Look West policy

In an increasingly interconnected world, it is hard to be ignorant of international news. But news from the West, especially the United States, seems to have a prepotence over people around the world, especially the youth. A stark reminder of this effect came recently in the form of the Roe v Wade controversy.

The US has many peculiar cultural fights, most of them idiosyncratic and pointless. The debate over abortion falls into that majority. There are much better sources on the causes, intricacies, and effects of the abortion debate, so I won’t dwell on any of those here. But I will argue that there’s little of import in the debate that is of direct relevance to anyone living in India. Nobody in India is going to be affected by what the US Supreme Court decides on the case, directly or indirectly. They are not subject to that decision, and it will not have externalities in the form of cultural effects that can influence legislation and litigation in India. Denying the right of abortion, especially early on in the pregnancy, is exceptionally dumb and there’s no chance of something like that gaining a foothold. And yet, many spoke passionately about this news. The internet was flooded with Twitter threads, opinion pieces, memes; all chiming in on a debate that is of little or no consequence to them. Contrast this to the relative silence on a recent High Court ruling that refused to strike down a law that gives legal sanction to marital rape. You’d be hard pressed to find an issue that impacts as many people in India as this ruling. Half a billion Indians are directly affected by it, and the other half a billion indirectly by being family members of the other half.

The more of our collective energy that we expend on the stupid cultural fights of influential countries, the less we will have left over to clean important stuff up in our own backyard.

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