Defining India in one sentence

For a long time, I have been trying to get my head around this strange country called India. A country where penury and prosperity co-exist, it is an enigma like no other.

Volumes and volumes of books have been written about this country. As yoga, Bollywood and software put India back on the world’s cultural and economic map, many more volumes will follow to tell the world its amazing story. 

I have read a few of these books and thoroughly enjoyed each one. When it comes to literature, I have nothing against attention to detail. However, there is something intriguing about simplicity and conciseness in writing. 

Ernest Hemingway once made a bet with his friends that he could make them cry with a six word story. Incredulous, they happily accepted, a bet they eventually lost when he came up with the story – “For sale. Children shoes. Never worn.”

It is stories like this that have inspired me to do the impossible, try to find a definition of India in one sentence. In looking for such a definition, the biggest challenge is to avoid generalizing, something very difficult to do when trying to summarize a country teeming with more than two and a half billion people.

The search for this one sentence definition has led me to some pretty clever interpretations of India’s cultural heritage and an economy that has both the richest people in the world and the poorest sharing the same resources.

Here are some of the best ones:

India is a country where a bullock cart fights for space with a Lambourgini.

where food rots on the roadside, right next to hungry children.

where cows are worshipped and (some) humans are deemed untouchable.

India is a country with a generation that has its princes and princesses, kids with rich parents who have ST quotas.

The land of Cricket, Bollywood, yoga, software and zero.

Feel free to add your one-sentence definition in the comments.


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