India

About India – Brief History

India or the Republic of India is a South Asian country that is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal from the Southeast, the Arabian Sea from the Southwest, and the Indian Ocean from the South. On a worldwide basis, the country is the seventh-largest area-wise, the second-most populous, and the most populous democracy.

The country shares borders with countries such as Bhutan, China, and Nepal from the North-East; Pakistan from the west; Myanmar and Bangladesh from the East. India is near the Maldives and Sri Lanka, in the Indian Ocean. Moreover, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands that are part of India share a nautical border with countries like Indonesia and Thailand.

During the 3rd Millennium BCE, the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilization. Then, the ancient scriptures of Hinduism were composed in the following millennium. In the 1st Millennium, there was the emergence of social stratification, on a caste basis; also, during that period, there was rise of Jainism and Buddhism.

Under the Mughal and Gupta dynasties, there was formation of the political consolidations. Later on, the Middle Kingdoms cast their influence towards the Southeast Asian regions.

Thereafter, during the medieval era, there was arrival of Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Judaism and also, Sikhism emerged; they added to India’s cultural diversity. Also, the Northern part of India was ruled by the Delhi Sultanate; and the southern region was under the Vijayanagara Empire.

In the 17th century, under the Mughal rule, there was expansion of the economy. Towards the mid-18th century, the subcontinent was ruled by the British East India Company; and in the mid-19th century, under the rule of the British crown.

As part of the Nationalist Movement that started during the late 19th century and lasted until the year 1947, India became an independent nation and free from the rule of the Britishers, under the leadership of the ‘Father of the Nation’, Mahatma Gandhi. The first Prime Minister of Independent India was Jawaharlal Nehru; and India’s first President, Rajendra Prasad.

Modern India

Presently, India is a fast-emerging major economy and is grouped under the category of newly-industrialized countries. Yet, the country faces challenges pertaining to insufficient healthcare, poverty, malnutrition, unemployment, and corruption.

Also, India is a nuclear weapons state and flexes considerable regional power. Moreover, the country is recognized to be a federal republic having a parliamentary system. The country is governed by the Constitution of India that is India’s superlative legal reference and came into effect on 26th January 1950.

India’s capital is Delhi; and the country’s largest city is Mumbai. India has a total of 20 states and 7 union territories. Also, the country has a rich biodiversity and houses several wildlife species in the country’s various protected territories. Overall, India’s culture can be described as a multi-lingual, pluralistic, and multi-ethnic one.

Official Languages

The country’s official language is Hindi; and English, the “subsidiary official language”. Also, the several Indian languages belong to varied language families; out of which the major ones are the Indo-Aryan languages and the Dravidian languages that are spoken by around 75% and 20% of Indians.

Also, each of India’s state and union territories has one or more official languages; and as per the Constitution, in particular, 22 ‘scheduled’ languages are recognized.

Religions

India is known to be a secular state and has no state religion. In fact, four of the world’s major religions including Sikhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism took birth in India. Also, at present, India is home to large populations of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, and Jainism – among others.

Politics

As mentioned earlier, India is the world’s most populous democracy. As a parliamentary republic, the country follows the multi-party system, under which numerous political parties can contest the national elections and run the administration, either independently or in coalition with other parties.

In India, there are 7 recognized national parties, with the inclusion of the Indian National Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP); also, there are over 40 regional parties. As per political culture, the Congress and BJP are considered to be centre-left and right-wing parties respectively.

Defence Sector

Globally, India’s Army is rated to be the second-largest one. Also, the country stands at fifth place in military expenditure among other nations. Moreover, the country ranks 4th in terms of Defence capability. The President of India is considered to be the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces that comprises of the Indian Navy, Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Coast Guard.

Official Name Republic of India; Bharat Ganrajya
Capital New Delhi
Population 1210854977 (2011 census)
  1293057000 ( 2016 estimate)
Area 3,287,263 sq km
Geographical Location Between latitudes 8° 4′ and 37° 6′ North and longitudes 68° 7′ and 97° 25′ East
Coastline Length 7,516 km
Major Religions Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism
Population Density 382 per sq km.
Sex Ratio 940 females per 1000 of males.
Literacy 74.00%
President Ram Nath Kovind
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
National Anthem Jana Gana Mana, written by Rabindranath Tagore
National Song Vande Mataram, composed in Sanskrit by Bankimchandra Chatterji
National Emblem An adaptation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath
National Animal Royal Bengal Tiger
National Bird Peacock
National Flower Lotus
National Tree Banyan
National Fruit Mango
National Tree Banyan Tree
National Currency Indian Rupee
National Sport Hockey (Unofficial)
Languages Hindi, English
National Flag  Tiraṅgā
National Calender Saka calender
National Days 26th January (Republic Day), 15th August (Independence Day), 2nd October (Gandhi Jayanti
Administrative Division 29 States and 7 Union Territories.
Neighbouring Countries Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka

List of Indian states

Andhra Pradesh Arunachal Pradesh Assam
Bihar Chhattisgarh Goa
Gujarat Haryana Himachal Pradesh
Jammu and Kashmir Jharkhand Karnataka
Kerala Madhya Pradesh Maharashtra
Manipur Meghalaya Mizoram
Nagaland Odisha Punjab
Rajasthan Sikkim Tamil Nadu
Telangana Tripura Uttar Pradesh
Uttarakhand West Bengal Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Chandigarh Dadar and Nagar Haveli Daman and Diu
Delhi Lakshadweep Puducherry (Pondicherry)
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