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Delhi to Leh

Group at Gurudwara in Old Delhi.jpg
Visiting the Sis Ganj Sahib Gurudwara Sikh Temple in Old Delhi

We had a great day yesterday with a morning visit to Old Delhi and many of the historical centers of worship there, including the Jama Masjid and the Sis Ganj Sahib Gurudwara Sikh Temple. We walked through the bustling bazaar of Chadni Chowk between these destinations, as well as to the Jain Temple (which closed early due to celebrations at the Red Fort commemorating the May 11, 1857 Indian mutiny-uprising against British Rule in Delhi. The afternoon featured a dynamic round-table discussion at the American Center, hosted and facilitated by Sunandan Roy Chowdhury, Editor and Publisher of Sampark Press. At this event, our Fort Lewis students discussed contemporary perspectives on gender issues with fellow Indian students as well as heard articulate thoughts and selected readings by critically acclaimed poets of India's women's writing movement. Moreover, this function was the formal book launch of Pam Uschuk's newest publication, 'Without the Comfort of Stars' as well as 'I am not your woman and other poems' by Delhi's Rita Malhotra. Following our period at the American Center, we reconvened with a number of local authors at the Panch Sheel Club for a continuation of the previous discussion and look into publishing in India.

This morning we departed the Likir House at 4:00 AM for our sunrise flight to Leh, Ladakh. Following a welcome from Namgial and Rigzin over tea at the Chube Guest House, the group retired until lunch. We spent the afternoon at the Ladakh Women's Alliance discussing the modern issues of development and transition which Ladakhis presently face as well as the manifestations of this struggle vis a vis family farming and agricultural practices in the United States (with all students sharing unique and profound experiences of their own). After a stroll through Sankar village and a tukpa dinner back at the Chube, the group has initiated an open reading of writings which they have been working on over the past few days.

Health and spirits are high, and everyone is looking forward to tomorrow orning's visit to the Sabu Oracle and afternoon discussion with local short-story writer, Abdul Ghani Sheikh.

More to follow, with photos I hope, as soon as I have the chance.