As the clock rings midnight between 14th and 15th of August, it will the 70th birthday of the Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic of India (that’s its official name), my home country, and its twin, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (though, just for the sake looking different, Pakistanis celebrate it on 14th August instead of 15th).
So I will take this opportunity to introduce my friends across the World to some interesting facts about my beloved India.
* India is the 7th largest country in the world, and the second most populous. Roughly, every 1 out of 6 humans is an Indian, and every 1 out of 4 humans in working age group is Indian.
* India has over 150 distinct languages and 1652 known mother tongues. It also has the World’s highest number of people knowing 3 or more languages, since the universal primary education itself teaches 3 languages in most provinces.
* It is home to the world’s oldest known continuous civilisation (Indus Valley), and 2 of the oldest languages (Sanskrit and Tamil) that are also the sole competitors for the top place.
* It is the world’s largest democracy, with 1.2 billion people, so much so, that India’s General elections is a favorite case study topic for management schools across the world. In fact, we take universal polling so seriously that there is a polling station set up every time in the forests of Gir for a single man, an ascetic who is a registered voter and lives there permanently.
* Another management miracle is India’s Kumbh-mela, the world’s largest human gathering that takes place every 12 years at four cities, attended by over 100 million people, so that it is visible from the space even.
* Three religions that originated in India (Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism) amount for nearly 25% of the world’s population. Despite of having a more than 85% Hindu population, India is constitutionally a secular nation, and houses more mosques than even Saudi Arabia and Iran together (300000+ of them in fact).
* Indian has consistently been the largest contributor to UN Peacekeeping Forces ever since its inception, despite of being largely unpaid for. It has the third largest military force in the world, is the world’s biggest importer of arms, yet has never invaded a single country in 100000 years of its known history.
* It is also home to the wettest place in the World (Mawsynram), the largest road network in the world, the highest battlefield in the World (Siachen Glacier), the highest airport in the World (Leh), amongst other records.
* India’s first space rocket was brought to the launchpad on a bicycle, and first satellite on a bullock cart. Yet today, despite of budget constraints, the Indian Space Research Organization is a world ranker, being the only one having completed a successful Mars mission in the very first try. In fact, it costed us a mere INR 7 per kilometre (about 0.11 US Dollars per km). Clearly, we in India take economy very seriously.
* India is credited with inventing chess and snakes&ladders.
* Also buttons (yes, your shirt’s buttons).
* Also measuring rulers.
* Also shampoo.
* Also the Zero.
* Also Pi.
* Also trigonometry, algebra and calculus.
* Cataract surgery.
* Plastic surgery. (And these weren’t performed by any modern surgeon, but an Ayurvedic surgeon more than 3000 years ago. More about it later.)
* And discovering water on the moon.
* It is one of the only 3 countries that can make supercomputers, besides Japan and USA.
* It gave to the World, Yoga, Ayurveda, Martial Art, Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi, amongst other jewels of world heritage.
* Only 3% Indians have to pay income tax. The reason is that agriculture is separately taxed, and 2/3rd people do it. Also, only those earning a considerable income (above 250 thousands INR annually) are taxed.
* It is illegal in India for a child to neglect their parents after their retirement.
* India has the largest number of vegetarians in the world. So much so, that Pizza hut had to open its first pure veg branch in India, and MacDonalds and KFC had to introduce veg menus for India.
* There is a whole town in India where there are no doors to buildings, no locks to anything and no police station, because the locals firmly believe that the town’s presiding deity will punish any offender too dearly for them to commit a crime. The place, Shani Shingnapur, is in fact, a popular pilgrimage place.
* Varanasi in India is the oldest known continuously inhabited city in the world.
* India has the largest number of post offices in the world, including even a floating post office in the Dal lake.
* India has the world’s only exclusive spa for elephants.
Hope you enjoyed reading. I could write more about things the world is more interested in knowing, but this is not a political blog. Any questions/objections may be placed in decent language in the comments box, and will be answered to the extent of my knowledge. See you again,
Stay healthy, state happy!