We announced earlier, Winston-Crown Publishing House, LTD. is in the process of publishing all of Dr. Jackson’s actual field journals and making them available to his readers. It is estimated that it will take twelve separate, oversized books, to accommodate all the exciting stories, adventures, and photos covering the twenty-five-year saga of the unique organization affectionately known as Project C.U.R.E. The stories reveal the heartaches, thrills, disappointments, and personal dangers experienced while trying to build an international humanitarian enterprise that would be capable of delivering health and hope to tens of thousands of needy people around the world.
The good news is - - as of the end of this week, six of the twelve books will have been published and are ready to go. It has been the determination of the publisher not to make the books available for sale until all the books are presentable in a commemorative package. It has also been agreed that all proceeds from sales will go directly to Project C.U.R.E. and their exceptional projects around the world.
Now, you can see why we are so excited! We are well over halfway to the finish line.
We will keep you updated on the progress. In the meantime, we will be sharing excerpts here on this blog site, taken directly from the pages of Dr. Jackson’s international journals. Enjoy!
INDIA JOURNAL - 2002
Dr. James W. Jackson
INDIA AND NAPAL JOURNAL: March 12-28, 2002: India had the reputation of being a terribly needy place. As my previous journals would indicate, I had already traveled extensively throughout India. From Delhi, I had traveled by Jeep north through the Kulu Valley over the treacherous snow-covered Himalayas into the Spiti Valley and Tibet along the China border. Another trip had taken me to Calcutta, then south and east along the coastline to Visakhapatnam and the “rock breakers” of Rajahmundry. Yet another trip had taken me to Hyderabad then to the southern sections of India. And, I could recall that my very first trip had dumped me into Madras from Kuala Lumpur arriving all alone in the midst of lepers, thieves, and beggars at about 2 in the morning.
Of course, I could never forget another trip, flying into Bombay then to Delhi, and on into Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland, with Drew Dixon. There, we experienced getting mixed up in a civil uprising and coup where, before it was all over, we found ourselves staring down the barrels of the Assam Indian Army’s automatic weapons, trying to explain what we were doing out in a war zone.
India was a pitifully needy place with a population of over one billion and poverty and squalor wherever you looked. However, a lot of folks were very wealthy in India. For example, if you had the money, you could receive healthcare in private hospitals rivaling those in the US. I had become acquainted with wealthy people in India who lived in plush homes, drove sleek cars, and maintained lifestyles equal to the rich and famous anywhere else on earth.
Some 82% of the Indian citizens were Hindu, 12% were Muslim, and barely over 2% were Christian. If India could experience a thoroughly equal free market economy and society, there would be wealth galore for everyone. The natural resources were certainly at the citizens’ disposal if they could only access them. Hardly any other continent in history could boast of a workforce of a billion people. But their economy and social structure was so intertwined with their religious beliefs that real wealth and production would get constipated before relief could be experienced.
The whole concept of birth, lust, procreation, and finally, acceptance of death placed the Hindu believer in a damning cycle that was only modified by the idea of incarnation. Hope would spring only from the possibility of being recycled into something better in the next go-around. You needed to accept where you were and what you were in the present life and hope things would get better when you came back the next time. That philosophy gave continuation to the deadly controlling factors of the caste system. “Placidly accept what you have in the present life and you will be promoted as you pop from the womb into the next recycling bin.”
At the highest level of the caste system you would find the “Brahmans.” Originally, they were the priests and scholars. Now, that included even hotel managers, chefs, and other recognized professionals.
Next in line in the system are the “Kshatriyas,” the warriors and rulers, today’s politicians. The “Vaisyas” category followed, including the merchants, farmers, and traders. Last in the caste system would be the “Sudras,” the laborers, artisans, servants, and other common workers.
Below the lowest caste level would be the people of no caste designation. They really messed up somewhere along the recycling line but not so bad as to reappear as an animal. They were referred to as the “Untouchables” or “Harijans.” Their level of separation seemed to fall along the continuum of pollution vs. purity. They were relegated to tasks of “pollution” not acceptable to any person within the caste system. They slaughtered animals, tanned leather, and were the “rock breakers,” some of whom I had met in Rajahmundry. Physical contact with those people would defile anyone in the caste levels. In recent years legislation had tried to outlaw the discrimination leveled against the Untouchables. But, just changing their nomenclature to “Dalits” hadn’t changed the convenience afforded those even in the lowest level of the caste system upon having another group of individuals in society even lower than they.
During the British colonization of India, the English never really figured out how to unravel the death grip of the Hindus’ reincarnation, caste system, complacent resistance, civil disobedience, and movements of non-cooperation. They finally figured the price was too high to continue their involvement in India and in August 15, 1947, pulled up stakes and sailed home.
It had really only been in very recent times that India had shown a positive blip on the screen of economic progress. The technology industry had tended to ignore the restrictions of the caste system. Multinational organizations from the US, Japan, and Great Britain couldn’t have cared less about the cultural status of a national worker in India. If the individual was smart enough to design, build, engineer, or service computers or other high-tech systems, they were hired and could become very rich. In 2002, over 80% of all computer programmers in the world were men and women from Indian decent. Their minds were keen and their technical creativity unequaled. The world of the computer was finally somewhat blurring the lines of the caste system and allowing real wealth to trickle down through the Indian economic structure. With that wealth Indians were becoming highly mobile and were becoming participants in a more global economy and social structure.
Next Week: Our involvement in India’s unending natural disasters.