References – Part 5: Hindustan

57: A Passage to India

All the statistics comparing India and Australia were taken from the CIA World Handbook, 2006.


58: Full Immersion

I don’t remember where I saw the statistics for daily fatalities on India’s roads. It may have been from a second-hand Lonely Planet book I briefly perused in Thailand. However, I found an article from the Boston Globe which reports the same number.


59: One Teardrop Upon the Cheek of Time

On this occasion, I thought I’d give readers the reason for the name of the subchapter’s title, because it’s one of my favorites.

‘One Teardrop Upon the Cheek of Time’ is taken from Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941), also known as ‘Gurundev’, the Bengali poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist, essayist, composer and polymath genius. He received an honorary doctorate from Oxford University, was knighted by George V and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. He also founded a university and wrote the national anthems for both India and Bangladesh.


60: Monsoon Wedding

The female illiteracy rate was a rough statistic. The precise figure for 2006 was 48%, according to the United Nations Population Fund. Indian female literacy has been improving steadily since then. By 2009 it was up to 54.5%, and is still climbing. Go India.


61: Cloud Cities

It’s been pointed out that the Hindu mythology I paraphrase doesn’t entirely make sense. That’s just the nature of South Asian mythology, it simply does not obey the cause-and-effect rules of Einsteinian relativity.

Many readers will note that Manmohan Singh, who I mentioned as instituting economic reforms from 1991, which have so revitalized and energized India, became the county’s Prime Minister in 2004. Those who take a casually cynical attitude to the realities of human politics (or, as I posit in The Jolly Pilgrim, compare those realities to an imaginary world in their head, where the only available politicians are not fallible evolved animals) should study the work of this extraordinary statesman. I suspect, as the years roll by, many will inevitably find reason to take issue with him. However, in my view, he is an example of the profound long-term good that is achieved by mature political systems and of how the real miracles are not achieved by revolutions, but the patient building of a better, more enlightened and more rational world.

Here are two of Mr Singh’s quotes:

‘India happens to be a rich country inhabited by very poor people.’

‘My top most priority is to deal with India’s massive social and economic problems, so that chronic poverty, ignorance and disease can be conquered in a reasonably short period of time.’

The numbers for the proportion of India’s share of world income come from the economic historian, Angus Maddison. See: The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective, OECD, Paris and The World Economy: Historical Statistics, OECD, Paris. They both contain huge volumes of interesting data about economic history.

This timeline for the economy of India is an interesting look at the same topic.

This source gives slightly different numbers, but the same basic pattern (which is the point).

The Indian birth rate statistics come from the World Bank. The fertility rate had dropped to 2.7 by 2009.


On our way to Bihar


Musings: Fate Ameanable to Change

The Tolkien letter mentioned is taken from a letter to his son Christopher quoted in J. R. R. Tolkien: A Biography, by Humphrey Carpenter. Click here to see the quote. To understand all its alusions, you probably need to read Mr Carpenter’s book.



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