New Delhi, Oct 28 (UNI) Paying rich tributes to India's cosmopolitan culture, former Director of London School of Economics Anthony Giddens says its growth story has demolished the popular belief that authoritarian government is the singular condition of rapid economic development.
"India could be seen as a third moment in the great experiment launched by the American and French revolutions--democracy," Sir Giddens said here delivering the Ninth D T Lakdawala Memorial lecture last evening.
"India is the most pointed challenge to those who say that authoritarian government is the condition of rapid economic development. India has always had a cosmopolitan elite -- look at the manifold influences on the life of Gandhi," Prof Giddens, widely recognised as one of the most celebrated sociologists of the post-war period, said.
The theme of Prof Giddens address was 'The Nation - State in the Global Age.' The event was hosted by the Institute of Social Sciences. It was sponsored by the Planning Commission and British High Commission.
Sharing the dais with Prof Giddens was Vice-President M Hamid Ansari. The sprawling FICCI Auditorium was packed to rafters with men and women from the world of academia, policymakers, political personalities and bureaucrats.
Mr Ansari discounted the view of some academics and policy makers that in the age of globalisation, Nation States would wither away but enjoin democratic governments to become more "responsive and responsible" to the needs of their citizens.
Mr Ansari said the Soviet Union harboured the belief that in the long run, the State would disappear. "While the State did not wither away, the Soviet Union did," he remarked.
Mr Ansari said it was not the end of the Nation State, but it was its arrival in the age where globalisation has become the buzzword.
The hour-odd address by the sociologist held the audience spellbound with Mr Ansari remarking that it would be presumptuous on his part to imagine that he would give the Presidential address after Prof Giddens has spoken.
"Indian society has passed the test of being responsible enough, but if we have a globalised world then it is not imperative for us to respond in equal meaning outside the national boundary," Mr Ansari said.
Prof Giddens, who is also a member of the House of Lords, said globalisation has affected the developed countries as profoundly as any other in the world. Besides, globalisation has made the nation state more powerful and relevant.
"Globalisation is affecting developed countries just as profoundly as any others in the world. This is true on economic level: in 1970, the developed nations produced 90 per cent of world's manufactured goods, but now it has declined to 60 per cent and is set to fall further," Prof Giddens said.
"Globalisation is by definition a two-way set of processes, not just a system of imbalanced power," he said.
What happens in the US economy has a great influence on the world but it does not control the economy of a single nation.
"The rapid economic rise of India, China and other Asian nations to world prominence has disposed off the idea that globalisation benefits the West at the expense of the rest," Dr Giddens said. .