India LXI: Unity in diversity and diversity in unity

Amulya Ganguli on the Indo-Asian News Service:

“There is little doubt that Indian democracy today represents a unique experiment. There has been nothing so successful on this scale anywhere in the world. India’s distinctiveness lies in the fact that while all the other established democracies see merit in trying to retain their original homogeneous racial and religious characteristics, India proudly flaunts its characteristic of being a mosaic of 4,635 communities speaking in 325 languages and dialects, which is written in 24 scripts. No other country can boast of its currency notes carrying all the 17 “official” languages, with the probability of more being added in the future….

“Historians will say that this “unity in diversity” has always been in India’s DNA. From the Mauryan Emperor Asoka (273 to 232 BC) to the Mughal Emperor Akbar (1556 to 1605) the emphasis of all perceptive rulers has been on assimilation. As India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru said in his Discovery of India, if the same policies were pursued by a Buddhist and a Muslim emperor separated by 1,700 years, the reason was that the voice of India was speaking through them. It is the same today.”

Read the full article: 61 years on, India triumphs odds

Cartoon: courtesy E.P. Unny / The Indian Express