Every once in a while I go back to this masterful video from “bill wurtz” that manages to tell the history of Japan in under 10 minutes, without having it be a snooze-fest of dates and names.
Obviously any such effort will reduce complex historical events into just several seconds on a video, and yet the irreverent, ironic tone manages to tell the story without making it seem authoritative – it seems evident that the maker would not quibble if you argued that any particular bit is too simplistic or not nuanced enough.
Attempting anything similar for India, a country where select groups seem to relish attacking any efforts to actually engage with history seems unlikely, though it remains a task worth undertaking.
But one Twitter account over the past year has managed to scratch nearly the same itch, albeit without the openly ironic tone.
Raj Bhagat, whose Twitter bio says “Earth Observer, Civil Engineer”, decided in November to put out one interesting map about India per day. Bhagat’s eye for interesting subjects as well as data visualisation skills resulted in some utterly fascinating, and beautiful maps.
Not all are surprising or counter-intuitive, but nearly every one presents information in a manner that makes you want to know more or to zoom in and understand better. Even when Bhagat is not mapping India – the chart of where the most captures happen in Ludo for example – the maps manage to fascinate.