Wednesday, April 13, 2005

An Unequal Race

India has an area of roughly 3 million square kilometers. It houses a billion people. Its northern provinces of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Jharkhand itself house 300 million people. 5% of all the people in the world.

America has close to 10 million square kilometers of area. It has a population touching 300 million. Three times the area of India and one third of India’s population. America is a rich land – it has lots of minerals, massive oil deposits, vast stretches of extremely salubrious climate, reliable water supply, lots of rivers…….

Australia has seven and a half million square kilometers in area. Its population borders around 20 million, a figure which Bombay’s population shall beat in a few years. It has an area more than double that of India, but houses only a negligible fraction of the population. The inhabited land is fertile – and the climate is salubrious.

The third world is not downtrodden by its volition. Its people are not any worse than the inhabitants of richer lands. They are just worse off. Ridiculing a third world nation is the hare ridiculing the tortoise. Not fair. You can’t have all the minerals, all the good climate, all the natural resources and mock someone else.

Expecting the third world to ever rise to such levels is probably impossible; but something wonderful is happening in India. The developed world brings children into a life of luxury and plenty. A satisfaction sets in, which prevents any ambition. Very few people from developed nations like to become professionals. In stark contrast, necessity ensures that more then a hundred thousand Indians take up engineering every year. An order of magnitude higher than USA. The best minds in India might become worldwide leaders of tomorrow. But the best minds of America might be stock-boys in the local Walmart. But then again, the best minds of India might languish undiscovered in some nondescript farming town miles away from a large city, as they probably are.

We still have a long way to go. But we sure have a better future than the developed world.

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