Opinion: India's Best "Export" to the U.S. is Religion

July 26, 2004

Source: The Economic Times


On July 26, 2004 The Economic Times ran an opinion piece arguing that religion is "India's best export to the U.S." The author writes, "The Commerce Ministry can throw all the figures it wants at us about the export of software, textiles, leather, gems & jewelry etc,. but I am beginning to wonder if somewhere at top of the heap is a sector that defies numbers and nomenclature. We are talking here about religion/faith/spirituality, one of our oldest and most venerated exports to the United States, and indeed across the world. I have no idea what the metrics are to measure what export of religion does to Indian coffers. Does one count the amount of $$$ remitted by the faithful to ashrams and causes in India? The proliferation of temples and spiritual retreats across the United States? The tourist traffic to India from gora folk looking for salvation? What about the whole yoga scene? If one sees ‘religion as commerce’ as one of our famous journalists-turned-politicians once wrote, who’s counting anything in this business? Don’t ask for numbers, but I get the feeling lately that there has been a sharp spike in spiritual seeking in the United States in the last 3-4 years. And Indian gurus seem be rushing in where angels tread to meet this demand."