India Facts

Population          1.2 billion (2011 Census)

Languages

India has 22 official  languages and thousands of different dialects. The Sanskrit of the Aryan settlers has merged with the earlier Dravidian vernaculars to give rise to new languages.

Hindi spoken by about 45 per cent of the population is the national language. English has also been retained as a language for official communication.

Major religions

Hinduism :

The Hindu religion had its origin in the concepts of the early Aryans who came to India more than 4,000 years ago. It is not merely a religion but also a philosophy and a way of life. It does not originate in the teachings of any one prophet or holy book. It respects other religions and does not attempt to seek converts. It teaches the immortality of the human soul and three principal paths to ultimate union of the individual soul with the all pervasive spirit.

Islam :

Arab traders brought Islam to South India in the seventh century. After them came the Afghans and the Moghuls, among whom the most enlightened was the Emperor Akbar. Akbar almost succeeded in founding a new religion Din-e-Elahi, based on both Hinduism and Islam, but it found few adherents.

Islam has flourished in India through the centuries. India today is the second largest Muslim country in the world, next only to Indonesia .

Jainism and Buddhism :

In the sixth century before Christ, Mahavira propagated Jainism. His message was asceticism, austerity and non-violence.

At about the same time, Buddhism came into being. Gautama Buddha, a prince, renounced the world and gained enlightenment. He preached that "Nirvana" was to be attained through the conquest of self. Buddha's teachings in time spread to China and some other countries of South-East Asia .

Sikhism :

Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism in the 15th century, stressed the unity of God and the brotherhood of man. Sikhism, with its affirmation of God as the one supreme truth and its ideals of discipline and spiritual striving, soon won many followers.

Christianity :

Christianity reached India not long after Christ's own lifetime, with the arrival of St. Thomas , the Apostle. The Syrian Christian Church in Southern India traces its roots to the visit of St. Thomas . With the arrival of St. Francis Xavier in 1542, the Roman Catholic faith was established in India . Today, Christians of several denominations practice their faith freely.

Zoroastrianism :

In the days of the old Persian Empire, Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion in West Asia , and in the form of Mithraism, it spread over vast areas of the Roman Empire , as far as Britain . After the Islamic conquest of Iran , a few intrepid Zoroastrians left their homeland and sought refuge in India . The first group is said to have reached Diu in about 766 A.D. Their total world population probably does not exceed 130,000. With the exception of some 10,000 in Iran, almost all of them live in India , the vast majority concentrated in Mumbai. The Parsees excel in industry and commerce, and contribute richly to the intellectual and artistic life of the nation.

Judaism :

Jewish contact with the Malabar Coast in Kerala, dates back to 973 BC when King Solomon's merchant fleet began trading for spices and other fabled treasures. Scholars say that the Jews first settled in Cranganore, soon after the Babylonian conquest of Judea in 586 BC. The immigrants were well received and a Hindu king granted to Joseph Rabban, a Jewish leader, a title and a principality.

National anthem

Jan gana mana written by Rabindranath Tagore

The following is a translation of Rabindranath Tagore's rendering of the anthem:

Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people, dispenser of India 's destiny. The name rouses the hearts of Punjab , Sind , Gujarat and Maratha,of the Dravid and Orissa and Bengal ; it echoes in the hills of the Vindhyas and Himalayas , mingles in the music of the Yamuna and Ganga and is chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea . They pray for thy blessings and sing thy praise. The salvation of all people is in thy hand, thou dispenser of India 's destiny.

Victory, victory, victory to thee.

National emblem

The National Emblem of India is a replica of the Lion of Sarnath, near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. The Lion Capital was erected in the third century BC by Emperor Ashoka to mark the spot where Buddha first proclaimed his gospel of peace and emancipation to the four quarters of the universe. The National emblem is thus symbolic of contemporary India 's reaffirmation of its ancient commitment to world peace and goodwill.

The four lions (one hidden from view) - symbolising power, courage and confidence - rest on a circular abacus. The abacus is girded by four smaller animals - guardians of the four directions: the lion of the north, the elephant of the east, the horse of the south and the bull of the west. The abacus rests on a lotus in full bloom, exemplifying the fountainhead of life and creative inspiration. The motto 'Satyameva Jayate' inscribed below the emblem in Devanagari script means 'truth alone triumphs'.

National flag

The Indian flag was designed as a symbol of freedom. The late Prime Minister Nehru called it a flag not only of freedom for us, but a symbol of freedom to all people

The flag is a horizontal tricolour in equal proportion of deep saffron on the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom. The ratio of the width to the length of the flag is two is to three. In the centre of the white band, there is a wheel in navy blue to indicate the Dharma Chakra, the wheel of law in the Sarnath Lion Capital. Its diameter approximates the width of the white band and it has 24 spokes. The saffron stands for courage, sacrifice and the spirit of renunciation; the white, for purity and truth; the green for faith and fertility.

National animal : Tiger

Large Asiatic carnivorous feline quadruped, Panthera Tigris, maneless, of tawny yellow colour with blackish transverse stripes and white belly, proverbial for its power and its magnificence.

National bird : Peacock

M

ale bird of species P. cristatus, is a native of India , with striking plumage and upper tail converts marked with iridescent ocelli, able to expand its tail erect like fan as ostentatious display. Peacocks are related to pheasants. Found wild in India ( and also domesticated in villages ) they live in jungle lands near water.

National flower : Lotus

The Lotus or waterlily is an aquatic plant of Nymphaea with broad floating leaves and bright fragrant flowers that grow only in shallow waters. In India the sacred lotus is legendary and much folklore and religious mythology is woven around it.

National tree : Banyan

Indian fig tree, Ficus bengalensis, whose branches root themselves like new trees over a large area. The roots then give rise to more trunks and branches. Because of this characteristic and its longevity, this tree is considered immortal and is an integral part of the myths and legends of India

National fruit : Mango

A fleshy fruit, eaten ripe or used green for pickles etc., of the tree Mangifera indica, the mango is one of the most important and widely cultivated fruits of the tropical world. Its juicy fruit is a rich source of Vitamins A, C and D. In India there are over100 varieties of mangoes, in different sizes, shapes and colours. The mango has been cultivated in India from time immemorial.

National currency : Rupees (One Rupees=100 paise) 

INDIA – Did you know that….

Is among the few countries to have sent own satellites into space.

India has more than 10 satellites into space. Also launched its own satellite launch vehicles, used by other countries to launch their satellites

Is a globally acknowledged software power and leader in the knowledge based economy.

Has one of the largest number of software engineers in the world

Ranks 1st in the production of milk and butter, mango, tea, raw sugar, jute, coconut, cashew

Ranks 1st in the cutting, processing and manufacturing of gems and jewellery

Ranks 1st in the diamond cutting and polishing trade

Largest manufacturer of tractors and leather goods

2nd largest producer of vegetables and fruits

2nd largest producer of rice, groundnuts, sugarbeet, tobacco

2nd largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters

3rd largest producer of wheat

4th largest producer of natural rubber

4th largest producer of cement

Has the world's largest postal network

Has the world's largest rail network: Indian Railways is the world's single largest employer

Has the oldest film industry and produces the maximum number of films in the world

Has given the world 7 Noble Laureates:

Rabindranath Tagore – Literature (1913),

Dr C.V. Raman – Physics (1968),

Mother Teresa – Peace (1979),

Dr Amartya Sen – Economics (1998)

Dr Hargobind Khurana – Genetics (1968),

Dr S. Chandrashekar – Astrophysics (1983),

Sir V.S. Naipaul – Literature (2001)

Inventor of Hotmail (Sabeer Bhatia) and the Pentium chip (Vinod Dham) are both persons of Indian origin

Inventor of the Number system and Zero was the Indian mathematician Aryabhatta
The decimal system was developed in India in 100 B.C.

The value of 'pi' (π) was first calculated by Budhyana in the 6th century

The time taken by the earth to orbit the Sun was first calculated by the Indian mathematician-astronomer Bhaskaracharya in the 5th century as 365.259756484 days

The world's first university was established in Takshila in  India in 700 B.C.

Ayurveda of India was the earliest school of medicine known to the world

Chess was invented in India

 

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