Vail Symposium explores duality of India |

Vail Symposium explores duality of India

Vail Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – India is one of the largest and most glaring paradoxes existing today among the world’s nations.

To better understand this country the Vail Symposium continues its popular Active Minds series this Wednesday, at the Singletree Community Center in Edwards when speaker John Henderson will explore the duality of India, a nation experiencing one of the fastest growing economies on the planet while a vast majority of its population continues to live in squalor.

Despite its financial and technological advances it still wrestles with fierce poverty and illiteracy rates, malnutrition and religious turmoil. Within the country’s borders there exists a social patchwork or ethnicities, languages, beliefs and classes that make it unique and very volatile at times.

India’s history reaches back some 9,000 years. It has seen the rise of the Hindu religion and since stepping out of the shadow of British colonization to become a modern sovereign nation in 1947, it has become the largest democracy in the world with blazing economic growth.

According to the U.S. Department of State’s Web site, “700 million Indians live on two dollars a day or less, but there is a large and growing middle class of more than 50 million Indians with disposable income ranging from $4,166 to $20,833 per year.” India “has the world’s 12th largest economy and the third largest in Asia behind Japan and China.”

But in a nation where two thirds of the population depends on agriculture to survive, a booming information technology and export sector is largely the cause of India’s flourishing economy.

“India is crucial for all of us to understand – most importantly because American businesses are working more frequently with the country and the increasingly important political border relations with countries such as Pakistan and China,” said Carrie Marsh, executive director of the Vail Symposium

Henderson said that he would set the stage for India’s current economic state by talking about the country’s history since it became an independent nation in 1947, the impact of British colonialism on its economy and how India has been able to capitalize on that era in the past few decades.

“(Another) key point is to sort of focus on this from an American perspective and that much of the perception of India, at least until the recent past, was India as a threat,” Henderson said.

He will talk about the outsourcing of American jobs to India and how that has affected both country’s economies for good and bad.

“But India still struggles with significant levels of poverty, especially within its agricultural sector,” Henderson said. “It’s not as if everything is coming up roses for India.”

Another part of the story will be India’s future and how this current, worldwide economic downturn will affect its future and the state of Indian and American relations.

What: Vail Symposium explores duality of India

Where: Singletree Community Center in Edwards

When: Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Cost: Free

More information: Call 970-476-0954 or visit

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