South Asian Peacebuilding Program in Gujarat
Wow! What a learning experience! I honestly did not know what to expect when I ventured out to Gujarat. The only thing I knew was it would be emotionally challenging. Studying a genocide and its aftermath proved just that, to be emotionally challenging. It was hard to focus on my initial research question because of other inquiries, about the well-being of the various people we met kept popping up.
My initial question leaving the United States was “ how is water politicized?” Quickly, my question shifted to “ is there a happy medium between conservation and ‘development’?” Pushpa told our conflict resolution class last semester that we should leave this course with more questions. She reiterated before starting the J-term more questions should be generated from this course.
And of course, it did! Moving forward, I plan to explore how education, in its different forms, closes the gaps that unequal distribution/access to natural resources, specifically water, creates. Knowledge is not limited to the classroom. The majority of Adivasis, Muslims, and other minorities have not had the tools to fight back against the government because they lack knowledge about their rights. Thankfully, there are movements and co-ops that are bridging these gaps and helping minority communities fight for what is theirs. Taking what I learned from the co-ops, I would like to see how it could flesh out in minority communities within the United States.
It was clear, while in Gujarat, there are many parallels to the happenings in the United States. It is disheartening to know that oppressive strategies are replicated over and over again all over the world. Leaving India made me want to fight back against injustices even more.