Monday, July 02, 2007

Globalization Erodes India's Caste System

From the WSJ's recent article "Caste Away: India's High-tech Revolution Helps Untouchables Rise:"

For thousands of years, advancement in India has been restricted by its caste system, which is enshrined in the country's dominant Hindu religion. But India's rapid economic expansion and its booming high-tech sector are beginning to chip away at the historical system that reserved well-paying jobs for upper castes.

"We don't give a damn about any of these differences in caste or religion," says Ravi Venkatesan, chairman of Microsoft's India unit. "Talent is the number one issue for all companies."

Abhishek Jain, executive vice president at IncentOne, a U.S. company that outsources technical work to India said, "It's a global industry. In America, the only caste that matters is talent."

Bottom Line: Outsourcing and globalization get a lot of criticism for imposing American culture and values on developing countries and destroying local cultures and traditions, but this is an example of one the many positive sides of globalization - it's changing India's thousand-year old caste system, for the better.

1 Comments:

At 7/02/2007 9:04 PM, Anonymous Sudha Shenoy said...

1. The caste system goes back to the RgVeda, c. 1200 BC.

2. In the mid-19th century, the first cotton mill was opened in Bombay. Workers of _all_ castes were recruited & worked together. The same principle applied & still applies in all 'modern' industrial/commercial ventures.

3. Throughout the 19th century, as India was opened up to the global economic order -- built up since the early 16th century -- castes that adapted better to the new material opportunities, rose in the caste structure. There are many case-studies.

4. Globalisation & its impact on caste began centuries before the US finally joined the global economy, late as always.

 

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