Do you ever come across content on the internet, that makes you stop and think? You love everything about it and it makes you feel like it was specifically moulded to your interests as a person and created specifically for your psyche (it probably was- internet algorithms!) Nevertheless, you cannot believe that you are fortunate enough to exist in a time like this, where you can be connected to people around the world who are marvelling at the same creation as you. This was something I felt when I stumbled across an account called India in Pixels.
The very first time I came across them was when I found an interesting map that described the origins of the word tea and the word chai. The areas which acquired tea through trades with China via sea got variations of the word ‘te’ and those that acquired it through land trade adopted variations of the word ‘cha’ for the delectable drink. And all of this stemmed from a simple difference in pronunciation between different districts in China.
Not only was this a fascinating piece of information, but I also was amazed at the simplicity of the representation of this information. One map, two different colours and bam, a snapshot of linguistics, history and trade all at once!
Ever since that first post, I became a diligent follower.
I follow their account on Instagram and youtube and the level of content, design and data analysis they provide is just brilliant. In fact, it was after being introduced to their work that I took a statistics class, and even applied to data science programs in university!
What amazes me about this account is the interdisciplinary approach to their subject matter. India is a country that is very difficult to categorize. With dozens of languages, cultures, classes and ideologies, it is very difficult to create an accurate representation of the country using numbers alone. However, India in Pixels embraces the challenge. Each data analysis is coupled with simple imagery, bright colours and is easy to comprehend. Whether it is breaking down Prateek Kuhad songs into their emotional components, or summarizing details about 1.4 billion Indians into a sample of 100 people, India in Pixels’ principal achievement is the ability to condense large pieces of information and connect it to ‘existing knowledge’ while acknowledging the nuances that exist in the subject matter.
Another reason why I love this account is that it doesn’t restrict itself to a particular genre. If your job is to help the masses visualize data, it is very easy to stay stuck in producing masses of infographics littered with percentages ( not that this is a bad form of data representation, just a standard form). However, India in Pixels has pushed itself to produce content about all sorts of information.
I finally answered my age-old question on why my relatives back in Odisha could never pronounce the letter v. I had always wondered why ‘van’ would become ‘ban’ but ‘vitamin’ would become ‘bhitamin’ in their tongue. I had also pondered upon the reason why the stereotype existed that Indian people pronounce ‘w’ as ‘v’. All my questions were answered in a riveting video about linguistics produced by none other than IIP.
I also learnt why the song Manike Mage Hithe was so addictive for my dad, (seriously I heard it every day for a month!) Additionally, I was able to account for my inability to differentiate gender in Hindi to the lack of gendered words in my native language of Odia. All these tidbits of information might seem unrelated, however worked together to generate a cohesive image of India.
Even their most recent work, a video that combines filmography and storytelling to portray the hope and aspirations of Indians born on Independence Day was a surprisingly heart-warming tale. It made me realize how our country is young and old simultaneously. As a young teenager, with big aspirations and ambitions, it really made me wonder how much I would achieve those dreams, and how my life might pan out in the future.
I have absolutely enjoyed the content produced by India in Pixels and would recommend others to check their work out. I’m excited to see the direction they grow in and look forward to their upcoming work!