Questers

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Questers
धर्मदेश (Dharmandesh; lit. Country of the Dharmans)
Benua Amkaya (lit. Continental Commonwealth)
Flag
Anthem: Questaria the Brave
Royal anthemPerajurit Tanah Air
Largest Jesselton
Demonym Questarian
Government Government House
 •  Defender of the Faiths Abdullah Afiz
Area
 •  6,262,400 km2 (4th)
2,417,926 sq mi
 •  Water (%) 8
Population
 •  2018 estimate 572 million (est.)
 •  Density 91 (est.)/km2
236.5 (est.)/sq mi
GDP (nominal) 2019 estimate
 •  Total $7,415 billion (est.)
 •  Per capita $12,960 (est.)
Currency Various
Time zone (UTC-3)
Date format dd-mm-yyyy
Drives on the left

Questers (/'kɪs.tərs/, KIS-tərs), also called Dharmandesh, is a country in East Crataea. It is the third-largest country in the world by area, the second-most populous country in the world, and the largest and most populous part of the Commonwealth. It is bordered by Taihei Tengoku in the south, and Hakara, Uiri, and Sharfland to the east; the Yehud separates the country from Western Crataea.

Etymology and identity

The term Questers comes from the old Dharman term for Crataea, Kretshyas. The term was Praetannicised into Keretsers and finally into Questers. The term Questaria for the country is common in both Praetonia and North Point, and is an adopted identity by whites in Questers, especially those of Praetonian or Cockay descent.

Before the settlers, the official term for the whole of north Questers was Dharmandesh (धर्म देश), literally Country of the Dharmans in the Mogami and Axackali languages. Other minority languages of north Questers have similar names; in Charnadi and Mahani the country is called Dharamandesa. Southern Questarians referred to their own regions by their general names, and used a form of Dharmandesh to refer to the north of the country. However, the Yamatai peoples referred to south Questers as the Near East (近東, Kintō) which is sometimes reflected in classical literature. Conversely some languages in the south refer to the Yamatai countries as being the Near West (近西, Kinshi).

Since Questers is not a state polity and lacks a core nationalist identity, the words used by people to refer to the country as a whole are largely dependent on their own racial, ethnic, or religious identity. In particular, many people in the Commonwealth do not consider Questers, Praetonia, and North Point as being separate countries, but as being regions of the same country, referring to them as the Western and Eastern Commonwealth respectively, with North Point sometimes being referred to as the Commonwealth Islands and Praetonia even as the Home Islands.

History

Geography

The Yamuna, one of Questers' many rivers.
Almost 1/6th of Questers is 3,000 feet above sea level or higher.

With a total area of 2,417,926 sq-mi (6,262,400 sq-km), Questers is the 3rd-largest country in the world by square area, and is commonly referred to as a subcontinent, especially as it lies to the far east of the Crataean continent, facing the Oryontic ocean and across the Axackal strait. Questers lies across the northern part of the Axackal tectonic plate and straddles the Charatry plate; tectonic plate movements approximately 70 million years ago caused the formation of the large mountain ranges that characterise the border with Taihei Tengoku. These mountains opened up two very large drainage basins; the Herat basin in the centre-east of Questers and the Nampata basin on the border with Yehud, draining into the Oryontic ocean and Axackal Sea respectively. The high fertility of these two basins allowed for the growth of distinct mega-diverse biospheres with high levels of endemism. Questers has more than 40% of the world's total species of flora and fauna, including 20 million species of plant and insect found in no other country.

The south and east of the country are populated by dense rainforest, including cloud forest, leading to the western border with Taihei Tengoku and the Rayana river. The centre of the country is mostly flat with significant drainage, leading northwards to lower altitude highlands. The northern part of the country, which lines the Axackal sea, is also mostly flat, with significant hills and valleys to the northeast. The Questarian far-west, the Nampataland, is also generally flat after the descent of the Charatry mountain range.

Questers is a megadiverse country; some biologists have awarded it the title of mostdiverse. The majority of this diversity comes from woodland; in 2010 it was estimated that more than two thirds of Questers is still covered in diptocarp-dominated rainforest - some of these forests are even older than the Questarian mountain ranges, with an estimated age of up to 130 million years.

Climate

Questers has a variety of climates, but due to the country's high average temperature of 27 °C and average annual rainfall is about 230cm. The most common habitat in Questers is moist broadleaf forest and dry broadleaf forest. There are more temperate forests in the highland areas, which reach as high as the montane zone for significant parts of the country. There are also tropical grasslands and xeric bush. Most of the climate is suitable for growing rice, with the Nampataland very suitable for growing wheat.

Environment

With a lack of central environmental regulations, the ecological effects of economic development have severe, both in terms of deforestation, species extinction, and general pollution. Many Questarian cities, especially along the Yamuna-Ghaghara industrial belt, and larger metropolitan cities such as Jesselton and Kuala Pahang, have severe air pollution which affects both quality of life and physical health. Logging has removed around 30% of the country's tree cover since 1900, although this process has been slowing.

Some settlements have attempted to enforce environmental regulations, with limited success; in most parts of Questers, air and water pollution is getting worse. However, a general cultural shift towards conservationism, beginning in the 1970s and continuing to the present day, has resulted in the establishment of several large national parks and nature zones, patrolled by privately-funded park rangers in order to prevent poaching. In some of theses zones, natural life has begun to take hold again where it was previously at risk. Questarians donate significant sums to conservation charities.

Politics

Government

Questers has never been politically unified or centralised. Instead, it is governed decentrally, divided into hundreds of subunits: principalities, duchies, free cities, private estates and trade federations, all of which pledge allegiance to a centrally-located authority. This authority upholds the law as stated by the Courts of Record, protects the country's external borders, maintains the public peace, co-ordinates infrastructure, communications, and public health, and regulates the relations between the country's subunits. Currently, all the country's subunits are collected at Government House in Jesselton and since 2013, have chosen Abdullah Afiz to be the country's chief authority. In the past, they were collected in Company House and chose the Company of Freeholders.

Law

Public safety

Economy

Jesselton central business district.
Questers is often called the breadbasket of the Commonwealth.

The economy of Questers is the 3rd-largest in the world by purchasing power parity, with estimates on its total size ranging from as low as $5,900 to as high as $7,800 billion. It is supported by the world's 2nd-largest workforce of nearly 230 million people, and is characterised by rapid economic growth, massive income inequality, and an almost complete lack of central authority, including no de-jure currency, weights and measurements, or financial regulations.

Questers, as part of the Commonwealth, operates in a de-facto common market with Praetonia, Cockaygne, and North Point, with these countries having adopted common customary rules for commerce. More than 75% of Questarian trade is with these three countries.

The Questarian economy is heavily diversified, as Questers is often considered as a patchwork of more than 1,500 territories, rather than a single central nationstate. The Questarian civil war seriously affected the economy, causing large redistributions of land and wealth, but despite a three-year economic recession as a consequence of the conflict, the economy has seen considerable growth since 2014. Significant economic growth is centred around construction, agriculture (as Questers is a major agricultural exporter, often called the breadbasket of the Commonwealth), raw materials, especially rubber and petroleum, heavy industry, transport, and insurance services.

GDP estimates by international and domestic analysts confirm the country's position as the 3rd or 4th-largest economy, with GDP ranging from as low as $5,900 to as high as $7,800 billion. Government House spends around $300 billion every year on defence expenditures, infrastructure and telecoms commitments, and public health. This money is collected from the revenues of the members of the House, who own around 70% of the country's wealth.

Remittances form a vital part of Questarian trade, with both Questarians abroad sending money home and migrant workers from the rest of Crataea sending money earned in Questers out. Questers is home to an estimated five to ten million guest workers from other countries, and a similar number of Questarians work abroad on a temporary basis.

Questers has significant green and grey markets, outside of the observation of large-scale accounting operations. More than one third of Questers lives below the poverty line, often without a bank account, where economic activity is difficult to calculate.

Currency

Questers does not have a legal tender, and Questarians use a variety of currencies. The most commonly used currency in Questers is the same as in Praetonia, which is the Guinea of the Commonwealth Banking Confederation, a standards organisation which guarantees the financial soundness of currency-issuing bodies. Guineas are divided into twenty shillings, which are divided into twelve pence each. While in theory any currency can be accepted, most major financial institutions prefer CBC-verified Guineas. Although Guineas are the most widely used currency in daily life, the Oryontic Dollar, a currency issued by a union of Questarian-Praetonian-North Point financial institutions is the most widely used for trade in goods and services between the three countries and acts as both a medium of exchange and clearing currency. The Oryontic Dollar is rarely used in real life and bills are not issued for general public use.

Transport

A train in Yamunastan.

Questers does not have a national highway network as can be found in other countries. Highways, known as turnpikes, are usually run based on tolls. Most major cities are connected by four-lane roads, but these are typically single carriageway. There are an estimated 3,650,000 miles of paved and unpaved road in Questers, but only around 3,500 miles of expressways, which feature particular for military use. In contrast, Questers 190,000 miles of railway give it the largest railway network in the world, used heavily for transport of freight and passengers. The country's railway system is organised by Imperial Rail, a trade federation of railway companies and investors. More than 1.6 million people are employed by these companies. Air transport is common across long distances for the middle class. There are over 450 airports in Questers, of which 15 are major international airports. The country has more than 50 million passengers per year.

For short distance travel, regular minibus services are a common option. They are complemented by an affordable system of coach travel that competes with the national railway. Personal car ownership is low. There are around 23 cars per 1,000 people, but there are 350 motorcycles per 1,000; the highest in the world.

Communications

Communications in Questers are de-facto governed by the General Post, a trade federation of communications companies supplying post, courier, telecommunications and internet services. The telecoms sector in general contributes around 1.5% of the economy's gross value added, employing around 0.35% of the population. Seven major firms control 90% of the market share, with four of those firms inter-Commonwealth firms and three Questarian-grown. The largest provider of mobile subscriptions is Continental (22.25%) and the largest internet service provider is Imperial Communications (29%).

Mobile ownership has become widespread since the early 21st-century, with more than three quarters of Questarians owning a mobile phone. Since the end of the civil war, during which the telecommunications industry was diverted to military production, there has been a fast growth in both 3g and 4g. One quarter of Questarians have access to 4g, and nearly two thirds to 3g. In total, more than 80% of the Questarians have regular access to the interent and 25% have high-speed broadband.

Education

Public health

Vaccinations are often offered free of charge in Questers, if they are proven and affordable.

Although healthcare is entirely private in Questers, estate authorities often provide vaccinations free of charge for residents, and in the later part of the 20th-century began to consider public health as a serious undertaking. The majority of major cities in Questers have functional sewage systems and other public health institutions in order to prevent the spread of infectious and communicable disease. Nonetheless, health provision is heavily dependent on a person's household income. This disparity can be seen in disability-adjusted life years, which in prosperous parts of Questers such as New Senland and Katagalugan can be as low as 430 years per 1,000 people; less developed parts of Questers can lose up to 700 years per 1,000 people, chiefly based on mortality. Other metrics range similarly; maternal mortality in Landing was 26.4 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015, contrasting to 450 deaths in Nampatabad in the same year.

Total expenditures on health in Questers were approximately 8.5% of national income in 2018. Higher-income families tend to purchase health insurance from Praetonian or North Point medical insurance firms, which might even include the cost of transferring a patient to an overseas hospital; there are also hospitals funded by these medical funds in Questers too. These medical groups compete with cheaper domestic hospitals and clinics, and also with local surgeries for those on low incomes without medical insurance. Medical personnel are registered with licensing boards that act as standards organisations. In 2018 Questers had 1.133 physicians per 1,000 people registered with AAA and AA medical licensing boards, and 1.85 practicing physicians either registered with BB or CC licensing boards, or totally unregistered.

Demographics

Ethnicity and language

'This country is afflicted with more races and the languages thereof than there are people living in it.'
Simon Hunter, 1754

Questers is a multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic country with an estimated 600 languages, including regional dialects; of these, 32 are spoken by more than 1 million people; there are an estimated 100 different and distinct ethnicities living in Questers. Sennish serves as a contact language for the population. More than 70% of Questers can speak Sennish at a basic level and around 40% speak it fluently.

Religion

The Golden Temple, an important religious site for Sikhs.

Questers is a multi-religious country in which practitioners of every religion can be found. Approximately one half of the people in Questers follow Dharmat; the other half follow either Praetannic Free Congregationalism or Agama, a form of Congregationalism heavily influenced by local religious and judicial theorists. There is a significant minority of people who practice traditional Crataean pantheon religion, including Dumani and Songian folk religions, but Questers is chiefly a Dharman and Congregationalist country with little Oswinist influence.

Religion plays an important part in daily life in Questers; social surveys consistently find that religion is an important moral and social foundation for over 90% of Questarians people. Questarian poly-centric law provides a firm basis for religions to co-exist, allowing different estates to enforce religious laws without impacting worship in other, neighbouring estates. Despite wide variance in religious practice, Questarians are united under the Praetonian common law's doctrine, and both common law and Congregationalism constitute the basis of the country's social order. Minority religions tend to concentrate in areas where they can avoid persecution.

 Dharmans: 51%
 Oswinites: 3%
 Crataean pantheon: 7%
 Providentialist or Agama or Allied: 39%

Squatters

Part of a squat in Jesselton.

Squatters is a term used to describe persons who live in unlawful settlements. These settlements, known as squats, can range from being just under a hundred people to more than a hundred thousand. Squats can be discrete; the squats of New Senland are often almost next door to lawful cities, and sometimes nearly as large; or they can be indiscrete, with settlements containing a patchwork of unlawfully-occupied areas, common in the Ghagharaland and Yamunaland. Squats typically become larger during wartime or times of poor economic performance, and are a source of tension for those who live in the squats and those who live next to them. Although squats are occasionally demolished, squatters merely move to other parts of the country, and the cost of demolishing a squat is often high, so that landowners typically prefer to attempt to extract minimal rents from squats.

Culture

Although Questers has many distinct regions with their own individual cultures, Questarians typically consider their country to have a universal culture which sits alongside local cultures: this includes the primacy of family, including extended family; a common and complex code of manners regarding the treatment of strangers, especially those from other religions; and commonly consumed cuisine, film, and sport which are sufficiently compelling to bind together a country of 340 million people, four religions, and more than fifteen major languages.

Cuisine

Butter chicken, or murgh makhani, is a traditionally North Questarian dish widely consumed in Orissaland and New Senland.
Lopburi-style pad thai.

Questers has a variety of regional cuisines which are distinct from an overall national cuisine. However, Questers has two major agricultural staples of rice (in the Herat basin) and wheat (in the Nampataland) which provides the country with two major staple food sources. Both white and brown rice are popular, as well as Malayan coconut-based styles. Most bread consumed is unleavened flatbread such as chappatti and roti canai; chappatti has often been called the national food of Questers. In addition to these sources, various Questarian ethnicities have cultural prohibitions on the consumption of both beef and pork, making goat and fish a major meat source. The wide availability of spice, which is also a major export, has caused curry to become a predominant form of cuisine in the subcontinent.

Curry in the south and centre of Questers is heavily flavoured by coconut, with dishes such as yellow curry and laksa being popular and well-known dishes. In the north of Questers, aromatic, ghee-based dishes such as rogan josh, murgh makhani, and laal maans constitute a universally recognised style of national cooking. The high number of vegetarians, coupled with Questers traditionally low-income economy, has led to the proliferation of vegetarian curry dishes, usually based around chickpeas and lentils such as dal bhat or other leafy vegetables such as saag. In the south of Questers, fruit and shoot salads such as green papaya salad and kinilnat have recently become popular across the whole country.

Street food is common across the whole of Questers, and regional styles of street food are often joined to make street fusion food, which has spread to other parts of the Commonwealth. Typical street food includes meat-based snacks such as satay, bowl-based dishes such as pad thai, and smaller snacks like pakoras; the variety of fillings available in both pakoras and samosas, which can be adapted to foreign cuisines, means that these two dishes are often a foreigners first introduction to Questarian food. Curry houses also represent Questers on the world stage for cuisine, although they are less common in Questers itself.

Drink

Teh tarik being made.

The most common drink in Questers is tea, commonly called chai, which originates from northern Questers. Most forms of tea, including black, oolong, and green tea are commonly consumed in Questers and have been widely exported; Questarians rarely add fresh milk to tea, although condensed milk is occasionally added, as in teh tarik. Tea is significant in Questarian culture, as it is both cheap and popular. It often forms the basis for most social or business meetings. Coffee, which is grown in Questers, is also widely consumed. Kopi tebal (thick coffee), a Herat-style of drinking coffee in which roasted coffee is cooked and, during the process mixed with condensed milk and double cream, has sometimes been called the national coffee drink of Questers, and can often be sold by street vendors for as little as $1 a cup.

Many Questarians drink alcohol, the most common being beer; the Questarian climate is unsuitable for the production of wine, which is only rarely consumed and usually as a sign of social status. Wallasean drinks such as whisky and gin are very popular, but locally produced spirits such as palm toddy or rice whisky are more popular amongst working-class Questarians: street stalls selling rice whisky by the shot measurement constitute the basis of social life for many working-class Questarian males.

Sports

Sports constitute a major past-time for the majority of Questarian people, whether it be watching or playing. No single ethnicity claims one given sport as its own and sport, alongside food, is a major multicultural meeting point for Questarians of different ethnicities and religions. The most popular sport is certainly cricket, with Questarian football and rugby coming second and third. Clubs for every kind of sport can be found in most Questarian settlements; in addition to popular sports that can be followed by anyone, sports for the elite such as polo and golf often form the basis of country clubs, admission to which can often depend on a persons skill in a given sport, as well as their social standing.

There are three kinds of sports leagues in Questers; those based around geographical areas, such as cities or counties, those based around internal competition between large military units (such as the Yeomanry League), and those centred around universities. These leagues do not run concurrently and it is common for players to transfer between them. Sports players in Questers are often not well paid, and many sporting celebrities are in fact amateurs. Questarian teams often compete with teams from Praetonia, North Point and Cockaygne in these sports.

Iconography

An abandoned temple in the Nampatan mountains.

See also