Elora Herberick: I am a senior at CCSU majoring in Anthropology with minors in Political Science and Business Management. I love travel and feel a constant need to explore and learn. I came to India to fulfill that need but also to learn about a very different culture than my own. Being a Political Science minor, I was drawn to the political issues within Kerala and all of India, even more so. I hope to use the knowledge I acquire in my time here to enlighten others and also to use the information and educational aspects for my own future endeavors.

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Happy New Year from India and Kerala, “God’s Own Country.” As I sit here surrounded by beautiful people and bountiful nature, I feel at ease. Tuning in the sounds of exotic birds and Indian music in the distance, I feel the sun beat on my face and beads of sweat dripping down my forehead. With such a pure sense of peace and happiness, I realize that everything is interconnected, including myself and my presence in Kerala. Every action, every word, meant in short term context, echoes into the world and causes a ripple effect of ideas exchanged, friendships made or discarded, and new ways of life are created and others destroyed. That is, after all, what the “New Year” is all about; a rebirth, a new chance to create or to break the world as we know it.

Today in India there are both limitless opportunities, and unfortunately a number of problems; problems for the people, for the environment, and ultimately problems for India’s future generations.

As I see it, there are three sides to every truth: your truth, my truth, and the REAL truth. As I learned about the possible creation of a massive seaport, in Vizhniam, just kilometers away from our hotel in Kovalam, I saw the logic behind both of the individuals who spoke to us about their view of this project; one in favor, one against. I also understood why each speaker believed they had the support of a majority of people. Whether or not they are correct in their reasoning, is not up to me to decide. But with such corruption and political upheaval in India, and in Kerala state in particular, it is difficult to say what the future will bring. Will a massive harbor be created that produces thousands of jobs and billions in revenue? Will this harbor, cause environmental damage and dislocation of centuries old fishing communities? Or will the fishing communities win against the power-hungry corporate structure and keep sacred what beauty I see in front of me?

Perhaps in this new year India will find the real truth. Maybe the two sides of the port controversy will be able to compromise, develop yet maintain, move forward and still remain traditional. Only time will tell.

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