If I were asked to describe India, I would say that it is a land of contradictions. From extreme wealth to extreme poverty. From the best to the worst of human nature.
I claim no great insight or understanding of India or it's people. I can only say what I think, which is naturally coloured by my own life experience.
On the one hand, I have been received the most amazing kindness and hospitality from almost complete strangers. Random people off the street and rickshaw drivers have gone out of their way to protect me and look out for me.
On the other hand, some of the issues I have come across here have included women who have been beaten, poisoned and abused by their husbands because they have failed to produce a son or they are simply no longer wanted, both men and women who are being forced into arranged marriages by their families, families arranging child marriages at ages 2-3 and bonded child labourers.
The hardest thing I find to deal with is the issue of tradition.
If a particular thing has always been done, does that make it right? By what standard do you judge these things?
If a person accepts and believes in a certain form of treatment or behaviour, does that make it okay? What if it is simply conditioning ie. what he/she has been told constantly by her parents and community all their life?
What has lifted my heart has been the Indian people I have met who have dedicated their lives to helping people and bringing about a change for the better. And I mean BETTER, rather than trying to impose a western ideal.
The other joy has been that, while I have met with extreme poverty, I have yet to encounter hopelessness. People seem to believe that they have future, whatever their current circumstances.
Anyway, I just felt the need to unburden some of this stuff. As I said, I make no great claim to insight or understanding. I have no answers. Thanks for reading.