ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Cultural and Political Autonomy in Indian Society

Cultural and Political Autonomy in Indian Society THE ideal of autonomy has gained considerable significance in recent times. In theoretical discussions and analysis, social and political theorists and moral philosophers have questioned or justified the principles and practices of the liberal democratic states by invoking one or the other version of the ideal of autonomy. Similarly, political and cultural activists have invoked this ideal to defend the rights of individuals and communities to survive and flourish without any external interference and control. While autonomy is recognised and defended as a prerequisite for the very possibility of a civil society, there is an equally clear perception that the recent economic, political, technological and cultural developments have been significantly contributing towards the erosion of the autonomy of individuals and communities. A major source of threat to the autonomy of the people of the third world can be seen in the western tendency to continue its domination with its control over technologies of communication, armaments, transportation and production. This needs to be understood not merely in cultural and political terms but also in terms of the requirement on the part of the west to control and perpetuate the existing patterns of consumption of the global resources by which its high standards of living are maintained. The west (also known as north these days) manages to do this by keeping a control on the global trade and financial markets through various mechanisms. Western domination, achieved by means of unequal and unbalanced exchange of material goods, ideas, and skilled persons, is very much a part of the cuIture, politics and economy of the Indian society. Socio-political and economic decisions at the government level continue to be taken under conditions of lack of autonomy.

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