What globalisation means etymologically is not what is practiced in this world today. Globalisation means diffusion of practices, expansion of relations across continents, organisation of social life on a global scale and growth of a shared global consciousness. But that is not what is happening today. We know now what the truth is.
Globalisation is not only sharing ideas and practices, neither is it Westernisation fully which we nowadays assume it is.
Today, the world in which we live has its own complex understanding of globalisation. The values and cultures which are practiced presently in the name of globalisation in this world of ours are the cultures of the elite countries. We the so-called Third World countries have become a place for experimentation of their beliefs. We are being hypnotised or persuaded to follow their ways.
The concept about globalisation that we are harbouring in our minds is becoming modern, and becoming modern is imitating the activities of Europeans or Americans. Our minds have been swayed or motivated towards their pursuits and ideas. It is not bad to know about the culture of others. In fact, that makes us more educated and well informed in this information technological world. But becoming used to it is a threat to our own native culture. It’s not good to blame the Europeans or the Americans; the actual blunder is done by us. We are hitting the hammer on our own heads, that is, we are excluding or taking for granted our own culture.
Nowadays, we are talking about tourism and tourism advancement in our country. Why are tourists attracted to Nepal? This question may be relevant to understanding the importance of our culture. It’s not the concrete buildings and houses which we are constructing in an unmanaged way that attract them. Rather, foreign visitors come to our motherland to view its natural beauty and diverse cultural heritage.
The charming art and architecture of our traditional houses and graceful temples are what interest them. The scenic mountain landscape with the Himalaya as a backdrop mesmerises visitors from places where there is just flat land. They aren’t attracted by the Pizza Huts or KFCs, there are plenty of them in their own countries. They come here to sit in the way that we sit, and eat the food that we eat — where the sky is our roof, and the floor is our motherland.
They respect our culture, and we should also do the same. But neglecting one’s own culture is not respecting the importance of the culture of others. This kind of attitude not only hampers our existence, it also casts a question over our nationalism. Yes, we lack knowledge about the importance of our culture, and find out its fine points from the observations of foreigners.
Published in The Kathmandu Post