I write in the belief that soft power as a force multiplier for imperial geopolitics is to be viewed with the greatest suspicion, but as an alternative to militarism and violence is to be valued and adopted as a potential political project that could turn out to be the first feasible utopia of the 21st century.
India could bring in legislation to jail anyone who insults Mahatma Gandhi while state governments are moving to ban a biography that reviewers said showed the "Father of the Nation" was bisexual.
Over these long years Indians have perfected many cultural attributes that may be appealing to the rest of the world - what Joseph Nye likes to call 'soft power’. Some good examples of Indian soft power are Yoga, Bollywood, Ayurveda and the great Indian cuisine (including curry and chicken tikka).
India is an ancient civilization with five thousand years of recorded history. Over these long years Indians have perfected many cultural attributes that may be appealing to the rest of the world - what Joseph Nye likes to call 'soft power’. Some good examples of Indian soft power are Yoga, Bollywood, Ayurveda and the great Indian cuisine (including curry and chicken tikka).
But quietly, India has been embedding itself as a soft power through its prophet of non-violence. In the last decade, statues and busts of Mahatma Gandhi have been installed by scores of cities -- from Trujillo in Peru to Osnabrueck in Germany -- to honour what could arguably be India's greatest export: Gandhian philosophy.
To understand the lead sentence of yesterday's NY Times p.1 lead on Obama's visit to India, you need more background on US public diplomacy there.
Not long after Barack Obama was elected president, the United States Embassy in India printed a postcard showing him sitting in his old Senate office beneath framed photographs of his political heroes... The postcard was a trinket of public diplomacy, a souvenir of the new president’s affinity for India.
NEW DELHI – While much of the world celebrates Valentines Day, February 14th will be celebrated in India as the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's 1959 visit. And it all ties to photographs of King, Gandhi and President Obama.
To celebrate the anniversary, ten programs are planned in India featuring King's son, Martin Luther King III, Representative John Lewis - a veteran of the civil rights movement, and musician Herbie Hancock. (The U.S. embassy's description is here).