Education that is Multicultural - Economics and Education: India's changing socio-cultural and economic profile

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.

10 responses
All the topics "Digital Marketing, Demonetization, and History of India" were all relatable and interesting. It was very nice to have a little background on demonetization, after hearing the reasons why it happens, my judgement as to why we have to go through this economic crisis has changed. Also hearing about the history of India made me make connections with what I have observed throughout my staying here. Spirituality is a major source in India. Any religion is welcome and they believe that even when people come from different religions, beliefs and races, they are all still humans. Therefore; they are family and they should be unity, rather than discontent.
We learned so much from these students. Interacting with them, the Professors, and administrators made me learn a lot about India and even myself. It was wonderful visiting the classrooms and being bombarded with so many interesting questions mostly about the difference between the education system in India and the U.S. The hospitality and the connections were made here are much appreciated.
The professional greeting we received from NDIM blew my breath away. The lectures presented to us were very informative and relatable, especially the lecture on demonetization. Interacting with the students was interesting in that we got to see how Indian college students viewed things such as American politics and trade agreements. We also learned a lot about India itself from the rest of the students.
I agree Micheal, interacting with the students helped me better understand their views on many things. A question that was asked was "Do you experience diversity challenges with your four year olds?" I began to explain, because they are four olds, they notice they are different from physical appearances versus being different in lifestyles and values. I explained because my class is diverse, I see it as a plus versus a challenge. When a class is diverse, children get to experience different perspectives and become less egocentric. It was quite interesting to hear the different questions being asked, based on what they have heard about America and what their pre-conceived notions are.
It was crazy how the students of the university were so intrigued to know all about us and about America and actually knew a lot more than we even knew about our own country, it was almost embarrassing. I forgot how countries are so in tune with American life when us, Americans, aren't in tune with theirs.
I noticed quite often that teachers will start the classes we've observed, with what the students' already know. I expect this in a p-k or maybe in elementary school, but I appreciated how they engaged us during the presentation even though we’re adults. I think this helped make the content feel more customized and got us more invested/primed for learning something new.
Today made me realize I had a lot of research to do. When the students were asking us questions on our views on Trump, or what we feel about buisness related topics, I was embarrassed, most of us were. The students were well informed of whats going on in America yet we arnt even sure ourselves because we are too busy being distracted with other things. Pretty shocking!
Being in the New Delhi Institute of Management was very interesting and enlightening. Speaking with the students help me understand how they see the United States based on social media. They hear about the struggles dealing with race and ethnicity and issues that arise and wanted to know how we dealt with them and if they effected our teaching.
Living in the U.S., it is easy to forget that the term "race" and the idea of "racism" have a very specific and different connotation than they do anywhere else in the world. India does not exactly have race or systemic racism, as we do in the states; but that does not mean inequality doesn't exist. In India, inequality is seen in a socioeconomic sense and the closest thing to race is one's ethnic group. Thus, it should have came as no surprise when students asked questions about race in the U.S. It was an important moment for all of us because it reminded us how much we can truly learn from others through simple communication.
I found it interesting to interact with students who were around the same age as us. They were eager to learn about our American culture just as I was eager to learn and immerse myself into their culture. It was refreshing to give and get some insight from older students, and not just children.