Sir Mark Tully (Gulf News)
A purely materialistic lifestyle will leave us in shambles, Tully says
By Mariam M. Al Serkal, Staff Reporter
Gulf News, February 28, 2009, 23:05

Dubai: “The present global economic crisis is due to the fact that we have followed one road, and have taken the certainty of capitalism too far,” said Sir Mark Tully, during the Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature (EAIFL).

In a discussion, he described how powerful market capitalism has become and linked it with ideas from his latest book, India’s Unending Journey.

Tully served for more than 20 years as BBC Bureau Chief in New Delhi, India.

He has been acknowledged for his distinguished service with both an Order of the British Empire and the Padma Shree, a rare honour for a non-Indian. He was knighted in 2002.

Some of his previous works include The Heart of India and Divide and Quit.

When asked why he first started writing, he said he started when the attack in the Golden Temple occurred and was “deeply upset that religion was mixed with politics”.

The attack in the Golden Temple in 1984 was an Indian military operation ordered by Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, to remove Sikh separatists from the temple in Amritsar.

Tully described his passion for India and the necessity to find the perfect balance in life.

“The most crucial thing in life is to follow the middle road and seek perpetually for a balance, and for that, you have to seek it all the time within yourselves,” he said.

The reason why nations are suffering from the financial crisis is because people have chosen to follow one extreme path, that of market capitalism, and chosen to ignore and underplay non-economic issues, he said.

As an example, he noted that people living in the Middle Ages used to say that Christianity was the only religion to live by and anyone who thought differently would be persecuted.

“Theology has now been replaced by economics… We took socialism too far and now we went the other way completely. From the black of socialism we went into the white of capitalism,” he said.

“We do not need to have an economic situation that is driven only by drastic consumerism. The market culture we’ve grown into has become grossly materialistic. But there’s higher goals to life than buying a motor car,” he said.

“If you take the spiritual or materialistic path and deny everything else, you will end up in shambles.”