Gandhinagar: Enabling yet another set of students from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) understand and appreciate multiple facets that form this country, India ki Khoj 2019, week-long India immersion program designed by IIT Gandhinagar, concluded on December 22, 2019. The eighth edition of this unique cultural immersion program had 22 students, including 10 from Caltech and 12 from IIT Gandhinagar, participating enthusiastically to discover the idea of India together.
India ki Khoj 2019 painted a vast canvass for its participants. From Mahatma Gandhi to architectural landscapes of India; from history of India to Bollywood dance; from contemporary stand-up comedy to classical music traditions; from Odissi classical and folk dance to queer movement; from Science in ancient India to modern art; it formed a comprehensive picture of the past and present-day India through a range of academic lectures, cultural events, activities by distinguished doyens from each field.
The students also visited Gandhi Ashram, Lothal, Kasturbhai Lalbhai Museum of Modern Art, Manek Chowk night street food market, a village near IIT Gandhinagar, took a heritage walk in the old city of Ahmedabad, and a ride in Ahmedabad BRTS public transport bus. They also enjoyed traditional Gujarati delicacies at Vishala. All through this one week, the students got to know India and its social, cultural, political fabric.
Sharing her experience, a student from Caltech said, “I thoroughly enjoyed my experience here. This trip opened my eyes to the intricacies and richness of India, its culture, and everything else about it. I learnt a lot and really enjoyed the heritage walk, food, and my interactions with the students and people here. I am now more interested in knowing about Indian apparels and their design.”
Another participant from IITGN said, “This program made me look at the things, which I had always taken for granted, in a different way, from an outsider’s perspective. To explore a diverse country like India in such a short time is difficult, but the lectures, presentations, field visits, events and activities made it as good as hands-on experience.”
Started in 2011, India ki Khoj cultural immersion program is designed and led by faculty members of the Humanities and Social Sciences discipline at IITGN to help foreign as well as Indian students relate with and comprehend the many layers that form India.