In mid-April 2007, our delegation of approximately thirty-six (36) professionals and guests took an adventure never before taken by a People to People Ambassador Program Legal Delegation.
We all went on this adventure for different reasons, and we all came away with different memories. Yet at the heart of this trip was the fact that India is in many ways still a mystery to us. Yes, it is a rapidly emerging economic and political partner with the United States, and, yes, it is the largest democracy in the world. And yes, its lawyer population of over 800,000 ranks second in the world only to America. Yet, despite our similarities, it still seems so distant, and in many ways a contradiction within itself.
It’s hard to describe the tale of two Indias, one that preserves the old traditions and lifestyles and the more modern India, which has absorbed new customs and trained professionals to become important partners for multinational corporations. But then, our attempt is not to describe the many faces of India, but rather to document what we have learned.
As we left India, there were many impressions and many places and people that we will always remember. Names like Delhi, New Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Red Fort, Lalit Bhasin, the Honorable Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of India, as well as the senior most Judges of the Supreme Court of India, the Society of Indian Law Firms, Amber Fort, the Taj Mahal, and of course, Mahatma Gandhi.
In leaving, we felt that many of our questions had been answered, but we also felt the need to spend more time in this country and with its people. At the end of the trip, as we were in our plane on the way home I wondered whether we were seeing India in our rear view mirror or whether it and its villages, camels, internet cafes, and 1.12 billion people were not the road to our future…
BY: Richard Pena