The Rev. Prakash on the right getting tea. Photo by Jennifer Solorio
Saturday, January 7, 2012: 

After two mosques, lunch, and a break we were driven to see the Rev. Cedric Prakash, a man who spent the fall of 2009 at Marquette working with the Center for Peacemaking, faculty and guest lectures and numerous other activities involving activism.  

Rev. Prakash is a human rights activist and director of Prashant, the Ahmedabad Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace, and a man has more passion and understanding of the human mind than anyone I have met in India and possibly the U.S. He believes in educating the uneducated is the only way to advance society and move on with current issues and make a difference. When he was speaking before tea time I found myself in awe and my jaw half open. 

He explained the work he is doing and I couldn’t help but think about how I wanted to help and do what he is doing. He currently works with his employees on finding documentation for human rights case studies. Everyday he and his employees go through 20 newspapers and clip out articles that relate to topics they are keeping a close look at. Numerous files and clippings are in binders full of information that are presented to courts for cases as evidentiary support regarding certain topics. The entire time I kept telling myself that I would love to do this work, Carole even mentioned to me after that she thought of me during the visit. For his work, Rev. Prakash was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, one of the highest civilian honors that acknowledged his devotion human rights in India. He also received the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award that was presented to him for his humanitarian work by the Indian American Muslim Council in 2003. Now, we learned this all before tea time. That’s a lot to take in. 

This tea time was special in itself as well. There were decadent treats and the tea was even better than normal, and that says something. It also happened to be Dr. B’s birthday so we had cake, biscuits, homemade ice cream everything under the sun that is sweet. Delicious.  

After tea and more visiting we all headed back to Xavier’s exhausted. After teaching, staring at a computer, and exploring the day was catching up with us all so we all took a nap or simply had some alone time and then headed out for the Heritage Walk of the Old City. Carole and Jim were both sick with a head cold so they stayed behind, which felt strange because it’s like we’re a family – we don’t leave each others sides unless we need some serious time to ourselves. On the upside Aman Shah, a participant in the program two years ago and current journalist in Bangalore (south of Gujarat), joined us for the walk. 
The Heritage Walk was led by a tour guide who knew his history. With a flashlight in hand and a booming voice he shared all the knowledge he could about the Old City, the rich families, hideouts and escape goats. 

Here are a few facts about Ahmedabad: 
  1. It does not flood in the Old City due to the elevation and if it does the houses are built further up from the ground so that the floors will not flood
  2. Many of the homes were built following Vastu Shastra, similar to Feng Shui.   
  3. Homes often have elephant trunks on the columns and pillars that symbolize strength and good fortune for a household. 
  4. Last but not least, the tour guide said one very humorous thing at the beginning, “In Ahmedabad, one must have a good horn, good breaks and good luck.”

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    Andrea is a recent graduate from the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University with a double major in journalism and Spanish.

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    December 2011