It is amazing that figures that compare India with other countries are hardly ever put in relation to the population. India is huge, unlike any other country except for China, and one certainly would expect that, next to the real, the relative figures are also given. For example, a major national newspaper blared some time ago: “India is the Murder Capital of the World”.
Recently media all over the world were berating India over the frequent incidences of rape. India’s image has been dealt a severe blow. Yet when one puts the figures into relation to the population, it turns out that the USA for example, is still far ahead. It has about double the number of murders and rapes compared to India. Why would the media not mention it? It is amazing.
Yet some time ago, i was not amazed, but got a shock: Everyone in India knows from direct experience that the country is heavily populated. Many might also know that the population has grown almost 200 millions in the last 10 years. So I finally checked how the population of India relates to that of other countries (data was partly from 2010). That’s when i got a shock:
If China would have the same population density as India, it would have a population of 3600 instead of her 1330 million. The USA would have also some 3700 million inhabitants instead of a mere 315 million.
Or the other way round: If India were as densely populated as the USA, it would have only about 100 million. i.e. in the whole of India, only Bihar would be populated and not a single human being anywhere else in this huge land.
If Australia would be as dense as India, it would have a whopping 2900 million instead of only 20 million. Kazakhstan would have 990 million instead of now only 15. Mongolia would have 570 million instead of the present unbelievably low 3 million. Malaysia would have 120 million instead of 25, and Indonesia some 690 instead of 247 million. Russia would take the cake. If it was as densely populated as India, it would harbour almost the present day world population – 6130 million. Of course, Russia has many inhabitable places. But let’s go to Europe.
The 27 countries of the EU have around 500 million people. They would have 1600 million, if the EU were as densely populated as India. Germany would have 140 million instead of the present 81. United Kingdom would have 95 million instead of 62. Italy would have 110 million instead of 58. France would have 200 instead of 62 million…
The situation gets even worse when we compare India’s densely populated states Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. These two states have an area that is a little smaller than Germany. However, instead of 81 million, over 310 million people live in those two states, plus tigers, leopards, elephants, monkeys, etc.
Germany would not only need to accommodate the whole population of France, but also that of Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. This situation is inconceivable. People would be at each other’s throat.
It is mindboggling, especially as countries like Germany even with their present relatively (relative to India) ‘low’ population density look full and would not have place for even one tiger or leopard and actually have no place for even one indigenous bear, as the fate of the bear Bruno shows:
Italy had a few bears in the Alps and one of them wandered across the border to Germany. People were excited and welcomed that wildlife was back in their land. Yet when the bear entered a farm and killed an animal, the locals were up in arms and demanded the bear to be shot. It was shot by the forest department.
Afterwards, there was great emotional outpouring by city folks. Cases were filed against the forest department. Bruno should have never strayed to Germany, was lamented. He should not have been shot but sent back to Italy, was said. Yet i am sure that, if the bear had attacked the first human being, most would have demanded for it to be shot, never mind in which European country.
Compared to the west, India is incredibly tolerant towards wild animals. Some months ago, i collected newspaper clippings of man animal conflict in India. I stopped collecting after a few weeks. There were simply too many incidents of a big cat or an elephant attacking human beings. After checking the population figures, i am not surprised anymore, especially since the population density for example in West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala is double or even triple the national average.
Of course i wish for the big cats and elephants to survive in India. Yet is it advisable to try to increase their numbers? I don’t know what the solution is. But one thing is for sure. Westerners have no right to tell India to keep or increase their wildlife, never mind how much money they pour into wildlife funds.
Westerners anyway seem very fickle minded. Only hundred years ago, they considered it fashionable to shoot ‘game’, as wild animals were called. Today, they are depressed when one bear is shot, yet demand and merrily eat their steak.
India is the one country on earth that does not subscribe to the philosophy that man has to dominate nature. India shows to the world how it is possible to live relatively amiable on little space and even share it with wild animals that ever so often claim human lives. Westerners could not do it or rather, they would not do it.
by Maria Wirth