Some statistical indicators may be relevant to appreciate the importance of the study of India for the modern world. Some of its distinctions are laudable, whereas others are clearly of dubious value. India is the second most populated country in the world, behind China, with an estimated population in 2006 of 1.3 billion, making Indians between one-fifth and one-sixth of the human race. Its economy, the second fastest growing in the world, is also the fourth largest. India constitutes the largest democracy and has one of the freest presses in the world. Indians are proud that their country is a member of the “nuclear club,” has a space program, and has the third largest scientific human-resources pool in the world. (page 1)