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If you wish to know more about me please click on the following link www.eldredgeandassociates.com.au If reading this blog for the first time please make sure you go to the first blogs (scroll to the bottom of the page and click on older posts) as it will explain the journey

Thursday, 20 September 2012


(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.

A couple of nights ago we travelled up a huge mountain just out of Salem and met with some coffee plantation owners who hosted us for dinner at "The English Club", it was a wonderful experience to meet with owners of properties that employ 100-200 farm workers...especially with coffee being one of my favourite things....it was there that I had the most wonderful discussion with a very beautiful and elegant India woman called Madhu where we had a significant conversation about our lives, children and business.  What I loved the most was when Madhu was talking about how much they care for their staff and how she has taken an interest in educating the children...she knows that with education that the children of their current workers will probably never work for them and will move away in seeking University qualifications and different career path to their parents...but in a message to me that probably encapsulates the Indian emotional sentiment, she described that it is the right thing to give them opportunities and to them them grow and make choices...even though labour is becoming increasing difficult to enlist for their business....a truly stunning night and I wish we could have spent more time with Madhu and the other ladies and their husband/families...

With that I am going to sign off from Souther India as we head to Northern India and Amritsar (up near the Pakistani border and the Punjab land of Maharajahs)...and leave you with some pictures of children we met when we jumped out of the bus and visited a school in a small village and the children I have met on the streets of India...these beautiful, shiny, brown eyed children of this gentle, happy and hopeful country...


  1. What a country. I am seriously loving these images. How are the curry's going??

  2. Oh. Wow. You describe it so well. It will be lifechanging for you!

  3. Wow what an amazing experience Linda. To meet people that love the simple things in life and live in hope, something I think we can all overlook at times in our life. We could take a leaf out of their book! My great Grandfather was the High Commissioner of Police many years ago and my grandmother was born in Bangalore so I have a bit of family history there. Can't wait to see more photos and read more about your adventures. Take care xxxxxx

  4. Sorry I should have said My great grandfather was the High Commissioner of Police in India many years ago.....