Think Global- Act Local

Commander VK Jaitly 

This phrase is attributed to different people by different organizations and its first use goes back to a bit more than 100 years. Wikipedia gives good amount of information. Post 2nd World War, the business opportunities opened up at a very fast pace and a large number of global companies started spreading their wings beyond the boundaries of their countries. Some of them based their strategy on the funda of ‘Think Globally and Act Locally’ and the term has been further shortened to ‘Glocalization’ in the recent past.

Some companies even have been exploiting the third world countries and selling them sub-standard products bypassing the loose legal framework of those nations. India and many other third world countries continue to sell a small number of medicines that have been banned in many advanced countries due to their negative side effects. But majority of the global pharmaceutical companies are interested about their profits only. They think globally to expand their business and act locally to exploit the local population. This is totally against the spirit of ‘Think Global:Act Local’. 

What some of the westerners started thinking during last one hundred years or so, our Indian sages advocated a few thousands of years back when they said, “वसुधैव कु टुम्भकम” that means “The whole world is One Family.” What was their motive when they chanted: 

This can be translated as:

Om, May All become Happy,
May All be Healthy and away from Illness,
May All See what is Auspicious,
May no one Suffer in any way.
Om Peace, Peace, Peace. (Let their be peace everywhere) 

This was their true global thinking. And obviously they always acted locally. Look at the hundreds of temples made in India in the ancient times. Their architecture was suited to the local climate and the stones they used were normally from the nearby areas. Even the designs of the huts of the common man were based upon the weather of that particular area. The food habits of the people in different areas were different depending upon what was locally available in that area and was suited for the climate of that area. 
Some of the top global companies also follow this glocalization very religiously. McDonald’s strategy is to listen to local consumers and then act on it. Some of its local favorites around the world include the McItaly burger in Italy, Maharaja Mac in India, the McLobster in Canada and the Ebi Filit-O in Japan. Starbucks in India at most places will have no beef or pork considered taboo by many Indians. The Indian menu has local favorite Chai Tea Latte and baked goods like Konkani Twist or Chatpata Paratha Wrap to adapt its offerings to local vegetarian tastes. There are even separate ovens and counters for vegetarian and non-vegetarian offerings. 
The moment we say: Think Global, it also means ‘Let noble thoughts come from all sides’ and let us be ready to learn from others. Let us give up the rigid attitude of ‘My path alone is The Correct One’ and all others are wrong. This alone is the cause of all the turmoil world has been facing for last few decades. This is also the cause of terrorism across the world. We should definitely have the freedom to customise the good and noble global thoughts to our local conditions before we adopt them.

Unfortunately, we become selfish and narrow minded while adopting something good from others. India continues to struggle with the problem of dirty roads and lanes, rivers filled with filth, parks with strewn around litter and open defecation still seen at some places. I sincerely hope for the success of ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign. Why can’t we learn from other developed countries about their very high standards of cleanliness and traffic discipline?

The world today is fast moving towards extinction as per some environment experts. Our glaciers are receding and water level in the oceans is gradually rising. We are facing global warming and that has given rise to increased incidences of cyclones, floods and untimely heavy rains. All this has happened due to extreme levels of exploitation of the resources of earth by some developing countries. They were acting locally for their own good and greed without thinking globally. So the solution to most of our problems lies in ‘Think Global, Act Local’.