Oct 2, 2012

The countries of India

The phrase 'Unity in diversity' has been drummed into our skulls so much in schools, but we've rarely thought about how much it means. Think of this: out of the 204 countries of the world, 142 are smaller in area than a single state of India, TamilNadu (http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=countries+with+area+less+than+130000+km^2). Many of our states are countries in their own right, with their own language, culture and history; they've been countries for most of history, and are simple states of a country now only because of some historic accidents. In fact, it's better to think of India as a continent, parallel to Europe, than as a country.

It's great that we've all managed to get together as a country, share and exchange elements of our culture, and remain united. However, it's also important to realize the things we've lost in becoming a single country: there would have been a better distributed tourism industry (now most travellers visit only north India thanks to Taj Mahal), websites would offer more language choices to us rather than thinking Hindi will suffice for everyone, we'd learn more of our own history rather than just touching the surfaces of the histories of all parts of India, and the world would in general know our individual states' achievements better.

In a spirit of blind patriotism, let's not try to cram all the different cultures of India into ourselves, and in the process lose our identities and histories.

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