India as much as any other country or region. The good thing about crisis is that the window of opportunity is wide open.

It is one of the reasons for my conviction that European society did not influence Indians and all the talk about Westernization is absurd.

I would not go that far. It's evident that the last centuries, and very especially the 20th century has left a "western" imprint all around the globe and India is no exception (nor has tried to be for the most part). True that many of so-called "western values", like a liberal mentality, are often present in all cultures in their local variations. But equally other conservative "western values" like fundamentalism (a US and British promoted vaue, very strong in the USA) have been expanding around in their local versions and also as Christian missions. But while liberal Humanism hardly belongs to any nation or culture (it's all about respect, dignity and freedom), conservative Fundamentalism emphasizes such divisions.

Both are equally "western" and "unwestern", IMO. It's more a matter of being progressive (i.e. not trampled by tradition, open-minded) or being regressive (consrvative, reactionary).

One thing we cannot avoid in this hyper-globalized 21st century is the fact that the world is not just a mosaic of distinct cultures but rather a network of them. And above all, a network of people, regardless of ancestry or culture.

IMO, the age of western hegemony is over. The current crisis and the unavoidable collapse of the US-dominated "empire" that is happening within it are the proverbial nail on the coffin. But the "western" cultural influence and the globalization process western powers have pushed since Columbus, Da Gama and Elkano, and recently emphasized by Holywood and the Internet, has left its mark for good or bad.

That has no remedy. We just can search in the rubble and decide if anything of all that is of value or not.