By Maya Koparkar.
India. 1.2 billion strong. Almost 70 years young. And a place full of contradictions. India is such a well-known place, yet there’s still so much to discover. It is a place of young and old, a place of tradition and innovation, a place of rich and poor, a place of freedom and oppression. What many people know about this great country are basic facts- but in order to understand a place, we must take it apart and break it down one by one into all the facets that make it what it is today.
Religion. History. Culture. Politics. Economics. Gender. These are all aspects of India, whether they be good or bad, that allow a person to really get to the heart of the matter about a place and see it for what it really is. The India presented to us in local media, whether it be tourism advertisements, Bollywood movies, or World Vision commercials are in fact the minute pieces that make up the macrocosm that is India. India is a country that cannot be easily defined, or viewed through a single lens. India is a country best described by the sum of its parts-both good and bad. And this is the way that everything in India works- the good and the bad perform a balancing act that allow India to seamlessly work itself out despite being one of the most chaotic places on Earth.
Take India’s current prime minister for example. Narendra Modi may be good for the economy and improving international relations, but a dark cloud still looms over his past. India once elected a female head of state, but the gap that is gender inequality does not seem to be closing anytime soon. India may be the next great economic superpower, all while housing some of the world’s poorest people right next to the world’s richest.
Over the next few weeks I will be regularly covering topics of interest in India and how they relate to the world, as well as using my own personal and familial experiences to shed light on the most rapidly changing issues in one of the most rapidly changing countries in the world. So come take a journey with me into my homeland- what you learn may surprise, shock, astound, and even upset you, but that is the true beauty of this journey and the true nature of India itself.
Maya Koparkar is an 18-year old university student currently studying International Development and Political Science at McGill University. She has a passion for traveling and discovering the world, as well as being able to share and communicate issues regarding society and development with people her age. In her spare time, Maya can be found reading, writing, and volunteering in her local Montreal community.