Archives for category: globalization

Nate Sprague:

***

Now that I have had some time to relax and recover from the jetlag, I find myself already missing India.  I am still full of excitement from the feelings that I got from the trip, and recounting the story to so many people has helped me solidify my feelings about it more and more.  I still can’t believe that it’s over, the whole two and a half weeks seem to have just flew by.  But all in all, here are my reactions now that I’m back.  India to me is a place that is absolutely loaded with potential – potential to grow, potential to develop, create, and expand, but also huge potential to destroy.  During our time in Kerala we studied many different aspects of the development that has occurred there.  There have been tremendous strides made in social movements (equal pay for similar jobs as in Tata, free health-care for all, free education, etc.) which have made it a truly remarkable place.  However, I also saw many of the tremendous side effects that development, as well as globalization, had on the place at large.  I mentioned the huge levels of pollution in my last blog, and there also seems to be a unanimous turning of the other cheek to these issues.  During one of our group discussions, we recognized that India, being so young in her development, really has the chance to do things right, and to set a global example of how development should be brought about.  I hope that people like the fishermen win their struggle to retain their traditional, sustainable ways of life, and that if development does continue, the four elements of successful development are followed – sustainability, equitability, participation, and transparency.  I have been truly touched by a people so giving, willing to share so much even when so little is had.  Also so intelligent, the students we came in contact with were tremendously dedicated to their studies.  Overall, Kerala was an experience that has changed me for forever.

Advertisements

Stephanie Bahramian:

***

Imagine deciding to go for a stroll at the beach only to find signs when you get there saying “No Americans”.  You look into the distance, andArabian Sea sunset on the beach you find different-looking people and you can tell that they are all completely naked. What would be most offensive: the “No Americans”, or the fact that that foreigners are running around one of the best beaches in your area completely naked?

Kerala is not the only state where I have witnessed special treatment to the non-natives over the natives. In popular tourist places for Westerners Indians are either not welcome or blatantly refused entry. In Kochi, another popular destination, signs for bike rentals explicitly state that Indians cannot rent. In shops, I have had merchants tell me that they trust dealing with non-natives but not Indians, so I could take something home and pay later, but oh, no! not an Indian!

In defense of these practices, this is not my country and I do not have enough knowledge of what transpires when natives are allowed these same benefits. I have been to beaches where those in bikinis are stared at, and even harassed. I personally wouldn’t bother. If I want to parade around in a bikini, I would not chose to go to India, but as one traveler said, we want everything. We want the sun, the beaches, the cheap food and merchandise, but we do not want to respect the customs of the locale.

In Kovalam, I was pleased to see many Indian holidaymakers. Of course, there were plenty of locals who did come to ogle, and they were regularly shooed off, but there were also many families who came to stay and frolic in the sea, fully clothed and seeming to be having even more fun than most of us foreigners in the waves! These families were likely from the big cities coming to a get away to cleaner air, the sea and relaxation, but most would also bring packed lunches because only the foreigners could afford the restaurants.

If I did not want to see and be around Indians, I would not keep coming to India.  I hope to see more mixed beaches like Kovalam, because there is nothing prettier than seeing a woman walking along the beach with her colorful sari blowing in the wind.

Kristin Frenis:

***

I have mixed feelings about globalization after coming here. After doing the group days it’s easy to see how globalization is crushing some of the oldest traditional professions in India. During the group days visiting the coir factory and the sari weavers we saw that they faced common themes that contributes to the fall of their industry. Both owners told us that there is a problem because no one in Kerala wants to do this work for such low wages. The coir owner actually told us that he had to get workers from northern India. On average both of the industries workers made 150 to 200 rupees a day. One thing that astounded me was how readily both owners admitted that their industries have only a short time left. The owner of the traditional sari place told us that there are only 60 machines left in all or Kerala to make the traditional engagement and wedding saris. He predicted that once his experts passed away there would be no one else to work for him. To weave these saris also required three years unpaid internship and no one was willing to work for free. The coir owner told us that in two years his industry would be dead to machines despite handmade koyer ropes being more durable.

The owner of the coir rope place we went to told us that the United States is the biggest importer of his products. This rope is used to make doormats, used in gardens, or whatever rope is needed for. While we were touring the operations we came to a place where the women were shucking the soaked coconut shell from the fibers they use to make rope. The woman showed me her hands, that had cuts and callouses all over. She told us that when she eats her hands burn. I don’t think Americans often think about where the things they buy come from. There’s so many times we look at a tag to see where something is made and never give it a second thought. Next time I see something that says it’s from India I will wonder where it came from and how it was made.

Elora Herberick:

***

As our studying continues in Kerala, I have learned a great deal of the problems caused by globalization. I have been lucky enough to be working with the labor project group the past two days of our trip. During that time I was exposed more to these economical and employment issues.  This first-hand account has made me realize that India and Kerala state are losing their traditional way of life because the younger generations are looking for more profitable white-collar opportunities.

I have studied the traditional weavers and rope makers of Kerala within the past two days of field research. Both were suffering a great deal from lack of willing laborers and a very low salary rate, thus leading to the decline of such traditional and beautiful arts.

I have always known that globalization, westernization, and modernization of cultures have led to the decline of traditional ways of life but being from a Western nation I always assumed that Western life was the way of the future. Although, as I have gone through my anthropology degree and seen first-hand accounts of the negative implications of globalization in several different countries, I realize it’s true destruction. In my last blog, I briefly discussed the port issue and the battle between development and corporate influence, and traditional ways of life. The effects of globalization is not limited to the change of clothing fashions and corporate brand intrusion, but also changes an entire culture and their future…mostly negatively.

Speaking of gender differences for example, the introduction of British ideals at the turn of the century changed Kerala society from that of matrilineal to patrilineal descent. Now women are struggling for their rights and lives, but if their country and people were left alone in the first place, that would most likely not be a current issue.

As I continue my journey in Kerala for the next week, I will search for more examples of globalization and the effects of such influence. I want to bring back my new knowledge to the United States and share the idea that globalization and the push of one’s culture on another is not all it is thought to be. Globalization, for any personal or governmental benefit, whether it be profits or merely Eurocentric ideals, is not the way our world should continue. We need to be accepting and respectful of others livelihood, culture and values. That is the only way our societies and our world will move forward.

Teige Cristiano: As an Anthropology major at Central Connecticut State University, studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity. Though clichéd, it has always been my dream to travel the world and to experience life in the shoes of another person. I have been fortunate enough to start my worldly travels at the age of nineteen. Participating in this course on the Challenges of Development in Kerala, India at such a young and impressionable age will absolutely influence my studies of anthropology when I return home. I think I will understand more and more of what I have gotten out of this trip as time goes on. It may not be right away, but, day-by-day it will all come together in some type of lifelong learning experience. However, I have gained perspective on how the Malayali people of Kerala live their everyday lives. This place is unconventional for a first-time traveler. But to be honest, I would not trade this once-in-a-lifetime adventure for anything.

***

Bringing in the nets

The environmental challenges  that Kerala faces are incredible. I did not expect to see such an extreme amount of waste that lines the streets and water ways. The large corporations that are involved in the development of Kerala are more harmful to the people and environment than the total profit made. Speaking with Reju, an experienced fisherman ( of the fishing village we visited in our environmental group), he spoke to us about the difficulty traditional fisherman face while large corporation ships are harvesting fish. The fishermen have noticed that the amount of oil slicks and the disappearance of rare fish like dolphins have dramatically increased since the large corporation ships have appeared.  In the article “The Allure of The Transnational: Notes on some Aspects of the Political Economy of Water in India” the author elaborates on the issue that waste management has been a problem an increasing problem in India. “there was also mounting evidence that The Coca-Cola Company was dumping its waste sludge, later shown to be highly toxic, in nearby farmlands and also giving it away free to farmers as fertilizer”  (644). The evidence that large corporations have been treating the land environment in this way can lead to research that could find intentional pollution of the Indian Ocean.  I hope that one of the Non-Government Organization of Kerala takes this issue upon themselves.

Elora Herberick:

***

As our studying continues in Kerala, I have learned a great deal of the problems caused by globalization. I have been lucky enough to be working with the labor project group the past two days of our trip. During that time I was exposed more so to these economical and employment issues.  This first hand account has made me realize that India and the Kerala state are losing their traditional way of life because the younger generations are looking for more profitable white-collar opportunities.

I have studied the traditional weavers and rope makers of Kerala within the past two days of field research. Both were suffering a great deal from lack of willing laborers and a very low salary rate, thus leading to the decline of such traditional and beautiful arts.

I have always known that globalization, westernization, and modernization of cultures have lead to the decline of traditional way of life but being from a western nation I always assumed that western life was the way of the future. Although, as I have gone through my anthropology degree and seen first hand accounts of the negative implications of globalization in several different countries, I realize it’s true destruction. In my last blog, I briefly discussed the port issue and the battle between development and corporate influence, and traditional ways of life. The effects of globalization is not limited to the change of clothing fashions and corporate brand intrusion, but also changes an entire culture and their future…mostly negatively.

Speaking of gender differences as one thing, the introduction of British ideals at the turn of the century changed the Indian society from that of matrilineal to patrilineal descent. Now women are struggling for their rights and lives, but if their country and people were left alone in the first place, that would most likely not be a current issue.

As I continue my journey in Kerala for the next week, I will be searching for more examples of globalization and the effects of such influence. I want to bring back my new knowledge tithe United States  and share the idea that globalization and the push of ones culture or another is not all it is thought to be. Globalization for any personal or governmental benefit whether it be profits or merely Eurocentric ideals is not the way our world should continue. We need to be accepting and respectful of others livelihood, culture and values. That is the only way our societies and our world will move forward.

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.

***

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.