Decoding India in Numbers 

Categorical Information Service

There was a time––it now seems to be the pre-historic interval–– when individuals talked of literacy and had been involved about illiteracy. Then dawned the period when numeracy or the power to know and manipulate numbers grew to become necessary. Details had been what numbers supported. Not that some clever individuals weren’t conscious of how actuality might be misrepresented by skilful sleight of hand with numbers. Because the adage has it, there are three sorts of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. We now have come a great distance and even statistics belong to the Jurassic age. Humanity at present is attempting to unravel the mysteries of massive information and information analytics. Arithmetic was by no means for the thousands and thousands, regardless of the exertions of students who want to demystify numbers, figures and charts. Leisure arithmetic additionally remained area of interest. 

Though remedial programs have proliferated on-line and offline, numbers proceed to baffle most of us. It’s on this context that the current e-book makes a welcome look, and ought to be thought of a useful contribution to numerous public discourses which might be raging round us. 

Entire Numbers and Half Truths supplies a superb snapshot of up to date India. It has been divided into extraordinarily readable small chapters, refreshingly free from jargon that may be loved individually. However, like at all times, the entire is far more than the sum of its components. 

The introduction tells us what the numbers say and what they don’t concerning the nation we stay in. It’s adopted by a brief observe on information that ought to reassure the sceptical reader concerning the credibility of the contents. 

The primary chapter is titled ‘How India Tangles with Cops and Courts’ and sifts truth from fiction in media reportage in its interpretation of crime statistics. The chapter that follows makes an effort to discover ‘What India Thinks, Feels and Believes’. 

The temptation is robust to assume that we as people are goal and extra tolerant than others. Labels like ‘conventional’ and ‘trendy’, ‘conservative’ and ‘fundamentalists’, ‘liberal’ and many others. are merely crutches that almost all of us carry round to absolve ourselves of the duty to carefully assessment our personal positions critically. The third chapter strives to analyse the voting behaviour and examines the validity of opinion polls, exit polls and presumptions of ‘social scientists’.  

The creator has not forgotten the love lifetime of Indians and their candour or in any other case, in replying to queries concerning the pleasure or distress of intercourse. Others––psychologists with extra gravitas have ponderously trod on this floor however Rukmini stimulates severe ideas with a lightweight contact, with out spicing up the barebones of the textual content with titillating tidbits. 

The next two chapters give attention to ‘How A lot Cash Do Indians Make’ and ‘How India Spends its Cash’. The transition from the realm of kam (need) to the area of fabric arth (pursuit) is easy. The creator ought to be complimented for myth-busting of ‘middle-class’ India by juxtaposing governments’ personal figures about those that subsist beneath the poverty line and the microscopic minority that pays taxes. She makes the reader confront the tough actuality that our nation is not any place for the middle-class. We solely have the wealthy, the ultra-rich and the abjectly poor. 

After kam and arth, the analyzing lens is turned in the direction of work. As soon as once more, maybe the phrase lens is just not apt, like a prism, the white mild of the numbers is refracted and the reader can analyse the myriad tints within the spectrum––altering desire for careers thought of most profitable or the persevering with fascination with authorities jobs to offer social mobility and alternatives to train energy and enrich oneself, offering many attention-grabbing insights to invest about form of issues to come back. 

For a very long time, the Indian authorities has gloated over the demographic dividend that it may anticipate from its younger inhabitants that offers it an edge over different international locations with an ageing inhabitants. This chapter supplies a comparative perspective of how completely different states within the Indian federation current a special demographic profile–– how they’re rising and ageing in another way. Unintended, and generally terrifying penalties of household planning and stereotypes about Muslims and different minorities are additionally addressed. 

The final two chapters cope with ‘How India Lives and The place’ and ‘How India Falls Sick and Will get Higher’. The painful divide is not only between city and rural India, but additionally the inequities inside giant cities, entry to healthcare, schooling and employment––all are inextricably combined up with the place one lives and the way the place of residence decides life probabilities of Indians. 

Whereas analyzing the well being difficulty, it understandably concentrates on the video games politicians and pliant docs play with numbers. The broader context, nonetheless, is just not overpassed. The e-book is strongly really helpful for all who’re through which manner India is headed. It’s inconceivable to have an knowledgeable debate with out coming to phrases with entire numbers (fractions included, and the depiction of abstractions based mostly on them in pictorial illustration: graphs, charts).

It deserves to be translated into all Indian languages to make the specified affect.

Entire Numbers and Half Truths: What Knowledge Can and Can not Inform

By: Rukmini Shrinivasan

Writer: Context
Pages: 324
Value: Rs 598

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