Nine zeroes

India has a billion people today. And that is proving to be quite a handful. But I was checking up some numbers and it turns out that the Indian population is a remarkable story of human spirit. In 1901 India had only about 250 million people. In a hundred years, Indian mothers have carried another 750 million babies for nine months each; Indian fathers have toiled to feed these mouths and the Indian socio-cultural system that today looks suspiciously like it has little value for life, has proved, like a pudding in its eating, that it values life. A billion people did not die in the sweltering heat and ravaging disease. A billion people did not kill each other in spite of how little they have in common. A billion people shared scant Indian resources, and survived together on it. I need not emphasize on the fragility of life. We all know how little it takes to die. But be it in unjust situations, be it in cruel violations of rights, be it in ignorance and lack of restraint or contraception, be it with stifling customs, cultures and superstitions; a billion Indians lived to breathe this air. South of the Himalayas, surrounded by salty waters lies nestled, the second most fertile ground for the cultivation of the Homo Sapien, widely and in unbridled vanity considered the pinnacle of life on earth. Even if the majority of them are ignorant and lazy and filled with flaws any Indian can whine about, this super abundance of people is a definite wealth. Here are two billion hands with opposable thumbs. Here are a billion machines that will function perfectly with little more than input from naturally occurring flora and fauna. Here are a billion sophisticated brains that can memorize, learn and create. Here are a billion organic workhorses that leave no trail behind and decompose fully with no environmental damage. Here are a billion consumers for ideas and goods. Here are a billion hearts that will pump blood relentlessly while small bodies inch in unsophisticated ways towards more comfort, security and productivity. Here are a billion minds that wake up in the morning and set out to end the day better than they began it. And they can all make more of them. And quite well, as shown already. India’s real wealth is our people. All we need to do is get our people to value mediocrity less.

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4 Responses to “Nine zeroes”

  1. Nice post and interesting. I wish your country and its people well. You’re correct, your people are India’s greatest treasure.

  2. You write superbly. Count me among your fan boys!

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