Here are 20 lesser known and interesting facts about the nation, that some of those history lessons failed to cover:
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. 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 symbolise progress of the Nation.
3. Another Interesting Facts about Indian Independence is that 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.
4. Records state that, in 1947, if Pakistan hadn’t sent in their tribesmen to attack and conquer Jammu and Kashmir, the state would have eventually gone to Pakistan. Lord Mountbatten has been quoted, saying, “By sending its irregular troops into the state, Pakistan spoiled the whole thing.
5. 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.
6. 15th August also marks the independence of three other nations – South Korea won its independence from Japan on 15th August 1945, Bahrain from UK in 1971 and Republic of the Congo from France in 1960.
7. After India attained Independence, 560 princely states joined the Indian union. 2 others, Hyderabad and Junagadh, were annexed by the Indian army.
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. We see various adoptions of the Indian national flag today. However, very few are aware of the fact that khadi or hand-spun cloth is the only material allowed to be used for the flag, and flying a flag made of any other material is punishable by law with imprisonment up to three years, besides a fine.
10. The border between India and the newly-formed Pakistan was established by the Boundary Commission, a body appointed by Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India. The commission was headed by Sir Cyril Radcliffe, a British lawyer. Pakistan was created to provide a homeland for Muslims, but the partition led to an estimated one million deaths in communal violence after the two nations became independent.
11. 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.
12. The world’s largest road network is in India-over 1.9 million miles of roads cover the country.
13. With around 155,618 post offices and over 566,000 employees, India has the largest postal network in the world.
14. 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.
15. India Railways is the single largest civilian employer in the world, with over a million employees.
16. 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.
17. The value of “pi” was first calculated by the Indian Mathematician Budhayana, who also explained the Pythagorean Theorem.
18. India is one of only three countries that makes supercomputers (the US and Japan are the other two).
19. Navi Mumbai, a planned satellite township of Mumbai, was developed in 1972 and is the largest planned township on the planet.
20. There are 300,000 active mosques in India, more than in any other country, including the Muslim world.