Globalization, often seen as a new emerging force in global culture, politics, and economics today, is not an entirely a new phenomenon. In fact, globalization can be traced back to the ancient empires of Greece and Rome in Europe and the Middle East and to the opening of the Great Silk Road through Asia. The Silk Road was in some ways, the first real conduit of globalization. The term “Silk Road” refers to an ancient network of trails and trading routes connecting East Asia to the Mediterranean. It was an “extensive interconnected network of trails and trade routes extending over 4,000 miles connecting East, South and Western Asia with the Mediterranean world, including North/East Africa and Europe.”
The Silk Road started in the second century BC as part of adventure of Zhang Qian to the far west for political contact with Yuezhi, a nomadic tribe. But, it was only in 1870′s that the geographer, Ferdinand von Richthofen gave the name by which we now know as the Silk Road. While silk was a major commodity traded through these routes from the second century BC, trade in animals, goods, spices and textiles – as well as ideas, philosophies – were spread through the Silk Road.
Silk Road played the role of a connecting bridge between countries and civilizations. It was a route of Innovation and Commerce, which became the catalyst for development of ideas, exchange of beliefs, religions, learning and traditions. It facilitated dynamic cultural exchanges between the East and the West. A set of complex channels in which, the world became more closely bound together; in which, the arts and technologies, the religion and philosophies, the worldviews and modes of logic engaged each other as much as the goods. Many of the arts and crafts, the philosophies and devotions of Asia passed into the West and were adapted to new conditions.
The new Silk Road is digital and it goes beyond national borders. The travelers and explorers have been replaced by new class of job workers, students and immigrants. Just as the ancient Silk Road/Routes, were important paths for trade, cultural, intellectual and technological transmission”. Similarly the new Silk Road, having taken a new path, traversing the length and breadth of the digital network of the World Wide Web, has re-emerged with greater force as an important platform and route for cultural, intellectual, commercial and technological transmissions.