Portal:India/Today's selected article/March 2006

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March 1

Srinivasa Aiyangar Ramanujan was a world-renowned Indian mathematician. Nicknamed as "the man who knew infinity", who had uncanny mathematical manipulative abilities. He excelled in number theory and modular functions. He made significant contributions to the development of partition functions and summation formulas involving π. A child prodigy, he was largely self-taught in mathematics and had compiled over 3,000 theorems by the year 1914 when he moved to Cambridge. Often, his formulas were stated without proof and were only later proven to be true. In 1997 the Ramanujan Journal was launched to publish work "in areas of mathematics influenced by Ramanujan". Not only did he achieve merit certificates and academic awards throughout his school years, but was also assisting the school in the logistics of assigning its 1200 students to its 35-odd teachers, completing mathematical exams in half the allotted time, and already showing familiarity with infinite series. (more...)

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March 2

Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military conflict between India and Pakistan. The war is closely associated with Bangladesh Liberation War on India's Western front during the period between 3 December 1971 and 16 December 1971. The War ended in a crushing defeat for Pakistan Military in just a fortnight. On 27 March 1971, Indira Gandhi, expressed full support of her government to the Bangladeshi struggle for freedom. The Bangladesh-India border was opened to allow the tortured and panic-stricken Bengalis safe shelter in India. The governments of West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura established refugee camps along the border. Exiled Bangladeshi army officers and voluntary workers from India immediately started using these camps for the recruitment and training of Mukti Bahini guerrillas. On December 16, the Pakistani forces in East Pakistan surrendered. The next day Indira Gandhi announced a unilateral ceasefire, to which Pakistan agreed. (more...)

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March 3
Indo-Pak War of 1971

Taj Mahal is a monument located in Agra in India, constructed between 1631 and 1653 by a workforce of more than 20,000. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned its construction as a mausoleum for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style combining elements of Hindu and Islamic architectures. It has achieved special note because of the romance of its inspiration. While the white domed marble mausoleum is the most familiar part of the monument. The focus of the complex is the raised marble plinth in the center of the chamelifarsh platform, which supports the main building, the white marble mausoleum or tomb of Mumtaz. The importance of this building is emphasized by its raised foundation, and by the wide walkway and long reflecting pool which lead there from the entrance gateway. (more...)

Recently appeared: Indo-Pakistani War of 1971Srinivasa RamanujanEconomy of Bangalore


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March 4

Ashoka was the emperor of the Mauryan Empire from 273 BCE to 232 BCE. He reigned over most of South Asia and beyond. An early supporter of Buddhism, Ashoka established monuments marking several significant sites in the life of Shakyamuni Buddha, and according to Buddhist tradition was closely involved in the preservation and transmission of Buddhism. He was the first ruler of ancient Bharatavarsha (India), after Mahabharata rulers, to unify such a vast territory under his empire.

The Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath is the most popular of the relics left by Ashoka, made of sandstone. It has a four-lion capital which was adopted as the emblem of the modern Indian republic. In translating these monuments, historians learn the bulk of what is assumed to have been true fact of the Mauryan Empire. It is difficult to determine whether certain events ever happened, but the stone etchings depict clearly of how he wanted to be remembered. (more...)

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March 5


Jawaharlal Nehru was an important leader of Indian Independence Movement and Indian National Congress. He became the first Prime Minister when India won its independence on August 15, 1947. In 1952, India held its first democratic national elections, and he led the Congress Party to a sweeping majority in the Parliament of India. He was leading a combination of old and young Indians all energized by patriotism and the opportunity to finally put their dreams and vision for India into practice. His years were generally peaceful, with the generation of freedom-fighters controlling the Union and state governments and political parties. He also sired the most powerful political dynasty in India's modern history. His daughter Indira Gandhi would become Prime Minister within two years of his death in 1966, and would serve for 15 years and 3 terms. His grandson Rajiv Gandhi would hold that office from 1984 to 1989. (more...)


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March 6
Prop. Tabla.jpg

Tabla is a widely popular South Asian percussion instrument used in music of the northern Indian subcontinent. The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres. The term tabla is derived from an Arabic word which means "drum", and this attests to its status as a product resulting from the fusion of musical elements from indigenous Hindu and Central Asian Muslim cultures that began in the late 16th century. The black spot found on each of the drums that make up the set of tablas, called Syahi, is made of a mixture of flour, water and iron filings. Traditionally, it was applied and removed many times but it is now permanently attached to the drum. It has acquired tremendous international popularity as a result of its large-scale, transnational diffusion started by notable "musical ambassadors" such as the late Ustad Alla Rakha. It has also become a popular fusion instrument and is found in performance and recordings of an array of musical styles from traditional forms such as flamenco to cutting edge electronica, Tabla Beat Science. (more...)

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March 7
Kashmir Sharada MS.jpg

Sanskrit is a classical and liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It is one of the oldest Indo-European languages in the world and boasts a rich tradition of poetry, literature, and philosophical and religious texts. It is one of the 22 languages in India. According to recent reports, it is being revived as a vernacular in Mattur near Shimoga in Karnataka. Today it is mostly used as a ceremonial language in Hindu religious rituals in the forms of hymns and mantras. It is pre-Classical form of Vedic Sanskrit and most ancient text being the Rigveda. In India, it is prized as a storehouse of scripture and the language of prayers in Hinduism. While vernacular prayer is common, Sanskrit mantras are recited by millions of Hindus. Most higher forms of Indian vernacular languages like Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Telugu and Hindi are much more heavily sanskritized. The national anthem, Jana Gana Mana is higher form of Bengali, so Sanskritized as to be archaic in modern usages. The national song of India Vande Mataram is in pure Sanskrit. Sanskrit words are found in many other present-day non-Indian languages. (more...)

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March 8
Himalayas.jpg

Himalaya is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. By extension, it is also the name of the massive mountain system which includes the Himalaya proper, the Karakoram, the Hindu Kush. Together, the Himalaya mountain system is the planet's highest and home to all fourteen of the world's highest peaks. the Eight-thousanders, including Mount Everest. To comprehend the enormous scale of Himalaya peaks, consider that Aconcagua, in the Andes, is at 6,959 m the highest peak outside the Himalaya, while the Himalaya system has over 100 peaks exceeding 7,200 m. The Himalaya stretches across five nations, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. It is the source of three of the world's major river systems, the Indus Basin, the Ganga-Brahmaputra Basin and the Yangtze Basin. An estimated 750 million up people live in the watershed area of the Himalayan rivers, which also includes Bangladesh. (more...)

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March 9

Mahabharata is one of the two major ancient Sanskrit epics of India, the other being the Ramayana. Traditionally ascribed to Vyasa, it is the longest literary epic poem in the world. The title may be translated as "History of the Great India" or, more accurately, "the Great Bharata Dynasty" . The work is part of the Hindu itihaasas, literally "that which happened", along with the Puranas. The core story of the work is that of a dynastic struggle for the throne of Hastinapura, the kingdom ruled by the Kuru clan. The two collateral branches of the family that participate in the struggle are the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The struggle culminates leading to the Great battle of Kurukshetra, and the Pandavas are ultimately victorious. It also marks the beginning of the Hindu age of Kali (Kali Yuga), where the great values and noble ideas have crumbled, and man is speedily heading toward the complete dissolution of right action, morality and virtue. Some of the most noble and revered figures in the Mahabharat end up fighting on the side of the Kauravas, due to allegiances formed prior to the conflict. (more...)

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March 10
Subhas Chandra Bose.jpg

Subhash Chandra Bose, also known as Netaji, was one of the most prominent leaders of the Indian Independence Movement against the British Raj. Bose helped to organise, and later lead the Indian National Army, put together from Indian prisoners-of-war and plantation workers from Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia. Bose travelled to Moscow on the passport of an Italian nobleman "Count Orlando Mazzotta". From Moscow, he reached Rome, and from there he traveled to Germany, where he instituted the Special Bureau for India broadcasting on the German-sponsored Azad Hind Radio. He created the Indian Legion (consisting of some 4500 soldiers) out of Indian prisoners of war who had previously fought for the British in North Africa prio to their capture by Axis forces. He criticized the British during World War II, saying that while Britain was allegedly fighting for the freedom of the European nations under Nazi control, it would not grant independence to its own colonies, including India. Bose is said to have died in a plane crash over Taiwan, while flying to Tokyo in August 1945. However, his body was never recovered. (more...)

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March 11
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Indian Air Force is the air-arm of the Armed Forces of India and has the prime responsibility of conducting air-based warfare and securing Indian airspace. It was established on October 8, 1932 as the Royal Indian Air Force. The prefix Royal was dropped after India became a Republic in 1950. It is the fourth largest air force in the world. It has a strength of 750+ combat aircraft and presently operates with a total of 42 squadrons. The Sukhoi is the IAF's prime air superiority combat aircraft. The IAF currently possesses several multi-role fighter jets that perform these functions. Single-seater Mirage 2000 and MiG-29 serve both strike and defense squadrons. The IAF currently possesses 100 Jaguar IM and 20 maritime strike Jaguar IS aircraft. In 2003, the IAF bought 6 IL-78 aircraft from Russia. The aircraft's primary role is mid-air re-fueling. It currently operates IAI Malat-built Searcher MkII and Heron UAVs. An important objective of the IAF is to support ground troops by providing air-cover and by transporting men and essential commodities across the battlefield. (more...)

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March 12

O. V. Vijayan was an Indian author and cartoonist, an important figure in modern Malayalam literature. Vijayan wrote his first short story, "Tell Father Gonsalves", in 1953. He went on to write five novels and translated some of his own work into English. His first and most famous novel, Khasakinte Ithihasam, tells the story of a teacher named Ravi dispatched to a newly created school in remote Khasak. He brought about a sea-change in Malayalam literature with this novel: so much so that it can be divided into pre-Khasak and post-Khasak eras, named after Vijayan's pioneering first novel. The former era was romantic and formal; the latter is modernist, post-modernist and post-post-modernist, with tremendous experimentation in style and content. In a way, Vijayan released Malayalam fiction writing from the shackles of tradition. He wrote many other short stories, essays and satire. He is also a cartoonist. The famous malayalam poet OV Usha is his sister. In 2003, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan. Vijayan struggled with Parkinson's Disease for 10 years and finally sucummed to organ failure in a Hyderabad hospital at age 75. (more...)

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March 13
India.Mumbai.02.jpg

India has a large and extensive transportation system. The country has one of the world's largest railway and roadway network transporting millions of people every year. Bullock carts have been traditionally used for transport, especially in rural India. Palkee was one of the luxurious methods used by the rich and nobles for travelling purposes. Advent of the British saw drastic improvements in the horse carriages which were used for transport since early days. Bicycles are still an important mode of travelling for the lower middle class. Trams are still in use in Calcutta and provide a pollution-free means of transportation.

Buses are very cheap in most cities but also very crowded and have unpredictable timings, frequently necessitating long waits. Two wheelers like Scooter and the motorcycle are the most popular mode of transport in terms of number of vehicles. The demand for cars in India is one of the highest in the world. Mass rapid transit systems are operational in Mumbai, Kolkatta, Chennai and Delhi. India's rail network is the longest of any country. (more...)

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March 14
Srinagar city 1959.jpg

Srinagar, is the summer capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India, and is situated in the valley of Kashmir. The city lies on both banks of the Jhelum River, a tributary of the Indus River. The city is famous for its lakes and houseboats floating over them. It is also known for traditional Kashmiri handicrafts and dry fruits. Srinagar is 876 km north of Delhi. The headquarters of the Srinagar District are situated in the city. After, India’s independence, certain tribes, mostly Pathans, actively supported by elements of the Pakistani forces, invaded the valley to wrestle control, by armed force, of the city of Srinagar and the Valley. Ruler Maharaja Hari Singh having a solemn and sovereign assurance backed by the international law that all rulers of such states were free to remain as independent entities, or to choose to annex either to India or to Pakistan. It is the most pivotal centre of the economy of the Kashmir Valley, and it has remained a tourist destination for centuries. (more...)

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March 15

British India.PNG

British Raj was a historical period during which most of the Indian subcontinent, or present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, were under the colonial authority of the British Empire (Undivided India). Since the independence of these countries their pre-independent existence has been loosely termed British India, although prior to Independence that term referred only to those portions of the subcontinent under direct rule by the British administration in New Delhi. Aden was part of "British India" from 1839 and Burma from 1886; both became separate crown colonies of the British Empire in 1937. It lasted from 1858, when the rule of the British East India Company was transferred to the Crown, until 1947, when pre-independent India was partitioned into two sovereign states, India and Pakistan. Although Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) is peripheral to the Indian subcontinent, it is not counted part of the Raj, as it was ruled as a Crown Colony from London rather than by the Viceroy of India as a part of the Indian Empire. (more...)

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March 16

Budha HusainSagar.jpg

Hyderabad is the capital city of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. With more than 6 million people, it is India's 6th largest metropolis. It is known for its rich history, culture and architecture. It is a unique place where north India meets south India, both geographically and culturally. It is also one of the most developed cities in the country and is the emerging IT and biotech hub of India. The original city of Hyderabad was founded on the banks of river Musi. Now known as the historic old city, home to the Charminar and Makkah Masjid, it lies on the southern bank of the river. The city has grown over the centuries on both banks and is now a metropolitan area that spreads out from the Musi river. Hyderabad was founded as Bhagyanagar on the banks of Musi river by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, Sultan of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, in 1590; this relocation was intended to relieve a water shortage the dynasty had experienced at their old headquarters at Golkonda. (more...)

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March 17
Hindi vowel chart.svg

Hindi an Indo-European language spoken mainly in North, Central, and Western India, is one of the national languages of India. It is part of a dialect continuum of the Indo-Aryan family. Hindi also refers to a standardized register of Hindustani that was made one of the official languages of India. The grammatical description in this article concerns standard Hindi. It evolved from Sanskrit, by way of the Middle Indo-Aryan Prakrit languages and Apabhramsha of the Middle Ages. As a standardised register of India, it became the national language of India on January 26, 1950. Hindi is often contrasted with Urdū. The primary differences between the two are that Standard Hindi is written in Devanāgarī which is written from left to right. The Devanagari script represents the sounds of spoken Hindi very closely, so that a person who knows the Devanagari letters can sound out a written Hindī text comprehensibly, even without knowing what the words mean and has supplemented some of its Persian and Arabic vocabulary, with words from Sanskrit; while Urdu is written in nastaliq script, a variant of the Persio-Arabic script, and draws heavily on Persian and Arabic vocabulary. (more...)

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March 18
Flag of Indian Army.svg

Indian Army is the land force of the Armed Forces of India and has the prime responsibility of conducting land-based warfare. The Indian Army maintains the 3rd largest active force in the world. The Indian Army is a well-trained and well-equipped military service, with a troop strength of over a million. It is a completely voluntary service, the military draft never having been imposed in India. The army has rich combat experience in diverse terrains, considering India's diversity on this front, and also has a distinguished history of serving in United Nations peacekeeping operations. The force is headed by the Chief of Army Staff. The highest rank in the Indian Army is Field Marshal, but it is a largely ceremonial rank and appointments are made by the President of India, on the advice of the Union Cabinet of Ministers, only in exceptional circumstances. Initially, the army's main objective was to defend the nation's frontiers. However, over the years, the army has also taken up the responsibility of providing internal security, especially in insurgent-hit Kashmir and north-east. The army has a strength of about a million troops and fields 34 divisions. Its headquarters is located in the Indian capital New Delhi. The COAS is assisted by several other high-ranking officers. (more...)

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March 19
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Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was an Indian freedom fighter, senior political leader and statesman. Inspired by the work of Mohandas Gandhi, Patel organized the peasants of Kheda and Bardoli in Gujarat in non-violent mass civil disobedience against the oppressive tax policies imposed by the British Raj. He served as the President of the Indian National Congress in 1931, and rose to the forefront of rebellions and political events — helping lead Indians into the Salt Satyagraha and the Quit India movement. Becoming the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India, Patel took charge of the task to forge a united India from a plethora of semi-independent princely states, colonial provinces and possessions. Patel employed an iron fist in a velvet glove diplomacy — frank political negotiations backed with the option (and the use) of military action to weld a nation that could emancipate its people without the prospect of divisions or civil conflict. His leadership obtained the peaceful and swift integration of all 565 princely states into the Republic of India. Patel's initiatives spread democracy extensively across India, and re-organized the states to help transform India into a modern federal republic with states autonomy. He was also well known as Iron Man of India. (more...)

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March 20
Situationsplan von Kalkutta (Kolkata).jpg

Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal and was capital of British India until 1912. The city's name was officially changed from Calcutta to Kolkata in January 2001. The urban agglomeration of Kolkata covers several municipal corporations, municipalities, city boards and villages and is the third largest urban agglomeration in India after Mumbai and Delhi. As per the census of 2001, the urban agglomeration's population was 13,216,546 while that of the city was 4,580,544. Kolkata city's population growth has been pretty low in the last decade. The city is situated on the banks of the Hoogli River (a distributary of the Ganges). Some of the renowned engineering marvels associated with Kolkata include the bridges like, Howrah Bridge, Vivekananda Setu and Vidyasagar Setu. Kolkata is the main business, commercial and financial hub of eastern India. The city's economic fortunes turned the tide as the early nineties economic liberalization in India reached Kolkata's shores during late nineties. (more...)

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March 21
Raja Ravi Varma.jpg

Raja Ravi Varma was an Indian painter who achieved recognition for his depiction of scenes from the epics of the Mahabharata and Ramayana. He was born in the royal palace of Kilimanoor, which is situated 25 miles from Trivandrum. He got the patronage of Ayilyam Thirunal Maharaja of Travancore when he was 14 years of age. The power and forceful expression of European painting fascinated Ravi Varma, which came across to him as strikingly contrasting to stylized Indian artwork. He came to widespread acclaim after he won an award for an exhibition of his paintings at Vienna in 1873. He travelled throughout India in search of subjects. He often modeled Hindu Goddesses on South Indian women, whom he considered beautiful. Ravi Varma is particularly noted for his paintings depicting episodes from the story of (Dushyanta and Shakuntala) and (Nala and Damayanti), from the Mahabharata. Ravi Varma's representation of mythological characters has become a part of the Indian imagination of the epics. He was criticized for being too showy and sentimental in his style. However his work remains very popular in India. (more...)

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March 22
SepoyMutiny.jpg

Indian rebellion of 1857 brought about the end of the British East India Company's regime in India, and led to almost a century of direct rule British Raj. Sepoys were native Indian soldiers serving in the Bengal army trained in company's own military school in England. Hindu tradition states that those who 'travel the black waters' will lose their caste and be outside the Hindu community. Sepoys were thus very displeased with their deployment to Burma in 1856. Their pay was relatively low and after the British troops conquered Awadh and the Punjab, the soldiers no longer received extra pay for service there. However, they were not subject to the penalty of flogging as were the British soldiers. There was a rumour that a rifle's cartridge was covered by a greased membrane of cow or pig fat which was supposed to be cut by the teeth before cartridges were loaded into the rifles. This was offensive to Hindu and Muslim soldiers. On March 29, 1857, Mangal Pandey of the 34th BNI attacked and injured his British sergeant on the parade ground, and wounded an adjutant with a sword after shooting at him. He was hanged April 8. The whole regiment was dismissed as a collective punishment, because it was felt that they would harbour vengeful feelings towards their superiors after this incident. (more...)

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March 23
Indo-Pak War of 1971

Taj Mahal is a monument located in Agra in India, constructed between 1631 and 1653 by a workforce of more than 20,000. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned its construction as a mausoleum for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style combining elements of Hindu and Islamic architectures. It has achieved special note because of the romance of its inspiration. While the white domed marble mausoleum is the most familiar part of the monument. The focus of the complex is the raised marble plinth in the center of the chamelifarsh platform, which supports the main building, the white marble mausoleum or tomb of Mumtaz. The importance of this building is emphasized by its raised foundation, and by the wide walkway and long reflecting pool which lead there from the entrance gateway. (more...)

Recently appeared: Indian rebellion of 1857Raja Ravi VarmaKolkata


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March 24

British India.PNG

British Raj was a historical period during which most of the Indian subcontinent, or present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, were under the colonial authority of the British Empire (Undivided India). Since the independence of these countries their pre-independent existence has been loosely termed British India, although prior to Independence that term referred only to those portions of the subcontinent under direct rule by the British administration in New Delhi. Aden was part of "British India" from 1839 and Burma from 1886; both became separate crown colonies of the British Empire in 1937. It lasted from 1858, when the rule of the British East India Company was transferred to the Crown, until 1947, when pre-independent India was partitioned into two sovereign states, India and Pakistan. Although Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) is peripheral to the Indian subcontinent, it is not counted part of the Raj, as it was ruled as a Crown Colony from London rather than by the Viceroy of India as a part of the Indian Empire. (more...)

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March 25

Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military conflict between India and Pakistan. The war is closely associated with Bangladesh Liberation War on India's Western front during the period between 3 December 1971 and 16 December 1971. The War ended in a crushing defeat for Pakistan Military in just a fortnight. On 27 March 1971, Indira Gandhi, expressed full support of her government to the Bangladeshi struggle for freedom. The Bangladesh-India border was opened to allow the tortured and panic-stricken Bengalis safe shelter in India. The governments of West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura established refugee camps along the border. Exiled Bangladeshi army officers and voluntary workers from India immediately started using these camps for the recruitment and training of Mukti Bahini guerrillas. On December 16, the Pakistani forces in East Pakistan surrendered. The next day Indira Gandhi announced a unilateral ceasefire, to which Pakistan agreed. (more...)

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March 26
Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru was an important leader of Indian Independence Movement and Indian National Congress. He became the first Prime Minister when India won its independence on August 15, 1947. In 1952, India held its first democratic national elections, and he led the Congress Party to a sweeping majority in the Parliament of India. He was leading a combination of old and young Indians all energized by patriotism and the opportunity to finally put their dreams and vision for India into practice. His years were generally peaceful, with the generation of freedom-fighters controlling the Union and state governments and political parties. He also sired the most powerful political dynasty in India's modern history. His daughter Indira Gandhi would become Prime Minister within two years of his death in 1966, and would serve for 15 years and 3 terms. His grandson Rajiv Gandhi would hold that office from 1984 to 1989. (more...)


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March 27
The Taj Mahal is one of the most reognizable landmarks in India

India is a large multicultural country in South Asia, with a population of over one billion. The Indian economy is the fourth largest in the world in terms of purchasing power parity and is the world's second-fastest growing economy. India is also the second most populous country in the world, and the world's largest democracy. India has grown significantly, in terms of both population and strategic importance, in the last 20 years. It has also emerged as an important regional power, with one of the world's largest militaries and a declared nuclear weapons capability. Strategically located in Asia, constituting most of the Indian subcontinent, India straddles many busy trade routes. It shares its borders with Pakistan, the People's Republic of China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan. Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia are the nearby island nations in the Indian Ocean. Home to some of the most ancient civilizations in the world, India was formally ruled by the British for almost 90 years before gaining independence in 1947.(more...)


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March 28
Kalimpong town as viewed from a distant hill

Kalimpong is a hill station nestled in the Shiwalik Hills in the Indian state of West Bengal. The town is the headquarters of the Kalimpong subdivision, a part of the district of Darjeeling. A major forward base of the Indian Army is located on the outskirts of the town. Kalimpong is well-known for its many educational institutions, which attract students from all over North East India, West Bengal, Bhutan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. In recent times, Kalimpong has become an important tourist destination owing to its temperate climate and proximity to popular tourist locations in the region. Kalimpong is also famous for its flower market, especially the wide array of orchids. It houses several Buddhist monasteries holding a number of rare Tibetan Buddhist scriptures.(more...)


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March 29

The Himalayan mountain range in North Sikkim.

Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state nestled in the Himalayas. It is the least populous state in India, and the second smallest. Sikkim was an independent state ruled by the Chogyal monarchy until 1975, when a referendum to make it India's twenty-second state succeeded. The thumb-shaped state borders Nepal in the west, Tibet to the north and east, and Bhutan in the south-east. The Indian state of West Bengal borders Sikkim to its south. The official language is Nepali, and the predominant religions are Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Gangtok is the capital and largest town. Despite its small size, Sikkim is geographically diverse, owing to its location at the Himalayan foothills. Terrain ranges from tropical in the south to tundra in the north. Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest peak, is located in Sikkim, straddling its northern border with Nepal. Sikkim has become one of India's most visited states owing to its reputation for untouched scenic beauty and political stability.(more...)


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March 30
Buddha, standing

Greco-Buddhism is the cultural syncretism between the culture of Classical Greece and Buddhism, which developed over a period of close to 800 years in Central Asia in the area corresponding to modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan, between the 4th century BCE and the 5th century CE. Greco-Buddhism influenced the artistic (and, possibly, conceptual) development of Buddhism, and in particular Mahayana Buddhism, before it was adopted by Central and Northeastern Asia from the 1st century CE, ultimately spreading to China, Korea and Japan. Numerous Greco-Buddhist works of art display the intermixing of Greek and Buddhist influences, around such creation centers as Gandhara. The subject matter of Gandharan art was definitely Buddhist, while most motifs were of Western Asiatic or Hellenistic origin. The interaction between Hellenistic Greece and Buddhism started when Alexander the Great conquered Asia Minor and Central Asia in 334 BCE, going as far as the Indus, thus establishing direct contact with India, the birthplace of Buddhism.(more...)


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March 31
Current political map of India showing states and territories.

The political integration of India established a united nation for the first time in thousands of years from a plethora of princely states, colonial provinces and possessions. Despite partition, a new India arose above demographic distinctions to unite peoples of various geographic, economic, ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds. India was transformed after independence through political upheaval and ethnic discontent, and continues to evolve as a federal republic natural to its diversity. The process is defined by sensitive religious conflicts between Hindus and Muslims, diverse ethnic populations, as well as by geo-political rivalry and military conflicts with Pakistan and China. When the Indian independence movement succeeded in ending British Raj on August 15, 1947, India's leaders faced the prospect of inheriting a nation fragmented between medieval-era kingdoms and provinces organized by colonial powers. Under the leadership of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of India's most respected freedom fighters and the Minister of Home Affairs, the new Government of India employed frank political negotiations backed with the option of military action to weld a nation.(more...)


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