Right in the middle of the world’s most populated Muslim country — lies Bali, a Hindu majority island. How Is This So?

Sitting on the equator, nestled between the Indian and Pacific oceans lies Indonesia — the world’s most populous Muslim majority nation.

In the center of this archipelago, lies Bali, which quite literally an island of Hinduism in a Sea of Islam.

How is it so that in a nation of 270 million people (87% of which are Muslim); this small province preserved its unique religious identity?

The answer lies in the following reasons:


History isn’t something that’s come and gone — it’s something you’re experiencing right now

I was always keen to ask my grandparents, and others of their generation about their experiences. I’d ask questions like:

What we don’t often realise is — we too, are living through many historically significant events

Events that people will reference and study for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years to come.

Assuming you are the “median” human — that would make you around 30 years old.

Already in your lifetime - you…


While they may be “Anglo-Saxon passing”, they’ll likely carry traces of the “old country” in their accent

People have moved from far and wide in pursuit of the proverbial “American” Dream.

Countries like Australia, Canada, and New Zealand have been founded on immigration. Still others — like the UK and France also have large migrant populations owing, in part, to their colonial pasts.

The natural consequence of this is that these are highly multicultural societies.

Someone born in Australia may be of Anglo-Celtic, Asian or Lebanese ancestry. Similarly, a Canadian may trace their roots to France, West Africa, or India.

While on the face of it — we all grew up in the same schooling system and…


Religion is not just a faith, but also a tribe and set of philosophies

When you consider someone to be a Christian, Hindu, Jew, or Muslim — one normally jumps to the conclusion that they must believe in a particular god, pray regularly, and visit church, mosque or temple.

Then, it follows that the converse must also be true: people who don’t believe in a specific god, pray, or visit a place of worship cannot be considered a member of that religion.

That’s a nice theory — but it doesn’t really hold up when you look at how most people actually live life.

Take Christianity for example. In Australia, 52% of residents identified as…


While most languages emerge as they slowly drift apart; these two took deliberate steps away from each other

Credit: Kambliyil via Wikimedia commons

Once upon a time, in a land far far away — there was a place called Tamilakam; Homeland of the Tamils.

For millennia, the people of this region (in what is now Southern India) were tied together — both culturally and politically.

Together, they experienced the various Sangam periods — wherein numerous academies thrived producing great works of literature and poetry.

Together, they were ruled by the three dynasties glorified by heaven: The Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas — though their respective fortunes waxed and waned over time.

Together, they saw the rise and fall of Buddhism, Jainism, Shaivism and Vaishnavism…


While the people suffer — Netanyahu, Bibi and Hamas come out ahead

A fresh wave of civil unrest in Israel and Palestine has erupted in the midst of Ramadan. Hundreds are dead, and the international community stands aghast.

While there is plenty of sorrow to be felt for the everyday people caught up in the unrest — there are three actors who clearly benefit from the escalating situation.

#1: Benjamin Netanyahu — Israeli Prime Minister

Bibi, as he is often called, has ruled Israel for 12 years.

Despite some clear diplomatic notches under his belt, and saving the country from COVID — he failed to win a parliamentary majority in the most recent elections (the fourth in two years).


Despite being considered a demi-god, the Japanese Emperor lost effective power — but was never formally deposed

Japan is known as the land of the rising sun. It is thus unsurprising that in such a country, the sun goddess, Amaterasu, would be the most sacred of deities.

The Emperor of Japan claimed descent from her, and was thus himself revered as a living god.

Despite this, for 700 years, the reigning Emperor was little more than a puppet. Real power stemmed from a set of hereditary generals known as Shoguns.

How did this come to be? …


It seems a bit odd I know, that you can appear to be for something in one part of the world, but against the same thing elsewhere.

But what’s good for the goose, is not always good for the gander.

Queen Elizabeth the Second should remain sovereign of the United Kingdom, but Australia must become a republic.

The UK Should Keep Its Monarch

Don’t get me wrong — the idea of a person born into power and privilege, reigning unelected — rankles the cockles of my heart.

But my support for the British Monarchy is not anchored in any love for the institution or some romantic…


You had male Emperors and female Empresses, but these five women shattered the patriarchy of their time

History has mostly been a man’s game.

It’s even suggested as much by the term: his-story.

While there have been many Queens and Empresses in history —who held the throne in their own right rather than simply as a consort or regent; they have typically been seen as less powerful than their male counterparts.

Even that mighty English Queen — Elizabeth I deigned to never marry as the responsibility of political decisions would have been given to her husband.

There are five women however who broke convention and ruled their countries as legitimate imperial rulers who wielded absolute power.

#5: Wu Zetian — Emperor of China

Credit: Wikimedia commons

Born…


One’s journey in life should involve not just living it from day to day, but also reflecting upon it. To take stock; celebrate the highlights, and learn from the lows.

With this week marking my second year writing on Medium; I thought I’d continue the tradition by sharing my thoughts of my journey here.

I mean, companies publish annual reports — why can’t I?

With that in mind, below are my key observations and takeaways from the year just gone.

Kesh Anand

An observer of history, human development, geopolitics, society, and the future

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store