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India: Culture, Traditions, & Globalization

Pune, India

Location

The ACM India office in Pune

From the high-tech industries of Bangalore to thousands of rural villages seemingly untouched by time, India encompasses both the dynamic forces of globalization and the deep-rooted traditions of an ancient culture. The dichotomy is woven into everyday life, as cows interrupt the streams of cars and trucks on the roads, and farmers work with hand tools in fields under the flight paths of jumbo jets.  India is also a nation marked by diversity, encompassing a multitude of religions, ethnicities, political states, languages, and art forms. Its founding democratic principles continue to unfold and adapt amidst political, economic, and social restructuring.

Pune is an ideal place to observe the interaction of tradition and modernity that characterizes India today.  With a population of over three million, it’s a medium-sized city with a strong student life and culture, offering students excellent resources for experience, exploration, and study.  The quintessential university town, Pune is home to more universities and colleges than any other city in the world, earning it the nickname of "The Oxford of the East."  The city's residents include leaders in the fields of art, music, dance, yoga, theatre, film, religion, politics, environmental science and social reform.  Pune’s vibrant past is uncovered in local historical sites and archives that chronicle the city’s role as a center of Hindu resistance to British rule and as the summer headquarters for the colonial government of Bombay.  There are numerous resources available for independent research, including museums, educational institutions, government offices, political organizations, business and labor groups, and cultural and social welfare agencies.

The ACM office in Pune is where students will be based during the program.  The office is located in a popular area of the city for students, close to numerous colleges and universities, with a multitude of shops and restaurants located nearby.  All classes are taught at the ACM office, with a mix of ACM faculty and visiting faculty from local colleges and universities.  In the ACM office, there are classrooms, an open lounge area for students, and offices for faculty and staff.  Students will also spend time outside the traditional classroom, exploring the city of Pune.  All the host families are located in the surrounding areas near the office, typically a short autorickshaw ride away.

Pune is located in the state of Maharashtra, which is among the more prosperous and stable areas of India, embracing nearly all of the nation’s religious, social and ethnic variety.  Pune enjoys a moderate climate, due to its location in the mountains, and is just a three-hour train ride from the beaches, colonial architecture, and Bollywood center of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), India's largest city and chief commercial center.

India: Culture, Traditions, & Globalization

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Keith Kozloff It is no exaggeration for me to say that my participation in the 1971 ACM India program had a profound effect on both my career and personal life. During my stay in Pune, I studied everyday life in a nearby village to better understand how the intersection of ecology, economics, and culture played out in how village families managed a key resource, namely their cows. As a result of this experience, I became interested in working in interdisciplinary settings and in international development. Now, 40 years later, I am still working internationally at the intersection of environment and economics at the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Moreover, my ACM experience instilled in me a lifelong attraction to Indian culture, especially its food and music.

—Keith Kozloff, India, 1971

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