தாய் (thai) meaning mother and நாடு (nadu) meaning country, Tamil Nadu is my motherland. Though my grandparents left India in the mid 1930’s to move to Malaysia for economic opportunities, our language and our culture stayed throughout the generations. As a third generation Malaysian Tamil, my culture is an important part of who I am; even though I have never in my 19 years of existence stepped foot on Indian soil.
As someone hoping to focus her career in humanitarian aid, the concept of praxis is important to the field of human rights. Praxis as introduced by philosopher Aristotle is the concept of embodying or realizing theories and ideas learned. Which, in the field of human rights and social work is important, since it relies heavily on the execution of the ideas and theories taught.
Even Thiruvalluvar, a celebrated Tamil poet who lived over 2 millenniums ago, wrote in his famous body of work, Thirukural, about this concept
கற்க கசடற கற்பவை கற்றபின்
நிற்க அதற்கு தக
Karka kasadara karpavai kattrapin
nirka adharku thaga
Learn whatever you learn thoroughly, without doubts or defects and then apply the learning and act in consonance with it
The 391st couplet in the 1,330 others Thiruvalluvar wrote was one that stuck with me as a child. The alliteration and the message had always been appealing to me and its one of the few couplets I can recite from memory.
While I can discuss the theories of sustainable development and the importance of education in the eradication of poverty; if I do not talk the talk, and walk the walk what good would my grand ideas of changing the world be worth? Within the Indian diaspora we discuss the issues in our community; the classism, casteism, shadeism and all other isms one can think of but what can we as members of this community do to empower our own people?
It is why I chose to work with Eureka Child Foundation, to use what skills and knowledge I have to help others and also learn from the people I work with. Service is not a one way street, there is an exchange of ideas and knowledge from both sides. While I am in Tamil Nadu to help with education, the children I work with are not the only ones learning.
This blog will be my online documentation of what I experience in India, and not to worry there will be plenty of pictures and commentary from yours truly.