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Independence Day: Sanjay Dalmia gives you 70 reasons to celebrate

In his open letter, noted businessman and philanthropist Sanjay Dalmia lists 70 reasons that makes us proud to be ‘made in India’

Sanjay Dalmia

Sanjay Dalmia

Dear young Indians,

I am sure you are being bombarded with messages from all fronts that your nation is now 70 years. That 70 years back we fought to get our Independence back, emerging as a sovereign democratic republic. All facts that to your busy mind might be sounding like historic mumbo jumbo. How about bringing these facts alive, celebrating this nation with its ancient heritage and the diehard winning chromosome that every Indian has within him. So sit back, relax and discover 70 reasons why you ought to be proud to be ‘Made in India’

  1. Its 1.32 billion people make India the largest democracy in the world. Half of it is below 30. This makes the country the most exciting place in the world, pulsating with ideas and energy. The startup revolution that we are witnessing is a product of this. It also means that for many more years to come, India will be home to an income-generating population, not an ageing one that is non-productive.
  2. With 29 states, 22 major languages and innumerable minor ones, this country is unique. Most Indians speak at least two languages, and a vast majority is at ease with three: regional, Hindi and English. India has the rare distinction of being the birthplace of as many as four religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Still, there is no national or state religion: India is secular but not atheist – all religions bask in equal glory.
  3. The diversity in cultures, from Srinagar to Kanyakumari and from Barmer to Kohima, and the fact that within one country you will come across snow-clad mountains, fertile plains, arid deserts and thick tropical forests make India a country that can take a lifetime to discover.
  4. Our freedom fighters are the gold standard in the global history of the struggle against imperialism. While Mahatma Gandhi is the apostle of non-violence, SardarVallabhai Patel, the Iron Man, integrated over 400 big and small kingdoms into newly-independent India in double quick time. Better examples of selfless nationalism and courage than Subhash Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh will be hard to find.
  5. Our hardy soldiers guard our nation while we sleep peacefully. Their courage and loyalty was lauded even by Hitler: Give me German scientists and Indian soldiers and I will conquer the world, he would say.
  6. Artists MF Hussain, SH Raza, Souza, Akbar Padamsee, Ram Kumar, KH Ara and many others have stoked the imagination of the world with their masterly brush strokes and imagery.
  7.  The Ayurveda and Siddha medicine systems, steeped in ancient science and commonsense, continue to amaze the world with their fantastic curative powers. These use natural products and not harmful chemicals, which make them the preferred choice for a rising number of people. Combined with Yoga, Ayurveda has reinforced worldwide belief in age-old Indian wisdom and strengthened its image as a soft power.
  8. Sanskrit, the mother of all higher languages, the one in which Hindu holy scriptures are written. It is recognised as the most organised language in the world, with no loopholes or ambiguity.
  9. Diamonds are believed to have been first mined in India 5,000 years ago. Until 1896, India was the only source of diamonds in the world. Today, a large chunk of the diamonds mined in the world is polished at Surat in Gujarat. Indians play a huge presence in Antwerp, the hub of the diamond trade in the world.
  10. The Iron pillar at Delhi, which stands next to the wondrous Qutab Minar and was erected at the times of Chandragupta II Vikramaditya (375–413 AD), has been called by  scientists “a testament to the skill of ancient Indian blacksmiths” because of its high resistance to corrosion.

  11. Who has not been mesmerised by the softness and warmth of Cashmere? The founder of Cashmere industry was the 15th-century ruler of Kashmir, Zayn-ul-Abidin, who employed weavers from Central Asia.
  12. The floodplains of India were a major center for indigo production and processing, a major fashion sensation of its time.
  13. India is equally at ease with modern science. The first incontrovertible evidence of lunar water came from our spacecraft Chandrayaan and was confirmed by NASA. Incidentally, its cost was less than the budget of Gravity, the 2013 Hollywood blockbuster.
  14. Hyderabad-based Microsoft India Development Center developed J Sharp, a transitional language for programmers of Java and Visual J++ languages, so that the world’s largest maker of software could use its existing knowledge and applications on .NET framework.
  15. Kojo, an open-source language and integrated development environment for computer programming and learning, was created, and actively developed, by Lalit Pant, a computer programmer and teacher in Dehradun.
  16. From scientist CV Raman to ornithologist Salim Ali, the talents of Indian scientists and inventors have been fully established in many different areas, including physics, medicine, mathematics, chemistry and biology.
  17. India gave to the world the game of chess. From India, it travelled to Persia, the Muslim world and subsequently to Southern Europe. In Europe, chess evolved into its current form in the 15th century. This explains why India is home to so many grandmasters, some of them as young as 14 or 15. Vishwanathan Anand was the world’s top-rated player for several years.
  18. God of cricket Sachin Tendulkar, Flying Sikh Milkha Singh, shooter Abhinav Bindra, grappler wrestler Sushil Kumar, shuttlers Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu, hockey legend Dhyan Chand are sportsmen the world has applauded.
  19. Bollywood, combined with its regional avatars, is the biggest film industry in the world – in terms of the number of films made every year. The craft of film-makers like Satyajit Ray, Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Shyam Benegal remain unmatched.
    Sanjay Dalmia

    Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar/Courtesy

  20. India has the maximum number of post offices in the world.
  21. India has separate civil and military nuclear facilities owing to the 123 Agreement with US in 2005.
  22. India is the 3rd largest producer of solar photovoltaic cells in the world, producing 2.12 MW of power every year. India is the 4th largest user of wind power. This makes us the flag-bearer of clean energy in the world and a crusader against global warming.
  23. India has the second largest pool of scientists and engineers in the world. Research and refinement go hand in hand. This has made India a dominant force in high-tech sectors like information technology and pharmaceuticals.
  24. Sundar Pichai is the present CEO of Google and Satya Nadella leads Microsoft.
  25. Nearly half of the high-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley and Washington, DC are owned by Indians or Indian-Americans. The Cyber Age belongs to us.
  26. On 28 April 2008, a world record was set when India’s polar rocket successfully placed ten satellites, including the country’s remote sensing satellite, into orbit in a single mission.
  27. India is the only country other than the USA and Japan to have built a super computer indigenously.
  28. While the newspaper is going out of fashion in the West, it continues to thrive in India with several of them recording daily circulation of over a million. The industry has survived the digital influx.
  29. Call them argumentative, but Indians love to express themselves. There are thousands of publications in various languages.
  30. Rich in organic wealth, India is the largest producer of milk, cashew nut, coconut, tea, ginger, turmeric and black pepper in the world. It also has the world’s largest cattle population (281 million). It is the second largest producer of wheat, rice, sugar, groundnut and inland fish.
  31. India has the largest number of biomass gasifiers in the world producing over 656 MW of power, and has the potential of producing over 30,000 MW of power.
  32. Chail, at a height of 2,444 meters, has the world’s highest cricket ground.
  33. ISRO launched 5 UK satellites and is set to launch 9 micro satellites for US. .
  34. Indian banks are among the top 500 financial brands in the world.
  35. The Tata group, State Bank of India and Infosys Technologies are among the 17 Indian firms that figure among the top 50 in the list of the world’s 200 most-reputed companies.
  36. India is home to a growing list of billionaires, with more entries than several countries with higher per capita income.
  37. India’s per person consumption of meat is the lowest in the world, which suggests that we are a largely vegetarian people.
  38. Volunteers in Dungarpur in Rajasthan planted 6,00,000 trees in 24 hours under the guidance of the Indian Forestry Service, a world record.
  39. The Golden Temple provides food to over 1,00,000 people every day, all through donation of food and KarSeva.
  40. India has more Muslims than Pakistan and more mosques than any other nation in the world.
  41. We take our electoral rights seriously.  Nothing can be more celebratory of a democracy than the government setting up a polling station in the middle of the Gir forest in Gujarat for one voter.
  42. India has the second largest network of paved highways, after the US. Almost 25 km of new roads get built in the country every day.
  43. The economy of India is more than $2 trillion. When adjusted for purchasing power parity, we rank amongst the top 10 economies in the world.
  44. India sends more students to US for studies than any other country in the world.
  45. In the US, Indians are the wealthiest and most educated ethnic group, ahead of even the Jews.
  46. Cancer drug Glivec costs $2,500 in India, as opposed to $70,000 in the US, because it can’t be patented here.
  47. Indian companies are amongst the largest suppliers of generic medicine to the US, which has helped that country to pare its healthcare costs.
  48. India’s contribution to scientific research and innovation has been constantly rising since 2000. The number of articles published in global science journals by Indians has increased from around 17,000 in 2001 to more than 27,000 in 2007. Canteens in the labs of top-notch high-tech companies stock Indian food in large measures.
  49. India is the second largest English-speaking nation in the world. Writers like Amitav Ghosh and Jhumpa Lahiri have showcased Indian felicity with the language.
  50. The Indian Software Industry has grown from a measly $150 million in 1991-92 to a staggering $5.7 billion in 1999-2000 and over $50 billion now. No other Indian industry has performed so well against global competition.
  51. Indian exports software to over 90 countries. The world’s largest corporations run on India-coded software.
  52. India’s exports grew 4 per cent in 2016, up from 3.3 per cent in 2015, as estimated by the World Trade Organization.
  53. India is the land of Ghalib. No other poet has managed to pack so much emotions and meaning in so few words. India is also the land of poet, musician, sufi saint, solider and administrator Amir Khusro, which makes him one of the most talented individuals ever to walk on earth.
  54. India was the first country to be accorded the status of a Pioneer Investor in 1987 and was allocated an exclusive area in the central Indian Ocean by the UN for exploration and utilisation of resources.
  55. Iconic cars Jaguar and Land Rover belong to the Tata stables.
  56. India is the land of grand arches, forts and palaces. Indulgence takes a long walk with history; as you go down the ages, the more glorious it gets. India’s fabled royals, the Kohinoor, the maharajas and the Maharanis – they represent grandeur at its best. The world takes a bow to the royal Indian archives.
  57. The woman of the country help in the growth of GDP, right from the homemakers who take care of their family to the women who are taking great professional strides. Indira Nooyi leads PepsiCo. while Chanda Kochar is at the helm of ICICI Bank.
    Sanjay Dalmia

    Powerful women from India/Courtesy

  58. The astute politicians who have shaped the constitution and have provided equal rights to every man in this country.
  59. Who can give a miss to the ubiquitous chai! Tea drinking and tea cultivation is a tradition here. From roadside kiosks to refined Darjeeling, every variety of tea is grown here. Indian tea made high-tea a tradition in chic British homes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi started out as a tea boy in a nondescript railway platform in Gujarat. No wonder, during the 2014 elections, he chose to call his meeting with people, chai pe charcha.
  60. The charkha has been spinning textile dreams from circa 500 CE. It became a symbol of indigenous enterprise in its war against imports from Manchester in the pre-Independence days.
  61. Chintz: The origin of Chintz is from the printed all cotton fabric of calico in India. Chintz itself is from the Hindi chitr, which means an image.
  62. The soft lustrous Muslin: The fabric was named after the city where Europeans first encountered it, Mosul, in what is now Iraq, but the fabric actually originated from Dhaka in what is now Bangladesh. In the 9th century, an Arab merchant named Sulaiman makes note of the material’s origin in Bengal (known as Ruhml in Arabic).
  63. Palampore was imported to the western world—notably England and Colonial America—from India. In 17th-century England, these hand painted cotton fabrics influenced native crewelwork design. Shipping vessels from India also took palampore to colonial America, where it was used in quilting.
  64. Basu’s theorem: The Basu’s theorem, a result of Debabrata Basu (1955) states that any complete sufficient statistic is independent of any ancillary statistic.
  65. May 26 is celebrated as the Science Day in Switzerland as APJ Abdul Kalam visited the country on this date.
  66. The Indian Kabbadi Team has won all the world cups that have been held till now.
  67. The Indian railways employ one million people.
  68. Zubin Mehta (born 29 April 1936) is an Indian conductor of Western classical music. He is the Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), with which he has conducted over three thousand concerts over five decades, including tours spanning most continents.
    Sanjay Dalmia

    Eminent Kathak exponent Shovana Narayan/Courtesy

  69. Indian classical dance forms –now become popular all over the world—were only preformed in the temples to please the Gods. Indian classical dance forms provide grace and are generally set on tales related to Gods and Goddesses.
  70.  The winning chromosome belongs to us.

Jai Hind!

(Sanjay Dalmia is an industry leader, philanthropist and Chairman of Dalmia Group of Companies)

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