Nandan Nilekani, the philanthropic industrialist and politician, notes in his book Imagining India that the country exists in multiple centuries. In his epic six-part documentary The Story of India, British historian Michael Woods rightly points out that the Indian nation has kept an unbroken thread of its civilization for the past three thousand years. Today in the country, we see communities that live in high-rises and work in IT parks as well as communities like the Naga Sadhus that still live hundreds of centuries in the past. India is a land that contains an ocean of humanity within its borders.

Map of India (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

And what an immense ocean it is! Arguably, only the continent of Africa exceeds the linguistic, genetic and cultural diversity of the nation of India. The country houses 1.5 billion people (comprising almost a fifth of the world’s population) speaking 1652 languages and dialects, spread out over more than two thousand ethnicities and over every major religion. This immense cultural diversity is both a boon and a bane for our country. India has an astonishing demographic dividend where more than 50% of its population is below the age of 25 and more than 65% hovers below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan. On one hand, this means more productive hands, more ideas, more dynamism and more youthfulness in the country. But, if this massive human resource ends up not being utilized the right way, the burgeoning population may well spell disaster. In no more than 20-30 years, the problems such as poor infrastructure, water shortage, environmental degradation, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy may end up eating up the country from within.

Most of us (atleast most of us reading this post) may have a pretty good realization of this bleak scenario. Question is, how do we provide solutions? Solutions that are actually workable, which may actually end up creating change?

A tribal woman in India

There are three steps to effecting any kind of a change, may it be in our lives or in the greater society. First, acknowledge that something is wrong. Second, get more educated about the problem. Third, work towards solving the problem. Each of these steps is significantly harder than the previous one. Most of us are on the first step. We have our jobs, our daily lives, our families and in such a scenario, acknowledging the problem is the easiest thing to do. Project Brahma is all about the second and the third steps. Through this blog and the accompanying websites, we hope to create awareness about various problems facing India and provide glimpses of solutions being effected around the country to solve these problems. Through these pages, you will soon be able to find opinions of our bloggers, articles on NGOs across India working on the ground and thoughts on how we can all work together to stem the effects of our burgeoning population.

Project Brahma will be focused on three issues – Education, Environment and Society – which have an impact on us in our everyday lives. We believe that education and environmental conservation are the biggest social challenges our nation faces right now and we need to deal with them on a war-footing. We also would like to reserve space for thoughts that reflect on society, the nature of an ideal society and ways and means to create such a system. We hope to pen down ideas that conform to these broad issues in the days to come.

With that said, I hope you will keep coming to our blog and giving us feedback on how we’re doing. I hope you will find something valuable in these pages to share and spread around!