Even though India is a nation of many traditions and customs, citizens have worked hard to progress as a society, and to have experiences that were originally unimaginable.
This principle of progression was the main focus of Bachi Karkari, a columnist for the Times of India. She spoke of her life in India with enthusiasm because she has lived long enough to see how far the country has come.
Karkari began her lecture with an explanation of what India was like back when she was a little girl. During that time, she commonly watched as her parents would pay for various items with cash. To her and every other Indian citizen, paying for just what was necessary was the norm.
But, as time went on, Karkari observed that the average Indian consumer was changing along with the nation’s economy. By 1992, India was ready to set forth new laws that would help it integrate itself into the global market. These laws included a reduction in import tariffs, decreased taxes, and an increase in foreign investment.
Now, Indians were spending in a manner that totally went against tradition. Instead of only purchasing necessities, consumers now bought items that interested them. This can also be attributed to the introduction of credit cards. Consumers could spend without having to dish out cash immediately. An instant effect of the new way of spending was that Indians now made time for leisure as well.
A long term result of the liberalization of India’s economy was that the strict patriarchal society had become less important. Women were able to make huge gains with the capitalistic economy. They were obtaining jobs that only men held before, and making their mark on society.
Towards the end of the lecture however, Karkari said that although much progress has been made, total equality is not in near sight. India still remains patriarchal and men are unwilling to give up some traditions. For example, although women are now working in businesses and other sectors of the economy, men have maintained dominance by holding the highest positions.
Like most Indians, Karkari was very proud of how far her homeland has come. She went from living in a society run by men, to seeing her nation liberalize and women accomplish so much. Karkari believes that although India has made great strides in progressing as a country, there is a lot of work to do before true equality can be achieved.