​Marc Nemiroff

Author of



  • 1.252 billion (2013) people live in India, making it the second largest population in the world.

  • India has 29 states, in which 780 languages are spoken.  Hindi is the official, common language of India, but 25 million Indians speak Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, Punjabi, and Assamese.  Sadly, 220 languages of the subcontinent have been lost in the last 50 years. 

  • Residents of Mumbai are called Mumbaikars. 

  • Mumbai, also called Bombay, is the capital city of the state of Maharashtra and is the largest city in India and the fourth largest city in the world.  As of 2015, it has a population of 20.5 million people, a growth of over a million people from 2014.  Sixty percent of the population lives in severe poverty: 7.5 million people in hutments. 

  • More than 37,000 children live and work in these slums.  “11.50% of children were involved in selling flowers, newspapers, fruits and other items on the roads, while 9% who were working in small eateries, and 7.9%  were found begging. About 2.5% were employed in construction work and about 5.5% were rag pickers.” (http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-streets-of-mumbai-are-home-to-37059-children-who-work-and-live-there-report-1940163)   A study done in 2004 found that 60 percent of the street children of Mumbai have never attended school and 66 percent are illiterate. 

  • Mumbai was known as Bombay until 1995 when the nationalist party Shiv Sena won the state elections.  It changed Bombay’s name in honor of the Hindu goddess Mumbadevi, the city's patron deity.  Mumbaikars visit the Great Mother’s 700-year-old temple before starting a new venture and for her blessings for a new marriage.  Mumbadevi is the goddess of Mother Earth. 

  • In Sanskrit, “Devi” means goddess.  “Deva” is the masculine but not all Indian gods and goddesses include these words in their names.