LIU Global Students Re-Imagine India through the Lens of Kerala
Sarah DeCamp,Associate Director of Public Relations
Students from LIU Global’s India Center visited one of India’s most fascinating states, Kerala, which is famous for its beautiful backwaters, incredible seafood, and unique infrastructure. The weeklong trip in April, part of the “Religion, Culture, and Globalization: Re-Imagining India through the Lens of Kerala” course to provide students with the opportunity to encounter another India in situ in order to examine the various constructions of the “the idea of India.”
As part of the trip, the students visited Kochi, a town in Cheruthuruthy, and the village of Plachimada, to examine the economic and cultural dimensions of urban-rural contrasts in the state of Kerala. Kochi, a cosmopolitan center in Southern India, has ancient connections to Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Students were able to observe the contemporary urbanization of India in Kochi, which is a rapidly growing metropolis, and the backwater, the center of a growing eco-tourist industry, where they were able to reflect on the role of environmental tourism in economic development. The village of Plachimada provided students with a glimpse of the other side of globalization, as rural residents struggle to safeguard their access to local groundwater resources in the face of multinational pressures to divert these resources to more profitable uses.
Also during the trip, students learned about the importance of fishing to the local economy, and Chinese fishing boats, which are used in accordance with the moon’s stages. In addition, they attended a traditional Kathakali dance performance, which told an epic Hindu love story, through foot patterns, eye movements, hand gestures, and drums.
“Being Jewish myself, it was interesting to visit Kerala, a town known as a Jewish town in India,” said Jace Cherwin, a sophomore student at LIU Global. “I found it really adapted to the culture of the Jewish community, in its way of life. Hindu Indian culture is so prominent within India in the spectrum of religion, and it was astonishing to find something as unique as this.”
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