Social Environment Of Kenya Cultural Studies Essay

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Paleontologists believe people may first have inhabited Kenya about 2 million years ago. In the 700s, Arab seafarers established settlements along the coast, and the Portuguese took control of the area in the early 1500s. More than 40 ethnic groups reside in Kenya. Its largest group, the Kikuyu, migrated to the region at the beginning of the 18th century.

The land became a British protectorate in 1890 and a Crown colony in 1920, called British East Africa. Nationalist stirrings began in the 1940s, and in 1952 the Mau Mau movement, made up of Kikuyu militants, rebelled against the government. The fighting lasted until 1956.

Kenya Wins Independence after a Long Struggle

On Dec. 12, 1963, Kenya achieved full independence. Jomo Kenyatta, a nationalist leader during the fight to win independence who had been jailed by the British, was its first president.

From 1964 to 1992, the country was ruled as a one-party state by the Kenya African National Union (KANU), first under Kenyatta, and then under Daniel arap Moi. Demonstrations and riots put pressure on Moi to allow multiparty elections in 1992.

Economic Woes, Corruption, and Disasters Stifle Development

The economy did not flourish under Moi's rule. In the 1990s, Kenya's infrastructure began disintegrating and official graft was rampant, contributing to the withdrawal of much foreign aid. In early 1995, President Moi moved against the opposition and ordered the arrest of anyone who insulted him.

A series of disasters plagued Kenya in 1997 and 1998: severe flooding destroyed roads, bridges, and crops; epidemics of malaria and cholera overwhelmed the ineffectual health care system; and ethnic clashes erupted between the Kikuyu and Kalenjin ethnic groups in the Rift Valley. On Aug. 7, 1998, the U.S. embassy in Nairobi was bombed by terrorists, killing 243 and injuring more than 1,000. The embassy in neighboring Tanzania was bombed the same day, killing 10.

In a successful effort to win back IMF and World Bank funding, which had been suspended because of Kenya's corruption and poor economic practices, President Moi appointed his high-profile critic and political opponent, Richard Leakey, as head of the civil service in 1999. A third-generation white Kenyan, son of paleontologists Louis and Mary Leakey, he had been a highly effective reformer as head of the Kenya Wildlife Service. But after 20 months, during which he made a promising start at cleaning up Kenya's corrupt bureaucracy, Leakey was sacked by Moi. Kenya is regularly ranked among the ten most corrupt countries in the world, according to the watchdog group Transparency International.

An anticorruption law, sponsored by the ruling party, failed to pass in Parliament in Aug. 2001 and imperiled Kenya's chances for international aid. Opposition leaders called the law a cynical ploy meant to give the appearance of reform; the proposed law, they contended, was in fact too weak and full of loopholes to make a dent in corruption.

Hopes for Reform Under New Administration Are Dashed

Opposition leader Mwai Kibaki won the Dec. 2002 presidential election, defeating Moi's protégé, Uhuru Kenyatta (term limits prevented Moi, in power for 24 years, from running again). Kibaki promised to put an end to the country's rampant corruption. In his first few months, Kibaki did initiate a number of reforms-ordering a crackdown on corrupt judges and police and instituting free primary school education-and international donors opened their coffers again.

But by 2004, disappointment in Kibaki set in with the lack of further progress, and a long-awaited new constitution, meant to limit the president's power, still had not been delivered. Kibaki's anticorruption minister, John Githongo, resigned in Feb. 2005, frustrated that he was prevented from investigating a number of scandals. In July 2005, Parliament finally approved a draft of a constitution, but in Dec. 2005 voters rejected it because it expanded the president's powers.

A drought ravaged Kenya, and by Jan. 2006, 2.5 million Kenyans faced starvation.

Ethnic Violence Follows Disputed Presidential Election

Kenya descended into violence and chaos following Dec. 2007's presidential election. Preliminary results had opposition candidate Raila Odinga, of the Orange Democratic Movement, defeating incumbent Kibaki, 57% to 39%. In the days after the election, however, Odinga's lead dwindled and Kenya's electoral commission declared Kibaki the winner, 46% to 44%. International observers said the vote was rigged. Odinga, a champion of the poor, had promised to eliminate corruption and tribalism. After the announcement of the official results, violence broke out among members of the Luo and Kikuyu tribes. Odinga is Luo, and Kibaki is Kikuyu. The fighting between the tribes intensified in Jan. 2008, with more than 800 people dying in violence across the country. Odinga refused Kibaki's invitation to discuss the political crisis after Kibaki appointed his cabinet, which did not include any members of Odinga's Orange Democratic Party. Parliament, however, did elect Kenneth Marende, of the Orange Democratic Party, speaker over an ally of Kibaki. The deployment of the Kenyan military did little to stem the brutal ethnic fighting. In late January, Melitus Mugabe Were, a member of Parliament who has worked to mend the ethnic strife in Kenya and help the poor, was dragged from his car and shot. Members of the opposition said the killing was a political assassination.

By Feb. 2008, more than 1,000 people had died in the ethnic violence. Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan met with representatives from the government and the opposition in an attempt to resolve the crisis. After protracted negotiations that left Annan frustrated, the government and the opposition agreed in late February on a power-sharing deal that has Odinga filling the newly created position of prime minister and the two rivals dividing cabinet positions. Parliament met in March, a much-needed first step toward restoring peace to the battered country. Kibaki announced an enormous national unity cabinet in April that includes 94 ministers. His supporters head powerful ministries, such as finance and foreign relations. As expected, Odinga was named prime minister. Power sharing quickly proved difficult, and the legislative process has been hampered by infighting accusations on both sides of corruption. A draft constitution published in November 2009 diminished the role of the president, making it a mostly ceremonial position, and devolved power to regional leaders. The constitution also includes provisions for land reform, establishes a bill or rights, and includes a system of checks and balances. By a margin of about 2-1, voters approved the constitution in an August 2010 referendum. The vote was split on ethnic lines; the Luo and Kikuyu tribes largely approved the referendum, and the Kalenjin, proponents of former president Daniel arap Moi, voted against it. The peaceful vote signaled that Kenyans are eager to return to stability.

Despite international pressure, Kenya refused to establish a special tribunal to investigate the post-election violence. In November 2009, the International Criminal Court announced that it would launch a formal investigation to determine if crimes against humanity had been committed in the violence.

On August 4, 2010, a new constitution passed by a wide margin. The new constitution included a bill of rights and transferred more power to local governments. The new constitution went into effect on August 27, 2010.

Kenyan Forces Invade Somalia to Fight Islamist Militants

On October 16, 2011, Kenyan sent several hundred troops into battle against the Shabab militant group. Armored trucks, tanks and helicopters were also sent. Helicopters bombed Shabab bases. More Kenyan troops were sent in later with the goal to clear the Shabab out. It was a rare aggressive act by a country known for its laidback foreign policy. The act came as a surprise to the United States, an ally of Kenya. The U.S. had no advance knowledge of the invasion.

The Shabab, an insurgent group, has killed scores of civilians, carried out numerous suicides bomb missions and sworn their allegiance to Al-Qaeda. The Kenyan government justified its invasion, blaming the Shabab for a series of recent kidnappings in Kenya.

Four Prominent Kenyans Charged with Crimes against Humanity

In January 2012, four well-known Kenyans were ordered to stand trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the capital of South Holland. The four men were charged with crimes against humanity for their roles in the violence that erupted after the disputed 2007 elections. More than 300,000 people were forced to leave their homes and at least 1,100 people were killed in the violence.

One of the men brought up on charges was Uhuru Kenyatta, the richest man in the country and the son of Kenya's first president. Former education minister and Kenyatta's political rival, William Ruto, was also charged. Both Ruto and Kenyatta said they would run in the next election, regardless of the court's ruling. Radio executive Joshua arap Sang and cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura were the other two men charged. No trial date has been set, but the presidential election is expected in late 2012 or early 2013.

Kenyan Troops Storm Somalian Port City, Oust Militant Group

Shabab was dealt a severe blow in September 2012 when several hundred Kenyan troops, with the help of Somalis, took over Somalia's port city of Kismayu in an amphibious assault. The incursion followed several weeks of air and naval assaults by Kenya on key Shabab positions in Kismayu. The city was the last Shabab stronghold, and the militant group used the port to bring in weapons and raise money by charging hefty import fees. The incursion was uncharacteristically brazen, and Kenyan officials said it had to protect its citizens from violence on the border. In addition, Kenya's economy was being adversely affected by the turmoil in neighboring Somalia caused by the Shabab.

Culture of Kenya

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c8/Kenyan_woman_2.jpg/220px-Kenyan_woman_2.jpg

Woman in a traditional outfit.

Keya has no single culture that identifies it. With such diverse regional peoples such as the Swahili along l identification is difficult.

There are about 37 different ethnic groupings in Kenya - each of these with its own unique culture, but the majority of them with intertwining cultural practices brought about by the close resemblance in the languages, the similar environment and physical proximity of the ethnic groups. The ethnic groups are grouped into larger sub-groups - based on their cultural and linguistic similarities. There are three major unifying categories of languages: the Bantu speaking people of the Coastal region, the Central Highlands and the Western Kenya Region, The Nilotes who are mainly found in the Great Rift Valley and the Lake Victoria Region and the Cushites who are mainly composed of pastoralists and nomads in the drier North Eastern part of the country. Of note is that these sub-groups span a vast area of not just Kenya, but the East, Central and Southern African Region as a whole.

The Kikuyu tribe wears these bright red dresses with brown belts with many beaded necklaces for special rituals.

The Maasai culture owes its widespread identification to the tourist industry.

Historical and current politics of division practiced first by the colonizers and then by subsequent community leaders has led to a situation where Kenyans themselves barely know their own culture let alone that of their neighbors. The colonial administration in partnership with missionary activities and formal education wiped out most cultural practices leaving a gap that was filled by Western cultural attitudes and identification especially by the youth.

The recent attempts at coming up with a national dress testifies to the difficult nature of Kenyans' cultural identity. The top-down formula employed rendered the entire process irrelevant as it only involved the urban areas hence the better educated and wealthier segments of society. The result was basically a restricted set of pre-approved national dresses and outfits with questionable aesthetic appeal to the majority of Kenyans.

Cuisine

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e7/Peeling_casava.jpg/220px-Peeling_casava.jpg

Peeling cassava.

There is no singular dish that represents all of Kenya. Different communities have their own native foods. Staples are maize and other cereals depending on the region including millet and sorghum eaten with various meats and vegetables. The foods that are universally eaten in Kenya are ugali, sukuma wiki, and nyama choma. Sukuma wiki, a Swahili phrase which literally means "to push the week," is a simple dish made with greens similar to kale or collards that can also be made with cassava leaves, sweet potato leaves, or pumpkin leaves. Its Swahili name comes from the fact that it is typically eaten to "get through the week" or "stretch the week." Nyama choma is grilled meat - usually goat or sheep. It is grilled over an open fire. It is usually eaten with ugali and kachumbari.

Among the Luhyas residing in the western region of Kenya, ingokho (chicken) and ugali is a favourite meal. Other than these, they also eat tsisaka, miroo, managu and other dishes. Also among the Kikuyu of Central Kenya, a lot of tubers, ngwaci (sweet potatoes), ndũma (taro root) known in Kenya as arrowroot, ikwa (yams),mianga (cassava) are eaten as well as legumes like beans and a Kikuyu bean known as njahi. As you travel around the country distinct differences are noted mainly based on what foods are locally available around such areas. Grains are a staple food for groups that grow grains e.g. Kikuyu, Embu, Meru, Kisii etc. Other communities such as the Luo and the Coastal community have fish and seafood for their staple food as available in such areas. In semi-arid areas like Turkana foods made from sorghum are more staple food. As you move towards the city - food eaten by working families vary according to preference. Rice and stew is more common with working families and other dishes like Chapati (parantha), chicken stew, etc.

National dress

Apart from the national flag, Kenya is yet to have a national dress that transcends the diverse ethnic divisions. With each of the more than 42 ethnic communities in Kenya having its own traditional practices and symbols that make it unique, this is a task that has proved elusive in the past. However, several attempts have been made to design an outfit that can be worn to identify Kenyans, much like the Kente' cloth of Ghana.

The most recent effort was the "Sunlight quest for Kenya's National Dress". A design was chosen and though it was unveiled with much pomp at a ceremony in which public figures modeled the dress, the dress design never took hold with the ordinary people.

Kitenge, a cotton fabric made into various colours and design through tie-and-dye and heavy embroidery, is generally accepted as the African dress. Though used in many African countries, Kitenge is yet to be accepted as an official dress as it is only worn during ceremonies and non-official functions. The Maasai wear dark red garments to symbolise their love for the earth and also their dependence on it. It also stands for courage and blood that is given to them by nature. The Kanga (Khanga, Lesso) is another cloth that is in common use in practically every Kenyan home. The Kanga is a piece of clothing about 1.5 m by 1 m, screen printed with beautiful sayings in Swahili (or English) and is largely worn by women around the waist and torso.

Music

Kenya is home to a diverse range of music styles, ranging from imported popular music, afro-fusion and began music to traditional folk songs. The guitar is the most popular instrument in Kenyan music, and songs often feature intricate guitar rhythms. The most famous guitarist of the early 20th century was Fundi Konde. Other notable musicians of the 60s era include Fadhili Williams (recognized by many as the author of the hit song "Malaika" that was later re-done by Miriam Makeba, Boney M and Daudi Kabaka).

Popular music in the 1980s and 90s in Kenya could be divided into two genres: the Swahili sound and the Congolese sound. There are varying regional styles, and some performers create tourist-oriented "hotel pop" that is similar to western music. The Mushrooms, later renamed Uyoga, was one of the popular groups in this era.

In the recent past, newer varieties of modern popular music have arisen which are mostly local derivatives of western hip-hop. Two sub-genres have emerged: "Genge" and "Kapuka" beats. This has revolutionized popular Kenyan music and created an industry dominated by the youth. There is also underground Kenyan hip hop that gets less radio play than Kapuka or Genge because it is less club oriented and more focused on social commentary. Early pioneers include the late Poxi Presha, Kalamashaka, and K-South. In Nairobi, hip-hop is viewed as more of a style than as a musical culture. There is a great correlation between the youth who listen to rap music and their economical status in the country with the majority of them coming from wealthy economic backgrounds. Since hip-hop is portrayed through clothing, magazines, and CDs, all of which are expensive, only the wealthier individuals are able to enjoy these luxuries.[1]

Mainstream artists include Nameless, Redsan, Necessary Noize, Nonini, Juacali, Kleptomaniax, Longombas, Suzzanna Owiyo, Achieng Abura, Eric Wainaina and others. Their sounds run the gamut from Reggae/Ragga, Pop, and Afro-Fusion to Hip-Hop. Contemporary Kenyan music is becoming quite popular, with African based music channels such as Channel O and MTV Base, giving them a greater aud] (a hybrid of Kenyan languages and English/Swahili).

The Kisima Music Awards, which recognize musical talent across East Africa, were founded and are currently based in Kenya. Every year numerous Kenyan artists take out categories in the scheme.

The African Children's Choir features children, many of whom are orphaned, from Kenya, as well as from other neighbouring African countries.

Film

Although the government has not been very supportive of the film industry in Kenya, the country offers some of the most spectacular sceneries and can only be compared to South Africa. Due to the nonchalant attitude and lack of enthusiasm exhibited by the government, the industry has remained considerably dormant whereby notable movies shot in the country have been few and far between. The most recent movie is the award winning The Constant Gardener directed by Fernando Meirelles and starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz. Other films shot in Kenya in the recent past include the Academy Award winning Nowhere in Africa and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. Sheena, Queen of the Jungle won great acclaim in the 1980s and was one of the first foreign movies to be shot entirely on location in Kenya. Other highly acclaimed films set (and shot) in Kenya include Karen Blixen's Out of Africa, starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep and directed by Sidney Pollack, and Born Free, an adaptation of the autobiography of Joy Adamson. In 1999, part of the movie To Walk With Lions, which featured actor Richard Harris, was shot on location in the country. Notable film actors from Kenya include Paul Onsongo, David Mulwa, the late Sidede Onyulo, John Sibi Okumu and Njeri Osaak.

Die Weiße Massai (The White Masai), a German movie about a Swiss Woman who fell in love with a Samburu (Maasai) warrior; won an Award as the best foreign language Movie (2006) though it was received very poorly in Kenya itself. Rise and Fall of Idi Amin, based on the Ugandan dictator, was shot in Kenya and is considered one of the most successful movies produced and directed by a Kenyan (Sharad Patel). Indigenous Kenyan filmmakers include Ingolo Wa Keya, Albert Wandago and Judy Kibinge. Nowhere in Africa (Nirgendwo in Afrika - 2001), an award-winning German production, tells a story about German Jewish refugees living in Kenya during Second World War. Most of the movie is set in Kenya and numerous scenes show actors, either Kenyans or main German actors, speaking Swahili.

Some of the latest notable productions include the footage screened to the music of U2, Robbie Williams, R.E.M. and other acts at the Live 8 concerts in Europe and the US in July 2005, Africa Mon Amor, shot over a period of three months in Samburu, Shaba and Lamu with a renowned German actress, Iris Berben, in 2006.

The Kenya Film Commission (KFC) was established by the Kenyan government in 2005, but only became fully operational in mid-2006.

Television

Acting for television has proved popular with the Kenyan audience. This genre has been around from the 1960s when actors like Mzee Pembe graced the Kenyan television screen. Others, like Benson Wanjau (Ojwang' Hatari) and Mary Khavere (Mama Kayai), followed later with their comedies presented exclusively in Swahili, reaching millions of households courtesy of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation television station. Serious Television drama was witnessed for the first time in the early 1990s with the entry of popular actors like Packson Ngugi, BMJ Muriithi alias Ben Mutua Jonathan Muriithi and Betty Achieng', alongside other thespians who featured in a variety of TV shows following the liberalization of the airwaves by the Kenyan government. However, Tushauriane, a Swahili television series featuring Kenyan fine actors like Dennis Kashero and Tony Msalame had premiered in the late 1980s becoming arguably one of the most popular productions to ever hit the Kenyan TV screens. A new genre in the form of stand-up comedy followed when the late actor Joni Nderitu entered the scene. The new style was later to be perfected by the group, 'Redykyulass', a trio of young Kenyans - Walter Mong' are, Tony Njuguna and John Kiare (KJ) - who specialised in political satire. They lampooned not only the establishment but also Daniel arap Moi, the Kenyan President at the time. The lampooning of the Kenyan head of state was unprecedented and could have easily led to their prosecution, or even detention without trial, had it been done in the 1980s, when mimicking the head of state and exhibiting any form of political dissent was considered treason. Other Stations known to promote theater in Kenya include Nation TV, Kenya Television Network (KTN) an Citizen TV, all based in the nation's capital, Nairobi. K24, the newest TV station to enter the scene, started its test run in Nairobi in December 2007. It captured the interest of many mainly because of the introduction of Jeff Koinange, one of the most popular Kenyan journalists who have worked for major international mediahouses like CNN, as its chief News anchor.

A Satellite and Internet-based 24-hour pan-African TV channel, A24, was scheduled to start broadcasting from Nairobi in 2008. This will be in honor and memory of world-renowned and award winning Kenyan Photojournalist, Mohamed Amin.

Theatre

Kenya holds one of the biggest annual drama events, the Kenya schools and colleges drama festival, in the south of Sahara. The Kenya National Theatre is based in Nairobi opposite the Norfolk Hotel. Notable theatre performing groups include Eliud Abuto's Festival of Creative Arts that stages regular stage performances at both the Kenya National Theatre and Alliance Francaise, Phoenix Players based at the Professional Centre, Heartsrings Ensemble and Mombasa Little Theatre Club based in Mombasa. Notable names on the Kenyan theatre scene include the late actresses Stella Awinja Muka and Anne Wanjugu. Renowned director Tirus Gathwe cut a niche for himself and is perhaps the most well known theatre directors in Kenya today.In the late 1990s through the early 2000s, the late Wahome Mutahi followed in the footsteps of the legendary Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o when he, through Igiza Productions, teamed up with Tirus Gathwe and embarked on a project dubbed "taking Theatre to the people" which saw them stage numerous productions, mainly political Satires, at nightspots throughout the country. Other notable directors include Festival of Creative Arts's Carole Odongo and Mbeki Mwalimu, as well as Mumbi Kaigwa who are currently the only female directors in Kenya. George Mungai of Phoenix, Keith Pearson, Sammy Mwangi, John Sibi-Okumu and Victor Ber are directors worth noting.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e7/Peeling_casava.jpg/220px-Peeling_casava.jpg

Peeling cassava.

There is no singular dish that represents all of Kenya. Different communities have their own native foods. Staples are maize and other cereals depending on the region including millet and sorghum eaten with various meats and vegetables. The foods that are universally eaten in Kenya are ugali, sukuma wiki, and nyama choma. Sukuma wiki, a Swahili phrase which literally means "to push the week," is a simple dish made with greens similar to kale or collards that can also be made with cassava leaves, sweet potato leaves, or pumpkin leaves. Its Swahili name comes from the fact that it is typically eaten to "get through the week" or "stretch the week." Nyama choma is grilled meat - usually goat or sheep. It is grilled over an open fire. It is usually eaten with ugali and kachumbari.

Among the Luhyas residing in the western region of Kenya, ingokho (chicken) and ugali is a favourite meal. Other than these, they also eat tsisaka, miroo, managu and other dishes. Also among the Kikuyu of Central Kenya, a lot of tubers, ngwaci (sweet potatoes), ndũma (taro root) known in Kenya as arrowroot, ikwa (yams),mianga (cassava) are eaten as well as legumes like beans and a Kikuyu bean known as njahi. As you travel around the country distinct differences are noted mainly based on what foods are locally available around such areas. Grains are a staple food for groups that grow grains e.g. Kikuyu, Embu, Meru, Kisii etc. Other communities such as the Luo and the Coastal community have fish and seafood for their staple food as available in such areas. In semi-arid areas like Turkana foods made from sorghum are more staple food. As you move towards the city - food eaten by working families vary according to preference. Rice and stew is more common with working families and other dishes like Chapati (parantha), chicken stew, etc.

GEOGRAPHY

Location: Kenya lies astride the equator in Eastern Africa between

Somalia and Tanzania and bordering the Indian Ocean.

Size: The total area of 582,650 square kilometers (somewhat larger

Than France) includes 13,400 square kilometers of water, mainly in

Lake Turkana (also known as Lake Rudolf) and Kenya's portion of

Lake Victoria.

Land Boundaries: Kenya's land boundaries total 3,477 kilometers.

The country is bounded by Ethiopia (861 kilometers), Somalia (682 kilometers), Sudan (232 kilometers), Tanzania (769 kilometers), and Uganda (933 kilometers).

Length of Coastline: Kenya has 536 kilometers of coastline on the Indian Ocean.

Maritime Claims: Kenya's territorial sea extends 12 nautical miles. The exclusive economic (fishing) zone is 200 nautical miles, and the continental shelf extends to a 200-meter depth or to the depth of exploitation.

Topography: Kenya rises from a low coastal plain on the Indian Ocean in a series of plateaus to more than 3,000 meters in the center of the country. An inland region of semi-arid, bush-covered plains constitutes most of the country's land area. In the northwest, high-lying scrublands straddle Lake Turkana (Lake Rudolf) and the Kulal Mountains. In the southwest lie the fertile grasslands and forests of the Kenya Highlands, one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa. North of Nairobi, the Kenya Highlands is bisected by the Great Rift Valley, an irregular depression that cuts through western Kenya from north to south in two branches. The Rift Valley is the location of the country's highest mountains, including, in the eastern section, the snow-capped Mt. Kenya (5,199 meters), the country's highest point and Africa's second highest. In the south, mountain plains descend westward to the shores of Lake Victoria.

Principal Rivers: Kenya's principal rivers are the 710-kilometer-long Tana, and the Athi, both flowing southeast to the Indian Ocean. Other rivers include the Ewaso Ngiro, flowing northeast to the swamps of the Lorian Plain, and the Nzoia, Yala, and Gori, which drain into Lake Victoria.

Climate: Kenya's climate varies from tropical along the coast to arid in the interior, especially in the north and northeast. Intermittent droughts affect most of the country. Less than 15 percent of the country receives somewhat reliable rainfall of 760 millimeters or more per year, mainly the southwestern highlands near Lake Victoria and the coastal area, which is tempered by monsoon winds. Most of the country experiences two wet and two dry seasons. The driest month is August, with 24 millimeters average rainfall, and the wettest is April, the period of "long rains," with 266 millimeters. The hottest month is February, with temperatures of 13°C to 28°C, and the coolest is July, with temperatures of 11°C to 23°C. The highlands feature a bracing temperate climate. Nairobi, at an elevation of 1,820 meters, has a very pleasant climate throughout the year.

Natural Resources: Kenya's most valuable natural assets are rich agricultural land and a unique physiography and wildlife. The highly diverse wildlife is a key draw for the tourism industry. The country is not well endowed with mineral resources. Mineral resources currently exploited are gold, limestone, soda ash, salt, rubies, fluorspar, and garnets. At present, only 3 percent of the land is forested, a reduction by half over the past three decades. Kenya's water resources are similarly under pressure. Kenya relies to a significant extent on hydropower.

Land Use: Of Kenya's land surface, between 7 and 8 percent is arable, while slightly less than 1 percent is in permanent crops. According to a 1998 estimate, irrigated land totaled about 670 square kilometers.

Environmental Factors: Kenya faces serious interrelated environmental problems, including deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, water shortage and degraded water quality, poaching, and domestic and industrial pollution. Water resources are under pressure from agricultural chemicals and urban and industrial wastes, as well as from use for hydroelectric power. A shortage of water is expected to pose a problem in the coming years. Water-quality problems in lakes, including water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria, have contributed to a substantial decline in fishing output and endangered fish species. Output from forestry also has declined because of resource degradation. Overexploitation over the past three decades has reduced the country's timber resources by one-half. At present only 3 percent of the land remains forested, and an estimated 5,000 hectares of forest are lost each year. This loss of forest aggravates erosion, the silting of dams and flooding, and the loss of biodiversity. In response to ecological disruption, activists have pressed with some success for policies that encourage sustainable resource use. The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize went to the Kenyan environmentalist, Wangari Maathai, best known for organizing a grassroots movement in which thousands of people were mobilized over the years to plant 30 million trees in Kenya and elsewhere and to protest forest clearance for luxury development. Imprisoned as an opponent of Moi, Maathai linked deforestation with the plight of rural women, who are forced to spend untold hours in search of scarce firewood and water.

Time Zone: Kenya lies in one time zone, which is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time Standard Time (GMT + 3). Kenya does not operate daylight saving time.

[Country map of Kenya]

Demographics of India and our Environment

N Munal Meitei *

India, one of the oldest civilizations in the world has remarkably diverse demographics. India is the second largest populous country in the world, with over 1.21 billion people, more than a sixth of the world's population indicating an increase of 17.64 per cent during the last decade. According to the provisional Census report published on 31-3-2011, the male population of India has grown up by 17.19 per cent and reached 62 crore and the female population has risen by 18.12 per cent to reach 58 crore. India is projected to be the world's most populous country by 2025, surpassing China.

Now, India's population has touched the combined population of the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Japan. But the 2001-2011 is the first decade which has lesser rate of population growth compared to the previous decades. Thus India supports 18.5% of the world population and about 18% of the world's cattle population though we have only 2.4% of the global geographical area.

However, India has an astonishing demographic dividend where more than 50% of its population is below the age of 25 and more than 65% hovers below the age of 35. This is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan; and, by 2030, India's dependency ratio should be just over 0.4. India has more than two thousand ethnic groups, and every major religion is represented, as there are four major families of languages such as Indo-European, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman languages as well as a language in isolated form as in the Nihali language spoken in parts of Maharashtra.

Further complexity is lent by the great variation that occurs across this population on social parameters such as income and education. Only the continent of Africa exceeds the linguistic, genetic and cultural diversity of the nation of India.

India has more arable land area than any other country except the United States, and more water area than any country except Canada and the United States. Indian life revolves mostly around agriculture and allied activities in small villages, where the overwhelming majority of Indians live. Since the country is in monsoon type of climate, most of our agricultural crops which have the highest impact on our economy depend on the good climatic condition. An abrupt change in the climatic condition of the country may affect up to 5% of our GDP. As per the 2001 census, 72.2% of the population lives in about 638,000 villages and the remaining 27.8% lives in more than 5,100 towns and over 380 urban agglomerations.

India contains the majority of the world's Zoroastrians, Sikhs, Hindus, Jains and Bahá'í. India is also home to the third-largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia and Pakistan and largest minority population. Religious majorities vary greatly by State. Jammu and Kashmir and Lakshadweep are Muslim majority States; Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya are Christian majority; Punjab is mostly Sikh.

Linguistic demographics

There are 216 languages with more than 10,000 native speakers in India. The largest of these is Hindi with some 337 million people and the second largest being Bangla with some 207 million. Under 8th Schedule, 22 languages are recognized as official languages.

In India, 43% of the Hindus speak Hindi while the rest speak Bangla, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Assamese and other languages. Almost 45% of the Muslims speak Urdu while the rest speak Bangla, Hindi, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Assamese and other languages. About one-third of the Christians speak Malayalam, one-sixth speak Tamil while the rest speak a variety of languages. In total, there are 1,652 languages and dialects spoken in India.

Religions: India being a secular country, there is no official religion. The religion wise population of India is Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.8%, Buddhists 0.8%, Jains 0.4%, others 0.7% and unspecified 0.1%. The percentage of Scheduled Castes and Tribes are 16.2% and 8.2% respectively.

A condensed 2011 Demographics of India

At a total cost of Rupees 22,000 million, the 15th National Census of India was conducted in two phases. The first Census of the country was held in 1872. In the first phase of the 15th National Census, a house listing & housing census was carried out from April to September 2010 and the second one was the Population Enumeration that was carried out from 9th to 28th February 2011.

This National Census of the country provides data on India's latest demographic characteristics, social and economic activities, literacy, urbanization, migration rates and so on. It is widely used for Planning and formulation of policies for the central and State governments.

India's literacy rate is 74% for the age above 7 with Kerala being the highest among the States and Delhi among the Union Territories. Bihar and Rajasthan has the lowest literacy rate with 64% and 67% respectively. Having crossed the 70% literacy mark, India would now be out of the league of countries with very poor development record.

It is still way below the countries like Congo (81%), South Africa (88%), Brazil (90%), Sri Lanka (91%) and China (93%). The countries sex ratio is 914 to 1000 and hence the gender bias again drew attention to a lingering societal flaw that despite of impressive economic growth, India has not succeeded in correcting it. Mizoram has the highest sex ratio of 971 and Haryana with lowest for 830

Among the States, UP with 199.5 million followed by Maharashtra with 112 million are the most populous States. These two States put together surpass the United States, the world's third largest populous country after China and India. Nagaland and Kerala are the slowest population growing States. Thane, on the outskirts of Mumbai has the highest population amongst all districts with 1 million, making the size of the country of Greece.

As per the report published on 31, March 2011, Delhi has the highest population density in the country, a staggering 11,297 people per square km and Arunachal Pradesh, has just 17 people per square km. The percentage of the population under the poverty line is 22%. The unemployment rate is around 7.8% and net migration rate is 0.05 migrant/1000 populations. The average life expectancy rate of the country is 70.32 years.

Comparison of India's Population with China

China's latest census revealed a number of accelerating demographic trends, almost all of which reflect the nation's three-decade effort to limit population growth under the one-child policy. Elders now make up 13 per cent of the population up from 10 per cent just a decade ago. Meanwhile, the number of under-14 youth declined from 23 per cent to 16 per cent, signaling a steep drop-off in new labour entering the marketplace.

With China also rapidly urbanizing, now 50 percent of the population, compared to just over one-third in 2000, the nation's fertility rate is likely locked into its sub-replacement rate, due to the high cost of housing, etc. Activists and experts in China are now openly challenging the logic of the one-child policy, arguing that it will create its own special burdens in the future But the Government shows little sign of relenting, even as the much-vilified agency in charge is allegedly pursuing a pilot programme that will expand the limit to two-children per couple. In truth, the system always quietly allowed a second child attempt if the first-born was a female, reflecting the social favouritism toward males.

Now, China's real challenge comes from its neighbour, India as China's worker-to-dependent ratio declines from here on out as elders accumulate. India will add 300 million workers by 2050, giving it a labour force 50 per cent larger. Southeast Asia will do much the same while China loses 150 million workers. All this is to say that China's cheap labour advantage begins disappearing now, meaning it must move up the production/value chain or suffer the economic consequences.

As such, as long as the one-child policy persists, India will surely surpass the population of China by 2025. But regarding the Environmental consciousness, China seems to be well ahead of India in terms of their development on Afforestaion, Wild life and Sequestration of green house gases.

Demographics of Manipur

As per the Provisional census published on March 2011, the population of Manipur has rose by 4, 27,850 from the last census 2001 totaling to 27, 21,756. Out of this total, 58.9% live in the valley which occupies only 1820 sq.km. and the remaining 41.1% in the hilly region which shares 20,507 sq.km. of the total geographical area of Manipur, 22, 327 sq.km.

It comprises 13, 69,764 males and 13, 51,992 females. Imphal West has the largest population of 5, 14,683 with males accounting to 2,53,628 and females 2,61,055. Total population figures for other districts are Imphal East district 4,52,661, Senapati district 3,54,972; Tamenglong district 1,40,143; Churachandpur district 2,71,274; Bishnupur district 2,40,363; Thoubal district 4,20,517, Ukhrul district 1,83,125 and Chandel district 1,44,028.

As a quite contrast to the national scenario, in some of the districts, the female population is higher than the male population such as in Imphal West, Imphal East and Thoubal districts. The numbers of male and female population are more or less equal in Bishnupur district. Literacy rate of Manipur has risen by 10 per cent from the last decade touching to 79.85 per cent. Population density of the State is now 127.7 persons per sq. km. and it was 103 only in the last census.

Impact on our Environment

The scientific consensus on population expansion and accompanying increase in usage of earth's resources is linked to threats to our Ecosystem and Environment. The World Wide Fund for Nature and Global Footprint Network have stated that the carrying capacity of the Earth for the human population has been exceeded many times as measured using the Ecological Footprint.

Humanity as a whole is using up the natural Resources 40 per cent more than what Earth can regenerate. A large expansion of agricultural land to provide for the growing populations has lead to further deforestation, loss of species, soil erosion, and pollution in all forms from energy production, pesticides and fertilizer.

Therefore, while assessing all these parameters, the country needs to curve the population explosion and for that thank to the leaders like late Sanjay Gandhi etc who tried to control the population explosion of the country at the very early time. Here remembered, the old saying that the more is the man, the more is the word.

The observation of World population day on the 11th July every year has also reminds us the urgency to curve the world population as the Human is diminishing the natural resources many times higher than what the earth can replenish. For Manipur also, the population impact to our Environment is innumerous. Due to increase in population, the present pressure to our forests is many folds. Weak Economy and Poor communication has also made to increase the Environmental problems.

Many Wetlands of Manipur has now been turn up to Croplands and Farmlands. But we know, Water is life and so Wetlands are the best Biodiversity Sites. Hence, we should conserve our Wetlands. Every year huge tones of Charcoal are produced from the hilly regions of Manipur not only to toast the winter cold but also for some Small Scale Industries like Blacksmith, Goldsmith and Dhobi etc. In our State, for making of charcoal, the root stock of trees mainly coppicer are uprooted and burnt.

This is the worst of the worst challenges to our Forests leading to Soil erosion and many more Ecological problems. Charcoal should be made only from the branches, twigs or stump etc. but not from the roots. To protect our forest we need to see some of the parameters. The present numbers of staff in Forest Department, Manipur are only 0.036% of the State population and each Forest Guard has to protect about 48 sq. km. of State land which is next to impossible.

The Budgetary allocation of Forest Department is less than 1% of the total State Budget. But the National Forests Policy envisages for allocating at least 2% of the whole State Budget to Forestry sector. The Government should look into this matter for immediate rectification.

Therefore, unless every one of us from all sections of the Society does not voluntarily accept and share our responsibility to save our mother Earth, then we will be surely in an Environmental dilemma in the future years to come.

wikipedia

The demographics of India are inclusive of the second most populous country in the world, with over 1.21 billion people (2011 census), more than a sixth of the world's population. Already containing 17.5% of the world's population, India is projected to be the world's most populous country by 2025, surpassing China, its population reaching 1.6 billion by 2050.[4][5] Its population growth rate is 1.41%, ranking 102nd in the world in 2010.[6]

India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan; and, by 2030, India's dependency ratio should be just over 0.4.[7]

India has more than two thousand ethnic groups,[8] and every major religion is represented, as are four major families of languages (Indo-European, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman languages) as well as two language isolates (the Nihali language[9] spoken in parts of Maharashtra and the Burushaski language spoken in parts of Jammu and Kashmir).

Further complexity is lent by the great variation that occurs across this population on social parameters such as income and education. Only the continent of Africa exceeds the linguistic, genetic and cultural diversity of the nation of India.

Salient features:

occupies 2.4% of the world's land area and supports over 17.5% of the world's population. Per the 2001 census, 72.2% of the population[11] lives in about 638,000 villages[12] and the remaining 27.8%[11] lives in more than 5,100 towns and over 380 urban agglomerations.[13]

India's population exceeds that of the entire continent of Africa by 200 million people.[14]

[edit] Comparative demographics

Main article: Fact sheet on India

Category

Global Ranking

Notes (Reference)

Area

7th

[15]

Population

2nd

[15]

Population growth rate

102nd of 212

as of 2010[6]

Population density

(people per square kilometer of land area)

24th of 212

as of 2010[6]

Male to Female ratio, at birth

12th of 214

as of 2009[16]

[edit] List of States and Union territories by demographics

[hide]Historical population of India[17] 

Census

Pop.

%±

1951

361,088,000

-

1961

439,235,000

21.6%

1971

548,160,000

24.8%

1981

683,329,000

24.7%

1991

846,387,888

23.9%

2001

1,028,737,436

21.5%

2011

1,210,193,422

17.6%

Rank

State or union territory

Population (2011)

%[18]

Rural Pop.[19]

Urban Pop.[19]

Area km²[20]

Density (per km²)

Area mi²

Density (per mi²)

Sex ratio[21]

1

Uttar Pradesh

199,581,520

16.49%

131,658,339

34,539,582

240,928

828

93,022.8

2146

908

2

Maharashtra

112,372,972

9.29%

55,777,647

41,100,980

307,713

365

118,808.7

815

925

3

Bihar

103,804,637

8.58%

74,316,709

8,681,800

94,163

1,102

36,356.5

2,855

916

4

West Bengal

91,347,736

7.55%

57,748,946

22,427,251

88,752

1,030

34,267.3

2,666

947

5

Andhra Pradesh

84,665,533

7.00%

55,401,067

20,808,940

275,045

308

106,195.5

797

992

6

Madhya Pradesh

72,597,565

6.00%

44,380,878

15,967,145

308,245

236

119,014.1

610

930

7

Tamil Nadu

72,138,958

5.96%

34,921,681

27,483,998

130,058

555

50,215.7

1,437

995

8

Rajasthan

68,621,012

5.67%

43,292,813

13,214,375

342,239

201

132,139.2

519

926

9

Karnataka

61,130,704

5.05%

34,889,033

17,961,529

191,791

319

74,050.9

826

968

10

Gujarat

60,383,628

4.99%

31,740,767

18,930,250

196,024

308

75,685.3

798

918

11

Orissa

41,947,358

3.47%

31,287,422

5,517,238

155,707

269

60,118.8

698

978

12

Kerala

33,387,677

2.76%

23,574,449

8,266,925

38,863

859

15,005.1

2,225

1,084

13

Jharkhand

32,966,238

2.72%

20,952,088

5,993,741

79,714

414

30,777.7

1071

947

14

Assam

31,169,272

2.58%

23,216,288

3,439,240

78,438

397

30,285.1

1029

954

15

Punjab

27,704,236

2.29%

16,096,488

8,262,511

50,362

550

19,444.9

1,425

893

16

Chhattisgarh

25,540,196

2.11%

16,648,056

4,185,747

135,191

189

52,197.5

489

991

17

Haryana

25,353,081

2.09%

15,029,260

6,115,304

44,212

573

17,070.3

1,485

877

18

Jammu and Kashmir

12,548,926

1.04%

7,627,062

2,516,638

222,236

56

85,805.8

146

883

19

Uttarakhand

10,116,752

0.84%

6,310,275

2,179,074

53,483

189

20,649.9

490

963

20

Himachal Pradesh

6,856,509

0.57%

5,482,319

595,581

55,673

123

21,495.5

319

974

21

Tripura

3,671,032

0.30%

2,653,453

545,750

10,486

350

4,048.7

907

921

22

Meghalaya

2,964,007

0.24%

1,864,711

454,111

22,429

132

8,659.9

342

986

23

Manipurβ

2,721,756

0.22%

1,590,820

575,968

22,327

122

8,620.5

316

987

24

Nagaland

1,980,602

0.16%

1,647,249

342,787

16,579

119

6,401.2

309

931

25

Goa

1,457,723

0.12%

677,091

670,577

3,702

394

1,429.4

1020

968

26

Arunachal Pradesh

1,382,611

0.11%

870,087

227,881

83,743

17

32,333.4

43

920

27

Mizoram

1,091,014

0.09%

447,567

441,006

21,081

52

8,139.4

134

975

28

Sikkim

607,688

0.05%

480,981

59,870

7,096

86

2,739.8

222

889

UT1

Delhi

16,753,235

1.38%

944,727

12,905,780

11,297

9,340

572.6

29,258

866

UT2

Pondicherry

1,244,464

0.10%

325,726

648,619

479

2,598

184.9

6,730

1,038

UT3

Chandigarh

1,054,686

0.09%

92,120

808,515

114

9,252

44.0

23,970

818

UT4

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

379,944

0.03%

239,954

116,198

8,249

46

3,185.0

119

878

UT5

Dadra and Nagar Haveli

342,853

0.03%

170,027

50,463

491

698

189.6

1,808

775

UT6

Daman and Diu

242,911

0.02%

100,856

57,348

112

2,169

43.2

5,623

618

UT7

Lakshadweep

64,429

0.01%

33,683

26,967

32

2,013

12.4

5,196

946

Total

India

1,210,193,422

100.00%

742,490,639

286,119,689

3,287,240

382

1,269,210.5

954

940

[edit] States in India

[hide]Rank

India/State/UT

No. of districts in 2001

No. of Districts in 2011

No. of Districts without any geographical change

01

Uttar Pradesh

71

75

47

02

Madhya Pradesh

45

50

36

03

Bihar

37

38

34

04

Maharashtra

35

35

31

05

Rajasthan

32

33

18

06

Tamil Nadu

30

32

25

07

Karnataka

27

30

24

08

Orissa

30

30

26

09

Assam

23

27

15

10

Gujarat

25

26

20

11

Jharkhand

18

24

9

12

Andhra Pradesh

23

23

23

13

Jammu & Kashmir

14

22

5

14

Haryana

19

21

17

15

Punjab

17

20

8

16

West Bengal

18

19

17

17

Chattisgarh

16

18

14

18

Kerala

14

14

14

19

Arunachal Pradesh

13

16

10

20

Uttarakhand

13

13

11

21

Himachal Pradesh

12

12

12

22

Nagaland

8

11

4

23

NCT of Delhi

9

9

9

24

Manipur

9

9

9

25

Mizoram

8

8

4

26

Meghalaya

7

7

4

27

Sikkim

4

4

4

28

Tripura

4

4

2

29

Pondicherry

4

4

4

30

Andaman & Nicobar Islands

2

3

1

31

Goa

2

2

2

32

Daman & Diu

2

2

2

33

Dadra & Nagar Haveli

1

1

1

34

Chandigarh

1

1

1

35

Lakshadweep

1

1

1

INDIA

593

640

464

[22]

[edit] Religious demographics

Main article: Religion in India

Religions of India[23][note 1][note 2]

[show]Religion

Population

Percent

All religions

1,028,610,328

100.00%

Hindus

827,578,868

80.5%

Muslims

138,188,240

13.4%

Christians

24,080,016

2.3%

Sikhs

19,215,730

1.9%

Buddhists

7,955,207

0.8%

Jains

4,225,053

0.4%

Bahá'ís

1 953 112

0.18%

Others

4,686,588

0.32%

Religion not stated

727,588

0.1%

The table below summarizes India's demographics (excluding Mao-Maram, Paomata and Purul subdivisions of Senapati District of Manipur state due to cancellation of census results) according to religion per 2001 census in percent. The data is "unadjusted" (without excluding Assam and Indian-administered Kashmir); 1981 census was not conducted in Assam and 1991 census was not conducted in Jammu and Kashmir.

Table 2: Census information for 2001

Composition

Hindus[24]

Muslims[25]

Christians[26]

Sikhs[27]

Buddhist[28]

Jains[29]

Others1[30]

 % total of population 2001

80.5%

13.4%

2.3%

1.9%

0.8%

0.4%

0.6%

10-Yr Growth % (est '91-'01)[31]

20.3%

29.5%

22.6%

18.2%

24.5%

26.0%

103.1%

No. of females/1000 males. (avg. = 944)

935

940

1009

895

955

940

1000

Literacy rate (71.7% for Age 7 & above)[32]

75.5

60.0

90.3

70.4

73.0

95.0

50.0

Work Participation Rate

40.4

31.3

39.7

37.7

40.6

32.9

48.4

Rural sex ratio[31]

944

953

1001

895

958

937

995

Urban sex ratio[31]

922

907

1026

886

944

941

966

Child sex ratio (0-6 yrs)

925

950

964

786

942

870

976

^1 including Bahá'ís, Jews, and Parsis. Tribal Animists (and non religious) are included after 1926 (1931 census onwards)

[edit] Neonatal and infant demographics

The table below presents the infant mortality rate trends in India, by gender, in last 15 years. In urban areas of India, average male infant mortality rates are slightly higher than female infant mortality rates.

Infant mortality demographic trends of India per 1000 births

Year

Infant (0-1 year), Male

Infant (0-1 year), Female

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