India will shift the way you see the world
Updated: Mar 7, 2019
On Saturday afternoon in Puducherry we returned to our homestay to get lunch. That’s when I came across this book titled, “The Rough Guide to India” published in 2016.
Here are some facts on India as stated in the book.
India is the 7th largest country in the world, covering more than three million square kilometers.
There are 80% Hindus, 14% Muslims and millions of Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains.
There are 23 official languages with more than 1000 minor languages and dialects.
The book goes on to say that it is just not possible to see everything in a single trip, even if you spend a year exploring India. This is so true. Whenever someone asks me how different is my city as compared to Bangalore or how different is my food or the language or the culture, I don’t have a concrete answer. But I would say it is as different as American food and Indian food. It’s as different as English and Kannada.
India is a country united by the idea of one nation. Except for the fact that these states are a part of the country India, ruled by a central party, they have little in common. There is no Indian food. There is Gujarati food and Marathi food and Punjabi food. There is no South Indian food. There is Keralan food and Tamil food and Andhra food.
In the north, India is protected by the Himalayan mountain range, home to some of the world’s tallest peaks.
In the south, India is surrounded by the Indian ocean, with a shoreline of over 7500 kms.
In the west is the world’s 17th largest dessert, the Thar desert and on the East are the large dense jungles.
India houses 1200 species of birds and 340 mammals. India is also the only country in the world with both wild tigers and wild lions.
The earliest human presence in India is traced back to stone age.
The Afghans, Mughals, British, French, Portuguese have all invaded India and left a little bit of their culture behind.
The major Indian cities also took shape somewhere between the Mughal rule and the British rule. They aren’t planned cities like in the US. They have developed haphazardly over time as more and more people migrate for work. That’s why Bangalore doesn’t have a street with tall buildings on either side. There are no downtowns and suburbs. There are pockets of development and each of these developed areas have their equal share of tall office buildings, residences, slums, malls and small shops.
The good part is that everyone can find everything they need close to their houses. People do not have to spend a lot of time travelling to their workplaces like in the US. But it becomes very difficult to develop and implement policies for the entire city. Each area has its own unique problems. In the same way, it is difficult to solve issues facing India.
Having a solution for any grand challenge faced by India would be very difficult. In India nothing applies to everyone. For our GCIL project, we have been working with one ward and have come up with a plan for managing the clothing waste for that ward. As we talk about implementing the solution across all wards in Bangalore, we come across new challenges every day. Coming up with a solution and implementing it would mean that we are only half way there. Scaling it up to other wards and subsequently to other cities is going to be a challenge in its own. All we can do is play our part and then hope for the best.
As the book says, “Love it or hate it, India will shift the way you see the world.”