Religious fanaticism threat to globalisation: Lord Meghnad Desai

Friday, November 12, 2010

NEW DELHI - Globalisation today faces a big threat from religious fanaticism, noted economist and professor emeritus of the London School of Economics Lord Meghnad Desai said while delivering a lecture in the capital Friday.

“Globalisation has had a check to its progress by the financial meltdown. However, today it faces a threat from another source altogether. One can call it ideology but it involves a complex mixture of religious fanaticism, national or ethnic pride,” Desai said, while delivering the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad memorial lecture at the Nehru Memorial Museum.

“The threat of terrorism which takes on a religious garb is a major hurdle,” he added.

Having been invited to deliver the lecture for the second time in six years, Desai said that many ideas concerning globalisation have changed over the period.

“A positive development of globalisation was the amalgamation of various national cultures. Indian classical music, Russian ballet, hip-hop became accessible to the world — thanks to video, DVD, television and internet. For the first time, the possibility of a global cosmopolitan culture was being created,” Desai said.

“Yet the same globalisation process which made movement of people and access of ideas so easy, created trouble. Islamicism was facilitated in its attack on the western world by the very devices which made globalisation so powerful - the internet, mobile phone, easy travel across the world,” he added.

Desai, however, highlighted that Islamicism and Islam are two different things altogether.

“Many people confuse Islamicism with Islam and argue that the tenets of Islamicism contradicts the tenets of Islam. Islamicism is a political ideology.

Its opposite is not moderate Islam, but a cosmopolitan culture which transcends all religions while respecting them. Its enemy is a globalised world where the free movement of capital, commodities and people is uninhibited,” Desai said.

Filed under: Religion

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