Hello! Hello!

Posted on October 14th, 2009 by

Brendan Wilkes here! Sorry about this post being a bit late, the internet wasn’t being nice before departing for our week long stay, but now it’s ready to go! It’s hard to believe we’ve been in beautiful India for an entire month now. This week we put the cap stone on our first course titled Identity, Resistance, and Liberation. We’ve spent the past few weeks visiting and learning about different groups of people from gold miners to Adivasi (the indigenous inhabitants of India). To close the unit, each student prepared a research paper about a topic relating to the course, except for a group of four who made a stellar pod cast about the unit, which hopefully will go on the web soon. Check it out!

Aside from having to finish our papers, this past week has been more relaxed. On Monday the 28th we read a play titled Munthap and even had a chance to speak with the writer. The play told the tale of a rural wedding and touched upon many sensitive issues in traditional Indian culture. The grooms father is an unchallengeable patriarch who claims the right both to rape the maid and deflower his sons bride. The combination of the two enrages the son, who eventually murders his father. The writer informed us that these and other illegal practices still flourish in many rural areas throughout the country where national policies really have no control.

The next day we had a advocate come and give us a lecture on the Adivasi of India. The Adivasi are the aboriginal people of India that live in scattered regions through the country. Their culture is very different and often isolated from the rest of India, however as the government begins to take control of the Adivasi forests, they are beginning to integrate. The state takes land from the indigenous (often violently) while making promises to repay the people that rarely follow through. Their struggle in many ways mirrors the Native Americans that European settlers exploited and destroyed many years ago. It’s almost like watching history all over again…scary stuff. The indigenous people have such a fascinating culture that gives great respect to both nature and women, but these values are being lost as mainstream culture imposes itself upon the forest dwellers.

A group of us also went to see a play titled Wedlock. It was a very social-justice geared performance that dealt with issues relating to marriage and relationships. The play showed the complications of both arranged marriages and more promiscuous western relationships that are becoming more popular amongst the rich Indian youth. There was also a scene depicted of a homosexual man who was pressured into to marrying a girl and how she was abused by her step-mother because she isn’t having children (which is course the womans fault…). At the end of the performance the audience was given the opportunity to share their opinions, ask questions, or even have the actors create new scenes within the story to explore different solutions. It was a really powerful production and touched upon a lot of very controversial social issues within India.

On Sunday half of the group will be leaving to for Kerala and rest depart on Monday for Tamil Nadu, both of which are beautiful and exciting places. We’ll probably be off the Internet radar for a bit, but I’m sure we’ll come back and having many grand adventures to share! Best wishes from Southern Asia. we hope you are all welcoming the cooler weather and approach of fall. Be sure to enjoy the seasons change an extra bit for all us across the world. Take care everyone, Hogibitt Barthene!



  1. James Bieri says:

    Thanks, Brendan, a very interesting blog. Keep up,the good work!!

  2. Judith Spock says:

    What a fabulous “course” to be taking! On site, total immersion, raising so many kinds of questions, exciting your curiosity and challenging you to look at our own society in contrast…Please, keep telling us about it as you go…we’ll all learn from your experience…(your Great Aunt) Judy