Discuss the impact of post-liberal economy on ethnic identity and communalism.


05:23 AM

The question Discuss the impact of post-liberal economy on ethnic identity and communalism." was asked in the Mains 2023 GS Paper 1.  Let us look at the model answer to this question. 

Answer: Post liberal economy is an economy where private participation is increased and there is a rollback of the State in economic activities. It is generally referred to as liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation.

Ethnic identity refers to a person’s social identity within a larger context based on membership in a cultural or social group. In India most of the ethnic groups are tribals.

Communalism is a strong sense of loyalty to the interests of one particular group (religious, ethnic, etc.) rather than to society as a whole, which can lead to extreme behaviour or violence towards others

Impact of post-liberal economy on ethnic identity

Positive impacts:

  • Exposure to culture: Post liberal economy has made all types of connectivity fast, thus the ethnic culture is getting known to others and other cultures are impacting them.
    • Migration is another factor responsible for cultural inter-mixing
  • Revival of traditional art: The liberal economy has made it possible to sell artcraft all over the world. It has given impetus to dying traditional local art.
  • Economic importance: Some ethnic people, like Punjabis, are prosperous, which has created their unique identity. Punjabis have gained economic importance as consumers.
  • Propagation of language: With or without intermixing, the post liberal economy has propagated different languages by means of trade, travel, tourism, etc.

Negative impacts:

  • Dilution of ethnic identity: Because of migration for economic opportunities, ethnic identities have been largely diluted.
  • Ethnic conflicts and security threats: Post liberal economy, through black markets or smuggling, has made it possible to gather arms.
    • The ethnic people have used these arms to prove their ethnic dominance in their respective regions. For example, recent Manipur violence.
    • It has also resulted in separatist tendencies among some ethnicities.

Impact of post-liberalism on communalism

  • Focus on economic development: LPG reforms have opened ways for economic development and prosperity of all communities.
  • Fraternity: Economic development has created inter-dependence, leading to fraternity among communities.
  • Confidence building: The rise of fraternity and continuous interaction work as confidence building measures among various communities.
  • Spread of culture: The spread of cultural traditions has been made helpful by the post liberal economy.
    • For example: the cultural practice of Yoga is renowned now.
  • Resource competition: According to the Sacchar report, liberalisation has led to extraction of resources, which has led to competition for them on communal lines, which has led to communal tensions.
  • Inequality: The LPG reforms have benefited some communities more than others. It has created inequalities.
  • Rise of communal identities: In rural regions and somewhat in urban areas as well, economic rise of one community has led to its dominance over others, fracturing communal harmony.

Though the post liberal economy has led to prosperous society on both ethnic lines and communal lines, it's largely limited to urban areas. There are societies in rural areas which are marginalised and have not benefited from a post liberal economy. Therefore, the administration shall take steps to address the marginalisation.