India’s Geography Problem

India’s Geography Problem


This video was made possible by Squarespace. Build your web presence for 10% by
going to squarespace.com/Wendover. India is a bit of an anomaly on the world
stage. It’s a massive 1.2 billion person strong
country stretching thousands of miles tall and thousands of miles wide with one of the
most sizable economies in the world, but it was
never really destined to be a country… at least not in
its current form. Modern India looks like this. To the north-east the country is shielded
by the formidable Himalayas. This mountain range is nearly impenetrable
even for a modern army. China and India
have fought a few small skirmishes over border disputes in the region, but a full-scale land
invasion from either across the Himalayas would be difficult. China has control over Tibet—a
vast region lacking the infrastructure necessary for quick troop movement—while India remains
politically close with Bhutan and Nepal—two nations sandwiched between India and China. Largely because of this enormous mountain
range, India historically has not had many relations
with China—the other superpower of the region. Contact between the two countries today
remains cold due to their border disputes. Both countries claim this entire area and
every few years the dispute escalates—a dangerous
situation between two nuclear powers. You can’t even
drive from India to China due to this—there are no border crossings between them—but
for most there’s little reason to cross the border
as the two countries are vastly different culturally. As
mentioned, due to the mountain range they didn’t have much contact historically so
they each developed into what they are today independently. India’s longest border is with the ocean. Ocean borders are a bit of a double edged
sword. The ocean allows civilizations like India
fairly simple access to the world, but it also isolates. Some countries, like the UK, used oceans both
to grow their global power while also benefiting from the relative protection they give. Any military invading by water is at a significant
disadvantage to those defending so ocean borders were and still are a source of geographical
protection. India is also relatively isolated in distance
to other powerful countries so a defensive navy was never really necessary because the
country was never significantly threatened by sea. By water, they’re over 800 miles to the
Persian Gulf, about a two day boat journey, over 1,700
miles to Singapore, a four day boat journey, and nearly 3,500 miles to Hong Kong, over
a week’s boat journey. In fact, by boat, they’re really just as
close to the significant cities of eastern Asia
as Perth, Australia. Many of the other powerful countries of the
world developed into what they are today because of their proximity to other
centers of power. In Europe, if Portugal invented
something it would quickly spread to Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and all
the other nearby countries while India had to
go through its whole process of technological and
cultural innovation largely independently. India did have navies through history, but
they were never world-class and they never used them
to conquer lands far away. It was never their priority
as the leaders had their hands full already keeping their massive territory together. They also
didn’t have the need to colonize far-away lands as India itself really had all the resources
they needed. The UK, France, and Spain colonized partially
because they had large, developed populations within small areas lacking enough
natural resources to advance their country’s power. India was a highly developed and powerful
country historically and it just didn’t have the
need to go outside its region. This is part of the reason why India is so
culturally unique but it also may have put them at a disadvantage through
their historical development as they were not
exposed to some of the technological advancements of other civilizations far away. India’s north-west border is really the
problematic one. Back in the 19th and early 20th
century, India was ruled as a colony of the British Empire, but before the British came,
India was not truly a country but rather a loose collective
of regional powers. For example, in the 16th
century someone from this area would have never called themselves Indian—they were
Bahmani. With the British, this entire area was brought
under the rule of one central government that reported to the British crown. This entire area, with nearly a thousand different
languages, hundreds of different ethnic groups, and six
different major religions was grouped into the one
crown colony. Unsurprisingly, the British rule didn’t
last for long. After World War Two, the
nearly bankrupt crown folded to pressure and decided to give up the now unprofitable territory,
but the way they went about leaving the sub-continent has had far-reaching consequences. Many
of those in charge of the transition were followers of a theory that stated that the
diverse people of India were singularly differentiated by
their religion—not their ethnicity, language, or any
other commonality. The idea was that within India there were
two nations in the same territory— the Hindu one and the Muslim one. So, in what they believed was a step that
would reduce violence, those in power split the country
into two—India and Pakistan. The idea was that
Pakistan would be the country for Muslims, while India would be the country for Hindus. Over
the months following the partition, tens of millions of people crossed the border to settle
in the country for their religion and in the ensuing
violence up to a million people died. This whole plan was destined to fail. Pakistan was given land with few resources
and it was a country split in two. East Pakistan was separated from the capital
in West Pakistan by nearly 1,000 miles of hostile territory. To think that the two parts could exist as
one country would be absurd and, unsurprisingly, east
Pakistan eventually revolted and became an independent Bangladesh in 1971. India and Pakistan have been at odds almost
continuously since their partition. They have fought countless times and it’s
now almost engrained in culture for Indians to hate Pakistanis and vice versa. This is far from surprising given that the
two countries were created through concentrating the two
groups that were already at odds, but from an Indian
perspective, the border with Pakistan is a problem because it just looks like this. It’s open, flat,
and relatively sparsely populated compared to the Pakistani side largely because of this—the
Thar desert. The Thar desert pretty much ends right at
the border with Pakistan which means it’s easy for Pakistan to build up their military
infrastructure at the border while it’s hard for India. If
Pakistan invades India they would have to cross this desert which would be difficult,
but overall Pakistan has a greater advantage by having
a populated and inhabitable area on their side of the
border. This border is India’s greatest geographic
weakness and it has helped fuel the ongoing conflict. If there were a significant river or mountain
range or something in between these two countries, they might have been able to coexist,
but as of now, the India-Pakistan conflict seems
almost endless. As the two largest countries in the world
and neighbors, India is most commonly compared to China. In 1980 the two countries had nearly identical
GDP’s and over the past 50 years their populations have grown at similar
tremendous paces, but China has now taken the
lead as the more developed country with a GDP five times greater. But India’s economy is now
growing even faster than China’s. They’re benefiting hugely from one of the
greatest trends in business—outsourcing. Believe it or not, this success can even too
be loosely linked back to geography. The British came to India because of all the
natural resources it had, but their presence back then is part of the reason why
the economy is growing so fast today. There’s no
doubt that the British empire did a lot of bad to the country that has caused huge economic
damage, but during their reign English literacy got good and the country continues to excel
in the English language today. In fact, India is second only to the US in
number of English speakers at 125 million. Of course due to their enormous population
this is only 12% of their people, but businesses worldwide saw the opportunity presented
by a cheap labor market with such good english literacy. The first wave of outsourcing came as businesses
moved their accounting, human resource, and customer support operations
to India, but today India is benefiting from something different. India has become a major destination of software
development outsourcing as Indian developers can do much of the work
for a fraction of the cost of western workers. The
reason India is able to serve this industry is because the country has a lot of educated
people, but it also has a lot of uneducated people. India produces tons of really smart people,
but their educational system also lets many others fall
through the cracks. It’s an unequal system but it
means that the country has a big subset of its population that’s educated enough to
work medium-skilled jobs in English. This is unlike China which has a perhaps more
equal system that produces a huge population educated enough
to work low to medium skilled manufacturing jobs. Part of the reason India’s educational system
might be like this is because the country has
a lot of isolated rural areas. Transportation is very hard in this country
due to hostile terrain, lack of infrastructure, and a hugely dispersed
population. In fact, the entire country historically was
pretty much split into two by this hilly region halfway down the sub-continent. China, on the
other hand, benefits from a much more urbanized population which makes it easier to set up
a smaller number of better schools concentrated
in large cities. The urbanization level of a country
actually correlates very strongly with the quality of their educational system. All the least
urbanized countries like Chad, Afghanistan, and Burundi also have some of the lowest ranked
education systems. Of course correlation does not equal causation
since as a country develops economically it tends to urbanize, but it’s
doubtless that it’s easier to educate a population that’s
concentrated into large cities than spread out. Even the US hasn’t fully solved the problem
of how to educate a spread-out rural population
and there’s a huge disparity in quality of education
between big cities and small towns in America. Overall, in India, there are some great schools
in the cities, but the rural population is often
left behind with sub-par education. India is the country it is today because of
its geography. It inhabits an amazingly diverse
and resource rich area that has successfully been able to serve as home to well over a
billion people. The sub-continent developed into such a diverse
area because it’s always been hard to get around due to natural barriers and size. When the British came they tried to integrate
all the different nations into one country by building
up railway and road infrastructure, but still today
India is a country of nations. Much like the US they’ve created a federalized
government with different states each with a level of autonomy
acknowledging that a one-size-fits-all governance system can not work with so many people with
different ideals, issues, and wishes. The country
benefits hugely by having a favorable geography for agriculture which has allowed it to grow
into the second most populous in the world. Economically, its numbers are its assets. With so
many people, there has to be a good amount of highly educated people who can drive innovation,
serve as a workforce, and raise the development level for the entire country. As one of the fastest
growing economies in the world, the next ten to fifteen years will be crucial for India
and serve as a determination on whether it will be a
great developed superpower of the future or if it’s
destined to fail. If you own a business, run a YouTube channel,
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Author:

100 thoughts on “India’s Geography Problem”

  • So wrong on so many levels !!! India was partnering with China since 2000 years through the Silk Road – the world’s oldest trade route ! Also bahmani was a sect – not an independent people ! Also ever heard of the chola and Pandya navies ? The export of Buddhism to the north and south and east – and Hinduism to java and Sumatra ? If you proffer Geography historically – well at least please read it !

    So True about the abysmal education and industrial system though – well articulated there.

  • I know this beautiful 5'5" female Indian surgeon with the most gorgeous porcelain like pale white skin and long flowing silky dark black hair. Her name is Shila. Shila is married to a really cool muscular and very dark skinned black American pizza delivery man. Whilst eating pet-pooja , Shila told me and her dark skinned black American husband that she is grateful for living in America and does not miss India. Peace.

  • The History of India is not correctly portrayed. India was One country of much larger size for centuries, under Emperor Ashoka and many others covering Kandahaar to Mynamaar

  • Devendra Vijay says:

    The most biased, misleading and factually incorrect video about India in YouTube. The speaker seems to lack on basic school level education. Send him to our sub par schools in India, our 10 year kids knows better than him about India as well as his country China.

  • India had the most advanced navy of ancient times – the Chola navy. It's how Singapore, Indonesia, Varma (Burma), Kambhoja (Cambodia) and Thaayinadu (Thai-land) got their names and Hindu culture. This video is as ill informed as it can be.

  • Anirudh Gokhale says:

    I don't wonder there were misleading facts in video, it's not easy to understand India for outsiders. They tried and they failed.

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  • Priyabrata Basu says:

    This video maker is from colonial mentality. India didn't have current form like all other modern nation states were always in form they exist now….what a crap!!! First enjoy the hospitality of a nation, then capture the nation, then destroy their cultural uniqueness by showing either Charter of God or because of supremacy gifted by God. Then create museum about the people who you tortured. BTW Nazis had same plan after holucust. It is the same principal of defining others in a way a person's limited narrow understanding of fellow human kind.

  • Papraju Kamaraju says:

    Whole life time is not enough to understand the soul of India. The first Devine human created by God is Indian. The oldest, greatest, consistent and continuous culture on the globe is Indian culture…. This video covered nothing about India

  • Ok I wanted to point out the inaccuracies in this video, but I am not gonna waste my time doing it because there are soooooo mannnyyyy of them.. Bullshit crappy video…. Do research or don't do videos at all…

  • Stop saying "That stupid Indian wrote heaf" because it's a stock footage which means that is not necessarily by an Indian

  • Leaving India after world war 2 is like leaving the bank from where you were getting all money in economic crises.
    &
    There was a rebel in Indian army that got Britishers to leave if you don't know and there is a name "Bharat" centuries before English invasion so they have not unit us we were already United.

  • Vinay Vashisht says:

    The title itself is misleading. What to say of most of the content?! India has the best geographical location in the world. That's why we didn't to go out and conquer other lands. We had enough of everything for ourselves, and for other beggars like the Britishers who came. And as far as happiness is concerned, we looked inside. Now people come here to become happy and know what life is.

  • I think he is not aware of Indian history which is over 5000 years.Ashoka who ruled India in 300 BC, called it India. Similarlyduring Ramayana and Mahabharata epics, around 3000 BC, it was called Bharat rasa ie India. So not true that British unified us and made India. This misconception is knowingly spread by western media

  • Arunachal Pradesh is our part and you have no right to put it into a part of China and we don't claim because it ours.It is China's insane president who claim other nations region to be theirs

  • wrong wrong wrong,
    China (Tibet) and India before 1962 war had many trade routes in Himalayan passes.
    Mainland China had link via turkistan, from where Budhism n trade went to china. And via sea India had massive trade through melacca, which too became Hindu n Buddhist.

    Indian navy was always world class. Mesopotamia describes Indian navy. Indian navy had huge influence in East, Roaman empire (search roman gold crisis) and West Asia.

    What you basically describe is medieval era beyond Islamic sultanate beyond 1200 ce.
    Before that Indians called themselves Bharatiya since millennia.

    Present situation is very well described. But history not so well.

  • Pls check the history…..
    Giving confusing information of India in original…Request viewers to check individually history of India elsewhere.

  • What's the title of this video? Talk about the Geography…same like you did for the China geography. This itself doubt us all about what you are emphasis on

  • A region that was destined to become different countries like Europe was divided based on religion…what more can be more disastrous

  • The British left, but the people of the South and East are still second class people. Like the British, the new rulers, now impose their culture and language on all. And like the British, they humiliate and discriminate against the indigenous people !!

  • Go and tell that to your ———- before they go to sleep. Good bedtime stories. You are a man in whose one iris is written Geography and on another iris is written Problem. The actual problem is in your mind. Better to go and consult a good doctor than making any such serial videos. Hope this advice helps.

  • Just like i mentioned earlier at China the number of people living in these two Countries been inflated by competition between China and India who is bigger than the other? So please gimme a break you 2 the most likely number is less than half claimed
    500 M for China and 450 M for India they sure have huge population compared to the rest of us but do not believe those huge inflated numbers its just plain politics…

  • Arnaud Delacroix says:

    I don't think religion unites India, as India has 400 million people that aren't Hindus. Many of these are Christians, Muslims, Jains, and Sikhs. Language doesn't unite India either, as there are about 20 major languages. After having met many Indians, and being of Indian descent myself, I would say that a major thing that unites India is a shared love for dairy products.

  • Its never surprising enough when someone says about our disadvantages. You must know that before british regime, India was still unified and was a world power and the biggest exporter of Gold and textiles. Do you knew that we have the oldest culture which is cherished by other nations. So, if you think that country like UK had developed so much, you are just ignorant, as it's built on the stolen money by UK. Do you even know how much UK owes us. Do opt a better research methods to have a broader perspective.

  • That point about Thar desert was very wrong because Thar desert stretches from rajasthan India to Sindh Pakistan ,and for the both military this is difficult not only for india,I hope you'll research something about Indian subcontinent before posting wrong info

  • Was about to subscribe,
    But you sir are wrong.
    The British didn't build railways to integrate the country but only for resource collection. The resources for far away lands where brought to coast from where they where taken to Britain.

  • India had world class navy under Maratha rule which beat Portuguese and British navy. Yes we didn't colonise anyone….
    And we were indians before Britishers as well. We used to call India as Bharata and ourselves as bharatvasi. When you said someone from this region will call himself bahamani, nope, bahamanis did rule but that didn't mean one will stop being an Indian ( or bharatvasi)

  • Shivan Anirudhra says:

    He says India is getting ahead because they'll work for cheap, but it's that's true then why doesn't hopeless Africa do the same??

    Instead of always crying for charity and hand outs shouldn't African nations focus on getting their people smarter and gaining economically?? No they can't because they don't have the smarts for those jobs… JP Morgan, Apple, Facebook and Amazon can go to any country on Earth but they choose India because they're the smartest people on earth

    You people are just naive and stupid lol

  • To all those people saying India Benefitted from British! Please tell ur queen to give us the Kohinoor diamond! Britishers ruined every nation they went

  • I object on map of india which you have shown in this video. Kashmir is part of india and its shown under disputed line in white color.
    Kindly correct that I need to take strict action for this against this

  • There is an inherent assumption in this video that speaking English is a sign of being literate and Indians have thus been benefited this way by the British. Those are preacarious statements, and the research is shallow.

  • your fact is absolutely wrong india was never a hindu state , india was not seprated as a Request of hindu state only pakistan was seprated & made an islamic or muslim state … after that indian politians n people wanted it to be a hindu state but it never went to become as Mahatma Gandhi ji believed its diverse n wanted it to be secular .. so since indipendence & partition india has never been a hindu state & now as well

  • "India has forgiven, but it should not be forgotten"

    Before the arrival of British, India had a world GDP share of 23%. By the time they left, it was down to 4%.
    The 200 years rule of British has changed the course and status of Indian history of being the richest to the poorest country when Britishers left.

    It will take India a painstaking hundreds of years to recover from the economic losses incurred.

    So, it can't be said that British ruled only for a few period.

  • My quibble with Wendover: all the vids focus on war/conflict/strife. The graphic and production quality is impressive but the endless "if so-and-so launches a Thing, then geography dictates that the other tribe will likely launch their Thing." Every single Wendover vid devolves into war-games theory.

  • India won't fail. It has FAR too many intelligent people and is too use to navigating chaos to do so. Whether it can sustain and reach its intended goals is another issue.

    And that said, I disagree that India's problems are purely or largely Geographical.

    Rather :

    1) China also had massive rural population at same start point in the 1980s( If not more). The reason China has been able to get ahead is not just cheap labour which India and other nations can provide but LOGISTICS and INFRASTRUCTURE. It can get goods to market quickly and efficiently. Contrast India's roads and railways (improving but not at similar pace)

    2) Partially this is due to India's large democracy. Partially bc India has also inherited and propogated enthusiastically British Colonial Bureaucracy.

    Its political system (as oppose to China …itself having other faults) means things do not get done as quickly and are often log jammed. See infrastructure. This is more so a cultural thing than any geographical dictate.

    3) India's education lags not bc of rural /urban divide but other factors including less equality for women (as oppose to China…unless you are a Ghandi) and of course the Hindhu cultural baggage of the caste system.

    But things are slowly changing for the good here.

    None of these issues are weighted down by Geography.

    4) One other thing is the border with Pakistan. I would think the Thar dessert is as much a benefit to Indian defense as the populated area on the Pakistani side is a risk to Pakistan.

    More so again the issue of getting on with each other is again cultural (and irrational) rather than any geographical dictate. This is again due to Indian politics (and Pakistan) where Nationalist like to stoke the fear of the other side to gain power.

    Indian oceans are as much an advantage for the sub continent as it is any impediment. Indian traders use to exchange knowledge with the Arab world in the golden age (7th and 8th century) with the monsoons as much as they did with South East Asia (see Hindhu temples in Vietnam, Indonesia and Buddhism)

    5) And as much as the Himalayas are an impediment, it did not stop Chinese monks from crossing over before Christ to bring Buddhist text to East Asia or indeed an Indian monk to make positive impact with the Shaolin Temple.

    Again there is no issue with linking China and India (Roads on the Chinese side and rail all already highly developed)

    The issue is rather again cultural. Indians love a good bargain and they are holding back on territorial settlements for more favourable outcomes in the future.

  • British presence is the reason why Indian economy is growing fast today ?? what the hell this motherfucker is saying.
    India's share of the world economy went from 24.4% in 1700 to 4.2 in 1950.infact Britain's thrive was premised on the very loot and destruction in India.how funny it is to exploit, loot, torture, and kill people for years and then celebrate they are growing faster after it ? and according to this motherfucker English has brought development..but Chinese do not speak English so according to his logic china must not be developed as it is now. And India is not federation but Union of States. chutiya maderchod?.I had just subscribed u , and I have just unsubscribed u asshole

  • Very poor knowledge of subject matter !!
    1) Railways and roads were not build to integrate Nation but to allow british goods, build in british industries to reach and replace indigenous products in far flung areas
    2) Yes there were fragmented states all over , but the concept of whole territory being a Single nation existed even before the CE and the Indian Nation was called "Bharatvarsha"
    3) India had a strong navy till 10-11th centuries and naval expeditions by Chola Kings (Southern Indian Kingdom) were as far as China, Indonesia Cambodia, Malaysia. Even till the Britishers arrived Indian had some big Ship building centers in Surat and Bengal. These were eventually destroyed by britishers by giving british made ships monopoly over trade routes from and to India.
    4) India did had relations with China over its history with some ex being Silk Route from China through India to middle and central Asia, and propagation of Buddhism from India to China, propagation of Cotton from India to China and even to Japan , and propagation of Silk from China to India.

    Dude next time make a video after doing some research !

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