In this section, I am providing general information - combination of a glossary, listing of great personalities, locations & geographical landmarks, history - in general any subject related to India. I have gathered the information from various sources - books, magazines, internet, word of mouth.
General information about India - S
Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages of the world. Among the current languages which possess a hoary antiquity like Latin or Greek, Sanskrit is the only language which has retained its pristine purity. It has maintained its structure and vocabulary even today as it was in the past.
Sanskrit is a language for humanity and not merely a means for communication within a society. The oldest surviving literature of the world, viz. the Vedas, encompass knowledge in virtually every sphere of human activity.
The grammar of Sanskrit has attracted scholars world over. It is very precise and upto date and remains well defined even today. Of late, several persons have expressed the opinion that Sanskrit is the best language for use with computers. Sanskrit, the vocabulary of which is derived from root syllables, is ideal for coining new scientific and technological terms. The need to borrow words or special scientific terms does not arise.
Sanskrit comprises fifty one letters or aksharas. In other languages, we refer to the letters of the alphabet of the language. We know that the word alphabet is derived from the names of the first two letters of Greek. The term alphabet has no other meaning except to denote the set of letters in the language. In contrast, the word "akshara" in Sanskrit denotes something fundamental and significant. One of the direct meanings of the word is that it denotes the set of letters of Sanskrit from the first to the last. The word also means that the sound of the letter does not ever get destroyed and thus signifies the eternal quality of the sound of the letters. The consequence of this meaning is that the sound of a word is essentially the sounds of the aksharas in the word, a concept which will help simplify text to speech applications with computers.
Source: Learn Sanskrit through self study http://acharya.iitm.ac.in/sanskrit/why_sans.php
Sanskrit literature can be classified under six orthodox heads and four secular heads. The six orthodox sections form the authoritative scriptures of the Hindus. The four secular sections embody the later developments in classical Sanskrit literature.
The six scriptures are: (i) Srutis, (ii) Smritis, (iii) Itihasas, (iv) Puranas, (v) Agamas and (vi) Darsanas.
The four secular writings are: (i) Subhashitas, (ii) Kavyas, (iii) Natakas and (iv) Alankaras.
Source: Excerpt from All About Hinduism by Sri Swami Sivananda http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/HinduScriptures/id/22629
Sare Jahan Se Aacha - Patriotic song
The poem Saare Jahan Se Achcha was composed by the poet Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal in 1904-1905 while India was under British administration. The poem is sung by Indians on occasions of national importance and in schools as part of morning prayer. After the Indian National Anthem Jana-Gana-Mana and the Indian National Song Vande Mataram, Sare Jahan Se Achcha enjoys the reputation as the most popular patriotic song in India. The poem epitomises love for the nation and patriotism.
saare jahaan se achcha hindostaan hamaraa
hum bul bulain hai is kee, ye gulsitan hamaraa
parbat vo sabse unchaa hum saaya aasma kaa
vo santaree hamaraa, vo paasbaan hamaraa
godee mein khel tee hain is kee hazaaron nadiya
gulshan hai jinke dum se, rashke janna hamaraa
mazhab nahee sikhataa apas mein bayr rakhnaa
hindee hai hum, vatan hai hindostaan hamaraa
Translation of the poem in English:
Better than all the world, is our India
We are its nightingales and this is our garden
That mountain most high; neighbor to the skies
It is our sentinel; it is our protector
A thousand rivers play in its lap,
Gardens they sustain, the envy of the heavens is ours
Faith does not teach us to harbor grudges between us
We are all Indians and India is our homeland