PW Travels

Putney Westerfield's Trip Reports

India - January 1992

Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the feathers of Habit, the leaden weight of Routine, the cloak of many Cares, man feels once more happy. The blood flows with the fast circulation of childhood. Afresh dawns the mom of life....
Richard Burton
 Journal Entry - December 2, 1856

Why India? Many ask. Especially after two earlier visits, in 1956 with Anne across the North (Calcutta, Benares, Delhi, Agra, Nepal and Kashmir), and in 1965 to Delhi on a TIME CEO News Tour. Is it perhaps its 850 million people, the world's second mass of humanity? Is it perhaps its cultural resilience to emerge undiluted into the 21st century while other great civilizations (Egypt, Greece, Rome) bear no resemblance to their pasts? Is it perhaps its multiculturalism, its religious diversity, its caste structure, its historic antagonisms, it multi-lingualism? Is it perhaps its valiant attempts, as the world's largest democracy, to govern extraordinary diversity that goes far beyond that of our nation? Is it perhaps the enormity of the governance problem, when your country is poor and vastly overpopulated? Is it perhaps the remarkable legacy left by the Brits who were only here 100 years? Is it perhaps her army, the world's second largest, with atomic capability, exchanging fire with Pakistan almost daily, with three Indo-Paki wars since Independence. Or is it simply that India is large, colorful and different? That suffices to prompt my return to see more of India: Rajasthan and The South.
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India 1992