India

India (ISO: Bhārat), also known as the Republic of India (ISO: Bhārat Gaṇarājya),[18][e] is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west;[f] China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

The Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, and Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Maurya and Gupta empires; later peninsular Middle Kingdoms influenced cultures as far as Southeast Asia. In the medieval era, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam arrived, and Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture. Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate; the south was united under the Vijayanagara Empire. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, and in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which later, under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947.

In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP[19] and third largest by purchasing power parity.[15] Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption, malnutrition, and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories. A pluralistic, multilingual and multi-ethnic society, it is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.

Republic of India

Bhārat Gaṇarājya
Motto: "Satyameva Jayate" (Sanskrit)
"Truth Alone Triumphs"[1]
Anthem: "Jana Gana Mana" (Hindi)[2]
"Thou Art the Ruler of the Minds of All People"[3][2]
National song
"Vande Mataram" (Sanskrit)
"I Bow to Thee, Mother"[a][1][2]
Area controlled by India shown in dark green; regions claimed but not controlled shown in light green.
Area controlled by India shown in dark green;
regions claimed but not controlled shown in light green.
CapitalNew Delhi
28°36′50″N 77°12′30″E / 28.61389°N 77.20833°E
Largest cityMumbai
18°58′30″N 72°49′40″E / 18.97500°N 72.82778°E
Official languages
Recognised regional languages
National languageNone[8][9][10]
Religion
Demonym(s)Indian
MembershipUN, WTO, BRICS, SAARC, SCO, G8+5, G20, Commonwealth of Nations
GovernmentFederal parliamentary republic
• President
Ram Nath Kovind
Venkaiah Naidu
Narendra Modi
Ranjan Gogoi
Sumitra Mahajan
LegislatureParliament
Rajya Sabha
Lok Sabha
Independence 
• Dominion
15 August 1947
• Republic
26 January 1950
Area
• Total
3,287,263[5] km2 (1,269,219 sq mi)[d] (7th)
• Water (%)
9.6
Population
• 2016 estimate
Increase1,324,171,354[12] (2nd)
• 2011 census
1,210,854,977[13][14] (2nd)
• Density
400.7/km2 (1,037.8/sq mi) (31st)
GDP (PPP)2018 estimate
• Total
$10.401 trillion[15] (3rd)
• Per capita
$7,795[15] (116th)
GDP (nominal)2018 estimate
• Total
$2.690 trillion[15] (6th)
• Per capita
$2,016[15] (133rd)
Gini (2013)33.9[16]
medium · 79th
HDI (2017)Increase 0.640[17]
medium · 130th
CurrencyIndian rupee () (INR)
Time zoneUTC+05:30 (IST)
DST is not observed
Date formatdd-mm-yyyy
Driving sideleft
Calling code+91
ISO 3166 codeIN
Internet TLD.in (others)

Etymology

The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu,[20] which was the historical local appellation for the Indus River.[21] The ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi (Ἰνδοί), which translates as "The people of the Indus".[22]

The geographical term Bharat (Bhārat; pronounced [ˈbʱaːɾət] (listen)), which is recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country,[18][23] is used by many Indian languages in its variations. It is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India.[18][24]

Hindustan ([ɦɪndʊˈstaːn] (listen)) is a Middle Persian name for India. It was introduced into India by the Mughals and widely used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety.[18][24][25] Currently, the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.[25]

History

Ancient India

The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago.[26] Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh.[27] After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, and storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan.[28] These gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation,[29][28] the first urban culture in South Asia,[30] which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India.[31] Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Dholavira, and Kalibangan, and relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade.[30]

During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones.[32] The Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism,[33] were composed during this period,[34] and historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.[32] Most historians also consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west.[33] The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests, warriors, and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period.[35] On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation.[32] In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period,[36] as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, and craft traditions.[36]

Indischer Maler des 6. Jahrhunderts 001
Paintings at the Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, 6th century

In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas.[37][38] The emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of its exemplar, Mahavira.[39] Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle class; chronicling the life of the Buddha was central to the beginnings of recorded history in India.[40][41][42] In an age of increasing urban wealth, both religions held up renunciation as an ideal,[43] and both established long-lasting monastic traditions. Politically, by the 3rd century BCE, the kingdom of Magadha had annexed or reduced other states to emerge as the Mauryan Empire.[44] The empire was once thought to have controlled most of the subcontinent excepting the far south, but its core regions are now thought to have been separated by large autonomous areas.[45][46] The Mauryan kings are known as much for their empire-building and determined management of public life as for Ashoka's renunciation of militarism and far-flung advocacy of the Buddhist dhamma.[47][48]

The Sangam literature of the Tamil language reveals that, between 200 BCE and 200 CE, the southern peninsula was being ruled by the Cheras, the Cholas, and the Pandyas, dynasties that traded extensively with the Roman Empire and with West and South-East Asia.[49][50] In North India, Hinduism asserted patriarchal control within the family, leading to increased subordination of women.[51][44] By the 4th and 5th centuries, the Gupta Empire had created in the greater Ganges Plain a complex system of administration and taxation that became a model for later Indian kingdoms.[52][53] Under the Guptas, a renewed Hinduism based on devotion rather than the management of ritual began to assert itself.[54] The renewal was reflected in a flowering of sculpture and architecture, which found patrons among an urban elite.[53] Classical Sanskrit literature flowered as well, and Indian science, astronomy, medicine, and mathematics made significant advances.[53]

Medieval India

Big Temple-Temple
The granite tower of Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur was completed in 1010 CE by Raja Raja Chola I.

The Indian early medieval age, 600 CE to 1200 CE, is defined by regional kingdoms and cultural diversity.[55] When Harsha of Kannauj, who ruled much of the Indo-Gangetic Plain from 606 to 647 CE, attempted to expand southwards, he was defeated by the Chalukya ruler of the Deccan.[56] When his successor attempted to expand eastwards, he was defeated by the Pala king of Bengal.[56] When the Chalukyas attempted to expand southwards, they were defeated by the Pallavas from farther south, who in turn were opposed by the Pandyas and the Cholas from still farther south.[56] No ruler of this period was able to create an empire and consistently control lands much beyond his core region.[55] During this time, pastoral peoples whose land had been cleared to make way for the growing agricultural economy were accommodated within caste society, as were new non-traditional ruling classes.[57] The caste system consequently began to show regional differences.[57]

In the 6th and 7th centuries, the first devotional hymns were created in the Tamil language.[58] They were imitated all over India and led to both the resurgence of Hinduism and the development of all modern languages of the subcontinent.[58] Indian royalty, big and small, and the temples they patronised drew citizens in great numbers to the capital cities, which became economic hubs as well.[59] Temple towns of various sizes began to appear everywhere as India underwent another urbanisation.[59] By the 8th and 9th centuries, the effects were felt in South-East Asia, as South Indian culture and political systems were exported to lands that became part of modern-day Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Java.[60] Indian merchants, scholars, and sometimes armies were involved in this transmission; South-East Asians took the initiative as well, with many sojourning in Indian seminaries and translating Buddhist and Hindu texts into their languages.[60]

After the 10th century, Muslim Central Asian nomadic clans, using swift-horse cavalry and raising vast armies united by ethnicity and religion, repeatedly overran South Asia's north-western plains, leading eventually to the establishment of the Islamic Delhi Sultanate in 1206.[61] The sultanate was to control much of North India and to make many forays into South India. Although at first disruptive for the Indian elites, the sultanate largely left its vast non-Muslim subject population to its own laws and customs.[62][63] By repeatedly repulsing Mongol raiders in the 13th century, the sultanate saved India from the devastation visited on West and Central Asia, setting the scene for centuries of migration of fleeing soldiers, learned men, mystics, traders, artists, and artisans from that region into the subcontinent, thereby creating a syncretic Indo-Islamic culture in the north.[64][65] The sultanate's raiding and weakening of the regional kingdoms of South India paved the way for the indigenous Vijayanagara Empire.[66] Embracing a strong Shaivite tradition and building upon the military technology of the sultanate, the empire came to control much of peninsular India,[67] and was to influence South Indian society for long afterwards.[66]

Early modern India

Moghul.1590-95гг
Writing the will and testament of the Mughal king in Persian, 1590–1595

In the early 16th century, northern India, being then under mainly Muslim rulers,[68] fell again to the superior mobility and firepower of a new generation of Central Asian warriors.[69] The resulting Mughal Empire did not stamp out the local societies it came to rule, but rather balanced and pacified them through new administrative practices[70][71] and diverse and inclusive ruling elites,[72] leading to more systematic, centralised, and uniform rule.[73] Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic identity, especially under Akbar, the Mughals united their far-flung realms through loyalty, expressed through a Persianised culture, to an emperor who had near-divine status.[72] The Mughal state's economic policies, deriving most revenues from agriculture[74] and mandating that taxes be paid in the well-regulated silver currency,[75] caused peasants and artisans to enter larger markets.[73] The relative peace maintained by the empire during much of the 17th century was a factor in India's economic expansion,[73] resulting in greater patronage of painting, literary forms, textiles, and architecture.[76] Newly coherent social groups in northern and western India, such as the Marathas, the Rajputs, and the Sikhs, gained military and governing ambitions during Mughal rule, which, through collaboration or adversity, gave them both recognition and military experience.[77] Expanding commerce during Mughal rule gave rise to new Indian commercial and political elites along the coasts of southern and eastern India.[77] As the empire disintegrated, many among these elites were able to seek and control their own affairs.[78]

By the early 18th century, with the lines between commercial and political dominance being increasingly blurred, a number of European trading companies, including the English East India Company, had established coastal outposts.[79][80] The East India Company's control of the seas, greater resources, and more advanced military training and technology led it to increasingly flex its military muscle and caused it to become attractive to a portion of the Indian elite; these factors were crucial in allowing the company to gain control over the Bengal region by 1765 and sideline the other European companies.[81][79][82][83] Its further access to the riches of Bengal and the subsequent increased strength and size of its army enabled it to annex or subdue most of India by the 1820s.[84] India was then no longer exporting manufactured goods as it long had, but was instead supplying the British Empire with raw materials, and many historians consider this to be the onset of India's colonial period.[79] By this time, with its economic power severely curtailed by the British parliament and effectively having been made an arm of British administration, the company began to more consciously enter non-economic arenas such as education, social reform, and culture.[85]

Modern India

British Indian Empire 1909 Imperial Gazetteer of India
The British Indian Empire, from the 1909 edition of The Imperial Gazetteer of India. Areas directly governed by the British are shaded pink; the princely states under British suzerainty are in yellow.

Historians consider India's modern age to have begun sometime between 1848 and 1885. The appointment in 1848 of Lord Dalhousie as Governor General of the East India Company set the stage for changes essential to a modern state. These included the consolidation and demarcation of sovereignty, the surveillance of the population, and the education of citizens. Technological changes—among them, railways, canals, and the telegraph—were introduced not long after their introduction in Europe.[86][87][88][89] However, disaffection with the company also grew during this time, and set off the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Fed by diverse resentments and perceptions, including invasive British-style social reforms, harsh land taxes, and summary treatment of some rich landowners and princes, the rebellion rocked many regions of northern and central India and shook the foundations of Company rule.[90][91] Although the rebellion was suppressed by 1858, it led to the dissolution of the East India Company and the direct administration of India by the British government. Proclaiming a unitary state and a gradual but limited British-style parliamentary system, the new rulers also protected princes and landed gentry as a feudal safeguard against future unrest.[92][93] In the decades following, public life gradually emerged all over India, leading eventually to the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885.[94][95][96][97]

Nehru gandhi
Jawaharlal Nehru (left) became India's first prime minister in 1947. Mahatma Gandhi (right) led the independence movement.

The rush of technology and the commercialisation of agriculture in the second half of the 19th century was marked by economic setbacks—many small farmers became dependent on the whims of far-away markets.[98] There was an increase in the number of large-scale famines,[99] and, despite the risks of infrastructure development borne by Indian taxpayers, little industrial employment was generated for Indians.[100] There were also salutary effects: commercial cropping, especially in the newly canalled Punjab, led to increased food production for internal consumption.[101] The railway network provided critical famine relief,[102] notably reduced the cost of moving goods,[102] and helped the nascent Indian-owned industry.[101]

After World War I, in which approximately one million Indians served,[103] a new period began. It was marked by British reforms but also repressive legislation, by more strident Indian calls for self-rule, and by the beginnings of a nonviolent movement of non-co-operation, of which Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would become the leader and enduring symbol.[104] During the 1930s, slow legislative reform was enacted by the British; the Indian National Congress won victories in the resulting elections.[105] The next decade was beset with crises: Indian participation in World War II, the Congress's final push for non-co-operation, and an upsurge of Muslim nationalism. All were capped by the advent of independence in 1947, but tempered by the partition of India into two states: India and Pakistan.[106]

Vital to India's self-image as an independent nation was its constitution, completed in 1950, which put in place a secular and democratic republic.[107] It has remained a democracy with civil liberties, an active Supreme Court, and a largely independent press.[108] Economic liberalisation, which was begun in the 1990s, has created a large urban middle class, transformed India into one of the world's fastest-growing economies,[109] and increased its geopolitical clout. Indian movies, music, and spiritual teachings play an increasing role in global culture.[108] Yet, India is also shaped by seemingly unyielding poverty, both rural and urban;[108] by religious and caste-related violence;[110] by Maoist-inspired Naxalite insurgencies;[111] and by separatism in Jammu and Kashmir and in Northeast India.[112] It has unresolved territorial disputes with China[113] and with Pakistan.[113] The India–Pakistan nuclear rivalry came to a head in 1998.[114] India's sustained democratic freedoms are unique among the world's newer nations; however, in spite of its recent economic successes, freedom from want for its disadvantaged population remains a goal yet to be achieved.[115]

Geography

India topo big
A topographic map of India

India comprises the bulk of the Indian subcontinent, lying atop the Indian tectonic plate, a part of the Indo-Australian Plate.[116] India's defining geological processes began 75 million years ago when the Indian plate, then part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, began a north-eastward drift caused by seafloor spreading to its south-west and, later, south and south-east.[116] Simultaneously, the vast Tethyn oceanic crust, to its northeast, began to subduct under the Eurasian plate.[116] These dual processes, driven by convection in the Earth's mantle, both created the Indian Ocean and caused the Indian continental crust eventually to under-thrust Eurasia and to uplift the Himalayas.[116] Immediately south of the emerging Himalayas, plate movement created a vast trough that rapidly filled with river-borne sediment[117] and now constitutes the Indo-Gangetic Plain.[118] Cut off from the plain by the ancient Aravalli Range lies the Thar Desert.[119]

The original Indian plate survives as peninsular India, the oldest and geologically most stable part of India. It extends as far north as the Satpura and Vindhya ranges in central India. These parallel chains run from the Arabian Sea coast in Gujarat in the west to the coal-rich Chota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand in the east.[120] To the south, the remaining peninsular landmass, the Deccan Plateau, is flanked on the west and east by coastal ranges known as the Western and Eastern Ghats;[121] the plateau contains the country's oldest rock formations, some over one billion years old. Constituted in such fashion, India lies to the north of the equator between 6° 44' and 35° 30' north latitude[g] and 68° 7' and 97° 25' east longitude.[122]

KedarRange
The Kedar Range of the Greater Himalayas rises behind Kedarnath Temple (Indian state of Uttarakhand), which is one of the twelve jyotirlinga shrines.

India's coastline measures 7,517 kilometres (4,700 mi) in length; of this distance, 5,423 kilometres (3,400 mi) belong to peninsular India and 2,094 kilometres (1,300 mi) to the Andaman, Nicobar, and Lakshadweep island chains.[123] According to the Indian naval hydrographic charts, the mainland coastline consists of the following: 43% sandy beaches; 11% rocky shores, including cliffs; and 46% mudflats or marshy shores.[123]

Major Himalayan-origin rivers that substantially flow through India include the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, both of which drain into the Bay of Bengal.[124] Important tributaries of the Ganges include the Yamuna and the Kosi; the latter's extremely low gradient often leads to severe floods and course changes.[125] Major peninsular rivers, whose steeper gradients prevent their waters from flooding, include the Godavari, the Mahanadi, the Kaveri, and the Krishna, which also drain into the Bay of Bengal;[126] and the Narmada and the Tapti, which drain into the Arabian Sea.[127] Coastal features include the marshy Rann of Kutch of western India and the alluvial Sundarbans delta of eastern India; the latter is shared with Bangladesh.[128] India has two archipelagos: the Lakshadweep, coral atolls off India's south-western coast; and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a volcanic chain in the Andaman Sea.[129]

The Indian climate is strongly influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert, both of which drive the economically and culturally pivotal summer and winter monsoons.[130] The Himalayas prevent cold Central Asian katabatic winds from blowing in, keeping the bulk of the Indian subcontinent warmer than most locations at similar latitudes.[131][132] The Thar Desert plays a crucial role in attracting the moisture-laden south-west summer monsoon winds that, between June and October, provide the majority of India's rainfall.[130] Four major climatic groupings predominate in India: tropical wet, tropical dry, subtropical humid, and montane.[133]

Biodiversity

Shola Grasslands and forests in the Kudremukh National Park, Western Ghats, Karnataka
Shola highlands are found in Kudremukh National Park, Chikmagalur which is part of the Western Ghats.

India lies within the Indomalaya ecozone and contains three biodiversity hotspots.[134] One of 17 megadiverse countries, it hosts 8.6% of all mammalian, 13.7% of all avian, 7.9% of all reptilian, 6% of all amphibian, 12.2% of all piscine, and 6.0% of all flowering plant species.[135][136] About 21.2% of the country's landmass is covered by forests (tree canopy density >10%), of which 12.2% comprises moderately or very dense forests (tree canopy density >40%).[137] Endemism is high among plants, 33%, and among ecoregions such as the shola forests.[138] Habitat ranges from the tropical rainforest of the Andaman Islands, Western Ghats, and North-East India to the coniferous forest of the Himalaya. Between these extremes lie the moist deciduous sal forest of eastern India; the dry deciduous teak forest of central and southern India; and the babul-dominated thorn forest of the central Deccan and western Gangetic plain.[139] The medicinal neem, widely used in rural Indian herbal remedies, is a key Indian tree. The luxuriant pipal fig tree, shown on the seals of Mohenjo-daro, shaded Gautama Buddha as he sought enlightenment.

Many Indian species descend from taxa originating in Gondwana, from which the Indian plate separated more than 105 million years Before Present.[140] Peninsular India's subsequent movement towards and collision with the Laurasian landmass set off a mass exchange of species. Epochal volcanism and climatic changes 20 million years ago forced a mass extinction.[141] Mammals then entered India from Asia through two zoogeographical passes flanking the rising Himalaya.[139] Thus, while 45.8% of reptiles and 55.8% of amphibians are endemic, only 12.6% of mammals and 4.5% of birds are.[136] Among them are the Nilgiri leaf monkey and Beddome's toad of the Western Ghats. India contains 172 IUCN-designated threatened animal species, or 2.9% of endangered forms.[142] These include the Asiatic lion, the Bengal tiger, the snow leopard and the Indian white-rumped vulture, which, by ingesting the carrion of diclofenac-laced cattle, nearly became extinct.

The pervasive and ecologically devastating human encroachment of recent decades has critically endangered Indian wildlife. In response, the system of national parks and protected areas, first established in 1935, was substantially expanded. In 1972, India enacted the Wildlife Protection Act[143] and Project Tiger to safeguard crucial wilderness; the Forest Conservation Act was enacted in 1980 and amendments added in 1988.[144] India hosts more than five hundred wildlife sanctuaries and thirteen biosphere reserves,[145] four of which are part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves; twenty-five wetlands are registered under the Ramsar Convention.[146]

Politics and government

Politics

Barack Obama at Parliament of India in New Delhi addressing Joint session of both houses 2010
A parliamentary joint session being held in the Sansad Bhavan.

India is the world's most populous democracy.[147] A parliamentary republic with a multi-party system,[148] it has seven recognised national parties, including the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and more than 40 regional parties.[149] The Congress is considered centre-left in Indian political culture,[150] and the BJP right-wing.[151][152][153] For most of the period between 1950—when India first became a republic—and the late 1980s, the Congress held a majority in the parliament. Since then, however, it has increasingly shared the political stage with the BJP,[154] as well as with powerful regional parties which have often forced the creation of multi-party coalition governments at the centre.[155]

In the Republic of India's first three general elections, in 1951, 1957, and 1962, the Jawaharlal Nehru-led Congress won easy victories. On Nehru's death in 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri briefly became prime minister; he was succeeded, after his own unexpected death in 1966, by Indira Gandhi, who went on to lead the Congress to election victories in 1967 and 1971. Following public discontent with the state of emergency she declared in 1975, the Congress was voted out of power in 1977; the then-new Janata Party, which had opposed the emergency, was voted in. Its government lasted just over two years. Voted back into power in 1980, the Congress saw a change in leadership in 1984, when Indira Gandhi was assassinated; she was succeeded by her son Rajiv Gandhi, who won an easy victory in the general elections later that year. The Congress was voted out again in 1989 when a National Front coalition, led by the newly formed Janata Dal in alliance with the Left Front, won the elections; that government too proved relatively short-lived, lasting just under two years.[156] Elections were held again in 1991; no party won an absolute majority. The Congress, as the largest single party, was able to form a minority government led by P. V. Narasimha Rao.[157]

Rashtrapati Bhavan Wide New Delhi India
The Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official residence of the President of India.

A two-year period of political turmoil followed the general election of 1996. Several short-lived alliances shared power at the centre. The BJP formed a government briefly in 1996; it was followed by two comparatively long-lasting United Front coalitions, which depended on external support. In 1998, the BJP was able to form a successful coalition, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the NDA became the first non-Congress, coalition government to complete a five-year term.[158] In the 2004 Indian general elections, again no party won an absolute majority, but the Congress emerged as the largest single party, forming another successful coalition: the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). It had the support of left-leaning parties and MPs who opposed the BJP. The UPA returned to power in the 2009 general election with increased numbers, and it no longer required external support from India's communist parties.[159] That year, Manmohan Singh became the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru in 1957 and 1962 to be re-elected to a consecutive five-year term.[160] In the 2014 general election, the BJP became the first political party since 1984 to win a majority and govern without the support of other parties.[161] The incumbent Indian prime minister is Narendra Modi, a former chief minister of Gujarat. On 20 July 2017, Ram Nath Kovind was elected India's 14th president and took the oath of office on 25 July 2017.[162][163][164]

Government

India is a federation with a parliamentary system governed under the Constitution of India, which serves as the country's supreme legal document. It is a constitutional republic and representative democracy, in which "majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law". Federalism in India defines the power distribution between the union, or central, government and the states. The government abides by constitutional checks and balances. The Constitution of India, which came into effect on 26 January 1950,[165] states in its preamble that India is a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic.[166] India's form of government, traditionally described as "quasi-federal" with a strong centre and weak states,[167] has grown increasingly federal since the late 1990s as a result of political, economic, and social changes.[168][169]

National symbols[1]
FlagTiranga (Tricolour)
EmblemSarnath Lion Capital
LanguageNone[8][9][10]
AnthemJana Gana Mana
SongVande Mataram
Currency (Indian rupee)
CalendarSaka
AnimalTiger (land)
River dolphin (aquatic)
BirdIndian peafowl
FlowerLotus
FruitMango
TreeBanyan
RiverGanga
GameNot declared[170]

The Government of India comprises three branches:[171]

Subdivisions

Indian OceanBay of BengalAndaman SeaArabian SeaLaccadive SeaSiachen GlacierAndaman and Nicobar IslandsChandigarhDadra and Nagar HaveliDaman and DiuDelhiLakshadweepPondicherryPondicherryPondicherryArunachal PradeshAssamBiharChhattisgarhGoaGujaratHaryanaHimachal PradeshJammu and KashmirJharkhandKarnatakaKeralaMadhya PradeshMaharashtraManipurMeghalayaMizoramNagalandOdishaPunjabRajasthanSikkimTamil NaduTripuraUttar PradeshUttarakhandWest BengalAfghanistanBangladeshBhutanMyanmarChinaNepalPakistanSri LankaTajikistanDadra and Nagar HaveliDaman and DiuPondicherryPondicherryPondicherryPondicherryGoaGujaratJammu and KashmirKarnatakaKeralaMadhya PradeshMaharashtraRajasthanTamil NaduAssamMeghalayaAndhra PradeshArunachal PradeshNagalandManipurMizoramTelanganaTripuraWest BengalSikkimBhutanBangladeshBiharJharkhandOdishaChhattisgarhUttar PradeshUttarakhandNepalDelhiHaryanaPunjabHimachal PradeshChandigarhPakistanSri LankaSri LankaSri LankaSri LankaSri LankaSri LankaSri LankaSri LankaSri LankaDisputed territory in Jammu and KashmirDisputed territory in Jammu and Kashmir
A clickable map of the 29 states and 7 union territories of India

India is a federal union comprising 29 states and 7 union territories.[186] All states, as well in addition to the union territories of Puducherry and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, have elected legislatures and governments following on the Westminster system of governance. The remaining five union territories are directly ruled by the centre through appointed administrators. In 1956, under the States Reorganisation Act, states were reorganised on a linguistic basis.[187] Since then, their structure has remained largely unchanged. Each state or union territory is further divided into administrative districts. The districts are further divided into tehsils and ultimately into villages.

Foreign, economic and strategic relations

Since its independence in 1947, India has maintained cordial relations with most nations. In the 1950s, it strongly supported decolonisation in Africa and Asia and played a lead role in the Non-Aligned Movement.[188] In the late 1980s, the Indian military twice intervened abroad at the invitation of neighbouring countries: a peace-keeping operation in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990; and an armed intervention to prevent a 1988 coup d'état attempt in the Maldives. India has tense relations with neighbouring Pakistan; the two nations have gone to war four times: in 1947, 1965, 1971, and 1999. Three of these wars were fought over the disputed territory of Kashmir, while the fourth, the 1971 war, followed from India's support for the independence of Bangladesh.[189] After waging the 1962 Sino-Indian War and the 1965 war with Pakistan, India pursued close military and economic ties with the Soviet Union; by the late 1960s, the Soviet Union was its largest arms supplier.[190]

Aside from ongoing special relationship with Russia,[191] India has wide-ranging defence relations with Israel and France. In recent years, it has played key roles in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and the World Trade Organization. The nation has provided 100,000 military and police personnel to serve in 35 UN peacekeeping operations across four continents. It participates in the East Asia Summit, the G8+5, and other multilateral forums.[192] India has close economic ties with South America,[193] Asia, and Africa; it pursues a "Look East" policy that seeks to strengthen partnerships with the ASEAN nations, Japan, and South Korea that revolve around many issues, but especially those involving economic investment and regional security.[194][195]

INS Vikramaditya during trials
INS Vikramaditya, the Indian Navy's biggest warship.

China's nuclear test of 1964, as well as its repeated threats to intervene in support of Pakistan in the 1965 war, convinced India to develop nuclear weapons.[196] India conducted its first nuclear weapons test in 1974 and carried out further underground testing in 1998. Despite criticism and military sanctions, India has signed neither the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty nor the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, considering both to be flawed and discriminatory.[197] India maintains a "no first use" nuclear policy and is developing a nuclear triad capability as a part of its "Minimum Credible Deterrence" doctrine.[198][199] It is developing a ballistic missile defence shield and, in collaboration with Russia, a fifth-generation fighter jet.[200] Other indigenous military projects involve the design and implementation of Vikrant-class aircraft carriers and Arihant-class nuclear submarines.[200]

Since the end of the Cold War, India has increased its economic, strategic, and military co-operation with the United States and the European Union.[201] In 2008, a civilian nuclear agreement was signed between India and the United States. Although India possessed nuclear weapons at the time and was not party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it received waivers from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, ending earlier restrictions on India's nuclear technology and commerce. As a consequence, India became the sixth de facto nuclear weapons state.[202] India subsequently signed co-operation agreements involving civilian nuclear energy with Russia,[203] France,[204] the United Kingdom,[205] and Canada.[206]

BRICS leaders meet on the sidelines of 2016 G20 Summit in China
Leaders of the BRICS nations

The President of India is the supreme commander of the nation's armed forces; with 1.395 million active troops, they compose the world's second-largest military. It comprises the Indian Army, the Indian Navy, the Indian Air Force, and the Indian Coast Guard.[207] The official Indian defence budget for 2011 was US$36.03 billion, or 1.83% of GDP.[208] For the fiscal year spanning 2012–2013, US$40.44 billion was budgeted.[209] According to a 2008 SIPRI report, India's annual military expenditure in terms of purchasing power stood at US$72.7 billion.[210] In 2011, the annual defence budget increased by 11.6%,[211] although this does not include funds that reach the military through other branches of government.[212] As of 2012, India is the world's largest arms importer; between 2007 and 2011, it accounted for 10% of funds spent on international arms purchases.[213] Much of the military expenditure was focused on defence against Pakistan and countering growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean.[211] In May 2017, the Indian Space Research Organisation launched the South Asia Satellite, a gift from India to its neighbouring SAARC countries.[214] In October 2018, India signed a US$5.43 billion (over Rs 400 billion) agreement with Russia to procure four S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile defence systems, Russia's most advanced long-range missile defence system.[215]

Economy

Fishermen on Chinese Fishing Nets Cochin India
Fishermen on the Chinese fishing nets of Cochin. Fisheries in India is a major industry in its coastal states, employing over 14 million people. The annual catch doubled between 1990 and 2010.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Indian economy in 2017 was nominally worth US$2.611 trillion; it is the sixth-largest economy by market exchange rates, and is, at US$9.459 trillion, the third-largest by purchasing power parity, or PPP.[15] With its average annual GDP growth rate of 5.8% over the past two decades, and reaching 6.1% during 2011–12,[216] India is one of the world's fastest-growing economies.[217] However, the country ranks 140th in the world in nominal GDP per capita and 129th in GDP per capita at PPP.[218] Until 1991, all Indian governments followed protectionist policies that were influenced by socialist economics. Widespread state intervention and regulation largely walled the economy off from the outside world. An acute balance of payments crisis in 1991 forced the nation to liberalise its economy;[219] since then it has slowly moved towards a free-market system[220][221] by emphasising both foreign trade and direct investment inflows.[222] India has been a member of WTO since 1 January 1995.[223]

The 513.7-million-worker Indian labour force is the world's second-largest, as of 2016.[207] The service sector makes up 55.6% of GDP, the industrial sector 26.3% and the agricultural sector 18.1%. India's foreign exchange remittances of US$70 billion in 2014, the largest in the world, contributed to its economy by 25 million Indians working in foreign countries.[224] Major agricultural products include rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, and potatoes.[186] Major industries include textiles, telecommunications, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, food processing, steel, transport equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, and software.[186] In 2006, the share of external trade in India's GDP stood at 24%, up from 6% in 1985.[220] In 2008, India's share of world trade was 1.68%;[225] In 2011, India was the world's tenth-largest importer and the nineteenth-largest exporter.[226] Major exports include petroleum products, textile goods, jewellery, software, engineering goods, chemicals, and leather manufactures.[186] Major imports include crude oil, machinery, gems, fertiliser, and chemicals.[186] Between 2001 and 2011, the contribution of petrochemical and engineering goods to total exports grew from 14% to 42%.[227] India was the second largest textile exporter after China in the world in the calendar year 2013.[228]

Averaging an economic growth rate of 7.5% for several years prior to 2007,[220] India has more than doubled its hourly wage rates during the first decade of the 21st century.[229] Some 431 million Indians have left poverty since 1985; India's middle classes are projected to number around 580 million by 2030.[230] Though ranking 51st in global competitiveness, India ranks 17th in financial market sophistication, 24th in the banking sector, 44th in business sophistication, and 39th in innovation, ahead of several advanced economies, as of 2010.[231] With 7 of the world's top 15 information technology outsourcing companies based in India, the country is viewed as the second-most favourable outsourcing destination after the United States, as of 2009.[232] India's consumer market, the world's eleventh-largest, is expected to become fifth-largest by 2030.[230] However, hardly 2% of Indians pay income taxes.[233]

Driven by growth, India's nominal GDP per capita has steadily increased from US$329 in 1991, when economic liberalisation began, to US$1,265 in 2010, to an estimated US$1,723 in 2016, and is expected to grow to US$2,358 by 2020;[15] however, it has remained lower than those of other Asian developing countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and is expected to remain so in the near future. However, it is higher than Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and others.[234]

According to a 2011 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, India's GDP at purchasing power parity could overtake that of the United States by 2045.[235] During the next four decades, Indian GDP is expected to grow at an annualised average of 8%, making it potentially the world's fastest-growing major economy until 2050.[235] The report highlights key growth factors: a young and rapidly growing working-age population; growth in the manufacturing sector because of rising education and engineering skill levels; and sustained growth of the consumer market driven by a rapidly growing middle-class.[235] The World Bank cautions that, for India to achieve its economic potential, it must continue to focus on public sector reform, transport infrastructure, agricultural and rural development, removal of labour regulations, education, energy security, and public health and nutrition.[236]

According to the Worldwide Cost of Living Report 2017 released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) which was created by comparing more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services, four of the cheapest cities were in India: Bangalore (3rd), Mumbai (5th), Chennai (5th) and New Delhi (8th).[237]

Industries

A photo on power loom
Power Loom used inside a house in a village near Salem, Tamil Nadu. The Power loom accounts for more than 60% of textile production in India.

India's telecommunication industry, the world's fastest-growing, added 227 million subscribers during the period 2010–11,[238] and after the third quarter of 2017, India surpassed the US to become the second largest smartphone market in the world after China.[239]

The Indian automotive industry, the world's second-fastest growing, increased domestic sales by 26% during 2009–10,[240] and exports by 36% during 2008–09.[241] India's capacity to generate electrical power is 300 gigawatts, of which 42 gigawatts is renewable.[242] At the end of 2011, the Indian IT industry employed 2.8 million professionals, generated revenues close to US$100 billion equalling 7.5% of Indian GDP and contributed 26% of India's merchandise exports.[243]

The pharmaceutical industry in India is among the significant emerging markets for the global pharmaceutical industry. The Indian pharmaceutical market is expected to reach $48.5 billion by 2020. India's R & D spending constitutes 60% of the biopharmaceutical industry.[244][245] India is among the top 12 biotech destinations in the world.[246][247] The Indian biotech industry grew by 15.1% in 2012–13, increasing its revenues from 204.4 billion INR (Indian rupees) to 235.24 billion INR (3.94 B US$ – exchange rate June 2013: 1 US$ approx. 60 INR).[248]

Socio-economic challenges

Despite economic growth during recent decades, India continues to face socio-economic challenges. In 2006, India contained the largest number of people living below the World Bank's international poverty line of US$1.25 per day,[249] the proportion having decreased from 60% in 1981 to 42% in 2005;[250] under its later revised poverty line, it was 21% in 2011.[h][252] 30.7% of India's children under the age of five are underweight.[253] According to a Food and Agriculture Organization report in 2015, 15% of the population is undernourished.[254][255] The Mid-Day Meal Scheme attempts to lower these rates.[256]

According to a Walk Free Foundation report in 2016, there were an estimated 18.3 million people in India, or 1.4% of the population, living in the forms of modern slavery, such as bonded labour, child labour, human trafficking, and forced begging, among others.[257][258][259] According to the 2011 census, there were 10.1 million child labourers in the country, a decline of 2.6 million from 12.6 million child labourers in 2001.[260]

Since 1991, economic inequality between India's states has consistently grown: the per-capita net state domestic product of the richest states in 2007 was 3.2 times that of the poorest.[261] Corruption in India is perceived to have decreased. According to Corruption Perceptions Index, India ranked 76th out of 176 countries in 2016, from 85th in 2014.[262]

Demographics

Handicrafts seller
A handicraft seller in Hyderabad, Telangana
Population[12]
Year Million
1970 553.6
2000 1053.0
2016 1324.2
Indien Bevölkerungspyramide
Population pyramid 2016

With 1,210,193,422 residents reported in the 2011 provisional census report,[263] India is the world's second-most populous country. Its population grew by 17.64% during 2001–2011,[264] compared to 21.54% growth in the previous decade (1991–2001).[264] The human sex ratio, according to the 2011 census, is 940 females per 1,000 males.[263] The median age was 27.6 as of 2016.[207] The first post-colonial census, conducted in 1951, counted 361.1 million people.[265] Medical advances made in the last 50 years as well as increased agricultural productivity brought about by the "Green Revolution" have caused India's population to grow rapidly.[266] India continues to face several public health-related challenges.[267][268]

Life expectancy in India is at 68 years, with life expectancy for women being 69.6 years and for men being 67.3.[269] There are around 50 physicians per 100,000 Indians.[270] Migration from rural to urban areas has been an important dynamic in the recent history of India. The number of Indians living in urban areas grew by 31.2% between 1991 and 2001.[271] Yet, in 2001, over 70% still lived in rural areas.[272][273] The level of urbanisation increased further from 27.81% in the 2001 Census to 31.16% in the 2011 Census. The slowing down of the overall growth rate of population was due to the sharp decline in the growth rate in rural areas since 1991.[274] According to the 2011 census, there are 53 million-plus urban agglomerations in India; among them Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad, in decreasing order by population.[275] The literacy rate in 2011 was 74.04%: 65.46% among females and 82.14% among males.[276] The rural-urban literacy gap, which was 21.2 percentage points in 2001, dropped to 16.1 percentage points in 2011. The improvement in literacy rate in rural area is two times that in urban areas.[274] Kerala is the most literate state with 93.91% literacy; while Bihar the least with 63.82%.[276]

Languages

India is home to two major language families: Indo-Aryan (spoken by about 74% of the population) and Dravidian (spoken by 24% of the population). Other languages spoken in India come from the Austroasiatic and Sino-Tibetan language families. India has no national language.[277] Hindi, with the largest number of speakers, is the official language of the government.[278][279] English is used extensively in business and administration and has the status of a "subsidiary official language";[4] it is important in education, especially as a medium of higher education. Each state and union territory has one or more official languages, and the constitution recognises in particular 22 "scheduled languages".

Religions

The 2011 census reported that the religion in India with the largest number of followers was Hinduism (79.80% of the population), followed by Islam (14.23%); the remaining were Christianity (2.30%), Sikhism (1.72%), Buddhism (0.70%), Jainism (0.36%) and others[c] (0.9%).[11] India has the world's largest Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Zoroastrian, and Bahá'í populations, and has the third-largest Muslim population—the largest for a non-Muslim majority country.[280][281]

Culture

Shiva as the Lord of Dance LACMA edit
A Chola bronze depicting Nataraja, who is seen as a cosmic "Lord of the Dance" and representative of Shiva

Indian cultural history spans more than 4,500 years.[282] During the Vedic period (c. 1700 – c. 500 BCE), the foundations of Hindu philosophy, mythology, theology and literature were laid, and many beliefs and practices which still exist today, such as dhárma, kárma, yóga, and mokṣa, were established.[22] India is notable for its religious diversity, with Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, and Jainism among the nation's major religions.[283] The predominant religion, Hinduism, has been shaped by various historical schools of thought, including those of the Upanishads,[284] the Yoga Sutras, the Bhakti movement,[283] and by Buddhist philosophy.[285]

Art and architecture

Much of Indian architecture, including the Taj Mahal, other works of Mughal architecture, and South Indian architecture, blends ancient local traditions with imported styles.[286] Vernacular architecture is also highly regional in it flavours. Vastu shastra, literally "science of construction" or "architecture" and ascribed to Mamuni Mayan,[287] explores how the laws of nature affect human dwellings;[288] it employs precise geometry and directional alignments to reflect perceived cosmic constructs.[289] As applied in Hindu temple architecture, it is influenced by the Shilpa Shastras, a series of foundational texts whose basic mythological form is the Vastu-Purusha mandala, a square that embodied the "absolute".[290] The Taj Mahal, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by orders of Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, has been described in the UNESCO World Heritage List as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage".[291] Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture, developed by the British in the late 19th century, drew on Indo-Islamic architecture.[292]

Literature

The earliest literature in India, composed between 1500 BCE and 1200 CE, was in the Sanskrit language.[293] Major works of Sanskrit literature include the Rigveda (c. 1500 BCE–1200 BCE), the epics:Mahābhārata (c. 400 BCE–400 CE) and the Ramayana (c. 300 BCE and later); Abhijñānaśākuntalam (The Recognition of Śakuntalā, and other dramas of Kālidāsa (c. 5th century CE) and Mahākāvya poetry.[294][295][296] In Tamil literature, Sangam Literature (c 600 BCE–300 BCE) consisting of 2,381 poems, composed by 473 poets, is the earliest work.[297][298][299][300] From the 14th to the 18th centuries, India's literary traditions went through a period of drastic change because of the emergence of devotional poets such as Kabīr, Tulsīdās, and Guru Nānak. This period was characterised by a varied and wide spectrum of thought and expression; as a consequence, medieval Indian literary works differed significantly from classical traditions.[301] In the 19th century, Indian writers took a new interest in social questions and psychological descriptions. In the 20th century, Indian literature was influenced by the works of Bengali poet and novelist Rabindranath Tagore,[302] who was a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Performing arts

Friday evening qawwali at Dargah Salim Chishti in Fatehpur Sikri, near Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Indian music ranges over various traditions and regional styles. Classical music encompasses two genres and their various folk offshoots: the northern Hindustani and southern Carnatic schools.[303] Regionalised popular forms include filmi and folk music; the syncretic tradition of the bauls is a well-known form of the latter. Indian dance also features diverse folk and classical forms. Among the better-known folk dances are the bhangra of Punjab, the bihu of Assam, the Jhumair and chhau of Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal, garba and dandiya of Gujarat, ghoomar of Rajasthan, and the lavani of Maharashtra. Eight dance forms, many with narrative forms and mythological elements, have been accorded classical dance status by India's National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama. These are: bharatanatyam of the state of Tamil Nadu, kathak of Uttar Pradesh, kathakali and mohiniyattam of Kerala, kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, manipuri of Manipur, odissi of Odisha, and the sattriya of Assam.[304] Theatre in India melds music, dance, and improvised or written dialogue.[305] Often based on Hindu mythology, but also borrowing from medieval romances or social and political events, Indian theatre includes the bhavai of Gujarat, the jatra of West Bengal, the nautanki and ramlila of North India, tamasha of Maharashtra, burrakatha of Andhra Pradesh, terukkuttu of Tamil Nadu, and the yakshagana of Karnataka.[306] India has a theatre training institute NSD that is situated at New Delhi It is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.[307]

Motion pictures, television

The Indian film industry produces the world's most-watched cinema.[308] Established regional cinematic traditions exist in the Assamese, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Odia, Tamil, and Telugu languages.[309] South Indian cinema attracts more than 75% of national film revenue.[310]

Television broadcasting began in India in 1959 as a state-run medium of communication and had slow expansion for more than two decades.[311][312] The state monopoly on television broadcast ended in the 1990s and, since then, satellite channels have increasingly shaped the popular culture of Indian society.[313] Today, television is the most penetrative media in India; industry estimates indicate that as of 2012 there are over 554 million TV consumers, 462 million with satellite and/or cable connections, compared to other forms of mass media such as press (350 million), radio (156 million) or internet (37 million).[314]

Cuisine

Indian Spices
An assortment of Indian spices

Indian cuisine encompasses a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines, often depending on a particular state (such as Maharashtrian cuisine). Staple foods of Indian cuisine include pearl millet (ISO: bājra), rice, whole-wheat flour (aṭṭa), and a variety of lentils, such as masoor (most often red lentils), toor (pigeon peas), urad (black gram), and mong (mung beans). Lentils may be used whole, dehusked—for example, dhuli moong or dhuli urad—or split. Split lentils, or dal, are used extensively.[315] The spice trade between India and Europe is often cited by historians as the primary catalyst for Europe's Age of Discovery.[316]

Society

India Christian wedding Madurai Tamil Nadu
A Christian wedding in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Christianity is believed to have been introduced to India by the late 2nd century by Syriac-speaking Christians.

Traditional Indian society is sometimes defined by social hierarchy. The Indian caste system embodies much of the social stratification and many of the social restrictions found in the Indian subcontinent. Social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups, often termed as jātis, or "castes".[317] India declared untouchability to be illegal[318] in 1947 and has since enacted other anti-discriminatory laws and social welfare initiatives. At the workplace in urban India and in international or leading Indian companies, the caste related identification has pretty much lost its importance.[319][320]

Family values are important in the Indian tradition, and multi-generational patriarchal joint families have been the norm in India, though nuclear families are becoming common in urban areas.[321] An overwhelming majority of Indians, with their consent, have their marriages arranged by their parents or other elders in the family.[322] Marriage is thought to be for life,[322] and the divorce rate is extremely low.[323] As of 2001, just 1.6 percent of Indian women were divorced but this figure was rising due to their education and economic independence.[323] Child marriages are common, especially in rural areas; many women wed before reaching 18, which is their legal marriageable age.[324] Female infanticide and female foeticide in the country have caused a discrepancy in the sex ratio, as of 2005 it was estimated that there were 50 million more males than females in the nation.[325][326] However a report from 2011 has shown improvement in the gender ratio.[327] The payment of dowry, although illegal, remains widespread across class lines.[328] Deaths resulting from dowry, mostly from bride burning, are on the rise, despite stringent anti-dowry laws.[329]

Many Indian festivals are religious in origin. The best known include Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Thai Pongal, Holi, Durga Puja, Eid ul-Fitr, Bakr-Id, Christmas, and Vaisakhi.[330][331] India has three national holidays which are observed in all states and union territories – Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti. Other sets of holidays, varying between nine and twelve, are officially observed in individual states.

Clothing

Cotton was domesticated in India by 4000 BCE. Traditional Indian dress varies in colour and style across regions and depends on various factors, including climate and faith. Popular styles of dress include draped garments such as the sari for women and the dhoti or lungi for men. Stitched clothes, such as the shalwar kameez for women and kurtapyjama combinations or European-style trousers and shirts for men, are also popular.[332] Use of delicate jewellery, modelled on real flowers worn in ancient India, is part of a tradition dating back some 5,000 years; gemstones are also worn in India as talismans.[333]

Sports

Kabaddi in Bagepalli Karnataka
A game of kabaddi in Bagepalli, Karnataka

In India, several traditional indigenous sports remain fairly popular, such as kabaddi, kho kho, pehlwani and gilli-danda. Some of the earliest forms of Asian martial arts, such as kalarippayattu, musti yuddha, silambam, and marma adi, originated in India. Chess, commonly held to have originated in India as chaturaṅga, is regaining widespread popularity with the rise in the number of Indian grandmasters.[334][335] Pachisi, from which parcheesi derives, was played on a giant marble court by Akbar.[336]

The improved results garnered by the Indian Davis Cup team and other Indian tennis players in the early 2010s have made tennis increasingly popular in the country.[337] India has a comparatively strong presence in shooting sports, and has won several medals at the Olympics, the World Shooting Championships, and the Commonwealth Games.[338][339] Other sports in which Indians have succeeded internationally include badminton[340] (Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu are two of the top-ranked female badminton players in the world), boxing,[341] and wrestling.[342] Football is popular in West Bengal, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and the north-eastern states.[343]

India was the host country for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. The matches were held from 6 to 28 October in the cities of New Delhi, Kolkata, Kochi, Navi Mumbai, Guwahati and Margao.[344]

Field hockey in India is administered by Hockey India. The Indian national hockey team won the 1975 Hockey World Cup and have, as of 2016, taken eight gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals, making it the sport's most successful team in the Olympics.

India has also played a major role in popularising cricket. Thus, cricket is, by far, the most popular sport in India. The Indian national cricket team won the 1983 and 2011 Cricket World Cup events, the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, shared the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy with Sri Lanka, and won 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. Cricket in India is administered by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI); the Ranji Trophy, the Duleep Trophy, the Deodhar Trophy, the Irani Trophy, and the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy are domestic competitions. The BCCI also conducts an annual Twenty20 competition known as the Indian Premier League.

India has hosted or co-hosted several international sporting events: the 1951 and 1982 Asian Games; the 1987, 1996, and 2011 Cricket World Cup tournaments; the 2003 Afro-Asian Games; the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy; the 2010 Hockey World Cup; the 2010 Commonwealth Games; and the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Major international sporting events held annually in India include the Chennai Open, the Mumbai Marathon, the Delhi Half Marathon, and the Indian Masters. The first Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix featured in late 2011 but has been discontinued from the F1 season calendar since 2014.[345]

India has traditionally been the dominant country at the South Asian Games. An example of this dominance is the basketball competition where the Indian team won three out of four tournaments to date.[346]

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the Arjuna Award are the highest forms of government recognition for athletic achievement; the Dronacharya Award is awarded for excellence in coaching.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "[...] Jana Gana Mana is the National Anthem of India, subject to such alterations in the words as the Government may authorise as occasion arises; and the song Vande Mataram, which has played a historic part in the struggle for Indian freedom, shall be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and shall have equal status with it." (Constituent Assembly of India 1950).
  2. ^ Hindi in the Devanagari script is the official language of the Union. English is an additional official language for government work alongside Hindi.[4][1][5] States and union territories can have a different official language of their own other than Hindi or English.
  3. ^ a b Besides specific religions, the last two categories in the 2011 Census were "Other religions and persuasions" (0.65%) and "Religion not stated" (0.23%).
  4. ^ "The country's exact size is subject to debate because some borders are disputed. The Indian government lists the total area as 3,287,260 km2 (1,269,220 sq mi) and the total land area as 3,060,500 km2 (1,181,700 sq mi); the United Nations lists the total area as 3,287,263 km2 (1,269,219 sq mi) and total land area as 2,973,190 km2 (1,147,960 sq mi)." (Library of Congress 2004).
  5. ^ See also: names of India in its official languages.
  6. ^ The Government of India also regards Afghanistan as a bordering country, as it considers all of Kashmir to be part of India. However, this is disputed, and the region bordering Afghanistan is administered by Pakistan. Source: "Ministry of Home Affairs (Department of Border Management)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
  7. ^ The northernmost point under Indian control is the disputed Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir; however, the Government of India regards the entire region of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, including the Gilgit-Baltistan administered by Pakistan, to be its territory. It therefore assigns the latitude 37° 6' to its northernmost point.
  8. ^ In 2015, the World Bank raised its international poverty line to $1.90 per day.[251]

References

  1. ^ a b c d National Informatics Centre 2005.
  2. ^ a b c "National Symbols | National Portal of India". India.gov.in. Archived from the original on 4 February 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2017. The National Anthem of India Jana Gana Mana, composed originally in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore, was adopted in its Hindi version by the Constituent Assembly as the National Anthem of India on 24 January 1950.
  3. ^ Wolpert 2003, p. 1.
  4. ^ a b Ministry of Home Affairs 1960.
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Bharatiya Janata Party

The Bharatiya Janata Party (pronounced [bʱaːrətiːjə dʒənətaː paːrʈiː] (listen); translation: Indian People's Party; abbr. BJP) is one of the two major political parties in India, along with the Indian National Congress. As of 2018, it is the country's largest political party in terms of representation in the national parliament and state assemblies, and it is the world's largest party in terms of primary membership. BJP is a right-wing party, and its policy has historically reflected Hindu nationalist positions. It has close ideological and organisational links to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

The BJP's origin lies in the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, formed in 1951 by Syama Prasad Mukherjee. After the State of Emergency in 1977, the Jana Sangh merged with several other parties to form the Janata Party; it defeated the incumbent Congress party in the 1977 general election. After three years in power, the Janata party dissolved in 1980 with the members of the erstwhile Jana Sangh reconvening to form the BJP. Although initially unsuccessful, winning only two seats in the 1984 general election, it grew in strength on the back of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. Following victories in several state elections and better performances in national elections, the BJP became the largest party in the parliament in 1996; however, it lacked a majority in the lower house of Parliament, and its government lasted only 13 days.

After the 1998 general election, the BJP-led coalition known as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee formed a government that lasted for a year. Following fresh elections, the NDA government, again headed by Vajpayee, lasted for a full term in office; this was the first non-Congress government to do so. In the 2004 general election, the NDA suffered an unexpected defeat, and for the next ten years the BJP was the principal opposition party. Long time Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi led it to a landslide victory in the 2014 general election. Since that election, Modi has led the NDA government as Prime Minister and as of February 2019, the alliance governs 18 states.

The official ideology of the BJP is "integral humanism", first formulated by Deendayal Upadhyaya in 1965. The party expresses a commitment to Hindutva, and its policy has historically reflected Hindu nationalist positions. The BJP advocates social conservatism and a foreign policy centred on nationalist principles. Its key issues have included the abrogation of the special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the building of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and the implementation of a uniform civil code. However, the 1998–2004 NDA government did not pursue any of these controversial issues. It instead focused on a largely liberal economic policy prioritising globalisation and economic growth over social welfare.

British Raj

The British Raj (; from rāj, literally, "rule" in Hindustani) was the rule by the British Crown in the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947. The rule is also called Crown rule in India, or direct rule in India. The region under British control was commonly called British India or simply India in contemporaneous usage, and included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom, which were collectively called British India, and those ruled by indigenous rulers, but under British tutelage or paramountcy, and called the princely states. The whole was also informally called the Indian Empire.

As India, it was a founding member of the League of Nations, a participating nation in the Summer Olympics in 1900, 1920, 1928, 1932, and 1936, and a founding member of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945.This system of governance was instituted on 28 June 1858, when, after the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the rule of the British East India Company was transferred to the Crown in the person of Queen Victoria (who, in 1876, was proclaimed Empress of India). It lasted until 1947, when it was partitioned into two sovereign dominion states: the Dominion of India (later the Present-day Republic of India) and the Dominion of Pakistan (later the Present-day Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the eastern part of which, still later, became the Present-day People's Republic of Bangladesh). At the inception of the Raj in 1858, Lower Burma was already a part of British India; Upper Burma was added in 1886, and the resulting union, Burma (Myanmar), was administered as an autonomous province until 1937, when it became a separate British colony, gaining its own independence along with Sri Lanka (Ceylon) the following year, in 1948.

Constitution of India

The Constitution of India (IAST: Bhāratīya Saṃvidhāna) is the supreme law of India. The document lays down the framework demarcating fundamental political code, structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens. It is the longest written constitution of any country on earth. B. R. Ambedkar, chairman of the drafting committee, is widely considered to be its chief architect.It imparts constitutional supremacy (not parliamentary supremacy, since it was created by a constituent assembly rather than Parliament) and was adopted by its people with a declaration in its preamble. Parliament cannot override the constitution.

It was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on 26 November 1949 and became effective on 26 January 1950. The constitution replaced the Government of India Act, 1935 as the country's fundamental governing document, and the Dominion of India became the Republic of India. To ensure constitutional autochthony, its framers repealed prior acts of the British parliament in Article 395. India celebrates its constitution on 26 January as Republic Day.The constitution declares India a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, assuring its citizens justice, equality and liberty, and endeavours to promote fraternity.

Delhi

Delhi (, Hindi pronunciation: [dɪlliː] Dillī, Punjabi pronunciation: [dɪlliː] Dillī, Urdu pronunciation: [dɛhliː] Dehlī), officially the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), is a city and a union territory of India containing New Delhi, the capital of India.

It is bordered by Haryana on three sides and by Uttar Pradesh to the east. The NCT covers an area of 1,484 square kilometres (573 sq mi). According to the 2011 census, Delhi's city proper population was over 11 million, the second-highest in India after Mumbai, while the whole NCT's population was about 16.8 million. Delhi's urban area is now considered to extend beyond the NCT boundaries and include the neighboring satellite cities of Faridabad, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Noida in an area now called Central National Capital Region (CNCR) and had an estimated 2016 population of over 26 million people, making it the world's second-largest urban area according to United Nations.

As of 2016, recent estimates of the metro economy of its urban area have ranked Delhi either the most or second-most productive metro area of India. Delhi is the second-wealthiest city in India after Mumbai, with a total private wealth of $450 billion and is home to 18 billionaires and 23,000 millionaires.Delhi has been continuously inhabited since the 6th century BCE. Through most of its history, Delhi has served as a capital of various kingdoms and empires. It has been captured, ransacked and rebuilt several times, particularly during the medieval period, and modern Delhi is a cluster of a number of cities spread across the metropolitan region.

A union territory, the political administration of the NCT of Delhi today more closely resembles that of a state of India, with its own legislature, high court and an executive council of ministers headed by a Chief Minister. New Delhi is jointly administered by the federal government of India and the local government of Delhi, and serves as the capital of the nation as well as the NCT of Delhi. Delhi hosted the first and ninth Asian Games in 1951 and 1982, respectively, 1983 NAM Summit, 2010 Men's Hockey World Cup, 2010 Commonwealth Games, 2012 BRICS Summit and was one of the major host cities of the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

Delhi is also the centre of the National Capital Region (NCR), which is a unique 'interstate regional planning' area created by the National Capital Region Planning Board Act of 1985.

East India Company

The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC) or the British East India Company and informally as John Company, Company Bahadur, or simply The Company, was an English and later British joint-stock company. It was formed to trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with Mughal India and the East Indies (Maritime Southeast Asia), and later with Qing China. The company ended up seizing control over large parts of the Indian subcontinent, colonised parts of Southeast Asia, and colonised Hong Kong after a war with Qing China.

Originally chartered as the "Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies", the company rose to account for half of the world's trade, particularly in basic commodities including cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, spices, saltpetre, tea, and opium. The company also ruled the beginnings of the British Empire in India. In his speech to the House of Commons in July 1833, Lord Macaulay explained that since the beginning, the East India company had always been involved in both trade and politics, just as its French and Dutch counterparts had been.The company received a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth I on 31 December 1600, coming relatively late to trade in the Indies. Before them the Portuguese Estado da Índia had traded there for much of the 16th century and the first of half a dozen Dutch Companies sailed to trade there from 1595. These Dutch companies amalgamated in March 1602 into the United East Indies Company (VOC), which introduced the first permanent joint stock from 1612 (meaning investment into shares did not need to be returned, but could be traded on a stock exchange). By contrast, wealthy merchants and aristocrats owned the EIC's shares. Initially the government owned no shares and had only indirect control until 1657 when permanent joint stock was established.During its first century of operation, the focus of the company was trade, not the building of an empire in India. Company interests turned from trade to territory during the 18th century as the Mughal Empire declined in power and the East India Company struggled with its French counterpart, the French East India Company (Compagnie française des Indes orientales) during the Carnatic Wars of the 1740s and 1750s. The battles of Plassey and Buxar, in which the British defeated the Bengali powers, left the company in control of Bengal and a major military and political power in India. In the following decades it gradually increased the extent of the territories under its control, controlling the majority of the Indian subcontinent either directly or indirectly via local puppet rulers under the threat of force by its Presidency armies, much of which were composed of native Indian sepoys.

By 1803, at the height of its rule in India, the British East India company had a private army of about 260,000—twice the size of the British Army, with Indian revenues of £13,464,561 (£1,359,675,850.80 as of 2018), and expenses of £14,017,473 (£1,415,509,909.85 as of 2018). The company eventually came to rule large areas of India with its private armies, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions. Company rule in India effectively began in 1757 and lasted until 1858, when, following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Government of India Act 1858 led to the British Crown's assuming direct control of the Indian subcontinent in the form of the new British Raj.

Despite frequent government intervention, the company had recurring problems with its finances. It was dissolved in 1874 as a result of the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act passed one year earlier, as the Government of India Act had by then rendered it vestigial, powerless, and obsolete. The official government machinery of British India assumed the East India Company's governmental functions and absorbed its navy and its armies in 1858.

India national cricket team

The India national cricket team, also known as Team India and Men in Blue, is governed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and is a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) with Test, One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International (T20I) status.

Although cricket was introduced to India by European merchant sailors in the 18th century, and the first cricket club was established in Calcutta (currently known as Kolkata) in 1792, India's national cricket team did not play its first Test match until 25 June 1932 at Lord's, becoming the sixth team to be granted Test cricket status. In its first fifty years of international cricket, India was one of the weaker teams, winning only 35 of the first 196 Test matches it played. From 1932 India had to wait until 1952, almost 20 years for its first Test victory. The team, however, gained strength in the 1970s with the emergence of players such as batsmen Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Viswanath, all-rounder Kapil Dev and the Indian spin quartet of Erapalli Prasanna, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar

and Bishen Singh Bedi.

Traditionally much stronger at home than abroad, the Indian team has improved its overseas form, especially in limited-overs cricket, since the start of the 21st century, winning Test matches in Australia, England and South Africa. It has won the Cricket World Cup twice – in 1983 under the captaincy of Kapil Dev and in 2011 under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. After winning the 2011 World Cup, India became only the third team after West Indies and Australia to have won the World Cup more than once, and the first cricket team to win the World Cup at home. It also won the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 and 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, under the captaincy of MS Dhoni. It was also the joint champions of 2002 ICC Champions Trophy, along with Sri Lanka.

As of 19 October 2018, India is ranked first in Tests, second in ODIs and second in T20Is by the ICC. Virat Kohli is the current captain of the team across all formats, while the head coach is Ravi Shastri. The Indian cricket team has rivalries with other Test-playing nations, most notably with Pakistan, the political arch-rival of India. However, in recent times, rivalries with nations like Australia, South Africa and England have also gained prominence.

Indian Air Force

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is the air arm of the Indian Armed Forces. Its complement of personnel and aircraft assets ranks fourth amongst the airforces of the world. Its primary mission is to secure Indian airspace and to conduct aerial warfare during armed conflict. It was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire which honoured India's aviation service during World War II with the prefix Royal. After India gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, the name Royal Indian Air Force was kept and served in the name of Dominion of India. With the government's transition to a Republic in 1950, the prefix Royal was removed after only three years.

Since 1950 the IAF has been involved in four wars with neighboring Pakistan and one with the People's Republic of China. Other major operations undertaken by the IAF include Operation Vijay, Operation Meghdoot, Operation Cactus and Operation Poomalai. The IAF's mission expands beyond engagement with hostile forces, with the IAF participating in United Nations peacekeeping missions.

The President of India holds the rank of Supreme Commander of the IAF. As of 1 July 2017, 139,576 personnel are in service with the Indian Air Force. The Chief of Air Staff, an air chief marshal, is a four-star officer and is responsible for the bulk of operational command of the Air Force. There is never more than one serving ACM at any given time in the IAF. The rank of Marshal of the Air Force has been conferred by the President of India on one occasion in history, to Arjan Singh. On 26 January 2002 Singh became the first and so far, only five-star rank officer of the IAF.

Indian National Congress

The Indian National Congress (pronunciation ) (INC, often called the Congress Party or simply Congress) is a broadly based political party in India. Founded in 1885, it was the first modern nationalist movement to emerge in the British Empire in Asia and Africa. From the late 19th century, and especially after 1920, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Congress became the principal leader of the Indian independence movement. Congress led India to independence from Great Britain, and powerfully influenced other anti-colonial nationalist movements in the British Empire.Congress is a secular party whose social democratic platform is generally considered to be on the centre-left of Indian politics. Congress' social policy is based upon the Gandhian principle of Sarvodaya—the lifting up of all sections of society—which involves the improvement of the lives of economically underprivileged and socially marginalised people. The party primarily endorses social democracy—seeking to balance individual liberty and social justice, welfare and secularism—asserting the right to be free from religious rule and teachings. Its constitution states democractic socialism to be its ideal. After India's independence in 1947, Congress formed the central government of India, and many regional state governments. Congress became India's dominant political party; as of 2015, in the 15 general elections since independence, it has won an outright majority on six occasions and has led the ruling coalition a further four times, heading the central government for 49 years. There have been seven Congress Prime Ministers, the first being Jawaharlal Nehru (1947–1964), and the most recent Manmohan Singh (2004–2014). Although it did not fare well in the last general elections in India in 2014, it remains one of two major, nationwide, political parties in India, along with the right-wing, Hindu nationalist, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the 2014 general election, Congress had its poorest post-independence general election performance, winning only 44 seats of the 543-member Lok Sabha.

From 2004 to 2014, United Progressive Alliance, a coalition of Congress with several regional parties, formed the Indian government led by Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister as the head of the coalition government. The leader of the party during the period, Sonia Gandhi has served the longest term as the president of the party. As of December 2018, the party is in power in six legislative assemblies: Karnataka (in an alliance with the JD(S)), Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and the union territory of Puducherry (in an alliance with the DMK).

Indira Gandhi

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi (Hindi: [ˈɪndɪraː ˈɡaːndʱiː] (listen); née Nehru; 19 November 1917 – 31 October 1984), was an Indian politician, stateswoman and a central figure of the Indian National Congress. She was the first and, to date, the only female Prime Minister of India. Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India. She served as Prime Minister from January 1966 to March 1977 and again from January 1980 until her assassination in October 1984, making her the second longest-serving Indian Prime Minister after her father.Gandhi served as her father's personal assistant and hostess during his tenure as Prime Minister between 1947 and 1964. She was elected President of the Indian National Congress in 1959. Upon her father's death in 1964 she was appointed as a member of the Rajya Sabha (upper house) and became a member of Lal Bahadur Shastri's cabinet as Minister of Information and Broadcasting. In the Congress Party's parliamentary leadership election held in early 1966 (upon the death of Shastri), she defeated her rival Morarji Desai, to become leader, and thus succeeded Shastri as Prime Minister of India.

As Prime Minister, Gandhi was known for her political intransigency and unprecedented centralisation of power. She went to war with Pakistan in support of the independence movement and war of independence in East Pakistan, which resulted in an Indian victory and the creation of Bangladesh, as well as increasing India's influence to the point where it became the regional hegemon of South Asia. Citing fissiparous tendencies and in response to a call for revolution, Gandhi instituted a state of emergency from 1975 to 1977 where basic civil liberties were suspended and the press was censored. Widespread atrocities were carried out during the emergency. In 1980, she returned to power after free and fair elections. After Operation Blue Star, she was assassinated by her own bodyguards and Sikh nationalists on 31 October 1984. The assassins, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, were both shot by other security guards. Satwant Singh recovered from his injuries and was executed after being convicted of murder.

In 1999, Indira Gandhi was named "Woman of the Millennium" in an online poll organised by the BBC.

Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir ( and (listen)) is a state in northern India, often denoted by its acronym, J&K. It is located mostly in the Himalayan mountains, and shares borders with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south. The Line of Control separates it from the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in the west and north respectively, and a Line of Actual Control separates it from the Chinese-administered territory of Aksai Chin in the east. The state has special autonomy under Article 370 of the Constitution of India.A part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, the region is the subject of a territorial conflict among India, Pakistan and China. The western districts of the former princely state known as Azad Kashmir and the northern territories known as Gilgit-Baltistan have been under Pakistani control since 1947.

The Aksai Chin region in the east, bordering Tibet, has been under Chinese control since 1962.

Jammu and Kashmir consists of three regions: Jammu, the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. Srinagar is the summer capital, and Jammu is the winter capital. Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in India with a Muslim-majority population. The Kashmir valley is famous for its beautiful mountainous landscape, and Jammu's numerous shrines attract tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims every year, while Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and Buddhist culture.

List of highest-grossing Indian films

This is a ranking of the highest grossing Indian films which includes films from various languages based on the conservative global box office estimates as reported by reputable sources. There is no official tracking of domestic box office figures within India, and Indian sites publishing data are frequently pressured to increase their domestic box office estimates.Indian films have been screened in markets around the world since the early 20th century. As of 2003, there are markets in over 90 countries where films from India are screened. During the first decade of the 21st century, there was a steady rise in the ticket price, a tripling in the number of theaters and an increase in the number of prints of a film being released, which led to a large increase in the box office collections.The majority of highest-grossing Indian films are Bollywood (Hindi) films. As of 2014, Bollywood represents 43% of the net box office revenue in India, while Tamil and Telugu cinema represent 36%, and other regional industries constitute 21%. See List of highest-grossing films in India for domestic gross figures and List of highest-grossing Indian films in overseas markets for overseas gross figures.

Lok Sabha

The Lok Sabha (House of the People) is the lower house of India's bicameral Parliament, with the upper house being the Rajya Sabha. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by adult universal suffrage and a first-past-the-post system to represent their respective constituencies, and they hold their seats for five years or until the body is dissolved by the President on the advice of the council of ministers. The house meets in the Lok Sabha Chambers of the Sansad Bhavan in New Delhi.

The maximum strength of the House allotted by the Constitution of India is 552. Currently the house has 545 seats which is made up by election of up to 543 elected members and at a maximum, 2 nominated members of the Anglo-Indian Community by the President of India. A total of 131 seats (24.03%) are reserved for representatives of Scheduled Castes (84) and Scheduled Tribes (47). The quorum for the House is 10% of the total membership. The Lok Sabha, unless sooner dissolved, continues to operate for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting. However, while a proclamation of emergency is in operation, this period may be extended by Parliament by law.An exercise to redraw Lok Sabha constituencies' boundaries is carried out by the Boundary Delimitation Commission of India every decade based on the Indian census, last of which was conducted in 2011. This exercise earlier also included redistribution of seats among states based on demographic changes but that provision of the mandate of the commission was suspended in 1976 following a constitutional amendment to incentivise the family planning programme which was being implemented. The 16th Lok Sabha was elected in May 2014 and is the latest to date.

The Lok Sabha has its own television channel, Lok Sabha TV, headquartered within the premises of Parliament.

MS Dhoni

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (pronunciation ; commonly known as MS Dhoni; born July 7, 1981) is an Indian international cricketer who captained the Indian national team in limited-overs formats from 2007 to 2016 and in Test cricket from 2008 to 2014. An attacking right-handed middle-order batsman and wicket-keeper, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest finishers in limited-overs cricket. He is also regarded as one of the best wicket-keepers in world cricket. He made his One Day International (ODI) debut in December 2004 against Bangladesh, and played his first Test a year later against Sri Lanka.

Dhoni has been the recipient of many awards, including the ICC ODI Player of the Year award in 2008 and 2009 (the first player to win the award twice), the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 2007, the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour, in 2009 and the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honour, in 2018. He was named as the captain of the ICC World Test XI in 2009, 2010 and 2013. He has also been selected a record 8 times in ICC World ODI XI teams, 5 times as captain. The Indian Territorial Army conferred the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel to Dhoni on 1 November 2011. He is the second Indian cricketer after Kapil Dev to receive this honour.

Dhoni also holds numerous captaincy records such as the most wins by an Indian captain in Tests, ODIs and T20Is, and most back-to-back wins by an Indian captain in ODIs. He took over the ODI captaincy from Rahul Dravid in 2007 and led the team to its first-ever bilateral ODI series wins in Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Under his captaincy, India won the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, 2007–08 Commonwealth Bank Series, the 2010 and 2016 Asia Cups, the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. In the final of the 2011 World Cup, Dhoni scored 91 not out off 79 balls handing India the victory for which he was awarded the Man of the Match. In June 2013, when India defeated England in the final of the Champions Trophy in England, Dhoni became the first captain to win all three ICC limited-overs trophies (World Cup, Champions Trophy and the World Twenty20). After taking up the Test captaincy in 2008, he led the team to series wins in New Zealand and the West Indies, and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2008, 2010 and 2013. In 2009, Dhoni also led the Indian team to number one position for the first time in the ICC Test rankings. In 2013, under his captaincy, India became the first team in more than 40 years to whitewash Australia in a Test series. In the Indian Premier League, he captained the Chennai Super Kings to victory at the 2010, 2011 and 2018 seasons, along with wins in the 2010 and 2014 editions of Champions League Twenty20. He announced his retirement from Tests on 30 December 2014.In 2011, Time magazine included Dhoni in its annual Time 100 list as one of the "Most Influential People in the World." In 2012, SportsPro rated Dhoni as the sixteenth most marketable athlete in the world. In June 2015, Forbes ranked Dhoni at 23rd in the list of highest paid athletes in the world, estimating his earnings at US$31 million. In 2016, a biopic M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story was made about him.

Dhoni holds the post of Vice-President of India Cements Ltd., after resigning from Air India. India Cements is the owner of the IPL team Chennai Super Kings, and Dhoni has been its captain since the first IPL season. Dhoni is the co-owner of Indian Super League team Chennaiyin FC.

Mahatma Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (; Hindustani: [ˈmoːɦəndaːs ˈkərəmtʃənd ˈɡaːndʱi] (listen); 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian activist who was the leader of the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahātmā (Sanskrit: "high-souled", "venerable") was applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa – is now used worldwide. In India, he was also called Bapu, a term that he preferred (Gujarati: endearment for father, papa) and Gandhi ji, and is known as the Father of the Nation.Born and raised in a Hindu merchant caste family in coastal Gujarat, India, and trained in law at the Inner Temple, London, Gandhi first employed nonviolent civil disobedience as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, in the resident Indian community's struggle for civil rights. After his return to India in 1915, he set about organising peasants, farmers, and urban labourers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for various social causes and for achieving Swaraj or self-rule.Gandhi led Indians in challenging the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km (250 mi) Dandi Salt March in 1930, and later in calling for the British to Quit India in 1942. He was imprisoned for many years, upon many occasions, in both South Africa and India. He lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl, woven with yarn hand-spun on a charkha. He ate simple vegetarian food, and also undertook long fasts as a means of both self-purification and political protest.

Gandhi's vision of an independent India based on religious pluralism, however, was challenged in the early 1940s by a new Muslim nationalism which was demanding a separate Muslim homeland carved out of India. Eventually, in August 1947, Britain granted independence, but the British Indian Empire was partitioned into two dominions, a Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. As many displaced Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs made their way to their new lands, religious violence broke out, especially in the Punjab and Bengal. Eschewing the official celebration of independence in Delhi, Gandhi visited the affected areas, attempting to provide solace. In the months following, he undertook several fasts unto death to stop religious violence. The last of these, undertaken on 12 January 1948 when he was 78, also had the indirect goal of pressuring India to pay out some cash assets owed to Pakistan. Some Indians thought Gandhi was too accommodating. Among them was Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, who assassinated Gandhi on 30 January 1948 by firing three bullets into his chest. Captured along with many of his co-conspirators and collaborators, Godse and his co-conspirator Narayan Apte were tried, convicted and executed while many of their other accomplices were given prison sentences.

Gandhi's birthday, 2 October, is commemorated in India as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Nonviolence.

Mumbai

Mumbai (, also known as Bombay , the official name until 1995) is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra. As of 2011 it is the most populous city in India with an estimated city proper population of 12.4 million. The larger Mumbai Metropolitan Region is the second most populous metropolitan area in India, with a population of 21.3 million as of 2016. Mumbai lies on the Konkan coast on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbour. In 2008, Mumbai was named an alpha world city. It is also the wealthiest city in India, and has the highest number of millionaires and billionaires among all cities in India. Mumbai is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Elephanta Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, and the city's distinctive ensemble of Victorian and Art Deco buildings.

The seven islands that constitute Mumbai were originally home to communities of Koli people, who originated in Gujarat in prehistoric times. For centuries, the islands were under the control of successive indigenous empires before being ceded to the Portuguese Empire and subsequently to the East India Company when in 1661 Charles II of England married Catherine of Braganza and as part of her dowry Charles received the ports of Tangier and Seven Islands of Bombay. During the mid-18th century, Bombay was reshaped by the Hornby Vellard project, which undertook reclamation of the area between the seven islands from the sea. Along with construction of major roads and railways, the reclamation project, completed in 1845, transformed Bombay into a major seaport on the Arabian Sea. Bombay in the 19th century was characterised by economic and educational development. During the early 20th century it became a strong base for the Indian independence movement. Upon India's independence in 1947 the city was incorporated into Bombay State. In 1960, following the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement, a new state of Maharashtra was created with Bombay as the capital.Mumbai is the financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India. It is also one of the world's top ten centres of commerce in terms of global financial flow, generating 6.16% of India's GDP and accounting for 25% of industrial output, 70% of maritime trade in India (Mumbai Port Trust and JNPT), and 70% of capital transactions to India's economy. The city houses important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India, the SEBI and the corporate headquarters of numerous Indian companies and multinational corporations. It is also home to some of India's premier scientific and nuclear institutes like Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Nuclear Power Corporation of India, Indian Rare Earths, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Atomic Energy Commission of India, and the Department of Atomic Energy. The city also houses India's Hindi (Bollywood) and Marathi cinema industries. Mumbai's business opportunities, as well as its potential to offer a higher standard of living, attract migrants from all over India, making the city a melting pot of many communities and cultures.

Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar ( (listen); born 24 April 1973) is a former Indian international cricketer and a former captain of the Indian national team, regarded as one of the greatest batsman of all time. He is the highest run scorer of all time in International cricket. Tendulkar took up cricket at the age of eleven, made his Test debut on 15 November 1989 against Pakistan in Karachi at the age of sixteen, and went on to represent Mumbai domestically and India internationally for close to twenty-four years. He is the only player to have scored one hundred international centuries, the first batsman to score a double century in a ODI, the holder of the record for the most number of runs in both Test and ODI, and the only player to complete more than 30,000 runs in international cricket. He is colloquially known as Little Master or Master Blaster, and often referred to as the God of Cricket by Indian cricket followers.

In 2001, Sachin Tendulkar became the first batsman to complete 10,000 ODI runs in his 259 innings. In 2002, halfway through his career, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack ranked him the second greatest Test batsman of all time, behind Don Bradman, and the second greatest ODI batsman of all time, behind Viv Richards. Later in his career, Tendulkar was a part of the Indian team that won the 2011 World Cup, his first win in six World Cup appearances for India. He had previously been named "Player of the Tournament" at the 2003 edition of the tournament, held in South Africa. In 2013, he was the only Indian cricketer included in an all-time Test World XI named to mark the 150th anniversary of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.Tendulkar received the Arjuna Award in 1994 for his outstanding sporting achievement, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 1997, India's highest sporting honour, and the Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan awards in 1999 and 2008, respectively, India's fourth and second highest civilian awards. After a few hours of his final match on 16 November 2013, the Prime Minister's Office announced the decision to award him the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award. He is the youngest recipient to date and the first ever sportsperson to receive the award. He also won the 2010 Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for cricketer of the year at the ICC awards. In 2012, Tendulkar was nominated to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India. He was also the first sportsperson and the first person without an aviation background to be awarded the honorary rank of group captain by the Indian Air Force. In 2012, he was named an Honorary Member of the Order of Australia.In 2010, Time magazine included Sachin in its annual Time 100 list as one of the "Most Influential People in the World".

In December 2012, Tendulkar announced his retirement from ODIs. He retired from Twenty20 cricket in October 2013 and subsequently retired from all forms of cricket on 16 November 2013 after playing his 200th Test match, against the West Indies in Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium. Tendulkar played 664 international cricket matches in total, scoring 34,357 runs.

States and union territories of India

India is a federal union comprising 29 states and 7 union territories, for a total of 36 entities. The states and union territories are further subdivided into districts and smaller administrative divisions.

Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh (; IAST: Uttar Pradeś [ˈʊtːəɾ pɾəˈdeːʃ] (listen)) is a state considered to be part of central, northern and north-central India. Abbreviated as UP, it is the most populous state in the Republic of India as well as the most populous country subdivision in the world. It is located in the north-central region of the Indian subcontinent, has over 200 million inhabitants. It was created on 1 April 1937 as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh during British rule, and was renamed Uttar Pradesh in 1950. The state is divided into 18 divisions and 75 districts with the capital being Lucknow. The main ethnic group is the Hindavi people, forming the demographic plurality. On 9 November 2000, a new state, Uttarakhand, was carved out from the state's Himalayan hill region. The two major rivers of the state, the Ganga and Yamuna, join at Allahabad (Prayagraj) and then flow as the Ganges further east. Hindi is the most widely spoken language and is also the official language of the state.

The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the west, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi to the northwest, Uttarakhand and Nepal to the north, Bihar to the east, Madhya Pradesh to the south, and touches the states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh to the southeast. It covers 243,290 square kilometres (93,933 sq mi), equal to 7.33% of the total area of India, and is the fourth-largest Indian state by area. The economy of Uttar Pradesh is the fourth-largest state economy in India with ₹15.79 lakh crore (US$220 billion) in gross domestic product and a per capita GDP of ₹57,480 (US$800). Agriculture and service industries are the largest parts of the state's economy. The service sector comprises travel and tourism, hotel industry, real estate, insurance and financial consultancies. President's rule has been imposed in Uttar Pradesh ten times since 1968, for different reasons and for a total of 1,700 days.The natives of the state are generally called Uttar Bhartiya, or more specifically either Awadhi, Bageli, Bhojpuri, Braji, Bundeli, Kannauji, or Rohilkhandi by their region of origin. Hinduism is practised by more than three-fourths of the population, with Islam being the next largest religious group. Uttar Pradesh was home to powerful empires of ancient and medieval India. The state has several historical, natural, and religious tourist destinations, such as Agra, Ayodhya, Vrindavan (Mathura), Varanasi and Allahabad.

Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli (pronunciation ; born 5 November 1988) is an Indian international cricketer who currently captains the India national team. A right-handed top-order batsman, Kohli is regarded as one of the best batsmen in the world. He plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League (IPL), and has been the team's captain since 2013.

Born and raised in Delhi, Kohli represented the city's cricket team at various age-group levels before making his first-class debut in 2006. He captained India Under-19s to victory at the 2008 Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia, and a few months later, made his ODI debut for India against Sri Lanka at the age of 19. Initially having played as a reserve batsman in the Indian team, he soon established himself as a regular in the ODI middle-order and was part of the squad that won the 2011 World Cup. He made his Test debut in 2011 and shrugged off the tag of "ODI specialist" by 2013 with Test hundreds in Australia and South Africa. Having reached the number one spot in the ICC rankings for ODI batsmen for the first time in 2013, Kohli also found success in the Twenty20 format, winning the Man of the Tournament twice at the ICC World Twenty20 (in 2014 and 2016). In 2014, he became the top-ranked T20I batsman in the ICC rankings, holding the position for three successive years until 2017. Since October 2017, he has been the top-ranked ODI batsman in the world and is currently the leading batsman in the Test rankings. Among Indian batsmen, Kohli has the best ever Test rating (937 points), ODI rating (911 points) and T20I rating (897 points).

Kohli was appointed the vice-captain of the ODI team in 2012 and handed over the Test captaincy following Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Test retirement in 2014. In early 2017, he became the limited-overs captain as well after Dhoni stepped down from the position. In ODIs, Kohli holds the world record for the fastest batsman to 10,000 runs in 205 innings. Kohli has the second highest number of centuries and the highest number of centuries in run-chases in the world. Kohli holds numerous Indian batting records including the fastest ODI century, the fastest batsman to 5,000 ODI runs and the fastest to 10 ODI centuries. Among the T20I world records held by Kohli are: the fastest batsman to 2,000 runs, most runs in a calendar year and most fifties in the format. He also holds the records of most runs in a single tournament of both the World Twenty20 and the IPL. He currently holds the record of hitting most fours (223) in T20I with Tillakaratne Dilshan [1]. He is the only batsman in history to average over 50 in Tests, ODIs and T20Is simultaneously. On 27 October 2018, he became the first batsman for India, and tenth overall, to score three successive centuries in ODIs. In December 2018, Kohli became the first Asian captain to win test match in England, Australia and South Africa.Kohli has been the recipient of many awards such as the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy (ICC Cricketer of the Year) in 2017 and 2018; ICC Test Player of the Year 2018; ICC ODI Player of the Year in 2012, 2017 and 2018 and Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World in 2016, 2017. He was given the Arjuna Award in 2013, the Padma Shri under the sports category in 2017 and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the highest sporting honour in India, in 2018. Alongside his cricket career, Kohli co-owns FC Goa in the ISL, the IPTL franchise UAE Royals and the PWL team Bengaluru Yodhas. He also has other business ventures and over 20 brand endorsements. Kohli is ranked as one of the world's most famous athletes by ESPN and one of the most valuable athlete brands by Forbes. In 2018, Time magazine named Kohli one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

States (1–29) & Union territories (A-G)
1. Andhra Pradesh 19. Nagaland
2. Arunachal Pradesh 20. Odisha
3. Assam 21. Punjab
4. Bihar 22. Rajasthan
5. Chhattisgarh 23. Sikkim
6. Goa 24. Tamil Nadu
7. Gujarat 25. Telangana
8. Haryana 26. Tripura
9. Himachal Pradesh 27. Uttar Pradesh
10. Jammu and Kashmir 28. Uttarakhand
11. Jharkhand 29. West Bengal
12. Karnataka A. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
13. Kerala B. Chandigarh
14. Madhya Pradesh C. Dadra and Nagar Haveli
15. Maharashtra D. Daman and Diu
16. Manipur E. Lakshadweep
17. Meghalaya F. National Capital Territory of Delhi
18. Mizoram G. Puducherry
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