Indian Culture

Colonialism, Culture and Revivalism

After becoming a huge power in India, the British began appropriating the practice of removing shows before entering the durbar of the rulers, or court of an Indian ruler,  or a house or place of worship as a way to assert their superiority.  The appropriation “lacked authenticity”, colonial leaders did not have empathy with the indigenous traditions.  This was an attempt to establish their identity in India by affirming the culture of the area.

Panikkar, K. N. 2003. “Colonialism, Culture and Revivalism.” Social Scientist 31(1/2):3–13. Retrieved (


Temporary Tattoos: Indo-Chic Fantasies and Late Capitalist Orientalism

Henna is often marketed as “temporary tattoos”, a tactic that seems intentional to reconstruct what mehndi is into a painless and temporary alternative to tattoos while appealing to the fascination of body art.  Henna has been altered to fit within boundaries of American tradition, seeming as things like a New Age ritual, feminist beauty practice, bridal shower or a sex toy.  Body artists have made businesses by putting a price on “performing” mehndi for people.  Many companies like Temptu, Mehndi Mania and Body Art have even created do-it-yourself henna kits.

Maira, Sunaina. 2002. “ Temporary Tattoos: Indo-Chic Fantasies and Late Capitalist Orientalism.” Meridians 3(1):134–60. Retrieved (

Globalisation of Commodification: Legal Process Outsourcing and Indian Lawyers

India has become a hub of outsourcing for the world for services like call centers, telemarketing, billing services, insurance claims, and more.  India provides a number of individuals who can provide highly skilled services through the Knowledge Process Outsourcing by the National Association of Software and Service Companies.  Most recently, legal process outsourcing has become popular where Indian lawyers replace the work of local lawyers in high-cost areas.  Legal process outsourcing firms employ more than 10,000 later in India.

The practice of law in India has become commodified as firms delegated responsibility for discrete tasks like document review for responsiveness, significance and privilege; preparation of deposition questions and digest of testimony, etc, to whoever was charged the least.  Each step could be considered a module that would be performed and passed on to others to perform their module.  This has caused a deskilling, controlling, intensity of the job and reduction of technical autonomy in a field that was once highly skilled and respected.  This commodification is leading to a dissatisfaction and insecurity amount attorneys.

Noronha, Ernesto, Premilla D’Cruz, and Sarosh Kuruvilla. 2016. “Globalisation of Commodification: Legal Process Outsourcing and Indian Lawyers.” Journal of Contemporary Asia 46(4):614–40.

The Commodification and Exchange of Knowledge in the Case of Transnational Commercial Yoga

Yoga is traditionally a philosophy several thousand years old that trains to accept truth through physical and mental practices.  It is linked to several religions and has been grouped into eight limbs of practice by the ancient sage, Pantanjali.  Schools of yoga have distinctive styles that blend subsets of the limbs.  In recent decades however, consumers particularly  in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Australia have created a market demand for transnational yoga which typically draws from a style of yoga that emphasizes asanas (postures), pranayamas (breathing exercises) and pratyahara (a preliminary practice to meditation).  In the contemporary version of yoga, the stress reducing, muscle toning and flexibility benefits are wrapped into a package to be sold.  It can be conceptualized asa commodity that “satisfies the desire to improve the physical body and health through exercise.”

Bikram yoga is a good example of this commodification.  Often referred to as the “McDonald’s version of yoga”, it is one of the most profitable styles of yoga.  Pioneered by yoga guru Bikram Choudhury, the beginning series involves twenty-six postures, two breathing exercises performed over ninety minutes in a 105°F.  To be an official Bikram studio, one must be a part of an international network and the Bikram Yoga College of India, only teach Bikram yoga classes taught by Bikram-certified instructor.  To be an instructor of Bikram yoga, you be accepted and graduated from the Bikram Yoga College of India, the schooling lasts for two months and costs $6,000 offered twice a year through the Los Angeles headquarters.

Fish, Allison. 2007. “The Commodification and Exchange of Knowledge in the Case of Transnational Commercial Yoga.” International Journal of Cultural Property 13(02).