|← Culture and Communication||Homestead Strike →|
The Hindu milk miracle, a phenomenon, which is regarded by many Hindus as a miracle, happened on September 21, 1995. Prior to dawn, a Hindu follower at a temple in south New Delhi submitted a milk offering to a statue of Ganesha. Upon holding up a spoonful of milk to the statue, the milk disappeared after seemingly being drunk by it. The news about the ‘miracle’ spread very fast and by the mid-morning of that day, it was witnessed that idols of all the Hindu gods in all temples of North India were consuming milk (Shaveta 23).
By noon that day, the news about the ‘miracle’ had gone beyond India to Hindu temples in other parts of the world, including the UK, Canada, Dubai, and Nepal. The phenomenon in India was reproduced in other countries prompting the Indian Hindu Organization (Vishva Hindu Parishad) to declare that a miracle was taking place (Shaveta 25).
The supposed miracle had a considerable impact on regions surrounding all major temples. Traffic jams in New Delhi became so heavy and remained that way until late in the evening. In addition, many shops in regions with considerable Hindu populations experienced an escalation of milk sales (Shaveta 25). For instance, the Gateway store of England sold more than 25,000 pints of milk, while milk sales in New Delhi rose by more than 30%. Numerous small temples strived to handle the large increase in the number of worshippers with queues extending to the nearby streets.
In an attempt to shed light on the occurrence, scientists from the India’s Ministry of Science and Technology visited the New Delhi temple and gave milk that had food coloring to the statue. The scientists concluded that the phenomenon was caused by capillary action, that is, the surface tension of the milk pulled it out of the spoon while gravity made it flow in front of the idol (Shaveta 29). Despite the scientists’ explanation, Hindu faithful did not stop dashing to the temple, while lines of people with pots, pans, and buckets of milk continued to assemble around the Hindu statues.
The faith of those, who were moved by the miracle, was further strengthened when the phenomenon stopped near the end of the day supposedly because the gods had refused to take in more milk. Many skeptics believe that the incidence was an instance of mass hysteria. The miracle allegedly occurred again in 2006 and 2010.
How the Hindu Milk Miracle Reflects Globalization
Globalization refers to the process, by which systems in various parts of the world merge to become one. There are social, economic, cultural, technological, and other systems. The Hindu milk miracle reflects globalization at two levels. The first level is the globalization of religion, and in particular the Hindu religion, while the other level is technological globalization. Religious globalization is indicated by the fact that Hindu faithful and temples are not found in India only, but in other countries as well, including Britain and Canada. The spread of the Hindu religion is of course accompanied by the spread of the Hindu culture. Thus, the phenomenon essentially depicts cultural globalization through the spread of religion.
Technological globalization is indicated by the way the news about the miracle could spread to various countries in the world in a matter of hours. For example, we are told that by noon that day, the news had reached England and the situation in India had already been replicated. The news could spread so fast due to the global interconnectedness of communication systems, such as telephone networks and the Internet.
Arjun Appadurai Perspectives on the above Aspects of Globalization
Arjun Appadurai’s view of the Hindu milk miracle falls under ethnographic globalization, that is, the increasing fluidity of global cultures primarily because of immigration. He could also have viewed the occurrence as a kind of technoscape globalization i.e. the globalization of technology. In this case, the technology is Information Technology.
How the Story Complicates America’s Commonsensical Understanding of Globalization
Many Americans believe that globalization is associated with a positive transformation and relates to the spread of technology and markets. This means that the American concept of globalization does not comprise some aspects, such as culture and religion. However, as the Hindu milk miracle phenomenon illustrates, globalization can also involve such dimensions as culture and religion, and it does not always lead to progress. The hysteria caused by the supposed miracle had the potential to cause harm, including stampedes. Thus, globalization can be based on both rational and irrational influences.
Monsanto Farmer Commits Suicide
The rate of suicides among Indian farmers has recently reached unprecedented levels. The situation has received a lot of attention from the India’s mainstream media, but nothing has been done so far to curb it (Stephanie 3). The increasing level of suicides has been caused by expensive genetically modified and ineffective seeds of the Monsanto Company. The company is believed to have caused over 250,000 farmer suicides for the last 16 years.
According to the recent study by the New York University School of Law, 17,638 Indian farmers committed suicide in 2009. This translates to about one death every thirty minutes. In 2008, the Daily Mail called the continuous suicides caused by GM foods ‘genocide’. As a result of poor harvest and inflated food prices, Indian farmers have continued to become impoverished. That has driven them to suicide (Stephanie 3). Most of the time, they commit suicide by taking insecticides supplied by Monsanto.
In support of these claims, research has shown that the rate of suicide among Indian farmers increased following the introduction of Bt cotton seeds by Monsanto in 2002. Coincidentally, the largest proportions of farmers, who have taken their own lives in the recent past, are cotton farmers (Stephanie 4). As a matter of fact, some areas in India are labeled as ‘‘suicide belts’’ portraying the gravity of the situation. It was estimated that 4238 suicides that took place in 2007 happened in the ‘‘suicide belts.’’
In India, about 1.1 billion people rely on agriculture. Monsanto’s impact on the health and well-being of India’s population is a very serious issue, which calls for both national and international attention.
How the Monsanto Issue Reflects Globalization
The Monsanto issue in India has resulted from economic and technological globalization, which happens through multinational companies. The latter transfer their technologies, products and services from their home country to other countries of the world in a bid to increase their profits. Such companies may be seeking new markets, resources, finances, or technology in the foreign markets, to which they expand. In the case of Monsanto, the company has transferred its controversial GMO technology to India seeking to benefit from cheap labor in the country. Monsanto expansion to foreign countries and to India in particular reflects two aspects of globalization, namely technology diffusion and international sourcing of factors of production. Technology diffusion is indicated by the company’s transfer of GMO technology to India and other emerging markets in Asia and Africa. On the other hand, international sourcing of factors is indicated by the company’s strategic location of its cotton farms in India, which is renowned for its cheap labor.
Arjun Appadurai Perspectives on the above Aspects of Globalization
Arjun Appadurai could have classified the Monsanto issue as financescape and technoscape globalization. Financescape globalization relates to the mobility of capital around the world. In contrast, technoscape globalization concerns the transfer of GMO technology by Monsanto to emerging markets, such as India.
How the Monsanto Story Complicates America’s Commonsensical Understanding of Globalization
Most Americans associate globalization with progress, and that is why the country has always advocated for the liberalization of international trade. However, as illustrated by the Monsanto case in India, globalization, especially technology transfer, may result in societal disturbances, such as suicides among Indian farmers because of the introduction of GMO foods.
The Miracles of Ganesha
Lord Ganesha is one of the most popular gods among the Hindu pantheon. His idols are found in India and throughout Nepal. All various divisions of the Hinduism worship the god. The commercial and cultural influence of Lord Ganesha extends beyond India to other countries in the world (Gupta 10). The introduction of Internet technology has facilitated the influence of the Hindu deity, especially through the use of the social media. Many people affiliated to the Hindu religion now claim to experience miracles, success in life, and good health as a result of worshipping the god.
How the Lord Ganesha Story Reflects Globalization
The story about Lord Ganesha is a good example of how information and communication technology has led to globalization. Many affiliates of the Hindu religion believe in this god as a result of the publicity that has been enabled by the social media. The Internet has lowered communication costs and enabled sharing information and ideas among people in different parts of the world, including religious beliefs.
Arjun Appadurai Perspective on Lord Ganesha and Globalization
Lord Ganesha’s influence on societies around the world is an example of cultural globalization. Based on Arjun Appadurai perspective, this is a form of ethnographic globalization, since it involves the spread of one cultural way of life to other cultures in various parts of the world. The story also depicts technographic globalization, since the popularity of Lord Ganesha’s supposed powers has been promoted using the social e-media.
How the Lord Ganesha Story Complicates America’s Commonsensical Understanding of Globalization
The story of Lord Ganesha and his influence on societies in various parts of the world illustrates cultural globalization, which has not been recognized by many Americans as a form of globalization. The story also shows that globalization is not always progressive, since claims about Lord Ganesha’s powers cannot be substantiated.