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Nobel Peace laureate, and the former Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), once famously said, ‘Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.’ Literacy is undoubtedly one of the important pillars to build a bright future for an individual as well as the nation. To celebrate literacy, spread awareness about its importance and reflect on the challenges faced by the people, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) observes International Literacy Day. 

What is International Literacy Day? 

International Literacy Day is an annual celebration that is observed globally on 8th September. UNESCO, in collaboration with various government-run charity organisations, local communities, and literary experts to promote the day to improve literacy rate across the world.  

It organises many programs worldwide to encourage people to get education, know their social rights and develop new skills so that they can earn a living, and live a life with dignity. Despite the efforts of UNESCO and other global organisations, according to UNESCO statistics, about 773 million youngsters and adults globally lack basic literacy skills and cannot read or write.  

History of International Literacy Day 

The idea of World Literacy Day was first proposed during the Tehran World Conference of Ministers of Education in 1965. The members stressed about the importance of literacy for the young people. They also explained how being literate is the key to get access to better opportunities to earn a livelihood. 

Therefore, UNESCO declared 8th September as International Literacy Day in 1966, and the day was first celebrated in 1967. Since then it has become an annual event. 

Literacy is not just about going to school/college 

A lot of people associate literacy to going to school or college or attending a formal education system. But the truth is, you can educate yourself and be literate and even without school. Any learning that widens your knowledge, expands your horizons, gives you a new perspective can be termed as getting an education.  

With the International Literacy Day just around the corner, we would like to educate our patrons and readers about some amazing facts about India. Some of these facts may be awe inspiring! So, let’s get started. 

Interesting Facts About India 

  • India is the largest producer of spices in the world

About 70% of the spices used worldwide are produced in India. Some of the most popular Indian spices that are exported across continents are chilis, cumin, saffron, turmeric, etc. 

  • India has world’s highest rail bridge over River Chenab in J&K

The Chenab Bridge in Jammu is the world’s highest rail bridge. Stretching over 1,178 feet above the Chenab River, is an architectural marvel. Many people travelling to Kashmir, take a train ride just to pass through the bridge. If are you afraid of heights, you may want to skip this one!

  • India has a temple of Rats – Karni Mata Temple in Rajasthan

What may be considered as a pest worldwide is worshipped in India and has a temple. Yes, there is Karni Mata temple in Rajasthan, India that is dedicated to rats. There are thousand of rats in the temple premises, making it one of the most unique attractions in the world. 

  • During World War II, Taj Mahal was disguised as a bamboo stockpile

One of the seven wonders of the world, Taj Mahal, is inarguably the greatest monument of love. To protect this stunning mausoleum, the government of India covered the entire structure with bamboo scaffolding to hide it from the bomber planes. 

  • India has the highest population of vegetarians in the world

In India, about 15-30% of the population follow a strict vegetarian diet. Vegetarianism is so popular and widespread in India that even the western food chains like KFC and McDonalds introduced a special vegetarian menu for Indian patrons.

  • India is the second-largest English-speaking nation in the world

Over the past few decades, the literacy rate in India has improved significantly. With over 10% of the populace speaking English, India has one of the largest English-speaking populations, second only to the US. 

  • India is home to more than 3 lakh mosques and 20 lakh temples.

Another astonishing fact about India is that it has the highest number of places of worship in the world. With about 15% of India’s population following Islam, there are about 300,000 mosques in the country. From the small village buildings to popular ones like the Jama Masjid in New Delhi and Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad. Similarly, there are about two million Hindu temples. The holy city of Varanasi or Banaras alone has over 23,000 temples. 

  • India has the world's only floating post office in Srinagar, J&K

Another interesting fact of India is that it has the world's first and only floating post office. It is in Srinagar on Dal Lake. 

So, these amazing facts about India are only a testimony to the fact that India is truly an incredible country!

 

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