Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Look at Life In India


India is a peninsular nation located in South Asia along the Indian Ocean.  It is a large nation that has over 1 billion people that live within an area of over one million square miles.  The form of government present in India today is that of a federal republic.  They have a Prime Minister, President, as well as a Parliament similar to that of England.  The country is divided into states similar to that of the United States.  The capital of the country though is New Delhi, and some of the largest cities include: Mumbai, Chennai, and Bangalore.   India has seen great economic growth in the past decades.  Through foreign help and domestic demographics, the country has been steadily growing since its independence in the middle of the 20th century.  India is now one of the biggest economies in the world, but the poverty level still lingers around 25% of the population, so only time and economic and social progression will show the true fate of India, but they have an exponential possibilities for their future when modernization and educational opportunities effect more and more of the population.

Over the past few decades, India has seen a great rush in government programs which has greatly enhanced science and technology research.  The Department of Science and Technology in India is a big reason for that push into the ever growing and competitive industry.  As India has seen a lot of its top researchers and scientists go off to other countries, it has been a growing interest of the Indian government to push for this.  Much of the education and technological development in India is based both on high and basic research, for they wish to promote science education toward the common man while also researching into new technology fields.  At the same time, even though India’s Science and Technology education and research rivals that of many modern and western countries, much of the benefits do not reach out to much of the population for a variety of socio-economic reasons.  At the same time, India has made strides in its S&T program in terms of infrastructure development regarding the agricultural sector and energy.  India is one of the few countries in the world that have nuclear power plants which can provide electricity as well as modern medicine in cancer research.   India, since its independence has created thousands of dams to help to bring power and water supply to farming areas which have effectively doubled over the past few decades due to foreign and domestic research in high-yielding crops.  India also has seen great advances in space and satellite capabilities which have been in place since the first satellite launch of the InSat 2a in 1992.  In addition, India has seen a boom in computer software manufacturing and development as well IT services over the past two decades where it has emerged as a great leader in worldwide computer technology where it ranks as one of the best tele-communication programs in the world as well as an ever growing population of cell phone and internet users.  In the end though, there is a big gap in progress among the population of India.  As many people of India’s society grow economically and intellectually, there is still a wide gap among the poor class and the rest of the Indian social caste system. 

India is a big country where disease and famine is one of the biggest problems in the country.  2.4 million Cases of AIDS and HIV  have been reported in the country where over 1 billion people live, and where men have a higher percentage of reported HIV cases.  It is difficult though to truly determine the amount of cases of HIV due to India’s large size and population and lack of proper programs, and medical and technological infrastructure to truly fight the epidemic on their own.  "In a country where poverty, illiteracy and poor health are rife, the spread of HIV presents a daunting challenge."( Overview of HIV and AIDES in India)  The country as well as foreign support systems is trying their best to educate the people of India on preventing AIDS, and doing a lot to help improve the standard of living, but at the cost of private donor’s philanthropic beliefs.  The moral issue at hand is this:  Some do not think it’s the duty of one to help another in a country that is half way around the globe.  They do not see the struggles of another to feel obligated to help, and at what costs to can you try to use new medicine and treatments for those with AIDS or other deadly diseases, but educating the poor and uneducated on AIDS awareness and proper family planning with can only help the growing problem in the country.   

Culture has a rich and traditional effect on the population of India.  Most of India belongs to the Hindu faith, but Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians can be found in the country.  India was the birthplace of many old religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. India’s rich culture is centered on the elders of the family who are given the upmost respect from the rest of the family, and where the male usually makes all the household decisions.   In recent years has seen a steady movement towards implementing western culture into its rich and ancient culture.   While Indian culture is also centered around self-reliance of one’s self as well as self-reliance on food which can be seen in India’s ancient civilizations where agricultural methods were quite advanced which has only grown in the modern era.   Marriage is also a big part of Indian culture.  Most of the marriages are arranged by families who wish to keep the family name going.  Women who marry into other families adopt the cultural values of her new family.  Your last name has a lot to do with your culture in India where last names like Jain, Patel, and Gupta are names that come from ancient Hindu gods. Much of the entertainment is found through folk music and dance in India.  “India's languages, religions, dance, music, architecture, food, and customs differ from place to place within the country. Its culture often labeled as an amalgamation of these diverse sub-cultures is spread all over the Indian subcontinent and traditions that are several millennia old.”( Wikipedia)  The current music of India includes multiple varieties of religious, classical, folk, popular and pop music.  India also a rich artist culture which can be seen with their ancient rock sculptures such as the Jataka Tales from the Ajanta Caves to the amazing Taj Mahal.  Most of India’s rich artistic cultural background came from the Ancient Indus Civilization as well as other periods such as the Gupta and Mauryan Empires.  None-the-less India’s rich artistic culture still lives on today.  Sports and media have also grown in the modern times where the national sport is field hockey.  Other sports that have become popular include cricket, chess, and motor circuit racing, and Indian martial arts.   Indian has seen cable television grow over the years, and they even have seen western influence through channels such as the Cartoon Network, HBO, and MTV India.  Bollywood is an informal name given to the Mumbai film industry, along with other film industry hubs all over the country.  The film industry in India is one the biggest and most profitable in the world in terms of ticket sales and films produced.  India’s culture, in the end, has seen a melting pot of rich ancient culture, but has certainly opened itself up to western influence which only shows India’s culture as being open to new traditions, but is deeply embedded in a rich and traditional culture.

Over the last 50 years, India’s economy has seen huge growth and potential.  India's economy has grown tenfold over the last few decades.  Their economy will soon rival that of the United States in the coming years.  They are undergoing one of the biggest industrial technology booms of the modern day era which has seen the per capita rating increase significantly in the recent years, as well as the steady growth of the entire nation as a whole which increases by 5% annually. One of the biggest technological developments of India is the information technology boom.  "The Indian software industry has grown from a mere US $ 150 million in 1991-92 to a staggering US $ 5.7 billion (including over $4 billion worth of software exports) in 1999-2000. No other Indian industry has performed so well against the global competition."(Embassy of India)  This industry is the biggest and most influent movement of all time.  Computers and information technology has yet to reach its pinnacle for it is still in its infancy stages of development. According to studies done, annual revenue projections for India’s IT industry in 2008 are US $ 87 billion and market openings are emerging across four broad sectors, IT services, software products, IT enabled services, and e-businesses thus creating a number of opportunities for Indian companies, so India has made many contributions to the information technology industry to help improve the our virtual world.   This growth in manufacturing and services in India has greatly benefited the nation as a whole.  Much of India’s industrial economy is based around textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, and software.   The ability to have cheap and efficient labor has been played a significant role in the development of the national and global economy.  During a time where western powers use foreign labor, globalization has truly affected India’s economy significantly, but has left one with a moral dilemma.  As a result of globalization, India has become a leading export in Computer and Information technology and services for most of us in the U.S. who have a problem with their communication and computer devices are connected with IT services in India.   India has also grown into a great provider of agriculture after their farming industry was revamped after its independence over half a century ago. It is now also one of the leading countries in terms of fruit and vegetable production with export commodities that include: rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, poultry, and fish.   India’s scientific education and development has been nothing short of a miracle some say, but it can be inferred that the country still has exponential possibilities looking into the future as more and more people become educated. 

India has been a member of the IMF since 1945, and is one of the original members.  It is not a frequent user of IMF resources, but has borrowed money on  a few occasions.  “IMF credit has been instrumental in helping India respond to emerging balance of payments problems on two occasions. In 1981-82, India borrowed SDR 3.9 billion under an Extended Fund Facility, the largest arrangement in IMF history at the time. In 1991-93, India borrowed a total of SDR 2.2 billion under two stands by arrangements, and in 1991 it borrowed SDR 1.4 billion under the Compensatory Financing Facility.”(IMF)

In the past few decades, India has seen an industrial and economic boom.  At the same time, the country has seen many issues that concern their environment.  The first problem concerning India is the population boom.  As India's population is over 1 billion, the country has a higher demand to feed such a large country and even though it has seen a great agricultural boom, can their resources support such a large amount of people as it grows?  This increase in people along with a pollution problem may come with a price even though India’s economy has seen huge growth.  India's pollution epidemic can be seen with the large scale littering problems, overfishing and sewage problems along the coastline, along with the dumping of industrial waste products.  Transportation pollution causes most of India's environmental concerns.  India's use of coal burning to produce energy is one of the leading concerns along with the use of wood burning in most homes for heating and cooking which can be a factor in the increase in lung and respiratory problems.  The huge amount of people who drive outdated combustion vehicles have been known to cause huge environmental concerns as well because engines emit more potentially harmful emissions.  As the economy grows and the middle class standard of living rises, one might see these issues being addressed by the people themselves as they become more educated about the world around them.  At the same time, the Kyoto Protocol is doing much to improve these environmental issues across the globe.  Fifty-Five nations across the globe have signed this deal that was proposed in 1997, but wasn’t ratified until 2005.  This United Nations produced plan sought out to cut greenhouse emissions globally by gathering world support over this astounding environmental crisis.  At the same time, it is very difficult to try to cut back greenhouses emissions in developing nations like China and India for they are going through one of the biggest industrial revolutions in the modern error.  By cutting greenhouse emissions in these developing nations will indeed slow down their economy possibly stifling growth and prosperity.  At the same time, we live in a globalized economy and world, so what effects the environment in developing countries such as India, shall be seen throughout the entire world.  In the end, this pact or global agreement shall see its effectiveness in the near future, as countries like India are like industrial factories for the Western World that must keep growing and growing to feed the consumption needs for places like America, so their shall be a clash between the environment  and the global economy before it is all said and done if the global emissions crisis does not become more significant in the minds of politicians and citizens together all over the world. 

The world has seen a huge boom in population growth that has inflated the population from 3-6 billion people from 1960-2000.  India’s growth has affectively double from almost 500 million to over billion people now in just over 50 years.  The average life expectancy is but 64 years, which is much lower than other developed nations which is around 78 years old.  The demographics behind the population growth were due in large part because the death rates lowered in India because of medicine and other means of preserving life.  As the life expectancy increases, the death rate lowers as the population rises, which has culminated in India’s present population.  It is said that within 20 years, India’s population will surpass that of China.  The workforce in India which could be labeled as anyone between the ages of 15 and 64, has effectively doubled over this period of time.  According to a Harvard based article on India’s Population in today’s world, “Since 1950, India has experienced a 70% decline in the infant mortality rate, from over 165 deaths per thousand live births in the 1950s to around 50 today. India’s child (i.e., under age 5) mortality rate has fallen from 138 deaths per thousand in the early 1980s to 75 today. Life expectancy has increased at an average pace of 4.5 years per decade since 1950. The fertility rate has declined sharply from approximately 6 children per woman in the 1950s to 2.7 children per woman today.”(Bloom, pg. 8)   The average man to women ratio is 1.12 men to 1 woman, but it is said that preferred sex abortions are common because men are preferred over females. This growth rate has allowed for an economic boom in India for now the working class has expanded as a result of this population boom during the past 50 years.  This direct correlation between the population boom and economic expansion has led many Indian people to new financial opportunities due to higher standards of living and average income per family.  Even though the country of India has seen great economic growth, the population boom leaves India with a problem of overpopulation which even though it has slowed down to 1.4% annually in 2010.  This idea of curbing population growth has been put into the hands of government, private help, and international help where educating the people on proper family planning in terms of children per household and affordability.

Ever since the days of independence from Britain in the mid-20th century, India and Pakistan have been in conflict with one another.  Most of it started over religion and politics because of alternative interests between Hindu’s and Muslims.  As a result, the two nations split into two countries Pakistan and India.  As a result, the two nations fought over land especially the city of Kashmir.  Neither country wished to give up claims over the land glacial wasteland which in the last two decades has brought the nations to the brink of war on several occasions.  The threat of ground and nuclear war has weighed in the balance after Pakistan came out publicly, and proclaimed they had too had nuclear capabilities.  In the mid-1990’s, both countries put large sums of government and military spending and the purchasing and production of advanced weapon technology, which in turn hurt their economy as a whole.  As the 21st century came upon the world, much diplomatic progress was made to lessen the tensions between the two feuding nations.  “By 2005 the gradual easing out of tensions between India and Pakistan had enabled a series of confidence building measures (CBMs). Since then the slow but steady negotiations have aimed at addressing the contentious issues such as Siachen, Sir Creek, Baglihar, Tulbul navigation project, drug trafficking, terrorism, organized crime, prisoners, roadblocks to trade and transit routes. While significant achievements have been made on certain issues, there are some issues over which no agreements had been reached.”( Global Security)  These peace talks were crushed by the Islamic militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba based in Pakistan.  Their terrorist attacks against the Indian city of Mumbai have increased diplomatic and military pressure between the two nations.  In November of 2008, 10 attacks total occurred all over Mumbai, killing over 100 people and wounding over 300.  Just three years later in 2011, several more attacks were waged upon the city of Mumbai.   “Three bombs were detonated at different locations across Mumbai: the Opera House, Zaveri Bazaar, and in Dadar West. A fourth bomb was reportedly discovered in the Santacruz area and disarmed before detonation, 21 died and 130 were injured.”(http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/indo-pak.htm)  In the end, Pakistan political officials gave their grief and condolences to the Indian government and people over the attack.  India acknowledged these remarks and wished to continue with peace talks with the neighboring nations.  Hopefully, terrorism does not ruin diplomatic ties between the two nations, for India has a great potential to become a big player in the world. 



From my own experiences with first and second generation Indian-Americans, they are very hard working individuals.  Just this past week, there is a man down the street from my house that has only been in the United States for 9 years, where he has owned a mini-mart.  We talk a lot about his life in India not only for this project, but I was genuinely curious.  He proceeded to talk to me about his college life in India.  He received a master’s degree in Finance from a university that he said would be similar to a state school like Rowan.  He also went on to talk about the structure of school in India.  They break the school schedule up into 2 semesters.   Each class was broken up in these two semesters, and you have a final for the first term, and then subsequently have a cumulative final at the end of the school year, for which you are graded upon the ability to retain knowledge over a full year rather than individual quarters.  My childhood doctor, Dr. Jain, was also a first generation Indian-American, as is her husband, who is a banker for Chase Manhattan.  Even though it’s only my personal opinion and perception from my life experiences, the Indian-Americans that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting are very hard-working and intelligent individuals and great contributors to society in their own way.  From that being inferred, India as a nation has seen an era of great nation building in terms of its economic stature in the world, and what makes one say that India, in the future, cannot be society that rivals that of the United States because both countries have a rich and diverse culture.  At the same time, India still has many steps to take before this can truly happen because nearly one-quarter of the population lives in poverty and famine, so only time will tell the fate of India’s course toward modernization and the higher standard of living for all of its people because India is one of the rising diplomatic and economic powers of this great place we call Earth.
Works Cited
"All About India." April 15. 2012. http://www.all-about-india.com/index.html.All Rights Reserved 2009. Oliver Wakefield
“At a Glance- India and the IMF." International Monetary Fund. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 May 2012. <http://www.imf.org/external/country/ind/rr/glance.htm>.
"Avert: International HIV and AIDES Charity." Overview of HIV and AIDES in India. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.avert.org/aidsindia.htm>.
Bloch, Michael. "What is the Kyoto Protocol?." Carbonify. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 May 2012. <http://www.carbonify.com/articles/kyoto-protocol.htm>.
Bloom, David E. " Population Dynamics in India and Implications for Economic Growth." http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/pgda/WorkingPapers/2011/PGDA_WP_65.pdf. Harvard School of Public Health. January 2011. Address.
"Culture of India." Wikipedia. N.p., 5 May 2012. Web. 9 May 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Culture>.
"India- Basic Facts." . N.p., n.d. Web. 9 May 2012. <http://www3.uakron.edu/worldciv/india/ind-facts.html
"India Culture." . N.p., 2000-2009. Web. 9 May 2012. <Indianchild.com/India culture >.
Pike, John. "Indian-Pakistan Conflict." Global Security. N.p., 18 July 2011. Web. 9 May 2012. <http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/indo-pak.htm>.


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