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.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Smells, Dirt, and Magnificence!

Many people have heard the 18th century proverb which states that cleanliness is next to godliness.  Well, apparently someone forgot to tell the greater population of New Delhi about this saying. Not only does this city have poor sanitation, but it also remains home to questionable health practices. Yet despite the conditions that are running rampant throughout this city, the health of the general population remains in good shape, and efforts are under way to combat these problems.
After having a few days to explore the city and see life how it really is, it pains me to say that it really is a hard knock life. Nobody would agree with this statement more than the citizens of this city. Not only must they contend with the unrelenting grey cloud that lingers over their heads, which is smog, not bad luck, but they also face significant sanitation shortcomings.  When I first stepped out of the airport in New Delhi, aside from being greeted by the smog in the air and smell of urine on the ground, I was forced to look at piles of trash collecting on the sides of street corners, in abandoned lots, and even on the street itself. Needless to say, hygiene is obviously not a priority for most of the people here.
Although hygiene may not play an integral role in the public life of this third world society, a shroud of immunity seems to cover the citizenry.  Normally, you would expect to see somebody who readily dives into piles of horrid rancid trash piles to contract some type of ailment. Here, however, people do what they have to in order to get by and have been relatively successful thus far. While this practice generally prevails more in the slum areas, for obvious reasons, a new meaning can be given to the statement “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” It is no longer about what is wanted. Instead, people do and take only the essentials to ensure survival.
In order to combat the health and sanitation problems this city faces, several initiatives have been adopted. For example, most public transportation vehicles here run on compressed natural gas (CNG). This reduces carbon emissions and helps the environment. Parks and gardens are also becoming more popular sights which serve dual purposes. Not only do these parks and gardens offer visual enticement and create a sense of beauty for the city, but also serve to reduce air pollution.                              
 Although New Delhi may not consistently have the luxurious sights, smells, or sounds of cities in developed countries, more important aspects such as culture and tradition continue to set a precedent which other places can learn from. This is a city several hundred years old and many aspects of it are magnificent, especially the historic monuments.
~Mark D.

1 comment:

  1. Even though it is dirty, like you said, the pople are pretty healthy. Most probably even more so than us. This tells me and reinforces the idea that we do need a little dirt in our lives to stay healthy! :)