Correspondent speaks to MSU about India


The road to progress in India hits close to home for New York Times reporter Vikas Bajaj, an MSU alumnus.

Bajaj was born in India. He lives in India. And he currently reports on India for the New York Times as one of its South Asia correspondents.

In fact, the road to progress in India is so close to Bajaj, it was the title of a series of New York Times articles about the country that he contributed to, as well as the title of his recent on-campus presentation.

Bajaj presented his thoughts of “India’s Way: The messy and maddening road to progress in India” to an audience of about 40 people Tuesday night in the RCAH Theatre.

“It is important for me to see India do well, and I do feel a very personal connection to the country,” Bajaj said after his presentation. “India (is) a much more complicated … place than we often understand … but trying to understand can be very rewarding.”

The State News alumnus discussed issues in India including employment, labor laws and education at the presentation, sponsored by RCAH and MSU’s undergraduate student government, ASMSU.

“It is important to understand, first, how (India) is changing,” Bajaj said.
“Our perception, especially in the United States, is very flawed.”

Bajaj said although there is much discussion in the U.S. regarding concerns with domestic companies outsourcing jobs to places such as India, there actually is a trend of unemployment in India.

He said there is an idea in the U.S. that countries such as India are moving faster.

“In reality, more people in India feel they’re being left behind more than people in the U.S.,” Bajaj said.

Following his presentation, which included a New York Times video, students asked questions about agriculture, the foreign market and corruption.

“A lot of it wasn’t really new information, but I was able to connect it to what I’ve learned about India in the past and what my family experiences have been,” said Monika Kothari, an anthropology and political theory and constitutional democracy senior.

Kothari said the presentation was of particular interest to her because her family is from India. She said despite Bajaj’s perspective, what she drew from the speech was what an MSU graduate can do.

“Especially in this sort of economic environment, we worry about our degrees,” she said.
“It really shows whatever we’re passionate about as long as we work hard … we can get to positions like The New York Times.”

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