India…

This is a brief overview and introduction and basic introduction of this fast subcontinent. This is by no means comprehensive it is just a glimpse for those who have only a vague idea of what it is to be in India.

The People

India has the second largest population in the world at 1.22 Billion (in 2012), containing a sixth of the world’s population. There are 35 states, in India. According to 2011 statistics the population density is 368 people per square km (To put that into perspective the world has an average of 47 people per square km. Canada has 3.3 people/km2, the USA has 32/km2 and the UK has 255 / km2).

Fifty percent of India’s population is under the age of 25 and more than 65% hovers below the age of 35. Life expectancy at birth total population about 70 years, for males: 67 years and for female 73 years (2007).

Hindi is the main language of India. Telugu, spoken in Andhra Pradesh (where MM is located) is the third most commonly spoke language in India.

It is estimated that India has more than two thousand ethnic groups. To add to this social dynamic there is also a lot of diversity between the population of India in terms of education and income.

Poverty

World Bank estimates place around a third of the global poor, are in India. An estimated 220 million Indians live below the poverty line. Of that number 75% of these live in rural villages.

Around 25% of India’s population subsists on less than Rs20 (about 40¢ or £0.25) per day (according to 2007 NCEUS)

Caste System

The Caste System is an integral part of Indian culture.
It still plays a very major role in the culture, especially in rural areas. The caste system is the basic structure of Hindu society.

The caste system roots in the Hindu belief that if you live a righteous life fulfilling your dharma or moral duty you will be reborn into a higher cast and the opposite is true if you are a bad person. Thus the lower casts have earn their place being terrible people in their past life. Those of the Brahmin cast are believed to reach Moksha (like nirvana, exit the cycle of reincarnation and reach paradise)

People are believed to be born into one of the four casts Brahmin priests and scholars, Kshatriya soldiers, Vaishya merchants and Shadra Labourers. Beneath these four castes was a fifth unrecognized cast known as the Dalits formerly known as untouchables who hold menial jobs as sweepers. In addition to this there are tribal groups at the bottom of the social heap.

Many have sought to change their status by adoption another faith

Discrimination based on caste system (not the caste system itself) has been abolished under the Indian constitution, there still is discrimination and prejudice against Dalits in South Asia. The practice of untouchability was formally outlawed in 1950 in the Constitution of India. The practice has rapidly declined since then, to the point of a society allowing former untouchables to take high political office. Although it does still prevail in rural communities.

Since India’s independence, significant steps have been taken to provide opportunities in jobs and education. The government now reserves considerable a set of public sector jobs, parliamentary seats and University places for Dalits. As well as there is additional government funding for Dalits to attend college and University

This is favourable in many ways. It is through such funding that MM is able to encourage many of the kids to further their studies.

Religions
Every major religion is represented in India.

Hindu ……………..80.46%

Muslim ……………13.43%

Christian ……………2.34%

Sikh …………………..1.87%

Buddhist ……………0.77%

Animist, others …0.72%

Jain …………………..0.41%

No Religion ………6.6%

(2001 statistics)