Tuesday, March 12, 2019

"Study Abroad" Tours in Delhi

Delhi has a lot of interesting things to experience if you are coming on an educational tour. It's a great place for understanding Indian political history; and even more interesting if you want to understand the multiple cultures and faiths that co-exist in India. And of course, there are many museums, workshops, art and music shows, and interesting cuisine experiences as well.

Here's our lovely group of 25 students from Johannesskolen Denmark. They have been touring Delhi with us for the past 4 years. We enjoy their openness to new cultures and willingness to explore. In the foreground you can see the local college students from Delhi, who took them around. The interaction with local students provides very rich opportunities for mutual understanding.


On this visit we arranged multiple experiences for them in Delhi:

- A survey of living conditions in the Ram Nagar area. Ram Nagar in Shahdara is one of the oldest residential areas of Delhi. Students did a survey of residents, with a questionnaire. We taught them basic Hindi to prepare for this : - ) The people were very welcoming of the students, inviting them for tea and being so hospitable!

- An exploration of Old Delhi using the Metro, rickshaw and walking. Students visited and volunteered at the Sikh Gurudwara, learnt about different faiths and cultures of India, saw the Metro in operation, and explored the famous traditional bazaars.

- A look at recycling industry in Delhi, and understanding the education system and daily life in a low-income neighbourhood.

Through interactions with local college students of Delhi, the Johanneskolen students gained a deeper understanding of the realities of modern Delhi. Similarly, our college students learnt about the Danish people.

We look forward to Johanneskolen's visit again next year. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Khadar ki Ladkiyan - Girls from Khadar

Khadar ki Ladkiyan (Girls from Khadar) is a freestyle song written, sung and performed by girls living on the fringes of Delhi.

They have been evicted from slums inside the city, and now live on the city's far edges, with difficulty accessing the areas where they earlier lived, studied and worked. This song contains their personal stories, tales of their experiences negotiating their lives in Delhi.

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As songs go, the awkwardness of this one is illustrative of how difficult it is for Indian girls to be defiant. Watch the video, you'll see what I mean. The messages are of anger and defiance, but the body language reflects an inner restraint which comes from cultural conditioning.

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But, it is a message that reflects the India of today, a message of urban dystopia. Our so-called smart and beautiful cities are becoming increasingly exclusionary. The lack of access to good public infrastructure and safe transport hits young women hard.

This story needs to be heard. And it needs to be heard from the mouths of the girls whom it affects. I'm glad these girls are telling it in their voices.

Here is the video: https://youtu.be/7d6awx1E1J8

Credits:
Photos are from the video.
The video was funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK
For more information about the project you can visit www.gendersmartcity.wordpress.com