Happy 65th Birthday, India
Surrey, Vancouver, Aug 08, 2012
India will be celebrating its 65th anniversary of independence from the British on August 15. Recently, a lot has been written about the problems facing this largest democracy in the world. These include corruption, pollution, infrastructure, poverty and a variety of other issues. These problems are not unique to India. A number of developing and developed countries are facing similar problems. Hopefully, the people of India will eventually be able to address them in a satisfactory manner. Despite these problems, India continues to be one of the most fascinating countries in the world. It is a country full of contrasts and contradictions.
India is reported to be 34,000 years old. Its civilization is considered to be as one of the most ancient and living ones. India continues to lead the world in a number of areas. For example, it has more post offices in the world than any other country. India’s railway system, with more than one million employees, is the largest public sector employer in the world. Four of the major religions in the world-Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism –were born in India. These religions are practiced/followed by 25% of the world’s population. There are 300,000 active mosques in India. These are more than in any other country, including the Muslim world. It is a truly multicultural and multilingual country.
India has one of the youngest demographics in the world. There are approximately 770 million Indians under the age of 35 with 550 million of them under the age of 24. India’s middle class is close to 350 million. Not only that, historically, India has been in the forefront in giving the world a number of new inventions.
The number system was invented in India. Indian scientist Aryabhatta invented the digit zero. The place value system and the decimal system were developed in 100 BC in India. The game of chess as well as Algebra, Trignometry, and Calculus also originated in India. Thus, despite all of the difficulties facing the most populous democracy in the world, Indians have a lot to celebrate.
Happy Independence Day, India!
(Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist)