Blog # 10
January 10, 2017
This blog is authored by Study Abroad in India student Jasmine Kasheboon Khoury who is studying for an undergraduate degree in Anthropology at the City College of New York.
Today was our 11th day in New Delhi, India. Our time here is coming to an end. Therefore, during today’s discussion we all took time to talk about our childhood experiences and our families. Through this conversation, we discussed how our identities have been formed and how we navigate between our own cultures and the assimilation into American culture. We evolve and form our own identity, making the decisions of what we want to hold onto within our culture and what we need to let go of on the basis of survival. With time everything changes. India is changing with time and this was shown to us through the presentations by faculty of The New Delhi Institute of Management.
The New Delhi Institute of Management (NDIM) gave us a very warm welcome today with a beautiful and tasteful lunch, presentations, interactive exercises, and of course, tea! We started off our visit by sitting in a circle with students currently studying in NDIM. About six of them told us about what they are studying, plan to do with their majors, and even their views of America. One of the students said that he is very influenced by American culture and that Paris Hilton is his Goddess. Another student told us a phrase translated from Hindi stating: “Delhi is full of people with hearts.” After this beautiful interaction, we sat in on three faculty presentations on the topics of Digital Marketing, Demonetization, and History of India.
The first presentation discussed how digital marketing was a way for people to connect. Through digital marketing there is a difference between stories and narratives. Narratives are meaningless, but stories have meanings and one-way to give something a meaning through social media is: hashtags. We see the use of people connecting and showing support through social media by talking about their experiences through hashtags like, #BlackLivesMatter, #ImWithHer, #Aleppo etc. Digital marketing has also made it easier for people to connect globally through Facebook, LinkedIn, Snap Chat, and Twitter. With the recent ability to “See Translation” of posts put on Facebook people can read posts/news in different languages.
Our second presentation focused on Demonetization which is the stripping of currency making it no longer a legal tender. Recently in India, 500 and 1,000 rupee bills were no longer worth any money as of November 8, 2016. These made up 86% of the currency that was suddenly unavailable leaving only 14% of currency still available in other smaller bills. Fourteen lakh crore was invalidated out of the sixteen lakh crore leaving the country with only two lakh crore in useable currency. The government has since printed new bills of Rs 500 and 2000 which are now being available to people. In India, this has happened twice before in 1946 and 1978, and now in 2016. Demonetization is done to stop the Black Market and counterfeiting. This move was made to help the common man because now the richer people have had to declare all their money and pay taxes on it. However, at the same time, interest rates have fallen and tourism has been affected during this transition because tourists have had less cash available to purchase gifts. The government is benefiting from this because taxes are being recovered and more money is going towards the government due to the penalties towards people who are part of the Black Market.
Our third presentation showed us the underlying philosophy of India; Unity Within Diversity. India is made up of many diverse states that come under the umbrella of one country: India. India is experiencing more feministic viewpoints, success within the IT industry, increased focus on education, and structured chaos. Education has become even more important and families do whatever possible, some families even selling their land and possessions to ensure that their children receive quality education. Two million phones a month are being sold creating a larger social network. And the strong cultural mindset of “jugaad” – the ability to make bad situations workable situations - is an innovative attitude that is widely experienced in India. All of this success and change is allowing the middle class to explode and poverty lines to decrease. India is changing.