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Welcome to India…

March 19, 2009

There’s a legend which is quite popular across all civilizations in the world – ” The Great Flood“. Nobody knows exactly when this even took place but some say that it may have occured atleast 10,000 years ago. If it was Noah in one civilization his contemporary in Indian mythology is Manu. And thousands of years later, what was originally called Jambudvipa (later… Bharatvarsh, Hindustan) is now India. We believe we represent one of the oldest surviving civilizations in the world and also boast of preserving a tradition of vibrant culture and our unique way of life. Welcome to India…

But that’s not what this post is about. This post is not a chapter from the annals of Indian History. This is about the contradictions, glorious history awkwardly dotted with extreme incidents of insanity, people who despite thousands of years of living together continue to show signs of Xenophobia, hatred, indifference. This is about a generation which tries hard to break free from the shackles of idiosyncratic traditions and continues to do so inch by inch in every part of the country. Here are some interesting and mundane things about India. You might know all or most of these things…

1. India used to be bigger than China at one point of time encompassing Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar.

2. Aryans and Dravidians are the two major races in the country. Unfortunately my fellow country men and women know very little about Dravidians (Oh…wait! Is Rahul Dravid a Dravidian?!!:-P). Most of the literature, epics, vedas, puranas are essentially written by Aryans about other Aryans. Aryans are themselves believed to have migrated from somewhere in Central Asia.

3. We never followed the Georgian calendar until the arrival of  Europeans. Hence, all the dates and years/Eras mentioned in the religious texts are hard to decipher. And our version of Stone Age, Metal Age…differs from the scientific version. Besides it’s very difficult to say how long a “Yuga” is!

4. Greeks knew about our existence from a really really long time. Same is with Jews. The Jewish community in the state of Kerala has been around for almost 2000 years here! The Spanish, Dutch, French and British arrived much later.

5. Hinduism, Bhuddhism, Jainism all started here; interestingly the combined population of Bhuddhists and Jains is less than 5% in the country.

6. Although some people suggest that we have never invaded other countries, that is not entirely true. The Cholas, a powerful Kingdom in South India had spread their boundaries to countries as far as Malaysia and Indonesia at one point of time.

7. We were ruled by British for around 170 years. Although a freedom struggle occured in 1857, we continued to co-operate with British on many issues. Eventually we got our Independence in 1947. India is a member of UN, Commonwealth, SAARC and a lot more orgnaisations.

8. In the past 60 years of independence, our economy is somewhere between being a Socialist-Capitalist melange.

9. For a long time in the past 60 years, Russia used to our best friend in International Arena. Now USA is competing for that spot.

10. India is a land of extremities, climate, terrain, temperature, education, politics, standard of living is in measure of Good, Bad and Ugly.

(To be continued..)

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