India is not only the Taj
By Margarita I. Gotay
India is a very diverse country; most of it has to do with its large
size and long history. Some of the Indian subcontinents were ruled by
the British, French (Pondicherry) and Portuguese (Goa) at one point in
time. Finally, on January 26, 1950, India was officially proclaimed a
republic. The influences of the British, French, and Portuguese are
really prominent and visible. As India keeps developing the effects on
the poor are more visible. At the same time the demands of the
I visited Pondicherry, which used to be a
French Colonial Town. Compared to Chennai it was really clean and
beautiful. The architecture of the buildings is French. There were a
lot of French Hotels and restaurants. At the temples French people were
sitting down meditating, you could see that they were locals. White
people were very visible unlike in the streets of Chennai.
In my time there I also visited the
Delta School of Nursing, where they train Dalit girls to become nurses.
These girls come from the lowest caste in India and from different
villages. Most girls start living there at age 18 until they get
married. They only see their families on special occasions or
festivities. Dr. Henry Thiagaraj, who was born into a dalit family,
founded the school.
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for India, women are the major migrants. They have to educate
themselves to not become the victims of a growing society. With a
little education they can fight against becoming tools of sexual
work. The have more chance of survival. As they told us in the
Delta School of Nursing: “Education is Power”.
People from all around the world come as volunteers to help
and aid this community, and other dalit villages, and raise awareness
of some atrocities that these people go through. Currently there is a
Canadian student staying at the school, she helps the girls with their
English. The classes are actually in English.
Australian University billboards
were everywhere in the streets and sidewalks of Chennai.
Propaganda of better opportunities and connection with other countries
were also very visible. Some international banks such as Citibank,
Western Products like Lay’s the potatoes chips were sold in little
bazaars and side stores. These are all indices of global connections of
migrating products and people.
At the Bazaar we meet a lady
from Oregon, who married an Indian man and was currently living in
Chennai. She has been living there for 5 years. On our way to
some hills in Madurai in the countryside I saw the Coca Cola and Pepsi
factories.Migration signs were everywhere. Just by looking
outside the ship on our portside thousands of Hondas were waiting to be
sent to Mexico. Transnational companies see a wide rage of
opportunities in India. That’s why I saw so many signs of migration and
I foresee many more in the upcoming years. India is starting new ways
of development. Hopefully someday they will be a way to have
globalization without making the poor more poor and mistreating them.
The world is more interconnected then what the eyes of the
ignorant can see, when we open our eyes to that which connects us, we
realize that we are closer than what it seems. –Margarita Gotay