Wednesday, March 01, 2006

India's unusual leadership

President Bush is visiting India, one of the most multicultural nations on the planet. With a total population of over a billion people, India’s states are the size of Europe’s countries – and just as diverse. The Constitution of India recognizes 22 languages, a half dozen of which have more than 50 million speakers and thus count among the world’s major languages – and that doesn’t include English! The religious breakdown as of their 2001 census was Hindu 80.46%, Muslim 13.43%, Christian 2.34%, Sikh 1.87%, Buddhists 0.77%, Jains 0.41 %, Others or not stated 0.72%. Among the others are about 65,000 Parsees and 4,000 Jews. (I am aware of no instance of official persecution of Jews by any Indian government). The Muslim population makes it one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.

The 80% of India’s population that is Hindu is a similar to the fraction of Christians in the United States. Yet the President of India is a Muslim, the Prime Minister is a Sikh, and the leader of the governing party was born and raised Roman Catholic. Could such happen in the United States? Joe Lieberman got the most votes for Vice President in 2000. I think it could – some day.


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