The singular thing about India is that you can only speak of it in the plural… Its pluralism emerges from its geography, is reflected in its history, and is confirmed by it’s ethnography – Shashi Tharoo
It is the 7th largest country by geographical area, the 2nd most populous country with 1.14 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world! And yet many people have asked me – Why do you want to go to India? Other than objectively stating – Where else would i go!? I’m an extremely curious person and India in all of its diversity and immensity absolutely fascinates me.
Four major religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism originated here, while Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam arrived in the first millennium CE and shaped the region’s diverse culture. As a young person currently undefined by a religion but with an acceptance of the concept of faith and a greater force at work; where else can you get such a broad and fundamental understanding about the concept and influence of faith?
India was gradually annexed by the British East India Company from the early eighteenth century and colonised by the United Kingdom for almost 200 years. As Australia is a commonwealth nation im very interested in the differences and similarities that resulted from British rule in the two countries
India became an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was instigated by Gandhi and marked by widespread non-violent resistance. Where else has such an idealistic concept been so successfully enacted? Who would have thought than non-violent resistance could topple imperial British rule! India also has an incredibly intricate array of paradoxes that make it impossible to generalize the country like the introductory quote implied. Despite it’s independence being born out of peaceful means, India has a long history of bloodshed, is a nuclear weapon state and has the worlds 3rd largest standing army.
The Indian economy is the world’s the fourth largest economy by purchasing power parity and the eleventh largest economy by nominal GDP (though much of the countries grass roots entrepreneurialism goes unreported and it is widely believed to additionally contribute the value of half the current GDP). Economic reforms since 1991 have transformed it into one of the worlds fastest growing economies;
However, it still suffers from widespread poverty (22% of population), illiteracy (33% of population), corruption, disease, and malnutrition.
An Indian child is born every 3 seconds and Indians will soon count for a 6th of the total world population
70% of the Australian population live in the 10 largest cities whilst
70% of the Indian population live in the rural areas
On that note, a comparison between India and Australia in numbers is absolutely mind-blowing.
Population India: 1 144 734 000 people … Australia: 21 015 000 people
India: 1.4 %
Australia: 0.6 %
Migration rate (migrants/ 1000 ppl)
Australia: 6.23 (People born overseas make up almost 1/4 of the Australian population)
Population under 15 (as %)
India: 31 %
Australia: 18 %
India:(US) $1.16 Trillion
Australia: (US) $1.02 Trillion
GDP per capita
India: (US) $1,017
Australia: (US) $47,370
India: 63 yrs
Australia: 81 yrs
Economic Sectors as % of GDP
India: 3.287 million km2
Australia: 7.69 million km2 (for some perspective thats about twice the size of the European Union!)
India: Hindu 80.5% Muslim 13.4% Christian 2.3% Sikh 1.8% Buddhists 0.8% Jains 0.4% others 0.7% unspecified 0.1%
Australia: Christian 63.9% Buddhism 2.1% Muslim 1.7% Hinduism 0.7% Other 2.4% Atheist 18.7% Didn’t respond 11.2%
So many aspects are complete opposites when it comes to India and Australia especially in regards to the culture. The concept of space and Australia’s youth (not including the indeginious population) with only 250 years of recorded history compared to the ancient and rich traditions of the Indian people are the differences i find most prominent. India’s is considered a potential superpower, having a rapidly growing economy and growing political clout. A pluralistic, multilingual and multiethnic society, India is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.
So why India? Where else in the world would a compulsively curious person about to study business and internationals relations go?!?
Stay tuned and join me on my inevitable adventures throughout India!