(Thankyou for revisiting my blog and sharing this amazing Nuffield adventure...I have recently returned from a conference in Taiwan and I am now on our Global Focus Research tour where I am travelling with 5 other Aussie Scholars, 1 Canadian, 1 Irishman and 2 New Zealanders for 7 weeks through India, Qatar, Ukraine, Turkey, France and USA...and so the journey continues....)
The colours of India....we arrived late Saturday night and the whirl-wind that is India started...the colours, the people, the huge mass of humanity that lives, breathes and creates this amazing country called India......
1.4 Billion people that is estimated to increase to 1.8 Billion by 2020, the social and economic structure of India is a fascinating study in self sufficiency, if asked to describe India in 3 words it would be gentleness, happiness and hope and this reflects in their economic and social structure...they don't seek to conquer the world with Indian exports, on a whole they are content to just provide for their people...and when you have 1.4 billion people that is a huge task in itself.
Our first full day in India we visited Mysore palace, a sweet reminder of British rule, with an eclectic Indian and European style, it reflects a by-gone era. Independence was given to the Indian people in 1947 after Ghandi's famous peaceful revolution where he united India in the quest for sovereignty. Independence has given India a new journey and not without its challenges both socially, economically and politically, but needless to say the worlds largest democracy is both fascinating in its potential for global domination with its rich agriculture and people source, but their contentment at just being able to provide for themselves without the need for opening up exports or imports....
Some interesting statistics about Indian agriculture...they are the worlds largest producer of cattle, and many fruit, vegetable and spices, they produce the 2nd largest wheat crop in the world....all on small holdings of 2-5 acres with virtually no mechanisms....just relying on people power...truly amazing..
So far we have been centred down in southern India, starting at Bangalore, to Mysore, then to Coimbatore, Erode and Salem and have visited small farms that are producing turmeric, coconuts, fodder/silage, bananas to name a few...farmers in India are having trouble getting labour and as such they may need to turn to mechanisms to enable them to produce off their small blocks, but the cost of this capital investment when measured against the average farm workers wages being about $3.00 per day may change the profitability of those small plots.
We also visited a clothing manufacturer that is exporting clothing worldwide and has been a willing participant in ensuring that his workers are part of a push for the abolishment of "sweat-shop" conditions and the walk through his factory and his commitment to the ethical agenda that has been set by the importing countries of his product was commendable...we have visited milk factories and the diary that the milk has come from where 10 cattle is considered a large herd, a silk farm where the net profit per months is about $15000 rupees ($300 Aus dollars)
Currently agriculture accounts for approx 50% of the employment in India, and many women work out in the fields tending to the crops, doing hard physical labour and where ever we went, doing it with great determination and a smile...the lady below was part of a group of ladies that were working at an organic fertiliser factory, outside in the sun, taking the fertiliser in baskets on their heads and tipping it into a sifting tray to get the lumps out of it (for about $3.00 per day)...when we pulled up, they were so excited to see us and waved and giggled, when I walked into their work site to engage and be with them they were just so beautiful and very, very excited, there was a lot of touching me while I was with them and lot of mobile phones came out of their sari's to take photos of me with them...it was wonderful, and is a familiar story as we travel around...such as the restaurant cleaners/kitchen staff in Erode who were peeping into the restaurant to look at us and then would giggle and be shy when we waved to them...we have since found out that the remote country areas we have travelled to in Southern India that many of them would have rarely seen white women, or maybe never at all....they are simply gorgeous ladies who share with us the common bond of global sisterhood.