The largest democratic elections in the world took place in India. India has a population of over 1 billion people (the second largest population of any country, after China). Over 800 million people were eligible to vote in these elections, and about 550 million people have voted. To put that in perspective, the number of voters is more than the number of people that live in Russia, United States, and the United Kingdom combined! The elections were held in nine phases, over 5 weeks (April 7 to May 12). There were almost one million voting centers across the country!
The vote count is in progress. The results so far are suggesting that Narendra Modi (image) will likely become the next Prime Minister of India for a five year term. Modi had humble beginnings. His family did not have much money. He helped his family sell tea as a child.
India was ruled by the British for about 200 years and got its independence in 1947. Before its independence, the countries of Pakistan and Bangladesh were also a part of India. Mohandas Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, is considered one of India’s greatest leaders who led the country to its independence. He is known for his beliefs in living a simple lifestyle and non-violence. His birthday, October 2, is celebrated around the globe as the “International Day of Non-Violence”.
Played the game “snakes and ladders”? The game originated in India and was originally designed to teach Hindu children about good and evil, where “good squares” take a person higher in life and “evil squares” bring a person down in life.
One of India’s famous landmarks is the Taj Mahal, a white marble building located in the city of Agra. It was built in the 1600s by one of India’s emperors, Shah Jahan, in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
Here are videos about the Taj Mahal and a rap about Gandhi.
Image Credits: Muhammad Mahdi Karim for Taj Mahal’s image
Sources: http://www.princeton.edu/, Indian Express, http://eci.nic.in/eci/eci.html, http://www.elections.in/, http://www.un.org/, http://www.mkgandhi.org/, http://www.tajmahal.gov.in/