京都市国際交流会館 特別会議室 アクセス：http://www.kcif.or.jp/jp/kaikan/ （地下鉄東西線蹴上駅徒歩6分）
Contemporary India is rapidly developing as a global power. This globalization process is not a mere encompassment under a neoliberal regime. Rather, global India is diversifying the process of globalization itself. What India is doing is important for the understanding of the entire process of globalization, because India has a historically unique capacity of absorbing, preserving and enriching diversity through enabling interactions of different peoples, things and information.
This international symposium seeks to understand global India by focusing on the historical nature of the South Asian path of development and its implications for the contemporary world. Our hypothesis is that the South Asian path is intrinsically global in nature, arguably more so than any other comparable regional path; The Indian subcontinent lies in the center of Eurasian world and Indian Ocean world; It has been the meeting place of different peoples, cultures and social groups; And the ecological diversity in the subcontinent allowed for development of diverse social groups with different modes of living, and their interaction led not to homogenization but to heterogeneous coexistence. Thus India has always been a global arena for encounters and interactions of multiplicities. In what ways would this depth of diversity contribute to ongoing globalization in the long run? This symposium will discuss issues related to this question by organizing the following three sessions.
Session 1 “India as Global History” seeks to understand the significance of the “open” nature of India’s path of development from a long historical perspective, taking into account its ecological and geographical conditions. In particular, it will ask how the ecological diversity has been coped with and translated into the coexistence of diverse cultures and norms, and how India has succeeded in maintaining the largest population out of all tropical regions for so long a period.
Session 2 “Water-centered Perspectives of Indian Society” considers water resource and its management, as the key to understanding the South Asian path of development. Most colonial institutions that had been introduced to India were “land-based”, and the relationship between human and environment has since been mediated through the system of landholding and modern tax systems and legal institutions based on it. This leaves a number of important human-nature interactions, fundamental to shaping the development path, unaccounted for; And one such phenomenon is the availability of water. The session will discuss the effects of seasonal changes in water availability and how technology and social systems developed to deal with scarcities, floods and water-born diseases. It will also reflect on the limits of the current institutions in dealing with them, with the aim of identifying the direction of intellectual reorganization.
Session 3 “Connecting Diversities: Socio-Political Foundations of Globalization” aims to understand the present dynamism of India and its global influence by paying attention to the increasing participation of diverse social groups in public activities such as democratic politics, economic enterprises and social movements. It will be argued that India’s vast human resources had until recently been under-utilized as a result of the failure to exploit her ecological and cultural diversities to the full. The increasing public capacity that has emerged in recent years, which enables interaction and negotiation between diverse knowledge, viewpoints and values, can be seen as a significant source of strength for Global India, as well as an inspiration for the world at large.
Session 1:"India as Global History"
This session is concerned with the identification of the South Asian path of economic and social development in the long run, from the perspective of global history. In one measure, the subject has always been important; The Indian subcontinent has held a very large proportion of world population at least for the last few centuries, and this share is set to rise further in the coming decades. Its population increased from 165 million in 1700 to 1.488 billion in 2009, and is projected to reach 1.981 billion by 2030. Set against the trend of world population, it would constitute 27% in 1700, 22% in 2009 and 24% in 2030 respectively. This is by far the largest concentration of population in the tropics. Moreover, the share of the tropics in world population may rise from 36% in 1820 to some 63% by 2030, making the historical experience of South Asia a crucial reference (All of the data above were taken from the Maddison website database). How and why South Asia has managed to be a major frontier of the expansion of human existence for the last few centuries, and is set to remain so in the foreseeable future, is an important global history question.
We would like to tackle this question by paying particular attention to India’s ecological and cultural diversities, its openness to the outside world, and its capacity to embrace major civilisational impacts from outside. Substantial military, political, economic, ecological and cultural connections with the outside world existed in the modern and contemporary period, but, apart from colonialism, connective histories have often been considered by national historians as a factor that modified the general trend determined by internal forces. We think that openness to the outside world was an important part of path-dependency, and in itself has been a feature that distinguishes the South Asian path from the other paths. Indian Ocean trade during the seventeenth century was more global than any other regional trade, in the sense that all international commodities were traded; the Atlantic trade system did not have the capacity to embrace such a range of Asian commodities. India was also exposed to Eurasian political and military forces, and was a great land empire herself, especially in the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries, as well as part of the British empire in the subsequent period. There is no other civilisation with so many people that managed to hold coherence for so long a period, while embracing such divergent global forces inside it.
We propose to discuss the nature of this path-dependency in two ways. First, we would like to pick out certain aspects in which India played as an active agent of change in modern global history. In particular, we ask how India took advantage of enormous ecological and cultural diversities, and used them to maintain its civilization, and “globalising” it from time to time. Looking at the impact of Indian civilisation on global history from ancient times, great religious and cultural influences come to mind, while after the Mughal period the issue of its influence outside the region has often been obscured by alien rules at home. Those nationalist writers who spent much energy to account for fighting for independence had rarely spelt out the significance of these phenomena.
Yet it would be wrong to see modern and contemporary India with this frame of mind. The South Asian path persisted as a result of active interactions between internal and external forces. Our main task, therefore, is to identify how internal ecological and cultural diversities were translated into the movements of people, commodities, knowledge and capital, and influenced the principles and norms of connective history. Trade, migration and response to environmental constraints often carried cultural expressions with them. It is not difficult to see clear cases of India’s influences in central and western Asia, southeast Asia and Africa in modern times, and of some significant ones in Europe and East Asia. We would like to assemble and conceptualise these phenomena, to see how deep Indian influences have been in shaping the ways in which globalisation occurred in these parts of the world over the last two centuries.
Second, we would like to see Indian history as a reference to the understanding of the path of economic and social development of other regions of the world. Most of global history has so far been written from the perspective of temperate-zone countries, especially Western Europe and North America but also East Asia. The Western path is best recorded and understood, followed by the East Asian path. However, more than half of world population live in the tropics today. Ecological diversities in the tropics, and the human ingenuity that overcame these diversities to turn them into advantage, must have been the frontier of human progress for centuries. On the other hand, technological and institutional progress, made in the temperate-zone countries, has not necessarily benefitted tropical countries, in so far as it did not understand the depth of ecological and cultural diversities. We feel that these points have not been fully appreciated by historians and contemporary observers.
In order to free ourselves from such historically grounded biases, it is important to look at the Western path and the East Asian path, and characterise them from the South Asian historical perspective. One question we might pose is the implications of ecological differences for the regional path; In Indian history the availability of water, forest-based eco-systems, semi-arid zone agriculture and broad ecological disasters such as flood have been crucially important. And these phenomena were often observable, if to a lesser extent, in the rest of the world. Yet the human response to them has scarcely been considered as a “global” question until relatively recently. Meanwhile, the cultural diversities India has accumulated over the centuries carry an echo with ecological diversities; The civilisational response to rich and yet risk-prone ecological conditions must have provided a more diverse range of human behaviour and thinking than those in the milder and climatically more stable parts of the world with a limited capacity to hold a large number of people. In this way the India-inspired comparison of regional paths of development should clarify the nature of multiple paths of development under globalisation. It should also help understand the meaning of globalisation in general.
Kohei Wakimura (Osaka City University)
Session 2 focuses on an aspect of the South Asian path of development from a long-term historical perspective. Water is one of the most important resources in South Asia, and the availability of water resources has deeply influenced agricultural productivity. At the same time, the scarcity of water has led to famines. In what ways has the South Asian society been shaped around the question of water resources? And how important was it in determining the long-term path of development?
While South Asia’s share in world population is about 20%, the region’s share of globally available water is only 5% or so. How and why have the people in South Asia been able to overcome this ecological constraint? What were the factors that have made South Asia the largest concentration of population in the entire tropics? Clearly, natural conditions mattered. Monsoons and an abundance of solar energy have enabled the people of South Asia to enjoy a rich agricultural bounty. Some geographical, technological and socio-cultural conditions have contributed to the effective utilization of water. Great rivers such as the Ganges, the Indus and the Brahmaputra, which originate from the Tibetan plateau or the Himalaya range, provide rich water resources. This makes Indian agriculture productive in the alluvial plains of the subcontinent.
On the other hand, more than half of the subcontinent has a semi-arid climate. In these areas dry farming technology has developed for centuries. Millet agriculture, in particular, has sustained a huge population. Tank irrigation and well irrigation have also contributed to agricultural development in the semi-arid zones. Even so, the Indian subcontinent suffered from the instability of agriculture due to the capriciousness of monsoon rains. Many famines and scarcities occurred in the subcontinent since ancient times, often leading not only to food crises but also to terrible health hazards. For example, malaria epidemics sometimes killed thousands of people in semi-arid zones.
Thus in many ways the characteristics of Indian society evolved in response to water resource conditions. The acute seasonality of water availability might have influenced the division of labour in Indian society. For example, the presence of surplus labour, particularly a thick layer of landless labourers in the rural sector, could be attributed to some extent to intensive labour demand in a specific timeframe, namely during a short span of monsoon seasons. Also, the regional division of labour and patterns of migration may be determined by the availability and distribution of water resources. Those merchants who originated from arid zones developed their commercial and financial skills, because arid zones in the Indian subcontinent were located at the entry points to Central Asia and Persia. These merchants migrated, either temporarily or permanently, to the riverine or coastal areas where they played very important roles in the history of Indian trade.
The delicate balance of water ecology in the subcontinent, at once fertile and fragile, was somehow preserved until the beginning of the 19th century. But activities relating to the colonial development upset this balance, particularly in the late 19th century. The fact that many famines occurred in this period indicates the breakdown of the traditional balance. The problem of land scarcity became apparent in the second half of the 19th century. The growth of primary goods exports must have intensified the pressure on land, hence also on land clearance. Inferior land or marginal land was brought into cultivation during this period, which aggravated the instability of agricultural production. Damage caused by droughts thus worsened during this time, killing millions of people. And the epidemics which followed increased frequency for good reasons. For example, the introduction of canal irrigation connected with the great rivers caused considerable water logging, leading to the intensification of malarial casualties. Also, hydraulic interventions to the Ganges delta changed the ‘inundation system’, bringing about the deterioration of agriculture and the intensification of malarial damage.
After Independence, canal irrigation developed further, contributing to the development of agricultural sector. Particularly after the period of ‘green revolution’, South Asian countries pursued the use of groundwater. Tube-well irrigation has been important in achieving self-sufficiency in food production. Of course, the problem of tube-well irrigation is that the use of groundwater at a present pace will deplete the aquifers of the subcontinent sooner or later. In addition, industrial and urban effluent have substantially increased since Independence. Pollution has caused an intolerable deterioration of surface water in recent decades. In general, the availability of usable water is declining rapidly, which is a problem that threatens the future of South Asia’s economic development.
We have just made a very rough sketch of the problems of water resources in the Indian subcontinent. We have seen specific examples of difficult conditions concerning water resources. These conditions can be mainly attributed to tropical and semi-arid environments. We therefore need to deal with them in ways different from the standard approaches, which have been developed in temperate regions of the world such as Europe or North America. We would like to discuss these problems in this session from varying perspectives.
Socio-political Foundations of Globalization"
Session 3 aims to understand the socio-political foundations of the vibrant development and democracy in globalizing India. Contemporary India, especially after the 1990s, has experienced important changes following institutional and policy reformations. Economic liberalization, redistribution of wealth by the state from the urban to the rural, and devolution of power from the central to local governments have enabled a greater participation of diverse social groups in public activities, such as democratic politics, economic enterprises and social movements.
Although India faces problems of increasing income gap and environmental degradation, its “success” in recent years is unique and noteworthy in that it is achieving both political democratization and economic development at the same time. This is in contrast to countries in the West and Japan, which democratized only after industrialization and economic development. Most developing countries, including emerging powers like China, more often than not adopt authoritarian regimes in order to prioritize economic development over democracy.
So how is India achieving democracy and development simultaneously? In order to answer this question, we propose to depart from recent discussions regarding globalizing political economy of India (and elsewhere) which tend to focus on the balance between the market and the state, and take up a perspective that pays attention not only to the institutional context but also to the regionally characteristic form of people’s agency. We suggest that the distinctive social relations and values embedded in the regional historical path of development should be taken into consideration.
Our endeavour is to understand how the socio-ecological diversity that characterizes the South Asian path of development has been transformed from a disadvantage for national integration and development to an advantage for glocally dynamic politico-economic activities. Our hypothesis is that there has been a transformation of the Indian scene from incoordination of fragmented pieces to dynamic synergy of connected diversities. Our main task is to identify how fragmented parts along the lines of class, caste, religion and ethnicity in postcolonial India have come to be connected. These parts interact and exchange with each other, enabling vibrant movements and exchanges of diverse population, commodities, information and capital in contemporary global India.
In this regard, we should note that postcolonial India possessed and even nurtured many resourceful parts in terms of human capital, knowledge, technology and institutions. These existed not only in the urban educated class but also among the multiple social groups in rural areas in the forms of kinship and community relationships, specialized knowledge and ways of living. These parts, however, had not manifested their full potentialities, as they remained disarticulated from each other until relatively recently
Once connected and articulated, their very diversity came to be translated into an asset and advantage for dynamism in the globalizing world. There is now a process of glocal connection and exchanges between multiple parts belonging to urban and rural, civil society and rural society, elite and subaltern, while maintaining differences. It is the diversity that provides the motivation for connections and exchanges, its range and the foundation for glocal dynamism.
The transformation in contemporary India, which entails a process of democratization and development and therefore also of modernization, does not mean, however, that India is heading towards a liberal, bourgeois, civil society. Social relations and the relations of production in the country retain distinctively South Asian characteristics despite their global and modern nature. How one might capture and understand contemporary India’s glocal dynamism thus poses a fundamental intellectual challenge for us.
Let us see some of the distinctive features of the socio-economic-political dynamism in contemporary India.
Most importantly, there is a process of formation not of a homogeneous civil society but of a heterogeneous public sphere in which diverse social groups including the subalterns participate. Here we see a possibility of the convergence of participatory democracy and economic development through connections of diversities. This can be seen as a contemporary manifestation of the South Asian path of development supported by modern institutions.
In this process, there is an increasing utilization of human resources in market economy related activities. This is accompanied by growing importance of education, migration and exchanges. The villages supply cities and overseas with necessary human resources, while commodities, information and cash flow into the villages from cities and overseas. There is a circulatory network of people, things, money and information between villages, cities and overseas. An increasing number of diverse population participate in the heterogeneous public spheres as citizens without becoming disembedded from particular social relationships that connect them to extensive ‘rurban’ and glocal networks.
Small scale producers and service industries from villages and small towns are increasingly linked to urban areas and global capital and market. Unlike the case of industrialization based on capital-intensive mass production using cheap labour, what distinguishes the story of modernization and globalization in India is the fact that rising economy is not founded on unidirectional proletariatization of peasants. Nor do peasants form the main basis for industrialization (as in East Asia). Instead peasants, merchants and artisans increasingly participate in the market economy not necessarily as labourers but often as providers of specialized services and skills, as well as small-scale capital, embedded in the local and regional economies.
The participation of the subalterns in economic activities is partly supported by the state’s redistribution of wealth and investment of public funds for modern infrastructure and human development; The latter includes investment in education and medicine, as well as the protection and improvement of the use of land, water and forest for livelihood. This redistribution, in turn, is supported by the economic development in connection with globalization. The move by the government is a response to the increasing political demands of heterogeneous social groups through democratic politics and social movements. The state cannot afford to ignore these people’s voices in the present democratic political situation. We may note here that the improvement in the quality of human resources, environment and infrastructure supporting the vibrant glocal and rurban circulatory economy is realized hand in hand with the process of democratization of politics where an increasing number of people demand an improvement of the quality of life. Thus, contrary to the recent argument that liberalized economy and participatory politics are moving in opposite directions in India, we may note an emerging possibility of democracy and development playing complimentary roles to each other.
We must remain sensitive, however, to the existence of those social groups at the bottom of pyramid who are unable to participate in the expanding network of democracy or development. Some of them, such as Maoists, have begun to assert their rights by resorting to violence.
The agenda then is to extend the politico-economic opportunities to all social groups. We should ask, “Under what conditions can diversity be a positive resource for democracy and development?” If we are able to suggest answers to this question based on the Indian experience, we may begin to imagine a better global future that ensures equal opportunities for all while respecting differences.
【INDAS】”Understanding Global India: The South Asian Path of Development and its Possibilities”［INDAS全体国際シンポジウム］