India has a long history to tell about itself since independent till now. On the occasion of India’s 68th Independence Day, here are some interesting and unknown facts related to India and independence.
1. National flag was hoisted first on August 7, 1906 at the Parsee Bagan Square in Calcutta. The flag was composed of horizontal strips of red, yellow and green. The red strip at the top had eight white lotuses embossed on it in a row. The green strip had a white sun on the left and a white crescent and star on the right.
2. The name `India’ is derived from the River Indus, the valleys around which were the home of the first inhabitants of India. The Sanskrit name for India is Bharat Ganarajya. That is the reason why it is also called Bharat. The name “India” comes from the Indus River, which is where earliest settlers made their homes.
3. The current flag has three colours in it. The top strip saffron stands for courage and sacrifice; the middle portion white for peace, truth, purity and green for faith, fertility and chivalry. The Ashok Chakra at the centre of the flag — righteousness.
4. India never invaded any country in her last 100000 years of history.
5. It is said that the first version of the current national flag was made by Pingali Venkayya at Bezwada in 1921. It was made up of two colours-red and green-representing the two major communities. Gandhiji suggested the addition of a white strip to represent the remaining communities of India and the spinning wheel to symbolize progress of the Nation.
6. North Korea, South Korea, Bahrain and Republic of the Congo share their independence day with India. Mountbatten chose the day since Aug 15 as it also commemorated the second anniversary of Japan’s surrender to the Allied Forces. North Korea, South Korea, Bahrain and Republic of the Congo share their independence day with India.
7. Khadi Development and Village Industries Commission is the only licenced flag production and supply unit in India. As of 2008, the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha based in Dharwad was the sole manufacturer of the flag. Earlier, flags were made with Jayadhar, a popular variety of cotton grown in Karnataka. But recently, Khadi Gramodyoga has started using Bt cotton instead of the indigenous.
8. India is the world’s largest producer of tea, milk and mangoes and also the second largest producer of wheat and rice, the world’s major food staples.
9. “Chess” and “Snakes and Ladders” were invented in India.
10. India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Lal was featured in Vogue magazine. His unique dressing style, single-breasted jacket, became an important fashion trend in the West. Nehru jacket was listed on Time list of ‘global fashion statement.’ Later, Nehru jacket was popularized by the Beatles and worn by such famous people as Johnny Carson and Sammy Davis Jr.
11. India never invaded any country in her last 100000 years of history.
12. On August 15, 1947, when India became free from the foreign rule, Mahatma Gandhi was in Calcutta. Gandhiji spent his day in prayers, fasting and spinning protesting the madness of communal hatred.
13. The world’s largest road network is in India-over 1.9 million miles of roads cover the country.
14. Cherrapunji (Meghalaya) 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!
15. With around 155,618 post offices and over 566,000 employees, India has the largest postal network in the world.
16. Hindi is not India’s national language as many think or believe; it’s the official language. Article 343 of the Constitution states that Hindi in Devnagari script is the official language of India. But Hindi is the first official language of India and Hindi was declared the Official Language of the Union on September 14, 1949.
17. India Railways is the single largest civilian employer in the world, with over a million employees.
18. When India became independent on August 15, 1947 there was no National Anthem. Even though the Bengali invocation of Jana Gana Mana was written in 1911, it was not considered as national anthem till 1950.
19. State Bank of India has the maximum number of branches in the world, with the number being over 15,000 and counting.
20. Controversy surrounding Jana Gana Mana claims that Rabindranath Tagore wrote the song ‘Jana Gana Mana’ for the British monarch. He later refuted this claim and said that he wrote the song as requested by his friend and the song pronounced the victory in ‘Jana Gana Mana’ of that Bhagya Vidhata of India and not of King George V.
21. The value of “pi” was first calculated by the Indian Mathematician Budhayana, who also explained the Pythagorean Theorem.
22. India is one of only three countries that makes supercomputers (the US and Japan are the other two).
23. Navi Mumbai, a planned satellite township of Mumbai, was developed in 1972 and is the largest planned township on the planet.
24. India produces more movies than any other country in the world and Bollywood is the largest film industry in the world.
25. There are 300,000 active mosques in India, more than in any other country, including the Muslim world.