The lull in the Hindu festival season prompts me to ponder about India–particularly the pursuit of trivia about India. The “fun facts” I list are trivia, but I for one enjoy trivia and get a kick out of knowing that India has the most number of post offices in the world or that chess was invented in India, as was steel.
Regardless of your position on trivia though, such information can lead to interesting conversations and shed some light about India on a variety of topics. One thing to keep in mind is that just because of the sheer number of people in India, adjectives such as biggest, or largest, get used often reflecting the population of the country more than anything else. Nevertheless, here goes:
DID YOU KNOW THAT:
- The first university ever to be established was in a place called Takshashila in India in around 700-800 BC? While oral history informs us about Takshashila, it is recorded (in a book titled Education in Ancient India ) that Nalanda University in Bihar was the first modern university to be established in the 5th century AD.
- The Indian Railways is the world’s largest employer with over a million employees?
- India is the world’s largest democracy?
- Indians excelled in Math?
The inventions of the number system (once known as the Hindu numeral), the decimal system, contributions to Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus and the value of “pi” are all attributed to Indian mathematicians of yore.
This puts the Indian obsession with Math into new perspective!!!
- India is the largest English speaking nation in the world?
- The game of Snakes and Ladders was invented in India as a game of morality?
- Despite the popularity of cricket, India’s national sport is field hockey? India won its first gold medal in field hockey at the 1928 Olympics.
- Tirupathi (with a temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara) is the most visited place of worship in the world?
- Jews have been living in India since the 11th century mainly in the South Indian city of Kochi (formerly Cochin)?
- Dance (classical) is the most prominent and developed of art forms of India?
While the facts listed above may be interesting, the most fun may be in coming up with your own list of “fun facts” of India. When I asked my kid about a fun fact about India, she recounted how much fun she had walking down the street from her grandparents’ apartment in Mumbai and stopping to drink “nariyal paani” whenever she chose.
Based on your travels in India, it might be a creative exercise to get your kids to compile a list of “fun facts” of their own. You might be surprised at what they come up with!
Signing off until next time,
Brunda Moka Dias