It’s election day in India, and my family and I have been watching the results roll in for some hours. It’s a landmark vote and a historic period in India’s story, and it seems a fitting time for me to come home. This summer, I’ll be spending ten weeks in Pune with fellow soph Sarah Kho, working at the Dalit Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and also eating pani-puri, getting drenched in the rain, trying to bargain and falling out of auto-rickshaws. I’m so excited!
DICCI is an organization that works to advance the business interests of Dalit entrepreneurs – a historically marginalized and discriminated-against caste of Indians. While discrimination based on caste has been prohibited and untouchability abolished under the Indian Constitution, prejudice against Dalits in the country remains. To combat this, the Government has established affirmative action programs similar to the ones in the US to set aside jobs and education opportunities for Dalits, and organizations such as DICCI have worked to advance Dalit entrepreneurs in their business ventures. There’s a lot of dialogue currently in India that mirrors the one in the US about the role of affirmative action, and I’m hoping as well to see more clearly the sides of this important debate. I’m a sophomore in Wharton, and very interested in business solutions to the world’s big problems, so DICCI is a really good fit for me. I will be working with a specific company and helping it optimize its operations. I don’t know many details yet, but I’m looking forward to working on my project!
Stay tuned for what’s sure to be a wild ride – India is crazy at the best of times, and living on my own (with Sarah) is sure to be an adventure. I’m going to try to fully embrace my time in India, even if it means getting sick, or cramming into crowded trains, or getting completely ripped off – I’m excited for all of it.
Here’s hoping for a wonderful, exciting and challenging summer!