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sunnuntai 24. heinäkuuta 2016

Nepal, Cool Facts #129

<= 128. Bhutan                                                                                                          130. Maldives => 

1. Flag of Nepal 

Nepal is the only country in the world, which has a flag that is not quadrilateral. The current flag of Nepal was taken in use in 1962. The flag was a merger of two pennants, that had been used individually for the preceding two centuries.

Shah Dynasty = the moon is the symbol of the royal Shah Dynasty
Rana Dynasty = the sun is the symbol of the Rana Dynasty, who were the hereditary Prime Minister family in Nepal

Symbolism in flag: 

Blue = peace and harmony
Red = crimson red Nepal's national color and symbolizes the brave spirits of the Nepalese people
Two triangles = the Himalaya Mountains
Celestial bodies = permanence, the hope that Nepal will last as long as the sun and the moon
Moon = soothing and calm Nepalese people but also the shades and the cool weather of the Himalayas
Sun = the heat and the high temperature at the lower part of Nepal (Tarai)

Nepali flags in a demonstration

After the establishment of the Kingdom of Nepal in the late 1700s, the newly formed kingdom expanded to the present-day northern India and also to further north to the Himalayas. Nepal had some disputes with Tibet over the control of some areas. The Qing Emperor of China, who controlled Tibet had to start the Sino-Nepalese War against Nepal. The Qing Empire won and Nepal had to retreat and pay heavy reparations to Peking. 

In 1814-1816 Nepal fought the Anglo-Nepalese War against the British, which it lost. In the Treaty of Sugauli, Nepal had to cede one-third of its areas to British India and allow the establishment of a British representative in Kathmandu and to recruit Gurkha soldiers to the British.

The British had been surprised by how fierce fighters the Gurkhas were and that's why they recruited Gurkhas to fight for British India in 1857 in the Sepoy Rebellion and in 1982 in the Falkland War.

Greater Nepal map

3. Political changes of Nepal 

Timeline of political changes in Nepal 

1769-1846 Shah Dynasty
Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered the Kathmandu Valley after the Battle of Kirtipur and created the Kingdom of Nepal.

1846-1951 Rana Dynasty
After the war against the British in 1814-1816 Nepal was in chaos. The order was restored when the Rana Dynasty started ruling the country. The title of the king was made titular and the Prime Ministers had the real power. The post of Prime Minister was made hereditary to the Rana Dynasty. Nepal isolated during the Rana rule and they were supported by the British.

1951-2007 Shah Dynasty
Opposition grew against the autocratic rule of the Shah Dynasty and in 1951 India supported the Nepali Congress to reinstate the power to the Rana royal family. The king arranged democratic elections in 1959 but a year and a half declared the failure of the democratic parliament replacing it with the panchayat system. The panchayat councils were chosen without parties and basically gave all the decision-making to the king.

In the 1980s the Communist Party started demanding for reinstating multi-party system. In the 1990s political parties were accepted again and free elections were held. The biggest conflicts in the 1990s were the expulsion of about 100,000 people to Nepal by Bhutan and the civil war, which started in 1996 by the Maoists.

2007 Nepal abolishes monarchy and becomes a secular state

After several truces after fights and general strikes the Maoists allied with the opposition parties to restore democracy. After weeks of protests the King agreed to restore the parliament, which abolished the monarchy in 2007. Nepal had transformed from the last Hindu kingdom to a secular state.

2008 Nepal became a federal republic 

In 2008 Nepal became a federal republic but since then there have been several failed attempts to create the new constitution by the National Assembly.

Prithvi Narayan Shah, first King of unified Nepal

4. Nepalese Royal Massacre

When and Where ? 

In 2001 in Narayanhity Royal Palace at Kathmandu. Around 21.00 o'clock during a dinner, that the royal family was having.

Who ? 

Prince Dipendra killed ten people including himself. He had several guns killing his parents, the King and Queen of Nepal, his siblings and other family members. Five people were wounded but survived.

Why ?

It was rumored that Prince Dipendra was angry over a marriage dispute. Dipendra wanted to marry a member of the rivaling Rana clan but his parents preferred someone else.

Conspiracy theory 

King Birendra's unpopular brother Gyanendra ascended to the throne after his brother's death. Rumors tell that Gyanendra had a hand in the massacre in order to ascend to the throne. There were also speculations over the involvement of the Indian intelligence agency RAW and of the American CIA planning the event. Birendra and his sons were popular among the people of Nepal while Gyanendra and his son were unpopular.

Dipendra in the left, next to his father King Birendra

5. Mountains in Nepal 

Highest Altitude
Nepal is a quite small country being the 95th largest country in the world, but it has eight of the top ten highest peaks of the world. The highest being Mount Everest, Sagarmatha in Nepalese, got its name from George Everest, the surveyor General of India between 1830 and 1843. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first people to climb on the top of Mount Everest in 1953. 

Tallest Mountain
Mount Everest's altitude measured from sea level is the highest in the world, but the tallest mountain in the world is actually Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Its highest point is only at 4207 but most of the volcano is under the water and its total size from the base to the summit is over 10,000m. 

Top 10 Peaks of the World

  1. Mount Everest - 8848m 
  2. K2 - 8611m - China-Pakistan border 
  3. Kangchenjunga - 8586
  4. Lhotse - 8516m
  5. Makalu - 8485m
  6. Cho Oyu - 8188m
  7. Dhaulagiri I - 8167m
  8. Manaslu - 8163m
  9. Nanga Parbat - 8126m - Pakistan 
  10. Annapurna I - 8091m
Highest peaks of each continent


500BC Small kingdoms and confederations of clans arose in southern regions of Nepal
250BC Maurya Empire of North India extended their influence to Nepal
200s Licchavi Kingdom governed the Kathmandu Valley
300s Gupta Empire ruled Nepal
1000s Chalukha dynasty of South India influenced Nepal. Hinduism became more popular than Buddhism in Nepal because the kings supported Hinduism
1482 Nepal was divided into three kingdoms: Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur
1700s In the middle of the century the Gorkha king, Prithvi Narayan Shah, conquered the areas of Malla Dynasty and others to create the present-day Nepal
1769 After Battle of Kirtipur Narayan Shah conquered the Kathmandu Valley
1775 The Kingdom of Nepal was established and Kathmandu became the capital 
1788-1792 Sino-Nepalese War, The Tibetans and Nepalese fought but later the Qing Dynasty, which ruled Tibet was involved in the conflict driving out the Nepalese from Tibet and forcing to sign a peace treaty
1815-1816 Rivalry between the East India Company and the Kingdom of Nepal over annexing the minor states bordering Nepal led to the Anglo-Nepali War. Nepal had to cede parts of Sikkim and Terai, which they had captured recently
1846 After clashes between the military personnels and administrators loyal to the queen Jung Bahadur Kunwar emerged victorious and founded the Rana Dynasty. He became the Prime Minister, a post that he had made powerful and hereditary as the king became a titular figure
1857 The Rana Dynasty as pro-British assisted the British in India during the Sepoy Rebellion and sent some Gurkha soldiers to assists the British
1923 Great Britain and Nepal signed an agreement of friendship and Great Britain recognized the independence of Nepal
1924 Slavery was abolished in Nepal 
1940s Pro-democracy movements and protests against the Rana rule, which was marked by tyranny, debauchery, economic exploitation and religious persecution
1951 The Rana family was displaced from power and India supported the Nepali Congress to reinstate the power to the royal family as King Tribhuvan became the country's new ruler and the new constitution was accepted
1959 King Mahendra abolished the political parties after years of power wrangling with the government. Nepal became a Hindu monarchy and a "partyless" Panchayat system started governing Nepal
1989 The People's Movement "Jan Andolan" forced King Birendra to accept constitutional reforms and to establish a multiparty parliament
1990 Political parties were accepted and Nepal became a constitutional monarchy
1991 The country's second free elections
1991-1992 Bhutan expelled about 100,000 people of Nepali heritage to Nepal, most of whom have been living in one of the seven refugee camps ever since or moved to other countries as refugees
1994 The Communist Party of Nepal won the elections
1996 Nepalese Civil War started after the Communist Party wanted to replace the royal parliamentary system with a people's republic. The long civil war ended in late 2006
2001 Prince Dipendra killed ten members of the royal family including his parents, the King and Queen and himself. King Birendra's unpopular brother Gyanendra ascended to the throne after the massacre
2005 King Gyanendra dismissed the entire government assuming full executive powers to quash the violent Maoist movement, an act which caused a general strike and an uprising
2007 King Gyandendra had to reinstate the House of Representatives, which declared Nepal a secular state ending its status as a Hindu Kingdom
2008 Nepal was declared a federal republic and thereby abolishing the monarchy
2008 The Maoist party of Nepal won the elections
2015 Nepal introduced a new constitution changing it to a federal democratic republic
2015 Nepal was hit by two severe earthquakes within two weeks
2015 Bidhya Devi Bhandari became Nepal's first female president

perjantai 22. heinäkuuta 2016

Bhutan, Cool Facts #128

<= 127. Bangladesh                                                                                                          129. Nepal => 

1. Bhutan's Name 

Bhutan, The Land of the Thunder Dragon. Bhutan is the official English name of the country. The people themselves call their country: 

Druk Yul = Land of Druk, the leaders of the country are called Druk Gyalpo, "Thunder Dragon Kings"
Dru Ü = Country of the Drukpa Lineage, the Dragon People, or the Land of the Thunder Dragon

Names used of Bhutan by others along the history: 

Bottanthis/Bottan/Bottanter = described more likely the area of Kingdom of Tibet instead of modern-day Bhutan in the 1500-1600s 
Boutan/Bootan = The British started using the name of the Druk Desi Kingdom separating it from Panchen Lama's Tibet. The French name Boutan was anglicized as Bootan by general James Rennell
Cambirasi = Portuguese in the 1600s recorded Bhutan with this name
Broukpa = Bhutan appeared for the first time with this name on a western map

Other names: 

Lho Mon = Dark Southland
Lho Tsendenjong = Southland of the Cypress
Lhomen Khazhi = Southland of the Four Approaches
Lho Menjong = Southland of the Herbs

Map of Bhutan
2. How did Bhutan remain independent ? 

Establishment of Bhutan 

Bhutan was established by Ngawang Namgyal, a lama who fled the religious persecutions from Tibet. Namgyal united Bhutan transforming it into a theocracy. When Namgyal died in 1651 his death was kept a secret for 54 years and the true power was scattered between regional chieftains and religious leaders. 

Threats to the sovereignty

In the 1700s Bhutan had mainly two threats, the Tibetans in the north and the Mughal Empire. Bhutan had wars with the Mughal Empire in 1711 and with the Tibetans in 1714, which Bhutan won.
In 1772 Bhutan invaded and occupied the kingdom of Cooch Behar. The British East India Company assisted Cooch Behar to oust out the Bhutanese and attacked them in 1774. Bhutan had to retreat to its pre-1730 borders and for the next hundred years Bhutan had border skirmishes with the British.

Treaties that protected Bhutan to remain independent

Bhutan lost the Duar War against the British in 1864-1865 for the control of the Bengal Duars. The peace treaty made after the war ended all hostilities between Bhutan and British India.

1910 Treaty of Punakha: The British approved the new monarchy, that Ugyen Wangchuk had established in 1907 after being unanimously chosen as the hereditary King of Bhutan. The treaty gave Great Britain the power to control Bhutan's foreign relations.

1949 Treaty of Friendship: The British colonial Empire had fallen and the British colonies had become independent. Bhutan decided to sign a similar treaty with India in order to seek protection against China. Bhutan agreed to let India guide its foreign policy in return. The ties with India strengthened especially after 1951 when China invaded and occupied Tibet.

Bhutan has remained independent since the foundation of the state mainly because of its ability to defend itself in the 1700s and 1800s and the treaties signed with Great Britain and India in the 1900s. 

Ugyen Wangchuk with his councilors at Punakha, Bhutan 1905
Bhutan one of the few countries, that hasn't been colonized 

3. The Kingdom of Bhutan 

Beginning of the royal family
The current royal family of Bhutan has ruled the country since 1907 when Ugyen Wangchuk was chosen as the hereditary king of Bhutan. The decision was made by an assembly of Buddhist monks, government officials and important families. 

Civil War
In the 1870s power struggles between the rival Paro and Tongsa valleys led to a civil war. Wangchuk from Tongsa valley allied with the British and united the country after defeating his political enemies in different rebellions and civil wars between 1882-1885.

Evolution of the Kingdom
1953 King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk established a National Assembly of 130 members to promote a more democratic form of governance
1965 Wangchuck set up a Royal Advisory Council
1968 Wangchuk formed a Cabinet
1971 Bhutan was admitted to the United Nations
1999 The government lifted the ban on television and internet
2005 A new constitution in Bhutan 
2008 Bhutan abolished absolute monarchy becoming a parliamentary monarchy and Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck ascended to the throne 

King and Queen of Bhutan

4. Conflict with Nepal 

In the 1990s Bhutan caused a lot of controversy when it expelled most of its ethnic Lhotshampa population. The Lhotshampa people, who are referred as the Southerners lived in southern Bhutan, are a homogenous population of Nepalese ancestry.

The decision to expel them was motivated by concerns that the fast-growing Nepali minority would revolt in some point and demand for a separate independent state. Similar events happened in India, when the nearby kingdom of Sikkim collapsed in 1975.

These expelled people haven't got citizenship from the Nepalese government so many of them have become stateless. In the year 2008 over a hundred thousand refugees stayed in refugee camps but many of them have moved to Australia, Canada, UK, USA and Norway as refugees.

One of the problems of the conflict were also that the Lhotshampa population protested against the compulsion of using the Bhutanese national costume in public places and the fact that they didn't get education in their own language.

Bhutanese refugees
5. Uniqueness of Bhutan 

- In 1999 the government lifted the ban on television and internet - Bhutan was the first country to ban the sale of tobacco products in 2004
- First country to measure the Gross National Happiness of the population 
- The only country to have zero net greenhouse emissions
- All of Bhutan's nature conservation areas are connected to each others by biological corridors
- Bhutan has no railways
- Bhutan's most popular sport is archery 

The Buddhist Tiger's Nest temple in 900m in Bhutan


700s Buddhism was introduced in Bhutan
1600s Ngawang Namgyal, a lama who had fled religious persecution in Tibet, was able to unite the small communities of Bhutan creating a uniform legislation and central government. Namgyal took the title Shabdrung and Bhutan was a theocracy, which built fortified monasteries to defend from the Tibetan conquest attempts
1651 Namgyal died but his death was kept secret for 54 years as they claimed that the Shabdrung had retreated to meditate
1700-1800s The British East India Company became a threat to the Bhutanese sovereignty besides the Tibetans
1711 Bhutan went into war with the Mughal Empire
1714 Tibetans attacked Bhutan unsuccessfully
1772 Bhutan invaded and occupied the kingdom of Cooch Behar, which appealed to the British East India Company to assist them ousting out the Bhutanese and later attacking them in 1774. A peace treaty was made in which Bhutan agreed to retreat to its pre-1730 borders but the border skirmishes with the British continued still for a hundred years
1827 A fire in Punakha destroyed a lot of the records of the Bhutanese history, which is why the early Bhutanese history is unclear
1864-1865 Bhutan lost the Duar War against the British for the control of the Bengal Duars. The peace treaty after the war ended all hostilities between Bhutan and British India
1870s Power struggles between the rival valleys of Paro and Tongsa led to civil war
1882-1885 Ugyen Wangchuk from Tongsa valley defeated his political enemies in several civil wars and rebellions and united the country after having allied himself with the British
1907 Ugyen Wangchuk was unanimously chosen as the hereditary king of Bhutan by an assembly of Buddhist monks, government officials and heads of important families
1910 The British signed the Treaty of Punakha with Bhutan in which Britain approved the new monarchy by gaining power over Bhutan's foreign relations. The treaty had little real effect because of Bhutan's isolation 
1949 India became independent and India started now handling Bhutan's foreign relations
1951 China occupied Tibet breaking the commercial and cultural ties with China and Tibetan refugees arrived to Bhutan. The ties to India strengthened
1953 King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk established a 130-member National Assembly to promote a more democratic form of governance
1965 King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk set up a Royal Advisory Council
1968 King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk formed a Cabinet
1971 Bhutan was admitted to the United Nations
1972 Jigme Singye Wangchuk ascended to the throne at the age of 16 after his father died
1999 The government lifted the ban on television and internet
2005 A new constitution was introduced in Bhutan
2008 Jigme Singye Wangchuk's son Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk became the king in Bhutan which had become a parliamentary monarchy from being formerly an absolute monarchy 

keskiviikko 20. heinäkuuta 2016

Bangladesh, Cool Facts #127

<= 126. Pakistan                                                                                                            128. Bhutan =>

1. Evolution of Bangladesh 

British Colonial Era
1858 Bengal became part of the British India
1905 Bengal was divided into the Muslim-majority East Bengal with Dhaka as the center and the Hindu-majority West Bengal with Calcutta as the center
1911 The partition of Bengal was annulled

Partition of India 
1947 British India became independent from Great Britain, the colony was divided into the Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India. Pakistan consisted of East Pakistan (Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (Pakistan). Bengal was also partitioned according to religious borders. West Bengal joined India and East Bengal joined Pakistan.
1950 Land reform in East Pakistan abolishing the feudal zamindari system

Partition of Pakistan 
1970 A massive cyclone devastated the coast of East Pakistan killing up to half a million people
1970 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his Awami League won a majority in Parliament elections but was blocked from taking office
1971 Bangladesh Liberation War ended in the independence of Bangladesh with the support of Indian troops
1972 The new state of Bangladesh was recognized by 86 countries
1974 Pakistan recognized Bangladesh after pressure from the Muslim world

2. Economy of Bangladesh 

- Largest exporter of jute fiber in the world with a share of 70% of the world's jute exports
- Second biggest jute fiber producer after India
- Jat Area in Bangladesh popular for highest quality of jute fiber
- Agriculture biggest industry comprising 18,6% (2010 data) of the GDP and employing 45% of the total work force
- Textile industry the largest manufacturing sector generating 25 billion dollars in exports (2014 data)

Textile factory in Bangladesh

3. Muhammad Yunus

In 2006 Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Price for founding the Grameen Bank and for pioneering the concepts of microfinance and microcredit. Grameen Bank gave loans to people who were too poor for traditional banks.

Yunus started his experiments with micro crediting in 1976 and this has led to the current situation where about 5 million people live within the scope of micro crediting. From the densely populated country with a population of 150 million people about 26% live in national poverty line of 2 dollars per day.

The Grameen Bank has grown into over two dozen companies offering different kinds of services. The Grameen Foundation, which was developed to share the Grameen philosophy and to expand the benefits of microfinance for the world's poorest people, works currently in several countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Muhammad Yunus

4. Bengal Delta

- Also known as Ganges Delta or Brahmaputra Delta or Brahmaputra-Ganges Delta- World's largest delta 
- Consists of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal 
- One of the world's most fertile regions 
- Principal seaports of the delta are Kolkata and Haldia in India and Mongla and Chittagong in Bangladesh 
- Between 125 and 143 million people live in the delta 
- The area is constantly struck by monsoon floods, droughts and tropical cyclones 
- The fertile land gives up to three harvests a year 
- Rising sea level caused by climate change is one of the biggest threats to the inhabitants of the delta 

5. Dhaka 

- Capital city of Bangladesh and the largest city also
- The old city of Dhaka was the Mughal capital of Bengal
- Dhaka generated 50% of the Mughal GDP
- Jahangir Nagar (City of Jahangir) was the city's name in the 1600s
- Dhaka became known as the City of Mosques in Bengal after the Mughals decorated the city with gardens, tombs, palaces, forts and mosques
- It was also described as the Venice of the East
- During medieval times Dhaka was regarded as one of the world's wealthiest cities
- 1905-1912 capital of British Eastern Bengal and Assam
- 1962 Dhaka became the legislative capital of Pakistan
- 1971 Dhaka became the capital of the independent Bangladesh
- Rickshaw capital of the world, has the largest number of cycle rickshaws


1000 BC Vanga or Banga Kingdom ruled in the area, which gave the country the name
300 BC Part of Buddhist Maurya Dynasty
300 Gupta kings from northern India made Hinduism more popular
750 The Bengals established the short-living Shashanka Principality after which the Buddhist Palas Dynasty ruled the area for the following 400 years
1000s Islam started spreading to Bangladesh
1200s Delhi Sultanate started ruling the area
1338 The Hindu Bengal became independent again
1500s Mughal ruler Akbar conquered Bengal and annexed it to his Islamic Mughal Empire, Dhaka became the local center of the Mughal administration
1600s The British sailed to India and became interested in Bengal
1765 The British East India Company took Bengal under its surveillance and started taxing the trade
1858 Bengal became part of the British colony of British Raj after the British had suppressed the Sepoy mutiny and transferred the power to rule from the East India Company to the British government
1905 Bengal was divided into the Muslim-majority East Bengal with Dhaka as the center and Hindu-majority West Bengal with Calcutta as the center
1906 Muslims in Dhaka established the All-India Muslim League party with the goal to establish an independent Muslim state in India
1940s Muslims and Hindus have violent clashes with each others during the World War II
1943 A severe famine kills 3 million people
1947 British India becomes independent as two separate countries, Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India. Bengal was also divided according to religious borders, the western part joined India and the eastern part of Bengal was part of Pakistan as East Pakistan
1950 Land reform
1966 Mujibur Rahman was jailed
1970 Awami League win the majority of the parliamentary seats
1971 Mujibur Rahman declared East Pakistan as the independent state of Bangladesh, West Pakistan's Yahya Khan didn't accept this starting the civil war, which Bangladesh won with the help of Indian troops
1975 First president Mujibur Rahman was murdered during a military coup, successor general Ziaur Rahman changed the constitution making Bangladesh an Islamic state
1981 Army officers murdered Ziaur Rahman and general Hussain Ershad got the power
1990 Ershad had to resign after an uprising
1991 First free parliamentary elections, which were won by BNP
1996 Awami League won the elections and Mujibur Rahman's daughter Hasina Wazed became the Prime Minister
2005 Extremist Islamic parties were prohibited in Bangladesh

perjantai 15. heinäkuuta 2016

Pakistan, Cool Facts #126

<= 125. India                                                                                                           127. Bangladesh =>

1. Evolution of the Pakistani area

The present-day Pakistan was born, when the British Indian colony was partitioned into the Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. Before that the present-day Pakistan was part of several Empires along the history. 

List of Empires that have ruled in the area of present-day Pakistan: 

Click here to see the complete list

7000-2600BC Mehrgarh: a precurcsor to the Indus Valley Civilization 

2500-1500BC Indus Valley Civilization: established by the Dravidian people residing in the Indus Valley region. The ancient cities of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa have remained as ruins from this time period. 

550-330 BC Achaemenid Empire: called as the First Persian Empire 

322-185 BC Mauryan Empire: ruled most parts of the Indian subcontinent

661-750 Umayyad Caliphate: second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Mohammad 

1206-1526 Delhi Sultanate: a Muslim kingdom that ruled large parts of the Indian subcontinent

1206-1368 Mongol Empire: ruled Pakistani areas in the late 1200s 

1526-1857 Mughal Empire: an Empire established by Babur who won the last ruler of Delhi Sultanate in a battle 

1747-1826 Durrani Empire: also known as the Last Afghan Empire 

1799-1849 Sikh Empire: an Empire based around Punjab 

1858-1947 British Empire

2. The Partitions of India and Pakistan 

Muhammad Ali Jinnah is regarded as the Father of the Nation in Pakistan. He advocated for Hindu-Muslim unity and was a prominent member in the Indian National Congress. Jinnah resigned from the Indian National Congress in 1920 and by 1940 he had come to believe that Muslims in British India should have their own state. 

The Lahore Resolution in 1940 demanded a separate nation for the Muslims. The Muslims and Hindus agreed to establish separate independent states for the Hindus and Muslims after the Indian National Congress and Muslim League couldn't reach a power-sharing formula for a united India. In 1947 India and Pakistan became independent from Great Britain. 

Pakistan consistent of West Pakistan (Pakistan) and East Pakistan (Bangladesh). East Pakistan started a civil war or the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, in which it became independent from West Pakistan as Bangladesh. Bangladesh as East Pakistan wasn't satisfied as West Pakistan dominated the politics over the more populous East Pakistan. 

Important dates in the Pakistani history: 
1940 Lahore Resolution 
1947 India and Pakistan become independent as separate states 
1971 Pakistan splits into Bangladesh (East Pakistan) and Pakistan (West Pakistan) after the civil war 

Documentary about the partition of India by BBC 

3. Kashmir conflict

- Territorial conflict between Pakistan and India 
- Pakistan claims the Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir regions from India
- China claims the Shaksam Valley and Aksai Chin from India 
- Pakistan and India have warred over the regions three times: 1947-49, 1965 and 1999 
- 1989 insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir  
- Some Kashmiri separatists seek Kashmir's complete independence some accession to Pakistan 
- India hasn't allowed a referendum in Kashmir about its situation
Kashmir conflict map
Kashmir conflict video:

4. Bhutto Family 

Benazir Bhutto became the world's first female Prime Minister in a Muslim state in 1988. The former Prime Minister Mohammed Zia ul-Haq was killed that year in a plane crash. Zia ul-Haq had overthrown Benazir's father Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was then tried and executed by the Supreme Court due to authorizing the murder of a political opponent.

Benazir Bhutto was re-elected in 1993 and served until 1996. Benazir was accused of corruption and in 1998 she went into exile in Dubai. In 2007 Benazir reached an understanding with President Pervez Musharraf and returned to Pakistan. Benazir was granted amnesty and all the corruption charges against her were withdrawn. Bhutto returned to Pakistan but she was assassinated the same year in a bombing.

The Bhutto family has influenced a lot the Pakistani politics through the Pakistan Peoples Party, which has been ruled by the family since the establishment of the party when Zulfikar Bhutto was elected as the first chairman. Zulfikar's wife Nusrat led the party after him also. Zulfikar's daughter Benazir became the head of the party after Nusrat and Benazir's son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari became the co-chairman with his father after the death of Benazir.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto

5. Hippie trail 

From the mid-1960s to the late 1970s many people, especially the members of the hippie subculture, took an overland journey from Europe to India and further. Pakistan was an important checkpoint before reaching India and the other destinations in Asia. The hippie trail came an end in the late 1970s with political changes in the countries through which the route crossed. So Pakistan and all the countries lost tourists because of the several conflicts in the Middle East.

Political changes that influenced the hippie trail 

1973 Yom Kippur War
1975-1990 Lebanese Civil War
1979 Iranian Revolution
1979-1989 Soviet-Afghan War
1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War

The Hippie trail route


2500-1500BC Indus Valley Civilization, which declined when the Indo-Aryan people migrated to the area
300-100BC Indus Valley was ruled by local Princes or by the dynasties of North India like Maurya, Kushana and Gupta
700s The Arabs brought Islam
1000 Mahmud of Ghazni from present-day Afghanistan instilled Islam to the region
1100s Delhi Sultanate, the first Islamic state in the region, was established
1398 Timur Lenk's Tatars from Central Asia attacked the Indus Valley and India scattering the existing states into smaller separate states
1526 Timur Lenk's grandchild Babur established the Mughal Empire, consisting almost the whole Indian subcontinent
1700s The Mughal Empire was degrading and the Indus Valley didn't have a strong central power, but it was controlled by local Talpur rulers
1799 The Sikhs created their own state in Kashmir and Punjab
1800s The British East India Company had taken advantage of the degrading Mughal Empire, which was fighting against the Maratha Empire and controlled in the middle of the century the whole subcontinent
1858 The last Mughal ruler was overthrown and present-day Pakistan became part of the British Indian colony of British Raj. During the Mughal era, Muslims had ruled the country but the British favored the Hindu, who were given important tasks and educated
1885 The nationalist movements organized as the Indian National Congress
1906 The Muslims in India established the All-India Muslim League, which defended the Muslim rights in the British India
1930s Muhammad Ali Jinnah from the Muslim League started demanding for the establishment of an independent Muslim state, which succeeded
1947 India and Pakistan became independent from Great Britain, Pakistan consisted of East Pakistan (Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (Pakistan), which was the dominating party
1970 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Awami League won the parliament elections, which sought autonomy for East Pakistan, but he wasn't allowed to form a government and East Pakistan wasn't granted autonomy
1971 East Pakistan declared itself as the independent Bangladesh, which was followed by a civil war
1973 The Baluchi people rebelled in the western part of Pakistan demanding back the 1415 lost independence and control over the natural resources of the mountain area, which they inhabited. The rebellion was suppressed in a four-year war in Baluchistan, which is situated between Pakistan and Afghanistan
1977 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was overthrown by soldiers in a military coup and general Mohammed Zia ul-Haq became the leader. Zia ul-Haq hanged Bhutto despite the international objections
1988 Zia ul-Haq died in an attach and afterwards the PPP won the elections and Bhutto's daughter Benazir Bhutto became the first female Prime Minister in any Muslim country
1997 Benazir Bhutto had to exile after being accused of corruption in Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif from IDA became the next Prime Minister
1998 India and Pakistan threatened each others by conducting nuclear weapon tests
1998 General Pervez Musharraf took over power and elected himself the president, as an invaluable ally to the USA in their war against terrorism, Musharraf didn't even face any international pressure after his undemocratic use of power
2007 Benazir Bhutto returned to her home country but was assassinated. President Musharraf was pressured to resign and Bhutto's widower Asif Ali Zardari became the Prime Minister
2011 American special forces hit secretly Osama bin Laden's home palace in Abbottabad and killed him 

tiistai 12. heinäkuuta 2016

India, Cool Facts #125

<= 124. Cameroon                                                                                                       126. Pakistan =>                           

1. Indo-Aryans vs Dravidians

The oldest human remains in India date to 30,000 BC. The settlements gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished in present-day Indian and Pakistani areas around 2500-1900 BC. These people were Dravidian people, who were later pushed to the south by the lighter skinned Indo-Aryans, who migrated from Central Asia.

The Indo-Aryans started arriving around 1800BC and they created the division of India, which is still influencing India as the south is inhabited by Dravidian people and the northern and central parts by Indo-Aryan descendants. The Indo-Aryans brought their language Sanskrit with them, the language in which Hindi is based on.

The Indo-Aryans also brought their hierarchical caste system, which brought stability but was unequal and discriminatory. The casteless 15% of the population were given full civil rights in the constitution of 1950, but the caste system continues influencing the Indian society.

Theoretical migration map of the Indo-Aryan people between 4000-1000BC
Comparison between Indo-Aryan and Dravidian descendants 
Language family map of South Asia

2. Birthplace of Religions 

Four religions were born in India: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Other religions shaped the regions diverse culture as Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam all spread to India during the 1st millennium CE. 

The religion has no single founder or source, it has developed since the 1750BC and gone through several development periods like The Epic, Puranic and Classical periods.

The religion has its roots in Indus Valley Civilization, reflecting the spirituality of the native people before the Indo-Aryan migration to India.

A religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who was born in Lumbini, present-day Nepal

Based on the teachings of Guru Nanak, the first guru of the eleven gurus of Sikhism. Sikhism has existed for 546 years now (2016).

Religious groups in India (2011): 

Hindu 79,8%
Islam 14,23%
Christianity 2,30%
Sikhism 1,72%
Buddhism 0,70%

India has the world's largest Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Zoroastrian and Baha'i populations and the third-largest Muslim population

India Religious Demographics

3. British Raj 

India was a British colony called the British Raj between 1858-1947.

Time before the colonial time: 

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish a settlement as they conquered Goa as their base. In 1599 English businessmen established the East India Company to handle trade in Far East. The British followed as the Mughal Empire and Maratha Empire fought against each other in the 1600s and 1700s.

They benefitted from the situation, where the Mughal Empire degraded getting the control over its areas and starting to fight against the Maratha Empire. In 1818 after three wars India was practically completely under British control.

British rule 

In 1857 the Indian soldiers, Sepoys, rebelled against the British. The rebellion was suppressed violently and the last Mughal Emperor was overthrown. In 1858 The British established its Indian colony, the British Raj.


In 1921 Mahatma Gandhi assumed the leadership of the Indian National Congress and led the independence movement in the 1930s and 1940s. In the end India became independent in 1947.

Indian Empire in 1936

4. Indian Partition 

In the beginning of the independence the British Indian Empire was partitioned into two dominions, the Hindu-majority India and the Muslim-majority Pakistan in 1947. Millions of people were displaced as the partition was made and that caused practically a civil war, where a million people died. The clashes were especially severe in Punjab and Bengal.

India and Pakistan have fought over the region of Jammu and Kashmir several times since the independence and the insurgency is still ongoing. One major cause of the insurgency was the fact that the Hindu Maharaja of Kashmir wanted to join India as the majority of the population were Muslims and wanted to join Pakistan.

In 1971 the Indian troops supported East Pakistan as it split from West Pakistan to become the independent state of Bangladesh.

Important dates: 
1947 British Indian Empire becomes independent as Pakistan and India
1971 Pakistan is split into Pakistan (West Pakistan) and Bangladesh (East Pakistan)

5. Nehru-Gandhi Dynasty 

India has had a very special political dynasty as the Nehru-Gandhi family has ruled several times the Indian politics. The Gandhi surname comes from Feroze Gandhi, who wasn't related to Mahatma Gandhi. Feroze married Indira Nehru, the daugher of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Many members of this family have been involved in the Indian politics and unfortunately many of them have been also assassinated.

Nehru-Gandhi family Indian Prime Ministers: 

1947-1964 Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister
1966-1977 and 1980-1984 Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal's only daughter and India's first female Prime Minister. Assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984
1984-1989 Rajiv Gandhi, became the Prime Minister after her mother Indira was assassinated. Rajiv was assassinated in 1991 by a Tamil suicide bomber

Other family members involved in politics: 

Arun Nehru (1944-2013) politician and union minister during the 1980s
Sanjay Gandhi (1948-1980) was expected to become the Prime Minister after his mother but Sanjay died in a plane crash
Sonia Gandhi (1946) Italian wife of Rajiv Gandhi, she is the incumbent President of the Indian National Congress
Maneka Gandhi (1956) wife of Sanjay Gandhi and a prominent member of the Bharatiya Janata Party
Rahul Gandhi (1970) son of Rajiv and Sonia. Vice-president of the Congress party
Varun Gandhi (1980) son of Sanjay Gandhi and Maneka Gandhi. The youngest National Secretary in the history of the Bharatiya Janata Party.


2500-1900 BC The Indus Valley Civilization thrived around cities like Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, Dholavira and Kalibangan
2000-500 BC The Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism were composed and Indo-Aryan people drove the existing Dravidian people to the south of India
500s BC Buddhism arose based on Siddharta Gautama's teachings and spread strongly during the Mauryan Empire
200s BC Maurya Dynasty's most pre-eminent ruler Ashoka united the Indian subcontinent for the first time, but the Empire disintegrated after his death and Hinduism supplanted Buddhism
320-550 Gupta Empire ruled India and during this time the classical Sanskrit literature, Indian science, astronomy, medicine and mathematics thrived making significant advances
600-1200 Indian early Medieval age, no ruler was able to control the whole subcontinent during this time
700-800s South Indian culture and political systems were exported to areas which are present-day Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Java
800s Islam started spreading to India
1206 Delhi Sultanate, the first Islamic state, was created in India
1200s The Delhi Sultanate repeatedly repulsed Mongol raiders saving India from the devastation that the Mongols caused in West and Central Asia
1300s Timur Lenk's Tatars attacked from Central Asia causing a statal disintegration in India
1336-1646 Vijayanagara Empire ruled in southern India
1498 Portuguese Vasco da Gama was the first European to find a maritime route to India
1500s The Portuguese conquered Goa as their base in western Indian
1526 Timur's descendent Babur established the Islamic Mughal Empire and in the end of the century Mogul Emperor Akbar conquered India completely
1599 British businessmen established the East India Company to handle trade in Far East
1674 Chattrapahti Shivaji's Maratha Empire won the war against the Mughal Empire, which lasted for 27 years
1700s Maratha Empire had conquered the majority of India under its influence
1757 As the Mughal Empire degenerated the East India Company got control over its areas and started fighting against the Maratha Empire
1818 After three was India was practically completely under British control
1846 Muslim majority Jammu and Kashmir had been detached from the Sikh Empire as separate Sultanates
1857 Indian Rebellion against the British, which was suppressed in 1858 and as a result the control of India was removed from the East India Company to the British government
1858 The British Raj was established, the British colony of India with Queen Victoria as the Queen of India
1885 Indian National Congress was established
1906 The Muslim population pursued an independent islamic state, but the National Congress didn't approve it
1919 Amritsar massacre, where British soldiers killed over 400 protestors 
1940s After the World War II the Muslims and Hindus of India had violent clashes with each others
1947 British India became independent, the country was divided into the Hindu majority India and Muslim majority Pakistan 
1948 Mahatma Gandhi was shot to death by a Hindu militant
1950 India recognized the independence of Sikkim between India and Tibet
1959 and 1962 Wars with China as China demanded the annexation of Sikkim to Tibet
1961 Indian soldiers marched to Goa and ended the Portuguese colonial rule there
1966 Jawaharlal Nehru's daugther Indira Gandhi became India's Prime Minister
1971 Pakistan was divided as Indian troops supported East India to become the independent Bangladesh
1975 After a referendum Sikkim ended its 300-year period of autonomy and joined India
1984 Sikh bodyguards murdered Indira Gandhi as a revenge after the Indian troops had attacked the Sikhs' holy golden temple in Amritsar 
1991 Rajiv Gandhi was murdered by Tamil guerrillas during the election campaign, they revenged the intervention made by Indian troops in Sri Lanka's civil war between the Tamils and Sinhalese
1992 Severe wave of violent clashes between the Hindu and Muslim people after the Hindu destroyed the mosque in Ayodhya, erected to honor Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire
1998 Hindu party BJP got finally into the government and its leader Atal Behari became the Prime Minister and by carrying out nuclear weapon tests provoked Pakistan to its own tests
2004 Manmohan Singh became India's first Sikh president
2014 Narendra Modhi followed Singh as the Prime Minister