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Blog, Social Science

Eastern Travels


I have always wanted to visit India. The different lifestyle, culture, and geography of the area has intrigued me since I was in high school. I have not been lucky enough to interact with many people who have ventured over to the country, but my passion for visiting this area is simply based on experiencing a completely different area than I am accustomed to. My travels have taken me to many different areas in the Western hemisphere, but despite the many economic and social situations present in these locations, none of them have presented totally opposite ways of life. As a Seattle times article questions best, “Where else could you find yourself driving in a three-wheeled open-air taxi in four lanes of traffic clogged with cars, cows, camels, elephants, motorcycles and rickshaws; riding a camel into the desert; walking barefoot on the marble floors of the Taj Mahal; floating along tropical lagoons in a houseboat and hiking in the mountains, all in the same three-week trip?”

My interest in the Eastern Hemisphere first originated from learning about the Eastern Religions. I was taught that crowds of Indian Hindus would take to the streets, chanting their prayers loud enough for the entire city to hear. This intense devotion to religion manifested itself in little alcohol to drink and a thorough dedication to spirituality. The religious aspect of India also manifests itself in beautiful Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries, images that most of us have seen in National Geographic magazine covers.

India’s intrigue continues to interest me through the recent developments that this country has been making. It is the second largest nation in the world, and has the fourth largest national GDP in the world. These characteristics are intriguing while over 50% of the country’s workers are involved in agriculture. Thus, it presents a fantastic diversity of prominent cities that involve themselves in profitable services with beautiful agricultural lands worked by the majority. From what I have learned, it is the agricultural Indians who are in need of financial help in this country.

While researching India through a couple different think tanks, I came across the New Deal 2.0 website, a project of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. This website presented an intriguing article that discusses the financial problems involved in India, focusing on India’s micro-credit problem. The micro-credit problem is eerily familiar to America’s sub-prime mortgage problem, where lenders gave borrowers very small loans that were believed to guarantee repayment. As these lenders increased in size, a bubble started to form that nobody recognized, even as some lenders took their companies public and increasingly pumped money into their operations. Ultimately, the bubble burst and now people are dealing with intense debt in an already impoverished social class.

While I found this article to be intriguing and informational, I was surprised with the lack of evidence and alternative links the author used in presenting her information. I imagined that think tanks would go to greater extents to portray the economic circumstances of the country or of the individuals borrowing the micro-loans, but no such embellishment existed. Despite this small complaint, I found this article and all other information on this website to provide interesting, well-researched information about a variety of topics. I will be revisiting this website when researching information for our final paper.

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About Derek

I am a senior at Bucknell University where I am double majoring in Management and Psychology.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Eastern Travels

  1. I spent a week in India when I was abroad with Semester at Sea, and I can honestly tell you it was one of my favorite countries. Culture shock does not even begin to describe what India is like… the quote from the Seattle Times article barely covers it! Never in my life have I seen such chaos. And I LOVED it. Don’t get me wrong, some of it was heartbreaking – there are beggars, homeless, and deformed citizens everywhere, and often it was really upsetting to see just how poor the quality of life could be. Yet on the other hand, India had the most rich cultural atmosphere out of everywhere I went… every single second was a sensory overload. My camera does nothing I saw justice. It makes me breathless just to remember what it’s like to ride in a rickshaw! I miss it so much. Please, please visit if you ever get the chance. Travel all over India! The Taj Mahal is more beautiful than any picture will ever paint it to be… Varanasi, the holy city, is unbearably beautiful and really emotionally touching, and each city is a different taste of a bustling and growing country. I can’t wait to go back. I could talk about India all day!!

    Posted by Caitlin H. | March 21, 2012, 10:35 pm
  2. A class on the Tao Te Ching in college left a deep impression on me, both as it reflected some of my own thinking and also exposed me to new thinking. Here is one passage I always liked about emptyness or nothingness and what is useful.

    <a href="http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/core9/phalsall/texts/taote-v3.html"11
    We join spokes together in a wheel,
    but it is the center hole
    that makes the wagon move.

    We shape clay into a pot,
    but it is the emptiness inside
    that holds whatever we want.

    We hammer wood for a house,
    but it is the inner space
    that makes it livable.

    We work with being,
    but non-being is what we use.

    Is good writing like this? You shape words into a sentence, sentences into a paper. But it is the emptiness inside, what the paper can be filled with or can carry, that is where work, where use, comes from.

    Posted by Jordi | March 23, 2012, 2:18 pm

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Blog 5 before session 6 What (interest) or Who (person) Inspires You? For this week’s prompt, the Blog Council wants you to examine how this class relates to your own interests. So, please write about how this class relates to some of your own intellectual or other learning interests. We are NOT interested in how it relates to a specific career goal. Plan B: same idea, but based on a person. See whole post for details.

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