I had commented some time back that United Kingdom (UK) does not want to see an Indian map that will border Afghanistan and it will do its utmost to see that this reality NEVER fructifies. I was then questioned by a few, “very” sceptically. Before I come to that in a separate article, let me write a very small article on Greenland: Mercator & Peter’s map.
First, I want you to close your eyes and cast your mind to the geography books that you have read as a child, or you may have seen recently in your child’s project work- and answer this question – by how much is Greenland bigger than India?
Keep that figure in your mind. Those of you who have an atlas, go and see it, before reading the rest of the blog (no googling allowed – yet!).
To those of you, whose memories are drawing a complete blank, I am giving you a map, that is commonly used and see if this agrees with your “perceived” map you had in mind.
Let me come to the map now, that is generally seen in atlases the world over. Does this look familiar now? OK, those of you who have not yet given a figure, do so now (by how much is Greenland bigger than India?).
The snow covered territory at the very top of this map is Greenland (notice, it is so big that is could not be accommodated properly in this map - and notice the size of India too).
Mercator projection: The maps we see and use in schools are based on Mercator projection. A Mercator projection is a mathematical method of showing a map of the globe on a flat surface. This projection was developed in 1568 by Gerhardus Mercator a Flemish geographer, mathematician, and cartographer.
Now comes the “truth”:
Mercator projection was made during an age when Europe dominated and exploited the world. The white dominated countries are thus portrayed to be extraordinarily large, while non-white countries become extraordinarily small. It seems that the Mercator map was made to artificially portray the territorial “superiority” of the colonial powers, and psychologically impact the gullible minds of the colonised into submission. Surprisingly, even today maps in India reflect that bygone era.
Cartographical restrictions cannot justify the Mercator map. Our planet is a tri-axial ellipsoid, moving around the Sun in an elliptical orbit at 30 kilometres per second, and rotating around its axis at 1,666 kilometres per hour. Such high speed rotation has resulted in the polar areas being compressed towards the centre and the equatorial areas being bulged out.
This explains the Earth not being a perfect sphere.
Another difficulty in cartography arises in the representation of a three-dimensional spherical geometry into a two-dimensional Cartesian one. In school, we learnt that the sum of the angles of a triangle is 180 degrees, but this is true only in Cartesian geometry.
In non-Cartesian geometry such a restriction does not apply. The discrepancies in the Mercator map, however, go far beyond the limitations put forth by mathematics.
The discrepancies are a deliberate attempt to portray the white-dominated European world as BIG, and the non-European world as SMALL.
SO, IS GREENLAND BIGGER THAN INDIA?
Open a child’s geography book, or take an atlas or a traditional map adorning a wall. Greenland and Scandinavia appear to be 10 and three times larger than India respectively.
IN REALITY, HOWEVER, GREENLAND IS SMALLER THAN INDIA.
Greenland is only 80 percent India's size, and Scandinavia three times smaller than India.
The discrepancy goes on:
In Mercator map, wrongly and deliberately, Russia appears bigger than the entire continent of Africa, Alaska larger than Mexico, and tiny Europe seems to occupy more area than entire South America! The mismatch runs against basic common sense. Locate the equator and see how the northern hemisphere occupies two-thirds the space, and the southern hemisphere the remaining one-third.
WHICH MAP REFLECTS THE REALITY?
The United Nations in 1974, acknowledging this discrepancy (in Mercator maps), accepted a new map made by another German, Arno Peters. It is called the Peters' projection or the Peters' map. It has equal areas, and equal representation. Peters' map shows countries in their relative sizes, and is based upon Peters' decimal grid, which divides the surface of the Earth into a hundred longitudinal fields of equal width, and a hundred latitudinal fields of equal height.
It treats the rectangles around the equator as squares and builds the other rectangles onto these proportions to the area they represent. The zero meridian on this system is combined with a proposed new international date-line. This new decimal grid is indicated only on the outer border of the map.
While the Peters' map is superior in its portrayal of proportions and sizes, its importance goes far beyond questions of cartographic accuracy. Nothing less than our worldview is at stake.
The Peters' map shows all areas whether countries, continents, or oceans according to their actual size. Thus accurate comparisons become possible. By being fair to all peoples of all races, by setting forth all countries in their true size and location, this map provides each country its actual position in the world.
Look at the world, as is the reality, through Peter’s map.
INDIA – 7TH LARGEST COUNTRY EVEN AFTER PARTITIONS:
After undergoing repeated partitions — the separation of Burma in 1935 and the creation of Pakistan in 1947 — modern India is still a large country. The seventh largest to be precise – and we should not forget this fact.
And yes, Greenland is smaller than India.
We have allowed the Chinese to come into Burma (a part of India), Islamists to take away Paksitan and Bangladesh – and now we are allowing the rape of India by these Islamists from our erstwhile territories, Chinese to breathe down our necks (when the reality is that the Chinese fear the Indians and Tibetians mortally) and asking for help from USA and UK who actually want to keep India trapped in a “Mercator” vision – and that is the TRUTH.
My article on UK not wanting India to have a border with Afghanistan will start from this Mercator vision. (Note: Afghaistan was once a part of India and largely Hindu – remember Gandhar in Mahabharata – Gandhar is Kandahar today).
You all should throw away the geography books from your homes and if the Mercator map is being taught to your child, then go to schools and tell them to teach the right map. Our domination starts from school texts and maps that deny us to look at us as a global power.
Forget the geographic size, we are on the verge of regaining our place as an economic superpower.
Look at the puny size of Europe – never forget that, the next time.
We need to regain self belief to realize our true potential and embark on a journey to cement our true place in the world. India will then truly be respected and feared by US / Europe / China.