From the land of ‘Snake Charmers’ India has come a long way in redefining itself. India once regarded as the ‘Sone Ki Chidiya’ (The Golden Bird) has attracted lots of attention over the centuries be it from imperialist countries like United Kingdom, Portugal, Dutch or France or invaders like Mohammed Ghazni, Mohammad Shah Abdali or Mughals.
Emperor Ashoka who preached Buddhism was probably the first one who introduced India to the rest of the world. He spread the ideologies and the teachings of Buddha to the Indian subcontinent.
The silk route which connected west to east took the India to the world map by bringing the traders all over the world to India and China. The cultural and trade impact was so significant that many explorers started discovering the direct route to India.
Be it the festivals, Indian Cuisine or the Bollywood, Indians continue to influence the world. I usually travel to different part of the world on business trip. What was common in all these countries is that you will find Indians and Indians cuisine in even the remotest place. The smell of Kadai Paneer, Dal Makhani, Naan or Indian Snacks gives you a feeling that you are not far away from your very own country. Amitabh Bacchan, Shahrukh Khan or Rajnikant have created a pseudo identity for Indians. Whenever the discussion happens on the films these are names you can hear from everyone. In Indonesia a hotel staff mentioned to me that he love seeing Bollywood music and films. This is the impact one can witness when you travel to other parts of the world. It will not be an exaggeration to say that you can find Indians in significant proportion in every nook and corner of the world spreading the Indian culture. This clearly shows how the world has become small and Indianized.
In the present era India is country which cannot be ignored. With 1.2 Billion Population India is probably the biggest consumer of goods and services after china which can have a remarkable impact on all the economies of the world. That is the one of the reason why India is regarded so high.
It is not only the sheer amount of the population which makes it a favorite of the capitalist economy but the world’s biggest democracy also creates an interest in the minds of the people.
Some of the significant aspects which make this nation unique and most loved and talked about are:
Spirituality and Religion
India is probably an only country in the world which is the abode for the people of all religions and ethnicities. All religions have been given equal respect and love in the country. Some of the religions came to India when people migrated from other countries due to not so conducive conditions in their respective countries. The country embraced them with the open hearts and now they are integral part of the country and help India putting on the global map. So when an example needs to be given on solidarity and brotherhood everyone can easily quote India as the first choice.
India has 22 officially recognized languages. However around 33 different languages and 2000 dialects have been identified in India. No other country comes even near to it.
India is also a preferred destination for spiritual seekers. People from across the world come to India to seek spirituality and learn yoga. The Hindu scriptures are believed to be oldest in the world and have led to the beginning of religious and cultural organization such as ISKCON which was founded in 1966 in New York City by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Thus religion and ethnicity makes India a discussion point for the people who debate about religion.
Trade & Economy
The economy of India is the tenth-largest in the world by nominal GDP and the third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). India is one of the G-20 major economies, a member of BRICS and a developing economy that is among the top 20 global traders according to the WTO. India is one of the largest exporters in the world in all sectors like agriculture, engineering services, Textile and also an importer for other commodities, thus playing a crucial role in international trade.
India is on the list of probably every tourist in the world. The climatic conditions and availability of all the 4 major seasons draws the interest of the tourist across the world. The tourist can view snow capped mountains, deserts, valleys, rivers, cultures in one country. One can view India as group of 29 countries with each state having different culture, language and traditions. The country offers so much that its not possible to cover in one lifetime.
Not only within India but outside world is taking good care to embed in the Indian culture. Travel to different destinations have become easy. With Indian cuisines being served not only on flights like Lufthansa but also different countries having top Indian restaurants making it feel at home
Extending Support to World
India has always been a peace loving country. India maintains the world’s third largest armed force and the third largest contributor of troops to United Nations peace keeping missions. India has contributed nearly 160,000 troops, the largest number from any country and has participated in more than 43 peace keeping missions.
In one of the news article published in economic times it was mentioned that 52.4 per cent of Silicon Valley’s companies had a chief executive or lead technologist who was foreign-born and Indians founded 25.8 per cent of these companies. This proportion increased to 33.2 per cent in 2012. Indians, who constitute only 6 per cent of Silicon Valley’s working population, start roughly 15 per cent of its companies.
The Indians are at the helm of some of the biggest companies in the world which keeps the media and business world buzzing with news covering these personalities and their connection with India. To name some of the leaders are:
- Sathya Nadella – CEO Microsoft Corporation
- Indira Nooyi – Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo
- Sundar Pichai – Senior Vice President at Google
- Ajaypal Singh Banga – CEO MasterCard
- Vikram Pandit – former CEO of Citigroup
- Anshu Jain – Co-CEO of Deutsche Bank
And the list is ever going.
Recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited United States to meet congressional leaders, the private sector and to address members of the Indian Diaspora. Modi’s speech at Madison Square Garden was sold out many weeks ago, with the vast majority of the 18,000 seats being allocated by lottery. His speech was broadcast live in Times Square and at special screening parties set up by Indian American groups in the US and Canada. The same speech was broadcasted throughout the world which was unprecedented. This made India most talked about nation in the world.
Indians continue to make mark by their work and are being recognized. The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian children’s rights activist who founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan in 1980 and has acted to protect the rights of more than 83,000 children from 144 countries. The other notable Nobel Prize winners in the past are:
- Rabindra Nath Tagore – Nobel Prize for Literature
- Sir C.V. Raman – Nobel Prize for Physics
- Mother Teresa – Nobel Prize for Peace
- Amartya Sen – Nobel Prize for Economics
- Indian citizen Rajendra K. Pachauri is the Chairman of the IPCC, which was the recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
There were other notable Indians such as Hargobind Khorana, Subramanyan Chandrasekhar and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan who became naturalized citizens of other countries and were Nobel laureates.
India has achieved an unprecedented accomplishment by sending the spacecraft to Mars thus ISRO becoming the only fourth space agency to reach mars after Soviet Space Program, NASA and European Space Agency. It is also the first nation to reach Mars Orbit on its first attempt and that too at a very low cost of US$74 Million thus proving its power and capability.
All these areas be it religion, economy, politics, science and technology India is always regarded as the unique nation. India continues to make its mark in all the areas and is one of the most talked about nation in the world for its innovation, culture or support it extends to other countries without succumbing to pressure of any country thus holding its identity and pride.
PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN !