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1. India is about 1/3 the size of the United States, yet it is the second most populous country in the world, with a population of 1,166,079,217. India is the seventh largest country in the world, at 1.27 million square miles.g 2. India is the largest democracy in the world.i 3. The Kumbh Mela (or Grand Pitcher Festival) is a huge Hindu religious festival that takes place in India every 12 years. In 2001, 60 million people attended, breaking the record for the world¶s biggest gathering. The mass of people was photographed from space by a satellite.c 4. Many Indians find toilet paper repellent and consider it cleaner to splash water with the left hand in the appropriate direction. Consequently, the left hand is considered unclean and is never used for eating.f 5. To avoid polluting the elements (fire, earth, water, air), followers of Zoroastrianism in India don¶t bury their dead, but instead leave bodies in buildings called ³Towers of Silence´ for the vultures to pick clean. After the bones dry, they are swept into a central well.f 6. It is illegal to take Indian currency (rupees) out of India.f 7. India leads the world with the most murders (32,719), with Russia taking second at 28,904 murders per year.j 8. India has one of the world¶s highest rates of abortion.e It is illegal for foreigners to import or 9. More than a million Indians are millionaires, yet most export Indian currency (rupees) Indians live on less than two dollars a day. An estimated 35% of India¶s population lives below the poverty line.l 10. Cows can be found freely wandering the streets of India¶s cities. They are considered sacred and will often wear a tilak, a Hindu symbol of good fortune. Cows are considered one of humankind¶s seven mothers because she offers milk as does one¶s natural mother.k 11. Dancing is one of India¶s most highly developed arts and was an integral part of worship in the inner shrines of every temple. It is notable for its expressive hand movements.f 12. Rabies is endemic in India. Additionally, ³Delhi Belly´ or diarrhea is commonplace due to contaminated drinking water.f 13. Many Indian wives will never say her husband¶s name aloud, as it is a sign of disrespect. When addressing him, the wife will use several indirect references, such as ³ji´ or ³look here´ or ³hello,´ or even refer to him as the father of her child.f 14. A widow is considered bad luck²otherwise, her husband wouldn¶t have died. Elderly women in the village might call a widow ³the one who ate her husband.´ In some orthodox families, widows are not allowed near newlyweds or welcomed at social gatherings.b 15. India is the birthplace of chess.l The original word for ³chess´ is the Sanskrit chaturanga,
5 cm) a year.f 25. Scholars still debate the purpose of such explicit portrayals of sexual intercourse. After his death. Many of India¶s worst famines are associated with British rule in India. India. Additionally. The Himalayas²from the Sanskrit hima.b 20.l 28. Alexander the Great of Macedon (356-323 B. India has the largest postal network in the world. replaced the spinning wheel.´ and alaya.´ Mogul emperors called the fabrics ³morning dew´ and ³cloth of running water.i .´i 19. The Bengal tiger is India¶s national animal. It also leads the world in banana exports. meaning ³abode´²are found in the north of India. and the GM of HewlettPackard (Rajiv Gupta) are all Indian.k 23. or wheel of life.000 wild tigers left. In ancient and medieval India. With 150.h 27.) was one of the first important figures to bring India into contact with the West. white for truth and peace. it is not unusual for a letter to take two weeks to travel just 30 miles. or British rule.m 26. In India. but when India gained independence. transportation. fertility. and chivalry. and green for faith.m 17. such as kidney beans and chickpeas. and foot soldiers.f 24. Several ancient Indian monasteries are found nestled in the grandeur of these mountains. For example. in which a recently widowed woman would immolate herself on her husband¶s funeral pyre. in 1498. horses. which sometimes involves animals.d 16. chariots. by almost an inch (2.l 22. suttees. but now there are fewer than 4. In India. women will be viewed as either a prostitute or a holy person depending on the manner in which she parts her hair. and politics. The Indian flag has three horizontal bands of color: saffron for courage and sacrifice. It was once ubiquitous throughout the country. The British Raj.meaning ³four members of an army´²which were mostly likely elephants. the co-founder of Sun Microsystems (Vinod Khosla). a Buddhist dharma chakra. India is the world¶s largest producer of dried beans. Brazil is second. An emblem of a wheel spinning used to be in the center of the white band.C. the founder/creator of Hotmail (Sabeer Bhatia). Roman emperors would wear delicate cotton from India that they would call ³woven winds. meaning ³snow.a Khajuraho¶s exotic art may suggest that sex 18. Indians hold prominent places both internationally and in the United States. The earliest cotton in the world was spun and was a step for attaining ultimate liberation or moksha woven in India.000 post offices. a link between Europe and the East would not be restored until Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (1460-1524) landed in Calicut. grasping one¶s ears signifies repentance or sincerity.500 miles and are slowly growing taller. The temples of Khajuraho are famous for their erotic sculptures and are one of the most popular tourist attractions in India. the creator of the Pentium chip (Vinod Dahm). They extend 1. the fold and color of clothing are viewed as important markers of social classification. However. were common. British influence is still seen in Indian architecture. lasted from 1858 to 1947 (although they had a strong presence in India since the 1700s). education system.m 21.
About 80% of Indians are Hindu.i 31.f 30. and Sikhism all originated in India. In fact. The national bird is the peacock. Every major world religion is represented in India. Buddhism. The official name of India is the Republic of India. with myths and legends. British engineers built a causeway uniting all seven original islands of Bombay into a single landmass. Kannada. Gandhi (1869-1948) is known around the world as Mahatma. Bengali.´ is shaped like a lotus flower with 27 gigantic ³petals´ that are covered in marble. Telugu. His birthday. Hinduism. Sindhi. the former name for Mumbai. Apart from these languages.l 33. The government also recognizes 17 other languages (Assamese. India¶s pastoral communities are largely dependent on dairy and have made India the largest milk-producing country in the world. Marigold flowers are used as decoration for Hindu marriages and are a symbol of good fortune and happiness. Introduced by the British. Most historians agree that the first recorded account of plastic surgery is found in ancient Indian Sanskrit texts. Oriya.b 42. Punjabi. Jainism. and Urdu). The decimal system was invented in India in 100 B.´ The official Sanskrit name of India is Bharat. and algebra. cricket is India¶s most popular sport.652 dialects are spoken in the country. Mumbai (Bombay) is India¶s largest city.i 39. The concept of zero as a number is also attributed to India. after the legendary king in the epic Mahabharata.i 37.l 32. Marathi.i 35. The national fruit of India is the mango. Additionally. The lotus is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. Muslims are the largest minority in India and form approximately 13% of the country¶s population. Tamil. India has the third largest population of Muslims in the world.l . which was initially bred for food. known as the ³Lotus Temple. Sanskrit. which most likely is derived from the Sanskrit sindhu. or Indian fig tree. The Bahá'í house of worship in Delhi. Malayalam. Hockey is considered the national sport. with a population of 15 million. which is an honorific title meaning ³Great Soul´ in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. Kashmiri. Mohandas K. This self-renewing plant is India¶s over 50 million visitors per year m national tree. trigonometry. India has the world¶s largest movie industry.m 38. is considered a symbol of immortality and is mentioned in many Indian The Lotus temple is one of the most visited temples in the world. about 1. Hindi and English are the official languages of India.m 41. In 1661.C. October 2. meaning ³river. The B in ³Bollywood´ comes from Bombay.29. The name ³India´ derives from the River Indus.l 43. The banyan. and the Indian field hockey team proudly won Olympic gold in 1928. based in the city of Mumbai (known as the ³City of Dreams´). He devoted his life to free India from British rule peacefully and based his campaign on civil disobedience. Indians made significant contributions to calculus.m 40. He was assassinated in 1948. Gujarati. Manipuri. Almost all Bollywood movies are musicals. Konkani.m 34. Nepali. after Indonesia and Pakistan. 36. is a national holiday.
It also has the world¶s second largest rail network. not black.m 54. Vikram Seth¶s Suitable Boy (1993). This architectural beauty has been called ³marbled embroidery´ for its intricate workmanship. groups of Indo-Europeans called Aryans (³noble ones´) traveled to northwest India and reigned during what is called the Vedic age.l 57. 1947. On India¶s Independence Day.k 50.C. horse sacrifice sanctioned the sovereignty of the king. India experiences six seasons: summer. Most Indians rinse their hands. Aryans spoke and imported Sanskrit into India. autumn. and face before eating a meal. India is the world¶s largest tea producer. Called the Indus Valley civilization. The partition displaced 1. to prevent the 56. summer monsoon.000 workmen 22 years to complete it. one¶s sins though she ruled for only three years before being b murdered.i 48. The Taj Mahal (³crown palace´) was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666) for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal (1593-1631). including Egypt and Mesopotamia. legs. India has the world¶s third largest road network at 1.g 51.m According to legend. this early empire was larger than any other empire. the country was split into India and Pakistan. which is the world¶s largest civilian employer with 16 million workers. The mingling of ideas from the Aryan and Indus Valley . August 15. All of India is under a single time zone. and tea (chai) is its most popular beverage. which is the mother of all European languages.f 45. Widows will often wear white in contrast to the colorful clothes of married or single women. their hands developed around the valley of the Indus River (now were cut off Pakistan) around 3000 B. In recent years.C. bathing in the river is thought to wash away leader of India.27 million people and resulted in the death of several hundred thousand to a million people.. 47. It took 22. After the great Indus Civilization collapsed in 2000 B. spring. It is traditional to wear white. and Arundhati Roy¶s The God of Small Things (1997). Rivers have played a vital role in India¶s popular culture and folklore²they have been worshipped as goddesses because they bring water to an otherwise dry land.a 49. During the Vedic era in India. The first and greatest civilization in ancient India builders from ever replicating the beauty of the Taj Mahal. It is not unusual to spread a loved one¶s ashes in the Ganges. to a funeral in India. and women eat after everyone is finished. Wasting food is considered a sin.9 million miles. She was considered a great leader. Bathing in the Ganges in particular is thought to take away a person¶s sins. and winter monsoon.44.i 53. Raziya Sultana (1205-1240) was the first woman dirtiest rivers in the world.f Though the Ganges is one of the 46. It is considered polite to eat with the right hand. winter. Indian authors have made a mark on the world with such novels as Salman Rushdie¶s The Satanic Verses (1988).g 52.f 55.
´ TheNewYorkTimes. Greek sculpture strongly influenced many portrayals of Indian gods and goddess. Accessed: June 30. c ³Chess. 2008. pacifist Jawaharlal Nehru (18891964).´ CIA. ³India¶s Lost Daughters: Abortion Toll in the Millions.m 60.). Douglas Harper.´ Indobase. Historian.´ which he had been told was a huge. Rupindar.a 61. 2005.religions formed the basis of Hinduism.L. 2009.a. ³Indians Abroad. and Brahma all have their roots in Aryan civilization. was featured in Vogue. June 2009.com.C. s. The Aryans also recorded the Vedas. San Rafael. Gentleman. Named the Nehru jacket.´ BBC. the first Hindu scriptures. ³India. Chandragupta Maurya (340-290 B. NY: Kuperard. single-breasted jacket briefly became an important fashion statement for the Mod movement in the West. Accessed: June 29. was guarded by a band of women on horseback.n -. June 2008. Online Etymology Dictionary. When he reached the Indian Ocean. 2009. ³India Tops List of Murder Numbers. Italy: White Star. a leader in India who established the Mauryan Empire (321-185 B.C. b Basham. 2001.l 58. In fact. Culture Smart! India. January 2006. England: Sidgwick & Jackson. Accessed: June 29. Alexander the Great invaded India partly because he wanted to solve the mystery of the ³ocean. India: Land of Celebration. Khullar.). Damian. Carrington. early Indian gods had Greek features and only later did distinct Indian styles emerge. Vercelli. When the first independent prime minister of India.m 59.News. ³Kumbh Mela. Sunil. CA: Mandala Publishing.2003.Posted July 21. j . g h i Raman.com. f e d Grihault.com. A. particularly after the conquest of Alexander the Great around 330B. Marilia. January 2001. Niki.´ New Scientist. his distinctive close fitting. and the gods Shiva. New York. the prime minister¶s coat was popularized by the Beatles and worn by such famous people as Johnny Carson (1925-2005) and Sammy Davis Jr. 1967.p.gov. 2009. Amelia. and introduced a caste system based on ethnicity and occupation. 2009. Kali. continuous sea that flowed in a circle around the land.C. he sacrificed some bulls to Poseidon for leading him to his goal. The Wonder That Was India. 2009. 2009 References a Albanese. (1925-1990).´ Dictionary. Accessed: June 29. Accessed: June 29. India: Treasure from an Ancient World. Accessed: June 28. London.
1998. Los Angeles. New York. 3rd ed. New York. l Srinivasan. Steven J. Inc. CA: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Cultures of the World: India. m Swan. 2002. NY: Scholastic. NY: Benchmark Books. Radhika and Leslie Jermyn. The Hidden Glory of India. 2002.k Rosen. Tortora. Erin Pembrey. India: Enchantment of the World. New York. Phyllis and Keith Eubank. n . NY: Fairchild Books and Visuals. A Survey of Historic Costume. 2002.