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India's 62nd Independence Day

Aug. 07, 2009
Vancoucer, BC, Canada

India will be celebrating its 62nd anniversary of independence on August 15. Occasions like these offer an opportunity to pause and reflect.

During these 62 years, this nation of more than one billion people has made huge strides. It has transformed itself from a third world country to a major power and an economic powerhouse.

There is no doubt that like every other country, India also has its fair share of problems. As a matter of fact, it has to deal with multiple external and internal issues almost on a daily basis. A lot of Indians still live in poverty. Also, other issues like religious conflicts, terrorism, corruption and pollution are constantly staring it in the face. India also needs to come to grips with some of the very sensitive and contentious issues from its past. However, despite all of these challenges, India has been moving on.

This most populous democracy of the world has its roots in ancient civilization going back thousands of years. India continues to lead the world in a number of areas. For example, it has more post offices in the world than any other country. Also, Indian railway system, with more than one million employees, is the largest employer in the world. Four of the major religions of the world-Hinduism, Budhism, Jainism and Sikhism- that were born in India, are followed by 25% of the worlds population. Furthermore, there are 300,000 active mosques in India, more than in any other country including the Muslim world. In a sense, India is a truly multicultural and multilingual country.

On her recent visit to India, U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton remarked, I consider India not just a regional power but a global power. In this context the entrepreneurship of the Indian people and their attraction to globalization have made India a major player on the international stage. Its economic growth of 6.5% for 2008-2009 was second only to that of China. This figure is expected to rise to 7.5% for the 2009-2010 year.

It has been reported that India is one of the worlds youngest nations with a median age of 25. In comparison, it is 43 years for Japan and 36 for the U.S. Indias middle class of more than 350 million is a big drawing card for multinationals around the globe. These corporations are stepping over each other in order to tap into this huge market.

All along, Non Resident Indians (NRIs) have been playing an active role in Indias growth and development. NRIs from all over the world, especially from countries like Canada, U.S. U.K. and Australia have been in the forefront in this regard. As a matter of fact, NRIs are one of Indias greatest assets. Not only to the NRIs but also to others, India continues to be a complex, vast and fascinating country.

Happy Independence Day, India!

Balwant Sanghera



Balwant Sanghera

Balwant Sanghera
President, Punjabi Language Education Association . He is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist in British Columbia ,Canada.