Monday, 26 September 2011


Of course India is a young nation with average age of Indians being just 29 years. Paeans have been written and sung about how the young work-force is an asset for the nation. However, anywhere you go, you can't get over the fact that there are too many of us.

The other day an English friend of mine who is working in Dubai remarked about the driving habits of Indians there. He said whilst driving they come so close to one another in a lane that it is stifling. I explained to him that this habit comes from the fear that if they leave sufficient space between the vehicles, another car would come and fill the gap and they would lose the position. This frequently happens in Mumbai traffic. Vehicles jockey for every inch of space. You can frequently find yourself dangerously placed with huge trucks and buses all around you. Let alone driving space, there is scarce breathing space.

It is the same with forming queues of people. In an intense anxiety not to lose our position we, Indians, don't leave any gaps between people. We touch, shove, kick, push, pull. Lets say someone has to cross the queue; no one is willing to move back to let the person cross, fearful that if one does one would find oneself pushed behind at best or out at worst.

A usually 'quiet' street scene in India (Pic courtesy: My Blog Maze)

There is no privacy anywhere even momentarily. If ever you go on the beach or picnic in the woods, try finding an isolated place. By the time you finish spreading the mat and open your hamper there are people all around you with their kids kicking the football or the sand right into your face.

There is a 1950 song sung by Talat Mahmood with lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri: "Ai dil mujhe aisi jagah le chal jahan koi na ho" (O' heart, take me to such a place where there is no one). Well, it might have been possible in India of 1950. It is not possible now six decades later. Indians, the rich ones at least, are buying islands abroad to escape the ubiquitous flow of humanity that we have here.

Jobs are scarce; parking space is well nigh impossible; getting a berth in a train is an ordeal; driving is a nightmare; we make more filth and noise than any country in the world. It makes you think whether in some way or the other having a large population is of some use to us. I have put on my thinking cap and come up with the following advantages:
  • We cannot be ignored. We are one sixth of humanity. Soon we shall move up. A time will come when we shall be one fourth, one third, and finally half the humanity.
  • Foreign firms are keen to introduce their products in India assured of large patronage.
  • Our points of view matter for the sheer force of numbers behind these; eg, we now dictate terms to ICC.
  • In case there is a tug of war between populations of nations we will certainly win.
  • Rent-a-crowd for political rallies is never a problem. This keeps the morale of the politicians high.
  • We are able to send large contingents to UN, foreign visits, olympics etc. These win us large amounts of respect especially when and if we win a medal.
  • Potentially we have large work force to repair and build roads, become teachers in our schools, join armed forces to defend the nation and devote their lives to infrastructural projects. It may not be happening now, but, perhaps a time will come when people would actually take such initiatives.
  • In case of any adverse fallouts of global economy we are protected as most of our products and services are meant for domestic consumption.
  • Someone someday is bound to generate energy from the litter, noise, defecation, spitting and urinating that we adorn our public places with.
  • Nothing that we make is ever a failure since we are assured of people buying it, seeing it, visiting it or hiring it. This gives impetus to any enterpreneur initiative.
  • Gods are happy with so many people worshipping them. Hence, not just Kerala,we can call the whole nation as Gods Own Country.
  • No one in our country need to ever feel lonely.
  • The census guys are always kept busy; no sooner have they finished counting us when we add another few crores to the number. India discovered Zero because we were soon to add many of these zeroes to our population.
  • Our movies and music are instantly more popular than any other movies and music in the world.
Well, as a first list, I think it would suffice. I have asked my hundred cousins, fifty brothers and sisters and a thousand larger family members to help me prepare the second list. Perhaps, even the readers can help.


  1. I found this fascinating. I'm reminded of Isaiah 5:8 in the Bible: "Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth." Then again, if there is strength in numbers, and there is in a democratic age, then I think of Malthus and say "Woe unto us with steadily decreasing populations, for we may be in for a whooping!"

  2. Thanks Stan. All that I can think of is that the one who invented the phrase 'Make Love, Not War' probably didn't know that one country would take him/her seriously. Else, we really took seriously the biblical 'Go Forth and Multiply'. We shall continue to do so until some scripture (that we read) tells us not to anymore.


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