About the Blog

The Department of Political Science, with the assistance of the Division of International Studies & Programs at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, is pleased to introduce its India Program - a unique joint partnership between A&M-Kingsville; the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University-College Station; and Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Study (JNIAS), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India.

The Program is being co-directed by Dr. Nirmal Goswami, Professor of Political Science, A&M-Kingsville; Dr. Kishore Gawande, Professor of Economics, the Bush School, Texas A&M-College Station; and by Dr. Aditya Mukherjee, Director, JNIAS.

The Program will include graduate and undergraduate students traveling to and staying in India from December 28th, 2010, through January 14th, 2011, attending classes at JNIAS, and visiting multiple sites through field trips in the greater New Delhi region. Areas of focus include history, politics, economics, culture, health, environmental policies, nuclear issues, etc., with reference to both greater Asia and India.

This blog will document our experience. You are welcome to post comments.

You are all invited to cyber travel with us as we learn about the uniqueness of India.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Global Classroom

            French writer Francois de la Rochefoucauld once eloquently noted, “the only thing constant in life is change.” Whether it be a change for the better or the worse, we see that this viewpoint has influenced societies all over the world and allowed them to progress to the stage they are currently in. While education is a major contributor to the vast advancements that are always taking place, we must remember that without progressive communication, thoughts and views cannot be entirely conveyed nor appreciated.
            Despite the American education system coming under recent scrutiny, it is vital that we keep in mind the advancements that have already taken place. Among these great improvements are the addition and inclusion of technology into the learning atmosphere. While every student has a different way of learning, one thing remains the same. As an ancient Chinese proverb says, “tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”  This is exactly what happened for some students at the Bishop Elementary School in Bishop, Texas.  A large quantity of students were allowed to partake in a unique, yet no longer unconventional, discussion with me. In this dialogue through the skype networking site, students were able to personally ask questions and interact while viewing a live image of the area. Though the talk was short, the inclusion of these children into a real-life, unique, educational experience hopefully inspired them to further their individual pursuits while keeping a perspective on reality outside the United States.
            So, although some students often face struggles with repetition when dealing with education, we can take solace in the fact that new developments are always emerging and therefore positively influencing young children’s readiness to learn.
~Mark D.

Us and Them

The field trips we have taken the entire time we have been in Delhi have helped develop our perspectives on what we have learned through the lectures. The rich history of India permeates every spectrum of this city and is a constant reminder of how long society has existed in this part of the world. The sights we have seen have helped in understanding a different viewpoint of the world that is otherwise hard for Americans to grasp.
The various historical sites we visited were old, and, in most instances, predate the existence of the United States. The weathered stone structures that have been standing for thousands of years have given us an idea of where Indians come from and the challenges they face in assimilating into the global community. Their culture and history contrasts greatly with our own and in order to compete in the world community they must adhere to Western customs.
This country’s rich, varied, and ancient tapestry of places, people, faith, and events have to be seen to be believed. This very eclectic society is also rapidly changing. And given the country’s massive size and population, these changes are going to impact us all, including the United States. This trip helped us understand how a major diverse country is trying to cope with these changes and what these changes may mean for the United States.
~Caleb F.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Since we have been in Delhi we have had a number of lectures with topics ranging from linguistic history to Indo-US relations. All our classes are held at the scenic Institute of Advanced Studies which is part of Jawaharlal Nehru University -- a premier national university. Each of the presenters have been knowledgeable of their unique topics and have had intense intellectual discussions with us. The sessions are informative and include massive amounts of information.  They have been intensely educational.

            The faculty at JNU for the past week has been trying to give us American students a complete picture of where India has been, where it is now, and where it is going. The case for India is never black and white in any subject but rather a plethora of many colors that is perplexing to common western thought. The presentations have showed how through thousands of years of interactions the different peoples and religions of India have been able to coexist with each other.

            From the lectures we have been able to more clearly understand the uniqueness and diversity of India in comparison to other countries all around the world. We have also learned that India cannot be fairly contrasted to any other nations because of the immense cultural differences and individuality this country has.

            So, as former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan once eloquently noted, “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress in every family and every society.” While education is only on the brink of accelerating here in New Delhi, a simple progress is being maintained and hope for an even better emergence of a country lies in the hearts of every citizen.

~ Caleb F, Mark D

Secret to Good Mood

When you think about one of the best restaurants in Asia, what qualities come to mind? Our thoughts were of a large building with plenty of space. It would be located on the nice side of town. The waiters would be dressed in tuxedos or at least in slacks. These are the images I had made about Karim’s after hearing the reviews about it.
We now realize that appearance has nothing to do with being a great restaurant. Karim’s is located in the spookiest part of Delhi (Old Delhi) we have been to yet. Densely populated, messy, lively. Karim’s is an arrangement of rooms in a seemingly small house. The waiters were not dressed in tuxedos, but just matching aprons. Side dishes were ordered for most of the table to go along with the main dish that the restaurant had been preparing for us all day. Many people from our group had been looking forward to this dish for sometime because we ordered an entire goat! A goat tandoori (roasted in a very special way). When the goat was finally ready, the waiters brought it to the table and set it in front of the vegetarian, Melissa. The group turned into a bunch of barbarians. Joy ripped off a leg, I stuck my fork in its stomach, and Lukas cut off the front. It was so delicious! We knew we were at an Indian restaurant when our noses began to run. The goat was very spicy, but we could not stop ourselves. Ben became the goat carver, while the waiters brought out our side dishes. Those were just as wonderful as the goat tandoori. After it was all said and done, we realized the group ordered more than enough food and had it packaged up in doggie bags.
 We understand why Karim’s is one of the best restaurants in Asia. We now know not to judge a book by its cover. The memory of Karim’s will be with us forever. “Secret to good mood: Karim’s food!”
~ Antonia M, Caleb F, Lukas S, Mark D, Amanda W

The Taj Mahal

While Agra is only about 150 miles away, the group had to leave at six a.m. on Saturday morning because it is approximately a five hour drive. This was because the roads were filled with traffic the entire way and the bus never went fast. We made the time fly by either sleeping or peer-pressuring our friends to tell embarrassing stories on the microphone at the front of the bus. Our first stop in Agra was at the Taj Mahal. We bought our tickets and jumped on a golf car that took us to the gate. The ride was extremely interesting! We saw camels and a completely naked man. I was able to snap a picture of the camel, but I missed the man. Supposedly, he was a monk undergoing a ritual they must complete.
 Upon arrival at the gates, the ladies quickly went through security, while the men were searched thoroughly. Caleb was caught trying to sneak a chocolate bar, so we were all forced to help him eat it before he could enter. The first sight of the Taj Mahal was unreal. It is much more than what pictures make it to be. It cannot be described. It has to be seen. We did. The world is divided into two groups of people: those who have seen the Taj and those who have not. We now happily belong to the first group. There is no point trying to describe the Taj; it cannot be. All of you just have to come and marvel at it yourselves. Do that when you get the chance.
Our tour guide gave us facts about the construction of the Taj Mahal. An interesting thing about the structure was that the four pillars surrounding the dome are built at an angle away from the dome. This is to prevent damages that could happen if they were to collapse. Also, our tour guide told us the history of the structure. It was built in honor of Mumtaz, the wife of the Emperor Shah Jehan. It is a monument to love and what a monument it is.
~ Amanda W


Going to see a Bollywood movie was at the top of my check list for things to do in India. Caleb and I decided to catch a movie on Tuesday (January 4, 2011). We picked up a newspaper from the front desk and checked out some of the movie times. We decided on the earlier time, and we would leave after dinner. While waiting for dinner, I read a newspaper called Mid-Day. I flipped to a section titled “Cupid Works Overtime” to check out what everyone was wearing. These amazing pictures at the top of the page caught my attention. Then, I stood up, and said, “Wait a minute!” Caleb asked,“what? What is going on?” I had no time to answer him, I ran out of the room, while slipping and sliding on the marble floors because I was in socks. I sprinted down the stairs while taking many of them three at a time. Excitement, excitement, excitement!  I ran up to Heather and showed her the paper, which was ripped due to my inability to remain calm. Heather screamed, and everyone gathered around us. People were coming out of their rooms due to all of the commotion. The newspaper had printed two pictures of Heather, Sarah, Kelly, and me when we were out on New Year’s Eve! The pictures were meant to show scenes around New Delhi of people celebrating New Year’s. So, our group made the local papers! We all felt like celebrities! Careful scrutiny of the pictures will show Caleb’s face in the distant background. He, obviously, was not the star we girls were!
 ~ Amanda W