1. Let’s start with a myth buster. There is a very common urban myth that says, “India never invaded any country in her last 10000(or even way before that) years,” and this is featured on every “Amazing facts of India” list which has a “Be proud to be an Indian” punchline at the end.
Here is the deal- it is an incorrect fact. First of all, India came into existence as a single entity in 1947; rewind a few hundred years and you will know that the subcontinent was divided into various fragments that were ruled by different kings.
It is known that the rulers of Chola empire had annexed parts of South Asia which includes parts of Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand etc…. or just forget the antediluvian details, remember what India did post 1947, when in 1961, it invaded Goa, which was then a Portugese colony. Similarly in 1971, when the Indian Armed forces entered what was then ‘East Pakistan’ to “liberate” it from ‘West Pakistan’ lead to the formation of Bangladesh.
2. Before discussing the Elections in India, lets stop for a moment and take pride in being a part of the world’s biggest Democracy.
The elections in India are a spectacle, widely anticipated worldwide, and something that lasts weeks and even months. Did you know that in the Gir district in Gujarat, a polling station was set up so that one person (yes, you read it right -ONE!)can exercise his franchise? The Election Commission of India advises that no voter should have to travel more than two kilometers to their nearest polling station. And that is how Mahant Bharatdas Darshandas, a temple caretaker, who lives in Banej in Gir Forest gets to vote in a full fledged polling booth readied exclusively for him.
3. Thanks to the ProKabaddi League, Kabaddi is getting more popular in this cricket crazy nation. It is a sad fact that we rarely acknowledge, let alone celebrate the glories they bring back home to our country. You must be surprised to know that Kabaddi is the only sport in which the Indian team, both men and women have won all the World Cups, since its conception.4. In an age ,where we lament about the lack of premium educational institutes, or Indian Universities not featuring in the top 100 universities world list etc, Here is something to cheer you up (if you were reading this in 300 BC!)- The oldest university in the world was formed in Takshashila which is even older than Nalanda. Most historians do not consider this as a proper University in the modern sense because the teachers living there do not have official membership in particular colleges, nor did they have purpose-built lecture halls or residential quarters. Archaeologists estimate the university to have existed possibly by 370 BC.
5. #LeaveDelhi had been a trending twitter handle in the last few weeks, because apparently, that is the only advice which pulmonologists have to offer towards patients with respiratory problems. The situation is very very grim, and certain facts about the pollution level in Delhi will literally take your breath away.
An estimated 10,000 people die prematurely every year due to the pollution levels in the city, and many children and adults living in the megacity suffer from lung-related diseases. PM 2.5 which is considered to be the most dangerous particle, often reaches more than 20 times the permissible limit in Delhi’s air. It is often quoted that breathing Delhi’s air is equal to smoking 20 cigarettes a day!
6. Gone are the days when snakes and ladder games were the perfect afternoon entertainment. Nevertheless, this worldwide classic board game traces back to India, where it was first developed as ‘Moksha Patam‘ and is also associated with the Hindu philosophy of Karma and Kama.
7. Operation Raahat- The Indian Army created a record and emerged as a global hero when it evacuated more than 4000 Indians and 500 foreigners from strife torn Yemen earlier this year. Due to its stellar efficiency and sheer power, the Indian Army received requests from several countries, including the US, Japan, UK, and Russia, to evacuate their nationals from the war zone.
8. According to UNICEF reports, a third of world’s malnourished children live in India. The figures show that the state of affairs in India is much worse than Sub-Saharan African countries. The report states “46 percent of all the children below three are too small for their age, 47 percent are underweight, and at least 16 percent are wasted”.
9. The New York Times might try to impugn India’s Mars Mission by citing the need for outer space exploration in times of abject poverty with a cartoon. But the Indian Space Research Organisation knows better. They have created history by becoming the only country to reach Martian orbit at the very first attempt, that too with only $74 million!, which is lower than the cost of making the sci-fi space movie Gravity!
If you want more statistical trivia, check this out- at 450 cr for 780 million km, the mission cost about 5.77 per km, which is cheaper than what many auto rickshaws charge in the country!
10. You can’t get enough of the Indian army! Did you know that the Indian army controls the highest battlefield in the world, the Siachen Glaicier, at 5000 meters above the mean sea-level? The contentious area is around 2500 sq km in the territory. The Indian Army gained control over it in 2003, while undertaking the successful Operation Meghdoot. They were touted as the best in high altitude and mountain warfare in the world.
11. India has the world’s largest attended event, with over 40 million people attending it every 12 years. Yes, I’m talking about the Maha Kumbh Mela. The devotees gather and bathe at the holy river Ganga to purify their sins. The BBC news reported that the Mela is probably the largest human gathering in history that has been imaged from space.
13. Fun Fact- This letter might seem like an innocent letter with bad grammar, but it went down in history as one of the most significant letters ever written, as far as the Indian Railways is concerned.
It was not until 50 years ago that toilets were introduced in trains for the first time. One Okhil Chandra Sen wrote a letter to the authorities after the embarrassment he had to go through when he wanted to use the restroom. And the rest is history!
14. Hockey is not our “National Sport”. And Hindi is not the National Language of our country. Period.
These myths have been surrounding the country ever since one can remember. In an RTI reply, the sports ministry has made it clear that it has not declared any sports as our national game. Also, in 2010, the Gujarat High Court stated that “there was nothing on record to suggest that any provision has been made or order issued declaring Hindi as a National Language of the Country”. However, in the constitution, Hindi was declared as an official language along with English.
15. India is the birthplace of Chess. The original name for chess is the sanskrit ‘Chaturanga’, which translates into ‘four divisions of the military’- infantry, cavalry, elephantry, and chariotry. These forms would later evolve into the modern pawn, knight, bishop and rook. Speaking of Chess, did you know that our own Vishwanathan Anand is the first player in chess history to win the World Championship in three different formats- knockout, tournament, and match. Also he has this cool feat of becoming the only Indian to have a planet named after him!
16. Bihar, once a backward state, now has ” The LONGEST Wi-Fi ZONE“. This Wi-Fi zone is about 20km which is the longest across the globe. This zone has beaten the previous record of 3.5 km in China.
17. India is the country with one of the highest populations in the world, which means its requirements are huge enough. India guzzles roughly half of the world’s whiskey. India consumes 50% of the world’s whiskey.
18. The Largest Man made city exists in India. Navi Mumbai is the “Largest Planned township.” This decision was taken for a greater reason, to decongest the busiest city: Mumbai. After independence, such a decision was taken to build a city in close proximity to the harbor.
19. Tigers and Lions never co-existed in any part of the world except for India. The only country, where both co-exist. The presence of wide range of forest area is the apt reason for it. The range of sanctuaries and willd parks is also a reason for their existence together. These two species always had their problems with territory encroachment, which makes them long-lasting rivals.
20. Reservations have always been a topic of debate in various sectors in India. Sector where India believes in talent and strength is the “ARMED FORCES“. Armed forces are for those who are physically and mentally strong. India has taken a step to maintain its standard in this sector.