INDIA -(Shashi Tharoor) Why nations should pursue "soft" power

jakojako777

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India is fast becoming a superpower, says Shashi Tharoor -- not just through trade and politics, but through "soft" power, its ability to share its culture with the world through food, music, technology, Bollywood. He argues that in the long run it's not the size of the army that matters as much as a country's ability to influence the world's hearts and minds.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiTrl0W1QrM&feature=sub
 

jakojako777

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What is India's 'Soft Power' ?
I'm sure not right person to answer that question, but rather to mediate different comments coming from Indians themselves.....
As foreigner I'm in position perhaps to have little bit more distance on subject....

But if you insist I'll suggest Indian culture should be first step in "soft" power projection. Just like USA did with their culture which is infinitely less rich comparing to Indian culture -(as we know one of the most ancient cultures on the planet). Hindu language will not gain popularity immediatly perhaps...Be cause Hindu language is quite difficult to learn.... but definitely Bollywood as popular extention of Indian culture (and language)can do plenty just like it was in the case of Hollywood !
I know few films that had quite success in Europe lately. And I don't see why Bollywood would not be capable to repeat success of Hollywood in longer run?!?
Thet is something where India has total dominance over China (except for Hong Kong karate films I doubt that people are so keen here to see Chinese film in Europe.
But Bollywood musicals and for example that co-production
Bollywood-Hollywood film "SLUM-DOG MILLIONAIRE " was HUGE success !

I know that plenty of people in Europe have seen it and loved it, me included !:)

Perhaps you would prefer film not about Indian poverty, but your middle class, to have success.......But that will come with the time! :)
 

jakojako777

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Haha. He's a brilliant diplomat, isn't he?
Shashi Tharoor ?
Yeah, I would say not only "brilliant diplomat" or brilliant mind but simply
brilliant guy !
This is the 1st time I listen his speech and I'm impressed ! :)
 

jakojako777

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Plaese people don't ask me what India's "soft power" is !

Stick with Tharoor's suggestions if you don't have any ideas!
He sounds like perfectly intelligent guy who knows what hi is talking about!

HERE I'll post again those words so READ them please!

India is fast becoming a superpower, says Shashi Tharoor -- not just through trade and politics, but through "soft" power, its ability to share its culture with the world through food, music, technology, Bollywood. He argues that in the long run it's not the size of the army that matters as much as a country's ability to influence the world's hearts and minds.
 

S.A.T.A

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The movies are only one aspect,perhaps the most insignificant of all,of the so called soft power theory.Gandhi dismissed it out of hand as cultural interloper incapable of doing Justice to the story telling tradition of any culture or civilization.

Leaving the movies aside,what exactly constitutes the 'Soft' part of this power equation, through which India will influence the hearts and minds of the people of the world.This must be understood and explained in the context of the fact that influencing 'hearts and minds' is not entirely alien to India.
 

S.A.T.A

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Plaese people don't ask me what India's "soft power" is !

Stick with Tharoor's suggestions if you don't have any ideas!
He sounds like perfectly intelligent guy who knows what hi is talking about!

HERE I'll post again those words so READ them please!

India is fast becoming a superpower, says Shashi Tharoor -- not just through trade and politics, but through "soft" power, its ability to share its culture with the world through food, music, technology, Bollywood. He argues that in the long run it's not the size of the army that matters as much as a country's ability to influence the world's hearts and minds.
Mate,since Mr Tharoor alone wont be disseminating this 'soft power' its incumbent on all Indian to be able to understand this soft power that we are supposed to be going to project.After all it shouldn't turn out we are attempting to accomplish something which we barely understand.

P.S:The question was not specifically directed at you,but in general to anyone who cared to explain :)
 

proud_hindustani

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what do you think guys, Should Tharoor be a next prime minister of India who may have potentiality to lead India to upper level than it's today? You people are saying he is intelligent and has good knowledge.
 

jakojako777

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The movies are only one aspect,perhaps the most insignificant of all,of the so called soft power theory.Gandhi dismissed it out of hand as cultural interloper incapable of doing Justice to the story telling tradition of any culture or civilization.

Leaving the movies aside,what exactly constitutes the 'Soft' part of this power equation, through which India will influence the hearts and minds of the people of the world.This must be understood and explained in the context of the fact that influencing 'hearts and minds' is not entirely alien to India.
You are quite ambitious in your approach....
You want to give philosophical dimension and perhaps even answer to the question of how "influencing 'hearts and minds'" of the world by India should be done......
I have huge respect for Gandhi and won't comment on his thoughts....
Just to say in my defense that movies are usual modern instrument.
They have crossed my mind as successful parallel that already exists in Holliwod.
But if Gandhi thinks of it as something inferior than I have nothing to add.......

What was that USA really wanted to achieve with their "soft" power projection is
another interesting question as comparison to India....



Again, I think is not up to one foreigner like me to answers what true style or approach of 'influencing 'hearts and minds' of the world ,by India should look like.......
 

Flint

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what do you think guys, Should Tharoor be a next prime minister of India who may have potentiality to lead India to upper level than it's today? You people are saying he is intelligent and has good knowledge.
He's not PM material IMHO. In any case, he's a Congress outsider and hardly acceptable to the party cadre. H
 

jakojako777

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Mate,since Mr Tharoor alone wont be disseminating this 'soft power' its incumbent on all Indian to be able to understand this soft power that we are supposed to be going to project.After all it shouldn't turn out we are attempting to accomplish something which we barely understand.

P.S:The question was not specifically directed at you,but in general to anyone who cared to explain :)

Yeah, I realize that but than I will not hide behind the others.... I try my best :)

I really wasn't hopping that debate will start so seriously from the start !
(mentally I was not prepared for it)
But go ahead be my guest I'll be happy to learn and see some interesting thoughts and ideas ! :)

True that above all that is 1st philosophical question. I just wasn't expecting debate to start from "the roof" sort of speak, but gradually to arrive at the deepest layer through debate.......
 

Rage

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So you honestly think that Hollywood didn't make any contribution on USA influence??!

USA influence in the world was greatly facilitated by their films, let alone USA propaganda!
@ brother jakojako777,

No guy, I'm just saying, that due to language and cultural barriers, and most significantly, due to being an underdeveloped/developing country, we do not have the kind of 'soft power' projection variables as the US :). The US was able to dominate via its cultural hegemony, because it also had: a) a military hegemony, b) was more 'liberal' in its sexual and nominal mores, and c) had, to a great extent, economic hegemony as well.

It gave other countries, particularly the countries of post-War Europe, that identified with a common strain of WASP/'Anglo-Saxon' heritage, and to the economic and social elite in developing countries that had some exposure to their propagandic appendages, a standard of 'material wealth', 'liberalization' and 'power' to aspire to. I think the essential features of its soft-power can be condensed to that.

We, on the other hand, are an essentially conservative society, with intrinsic conservative values and beliefs, are still a developing country that have far too many social and societal flaws to warrant providing the rest of the world, particularly the western, developed world, a standard to 'aspire to' or 'hold in awe', an essential feature of true 'soft power projection. Perhaps in the poorer countries of the subcontinent, and of West Asia, and to a limited degree in other places with sizable expat Indian populations, is such possible. But, I'd rather see the government focus on what it should be doing: infra, economic growth, reform and the armed services, rather than on soft power approaches - which will happen regardless - via the private sector and the citizenry.
 

GokuInd

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Regarding India and Soft Power, I am sure no difficulties will crop up since India's political system shares to a large extent the same Values, (democratic) Culture, Policies and Institutions like those in the "West", i.e. USA and most of Europe.

However, Soft Power goes beyond merely telling a story and/or influencing hearts and minds. I think Tharoor is too vague about this. Bollywood stuff alone won't bring about a change in perception, rather I think it's a combination of all elements - Hard Power included- to obtain what you want either through cooperation and attraction or hard-nosed coercion and payment.

Else, why is India still not able to influence the US into pressing them for a tougher stance vis-à-vis China and Pakistan despite nearly having all ressources?
 

Quickgun Murugan

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I wish this guy was negotiating the india-china border dialogue along with MK Narayanan.
 

jakojako777

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@ brother jakojako777,

No guy, I'm just saying, that due to language and cultural barriers, and most significantly, due to being an underdeveloped/developing country, we do not have the kind of 'soft power' projection variables as the US :). The US was able to dominate via its cultural hegemony, because it also had: a) a military hegemony, b) was more 'liberal' in its sexual and normal mores, and c) had, to a great extent, economic hegemony.

It gave other countries, particularly the countries of post-War Europe, that identified with a common strain of WASP/'Anglo-Saxon' heritage, and to the economic and social elite in developing countries that had some exposure to their propagandic appendages, a standard of material wealth and power to aspire to.

We, on the other hand, are an essentially conservative society, with conservative values and beliefs, and are still a developing country that have far too many social and societal flaws to warrant providing the rest of the world, particularly the western, developed world, a standard to 'aspire to' or 'hold in awe', an essential feature of true 'soft power projection. Perhaps in the poorer countries of the subcontinent, and of West Asia, and to a limited degree in other places with sizable expat Indian communities, is such possible. But, I'd rather see the government focus on what it should be doing: infra, economic growth, reform and the armed services, rather than on soft power approaches - which will happen regardless - via the private sector and the citizenry.


WOW!!
What is wrong with you people, you are all so complex and philosophical
I'm doing my best just to understand everything you are throwing at me :)

OK
I must simplify for my own sake.......and go back on movies and USA as example.
One simple question
When did you see USA movie last time? I'm sure that you have seen plenty of them like all of us, huh?
So I personally was never impressed with so many commercial USA movies ("cultural an all other dimensions they propose in those movies")
Their commercial movies were always about same formulas, same stories
Movies about USA violence, consumption ,snobbery mad in USA!
Thousands of worthless movies whose only quality is "made in USA" and nothing else ! No acting , no scenario, no message sometimes not even good effects etc...


I personally believe that India has such RICH culture and tradition that you have
VERY difficult task to choose in that infinity of multitude choices !!
Look at the CGI & cartoon Manga's from Japan how they are popular in Europe!
They do great job in promoting Jap culture in general.They bringing us Japanese tradition, legends etc...
Of course even modern Japan has their inhibitions and rigid tradition but who cares! It is NEW for us here and it is INTERESTING !!

The same goes for India! People in Europe are BORED already with USA and Anglo-Saxon culture in general. We have seen it to many times!
We are hungry to see some NEW stuff and want to learn new things about world around us also !

So I say do NOT hesitate India ! GO for it ! There will be always something
that represents reason to postpone things but one must be courageous and opened to the world ! And world will welcome you I'm sure !
Be cause despite everything you are great country infinitely rich in your diversity , history & culture !
You have SO MUCH TO OFFER !
:goodstuff:
 

jakojako777

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Regarding India and Soft Power, I am sure no difficulties will crop up since India's political system shares to a large extent the same Values, (democratic) Culture, Policies and Institutions like those in the "West", i.e. USA and most of Europe.

However, Soft Power goes beyond merely telling a story and/or influencing hearts and minds. I think Tharoor is too vague about this. Bollywood stuff alone won't bring about a change in perception, rather I think it's a combination of all elements - Hard Power included- to obtain what you want either through cooperation and attraction or hard-nosed coercion and payment.

Else, why is India still not able to influence the US into pressing them for a tougher stance vis-à-vis China and Pakistan despite nearly having all ressources?

But aren't the women the BEST proof of how "soft" power is FAR reaching and often more powerful than "hard" (men) approach?! :)
 

mattster

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Soft power is not really about getting immediate benefits in political and diplomatic terms.

But Soft power does mean money. People who are enamoured by your culture are more likely to come and visit your country and buy your products.

It also gives you name recognition. For example: millions of people in Asia know nothing about Brazil and have never ever met a Brazilian, but they know Brazilian Football and the names of their players and adore the brand of the game that they play. That translates into soft power for Brazil, because it makes people want to know more about Brazil.

But most importantly soft power allows you to change perceptions about your country and that does make a subtle difference in economic and the political sphere.
 

jakojako777

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Soft power is not really about getting immediate benefits in political and diplomatic terms.

But Soft power does mean money. People who are enamoured by your culture are more likely to come and visit your country and buy your products.

It also gives you name recognition. For example: millions of people in Asia know nothing about Brazil and have never ever met a Brazilian, but they know Brazilian Football and the names of their players and adore the brand of the game that they play. That translates into soft power for Brazil, because it makes people want to know more about Brazil.

But most importantly soft power allows you to change perceptions about your country and that does make a subtle difference in economic and the political sphere.

Very good down to the ground points that can be confirmed in so many examples
I really welcome this type of approach be cause some people have already from the start to come out with some deep philosophical coments on the subject and
perhaps expect that we can come out with exact definition of what "soft" power is and should look like in India's case.
I find that quite ambitious, unless some people are experts on the subject........

I've also made short Remarque that in 1970's we would buy in Europe everything that would even reassemble on USA style from jeans to the cars!
And consumers would be convinced that product is great only be cause it is or looks like it is from USA !!
 

Daredevil

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If I have to define 'soft power' in simple terms, it is something that first pops up in the mind of people when you ask them about a particular country.

If you ask about India - Taj mahal, bollywood, yoga, indian Food, computers and so on.

If you ask about Brazil - football, carnival..

France - Eiffel Tower, Cheese, nude beaches..

Italy - Rome, Pizza, Wine.

China - Martial arts, Chinese food, made in china stuff..
 

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