Both India and Iran have responded to the challenges of globalisation, and in the world of tomorrow, they would need to use the tools of modernity “creatively,” Vice-President Hamid Ansari said in New Delhi on Wednesday.
“To the sociologist, it (globalisation) is associated with modernity, to international relations theorist with global governance, and to the scientist with a range of technologies and mediums that have qualitatively transformed human communication and connectivity.
“The latter also results in a complex series of interaction between peoples and cultures that rupture boundaries and lead to cultural ‘hybridity’, not purity,” he said.
He was speaking after inaugurating a two-day-long seminar on ‘The cultural similarities between Iran and the Indian sub-continent: Indigenous Cultural Fragmentation in the Era of Globalisation’.
He said both Iran and India are inheritors of civilisations whose origins date back deep into the past, both have responded, in their own way, to the challenges of modernity.
“What shape would their linguistic and cultural connections take in our globalising world? At a first glance, the Indian approach has been one of seamless accommodation while the Iranian is premised on categorised acceptance. Both face today the onslaught of information and ideas in all their diversity and technological prowess.
“In the world of tomorrow, they would need to use the tools of modernity economic, technological and political – creatively. They have a largely converging interest in an area of stability and prosperity,” Ansari said.
The Vice President also emphasised that the current tide of globalisation would “not submerge” the Indian cultural identity but would “add an Indian dimension” to a globalising culture.
Iranian Ambassador to India Gholam Reza Ansari said, “We are witnessing extremism, violence, radicalism in East and West Asia and North Africa…Some policymakers and hidden hands in some governments intend to introduce an extremist face of Islam in the region.
“East has been the cradle of great civilisation and religions of the world…It is possible to increase the region and religion’s recognition and interaction and convergence. And, thus roots of violence of extremism and violence and hidden hands of some governments and extremist groups spreading chaos can be exposed,” he said.
The seminar has been organised by Iran Cultural House, New Delhi in collaboration with India International Centre, Indian Council for Cultural Relations and UNESCO Parzor Foundation.
Ansari also made reference to the growing influence of social media and and e-commerce firms in the age of globalisation.
“Some evidence of the collective effectiveness of these (global culture) is to be seen in the case of big IT companies like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon are now fast moving towards a stage where they have developed capacities to provide market on their platforms and also control tools of production.
“They are shaping popular cultures and are not limited by geographical boundaries. They control communication and have the potential and technology to promote specific views, information and analysis. These companies have reach across borders. They have proliferated everywhere, yet are usually not governed by local laws,” he said.
Emphasising the connect between the two countries, he further said, the Persian language itself has been a part of the vast Indian linguistic landscape for millennia.
“The earlier linguistic affinities persisted in later times and were furthered by the intensity of contacts. Words of Sanskrit origin have been located in Shahnamah…The first newspaper in Persian language anywhere in the world was published in Calcutta in 1823 by Raja Ram Mohun Roy of Brahmo Samaj,” he said.
Abouzar Ebrahimi, President of Islamic and Cultural Relation (ICRO), proposed that a permanent cultural secretariat could be set up to further the cultural connection between the two countries, besides highlighting the shared legacy.
ICCR president Lokesh Chandra said, “Role of Iran is crucial to the evolution of a convergence in culture and the diversity.”