Letter Home from Ahmedabad

Kem cho (how are you), IHP family? We’ve had a fabulous time here in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Here are some highlights from our trip:

  • The Bhadra Plaza Heritage Festival where we listened to Rajan and Sajan Mishra, singers of the khyal style of Indian classical music, Fazal Qureshi, a prolific tabla player, and U. Rajesh, a mandolin player extraordinaire. We also had the pleasure of watching a troupe of graceful, acrobatic Pung Cholom dancers, a classical dance of the Manipur region.
  • Hearing from Professor Neelkanth Chaya, an admired professor of Architecture who answered all our questions on the making of Ahmedabad city and Saroop Dhruv, activist and accomplished poet dedicated to women, minorities, Dalits and tribal people.
  • Eating dinner at the Karnavati Club, where we experienced the traditional Gujarati thali, a large plate consisting of several small portions of different vegetarian delicatessens
  • Visiting Gandhi Ashram, one of the residences of Mahatma Gandhi, now a museum dedicated to his life
  • A thought provoking and thorough lecture on the history and present manifestations of the caste system by our engaging country coordinators, Sonal and Persis
  • Taking a tour of the Gujarat International Finance Tech (GIFT) city, a Special Economic Zone (SEZs) and under-construction business district that intends to attract financial and technology firms from other cities in India and abroad
  • Learning about development decisions in Ahmedabad from experts on riverfront development and the politics of heritage, Dr. Renu Desai and Jigna Desai
  • Our concluding conversation with St. Xavier’s students, where we shared our respective opinions on caste and race, American and Indian identities, and the purpose of travel and study
  • The final retreat in the idyllic Little Rann of Kutch—where we danced with villagers and rode in jeeps across the salt flats on safariHodges1Hodges2

 

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