India is the world’s second-largest country by population, with 1.38 billion people currently living there. That’s up almost 1% on last year, at a rate that’s nearly double that of the US and China. 

With so many people, India was always going to play a big role in modern society. Its contributions span almost every conceivable sector, covering health, culture, industry, and sport. 

Here are some of its biggest and most notable. 

Games

With the modern gaming scene mainly consisting of titles developed in North America, Europe, and parts of Asia, it can be easy to forget that many of the oldest and most widespread games actually came from India. 

The most famous of them all is chess. This strategy board game is believed to be several thousand years old having descended from the Indian game of Chaturanga. It had most of the same characteristics as today’s version, though it included elephants as one of the pieces which instantly makes it a more exciting prospect. 

Another popular game that India has exported around the world is Andar Bahar. While it isn’t quite the same degree of game as chess or snakes and ladders, it shares many of their characteristics, including the fact that it is more than a century old and is an integral part of Indian culture.

You can find Andar Bahar at some online casinos, where it fits right in since it’s played with cards just like blackjack and baccarat.

Other popular games that originated in India include Snakes and Ladders, Ludo, Polo, and Carrom. 

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While they may be old, they still play a role in the global economy today, selling millions of sets each year. In fact, chess, in particular, enjoyed a more than six-fold increase in demand back in 2020 after the release of The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix

USB

You may not give it much thought, but USB is an integral part of modern life. For most people, it’s just the little plug that we use to charge things or transfer data from device to device. Some of us even use them as crypto wallets to keep our tokens safe. 

But before USB, we were subjected to a nightmarish mish-mash of different cables and connectors for almost every device. 

Mobile phone chargers were not interchangeable between brands or even between different models created by the same company; printers used huge cables; data was transferred through discs; and keyboards and mice used their own special plugs. 

USB is a standardised set of wires and plugs, making electronic devices cheaper and reducing waste. It also means you almost always have a spare should one break, and you don’t have to get travel adapters anytime you want to go to a different country as you do with AC outlets. 

We have Ajay V. Bhatt, an Indian-American from Gujarat, to thank for its invention

Yoga

Yoga is one of the most popular forms of exercise today thanks to its simplicity, which means that no fancy equipment is needed to practice.

It might feel like a modern creation as it only entered popular culture within the last couple of decades. But long before Hollywood stars were practising their downward-facing dogs on Santa Monica Beach, Yoga developed in India as a spiritual practice. 

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There is a lot of debate over its exact origins. It’s possible it evolved from separate but similar practices and eventually morphed into the single group of stretching exercises we know today. 

Shampoo

After a long yoga session, you probably want to hit the shower and clean off a bit. You have India to thank there, too, as it was there that shampoo was invented back in the mid-18th century. 

It was originally devised as a way to enhance head massages but its cleaning properties were later discovered and harnessed by the rest of the world. 

The first shampoos were created from natural oils and herbs, giving them their pleasant smells and textures. Today, some people still follow this natural recipe, though mass-produced products take a different approach. 

The word shampoo comes from the similar Hindi word chāmpo which, itself, is derived from “chapayti”, a Sanskrit word for massage. 

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