Books, Rants

Good Luck, Walmart!

I’m reading David Barsamian’s collection of interviews with Arundhati Roy, The Chequebook and the Cruise-Missile, and I came across something that made me crack up:

“But still, how are you going to persuade a Naga sadhu–whose life mission has been to stand naked on one leg for twenty years or to tow a car with his penis–that he can’t live without Coca-Cola?” page 17

… a reference to the uphill battle the West faces in its quest to develop countries like India. “Develop,” of course, means that companies like Walmart are trying to create a demand for big box stores, processed foods, iPods, etc. It’s an uphill battle because India is essentially still one massive “wilderness.” With the possible exception of booming twenty-four hour cities like Bangalore and Mumbai there there is just no concept of supermarkets. For whatever the reason, people would rather eat a dosa or an idli than a McDonald’s hamburger, even if it is a “Masala Chicken Burger.”

Sadhus are ascetic Hindu holy men, by the way. They’re extremely dedicated to the contemplation of God and have set world records for doing crazy things like crawling one thousand kilometers.

Although I think it’s only a matter of time before India, too, is conquered economically, maybe multi-national corporate executives have finally met their match in the sadhus of India and Nepal…