President Obama is visiting India on the occasion of our 66th Republic Day and here are a few things he should know about the colourful, diverse land that’s our country (apart from the fact that our street food is to die for)!
1. Since Independence, India has built 1.25 million miles of new roads, raised steel output 50 times, cement 20 times. It is now the 2nd-largest cycle producer.
2. It has the second-largest labour force. Is self-sufficient in grain and cloth, makes more than a million cars a year, and has launched 65 satellites.
3. RIL’s Jamnagar is the world’s largest grassroots refinery and petrochem complex. Hero MotoCorp is the largest two-wheeler maker.
4. Has the best delivery boys, the dabbawalas, with an efficiency rating of 99.9999% !
5. Chess was invented here. Algebra, trigonometry and calculus too. ‘Place value system’ and the decimal system developed in 100BC.
6. Value of ‘pi’ first calculated by Budhayana, who explained the concept of Pythagora’s Theorem. He discovered it long before Europeans!
7. India provides safety for more than 300,000 refugees from Lanka, Tibet, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
8. Tirupathi Temple is the world’s largest pilgrimage destination. An average of 30,000 visitors donate $6 million every day!
9. India recycles 60% of its plastic waste. The figures for Japan and China are 12% and 10%, respectively.
10. 137-year-old Bombay Stock Exchange is also Asia’s first stock exchange and world’s No. 1 in terms of number (5,000) of listed companies.
11. It’s estimated that in the next two to three years, 25% of people entering the workforce will be Indian.
12. There are over a million Indian millionaires. However, the gap between the rich and poor is still very big, with many living on a poverty level.
13. India has no National Language. Hindi is an official language used in many regions, English is also commonly used in many regions. There are many popular regional languages like Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and Marathi spoken and officially used in their respective regions.
14. The first university is said to have been started in Takshila in 700 B.C. Thousands of students from all over the world studied a variety of subjects.
15. India has the world’s second largest train network, and it is the largest civilian employer.
16. Having been visited by Buddha in 500 B.C. Varanasi is the oldest continuously habituated city in the world.
17. The world’s largest road network is in India—over 1.9 million miles of roads cover the country.
18. The name “India” comes from the Indus River, which is where earliest settlers made their homes. The Indus valley is one of the world’s earliest urban civilizations.
19. Until 1986, the only place where diamonds had been officially found was in India!
20. More than 50% of India is younger than 25 and more than 65% are 35 or younger. The average Indian age is much younger than most other nations. We are set to become the world’s youngest population by year 2020!
21. No list featuring facts about India would be complete without this tidbit: India has the largest movie industry in the world. Most Indian movies come from Bollywood (a force to reckon with), but there are many studios around the country who contribute as well.
22. A commonly known, but not to be neglected India fact is that the number and concept of zero was invented and documented first by Indians.
23. The Pentium chip and Hotmail were created by Indians—Vinod Dahm and Sabeer Bhatia respectively. The Indian IT population is growing and is highly sought after all over the world.
24. Cherrapunji is the wettest spot on earth. It receives at least 425 inches of rain every year, which is over 5 times more than the tropical rain forests of South America!
25. The Sundarbans is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangroves in the world. 1/3 of the Sundarbans is in India. This is also the reserve for the Bengal Tiger.
26. There are 27 UNESCO world heritage sites in India. These protected areas help preserve the long-standing culture and history of the country.