Incredible India !

If you want to think of India, don’t think of it as a monolithic country (as people tend to of Africa, too…) where everyone looks the same, eats spicy food and loves cricket (only the last of those might be true!).

India is like Europe or the US, a conglomeration of various states but with the following similarities and differences:

  • There are many languages. Some are similar to each other, derived from Sanskrit, but almost all have different scripts. The English, Spanish, French, Italian and German readers can at least recognise most of the others’ alphabets. Not so in India. I can’t tell the Tamil script from the Telugu script.
  • Where European states fought against each other, Indian states started out fighting each other but then had to band together to fight the English. Which is one thing we have to thank the Brits about. There’s a far greater sense of national identity than Europe will ever have. We’ve also since fought four-and-a-half wars with Pakistan (3.5) and China (1).

The variation in climate means we have people that look East Asian, Caucasian and Black (but not African black, the features are different and we’re unfortunately too hairy for the heat – hat-tip to Russell Peters). It’s getting harder and harder to guess where someone is from due to internal migration too.

India doesn’t lend itself to generalisations very well.

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