Monday, June 6, 2016

Reflection on India

A reflection on the trip.
Touchdown in the whirling chaos of Bangaluru introduced us to a menagerie of urbanism that challenged us to break through observation and live inside India. From a comfortable nest at Ixora we ventured daily at increasing distance and confidence into the world that we would call home for three weeks. As our palettes expanded from the KFC a half block away to village-cooked meals made without electricity, so too did our appreciation for the society and individuals we were inhabiting. Symptoms, such as litter, poverty, unbridled urban expansion and energy outages, expanded into an understanding of government structure, advocacy, capitalism, entrepreneurism and cultural norms. Individual actors seeking to affect change shared their views and efforts that contribute to the mosaic of one of the fastest growing cities in the world, facing opportunity and challenges of modernism while maintaining cultural history. As the surface observations drew us deeper, we were led by relatable local educators whose hopes, dreams and sophistication were utterly similar to our own despite operating in a foreign land.



The ACARA course offered a stunning portrayal of the strength and challenges of Indian society. The increasing immersion into the unfamiliar, led us from entrepreneurial share spaces, to the vibrant challenges of urban slums, to incongruous government complexes, to a crescendo of immersion in rural village life. The contradictions of our adopted home led us to appreciate and question our own incongruences. How do we act as citizens of the world at home or abroad? How do we project and protect our values and protect what is dear no matter where we live? How do we build resilient and sustainable systems of government, agriculture, healthcare, energy, housing and water?



This course did not provide the answers to these global grand challenges. Instead it let us sharpen and ask more nuanced questions. As the course progressed, large problems were broken down into manageable portions and solutions were postulated and refined. The students emerged with a greater understanding of themselves, their place in the world and how to become agents of change. The assembled strangers became friends and those friendships will endure to enhance life-long learning and advancement of sustainable environmental, engineering and social action. The problems we encounter will take over a billion lifetimes to solve, but after living amongst the 1.2 billion lives in India, it appears possible.




8 comments:

  1. I have been watching the team of youngsters from University of Minnesota coming under the guidance of Prof. Rose every year on a study tour hosted by Bangalore group. It is such an interaction that is bound to result in mutual understanding and benefit to the larger cause of strengthening humanity across the nations of the world.Our PM Modi is currently visiting USA and President Obama is hosting him for extensive talks.
    As i read this story of your group, i was tempted to to talk to TERii management here in Kurukshetra, a holy town in North India which runs a complex of Polytechnic, an Engineering College and a full level Secondary School, all on the same campus. Dr. M.P.Gupta is the Founder cum Advisor here and i happen to be working there as a Technology Consultant to their faculty & students in IPR and Patent filing methodology. Dr. Gupta was much impressed with Minnesota group activities and offered full hospitality and program activities under the aegis of their Institution located in a rural environment with facilities mentioned. The campus has Guest House and Central Canteen and ample hostel facilities to host your team for your next year visit to Northern India for a change. Kindly consider and respond to this preliminary invitation directly with Dr. Gupta at advisor@terii.com or with me at nnath32@ymail.com or at narendranath32@gmail.com. We will be able to host you, Prof. Rose and your team members to your satisfaction and our staff and students benefit. Warm kind regards,
    Narendra Nath, Ex. Professor of Physics at Kurukshetra University from 1970-1995 and now attached to TERII, as indicated

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  2. It was a good trip for you I suppose. Can't wait to read your other stories.

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