Diana Jue-Rajasingh

On the Eve of Heading Out to India

Posted in Fulbright, India, Traveling by Diana on August 7, 2012

My bags are not packed, and I’m not ready to go, but I thought I’d update anyway. It’s 5 am, and I leave for India at 3pm. I’m flying from LA to Frankfurt to Delhi, where it sounds like I’m going to be spoiled for two days by the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) Fulbright folks. Receiving this treatment in India is somewhat strange and almost laughable to me, as I’m used to being a poor student researcher. This morning, I spoke with my research adviser/boss-man, Stephen David (henceforth known as “Steve”), and he commented that I’m in the big leagues now. Well, I don’t quite feel that way, but I am thankful for all of the opportunities that have come my way and hope to make the most of them.

I’ll write more about my Fulbright research on the plane. In short, though, I’m studying public administration in Bangalore’s land development. I’m interested in how “good” and equitable decisions are made among the city’s top leadership — the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers.

Now, if you were my academic adviser, you’d right about now be asking me, “But Diana, how does that fit into what you’ve studied in the past — what you wrote your thesis on, what you’ve already researched?” Yes, that’s a good question. I took a different approach to development while at MIT. I still believe that bottom-up development, led by grassroots or entrepreneurial initiatives, have the potential for long-term impact. However, communities and businesses jumpstart the process. They tug and nag at the administrators. They fight for their rights and make their voices heard. And administrators, for various reasons that will be explored (economic? self-preservation? benevolence?) may give the people what they want. Bottom-up initiatives require policy changes for scaled impact (yes, even entrepreneurs require the assistance of policy), and this decision-making process is what I’m trying to understand.

A note on the blog: The last time I cleared the blog was when I began my Master’s thesis research. I thought I’d continue the trend with the commencement of my Fulbright research. Clean slates are nice sometimes, you know? I’ll try to stick to my Fulbright research here, but knowing me, as the days go on I’ll fill these pages with more and more personal anecdotes and thoughts. We shall see!


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