Oxford: Calling India the "most
interesting country in the world", noted historian Ramachandra
Guha said today the country has defied convention by forming a
geographically vast nation-state on the basis of pluralism and
multiplicity of languages, ethnicities and cultures.
"Never in history has such a large territory and
diverse people been constructed as a nation. The Indian rupee
is a symbol of this diversity it mentions the value in 17
major languages,each spoken by millions," he said in a keynote
address at the Oxford-India Day at the University of Oxford.
This is the first such country day Oxford, the ancient
seat of learning, has celebrated in its 900-year history.
He also recalled the many connections between India
and Oxford to make the point that India was the "most
interesting country in the world".
Guha said India`s main message to the world was
pluralism, and had succeeded despite historically being an
"unnatural nation and an unlikely democracy".
Addressing a packed audience of policy makers,
executives, academics and students, Guha said noted
Oxford-educated British evolutionary biologist, J B S Haldane,
who became an Indian citizen in the 1950s, was an example of
the many links between Oxford and India.
In 1956, Haldane gave up his post at University
College London, and moved to Kolkata, where he joined the
Indian Statistical Institute, and until his death in 1964,
revelled in the freedom, values and culture of India.