Posted on August 15, 2015
For about 150 years, Great Britain ruled over India. Many Indians spent time, exerted effort – and sometimes lost their lives – in an effort to win India's freedom and independence. There were violent struggles, at times, but there was also an important, and ultimately successful, non-violent movement.
Finally, in 1947, India became independent of the British Empire.
Today banks, governmental buildings, and most businesses are closed. The Prime Minister addresses the nation, and loads of people fly kites as well as flags. There are costume parties, and documentaries, and patriotic entertainment of all sorts.
The day is sometimes billed as the birthday of the world's largest democracy. (The U.S. is slightly larger than India in area – thanks to Alaska – but India has FAR more people. The U.S. has more than 300 million people, but India has more than a billion people!)
To learn about another important patriotic holiday in India, check out this earlier post.
India is a large, diverse, fascinating country. Here are some of the more mind-blowing things about India:
- With so many people in the nation, as you might expect, it has some enormous institutions. For example, India boasts as having the largest postal network in the world, with more than a million post offices.
|Including this one|
Also, the company Indian Railways has more employees than many nations have population. If the company was a country, it would probably be ranked around #155 out of 258!
- A village in India, Shani Shingnapur, was famous for having no doors in its houses – only door frames. Despite the fact that no doors or locks stood in the way of stealing, there were no thefts reported for centuries - until 2010! Even a bank that opened in 2011 in the village was a “lockless bank branch.” Actually, the bank has doors, but it was promised that they will always remain open. (But the bank promised its customers that locks were provided for lockers and important documents.
- India was the home of either THE oldest civilization in the world or certainly one of the oldest. There are more than 20 officially recognized languages in India, and at least four of the world's major religions arose in India (Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism).
- A religious gathering called Kumbh Mela occurs every 12 years in India; reported to be the world's largest gathering of people, it's so large it's visible from space.
|Kumbh Mela from space|
- Lonar Lake is a saltwater soda lake that was created when a comet or asteroid hit the Earth at high velocity.
- Indians claim that they invented chess, buttons, rulers, shampoo, the number zero, cataract surgery, and plastic surgery. (Of course, some of these things were invented by more than one civilization – and it's hard to know “who's first,” in many cases.) It was an Indian lunar probe that first detected water on the moon.
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