All things religious
Trip Start Jun 28, 2009
33Trip End Aug 07, 2009
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Yesterday we visited a unique Islamic school (madrasa) for girls ages 13-18. Honestly we were treated like royalty there, with a big ceremony at the beginning in which we were garlanded and welcomed by the head of the school and all the school staff
The focus of the school as articulated by the founder and leader is a noble one- to give girls a technical education so they may become independent adults, and to educate women so they may "raise children to face the challenges of life". However, some features of the school haunted me, like the partitioned (prison-like) room where parents meet with the students twice per month and the sleeping quarters (mats on the floor- 15 girls to a room). I left wondering how this school compares to others we’ll visit, and feeling curious about how much of a relative privilege it is to attend this madrasa.
In the evening we enjoyed hearing a panel of experts representing 6 different religions (Judaism- there are 5000 Jews in India, Sikhism, Bahaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Catholicism). The discussion was fascinating! Plus two of the panelists got up in the middle of everything to respond to obnoxious ring tones on their cell phones- a touch of home. Afterward we enjoyed a very fancy reception dinner hosted by a U.S. diplomat in India, where I met other Fulbright students who are working on their doctoral studies in India- one woman is an anthropologist working in a Delhi slum everyday- quite inspiring.
I’m not sure if I’ll write tomorrow- we leave early for Pune, and today we just have a bunch of lectures…