She Who Rides a Peacock: Indian Students and Social Change

She Who Rides a Peacock: Indian Students and Social Change

She Who Rides a Peacock: Indian Students and Social Change

She Who Rides a Peacock: Indian Students and Social Change

Excerpt

My 21 years of experience in India prior to this Fulbright year spanned the two world wars -- a period of ferment, tension, and interest. It was the era of the growing Independence Movement and of the dying British colonial Empire. It was the end of the "supremacy of the white man", the beginning of Asian renaissance. It was also the period when science began its impact on methods frozen in time. I remember the thrilling speed of the model-T Ford, the miracle of electricity, the magic of refrigeration. I also recall the independence riots of the first world war, and our childlike disappointment in not having the chance to eat the food stored in the British mills against our possible imprisonment. With more mature years and attitude, during World War II I felt the impact of the anti-white "Quit India" movement, and with others hoped India was ready for the independence that was imminent.

This year, "back home" in the land of my birth after 14 years' absence, I have found progress beyond any optimist's dreams -- and problems greater than any pessimist's forebodings. Most roads are paved, much plumbing is "flush", most consumer goods are made in India, and the telephone has become both necessity and nuisance! Kwality, Happy Boy and Tek Hom ice cream are peddled in the streets to children who "demand" this luxury. More importantly, schools, colleges, universities, hospitals and welfare agencies dot the cities and the countryside. Indians know they are dealing with themselves and their own future, and they are building with pride and determination, if not always with cooperation and skill. Industry has changed the face of the large cities -- buses and trams . . .

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