Indian Cosmopolitanism: A Case for Distinctive Multiculturalism

By Srijanya Reddy Yarram and Praveen K. Shetty.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 10, 2014 $US5.00

The cultural makeup of the cosmopolitan cities often subscribe to notions of multiculturalism that insist on tolerance and celebration of ethno-cultural diversity. The 'Cosmopolitan city' expresses a modern style of urbanity characterized by cultural liveliness and certain sophistication. Cosmopolitans aim to exceed their own local specificities, welcome unfamiliar cultural encounters, and express the wish to move toward a true humanity of equality and respect, free of racial, national and other prejudices. In essence a ‘cosmopolitan city’ is a reinvented notion of modern utopia that provides a free space, unlimited opportunity and importantly freedom to live one’s life as per one’s will. Any instance of disruption to this fabric of life is viewed as a threat to the very notion of the cosmopolitanism. The problems associated with ‘cosmopolitanism’ are often perceived as the result of a void that is inevitably created by the economic disparity and issues of migration. The conflict between the value system of the cosmopolitan elite and the unskilled migrant community is seen as the reasons for the disruption in the harmony of the system. Interestingly, the cities that represent ‘cosmopolitanism’ in India project a complicated amalgamation of features that move beyond the conventional cosmopolitanism and there is a need to recognize the subtler forces working beyond the one-dimensional approach to the cultural tensions. The paper proposes to make an attempt to explore the unique features of the Indian cosmopolitanism that operate on the cultural psyche of the ‘city’ and differs in their orientation to the cosmopolitanism of the other cities. It proposes to analyze the major strains that shape the cultural face of the four individual cosmopolitan cities of India i.e. New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, by analyzing the cultural values and forces that are distinct to the city as against the forces that shape the other cosmopolitan cities. It tries to identify whether the features of Cosmopolitanism as practiced in India are the result of a distinct multiculturalism.

Keywords: Cosmopolitanism, Indian cosmopolitanism, Distinct, Multiculturalism

Global Studies Journal, Volume 6, Issue 2, April 2014, pp.45-53. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 10, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 519.165KB)).

Srijanya Reddy Yarram

Student, Electronics and Communication Department, Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal, India

I am 4th semester student.As a part of my open elective i study Intercultural Communication.I wish to take up a project in this field and decided to work on the culture of cosmopolitanism in India.

Praveen K. Shetty

Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities and Management, Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal, Karnataka, India

Praveen K. Shetty is an assistant professor of English in the Department of Humanities and Management at Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal University, India. He teaches intercultural communication and communication skills. His area of research is intercultural communication, particularly the role of multiculturalism in intercultural communication. He conducts training sessions on Professional communication to the engineering students.


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