Though India got freedom on August 15, 1947, it declared itself a sovereign, democratic and republic state with the adoption of the Constitution on January 26, 1950 which is celebrated every year as The Republic Day. Every year during R- Day celebrations, when the President unfurls the National Flag, it heralds the historic birth of the Indian Republic. It reminds us of those who have sacrificed their lives, those who have shown courage in the face of adversity, those who make this Republic a great and largest democracy in the world. The tableaux of different states, union territories, and state departments manifest the idea of unity in diversity and the progress this nation is making while carving a niche for itself in modern era.
Here are some wonderful facts about India that underpin its prowess and humility.
• India never invaded any country
• When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization)
• The Persian invaders converted it into Hindu. The name ‘Hindustan’ combines Sindhu and Hindu and thus refers to the land of the Hindus.
• India was one of the richest countries till the time of British rule in the early 17th Century. Christopher Columbus, attracted by India’s wealth, had come looking for a sea route to India when he discovered America by mistake.
• Chess was invented in India.
• The four religions born in India – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, are followed by 25% of the world’s population.
• India is the largest democracy in the world, the 7th largest Country in the world, and one of the most ancient civilizations.
Inventions: Medicine, Arts, Mathematics and Science
• Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus are studies, which originated in India.
• Yoga has its origins in India and has existed for over 5,000 years.
• The world’s first university was established in Takshila in 700 BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
Bhaskaracharya rightly calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the Sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart. According to his calculation, the time taken by the Earth to orbit the Sun was 365.258756484 days.
• The value of “pi” was first calculated by the Indian Mathematician Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century, long before the European mathematicians.
• Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus also originated in India.
- Quadratic Equations were used by Sridharacharya in the 11th century. The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Hindus used numbers as big as 10*53 (i.e. 10 to the power of 53) with specific names as early as 5000 B.C.during the Vedic period.Even today, the largest used number is Terra: 10*12(10 to the power of 12).
• The ‘Place Value System’ and the ‘Decimal System’ were developed in India in 100 B.C.
• Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to mankind. The Father of Medicine, Charaka, consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago.
• Usage of anaesthesia was well known in ancient Indian medicine. Detailed knowledge of anatomy, embryology, digestion, metabolism,physiology, etiology, genetics and immunity is also found in many ancient Indian texts.
• The Art of Navigation & Navigating was born in the river Sindh over 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘NAVGATIH’. The word navy is also derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Nou’.
• Sushruta is regarded as the Father of Surgery. Over2600 years ago Sushrata & his team conducted complicated surgeries like cataract, artificial limbs, cesareans, fractures, urinary stones, plastic surgery and brain surgeries.
• Martial Arts were first created in India, and later spread to Asia by Buddhist missionaries.
Heritage and Culture
• The World’s First Granite Temple is the Brihadeswara Temple at Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu.
• The oldest European church and synagogue in India are in the city of Cochin. They were built in 1503 and 1568 respectively.
• The Vishnu Temple in the city of Tirupathi built in the 10th century, is the world’s largest religious pilgrimage destination. Larger than either Rome or Mecca, an average of 30,000 visitors donate $6 million (US) to the temple everyday.
• Sikhism originated in the Holy city of Amritsar in Punjab. Famous for housing the Golden Temple, the city was founded in 1577.
• Varanasi, also known as Benaras, was called “the Ancient City” when Lord Buddha visited it in 500 B.C., and is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world today.
• India exports software to 90 countries.
• The world’s highest cricket ground is in Chail, Himachal Pradesh. Built in 1893 after leveling a hilltop, this cricket pitch is 2444 meters above sea level.
• India has the largest number of Post Offices in the world.
• Until 1896, India was the only source of diamonds in the world (Source: Gemological Institute of America).
• The largest employer in India is the Indian Railways, employing over a million people.
• India provides safety for more than 300,000 refugees originally from Sri Lanka, Tibet, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who escaped to flee religious and political persecution.