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Author's Bio and Reflections
Rafadi Hakim is a senior Sociology and Anthropology major at Carleton College who hails from Jakarta, Indonesia. His broad academic interests include linguistic anthropology, South and Southeast Asia, and globalization. While completing his senior thesis on the diversity of the Indian Ramayana narrative tradition in the age of mass media, Fadi is thinking about pursuing further studies on cultural anthropology, as well as doing grassroots work on socially responsible investing and economic justice.
Fieldwork Reflection June 2012
During my short term engaging with and studying the Chinmaya Mission, I was privileged by my previous experience in India, which gave me basic knowledge of the Sanskritic textual canon of Hinduism. Nonetheless, as someone who came from a Muslim family and spent the majority of my years in a Muslim-majority community, the experience of understanding the religion of a non-majority ethnic group gives me insight on what it means to have a “culture” that stretches between two different continents and what it means to negotiate different life philosophies from similarly aged peers.
As a student who lives abroad and encounters incredible academic and personal challenges, I was kindly reminded by the Chinmaya Mission teachers and members that happiness resides within my own self, and that it is possible to be conscious of and control what happens in my own thoughts. In addition to the generous amounts of food and conversations that I have enjoyed throughout my visit, these simple but profound moral lessons are what I am extremely grateful for. I have been incredibly lucky to be part of Chinmaya Mission even just for a few short weeks, and to have “aunties” and “uncles” at a home away from home.