India's Globalization Through The Lens of Slumdog Millionaire

Author: cdelling

Chris Delling

Professor Wexler

495 ESM

5 May 2010

India’s Globalization Through the Lens of Slumdog Millionaire

Much has been made of the term globalization, over the past couple decades. Indeed, with communications, culture, and trade going transnational, the world as we know it is becoming more and more interconnected. Globalization has led to American styles in Japan, Chinese goods in America, and even a burgeoning tourist industry in Dubai. Some would argue that globalization has been going on for centuries. After all, as a global community we have traded amongst each other for at least that long. Others would argue, however, that globalization is far more complex, and far more interwoven than it once was. The globalization of today transcends the simple trade of goods. Globalization is an all encompassing phenomenon that includes, not only trade, but culture, labor, and even entire economic systems. For this reason, there is an ongoing debate as to whether this new breed of globalization is indeed healthy for the global community. Debate aside, the truth of the matter is this: globalization, and the benefits/drawbacks thereof, is an extremely complex phenomenon that exhibits both positive and negative characteristics.

Take India for example. India is a prime example of globalization because it exhibits both the good and bad qualities of being recently globalized. In fact, much of India’s globalization can be found in the movie Slumdog Millionaire. Using the movie as a backdrop, let’s look at the positive aspects of India’s globalization. In one scene, we see Jamal working in a call center. Through western eyes, this may be cause for concern, as we see portions of the Indian workforce as competition. After all, it’s no secret that myriad American companies outsource their call centers to India. Through the eyes of an Indian, however, a job at a call center is an opportunity to succeed, to do something greater. And while working at a call center may not be the most high profile position in the world, it is certainly better than working in the slums, a place that is oft depicted in the beginning of Slumdog Millionaire. Thus, we can see Jamal’s work in the call center as kind of a microcosm of India’s burgeoning economy. Worthy of note, is the fact that wages in India have “gone up fifty percent over the past fifteen years, and, not surprisingly, much of that leap is owed, in large part, to the globalization of India” (Panagariya 253). Taking that fact into account, it’s easy to see how globalization can be a good move for India.

Positives can also be found in the industrialized scenes in Slumdog Millionaire. Part of the brilliance of the film is the director’s deft choice of disparate locations. In one scene, we see Jamal and Salim playing in the slums. Homes are more akin to shanties, bathing is done in the river, and food seems to be scarce. Conversely, in the city, there are shops, apartment buildings, and people with appropriate attire for the climate. One could argue that globalization has had a hand in helping build these communities. The outsourcing of labor and the trade of Indian goods has led to the creation of the eleventh largest industrialized nation in the world: India.

These statistics can also be used to attack the argument for globalization as well, however. For every rich business man in India—like Salim in the latter half of the movie—there are three indigents. As Fernando Coronil states in his essay, "Towards a Critique of Globalcentrism: Speculation on Capitalism's Nature,” globalization has led to “new patterns of global integration and a heightened social polarization within and among nations” (Coronil 358). In short, the upper class is getting richer and the lower class is getting poorer. Prem Kapur, the man who hosts Who Wants to be a Millionaire; the people who are able to sit and home and watch the show on their televisions; and even the people in the audience are exceptions to the rule. True, India is industrialized, and yet much of the nation still lives in poverty. For a nation that “boasts homegrown programs in space exploration” (267 Panagariya), an ever growing hub for technical expertise, and a dozen legitimate Indian corporations listed on the NYSE, it still “still struggles with providing basic amenities, such as clean water, sanitation, and electricity” (268 Panagariya). And though India’s economy has grown by leaps and bounds, it only contributes 1.5% to world trade. As a result, naysayers of globalization have begun to ask: at what cost?

If anything is for certain, it’s that the benefits and/or drawbacks of globalization are somewhat nebulous, and a bit relative. Positives can be seen in the sharing of culture, of trade, of technology, and general well being. We are more of a global community than we have ever been, which in turn, allows us to work on some of the world’s greatest problems with a collective human effort. Negatives can be seen in the disparities created by globalization—namely social. It has been argued that much of the success that industrialized nations have seen through globalization have come at the cost of supposed third-world countries. It’s easy to see globalization as a net positive through western eyes. I wonder if the kids depicted in the slums of Mumbai feel the same way, though.

Works Cited

Coronil, Fernando. "Towards a Critique of Globalcentrism: Speculation on Capitalism's Nature." Public Culture 12.2 (2000): 358. JSTOR. Web. 3 May 2010.

Panagariya, Arvind. "Globalization and the Offshoring of Services: The Case of India." Brookings Trade Forum 36.9 (2005): 253-68. JSTOR. Web. 3 May 2010.


Globalization: Globocentrism and Postcoloniality

Author: cdelling

Coronil's article details the perceived benefits of globalization, and its actual drawbacks. He begins by saying that many believe globalization to be this new trend, but in fact, it's no different than cross cultural/cross continental trade. History books look back upon these moments as seminal, and important. And they are. But globalization in the contemporary sense is not this warm, fuzzy occurrence it's made out to be. Indeed, "rather than being new," Coronil states, "[it] is the intensified manifestation of an old process of...capitalist expansion, colonization, worldwide migrations, and transcultural exchanges" (352). The issue, as Coronil explains, is that this new breed of globalcentrism "polarizes, excludes, and differentiates" (352). In short, "it unites by dividing" (352).

Further in the article--after his brief history of Marxist economics--he speaks to the differences between the globalization of today, versus the globalization of the seventies. Today, an economy "enabled by new technologies of production and communication," has led to, at least in the mind of Coronil, "new patterns of global integration and a heightened social polarization within and among nations" (358). He cites two articles: one detailing the financial disparities between the upper and lower classes, created by globalization, and the other, detailing the sentiments of Subcomandante Marcos, namely that the Cold War was actually the Third World War, insofar as it was a war waged on the third world.

By article's end, it's clear that Coronil is clearly not a fan of globalization, as he goes to great lengths to show the damage it's caused, and the social divisions it has engendered.

Gikandi, in his article, "Globalization and the Claims of Poscoloniality," echoes many of Coronil's sentiments, namely that globalization has led to the exploitation of the third world. True, we are a global community, but the relationship is becoming decidedly one sided, with the wealthy reaping the benefits of the poor--the poor, this case, being third world countries.

An argument worthy of note, is his hypothetical, though deftly constructed, scenario in which "Somali migrants in Seattle (or North Africans in Paris) insist that ‘‘circumcising’’
their daughters is crucial to their identity(644)." What, then, do we do to embrace new members of our society while acknowledging that their beliefs may differ from our own? At what point is the globalization cocktail too strong? Where does the synthesis end? And should it? Or does having a true global community mean not only accepting, but embracing cultural relativism?

If one thing is certain, it's that globalization is not easily defined, defended, or argued for. The very concept of globalization and all of its implications is infinitely more complex than one may think.


The Cask of Amontillado

Author: cdelling

If we were to look at Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado", through the lens of Buckingham's Media Education, and delivered through a medium such as youtube, we would find that myriad opportunities to critique said story and medium, arise. For instance, in the video I've chosen to embed in this post, we can critique the speaker's delivery, his cadence, and even his facial expressions. We can examine the producer's motivation for utilizing a single voice actor, as opposed to two. And we can also examine the rationale behind using a voice actor in the first place. Why was this story not acted out with props? Why does he speak by candlelight?

In this way, students not only get a proper introduction to one of Poe's finest works, they also get a look into a particular form of media. The lesson, thus, serves two purposes: to teach students about the literary techniques employed in Poe's short story, and to show students that this is but one interpretation, through but one medium.


Buckingham: Media Education

Author: cdelling

At first, I thought Buckingham's book was going to detail the many novel, progressive ways that media is being utilized in the classroom. This seems to be a popular theme of late. However, I came to find, after reading through the first couple chapters of his book, that Media Education is less about the use of media in the classroom than it is about the critique of media strategies. As he says in his own words, "Media education therefore aims to develop a broad-based competence, not just in raltion to print, but also in these other symbolic systems of images and sounds. This competence is frequently described as a form of literacy, and it is argued that, in the modern world, 'media literacy' is just as important for young people as the more traditional literacy of print" (4). Essentially, what he's set out to do in Media Education is to show students--and parents for that matter--that literacy no longer means the ability to read and write. To succeed in the modern world--a world filled with television, the internet, radio, advertising, etc...--one must be literate in all forms of media. This is necessary because "the media do not offer us a transparent 'window on the world', but a mediated version of the world.

In Chapter 4 he gives us some examples of media education. For instance, he details a marketing exercise in which "students are given an article from an advertising trade newspaper concerned with the Juice Up campaign" (64). The students are then asked to "consider how the marketing campaign was conceived by the advertising agency and the company. Discussion here focuses on issues such as the scheduling and placement of the ads, and what the producers assume about their audience" (64).

Buckingham goes on to detail half a dozen other exercises in 'creating the image', 'scheduling', 'catching the audience', and others, in an effort to further illustrate his point.

While I agree with much of what Buckingham has to say in Media Education, he seems to be covering a topic most of us are familiar with. The forms of media he talks about are not new, and even the most naive student should know that advertising is not always what it seems. As I said, I agree with what he's getting at, but I'd like to think that much of what he discusses is already common knowledge. What I would have liked to have seen instead, would have been a text dedicated to using these new forms of media to teach children, and adults alike, in an engaging, progressive manner. Too long has our educational system relied on the traditional lecture, quiz, pass/fail model. It doesn't work; it's just that simple. New tools are at our disposal; it's time a book actually detailed meaningful ways in which these tools can be implemented in the classroom.


Thor's Duel with Hrungnir

Author: cdelling

As in many other mythologies, the patriarchal deity, Odin, leader of the Aesir and king of the gods, is a bit of a rabble-rouser. In "Thor's Duel with Hrungnir," we find him taunting the leader of the giants, Hrungnir, a proud beast with a temper of his own. Odin, drunk and belligerent, actually insults Hrungnir after having received a rather nice compliment about his horse. Snidely, he retorts, "Better than any in Jotunheim...that's for sure" (234). This sparks a duel, of sorts, as Hrungnir challenges Odin and his prize horse, Sleipnir, to a race. The two tear across the world at great speed until they arrive at Valhalla, home of the gods.

Seeing the gates of Valhalla, Hrungnir realizes who he's challenged; he has no choice but to remain silent and accept punishment. Much to his surprise, however, he's led inside and given food and drink. It's not long before Hrungnir becomes drunk and belligerent himself, a situation that Odin believes would be best handled by his son, Thor. Thor arrives with haste and demands to know why Hrungnir is in Valhalla. The two exchange words and agree that a battle will take place on Hrungnir's home soil, Grjotunagardar.

After arriving home, Hrungnir and the other giants construct a clay monster bigger than anything Thor has ever seen. It is meant to scare him off. Thor, arriving for battle, is unfazed. He throws his hammer, Mjolinar, at Hrungnir's hone, the two clash in the air, whetstones are scattered everywhere, and ultimately, Mjolinar still finds it's mark. Hrungnir is felled with a single blow. Thialfi, Thor's chariot driver, easily mops up Mist Calf, and the two Norse men return home.

This myth is a creation myth, in a way. It doesn't explain the creation of the world itself, as so many creation myths do. But it does explain where we get our whetstones.



Author: cdelling

The Feast

They always come by dark of night,

gnawing, tearing, feasting.

If you see one run, run fast, or be prepared to fight.

Their eyes are sunk, their flesh decays, they’re sensitive to light.

Most just wander aimlessly, but some will stand there leering.

They always come by dark of night,

hoping for a single bite.

It seems you are not listening, you must be hard of hearing:

If you see one run, run fast, or be prepared to fight.

I can see no end in sight,

this plague that stops hearts beating.

They always come by dark of night,

oblivious to their ghastly plight.

Ah, now you see, reprieve was but fleeting.

If you see one run, run fast, or be prepared to fight.

These words I spoke this fateful night,

your foible’s brought them feeding.

They always come by dark of night.

If you see one run, run fast, or be prepared to fight.

Rat Race

Hunting, pecking, tab, space, indent


Swingline, clamp, clamp


Ring, ring, ring

Swivel left

“Hello…no, sir…but I don’t think you…yes, sir”


Swivel right

Swivel left

Crumple, toss, score

Hunting, pecking, tab, space, indent

Bing, click, delete

Cruise line juggler…delete

Turkey sandwich


Cheese stick



Ring, ring, ring

“Hello…yes, I sent them an hour ago”

Spin, clock, ugh

Bing, reply

Bing, reply

Bing, delete

Bing, forward

Spreadsheet, send

Ring, ring, ring

“I’m on it”

Send, send, send, send

Boyne City, MI

$463 one way







Flying Japan

Author: cdelling

They came at dawn
flying low
from the east.
Roaring staccatos,
sirens blaring,
we ran, dove, swam,
Panic turned to rage,
gazes turned skyward,
death claimed the lost,
the many.
Few fought, most died,
all remember.