The Marxist

Volume: 17, No. 01

January-March 2001

Globalisation and Liberalisation: 

 Its impact on State, Social and Cultural Aspects[1]

Harkishan Singh Surjeet

I had the opportunity of visiting Cuba many times and listening to the speeches made by Fidel Castro. I had also the opportunity of discussions with this great leader.  The main theme has always been globalisation and neo-liberalism.  In fact, for the democratic movement in the Latin American countries, he always emphasised on globalisation and neo-liberalisation in the way it is affecting the mass of the population, allowing a section to garner huge profits and leading to growing poverty and starvation.  He constantly emphasised that if the people are enlightened about this grave danger and their resistance  is organised, they can achieve the objective of freedom and democracy.

In one of his lectures given in 1999 at the University of Venezuela,  he said: “I was saying that we are living in a very different world.  This is the first thing we need to understand; then, I was explaining certain political characteristics. Furthermore, the world is globalised, really globalised, a world dominated by the ideology, the standards and the principles of neo-liberal globalisation.

“In our view, globalisation is nobody’s whim; it is not even anybody’s invention. Globalisation is a law of history. It is a consequence of the development of the productive forces – excuse me, please, for using  this phrase which might still scare some due to its authorship – it is a consequence of scientific and technologic development, so much so that even the author of this phrase, Karl Marx, who had great confidence in human talent, possibly was unable to imagine it.”

He further elaborated: “There is no need here for an extensive explanation on what neo-liberalism is all about. How can I summarise it?  Well, I would say this, for instance: neo-liberal globalisation wants to turn all countries, especially all our countries, into private property.

“What will be left for us of their enormous resources? Because they have accumulated an immense wealth not only looting and exploiting the world but also working the miracle alchemists longed for in the Middle  Ages: turning paper into gold.  At the same time, they have turned gold  into paper and with it they buy everything, everything but souls -- more  accurately said -- everything but the overwhelming majority of souls.  They buy natural resources, factories, whole communication systems, services, and so on.  They are buying even land around the world assuming that, being cheaper than in their own countries, it is a good investment for the future.”

He emphasised the struggle against globalisation and neo-liberalisation as a central point to resist the new offensive of imperialism and  rouse the people  to bring radical changes in the system itself.  Has the issue of globalisation  come to centre stage?  There has been a further growth in the “financialisation” of capital, which is becoming increasingly rentist and speculative, alongside a tendency for production to stagnate, and the inherent difficulty in earning profit at rates viewed as satisfactory for the enormous sums of accumulated capital. Feeding and sucking like a parasite from the surplus value generated by the real economy, whilst imposing its own criteria for maximum profit in the shortest possible run, this brutal hypertrophy of the financial sphere, with a strong component of fictitious capital, is creating its own dynamic, aided by the liberalisation of capital flows, multiple innovations and financial entities, as well as by the utilisation of the new information technology.

The constant flows of money capital, especially those of short-term and high risk, create an added instability in the functioning of the international financial and monetary system, deeply affecting the real economy and the lives of vast masses of people in many countries and regions the world over. Irrationally inflated stock markets and real estate markets are nourished by an unsustainable expansion of credit, thus enhancing the potential threats and disasters. As a result of the disproportionate strength of the dollar, the USA continues to attract a lion's share of the world's available savings. The dominance of this finance capital has a negative impact upon the balanced, equitable and sustained development of the world's real economy.

The world has entered the new century with the strongest ever disparity in incomes. Despite the much boasted benefits of the so-called "globalisation", the concentration of an immense mass of wealth and development capacity in a small number of countries who represent a small minority, at the expense of the vast majority of humankind, continues. Blood-sucking debt payments continue and actually get worse for the majority of the highly indebted countries. Poverty and income inequalities are growing, both within the imperialist powers and in many underdeveloped countries.

Along with this growing polarisation, capitalism's uneven development continues, provoking new imbalances. If Japan has grown weaker in the last decade, it still has sizeable resources and continues to foster a greater integration of the Asian Region, where, despite the 1997-98 crisis, the Southeast Asian countries do not give up striving for greater independent regional co-operation. In that region, China's dynamism and potential are also assuming a stronger influence. The European Union, where Germany is in the lead, is trying to broaden its area of influence towards the East and by adopting the Euro confronts the might of the USA, penetrates its territory and increases competition, namely in Latin America itself. Fighting to preserve its world hegemony, the USA who, for that purpose, also resorts to its military, diplomatic, scientific and technological as well as ideological supremacy is permanently confronted by the rivalry of its more powerful competitors, and by the growing resistance and concentration of the dependent countries. It was essentially these contradictions, added to the growing resistance of workers and peoples, that explain the defeat of the MAI (Multilateral Agreement on Investment) in Geneva and the failure of the WTO (World Trade Organisation) in Seattle (despite the dangers which remain), as well as the efforts at re-grouping by the so-called "Third World" countries, and by their different integration structures.

The development of international relations and of the world market is part and parcel of the capitalist system. In the present stage, with the disappearance of the USSR and of the world socialist system, it gains new momentum, in accordance with the features of contemporary capitalism and the surge of new technology. At any critical moment, it took the help of new technology to overcome the difficulties, advanced and strengthened, capitalist exploitation and with the help of the development of productive forces, and progress in transport and communications, brought the world's different regions closer and more integrated. The current globalisation process is therefore deeply inserted in history and cannot be correctly assessed within the rigid framework of comparing the last few decades with the period which immediately preceded them.

On the other hand, misleading generalisations that consider as fact for the whole "globe", what is basically limited to a central core of more developed powers, and when - quite to the contrary - the present process of capitalist globalisation is leading to enormous world faultlines, must be rejected.

In its present stage, and under the impact of the dominant neo-liberal policies and the use of new technologies, the so-called "globalisation" is marked by an even greater integration of productive processes, the growing mobility of financial flows and the acceleration and diversification of international trade exchanges.

The inhumane consequences of imperialist globalisation and of neo-liberal policies, spread right across all spheres of society, to nature itself and to the ecological and environmental balances which are indispensable to humankind's future and are dangerously being threatened by the quest for maximum profits. Advances made in education, culture and science are controlled by the big economic interests and by the criteria of the ruling ideology. But it is at the social level that big capital's exploiting nature becomes more miserable.

It does not mean that there  is smooth sailing for the imperialist powers.  As we have explained in our  Party Programme recently adopted, at present we are living in a unipolar world where a single superpower is trying to dominate the whole world.  But this clashes with the countries that define building a socialist society as their aim;  with other countries that wish to defend their sovereignty, as well as with the forces of national independence, social progress and peace. In addition, it comes into conflict with the interests of the US allies, which, if on the one hand, accept to be placed in a subordinate situation when it comes to sharing tasks within the imperialist camp, as in the context of NATO, the Gulf War, the war of aggression against Yugoslavia, or in the definition of major economic policies, on the other, try to assert themselves as powers. In many  areas, there are clear disputes over spheres of influence and domination. 

As elaborated in the Programme, all the four contradictions are growing.  The inter-imperialist contradictions are expressed in the formation of the European Union and its recently formed Defence Force,  which America disputes stating that with the presence of  NATO where is the requirement of another European force?  Similarly, on the US insistence  on a “national missile defence", the European allies are unhappy.

Today, there are three main imperialist centres, i.e., the US, the European Union and Japan. They exercise economic and military hegemony over the rest of the world.  They are united against  the  third world countries in relationships of  convenience, but they also clash in different spheres.

This issue is not related to any specific country. This is a central issue for all peoples of the world in the struggle against imperialism as  well as for the freedom from exploitation in various countries of the world. Everywhere, after experiencing the impact of the globalisation during the last decade, resistance is developing.

Take for instance, the case of India.  The policies of liberalisation started in the eighties.  But in the full sense, they were implemented from the beginning of  the nineties during the Congress regime.  The disintegration of the Soviet Union encouraged imperialism, particularly US imperialism, to use all levers to influence the course of events in this aspect. Big business looked to foreign capital which began to make inroads into the economy. The working people were  able to see the danger looming ahead because of these policies and started  to build up a resistance. 

The BJP after coming to power, completely surrendered before imperialist pressures, and tailing behind US imperialism. The devastating effect of this  can be seen on the economy and social life. Intervention by imperialism  and its growing influence could be seen from the visit of President Clinton, the way it was arranged  and managed. It is for the first time that India has shown so much helplessness that it cannot develop without the help of US imperialism. The accompanying effect on the government is that India is no longer able to express solidarity with the people fighting  against imperialism as earlier.

In the economic sphere, the  government has started towing the American demand of opening up everything to foreign capital, particularly American.  The speed of privatisation have been stepped up to strengthen this policy. Neither the opinion of the Standing Committees of Parliament nor public opinion is given any consideration. No sector of economy, except defence,  has been kept out of this purview.

Let us take the experience of the agricultural sector.  The damage to Indian agriculture occurring at present will deepen as the result of the forced opening up  of the Indian market to agricultural imports; the wrecking of  what little `food security’ approach in agricultural production has existed since the seventies; the dismantling of public procurement and price support operations, public warehousing and public distribution; and the further reduction in the already abysmally low public investment in agriculture. 

On 31st December 1999, the Indian government reached an agreement with the United States laying down a schedule for phasing out  most of  India’s remaining quantitative restrictions on imports. Earlier, quantitative restrictions banned the import of certain items, or required special licences for their import, or placed limits on the quantities that could be imported.  Quantitative restrictions are not the only check on imports, customs duties, that is, tariff restrictions may also serve to do so.

By this agreement, 714 out of the 1429 items became free importable from 1st April, 2000; the remaining 715 from 1st April, 2001.  After April 2001, quantitative restrictions will remain only on categories  such as arms and ammunition, and environmentally sensitive items (i.e., eggs, plant and animal species).  All consumer goods may be imported into India after April 2001, including textiles and agricultural commodities. 

This opening up is taking place two years in advance of the original World Trade Organisation deadline of April 2003.  While the full effect will be felt at different times in different sectors, it is only a question of time before all of the sectors are affected.  The Export-Import Policy announced on 31st March, 2000 implemented the first phase of this opening up by removing 714 items from the restricted list, or shifting the special import licence list to the open general licence list.

Its impact was immediately seen when foreign goods  started coming into India.  To help the Indian producers, the government recently levied additional customs duties on several of these items such as  milk powder – 60%, wheat – 80%, paddy – 80%,  broken rice – 80%, grain sorghum – 80%, maize –70%.  But this is being also opposed by the imperialist countries. One does not know how long this government will stand up to the imperialist pressure.

The Union Commerce and Industries Minister, Murasoli Maran, has decried what he terms an  exaggerated picture of people wearing American track suits and Italian footwear, trying out caviar, drinking  Colombian coffee and smoking Cuban cigars.  But it is possible and next year, more will be possible.  He asserts, this is nothing to worry about it.  “If rich people want to burn their money and import Rolls Royce cars, let them do  it. But at the same time  they will have to pay duty on these.  The government only benefits from this since it earns revenue on them.” 

But he knows the two harmful consequences that will accrue even from this.  First, that consumption of foreign luxuries, consuming scarce foreign exchange, constitutes a drain on the country, whereas consumption of domestically made luxuries generates at least some domestic demand and employment. And secondly, that such imports lead to a piling-up of foreign liabilities which drive down the value of the rupee.

Edible oil is another case in point.  American agriculture has a longstanding problem of overproduction of this product.  With regard to other products, in September 1998, US prices of corn were  down 30% over a year earlier; hog prices were down 38%; soyabean prices 22%. Farm equipment manufacturers were laying off workers because they expected sales in North America to drop by as much as 20%. In  1997-98, the US soyabeen crop was the second record harvest in a row, at 2.76 billion bushels. 

India cannot compete with America and European countries because their agriculture is highly subsidised.  In relation to many commercial crops, such as  coconut, copra, paper, etc., the prices have come down substantially.  Similarly with milk, sugar, cotton, rubber, apples, silk and poultry. The national dairy market is dominated by the European Union, United States, Australia and New Zealand, which account  for three-fourths of  the total world exports of various dairy products.  The European Union and the US heavily subsidise their dairy industry. While the European Union and United States may have decreased aggregate subsidies, their  subsidies for SMP have gone  up. Interestingly, the SMP subsidy is higher for consignments to South-East Asia, because it is closer to Australia and New Zealand.  The latter two countries are not only lower-cost producers but, being closer to South-East Asia, enjoy a freight advantage. 

India is one of the world’s largest producers of sugar, and one of its largest consumers too. Its annual consumption is about the size of the world trade in sugar.   The sugar industry in India is politically powerful and over the years has been able to manipulate prices, carry on black market operations and influence government policy.  That such an organised force was unable to  ward off imports is evidence of the extent of external pressure for imports. 

Imperialist-driven globalisation being forced through by the IMF-World Bank-WTO triumvirate almost throughout the world, has furthered concentration of wealth in the hands of a miniscule minority, i.e., transnational corporations based by and large in the developed world, especially United States. On the other hand this has worked against 80% of the world’s population.

To illustrate the point one needs to quote only from World Development Report –1999/2000 “the broad picture of development outcomes is worrisome. The average per capita income of the poorest and middle thirds of all the countries has lost ground steadily over the last several decades as compared with the average income of the richest third. Average per capita GDP of the middle third has dropped from 12.5 to 11.4 per cent of the richest third and that of poorest third from 3.1 to 1.9 per cent.”

This is the true character of current  globalisation, it is intensifying inequality. While the export of goods and services expanded rapidly between 1990 and 1998 from 4.7 trillion to 7.5 trillion dollars (an increase of 59.5%), the share of least developing countries, that account for 10% of word’s population, has significantly declined. Their share in world exports, that declined from 0.6% in 1980 to 0.5% in 1990, was further down to only 0.4% in 1998.  More than 100 countries of the world are now economically poorer than they were 15 years ago.

As if blind to this reality and basic character globalisation, the Indian government is busy mindlessly liberalising the economy. The Exim policy has been repeatedly changed to bring in complete trade liberalisation. Import restrictions have been completely withdrawn, custom duties drastically reduced to make imports cheaper  in our own market. Though sometimes those in power try to pose as if they have done all this because of compulsions flowing from WTO agreements, this is not really the case. The reality is that to please the imperialist masters quantitative restrictions were lifted a full two years before the WTO schedule, that too when the USA had declared that it was going to continue with similar kind of restrictions at least till 2005. Similarly in the name of meeting WTO requirements, the country’s patent laws were changed for the benefit of multinationals, although even within the framework of WTO agreements  these  amendments could have been deferred further. If sincerely pursued, these  amendments could have been avoided altogether or at least one could have modified them for the benefit of Indian industry and people.

Frantic efforts are on to privatise the whole of the  public sector as part of the second generation of reforms. All  the public sector industries, including those having vital strategic importance, are being put for sale. From the financial sector to telecommunication, energy sector including electricity, coal and oil, basic engineering industries, air lines, port and dock, railways, all are being handed over to foreign and Indian monopoly-capital at throw-away prices. Thus what began as claims of making the public sector more efficient and cost effective, has turned out to be a full scale attack on the public sector and loot of public resources. Privatising public assets in now raised to the level of government’s basic policy, with sale targets laid in successive budgets and now even a ministry of disinvestment  put in place.

And what has happened to the fast pace of growth that was promised as the main rationale for liberalisation. Looking at the performance of growth rates of key sectors of economy for last few years, leads one to the realisation that country’s economy has already been pushed onto the slope of decline. The industrial growth rate has slumped from 11.8% in 1995-96, to a continuous decline. It came down to 6%  in 1996-97, then further decreased to 5.9% in 1997-98, and to 4% in 1998-99. In 1999-2000 it is estimated to be around 6.9%. Actually the last figure is higher because of a very low figure for the previous year. All sectors of industry appear to either stagnating or declining. Even gross domestic capital formation has recorded a negative growth (at constant prices) in two out of three years between 1996 to 1999 and in year 1999 it grew by a insignificant 0.4%. This clearly shows that the huge concessions given to big corporate houses in name of encouraging them to make more investments in our economy have not worked at all.

The industrial crisis is compounding the crisis of the economy in general. It is directly hitting industries in the small scale and medium sector. The industrial economy, with its manufacturing base built up during last 50 years, is sought to be converted into servicing and marketing center for foreign products. This is further increasing the problems of unemployment and poverty. The gap between the growth of the labour force and employment growth have only worsened in the last decade. During 1991-96, the annual average growth rate of the labour force was 2.3%, while employment grew only at an annual rate of 1.9%. This shows the worsening of the situation as during the decade preceding year 1994, the annual rate of growth of employment was 2%.

With the growing control of MNCs and financial capital -- the angels of “Jobless Growth” -- the situation has obviously further worsened. According to the annual report of the labour ministry for 1999-2000, employment in the public sector showed a negative growth rate of 0.7%. In 1991-92, a total 21.79 lakh people were working in PSUs; this was reduced to 19.00 lakh in 1998-99.  It is obvious that the situation in the  private sector is worse. With even the sectors reserved for small scale industries being opened for totally unequal competition, and non-agriculture sector in rural economy also either stagnating or on the decline, the crisis of unemployment is on the verge of explosion.

Naturally all this is meeting growing resistance. The working class is leading the charge. In the last three years alone there have been two massive general all-India strikes of  the working class and other sections. The latest was on May 11, 2000 which also received support from sections of small scale industries. Similarly workers of the public sector industries, including financial institutions, insurance and banking, have repeatedly come out to challenge  present policies. Different sectors of industry and even different sections of white-collar employees have joined the protest against the present policies. Resistance is growing and is taking a more articulate political and ideological direction.

India’s agriculture is now at the crossroads.  Crop yields are  stagnating and declining. The failure of foodgrains production to keep pace with population growth is perhaps the most depressing economic trend in India today. 

And the problems raised by intensive agriculture have been aggravated by the effects of liberalisation.  As the focus of agricultural policies shift to agro-processing, foreign investment and  exports, the critical connection between agricultural production and access to food has been ignored.

Wheat production which had crawled up from 6 million tonnes in 1949-50 to 10 million tonnes in 1965-66, an increase of only four million tonnes over a period of 16 years, grew to rest 26 million tonnes in 1971-72 and nearly 36 million tonnes by the end of seventies.

The success in wheat  was quickly replicated in rice, cotton, sugarcane, millets and oil seeds.  The terms of trade for agriculture is turning negative. Rural incomes decline by 12% in real terms every year.  As a result, more and more people have migrated daily to the cities.  Migrants are not only pulled towards towns by the prospects of jobs and  higher income, they are also  pushed out of rural areas affected by  poverty, famine and declining agricultural incomes.

The influx into the cities is likely to increase in the years to come. If recent World Bank projections are any indication, by the year 2010, the number of rural migrants in the urban areas will exceed twice the total population of  the United Kingdom, Germany and France. Agriculture now is facing a very critical situation because of its inability, after the removal of quantitative restrictions, to compete with the heavily subsidised agricultural produce from various European countries, America and Australia.

For instance, if we take dairy products, then the average subsidy in EU for skimmed milk powder 1018 dollars per tonne, butter – 1923 dollars, oil – 2444 dollars in the year 1999.  There has been a more than 30% growth in subsidies as compared to 1996. 

While the Indian producers are suddenly being deprived of subsidies, farmers in the OECD countries continues to receive higher subsidies.  In the OECD countries, agricultural spot in the form of subsidies is equivalent to 33,000 dollars per farm in Japan; US – 30,000 dollars, in  European and American farms, the total subsidies come to US 362 billion dollars.  The FAO estimated that the top five users of export subsidies for wheat together controlled 95% of the wheat trade.  Between 1986 and 1990, these exporters traded 50 million tonnes of highly subsidised wheat. 

Only recently, the crisis in the paddy crop has come to the fore.  Nobody was coming forward for purchasing the crop, so  peasants resorted to gheraos, road blocks, stoppage of trains. Only after that the government came forward to make some purchases at the government announced price.  But the majority of the producers had to sell at 60% of the price officially announced.  This does not meet even the cost of production.  There are some instances of suicides also in this respect. 

With the present policy pursued by the government, the peasantry is going to be ruined, it will be difficult for  them to change to other crops since the removal of quantitative restrictions will not allow any other produce also to be competitive.  On November 30, 2000, when the peasant and agricultural workers unions of Left parties organised a demonstration at Delhi, more than one lakh peasants from various parts of the country gathered there, and  gave a call for picketing on 5th, 6th and 7th February. 

Cultural Sphere

I have so far discussed what 'globalisation' means for our economic and political sovereignty and how it increase the chasm between the rich and poor in each country and the rich and poor nations. I now wish to briefly touch upon the pernicious implications of 'globalisation' for our  cultural life.

We as Marxists have always talked of universal values arising from the internationalism of working class parties and movements. Equality of man, equality among nations, obliteration of discrimination on the basis of colour, religion, caste, etc are the values on which this internationalism is based. On the other hand, 'globalisation' is based on the philosophy of universalisation of the market. It turns everything, including all cultural products into commodities. It is said to arise in the main from the new technology, popularly known as IT or information technology, which speeds up financial transactions and this unites the entire world into a single market. Solidarity among people for human liberation is no longer the goal, but cut-throat competition among individuals as consumers is the rule of the day. Society is no longer to be based on co-operation among individuals but on infinite competition among them.

This ideology of globalisation is being dinned into the daily consciousness of our people through the cultural invasion that has accompanied globalisation. Every single middle class home in our country connected with the cable TV has become a class room for bourgeois values, and advertisements and hoarding are promoting a wasteful consumer culture.

The ideological offensive of globalisation also creates a sense of 'inevitability' about it in the spheres of economy, politics and culture. It is generally believed that those who do not join the globalisation march will be left behind technologically, economically and culturally. Globalisation is propelled, in this view, by the all powerful information technology and the future world belongs to those who master this technology. This is said to control dominant means of culture and communication and the possession of this technology becomes essential to be able to survive in the globalised world.

The universality or the universal access to this technology is a myth in an unequal, class divided world. Seventy per cent of the world's income is produced and consumed by 15 per cent of the world's population which reflects as to who has access to information goods. North America and north west Europe together account for less than 20 per cent of the world's population but some 70 per cent of world's income and therefore they own two-third of the world's TVs and radio sets. More than half of the world's newspaper production is concentrated in these zones, whereas Africa's share of the world's newsprint has stagnated at one per cent. Similarly, in 1994 Europe and North America accounted for 69 per cent of global communications revenues, Africa just one per cent.

While every sixth person in the advanced countries is said to be wired, many African countries have no internet access. In India with its absurd claims to be emerging as the new IT giants, there are only 14 lakh connections for a population of 100 crores. All over the world, as also in India, owning an internet connection is a class privilege. Having an internet connection costs anywhere between Rs 60,000 to Rs 1,00,000 apart from the cost of updating and recurring costs. Therefore to claim that in the globalised world everyone will sooner or later, have access to internet is an absurd claim.

Whatever be the argument to assert that internet will be available for each corner of the world, it is almost impossible in the near future. This may be confirmed by the fact that while the first telegraph lines were laid in 1830s and it is now taken for granted in the advanced industrial countries, half of mankind has yet to make a phone call.

The point is very clear. In an unequal, class divided society internet or access to information technology will itself become a privilege and further widen the gap between the haves and have nots. While technology advances human productivity, it by itself does not lead to greater equality. While we are not opposed to new technology per se as some of the anti-modern, fundamentalists may be, we also do not believe in the truth of the ideology of globalisation that technology will take care of all the ills of society - economic, political and cultural. Until we change social relations of production, technology will not become an instrument of liberation but will remain an instrument of domination in the hands of the ruling classes. This is the task of the democratic opposition to 'globalisation'.

The mindless cultural invasion from the decadent capitalist world is giving rise to another kind of opposition, i.e., the fundamentalist opposition. The parties of the right reaction, taking advantage of the disaffection that 'globalisation' gives rise to because of growing chasm between the privileged and non-privileged, resort to propagation of fundamentalist or communally divisive ideology. This is nowhere more evident than in the case of  the women's movement. The Sangh Parivar, for example, is seeking to glorify the role of women in ancient India, i.e. glorify patriarchy and total domestication of women in the name of opposing 'western' culture. In the name of opposing everything 'foreign' they end up opposing "Islam" and Christianity as foreign religions, while glorifying Hindu traditionalism.

It needs to be noted in this context that the sections of the Sangh Parivar which are taking their opposition to 'globalisation' which they ideologically but erroneously conceives as "westernisation", have no qualms in surrendering to imperialism in the sphere of the economy, to foreign finance capital. The ideology of the Sangh Parivar quite cleverly mixes religion and culture. The Brahminical culture is being first defined as Hindu religion, and then it claims to be the religion of the majority, which then becomes Indian culture or National  culture.

Religion, culture and nationhood become intermixed for the Sangh Parivar in a way that those not subscribing to Brahminism are perceived as 'anti-national'.

Such a view of what constitutes 'national' is totally contrary to our history. We have a great heritage of national struggle against imperialism during the course of which we forged ourselves as a nation. We did not mindlessly reject the so-called western ideas of democracy, equality, liberty, etc., even while struggling against a western imperialist power. Our nationalism has been anti-imperialist, forward-looking and non-sectarian. It has espoused the values of economic nationalism, secularism and non-alignment. It is with this heritage that we have to fight the cultural invasion of 'globalisation'. We have to struggle against imperialist invasion of today. That is the acid test of our nationalism. We have to oppose the hunting of minorities in the name of 'cultural nationalism' in order to build a progressive, forward-looking culture for our people. 

[1] Paper presented in a seminar organised by  Punjabi Bhasha Academy in collaboration with Punjabi Academy of Social Sciences, Literature and Culture.  Jullandhar, 26 January, 2001