Well, as the competition is called the The Great Indian Blog mela, I’m going to restrict my already restricted views to something fundamentally Indian, cows on the streets and snake charmers.
For starters, these are invariably the first things that come to mind whenever anyone who’s never been to India or seen India on TV hears the word ‘India’. I guess the time has now come to dispel this stupid notion about India being a land of cows and snake charmers.
Statistically it’s been proven that there are close to around 70 million breedable cows in India (you can check the FAO website for authentication of this fact). Of these, only around 5% could be found in urban areas, which makes it around 3.5 million breedable ‘city’ cows in the country. Now, couple this with the number of urban cities, ie , cities with more than one million people in them of around 40, the number of cows per urban city works out to around 875,000 cows per city. Now that truly is quite a number of cows roaming around on our streets. No wonder they are the first thing that come to the mind of everyone around the world when they hear the word ‘India’.
Moving on to the second notion about India being a land of snake charmers. Let’s not talk about sheer absolute number of snakes for a while. Everyone knows (or at least knows now) that India has close to 275 odd species of snakes, plus a snake population that is close to 10% of the entire world’s snake population. Historically too India has had a problem of being the country with the largest number of deaths due to snake bites averaging to around 20,000 deaths per year. Logically it follows that the number of snake charmers too are large in India. Therefore, the other notion of India being a land of snake charmers is also not unfounded.
So I guess when the Brits are having their breakfast of fruit juice, cereals with milk, sausage and bacon, buttered toast with marmalade, all washed down with some tea, and they talk about India being a land of cows and snake charmers, their views are not entirely unfounded. Although I personally feel that they add too much milk to their tea.