To the naked eye, India is merely a country with over one billion people living across its 3.287 million square kilometres.  By Ayesha Valli.

Rich in spices, sugar and exotic fruits, India is a country of people and a combination of cultures.

But within the small areas of India, life never stops. The day is stretched to its limits with routines which begin far earlier than what is viewed as “normal” within the Western world. 

As the sun rises, the animals are top priority. 

The relationship between man and animal in small villages is unavoidable. 

Goats, buffalos and chickens are seen at every corner, but not far behind is a hardworking farmer, who has mastered the art of being able to effectively control and care for their livestock. 

To the naked eye, it would seem natural for such to occur. 

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The difference? To Indian farmers, the commodity which is livestock is the main factor limiting themselves from being part of the 70.6 million people living in poverty.

Many do not have homes or food for themselves, but more effort is put into the responsibility of the correct treatment of animals. 

As the local corner shop states in Hindi, “Patience.” This seems to be the rule by which all locals abide. 

Despite the high levels of poverty within the country, education is becoming more of a reality than a dream for many Indian children in small villages. This is especially the case for young girls.

During the 15th of August celebrations (Indian Independence day), alongside the national anthem, raising and saluting the flag over the local school, more girls than boys participated in large roles of the school assembly, such as explaining the importance of the day to foreign visitors in English.

Although these may be regarded as small steps, the importance given to education within smaller communities is growing.

Not only this, but children are also more focused in achieving more than their parents or grandparents, as can be seen by the number of children attending private schooling. 

On Independence day itself, the village is transformed. After the school assembly, Tuk- Tuk horns can be heard everywhere. 

Attempting to travel into the nearest town is almost impossible. 

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The atmosphere is addictive. The whole village, from young to old, play a role in the celebrations. 

The national holiday is appreciated, and its reason is celebrated.  There is one key difference between what is perceived of India, and what the country actually is. Although the roads are not smooth and the currency isn’t strong, it is the country that is alive.

The day may start at 5:30 in the morning and the laundry may be put out before the average tourist is even awake, but the simplicity to the village, the simplicity of the people, is humbling. 

Every corner is a national celebration. 

People who have nothing never fail to smile. Despite the rain or the heat, businessmen will sell their mangoes, sweet corn or pomegranates by walking up and down the busy roads unafraid. 

Nothing stops them. Their ambition is ripe even though they work for such little reward.  

India is a country of culture, of warmth, and most importantly, of people. 

It never fails to surprise no matter how many times it is visited. And it is only made possible because of its resilience.