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India

India

Overview
India officially the Republic of India ' onMouseout='HidePop("20188")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Official_names_of_India">official names of India
Official names of India
The following table lists the names of the Republic of India in each of the twenty-three constitutionally recognised languages listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India...

), is a country in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

.
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Timeline

1497   Vasco da Gama sets sail on the first direct European voyage to India.

1498   Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrives at Kozhikode (previously known as Calicut), India.

1499   Portuguese explorer Nicolau Coelho returns to Lisbon, after discovering the sea route to India as a companion of Vasco da Gama.

1502   Vasco da Gama sets sail from Lisbon, Portugal, on his second voyage to India.

1509   The Battle of Diu takes place near Diu, India, between Portugal and Turkey.

1509   The Battle of Diu, between Portugal and the Ottoman Empire takes place in Diu, India.

1565   Battle of Talikota, fought between the Vijayanagara Empire and the Islamic sultanates of the Deccan, leads to the subjugation, and eventual destruction of the last Hindu kingdom in India, and the consolidation of Islamic rule over much of the Indian subcontinent.

1575   Indian Mughal Emperor Akbar defeats Bengali army at the Battle of Tukaroi.

1608   The first official English representative to India lands in Surat.

1639   Madras (now Chennai), India, is founded by the British East India Company on a sliver of land bought from local Nayak rulers.

 
Quotations

So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked. - Mark Twain (American writer)

We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made. ~ Albert Einstein (German Physicist)

If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India. ~ Max Mueller (German scholar)

India – The land of Vedas, the remarkable works contain not only religious ideas for a perfect life, but also facts which science has proved true. Electricity, radium, electronics, airship, all were known to the seers who founded the Vedas. -Wheeler Wilcox (American poet)

After the conversations about Indian philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense. - W. Heisenberg (German Physicist)

The Indian way of life provides the vision of the natural, real way of life. We veil ourselves with unnatural masks. On the face of India are the tender expressions which carry the mark of the Creator's hand. - George Bernard Shaw (Irish playwrite)

India is probably the best country in the world, both scenic and peaceful, it truly is god's country. ~ Kobe Bryant

If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India. ~ Romain Rolland (French Nobel Laureate)

Encyclopedia
India officially the Republic of India ' onMouseout='HidePop("20188")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Official_names_of_India">official names of India
Official names of India
The following table lists the names of the Republic of India in each of the twenty-three constitutionally recognised languages listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India...

), is a country in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people
Demographics of India
The demographics of India are inclusive of the second most populous country in the world, with over 1.21 billion people , more than a sixth of the world's population. Already containing 17.5% of the world's population, India is projected to be the world's most populous country by 2025, surpassing...

, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 on the south, the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

 on the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 on the south-east, it shares land borders with Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 to the west; China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, and Bhutan
Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

 to the north-east; and Burma and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 and the Maldives
Maldives
The Maldives , , officially Republic of Maldives , also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and...

; in addition, India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 and Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

.

Home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

 and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history. Four of the world's major religions—Hinduism
Hinduism in India
Hinduism is a religious tradition of India, with 80.5% of the population identifying themselves as Hindus. The vast majority of Hindus in India belong to Vaishnavite and Shaivite denominations.The Vedic culture originated in India between 2000 and 1500 BC...

, Buddhism
History of Buddhism in India
Buddhism is a world religion, which arose in and around ancient Magadha, India , and is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama , who is known as the Buddha...

, Jainism, and Sikhism
Sikhism in India
Sikhism is India's fourth-largest religion and has existed for over 500 years, beginning with the birth of its founder Guru Nanak Dev ji. The Sikhs are predominately located in Punjab, but also in many other parts of India.-The birth of the Sikh religion:...

—originated here, whereas Zoroastrianism
Parsi
Parsi or Parsee refers to a member of the larger of the two Zoroastrian communities in South Asia, the other being the Irani community....

, Christianity
Christianity in India
Christianity is India's third-largest religion, with approximately 24 million followers, constituting 2.3% of India's population. The works of scholars and Eastern Christian writings and 14th century Portuguese missionaries created an illusion to convert Indians that Christianity was introduced to...

, and Islam
Islam in India
Islam is the second-most practiced religion in the Republic of India after Hinduism, with more than 13.4% of the country's population ....

 arrived in the 1st millennium CE and also helped shape the region's diverse culture. Gradually annexed by and brought under the administration of the British East India Company
Company rule in India
Company rule in India refers to the rule or dominion of the British East India Company on the Indian subcontinent...

 from the early 18th century and administered directly
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 by the United Kingdom from the mid-19th century, India became an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence
Indian independence movement
The term Indian independence movement encompasses a wide area of political organisations, philosophies, and movements which had the common aim of ending first British East India Company rule, and then British imperial authority, in parts of South Asia...

 which was marked by non-violent resistance and led by Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi , pronounced . 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement...

.

The Indian economy
Economy of India
The Economy of India is the ninth largest in the world by nominal GDP and the fourth largest by purchasing power parity . The country is a part of the G-20 major economies and the BRICS, in addition to being partners of the ASEAN. India has a per capita GDP of $3,608 as per 2010 figures, making it...

 is the world's ninth-largest economy by nominal GDP and fourth-largest economy by purchasing power parity (PPP). Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies; it is considered a newly industrialized country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty
Poverty in India
Poverty is widespread in India, with the nation estimated to have a third of the world's poor. According to a 2005 World Bank estimate, 41.6% of the total Indian population falls below the international poverty line of 1.25 a day...

, illiteracy
Literacy in India
Literacy in India is key for socio-economic progress, and the Indian literacy rate grew to 74.04% in 2011 from 12% at the end of British rule in 1947. Although this was a greater than sixfold improvement, the level is well below the world average literacy rate of 84%, and India currently has the...

, corruption
Corruption in India
Political, bureaucratic, corporate and individual corruption in India are major concerns. A 2005 study conducted by Transparency International in India found that more than 55% of Indians had first-hand experience of paying bribes or influence peddling to get jobs done in public offices...

, and inadequate public health. A nuclear weapons state and a regional power
Regional power
In international relations, a regional power is a state that has power within a geographic region. States which wield unrivaled power and influence within a region of the world possess regional hegemony.-Characteristics:...

, it has the third-largest standing army in the world and ranks tenth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal
Federalism
Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and...

 constitutional republic
Constitutional republic
A constitutional republic is a state in which the head of state and other officials are representatives of the people and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government's power over all of its citizens...

 governed under a parliamentary system
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 consisting of 28 states and 7 union territories
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

. It is one of the five BRICS
BRICS
BRICS is an international political organisation of leading emerging economies, arising out of the inclusion of South Africa into the BRIC group in 2010. As of 2011, its five members are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa...

 nations. India is a pluralistic, multilingual
Languages of India
The languages of India belong to several language families, the major ones being the Indo-European languages—Indo-Aryan and the Dravidian languages...

, and multiethnic society
Culture of India
India's languages, religions, dance, music, architecture, food and customs differ from place to place within the country, but nevertheless possess a commonality....

. It is also home to a diversity of wildlife
Wildlife of India
The wildlife of India is a mix of species of number of different types of organism. The region's rich and diverse wildlife is preserved in 89 national parks, 13 Bio reserves and 400+ wildlife sanctuaries across the country. Since India is home to a number of rare and threatened animal species,...

 in a variety of protected habitats
Protected areas of India
As of May 2004, the protected areas of India cover , roughly 4.95% of the total surface area.-Classification:India has the following kinds of protected areas, in the sense of the word designated by IUCN:-National Park:...

.

Etymology


The name India is derived from Indus
Indus River
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan. It also has courses through China and India.Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and...

, which is derived from the Old Persian
Old Persian language
The Old Persian language is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages . Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets, and seals of the Achaemenid era...

 word Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

, from Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 Sindhu (सिन्धु), the historic local appellation for the Indus River. The ancient Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 referred to the Indians as Indoi (Ινδοί), the people of the Indus. The Constitution of India
Constitution of India
The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions, and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens...

 and usage in many Indian languages also recognises Bharat as an official name of equal status. The name Bharat is derived from the name of the legendary king Bharata
Bharata (emperor)
Bharata was a legendary emperor of India, and is referred to in Hindu and Jain mythology. He was son of King Dushyanta and Shakuntala and thus a descendant of the Lunar Dynasty of the Kshatriya caste. Bharata conquered all of greater Greater India, uniting it into a single entity which was named...

 in Hindu scriptures. Hindustan
Hindustan
Hindustan or Indostan, literal translation "Land of River Sindhu ", is one of the popular names of South Asia. It can also mean "the land of the Hindus"...

(ɦɪnd̪ʊˈst̪aːn), originally a Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 word for “Land of the Hindus” and referring to North India and Pakistan before 1947, is also occasionally used as a synonym for all of India.

Ancient India


The earliest anatomically modern human remains found in South Asia are from approximately 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous Mesolithic
Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

 rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh , often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and Indore is the largest city....

. Around 7000 BCE, the first known neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 settlements appeared on the subcontinent in Mehrgarh
Mehrgarh
Mehrgarh , one of the most important Neolithic sites in archaeology, lies on the "Kachi plain" of Balochistan, Pakistan...

 and other sites in western Pakistan. These gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro
Mohenjo-daro
Mohenjo-daro is an archeological site situated in what is now the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Built around 2600 BC, it was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, and one of the world's earliest major urban settlements, existing at the same time as the...

, Harappa
Harappa
Harappa is an archaeological site in Punjab, northeast Pakistan, about west of Sahiwal. The site takes its name from a modern village located near the former course of the Ravi River. The current village of Harappa is from the ancient site. Although modern Harappa has a train station left from...

, Dholavira
Dholavira
Dholavira is an archaeological site in Khadirbet in Bhachau Taluka of Kachchh district of Gujarat state in western India, which has taken its name from a modern village 1 km south of it. The site of Dholavira, locally known as Kotada timba contains ruins of an ancient Harappan city...

, and Kalibangan
Kalibangan
Kalibangān is a town located at on the left or southern banks of the Ghaggar , identified by some scholars with Sarasvati River in Tehsil Pilibangān, between Suratgarh and Hanumāngarh in Hanumangarh district, Rajasthan, India 205 km. from Bikaner...

, and relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilisation engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade.

During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent evolved from copper age
Copper Age
The Chalcolithic |stone]]") period or Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic/Æneolithic , is a phase of the Bronze Age in which the addition of tin to copper to form bronze during smelting remained yet unknown by the metallurgists of the times...

 to iron age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 cultures. The Vedas
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, were composed during this period, and historians have analyzed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 and the upper Ganges Plain. Most historians also consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration
Indo-Aryan migration
Models of the Indo-Aryan migration discuss scenarios of prehistoric migrations of the proto-Indo-Aryans to their historically attested areas of settlement in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent...

 into the subcontinent from the north-west. 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. In the Deccan, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom
Chiefdom
A chiefdom is a political economy that organizes regional populations through a hierarchy of the chief.In anthropological theory, one model of human social development rooted in ideas of cultural evolution describes a chiefdom as a form of social organization more complex than a tribe or a band...

 stage of political organisation. In South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

, the large number of megalithic monuments found from this period, and nearby evidence of agriculture, irrigation tank
Irrigation tank
For etymology, see Storage tank#Etymology.In India, an irrigation tank or tank is an artificial reservoir of any size. . It can also have a natural or man-made spring included as part of a structure...

s, and craft traditions suggest progression to sedentary life.

By the fifth century BCE, the small chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-west regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies called Mahajanapadas
Mahajanapadas
Mahājanapadas , literally "great realms", were ancient Indian kingdoms or countries...

. The emerging urbanisation as well as the orthodoxies of the late Vedic age created the religious reform movements of Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

. Buddhism, based on the teachings of India's first historical figure, Gautam Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle; Jainism came into prominence around the same time during the life of its exemplar, Mahavira
Mahavira
Mahāvīra is the name most commonly used to refer to the Indian sage Vardhamāna who established what are today considered to be the central tenets of Jainism. According to Jain tradition, he was the 24th and the last Tirthankara. In Tamil, he is referred to as Arukaṉ or Arukadevan...

. In an age of increasing urban wealth, both religions held up renunciation
Nekkhamma
Nekkhamma is a Pali word generally translated as "renunciation" or "the pleasure of renunciation" while also conveying more specifically "giving up the world and leading a holy life" or "freedom from lust, craving and desires." In Buddhism's Noble Eightfold Path, nekkhamma is the first practice...

 as an ideal, and both established long-lasting monasteries. Politically, by the 3rd century BCE, the kingdom of Magadha
Magadha
Magadha formed one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas or kingdoms in ancient India. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganga; its first capital was Rajagriha then Pataliputra...

 had annexed or reduced other states to emerge as the Mauryan Empire. 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. The Maurya kings are known as much for their empire building and determined management of public life as for Ashoka the Great's renunciation of militarism and far-flung advocacy of the Buddhist dhamma.

The Sangam literature
Sangam literature
Sangam literature refers to a body of classical Tamil literature created between the years c. 600 BCE to 300 CE. This collection contains 2381 poems composed by 473 poets, some 102 of whom remain anonymous The period during which these poems were composed is commonly referred to as the Sangam...

 of the Tamil language
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 reveals that, between 200 BCE and 200 CE, the southern peninsula was being ruled by the Cheras
Chera dynasty
Chera Dynasty in South India is one of the most ancient ruling dynasties in India. Together with the Cholas and the Pandyas, they formed the three principle warring Iron Age Tamil kingdoms in southern India...

, the Cholas, and the Pandyas, dynasties that traded extensively with the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 and with West and South-East Asia. In North India, Hinduism asserted patriarchal
Patriarchy
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination...

 control within the family leading to increased subordination of women. By the fourth and fifth centuries CE, the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 had created a complex administrative and taxation system in the greater Ganges Plain that became a model for later Indian kingdoms. Under the Guptas, a renewed Hinduism based on devotion rather than the management of ritual began to assert itself. The renewal was reflected in a flowering of sculpture and architecture
Indian architecture
The architecture of India is rooted in its history, culture and religion. Indian architecture progressed with time and assimilated the many influences that came as a result of India's global discourse with other regions of the world throughout its millennia-old past...

, which found patrons among an urban elite. Classical Sanskrit literature flowered as well, and Indian science, astronomy, medicine
Ayurveda
Ayurveda or ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit, words , meaning "longevity", and , meaning "knowledge" or "science". The earliest literature on Indian medical practice appeared during the Vedic period in India,...

, and mathematics
Indian mathematics
Indian mathematics emerged in the Indian subcontinent from 1200 BCE until the end of the 18th century. In the classical period of Indian mathematics , important contributions were made by scholars like Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, and Bhaskara II. The decimal number system in use today was first...

 made significant advances.

Medieval India


The Indian early medieval age, 600 CE to 1200 CE, is defined by regional kingdoms and cultural diversity. When Harsha
Harsha
Harsha or Harsha Vardhana or Harshvardhan was an Indian emperor who ruled northern India from 606 to 647 AD. He was the son of Prabhakara Vardhana and younger brother of Rajya Vardhana, a king of Thanesar, Haryana...

 of Kannauj
Kannauj
Kannauj , also spelt Kanauj, is a city, administrative headquarters and a municipal board or Nagar Palika Parishad in Kannauj district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The city's name is traditionally derived from the term Kanyakubja . Kannauj is an ancient city, in earlier times the capital...

, who ruled much of the Ganges plain from 606 to 647 CE, attempted to expand southwards, he was defeated by the Chalukya
Chalukya dynasty
The Chalukya dynasty was an Indian royal dynasty that ruled large parts of southern and central India between the 6th and the 12th centuries. During this period, they ruled as three related yet individual dynasties. The earliest dynasty, known as the "Badami Chalukyas", ruled from Vatapi from the...

 ruler of the Deccan. When his successor attempted to expand eastwards, he was defeated by the Pala
Pala Empire
The Pāla Empire was one of the major middle kingdoms of India existed from 750–1174 CE. It was ruled by a Buddhist dynasty from Bengal in the eastern region of the Indian subcontinent, all the rulers bearing names ending with the suffix Pala , which means protector. The Palas were often described...

 king of Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

. When the Chalukyas attempted to expand southwards, they were defeated by the Pallava
Pallava
The Pallava dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which ruled the northern Tamil Nadu region and the southern Andhra Pradesh region with their capital at Kanchipuram...

s from farther south, who in turn were opposed by the Pandyas and the Chola
Chola Dynasty
The Chola dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which was one of the longest-ruling in some parts of southern India. The earliest datable references to this Tamil dynasty are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BC left by Asoka, of Maurya Empire; the dynasty continued to govern over varying territory until...

s from still farther south. No ruler of this period was able to create an empire and consistently control lands much beyond his core region. During this time, pastoral peoples whose land had been cleared to make way for the growing agriculture economy were accommodated within caste society, as were new non-traditional ruling classes. The caste system consequently began to show regional differences.

In the sixth and seventh centuries CE, the first devotional hymns
Bhakti
In Hinduism Bhakti is religious devotion in the form of active involvement of a devotee in worship of the divine.Within monotheistic Hinduism, it is the love felt by the worshipper towards the personal God, a concept expressed in Hindu theology as Svayam Bhagavan.Bhakti can be used of either...

 were created in the Tamil language
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

. They were imitated all over India and led to both the resurgence of Hinduism and the development of all modern languages of the subcontinent
Languages of India
The languages of India belong to several language families, the major ones being the Indo-European languages—Indo-Aryan and the Dravidian languages...

. Indian royalty, big
Maharaja
Mahārāja is a Sanskrit title for a "great king" or "high king". The female equivalent title Maharani denotes either the wife of a Maharaja or, in states where that was customary, a woman ruling in her own right. The widow of a Maharaja is known as a Rajamata...

 and small
Samanta
Samanta was a title and position used by the Indian nobility. The institution of Samanta finds mention for the first time in epigraphs of northern India dating to the 6th century...

, and the temples they patronised, drew citizens in great numbers to the capital cities, which became economic hubs as well. Temple towns of various sizes began to appear everywhere as India underwent another urbanisation. By the eight and ninth centuries, the effects were felt in South-East Asia, as South Indian culture and political systems were exported to what today are Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

, Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

, Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, Malaysia and Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

. 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.

After the tenth century, Muslim Central Asian nomadic clans, using swift-horse
Courser (horse)
A courser is a swift and strong horse, frequently used during the Middle Ages as a warhorse. It was ridden by knights and men-at-arms.Coursers are commonly believed to be named for their running gait,...

 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
Delhi Sultanate
The Delhi Sultanate is a term used to cover five short-lived, Delhi based kingdoms or sultanates, of Turkic origin in medieval India. The sultanates ruled from Delhi between 1206 and 1526, when the last was replaced by the Mughal dynasty...

 in 1206. 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. By repeatedly repulsing the Mongol raiders
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 in the thirteenth 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. The Sultanate's raiding and weakening of the regional kingdoms of South India paved the way for the indigenous Vijayanagara Empire
Vijayanagara Empire
The Vijayanagara Empire , referred as the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese, was an empire based in South Indian in the Deccan Plateau region. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of the Yadava lineage. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts...

. Embracing a strong Shaivite tradition and building upon the military technology of the Sultanate, the empire came to control much of peninsular India, and was to influence South Indian society for long afterwards.

Early modern India


In the early sixteenth century, northern India, being then under mainly Muslim rulers, fell again to the superior mobility and firepower of a new generation of Central Asian warriors. The resulting Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 did not stamp out the local societies it came to rule, but rather balanced and pacified them through new administrative practices and diverse and inclusive ruling elites, leading to more systematic, centralised, and uniform rule. 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. The Mughal state's economic policies, deriving most revenues from agriculture and mandating that taxes be paid in the well-regulated silver currency, caused peasants and artisans to enter larger markets. The relative peace maintained by the empire during much of the seventeenth century was a factor in India's economic expansion, resulting in greater patronage of painting
Mughal painting
Mughal painting is a particular style of South Asian painting, generally confined to miniatures either as book illustrations or as single works to be kept in albums, which emerged from Persian miniature painting, with Indian Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist influences, and developed largely in the court...

, literary forms, textiles, and architecture
Mughal architecture
Mughal architecture, an amalgam of Islamic, Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture, is the distinctive style developed by the Mughals in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries in what is now India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. It is symmetrical and decorative in style.The Mughal dynasty was...

. Newly coherent social groups in northern and western India, such as the Marathas
Maratha Empire
The Maratha Empire or the Maratha Confederacy was an Indian imperial power that existed from 1674 to 1818. At its peak, the empire covered much of South Asia, encompassing a territory of over 2.8 million km²....

, 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. Expanding commerce during Mughal rule gave rise to new Indian commercial and political elites along the coasts of southern and eastern India. As the empire disintegrated, many among these elites were able to seek and control their own affairs.

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
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

, had established outposts on the coast of India. 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; both these factors were crucial in allowing the Company to gain control over the Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

 region by 1765 and sideline the other European companies. 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. India was now 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 By this time, with its economic power severely curtailed by the British parliament and itself effectively made an arm of British administration, the Company began to more consciously enter non-economic arenas such as education, social reform, and culture.

Modern India


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 rule in India
Company rule in India
Company rule in India refers to the rule or dominion of the British East India Company on the Indian subcontinent...

 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. However, disaffection with the Company also grew during this time, and set off the Indian Rebellion of 1857
Indian Rebellion of 1857
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of the British East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to...

. 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. Although the rebellion was suppressed by 1858, it led to the dissolution of the East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 and to the direct administration of India
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 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. In the decades following, public life gradually emerged all over India, leading eventually to the founding of the Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

 in 1885.
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. There was an increase in the number of large-scale famines
Famine in India
Famine has been a recurrent feature of life in the Indian sub-continental countries of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and reached its numerically deadliest peak in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Historical and legendary evidence names some 90 famines in 2,500 years of history. There...

, and, despite the risks of infrastructure development borne by Indian taxpayers, little industrial employment was generated for Indians. There were also salutary effects: commercial cropping, especially in the newly canalled Punjab, led to increased food production for internal consumption. The railway network provided critical famine relief, notably reduced the cost of moving goods, and helped nascent Indian-owned industry. After World War I, in which some one million Indians served, 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 non-violent movement of non-cooperation, of which Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would become the leader and enduring symbol. During the 1930s, slow legislative reform was enacted by the British; the Indian National Congress won victories in the resulting elections. The next decade was beset with crises: Indian participation in World War II
India in World War II
India, officially the Indian Empire, declared war on Nazi Germany in September 1939. The Provinces of British India, being imperial colonies of the United Kingdom, were by default a part of the Allied nations and sent over two million troops to fight against the Axis powers...

, the Congress's final push for non-cooperation, and an upsurge of Muslim nationalism. All were capped by the independence of India in 1947, but tempered by the bloody partition
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

 of the subcontinent into two states.

Vital to India's self-image as an independent nation was its constitution, completed in 1950, which put in place a sovereign, secular, and democratic republic. In the 60 years since, India has had a mixed bag of successes and failures. It has remained a democracy with civil liberties, an activist Supreme Court, and a largely independent press. 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, and increased its geopolitical clout. Indian movies, music, and spiritual teachings play an increasing role in global culture. Yet, India has also been weighed down by seemingly unyielding poverty, both rural and urban; by religious
Religious violence in India
Religious violence in India includes acts of violence by followers of one religious group against followers and institutions of another religious group, often in the form of rioting...

 and caste-related violence
Caste-related violence in India
Caste-related violence and hate crimes in India have occurred despite the gradual reduction of casteism in the country.According to a report by Human Rights Watch, "Dalits and indigenous peoples continue to face discrimination, exclusion, and acts of communal violence...

; by Maoist-inspired Naxalite insurgencies
Naxalite
The word Naxal, Naxalite or Naksalvadi is a generic term used to refer to various militant Communist groups operating in different parts of India under different organizational envelopes...

; and by separatism in Jammu and Kashmir. It has unresolved territorial disputes with China, which escalated into the Sino-Indian War
Sino-Indian War
The Sino-Indian War , also known as the Sino-Indian Border Conflict , was a war between China and India that occurred in 1962. A disputed Himalayan border was the main pretext for war, but other issues played a role. There had been a series of violent border incidents after the 1959 Tibetan...

 of 1962; and with Pakistan, which flared into wars fought in 1947
Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
The India-Pakistan War of 1947-48, sometimes known as the First Kashmir War, was fought between India and Pakistan over the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu from 1947 to 1948. It was the first of four wars fought between the two newly independent nations...

, 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 was a culmination of skirmishes that took place between April 1965 and September 1965 between Pakistan and India. This conflict became known as the Second Kashmir War fought by India and Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir, the first having been fought in 1947...

, 1971
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military conflict between India and Pakistan. Indian, Bangladeshi and international sources consider the beginning of the war to be Operation Chengiz Khan, Pakistan's December 3, 1971 pre-emptive strike on 11 Indian airbases...

, and 1999
Kargil War
The Kargil War ,, also known as the Kargil conflict, was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control...

. The India-Pakistan nuclear rivalry came to a head in 1998. India's sustained democratic freedoms are unique among the world's new nations; however, in spite of its recent economic successes, freedom from want for its disadvantaged population remains a goal yet to be achieved.

Geography


India comprises the bulk of the Indian subcontinent and lies atop the minor Indian tectonic plate, which in turn belongs to the Indo-Australian Plate
Indo-Australian Plate
The Indo-Australian Plate is a major tectonic plate that includes the continent of Australia and surrounding ocean, and extends northwest to include the Indian subcontinent and adjacent waters...

. India's defining geological processes commenced seventy five million years ago when the Indian subcontinent, then part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana
Gondwana
In paleogeography, Gondwana , originally Gondwanaland, was the southernmost of two supercontinents that later became parts of the Pangaea supercontinent. It existed from approximately 510 to 180 million years ago . Gondwana is believed to have sutured between ca. 570 and 510 Mya,...

, began a north-eastward drift
Plate tectonics
Plate tectonics is a scientific theory that describes the large scale motions of Earth's lithosphere...

 across the then-unformed Indian Ocean that lasted fifty million years. The subcontinent's subsequent collision with, and subduction
Subduction
In geology, subduction is the process that takes place at convergent boundaries by which one tectonic plate moves under another tectonic plate, sinking into the Earth's mantle, as the plates converge. These 3D regions of mantle downwellings are known as "Subduction Zones"...

 under, the Eurasian Plate
Eurasian Plate
The Eurasian Plate is a tectonic plate which includes most of the continent of Eurasia , with the notable exceptions of the Indian subcontinent, the Arabian subcontinent, and the area east of the Chersky Range in East Siberia...

 bore aloft the planet's highest mountains, the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

. They abut India in the north
North India
North India, known natively as Uttar Bhārat or Shumālī Hindustān , is a loosely defined region in the northern part of India. The exact meaning of the term varies by usage...

 and the north-east
North-East India
Northeast India refers to the easternmost region of India consisting of the contiguous Seven Sister States, Sikkim, and parts of North Bengal...

. In the former seabed immediately south of the emerging Himalayas, plate movement created a vast trough
Trough (geology)
In geology, a trough generally refers to a linear structural depression that extends laterally over a distance, while being less steep than a trench.A trough can be a narrow basin or a geologic rift....

 that has gradually filled with river-borne sediment; it now forms the Indo-Gangetic Plain
Indo-Gangetic plain
The northern Plains also known as the Indo - Gangetic Plain and The North Indian River Plain is a large and fertile plain encompassing most of northern and eastern India, the most populous parts of Pakistan, parts of southern Nepal and virtually all of Bangladesh...

. To the west lies the Thar Desert
Thar Desert
The Thar Desert |Punjab]] province. The Cholistan Desert adjoins the Thar desert spreading into Pakistani Punjab province.-Location and description:...

, which is cut off by the Aravalli Range
Aravalli Range
The Aravalli Range literally meaning 'line of peaks', is a range of mountains in western India and eastern Pakistan running approximately 800 km from northeast to southwest across states of Rajasthan, Haryana, and Gujarat and Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Sindh...

.

The original Indian plate survives as peninsular India, the oldest and geologically most stable part of India and extends as far north as the Satpura
Satpura Range
The Satpura Range is a range of hills in central India. The range rises in eastern Gujarat state near the Arabian Sea coast, running east through Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh to Chhattisgarh. The range parallels the Vindhya Range to the north, and these two east-west ranges divide the...

 and Vindhya
Vindhya Range
The Vindhya Range is a range of older rounded mountains and hills in the west-central Indian subcontinent, which geographically separates the Indian subcontinent into northern India and Southern India.- Introduction :...

 ranges in central India. These parallel ranges run from the Arabian Sea coast in Gujarat in the west to the coal-rich Chota Nagpur Plateau
Chota Nagpur Plateau
The Chota Nagpur Plateau is a plateau in eastern India, which covers much of Jharkhand state as well as adjacent parts of Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. The Indo-Gangetic plain lies to the north and east of the plateau, and the basin of the Mahanadi River lies to the south...

 in Jharkhand in the east. To the south the remaining peninsular landmass, the Deccan Plateau
Deccan Plateau
The Deccan Plateau is a large plateau in India, making up the majority of the southern part of the country. It rises a hundred meters high in the north, rising further to more than a kilometers high in the south, forming a raised triangle nested within the familiar downward-pointing triangle of...

, is flanked on the west and east by the coastal ranges, the Western
Western Ghats
The Western Ghats, Western Ghauts or the Sahyādri is a mountain range along the western side of India. It runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats block rainfall to the Deccan...

 and Eastern Ghats
Eastern Ghats
The Eastern Ghats or Eastern Ghauts are a discontinuous range of mountains along India's eastern coast. The Eastern Ghats run from West Bengal state in the north, through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu in the south passing some parts of Karnataka. They are eroded and cut through by the...

 respectively; the plateau contains the nation'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 and 68° 7' and 97° 25' east longitude.
India's coast is 7517 kilometres (4,670.9 mi) long; of this distance, 5423 kilometres (3,369.7 mi) belong to peninsular India and 2094 kilometres (1,301.2 mi) to the Andaman, Nicobar, and Lakshadweep Islands. According to the Indian naval hydrographic charts, the mainland coast consists of the following: 43% sandy beaches, 11% rocky coast including cliffs, and 46% mudflat
Mudflat
Mudflats or mud flats, also known as tidal flats, are coastal wetlands that form when mud is deposited by tides or rivers. They are found in sheltered areas such as bays, bayous, lagoons, and estuaries. Mudflats may be viewed geologically as exposed layers of bay mud, resulting from deposition of...

s or marshy coast.

Major Himalayan-origin rivers that substantially flow through India include the Ganges (Ganga) and the Brahmaputra
Brahmaputra River
The Brahmaputra , also called Tsangpo-Brahmaputra, is a trans-boundary river and one of the major rivers of Asia. It is the only Indian river that is attributed the masculine gender and thus referred to as a in Indo-Aryan languages and languages with Indo-Aryan influence...

, both of which drain into the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

. Important tributaries of the Ganges include the Yamuna
Yamuna
The Yamuna is the largest tributary river of the Ganges in northern India...

 and the Kosi; the latter's extremely low gradient causes disastrous floods every year. Major peninsular rivers, whose steeper gradients prevent their waters from flooding, include the Godavari
Godavari River
The Godavari is a river that runs from western to southern India and is considered to be one of the big river basins in India. With a length of 1465 km, it is the second longest river in India , that runs within the country and also the longest river in South India...

, the Mahanadi
Mahanadi River
The Mahanadi in East Central India. It drains an area of around 141,600 km2 and has a total course of 858 km. The river flows through the states of Chhattisgarh and Orissa.-Source:...

, the Kaveri
Kaveri River
The Kaveri , also spelled Cauvery in English, is a large Indian river. The origin of the river is traditionally placed at Talakaveri, Kodagu in the Western Ghats in Karnataka, flows generally south and east through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and across the southern Deccan plateau through the...

, and the Krishna
Krishna River
The Krishna River , is one of the longest rivers in central-southern India, about . It is also referred to as Krishnaveni in its original nomenclature...

, which also drain into the Bay of Bengal; and the Narmada
Narmada River
The Narmada , also called Rewa is a river in central India and the fifth largest river in the Indian subcontinent. It is the third largest river that completely flows within India after Ganges and Godavari...

 and the Tapti
Tapti River
The Tapi River ancient original name Tapi River , is a river in central India. It is one of the major rivers of peninsular India with a length of around 724 km...

, which drain into the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

. Among notable coastal features of India are the marshy Rann of Kutch
Rann of Kutch
The Great Rann of Kutch, also called Greater Rann of Kutch or just Rann of Kutch , is a seasonal salt marsh located in the Thar Desert in the Kutch District of Gujarat, India and the Sindh province of Pakistan....

 in western India, and the alluvial Sundarbans
Sundarbans
The Sundarbans [Sundarban Tour Booking-9051115228] is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world.The name Sundarban can be literally translated as "beautiful jungle" or "beautiful forest" in the Bengali language...

 delta, which India shares with Bangladesh. India has two archipelagos: the Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep , formerly known as the Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands, is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea, 200 to 440 km off the coast of the South West Indian state of Kerala...

, coral atolls off India's south-western coast; and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a volcanic chain in the Andaman Sea
Andaman Sea
The Andaman Sea or Burma Sea is a body of water to the southeast of the Bay of Bengal, south of Burma, west of Thailand and east of the Andaman Islands, India; it is part of the Indian Ocean....

.

The Indian climate
Climate of India
Analyzed according to the Köppen system, the climate of India resolves into six major climatic subtypes; their influences give rise to desert in the west, alpine tundra and glaciers in the north, humid tropical regions supporting rain forests in the southwest, and Indian Ocean island territories...

 is strongly influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert, both of which drive the economically and culturally pivotal summer and winter monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

s. The Himalayas prevent cold Central Asian katabatic wind
Katabatic wind
A katabatic wind, from the Greek word katabatikos meaning "going downhill", is the technical name for a drainage wind, a wind that carries high density air from a higher elevation down a slope under the force of gravity. Such winds are sometimes also called fall winds...

s from blowing in, keeping the bulk of the Indian subcontinent warmer than most locations at similar latitudes. 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. Four major climatic groupings predominate in India: tropical wet, tropical dry, subtropical humid, and montane.

Biodiversity


India lies within the Indomalaya ecozone and contains three biodiversity hotspot
Biodiversity hotspot
A biodiversity hotspot is a biogeographic region with a significant reservoir of biodiversity that is under threat from humans.The concept of biodiversity hotspots was originated by Norman Myers in two articles in “The Environmentalist” , revised after thorough analysis by Myers and others in...

s. One of 17 megadiverse countries
Megadiverse countries
The megadiverse countries are a group of countries that harbor the majority of the Earth's species and are therefore considered extremely biodiverse...

, it hosts 7.6% of all mammalian, 12.6% of all avian, 6.2% of all reptilian, 4.4% of all amphibian, 11.7% of all piscine, and 6.0% of all flowering plant species. Endemism is high among plants, 33%, and among ecoregions such as the shola
Shola
Sholas are patches of stunted evergreen tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest found in valleys amid rolling grassland in the higher montane regions of South India. These patches of shola forest are found mainly in the valleys and are usually separated from one another by undulating...

 forests
South Western Ghats montane rain forests
The South Western Ghats montane rain forests are an ecoregion of southern India, covering the southern portion of the Western Ghats range in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, at elevations over 1000 meters...

. Habitat ranges from the tropical rainforest
Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests
Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests , also known as tropical moist forests, are a tropical and subtropical forest biome....

 of the Andaman Islands
Andaman Islands
The Andaman Islands are a group of Indian Ocean archipelagic islands in the Bay of Bengal between India to the west, and Burma , to the north and east...

, Western Ghats
Western Ghats
The Western Ghats, Western Ghauts or the Sahyādri is a mountain range along the western side of India. It runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats block rainfall to the Deccan...

, and North-East India
North-East India
Northeast India refers to the easternmost region of India consisting of the contiguous Seven Sister States, Sikkim, and parts of North Bengal...

 to the coniferous forest of the Himalaya. Between these extremes lie the moist deciduous sal forest of eastern India; the dry deciduous teak
Teak
Teak is the common name for the tropical hardwood tree species Tectona grandis and its wood products. Tectona grandis is native to south and southeast Asia, mainly India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Burma, but is naturalized and cultivated in many countries, including those in Africa and the...

 forest of central and southern India; and the babul
Acacia nilotica
Acacia nilotica is a species of Acacia native to Africa and the Indian subcontinent...

-dominated thorn forest
Deserts and xeric shrublands
Deserts and xeric shrublands is a biome characterized by, relating to, or requiring only a small amount of moisture.-Definition and occurrence:...

 of the central Deccan and western Gangetic plain. Under 12% of India's landmass bears thick jungle. The medicinal neem
Neem
Azadirachta indica is a tree in the mahogany family Meliaceae. It is one of two species in the genus Azadirachta, and is native to India growing in tropical and semi-tropical regions. Its fruits and seeds are the source of neem oil...

, widely used in rural Indian herbal remedies, is a key Indian tree. The luxuriant pipal
Sacred Fig
The Sacred Fig, Ficus religiosa, or Bo-Tree , Peepal is a species of banyan fig native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, southwest China and Indochina...

 fig tree, shown on the seals of Mohenjo-daro
Mohenjo-daro
Mohenjo-daro is an archeological site situated in what is now the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Built around 2600 BC, it was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, and one of the world's earliest major urban settlements, existing at the same time as the...

, shaded Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

 as he sought enlightenment.
Many Indian species descend from taxa
Taxon
|thumb|270px|[[African elephants]] form a widely-accepted taxon, the [[genus]] LoxodontaA taxon is a group of organisms, which a taxonomist adjudges to be a unit. Usually a taxon is given a name and a rank, although neither is a requirement...

 originating in Gondwana, from which the Indian plate separated long ago. Peninsular India's subsequent movement
Plate tectonics
Plate tectonics is a scientific theory that describes the large scale motions of Earth's lithosphere...

 towards and collision with the Laurasia
Laurasia
In paleogeography, Laurasia was the northernmost of two supercontinents that formed part of the Pangaea supercontinent from approximately...

n landmass set off a mass exchange of species. Epochal volcanism
Deccan Traps
The Deccan Traps are a large igneous province located on the Deccan Plateau of west-central India and one of the largest volcanic features on Earth. They consist of multiple layers of solidified flood basalt that together are more than thick and cover an area of and a volume of...

 and climatic changes 20 million years ago forced a mass extinction. Mammals then entered India from Asia through two zoogeographical
Zoogeography
Zoogeography is the branch of the science of biogeography that is concerned with the geographic distribution of animal species.-External links:*: A course outline and collection of Web resources by Dr. Taylor, UBC...

 passes flanking the rising Himalaya. Thus, while 45.8% of reptiles and 55.8% of amphibians are endemic, only 12.6% of mammals and 4.5% of birds are. Among them are the Nilgiri leaf monkey
Nilgiri Langur
The Nilgiri langur is a lutung found in the Nilgiri Hills of the Western Ghats in South India. Its range also includes Kodagu in Karnataka,Kodayar Hills in Tamil Nadu and many other hilly areas in Kerala and Tamil nadu. This primate has glossy black fur on its body and golden brown fur on its head...

 and Beddome's toad
Bufo beddomii
Beddome's Toad is a species of toad found in the Western Ghats of India.-Description:Bufo beddomii exhibits a crown that lacks bony ridges; its short, projecting snout has an angular canthus rostralis. Its interorbital space is somewhat broader than the upper eyelid. Its tympanum is very small,...

 of the Western Ghats. India contains 172, or 2.9%, of IUCN
World Conservation Union
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources is an international organization dedicated to finding "pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges." The organization publishes the IUCN Red List, compiling information from a network of...

-designated threatened species. These include the Asiatic lion
Asiatic Lion
The Asiatic lion also known as the Indian lion, Persian lion and Eurasian Lion is a subspecies of lion. The only place in the wild where the lion is found is in the Gir Forest of Gujarat, India...

, the Bengal tiger
Bengal Tiger
The Bengal tiger is a tiger subspecies native to the Indian subcontinent that in 2010 has been classified as endangered by IUCN...

, and the Indian white-rumped vulture
Indian White-rumped Vulture
The White-rumped Vulture is an Old World vulture closely related to the European Griffon Vulture . At one time it was believed to be closer to the White-backed Vulture of Africa and was known as the Oriental White-backed Vulture...

, which, by ingesting the carrion of diclofenac
Diclofenac
Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug taken to reduce inflammation and as an analgesic reducing pain in certain conditions....

-laced cattle, nearly went extinct.

The pervasive and ecologically devastating human encroachment of recent decades has critically endangered Indian wildlife. In response the system of national parks
National parks of India
This is a list of all national parks of India. India's first national park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park, now known as Jim Corbett National Park. By 1970, India only had five national parks...

 and protected areas
Protected areas of India
As of May 2004, the protected areas of India cover , roughly 4.95% of the total surface area.-Classification:India has the following kinds of protected areas, in the sense of the word designated by IUCN:-National Park:...

, first established in 1935, was substantially expanded. In 1972, India enacted the Wildlife Protection Act
Wildlife Protection Act of 1972
The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 refers to a sweeping package of legislation enacted in 1972 by the Government of India. Before 1972, India only had five designated national parks...

and Project Tiger
Project Tiger
Project Tiger was launched in 1972 in India. The project aims at ensuring a viable population of tigers in their natural habitats and preserving areas of biological importance as a natural heritage for the people. The selection of areas for the reserves represented as close as possible the...

 to safeguard crucial wilderness; the Forest Conservation Act was enacted in 1980 and amendments added in 1988. India hosts more than five hundred wildlife sanctuaries
Wildlife sanctuaries of India
India has over 441 animal sanctuaries, referred to as Wildlife Sanctuaries . Among these, the 28 Tiger Reserves are governed by Project Tiger, and are of special significance in the conservation of the tiger. Some wildlife sanctuaries are specifically named Bird Sanctuary, eg. Keoladeo National...

 and thirteen biosphere reserves
Biosphere reserves of India
The Indian government has established 17 Biosphere Reserves of India, , which protect larger areas of natural habitat , and often include one or more National Parks and/or preserves, along buffer zones that are open to some economic uses...

, four of which are part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves
World Network of Biosphere Reserves
The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves covers internationally-designated protected areas, known as biosphere reserves, that are meant to demonstrate a balanced relationship between man and nature The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves covers internationally-designated protected...

; twenty-five wetlands are registered under the Ramsar Convention
Ramsar Convention
The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands, i.e., to stem the progressive encroachment on and loss of wetlands now and in the future, recognizing the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural,...

.

Politics


India is the world's most populous democracy. A parliamentary republic
Parliamentary republic
A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic which operates under a parliamentary system of government - meaning a system with no clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. There are a number of variations of...

 with a multi-party system
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

, it has six recognised
Election Commission of India
The Election Commission of India is an autonomous, quasi-judiciary constitutional body of India. Its mission is to conduct free and fair elections in India...

 national parties, including the Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

 and the Bharatiya Janata Party
Bharatiya Janata Party
The Bharatiya Janata Party ,; translation: Indian People's Party) is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Indian National Congress. Established in 1980, it is India's second largest political party in terms of representation in the parliament...

 (BJP), and more than 40 regional parties. The Congress is considered centre-left or "liberal" in Indian political culture
Political culture
Political culture is the traditional orientation of the citizens of a nation toward politics, affecting their perceptions of political legitimacy.Conceptions...

, and the BJP centre-right or "conservative". 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, as well as with powerful regional parties which have often forced the creation of multi-party coalitions
Coalition government
A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several political parties cooperate. The usual reason given for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament...

 at the Centre.

In the Republic of India's first three general elections, in 1951, 1957, and 1962, the Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

-led Congress won easy victories. On Nehru's death in 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri
Lal Bahadur Shastri
Lal Bahadur Srivastava Shastri was the second Prime Minister of the Republic of India and a significant figure in the Indian independence movement.-Early life:...

 briefly became prime minister; he was succeeded, after his own unexpected death in 1966, by Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhara was an Indian politician who served as the third Prime Minister of India for three consecutive terms and a fourth term . She was assassinated by Sikh extremists...

, 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 just-created Janata Party
Janata Party
The Janata Party was an amalgam of Indian political parties opposed to the state of emergency imposed by the government of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her Indian National Congress...

, which had opposed the emergency, was voted in. Its government lasted just over three 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
Rajiv Gandhi
Rajiv Ratna Gandhi was the sixth Prime Minister of India . He took office after his mother's assassination on 31 October 1984; he himself was assassinated on 21 May 1991. He became the youngest Prime Minister of India when he took office at the age of 40.Rajiv Gandhi was the elder son of Indira...

, who won an easy victory in the general elections later that year. The Congress was voted out again in 1989 when a National Front
National Front (India)
The National Front was a coalition of political parties, led by the Janata Dal, which formed India's government between 1989 and 1990 under the leadership of N. T. Rama Rao as President and V. P. Singh as Convener. The coalition's prime minister was V. P. Singh...

 coalition, led by the newly formed Janata Dal
Janata Dal
Janata Dal is an Indian political party which was formed through the merger of Janata Party factions, the Lok Dal, Congress, and the Jan Morcha led by V. P...

 in alliance with the Left Front
Left Front
The Left Front is an alliance of Indian leftist parties. After a 34-year reign in West Bengal, the Left Front was swept from power in the 2011 election...

, won the elections; that government too proved relatively short-lived: it lasted just under two years. Elections were held again in 1991; no party won an absolute majority. But the Congress, as the largest single party, was able to form a minority government
Minority government
A minority government or a minority cabinet is a cabinet of a parliamentary system formed when a political party or coalition of parties does not have a majority of overall seats in the parliament but is sworn into government to break a Hung Parliament election result. It is also known as a...

 led by P.V. Narasimha Rao.

The two years after the general election of 1996 were marked by political turmoil. 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
United Front (India)
The United Front was a coalition government of 13 political parties formed in India after the 1996 general elections. The coalition formed two governments in India between 1996 and 1998. The government was headed by two Prime Ministers from Janata Dal - H. D. Deve Gowda, and I. K. Gujral...

 coalitions, which depended on external support. In 1998, the BJP was able to form a successful coalition, the National Democratic Alliance
National Democratic Alliance (India)
The National Democratic Alliance is a centre-right coalition of political parties in India. At the time of its formation in 1998, it was led by the Bharatiya Janata Party and had thirteen constituent parties. Its convenor is Sharad Yadav, and its honorary chairman is former prime minister Atal...

 (NDA), which under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee is an Indian statesman who served as the tenth Prime Minister of India three times – first for a brief term of 13 days in 1996, and then for two terms from 1998 to 2004. After his first brief period as Prime Minister in 1996, Vajpayee headed a coalition government from...

, became the first non-Congress government to complete a full five-year term. In the 2004 Indian general elections
Indian general election, 2004
Legislative elections were held in India in four phases between April 20 and May 10, 2004. Over 670 million people were eligible to vote, electing 543 members of the 14th Lok Sabha...

, again no party won an absolute majority, but the Congress emerged as the largest single party, forming a successful coalition: the United Progressive Alliance
United Progressive Alliance
The United Progressive Alliance is a ruling coalition of center-left political parties heading the government of India. The coalition is led by the Indian National Congress , which is currently the single largest political party in the Lok Sabha...

 (UPA). It had the support of left-leaning parties and MPs opposed to the BJP. The UPA coalition was returned to power in the 2009 general election
Indian general election, 2009
India held general elections to the 15th Lok Sabha in five phases between 16 April 2009 and 13 May 2009. With an electorate of 714 million , it was the largest democratic election in the world to date.By constitutional requirement, elections to the Lok Sabha must be...

 with increased numbers, and it no longer required external support from India's Communist parties. That year, Manmohan Singh
Manmohan Singh
Manmohan Singh is the 13th and current Prime Minister of India. He is the only Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to return to power after completing a full five-year term. A Sikh, he is the first non-Hindu to occupy the office. Singh is also the 7th Prime Minister belonging to the Indian...

 became the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

 in 1957
Indian general election, 1957
India held general elections to the 2nd Lok Sabha. The Indian National Congress managed to replicate its 1952 success story in the second Lok Sabha elections held in 1957. The INC managed to win 371 seats from a total of 490 candidates who were in the political fray. The party also secured 47.78...

 and 1962
Indian general election, 1962
India held general elections to the 3rd Lok Sabha. Jawaharlal Nehru had led the Congress to a resounding victory in the 1962 elections with a majority win. During his tenure the Congress leader had also envisaged a new look for the country in the areas of development and growth...

 to be re-elected to a second consecutive five-year term.

Government


India is a federation
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

 with a parliamentary system
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 governed under the Constitution of India
Constitution of India
The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions, and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens...

, which serves as the country's supreme legal document. It is a constitutional republic
Constitutional republic
A constitutional republic is a state in which the head of state and other officials are representatives of the people and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government's power over all of its citizens...

 and representative democracy
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

, in which "majority rule
Majority rule
Majority rule is a decision rule that selects alternatives which have a majority, that is, more than half the votes. It is the binary decision rule used most often in influential decision-making bodies, including the legislatures of democratic nations...

 is tempered by minority rights
Minority rights
The term Minority Rights embodies two separate concepts: first, normal individual rights as applied to members of racial, ethnic, class, religious, linguistic or sexual minorities, and second, collective rights accorded to minority groups...

 protected by law". Federalism in India defines the power distribution between the federal government and the states
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

. The government abides by constitutional checks and balances
Separation of powers
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

. The Constitution of India, which came into effect on 26 January 1950, states in its preamble
Preamble to the Constitution of India
The preamble to the Constitution of India is a brief introductory statement that sets out the guiding purpose and principles of the document....

 that India is a sovereign
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

, socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

, secular
Secularism
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

, democratic
Liberal democracy
Liberal democracy, also known as constitutional democracy, is a common form of representative democracy. According to the principles of liberal democracy, elections should be free and fair, and the political process should be competitive...

 republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

. India's form of government, traditionally described as "quasi-federal" with a strong centre and weak states, has grown increasingly federal since the late 1990s as a result of political, economic, and social changes.
The federal government comprises three branches:
  • Executive
    Executive (government)
    Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

    : The President of India
    President of India
    The President of India is the head of state and first citizen of India, as well as the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. President of India is also the formal head of all the three branches of Indian Democracy - Legislature, Executive and Judiciary...

     is the head of state who is elected indirectly by a national electoral college
    Electoral college
    An electoral college is a set of electors who are selected to elect a candidate to a particular office. Often these represent different organizations or entities, with each organization or entity represented by a particular number of electors or with votes weighted in a particular way...

    for a five-year term. The Prime Minister of India
    Prime Minister of India
    The Prime Minister of India , as addressed to in the Constitution of India — Prime Minister for the Union, is the chief of government, head of the Council of Ministers and the leader of the majority party in parliament...

     is the head of government
    Head of government
    Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

     and exercises most executive power
    Executive (government)
    Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

    . Appointed by the president, the prime minister is by convention supported by the party
    Political party
    A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

     or political alliance holding the majority of seats in the lower house of parliament. The executive branch of the Indian government consists of the president, the vice-president, and the Council of Ministers—the cabinet
    Cabinet (government)
    A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

     being its executive committee—headed by the prime minister. Any minister holding a portfolio must be a member of one of the houses of parliament. In the Indian parliamentary system, the executive is subordinate to the legislature; the prime minister and his council directly responsible to the lower house of the parliament.

  • Legislative
    Legislature
    A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

    : The legislature of India is the bicameral
    Bicameralism
    In the government, bicameralism is the practice of having two legislative or parliamentary chambers. Thus, a bicameral parliament or bicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of two chambers or houses....

     parliament
    Parliament of India
    The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India. Founded in 1919, the Parliament alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all political bodies in India. The Parliament of India comprises the President and the two Houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha...

    . It operates under a Westminster-style
    Westminster System
    The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

     parliamentary system and comprises the upper house called the Rajya Sabha
    Rajya Sabha
    The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Rajya means "state," and Sabha means "assembly hall" in Sanskrit. Membership is limited to 250 members, 12 of whom are chosen by the President of India for their expertise in specific fields of art, literature,...

     ("Council of States") and the lower called the Lok Sabha
    Lok Sabha
    The Lok Sabha or House of the People is the lower house of the Parliament of India. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by direct election under universal adult suffrage. As of 2009, there have been fifteen Lok Sabhas elected by the people of India...

     ("House of the People"). The Rajya Sabha is a permanent body that has 245 members who serve in staggered six-year terms. Most are elected indirectly by the state and territorial
    States and territories of India
    India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

     legislatures in numbers proportional to their state's share of the national population. All but two of the Lok Sabha's 545 members are directly elected by popular vote; they represent individual constituencies via five-year terms. The remaining two members are nominated by the president from among the Anglo-Indian
    Anglo-Indian
    Anglo-Indians are people who have mixed Indian and British ancestry, or people of British descent born or living in India, now mainly historical in the latter sense. British residents in India used the term "Eurasians" for people of mixed European and Indian descent...

     community, in case the president decides that they are not adequately represented.

  • Judicial
    Judiciary
    The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

    : India has a unitary three-tier judiciary, consisting of the Supreme Court
    Supreme Court of India
    The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial forum and final court of appeal as established by Part V, Chapter IV of the Constitution of India...

    , headed by the Chief Justice of India
    Chief Justice of India
    The Chief Justice of India is the highest-ranking judge in the Supreme Court of India, and thus holds the highest judicial position in India. As well as presiding in the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice also head its administrative functions....

    , 21 High Courts
    High Courts of India
    India's unitary judicial system is made up of the Supreme Court of India at the national level, for the entire country and the 21 High Courts at the State level. These courts have jurisdiction over a state, a union territory or a group of states and union territories...

    , and a large number of trial courts. The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction
    Original jurisdiction
    The original jurisdiction of a court is the power to hear a case for the first time, as opposed to appellate jurisdiction, when a court has the power to review a lower court's decision.-France:...

     over cases involving fundamental rights
    Fundamental Rights in India
    'Part III - Fundamental Rights' is a charter of rights contained in the Constitution of India. It guarantees civil liberties such that all Indians can lead their lives in peace and harmony as citizens of India...

     and over disputes between states and the Centre; it has appellate jurisdiction
    Appellate jurisdiction
    Appellate jurisdiction is the power of the Supreme Court to review decisions and change outcomes of decisions of lower courts. Most appellate jurisdiction is legislatively created, and may consist of appeals by leave of the appellate court or by right...

     over the High Courts. It is judicially independent
    Judicial independence
    Judicial Independence is the idea that the judiciary needs to be kept away from the other branches of government...

    and has the power both to declare the law and to strike down union or state laws which contravene the constitution. The Supreme Court is also the ultimate interpreter of the constitution.

Subdivisions


India is a federation composed of 28 states and 7 union territories
Union Territory
A Union Territory is a sub-national administrative division of India, in the federal framework of governance. Unlike the states of India, which have their own elected governments, union territories are ruled directly by the federal government; the President of India appoints an Administrator or...

. All states, as well as the union territories of Pondicherry and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, have elected legislatures and governments, both patterned on the Westminster model. The remaining five union territories are directly ruled by the Centre through appointed administrators. In 1956, under the States Reorganisation Act
States Reorganisation Act
The States Reorganisation Act of 1956 was a major reform of the boundaries and governance of India's states and territories. The act reorganised the boundaries of India's states along linguistic lines, and amended the Indian Constitution to replace the three types of states, known as Parts A, B,...

, states were reorganised on a linguistic basis. Since then, their structure has remained largely unchanged. Each state or union territory is further divided into administrative districts
Districts of India
A district is an administrative division of an Indian state or territory. Districts are further subdivided, in some cases into Sub-Divisions, and otherwise directly into tehsils or talukas.District officials include:...

. The districts in turn are further divided into tehsil
Tehsil
A Tehsil or Tahsil/Tahasil , also known as Taluk and Mandal, is an administrative division of some country/countries of South Asia....

s and ultimately into villages.

States:
  1. Andhra Pradesh
    Andhra Pradesh
    Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

  2. Arunachal Pradesh
    Arunachal Pradesh
    Arunachal Pradesh is a state of India, located in the far northeast. It borders the states of Assam and Nagaland to the south, and shares international borders with Burma in the east, Bhutan in the west, and the People's Republic of China in the north. The majority of the territory is claimed by...

  3. Assam
    Assam
    Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

  4. Bihar
    Bihar
    Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

  5. Chhattisgarh
    Chhattisgarh
    Chhattisgarh is a state in Central India, formed when the 16 Chhattisgarhi-speaking South-Eastern districts of Madhya Pradesh gained separate statehood on 1 November 2000....

  6. Goa
    Goa
    Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

  7. Gujarat


  1. Haryana
    Haryana
    Haryana is a state in India. Historically, it has been a part of the Kuru region in North India. The name Haryana is found mentioned in the 12th century AD by the apabhramsha writer Vibudh Shridhar . It is bordered by Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to the north, and by Rajasthan to the west and south...


  2. Himachal Pradesh
    Himachal Pradesh
    Himachal Pradesh is a state in Northern India. It is spread over , and is bordered by the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir on the north, Punjab on the west and south-west, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on the south, Uttarakhand on the south-east and by the Tibet Autonomous Region on the east...


  3. Jammu and Kashmir
    Jammu and Kashmir
    Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...


  4. Jharkhand
    Jharkhand
    Jharkhand is a state in eastern India. It was carved out of the southern part of Bihar on 15 November 2000. Jharkhand shares its border with the states of Bihar to the north, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the west, Orissa to the south, and West Bengal to the east...


  5. Karnataka
    Karnataka
    Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...


  6. Kerala
    Kerala
    or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....


  7. Madhya Pradesh
    Madhya Pradesh
    Madhya Pradesh , often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and Indore is the largest city....



  1. Maharashtra
    Maharashtra
    Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...


  2. Manipur
    Manipur
    Manipur is a state in northeastern India, with the city of Imphal as its capital. Manipur is bounded by the Indian states of Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south and Assam to the west; it also borders Burma to the east. It covers an area of...


  3. Meghalaya
    Meghalaya
    Meghalaya is a state in north-eastern India. The word "Meghalaya" literally means the Abode of Clouds in Sanskrit and other Indic languages. Meghalaya is a hilly strip in the eastern part of the country about 300 km long and 100 km wide, with a total area of about 8,700 sq mi . The...


  4. Mizoram
    Mizoram
    Mizoram is one of the Seven Sister States in North Eastern India, sharing borders with the states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur and with the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Burma. Mizoram became the 23rd state of India on 20 February 1987. Its capital is Aizawl. Mizoram is located in the...


  5. Nagaland
    Nagaland
    Nagaland is a state in the far north-eastern part of India. It borders the state of Assam to the west, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam to the north, Burma to the east and Manipur to the south. The state capital is Kohima, and the largest city is Dimapur...


  6. Orissa
    Orissa
    Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...


  7. Punjab


  1. Rajasthan
    Rajasthan
    Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...


  2. Sikkim
    Sikkim
    Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state nestled in the Himalayan mountains...


  3. Tamil Nadu
    Tamil Nadu
    Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...


  4. Tripura
    Tripura
    Tripura is a state in North-East India, with an area of . It is the third smallest state of India, according to area. Tripura is surrounded by Bangladesh on the north, south, and west. The Indian states of Assam and Mizoram lie to the east. The capital is Agartala and the main languages spoken are...


  5. Uttar Pradesh
    Uttar Pradesh
    Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...


  6. Uttarakhand
    Uttarakhand
    Uttarakhand , formerly Uttaranchal, is a state in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the Land of Gods due to the many holy Hindu temples and cities found throughout the state, some of which are among Hinduism's most spiritual and auspicious places of pilgrimage and worship...


  7. West Bengal
    West Bengal
    West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...




Union territories:


  1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  2. Chandigarh
    Chandigarh
    Chandigarh is a union territory of India that serves as the capital of two states, Haryana and Punjab. The name Chandigarh translates as "The Fort of Chandi". The name is from an ancient temple called Chandi Mandir, devoted to the Hindu goddess Chandi, in the city...


  3. Dadra and Nagar Haveli
  4. Daman and Diu
  5. Lakshadweep
    Lakshadweep
    Lakshadweep , formerly known as the Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands, is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea, 200 to 440 km off the coast of the South West Indian state of Kerala...


  6. National Capital Territory of Delhi
    Delhi
    Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...


  7. Pondicherry

Foreign relations and military



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
India and the Non-Aligned Movement
India played an important role in the multilateral movements of colonies and newly independent countries that developed into the Non-Aligned Movement.-Origin of Non alignment movement:...

 in the Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

. In the late 1980s, the Indian military twice intervened abroad at the invitation of neighbouring countries: a peace-keeping operation
Indian Peace Keeping Force
Indian Peace Keeping Force was the Indian military contingent performing a peacekeeping operation in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990...

 in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990; and an armed intervention to prevent a coup d'état attempt in Maldives. India has tense relations
Indo-Pakistani relations
Relations between India and Pakistan have been strained by a number of historical and political issues, and are defined by the violent partition of British India in 1947, the Kashmir dispute and the numerous military conflicts fought between the two nations...

 with neighbouring Pakistan; the two nations have gone to war four times: in 1947
Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
The India-Pakistan War of 1947-48, sometimes known as the First Kashmir War, was fought between India and Pakistan over the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu from 1947 to 1948. It was the first of four wars fought between the two newly independent nations...

, 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 was a culmination of skirmishes that took place between April 1965 and September 1965 between Pakistan and India. This conflict became known as the Second Kashmir War fought by India and Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir, the first having been fought in 1947...

, 1971
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military conflict between India and Pakistan. Indian, Bangladeshi and international sources consider the beginning of the war to be Operation Chengiz Khan, Pakistan's December 3, 1971 pre-emptive strike on 11 Indian airbases...

, and 1999
Kargil War
The Kargil War ,, also known as the Kargil conflict, was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control...

. Three of these wars were fought over the disputed territory of Kashmir
Kashmir conflict
The Kashmir conflict is a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region, the northwesternmost region of South Asia....

, while the fourth, the 1971 war, followed from India's support for the independence of Bangladesh
Bangladesh Liberation War
The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh....

. After waging the 1962 Sino-Indian War
Sino-Indian War
The Sino-Indian War , also known as the Sino-Indian Border Conflict , was a war between China and India that occurred in 1962. A disputed Himalayan border was the main pretext for war, but other issues played a role. There had been a series of violent border incidents after the 1959 Tibetan...

 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.

Aside from ongoing strategic relations with Russia, India has wide-ranging defence relations with Israel
Indo-Israeli relations
Indo-Israeli relations refers to the bilateral ties between the the Republic of India and the State of Israel. The two countries enjoy an extensive economic, military and strategic relationship....

 and France. In recent years, it has played key roles in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation is an organisation of South Asian nations, founded in December 1985 by Ziaur Rahman and dedicated to economic, technological, social, and cultural development emphasising collective self-reliance. Its seven founding members are Bangladesh,...

 and the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

. The nation has provided 100,000 military
Indian Armed Forces
The Indian Armed Forces are the military forces of the Republic of India. They consist of the Army, Navy and Air Force, supported by three paramilitary forces and various inter-service institutions such as the Strategic Forces Command.The President of India is...

 and police personnel to serve in 35 UN peacekeeping operations across four continents. It is an active participant in various multilateral forums, most notably the East Asia Summit
East Asia Summit
The East Asia Summit is a forum held annually by leaders of, initially, 16 countries in the East Asian region. Membership will expand to 18 countries including the United States and Russia at the Sixth EAS in 2011. EAS meetings are held after annual ASEAN leaders’ meetings...

 and the G8+5
G8+5
The G8+5 group of leaders consists of the heads of government from the G8 nations , plus the heads of government of the five leading emerging economies .-February 2007 Declaration:On February 16, 2007, The Global Legislators Organisation The G8+5 group of leaders consists of the heads of government...

. In the economic sphere, India has close relationships with the developing nations of South America, Asia, and Africa. It pursues a "Look East" policy
Look East policy
India's "Look East" Policy, which was initiated in 1991, marked a strategic shift in India’s perspective of the world. It was developed and enacted during the government of Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and rigorously pursued by the successive governments of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan...

 that seeks strengthened partnerships with the ASEAN nations, Japan, and South Korea revolving around many issues, but especially those involving economic investment and regional security.
China's nuclear test of 1964
596 (nuclear test)
596 is the codename of the People's Republic of China's first nuclear weapons test, detonated on October 16, 1964 at the Lop Nur test site. It was a uranium-235 implosion fission device and had a yield of 22 kilotons...

, as well as its repeated threats to intervene in support of Pakistan in the 1965 war, convinced India to develop nuclear weapons. India conducted its first nuclear weapons test
Smiling Buddha
The Smiling Buddha, formally designated as Pokhran-I, was the codename given to Republic of India's first nuclear test explosion that took place at the long-constructed Indian Army base, Pokhran Test Range at Pokhran municipality, Rajasthan state on 18 May 1974 at 8:05 a.m....

 in 1974 and carried out further underground testing
Pokhran-II
Pokharan-II refers to test explosions of five nuclear devices, three on 11 May and two on 13 May 1998, conducted by India at the Pokhran test range. These nuclear tests resulted in a variety of sanctions against India by a number of major states....

 in 1998. Despite criticism and military sanctions, India has signed neither the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) nor the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to...

, considering both to be flawed and discriminatory. India maintains a "no first use
No first use
No first use refers to a pledge or a policy by a nuclear power not to use nuclear weapons as a means of warfare unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons...

" nuclear policy and is developing a nuclear triad
Nuclear triad
A nuclear triad refers to a nuclear arsenal which consists of three components, traditionally strategic bombers, ICBMs and SLBMs. The purpose of having a three-branched nuclear capability is to significantly reduce the possibility that an enemy could destroy all of a nation's nuclear forces in a...

 capability as a part of its "minimum credible deterrence
Minimum Credible Deterrence
Credible Minimum Deterrence is the principle on which India's nuclear doctrine is based.It underlines no first use with a second strike capability, and falls under minimal deterrence as opposed to mutually assured destruction...

" doctrine. It is also developing a ballistic missile defence shield
Indian Ballistic Missile Defense Program
The Indian Ballistic Missile Defense Program is an initiative to develop and deploy a multi-layered ballistic missile defense system to protect India from ballistic missile attacks....

 and, in collaboration with Russia, a fifth generation fighter jet
Sukhoi/HAL FGFA
The Sukhoi/HAL Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft is a fifth-generation fighter being developed by Russia and India. It is a derivative project from the PAK FA being developed for the Indian Air Force .Two separate prototypes will be developed, one by Russia and a separate one by India...

. Other major indigenous military development projects include Vikrant class aircraft carriers and Arihant class nuclear submarines.

Since the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, India has increased its economic, strategic, and military cooperation with the United States and the European Union. 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
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to...

 (NPT), it received waivers from the International Atomic Energy Agency
International Atomic Energy Agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957...

 and the Nuclear Suppliers Group
Nuclear Suppliers Group
Nuclear Suppliers Group is a multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be applicable to nuclear weapon development and by improving safeguards and protection on existing materials.- History :It was founded in...

 (NSG), ending earlier restrictions on India's nuclear technology and commerce. As a consequence, India has become the world's sixth de facto nuclear weapons state. Following the NSG waiver, India was also able to sign civilian nuclear energy
Nuclear power in India
Nuclear power is the fourth-largest source of electricity in India after thermal, hydroelectric and renewable sources of electricity. As of 2010, India has 20 nuclear reactors in operation in six nuclear power plants, generating 4,780 MW while seven other reactors are under construction and...

 cooperation agreements with other nations, including Russia, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

The President of India
President of India
The President of India is the head of state and first citizen of India, as well as the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. President of India is also the formal head of all the three branches of Indian Democracy - Legislature, Executive and Judiciary...

 is the supreme commander of the nation's armed forces. With 1.6 million active troops, the Indian military is the world's third-largest. India's armed forces consists of an Army
Indian Army
The Indian Army is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active service and about 1,150,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer army...

, Navy
Indian Navy
The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the armed forces of India. The President of India serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff , usually a four-star officer in the rank of Admiral, commands the Navy...

, Air Force
Indian Air Force
The Indian Air Force is the air arm of the Indian armed forces. Its primary responsibility is to secure Indian airspace and to conduct aerial warfare during a conflict...

, and auxiliary forces such as the Paramilitary Forces, the Coast Guard
Indian Coast Guard
The Indian Coast Guard is a branch of the Indian Armed Forces. Its mission is the protection of India's maritime interests and maritime law enforcement with jurisdiction over both territorial and international waters....

, and the Strategic Forces Command
Strategic Forces Command
The Indian Strategic Forces Command , sometimes called The Strategic Nuclear Command forms part of India's Nuclear Command Authority . It is responsible for the management and administration of the country's tactical and strategic nuclear weapons stockpile...

. The official Indian defence budget for 2011 stands at US$36.03 billion, or 1.83% of GDP. According to a 2008 SIPRI report, India's annual military expenditure in terms of purchasing power stood at US$72.7 billion, In 2011, the annual defence budget increased by 11.6%, although this does not include funds that goes to the military through other branches of government. India has become the world's largest arms importer; in the period from 2006 to 2010, it accounted for 9% of all money spent on international arms purchases. Much of the military expenditure is focused on defence against Pakistan and countering growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean.

Economy


According to the International Monetary Fund, as of 2011, the Indian economy is worth US$1.631 trillion; it is the ninth-largest economy by market exchange rates, and is, at US$4.057 trillion, the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

, or PPP. With its average annual GDP growth rate of 5.8% over the past two decades, and reaching 10.4% during 2010, India is one of the world's fastest-growing economies. However, the country ranks 138th in the world in nominal GDP per capita and 129th in GDP per capita at PPP. Until 1991, all Indian governments followed protectionist
Protectionism
Protectionism is the economic policy of restraining trade between states through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, restrictive quotas, and a variety of other government regulations designed to allow "fair competition" between imports and goods and services produced domestically.This...

 policies that were influenced by socialist economics. Widespread state intervention and regulation
Licence Raj
Licence Raj, the Permit Raj, refers to the elaborate licenses, regulations and accompanying red tape that were required to set up and run businesses in India between 1947 and 1990....

 largely walled the economy off from the outside world. An acute balance of payments crisis in 1991
1991 India economic crisis
By 1985, India had started having balance of payments problems. By the end of 1990, it was in a serious economic crisis. The government was close to default, its central bank had refused new credit and foreign exchange reserves had reduced to such a point that India could barely finance three...

 forced the nation to liberalise its economy; since then it has slowly moved towards a free-market system by emphasizing both foreign trade and direct investment inflows. India's recent economic model is largely capitalist.

The 467-million worker Indian labour force
Labour in India
India's labour force exhibits extremes ranging from large numbers of illiterate workers unaccustomed to machinery or routine, to a sizable pool of highly educated scientists, technicians, and engineers, capable of working anywhere in the world. A substantial number of skilled people have left India...

 is the world's second-largest. The service sector makes up 54% of GDP, the agricultural sector
Agriculture in India
Agriculture in India has a significant history. Today, India ranks second worldwide in farm output. Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry and logging accounted for 16.6% of the GDP in 2007, % of the total workforce and despite a steady decline of its share in the GDP, is still the largest...

 28%, and the industrial sector 18%. Major agricultural products include rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, and potatoes. Major industries include textiles, telecommunications, chemicals, food processing, steel, transport equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, and software. In 2006, the share of external trade in India's GDP stood at 24%, up from 6% in 1985. In 2008, India's share of world trade was 1.68%; India was the world's fifteenth-largest importer in 2009 and the eighteenth-largest exporter. Major exports include petroleum products, textile goods, jewelry, software, engineering goods, chemicals, and leather manufactures. Major imports include crude oil, machinery, gems, fertiliser, and chemicals. Between 2001 and 2011, the contribution of petrochemical and engineering goods to total exports grew from 14% to 42%.
Averaging an economic growth rate of 7.5% during the last few years, India has more than doubled its hourly wage rates during the last decade. Some 431 million Indians have left poverty since 1985; India's middle classes are projected to number around 580 million by 2030. Though ranking 51st in global competitiveness
Global Competitiveness Report
The Global Competitiveness Report is a yearly report published by the World Economic Forum. The first report was released in 1979. The 2011–2012 report covers 142 major and emerging economies....

, 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. 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. India's consumer market, currently the world's thirteenth-largest, is expected to become fifth-largest by 2030. Its telecommunication industry
Communications in India
The Republic of India possesses a diversified communications system that links all parts of the country by Internet, telephone, telegraph, radio, and television...

, the world's fastest-growing, added 227 million subscribers during the period 2010–11. Its automotive industry, the world's second fastest growing, increased domestic sales by 26% during 2009–10, and exports by 36% during 2008–09. Power capacity is 250 gigawatts, of which 8% is renewable
Renewable energy in India
Renewable energy in India is a sector that is still undeveloped. India was the first country in the world to set up a ministry of non-conventional energy resources, in early 1980s. However its success has been very spotty. In recent years India has been lagging behind other nations in the use of...

.

Despite impressive economic growth during recent decades, India continues to face socio-economic challenges. India contains the largest concentration
Poverty in India
Poverty is widespread in India, with the nation estimated to have a third of the world's poor. According to a 2005 World Bank estimate, 41.6% of the total Indian population falls below the international poverty line of 1.25 a day...

 of people living below the World Bank's international poverty line of US$1.25 per day, the proportion having decreased from 60% in 1981 to 42% in 2005. Half of the children in India are underweight, and 46% of children under the age of three suffer from malnutrition
Malnutrition in India
The World Bank estimates that India is ranked 2nd in the world of the number of children suffering from malnutrition, after Bangladesh , where 47% of the children exhibit a degree of malnutrition...

. The Mid-Day Meal Scheme attempts to lower these rates. Since 1991, economic inequality between India's states has consistently grown: the per-capita net state domestic product
Net domestic product
The net domestic product equals the gross domestic product minus depreciation on a country's capital goods.Net domestic product accounts for capital that has been consumed over the year in the form of housing, vehicle, or machinery deterioration...

 of the richest states in 2007 was 3.2 times that of the poorest. Corruption in India
Corruption in India
Political, bureaucratic, corporate and individual corruption in India are major concerns. A 2005 study conducted by Transparency International in India found that more than 55% of Indians had first-hand experience of paying bribes or influence peddling to get jobs done in public offices...

 is perceived to have increased significantly, with one report estimating the illegal capital flows since independence to be US$462 billion. 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, and is estimated to increase to US$2,110 by 2016; however, it has always remained lower than those of other Asian developing countries such as Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and is expected to remain so in the near future.

According to a 2011 PwC report, India's GDP at purchasing power parity will overtake that of the United States by 2045. 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. The report highlights key growth factors: a young and rapidly growing working-age population; growth in the manufacturing sector due to rising education and engineering skill levels; and sustained growth of the consumer market driven by a rapidly growing middle class. The World Bank cautions that, for India to achieve its economic potential, it must continue to focus on public sector reform, transport infrastructure
Transport in India
Transport in the Republic of India is an important part of the nation's economy. Since the economic liberalisation of the 1990s, development of infrastructure within the country has progressed at a rapid pace, and today there is a wide variety of modes of transport by land, water and air...

, agricultural and rural development, removal of labour regulations, education
Education in India
Education in India is provided by the public sector as well as the private sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: federal, state, and local. Child education is compulsory. The Nalanda University was the oldest university-system of education in the world...

, energy security
Energy policy of India
The energy policy of India is largely defined by the country's burgeoning energy deficit and increased focus on developing alternative sources of energy, particularly nuclear, solar and wind energy....

, and public health
Healthcare in India
Healthcare in India features a universal health care system run by the constituent states and territories of India. The Constitution charges every state with "raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties"...

 and nutrition.

Demographics


With 1,210,193,422 residents reported in the 2011 provisional Census, India is the world's second-most populous country. Its population grew at 1.76% per annum during the last decade, down from 2.13% per annum in the previous decade (1991–2001). The human sex ratio, according to the 2011 census, is 940 females per 1,000 males. The median age was 24.9 in the 2001 census. Medical advances made in the last 50 years as well as increased agricultural productivity brought about by the "Green Revolution
Green Revolution in India
The introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds and the increased use of fertilizers and irrigation are known collectively as the Green Revolution, which provided the increase in production needed to make India self-sufficient in food grains, thus improving agriculture in India...

" have caused India's population to grow rapidly. India continues to face several public health-related challenges. According to the World Health Organization, 900,000 Indians die each year from drinking contaminated water or breathing polluted air. There are around 50 physicians per 100,000 Indians. The percentage of Indians living in urban areas has grown by 31.2% between 1991 and 2001. Yet, in 2001, over 70% lived in rural areas. According to the 2001 census, there are 27 million-plus cities in India, with Mumbai, Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

, Kolkata
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

, and Chennai
Chennai
Chennai , formerly known as Madras or Madarasapatinam , is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the sixth most populous city in India...

 being the largest. The literacy rate in 2011 was 74.04%: 65.46% among females and 82.14% among males. Kerala is the most literate state; Bihar the least.
India is home to two major language families
Languages of India
The languages of India belong to several language families, the major ones being the Indo-European languages—Indo-Aryan and the Dravidian languages...

: Indo-Aryan
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

 (spoken by about 74% of the population) and Dravidian
Dravidian languages
The Dravidian language family includes approximately 85 genetically related languages, spoken by about 217 million people. They are mainly spoken in southern India and parts of eastern and central India as well as in northeastern Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, and...

 (24%). Other languages spoken in India come from the Austro-Asiatic
Austro-Asiatic languages
The Austro-Asiatic languages, in recent classifications synonymous with Mon–Khmer, are a large language family of Southeast Asia, also scattered throughout India and Bangladesh. The name Austro-Asiatic comes from the Latin words for "south" and "Asia", hence "South Asia"...

 and Tibeto-Burman
Tibeto-Burman languages
The Tibeto-Burman languages are the non-Chinese members of the Sino-Tibetan language family, over 400 of which are spoken thoughout the highlands of southeast Asia, as well as lowland areas in Burma ....

 language families. India has no national language. Hindi, with the largest number of speakers, is the official language of the government. English is used extensively in business and administration and has the status of a "subsidiary official language"; it is important in education
Education in India
Education in India is provided by the public sector as well as the private sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: federal, state, and local. Child education is compulsory. The Nalanda University was the oldest university-system of education in the world...

, especially as a medium of higher education. Each state and union territory has one or more official languages, and the constitution recognises in particular 21 "scheduled languages". The Indian Constitution recognises 212 scheduled tribal
Adivasi
Adivasi is an umbrella term for a heterogeneous set of ethnic and tribal groups claimed to be the aboriginal population of India. They comprise a substantial indigenous minority of the population of India...

 groups which together constitute about 7.5% of the country's population. The 2001 census reported that Hinduism
Hinduism in India
Hinduism is a religious tradition of India, with 80.5% of the population identifying themselves as Hindus. The vast majority of Hindus in India belong to Vaishnavite and Shaivite denominations.The Vedic culture originated in India between 2000 and 1500 BC...

, with over 800 million adherents (80.5% of the population), was the largest religion in India
Religion in India
Indian religions is a classification for religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. These religions are also classified as Eastern religions...

; they are followed by Muslims
Islam in India
Islam is the second-most practiced religion in the Republic of India after Hinduism, with more than 13.4% of the country's population ....

 (13.4%), Christians
Christianity in India
Christianity is India's third-largest religion, with approximately 24 million followers, constituting 2.3% of India's population. The works of scholars and Eastern Christian writings and 14th century Portuguese missionaries created an illusion to convert Indians that Christianity was introduced to...

 (2.3%), Sikhs
Sikhism in India
Sikhism is India's fourth-largest religion and has existed for over 500 years, beginning with the birth of its founder Guru Nanak Dev ji. The Sikhs are predominately located in Punjab, but also in many other parts of India.-The birth of the Sikh religion:...

 (1.9%), Buddhists
History of Buddhism in India
Buddhism is a world religion, which arose in and around ancient Magadha, India , and is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama , who is known as the Buddha...

 (0.8%), Jains (0.4%), Jews, Zoroastrians
Parsi
Parsi or Parsee refers to a member of the larger of the two Zoroastrian communities in South Asia, the other being the Irani community....

, and Bahá'ís. India has the world's largest Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Zoroastrian, and Bahá'í populations, and has the third-largest Muslim population and the largest Muslim population for a non-Muslim majority country.

Culture



Indian cultural history spans more than 4,500 years. During the Vedic age (c. 1700–500 BCE), the foundations of Hindu philosophy
Hindu philosophy
Hindu philosophy is divided into six schools of thought, or , which accept the Vedas as supreme revealed scriptures. Three other schools do not accept the Vedas as authoritative...

, mythology
Hindu mythology
Hindu religious literature is the large body of traditional narratives related to Hinduism, notably as contained in Sanskrit literature, such as the Sanskrit epics and the Puranas. As such, it is a subset of Nepali and Indian culture...

, and literature were laid, and many beliefs and practices which still exist today, such as dhárma
Dharma
Dharma means Law or Natural Law and is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy and religion. In the context of Hinduism, it refers to one's personal obligations, calling and duties, and a Hindu's dharma is affected by the person's age, caste, class, occupation, and gender...

, kárma
Karma
Karma in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies....

, yóga
Yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...

, and mokṣa
Moksha
Within Indian religions, moksha or mukti , literally "release" , is the liberation from samsara and the concomitant suffering involved in being subject to the cycle of repeated death and reincarnation or rebirth.-Origins:It is highly probable that the concept of moksha was first developed in...

, were established. India is notable for its religious diversity, with Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, and Jainism among the nation's major religions. The predominant religion, Hinduism, has been shaped by various historical schools of thought, including those of the Upanishads, the Yoga Sutras
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali are 194 Indian sūtras that constitute the foundational text of Rāja Yoga. Yoga is one of the six orthodox āstika schools of Hindu philosophy, and Rāja Yoga is the highest practice....

, the Bhakti movement
Bhakti
In Hinduism Bhakti is religious devotion in the form of active involvement of a devotee in worship of the divine.Within monotheistic Hinduism, it is the love felt by the worshipper towards the personal God, a concept expressed in Hindu theology as Svayam Bhagavan.Bhakti can be used of either...

, and by Buddhist philosophy
Buddhist philosophy
Buddhist philosophy deals extensively with problems in metaphysics, phenomenology, ethics, and epistemology.Some scholars assert that early Buddhist philosophy did not engage in ontological or metaphysical speculation, but was based instead on empirical evidence gained by the sense organs...

.

Art, architecture, and literature


Much of Indian architecture
Indian architecture
The architecture of India is rooted in its history, culture and religion. Indian architecture progressed with time and assimilated the many influences that came as a result of India's global discourse with other regions of the world throughout its millennia-old past...

, including the Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is a white Marble mausoleum located in Agra, India. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal...

, other works of Mughal architecture
Mughal architecture
Mughal architecture, an amalgam of Islamic, Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture, is the distinctive style developed by the Mughals in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries in what is now India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. It is symmetrical and decorative in style.The Mughal dynasty was...

, and South Indian architecture
Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture was a style of architecture that emerged thousands of years ago in Southern part of the Indian subcontinent or South India. They consist primarily of pyramid shaped temples called Koils which are dependent on intricate carved stone in order to create a step design consisting...

, blends ancient local traditions with imported styles. Vernacular architecture
Indian vernacular architecture
Indian vernacular architecture is the informal, functional architecture of structures, often in rural areas of India, built of local materials and designed to meet the needs of the local people...

 is also highly regional in it flavours.

The earliest literary writings in India, composed between 1,400 BCE and 1,200 AD, were in the Sanskrit language. Prominent works of this Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
Literature in Sanskrit begins with the Vedas, and continues with the Sanskrit Epics of Iron Age India; the golden age of Classical Sanskrit literature dates to late Antiquity . Literary production saw a late bloom in the 11th century before declining after 1100 AD...

 include epics
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

 such as the Mahābhārata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 and the Ramayana
Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

, the dramas of Kālidāsa
Kalidasa
Kālidāsa was a renowned Classical Sanskrit writer, widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the Sanskrit language...

 such as the Abhijñānaśākuntalam (The Recognition of Śakuntalā), and poetry such as the Mahākāvya. Developed between 600 BCE and 300 AD in South India, the Sangam literature
Sangam literature
Sangam literature refers to a body of classical Tamil literature created between the years c. 600 BCE to 300 CE. This collection contains 2381 poems composed by 473 poets, some 102 of whom remain anonymous The period during which these poems were composed is commonly referred to as the Sangam...

, consisting of 2,381 poems, is regarded as a predecessor of Tamil literature
Tamil literature
Tamil literature refers to the literature in the Tamil language. Tamil literature has a rich and long literary tradition spanning more than two thousand years. The oldest extant works show signs of maturity indicating an even longer period of evolution...

. From the 14th century AD to the 18th century AD, India's literary traditions went through a period of drastic change because of the emergence of devotional poets
Bhakti movement
The Bhakti movement is a Hindu religious movement in which the main spiritual practice is loving devotion among the Shaivite and Vaishnava saints. The Bhakti movement originated in ancient Tamil Nadu and began to spread to the north during the late medieval ages when north India was under Islamic...

 such as Kabīr
Kabir
Kabīr was a mystic poet and saint of India, whose writings have greatly influenced the Bhakti movement...

, Tulsīdās
Tulsidas
Tulsidas , was a Hindu poet-saint, reformer and philosopher renowned for his devotion for the god Rama...

, 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. In the 19th century, Indian writers took a new interest in social questions and psychological descriptions. Twentieth-century Indian literature was influenced by the works
Works of Rabindranath Tagore
The Works of Rabindranath Tagore consist of poems, novels, short stories, dramas, paintings, drawings, and music that Bengali poet and Brahmo philosopher Rabindranath Tagore created over his lifetime.- Works :...

 of Bengali poet and novelist Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore , sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali polymath who reshaped his region's literature and music. Author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he became the first non-European Nobel laureate by earning the 1913 Prize in Literature...

.

Performing arts


Indian music
Music of India
The music of India includes multiple varieties of folk, popular, pop, classical music and R&B. India's classical music tradition, including Carnatic and Hindustani music, has a history spanning millennia and developed over several eras. It remains fundamental to the lives of Indians today as...

 ranges over various traditions and regional styles. Classical music
Indian classical music
The origins of Indian classical music can be found in the Vedas, which are the oldest scriptures in the Hindu tradition. Indian classical music has also been significantly influenced by, or syncretised with, Indian folk music and Persian music. The Samaveda, one of the four Vedas, describes music...

 encompasses two genres and their various folk offshoots: the northern Hindustani
Hindustani classical music
Hindustani classical music is the Hindustani or North Indian style of Indian classical music found throughout the northern Indian subcontinent. The style is sometimes called North Indian Classical Music or Shāstriya Sangeet...

 and southern Carnatic
Carnatic music
Carnatic music is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to four modern states of India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu...

 schools. Regionalised popular forms include filmi
Filmi
Filmi is Indian popular music as written and performed for Indian cinema. Music directors make up the main body of composers; the songs are performed by playback singers and it makes up 72% of the music sales in India....

 and folk music
Indian folk music
Indian folk music is diverse because of India's vast cultural diversity. It has many forms including bhangra, lavani, dandiya and Rajasthani. The arrival of movies and pop music weakened folk music's popularity, but cheaply recordable music has made it easier to find and helped revive the traditions...

; the syncretic tradition of the baul
Baul
Baul .Though Bauls comprise only a small fraction of the Bengali population, their influence on the culture of Bengal is considerable. In 2005, the Baul tradition was included in the list of "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO.-Etymology:The origin of the word...

s
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 the Punjab, the bihu
Bihu
Bihu denotes a set of three different cultural festivals of Assam and celebrated by the Assamese diaspora around the world. Though they owe their origins to ancient rites and practices they have taken definite urban features and have become popular festivals in urban and commercialized milieus in...

of Assam, the chhau
Chhau dance
thumb|A video of Chau dance in PuruliaChhau dance is a genre of Indian tribal martial dance which is popular in the Indian states of Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal...

of West Bengal and Jharkhand, sambalpuri of Orissa, ghoomar
Ghoomar
Ghoomar is a traditional women's folk dance of Rajasthan, India which was developed by the Bhil tribe and was adopted by other Rajasthani communities...

of Rajasthan, and the Lavani
Lavani
Lavani is a genre of music popular in Maharashtra and southern Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Lavani is a combination of traditional song and dance, which particularly performed to the enchanting beats of Dholak, a percussion instrument. Lavani is noted for its powerful rhythm and...

of Maharashtra. Eight dance forms, many with narrative forms and mythological elements, have been accorded classical dance status
Classical Indian dance
Indian classical dance is a relatively new umbrella term for various codified art forms rooted in Natya, the sacred Hindu musical theatre styles, whose theory can be traced back to the Natya Shastra of Bharata Muni .- Definitions :...

 by India's National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama
Sangeet Natak Akademi
Sangeet Natak Akademi is the national level academy for performing arts set up by the Government of India.-History:...

. These are: bharatanatyam
Bharatanatyam
Bharata Natyam or Chadhir Attam, is a classical dance form from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, practiced predominantly in modern times by women. The dance is usually accompanied by classical Carnatic music...

of the state of Tamil Nadu, kathak
Kathak
Kathak is one of the eight forms of Indian classical dances, originated from Uttar Pradesh, India. This dance form traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathaks, or storytellers...

of Uttar Pradesh, kathakali
Kathakali
Kathakali is a highly stylized classical Indian dance-drama noted for the attractive make-up of characters, elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the anchor playback music and complementary percussion...

and mohiniyattam of Kerala, kuchipudi
Kuchipudi
Kuchipudi is a Classical Indian dance form Andhra Pradesh, India. It is also popular all over South India. Kuchipudi is the name of a village in the Divi Taluka of Krishna district that borders the Bay of Bengal and with resident Brahmins practicing this traditional dance form, it acquired the...

of Andhra Pradesh, manipuri
Manipuri dance
Manipuri dance is one of the major Indian classical dance forms. It originates from Manipur, a state in north-eastern India on the border with Myanmar . In Manipur, surrounded by mountains and geographically isolated at the meeting point of the orient and mainland India, the form developed its own...

of Manipur, odissi
Odissi
Odissi, also spelled Orissi , is one of the eight classical dance forms of India. It originates from the state of Orissa, in eastern India. It is the oldest surviving dance form of India on the basis of archaeological evidences. The classic treatise of Indian dance, Natya Shastra, refers to it as...

of Orissa, and the sattriya
Sattriya dance
Sattriya, or Sattriya Nritya, is one among eight principal classical Indian dance traditions. Whereas some of the other traditions have been revived in the recent past, Sattriya has remained a living tradition since its creation by the Assamese Vaishnav saint Srimanta Sankardeva, in 15th century...

of Assam.

Theatre in India
Theatre in India
The earliest form of the theatre of India was the Sanskrit theatre. It began after the development of Greek and Roman theatre and before the development of theatre in other parts of Asia...

 melds music, dance, and improvised or written dialogue. Often based on Hindu mythology, but also borrowing from medieval romances or social and political events, Indian theatre includes the bhavai
Bhavai
Bhavai is a popular folk theatre form of Gujarat. Jasma Odan based on Gujarati folk tale, wriiten and directed by Shanta Gandhi and Mena Gujari produced by Deena Gandhi are some of most popular Bhavai musicals..-History:...

of Gujarat, the jatra of West Bengal, the nautanki
Nautanki
Nautanki is one of the most popular folk operatic theater performance traditions of South Asia, particularly in northern India. Before the advent of Bollywood , Nautanki was the single most popular form of entertainment in the villages and towns of northern India...

and ramlila
Ramlila
Ramlila is a dramatic folk re-enactment of the life of Lord Ram, ending up in ten day battle between Lord Ram and Ravan, as described in the Hindu religious epic, the Ramayana...

of North India, tamasha
Tamasha
Tamasha is a traditional Marathi folk art form. often with singing and dancing, widely performed by local or travelling theatre groups within the state of Maharashtra, India. It has also been the subject of several Marathi films...

of Maharashtra, burrakatha of Andhra Pradesh, terukkuttu
Terukkuttu
Terukkuttu or Kattaikkuttu is a Tamil street theatre form practised in Tamil Nadu state of India and Tamil-speaking regions of Sri Lanka. Terukuttu is a form of entertainment, a ritual, and a medium of social instruction. The terukkuttu plays various themes...

of Tamil Nadu, and the yakshagana
Yakshagana
Yakshagana is a musical theater popular in the coastal and Malenadu regions of Karnataka, India. Yakshagana is the recent scholastic name for what are known as kēḷike, āṭa, bayalāṭa, bayalāṭa, daśāvatāra . It is believed to have evolved from pre-classical music and theatre during Bhakti movement...

of Karnataka. The Indian film industry
Cinema of India
The cinema of India consists of films produced across India, which includes the cinematic culture of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. Indian films came to be followed throughout South Asia and...

 produces the world's most-watched cinema. Established regional cinematic traditions exist in the Assamese, Bengali, Hindi
Bollywood
Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

, Kannada
Cinema of Karnataka
The cinema of Karnataka , sometimes colloquially referred to as Sandalwood and as Chandanavana in Kannada, encompasses movies made in the Indian state of Karnataka based in Bangalore. Most of the movies are made in Kannada, with a handful of them in Konkani or Tulu. Today more than 100 films are...

, Malayalam
Malayalam cinema
The Cinema of Kerala or Malayalam cinema refers to the film industry in the Indian state of Kerala, which makes films in the Malayalam language. Malayalam movies typically portray social or family issues and are considered more realistic than films from other parts of India. Malayalam cinema has...

, Marathi
Marathi cinema
Marathi cinema refers to films produced in the Marathi language in the state of Maharashtra, India. It is the oldest and pioneer film industry in India...

, Oriya
Cinema of Orissa
Oriya Film Industry or Ollywood refers to the Cuttack and Bhubaneswar based Oriya film industry in India. The origin of the name is disputed, and is believed to be a portmanteau of the words Oriya and Hollywood.-History:...

, Tamil
Tamil cinema
Tamil cinema is the film industry based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, dedicated to the production of films in the Tamil language. It is based in Chennai's Kodambakkam district, where several South Indian film production companies are headquartered...

, and Telugu languages. South Indian cinema attracts more than 75% of national film revenue.

Society


Traditional Indian society is defined by relatively strict social hierarchy. The Indian caste system
Caste system in India
The Indian caste system is a system of social stratification and social restriction in India in which communities are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups called Jātis....

 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 jāti
Jati
Jāti is the term used to denote clans, tribes, communities and sub-communities in India. It is a term used across religions. In Indian society each jāti typically has an association with a traditional job function or tribe, although religious beliefs Jāti (in Devanagari: जाति Tamil:சாதி) (the...

s
, or "castes". Most Dalit
Dalit
Dalit is a designation for a group of people traditionally regarded as Untouchable. Dalits are a mixed population, consisting of numerous castes from all over South Asia; they speak a variety of languages and practice a multitude of religions...

s ("Untouchables") and members of other lower-caste communities
Shudra
Shudra is the fourth Varna, as prescribed in the Purusha Sukta of the Rig veda, which constitutes society into four varnas or Chaturvarna. The other three varnas are Brahmans - priests, Kshatriya - those with governing functions, Vaishya - agriculturalists, cattle rearers and traders...

 continue to live in segregation and often face persecution and discrimination
Caste-related violence in India
Caste-related violence and hate crimes in India have occurred despite the gradual reduction of casteism in the country.According to a report by Human Rights Watch, "Dalits and indigenous peoples continue to face discrimination, exclusion, and acts of communal violence...

. Traditional Indian family values are highly valued, and multi-generational patriarchal joint families have been the norm in India, though nuclear families are becoming common in urban areas. An overwhelming majority of Indians, with their consent, have their marriages arranged by their parents or other family members. Marriage is thought to be for life, and the divorce rate is extremely low. Child marriage is still a common practice, more so in rural India, with more than half of women in India
Women in India
The status of women in India has been subject to many great changes over the past few millennia. From equal status with men in ancient times through the low points of the medieval period, to the promotion of equal rights by many reformers, the history of women in India has been eventful...

 marrying before the legal age of 18.

Many Indian festivals
Public holidays in India
India, being a culturally diverse and fervent society, celebrates various holidays and festivals. There are three national holidays in India: states and regions have local festivals depending on prevalent religious and linguistic demographics...

 are religious in origin. The best known include Diwali
Diwali
Diwali or DeepavaliThe name of the festival in various regional languages include:, , , , , , , , , , , , , popularly known as the "festival of lights," is a festival celebrated between mid-October and mid-December for different reasons...

, Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi
Ganesh Chaturthi , also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is the Hindu festival of Ganesha also called Vinayagar in Tamil Nadu, the son of Shiva and Parvati, who is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees in the duration of this festival...

, Thai Pongal, Navaratri, Holi
Holi
Holi , is a religious spring festival celebrated by Hindus. Holi is also known as festival of Colours. It is primarily observed in India, Nepal, Pakistan, and countries with large Indic diaspora populations following Hinduism, such as Suriname, Malaysia, Guyana, South Africa, Trinidad, United...

, Durga Puja
Durga Puja
Durga puja ; দুর্গা পূজা,ଦୁର୍ଗା ପୂଜା,‘Worship of Durga’), also referred to as Durgotsava ; , is an annual Hindu festival in South Asia that celebrates worship of the Hindu goddess Durga. It refers to all the six days observed as Mahalaya, Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and...

, Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

, Bakr-Id, Christmas, and Vaisakhi
Vaisakhi
Vaisakhi is an ancient harvest festival celebrated across North Indian states, especially Punjab by all Punjabis regardless of religion. In Sikhism the Khalsa was founded on same day as the Vaisakhi festival, so Sikhs celebrate twice as much....

. India has three national holidays
Public holidays in India
India, being a culturally diverse and fervent society, celebrates various holidays and festivals. There are three national holidays in India: states and regions have local festivals depending on prevalent religious and linguistic demographics...

 which are observed in all states and union territories: Republic Day
Republic Day (India)
The Republic Day of India commemorates the date on which the Constitution of India came into force replacing the Government of India Act 1935 as the governing document of India on 26 January 1950....

, Independence Day
Independence Day (India)
The Independence Day of India is celebrated on the fifteenth of August to commemorate its independence from British rule and its birth as a sovereign nation in 1947. The day is a national holiday in India. All over the country, flag-hoisting ceremonies are conducted by the local administration in...

, and Gandhi Jayanti
Gandhi Jayanti
Gandhi Jayanti is a National Holiday celebrated in India to mark the occasion of the birthday of Mohandas Gandhi, the "Father of the Nation." He was born on October 2, 1869. Hence Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated every year on the 2nd of October. It is one of the three official declared National...

. Other sets of holidays, varying between nine and twelve, are officially observed in individual states. 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
Sari
A sari or sareeThe name of the garment in various regional languages include: , , , , , , , , , , , , , is a strip of unstitched cloth, worn by females, ranging from four to nine metres in length that is draped over the body in various styles. It is popular in India, Bangladesh, Nepal,...

for women and the dhoti
Dhoti
The dhoti or pancha is the traditional men's garment in the in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. A similar garment is worn in some rural areas of Punjab province in Pakistan, but the use is fast declining...

or lungi
Lungi
The Lungi , also known as a sarong , is a traditional garment worn around the waist in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Horn of Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula...

for men. Stitched clothes, such as the shalwar kameez
Shalwar kameez
Shalwar kameez — or salwar kameez or shalwar qameez — is a traditional dress worn by both women and men in South Asia and Central Asia. Shalwar or salwar are loose pajama-like trousers. The legs are wide at the top, and narrow at the ankle. The kameez is a long shirt or tunic...

for women and kurta
Kurta
A kurta is a traditional item of clothing worn in Afghanistan, Pakistan , Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. It is a loose shirt falling either just above or somewhere below the knees of the wearer, and is worn by both men and women...

-pyjama
Pajamas
Pajamas, also spelled pyjamas , can refer to several related types of clothing. The original paijama are loose, lightweight trousers fitted with drawstring waistbands and worn in South and West Asia by both sexes...

combinations or European-style trousers and shirts for men, are also popular. 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.

Indian cuisine
Indian cuisine
Indian cuisine consists of thousands of regional cuisines which date back thousands of years. The dishes of India are characterised by the extensive use of various Indian spices, herbs, vegetables and fruit. Indian cuisine is also known for the widespread practice of vegetarianism in Indian society...

 is best known for its delicate use of herbs and spices and for its tandoori grilling techniques. The tandoor
Tandoor
A tandoor is a cylindrical clay oven used in cooking and baking. The tandoor is used for cooking in Azerbaijan, India, Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, the Balkans, the Middle East, and Central Asia, as well as Burma and Bangladesh.The heat for a tandoor was...

, a clay oven in use for almost 5,000 years in India, is known for its ability to grill meats to an "uncommon succulence" and for the puffy flatbread known as naan
Naan
Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread. It is typical of and popular in South and Central Asia, in Iran, and in South Asian restaurants abroad. Influenced by the large influx of South Asian labour, naan has also become popular in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states.Originally, naan is a...

. Staple foods in the region are rice (especially in the south and the east), wheat (predominantly in the north), and lentils. Many spices which have worldwide appeal are native to the Indian subcontinent, while chili pepper
Chili pepper
Chili pepper is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The term in British English and in Australia, New Zealand, India, Malaysia and other Asian countries is just chilli without pepper.Chili peppers originated in the Americas...

, native to the Americas and introduced by the Portuguese
Portuguese India
The Portuguese Viceroyalty of India , later the Portuguese State of India , was the aggregate of Portugal's colonial holdings in India.The government started in 1505, six years after the discovery of a sea route to India by Vasco da Gama, with the nomination of the first Viceroy Francisco de...

, is widely used in Indian cuisine.

Sport


In India, several traditional indigenous sports remain fairly popular, among them kabaddi
Kabaddi
Kabaddi is a South Asian team sport...

, kho kho
Kho Kho
Kho Kho is an Indian and Pakistani sport played by teams of twelve players who try to avoid being touched by members of the opposing team, only 9 players of the team enter the field...

, pehlwani
Pehlwani
Pehlwani or Pahlavani or Kushti is a Persian style of wrestling popular in Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. It was developed in the Mughal era through a synthesis of Indian malla-yuddha and Persian Varzesh-e Bastani....

, and gilli-danda
Gilli-danda
Gilli-Danda is an amateur sport played in the rural areas and small towns all over the Indian subcontinent, as well as Cambodia....

. Some of the earliest forms of Asian martial arts
Indian martial arts
The Indian subcontinent is home to a variety of fighting styles. In Sanskrit they may be collectively referred to as ' or '. The former is a compound of the words and , meaning "knowledge of the sword" or "knowledge of weaponry"...

, such as kalarippayattu
Kalarippayattu
Kalaripayattu is a southern Indian martial art originating in Tamil Nadu but also practiced in contiguous parts of Kerala and Karnataka.Kalari payat includes strikes, kicks, grappling, preset forms, weaponry and healing methods...

, musti yuddha, silambam
Silambam
Silambam or silambattam is a weapon-based Dravidian martial art from Tamil Nadu in south India but also practised by the Tamil community of Sri Lanka and Malaysia. In Tamil, the word silambam refers to the bamboo staff which is the main weapon used in this style...

, and marma adi, originated in India. The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna is India’s highest honour given for achievement in sports. The words "Khel Ratna" literally mean "Sports Gem" in Hindi. The award is named after the late Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India. It carries a medal, a scroll of honour and a substantial cash...

 and the Arjuna Award
Arjuna award
The Arjuna Awards were instituted in 1961 by the government of India to recognize outstanding achievement in National sports. The award carries a cash prize of 500,000, a bronze statuette of Arjuna and a scroll....

 are the highest forms of government recognition for athletic achievement; the Dronacharya Award
Dronacharya Award
Dronacharya Award is an award presented by the government of India for excellence in sports coaching. The award comprises a bronze statuette of Dronacharya, a scroll of honour and a cash component of Rs.500,000...

 is awarded for excellence in coaching. Chess, commonly held to have originated in India as chaturaṅga
Chaturanga
Chaturanga is an ancient Indian game that is presumed to be the common ancestor of the games of chess, shogi, and makruk, and related to xiangqi and janggi.Chaturanga developed in Gupta India around the 6th century...

, is regaining widespread popularity with the rise in the number of Indian Grandmasters. Pachisi
Pachisi
Pachisi is a cross and circle board game that originated in ancient India which has been described as the "national game of India". It is played on a board shaped like a symmetrical cross...

, from which parcheesi
Parcheesi
Parcheesi is a brand name American adaptation of the Indian Cross and Circle game Pachisi. Created in India perhaps as early as 500 AD, the board game is subtitled Royal Game of India because royalty played using color-costumed members of their harems as pieces on large outdoor boards. Such a court...

 derives, was played on a giant marble court by Akbar. Tennis has become increasingly popular; this stems from the victorious India Davis Cup team
India Davis Cup team
The India Davis Cup team represents India in Davis Cup tennis competition and are governed by the All India Tennis Association.India finished as runners-up 3 times . In 1974, the final was scratched and South Africa were awarded the Davis Cup after India refused to particapate in the final due to...

 and the recent successes of Indian tennis players. India has a comparatively strong presence in shooting sports, and has won several medals at the Olympics, the World Shooting Championships
ISSF World Shooting Championships
The ISSF World Shooting Championships are governed by the International Shooting Sport Federation. World Shooting Championships began in 1897, after the successful 1896 Summer Olympics, and although the ISSF was not founded until 1907, these early competitions are still seen by the organization as...

, and the Commonwealth Games. Other sports in which Indians have succeeded internationally include badminton, boxing, and wrestling. Football
Football in India
Association football is one of India's most popular sports, next to cricket. It is a very popular sport in states like West Bengal, Goa, Kerala and the entire North-East India, especially Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Sikkim....

 is popular in the North-East, West Bengal, Goa, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.

India's official national sport is field hockey; it is administered by Hockey India
Hockey India
Hockey India is the governing body of hockey in India. It was formed after Indian Hockey Federation was dismissed in 2008 by IOC. International Hockey Federation has planned to host 2010 Men's Hockey World Cup in India in Delhi and said that India may lose it if it does not form its governing body...

. The Indian national hockey team
India national field hockey team
The India national field hockey team is the national men's team representing field hockey in India. It is the first non-European team to be a part of the International Hockey Federation....

 won the 1975 Hockey World Cup
Hockey World Cup
The Hockey World Cup is an international field hockey competition organised by the International Hockey Federation . The tournament was started in 1971...

 and have, as of 2011, taken eight gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals, making it the sport's most successful team. Cricket is by far the most popular sport; the Indian national cricket team won the 1983
1983 Cricket World Cup
The 1983 ICC Cricket World Cup was the third edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup tournament. It was held from 9 June to 25 June 1983 in England and was won by India. Eight countries participated in the event. The preliminary matches were played in two groups of four teams each, and each...

 and 2011
2011 Cricket World Cup
The 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup was the tenth Cricket World Cup. It was played in India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. It was Bangladesh's first time co-hosting a World Cup...

 World Cups, the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, and shared the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy
2002 ICC Champions Trophy
-Semifinals: -Finals: =*Ricky Ponting *Adam Gilchrist *Michael Bevan*Jason Gillespie*Nathan Hauritz*Matthew Hayden*Brett Lee*Darren Lehmann*Jimmy Maher...

 with Sri Lanka. Cricket in India
Cricket in India
Cricket is the most popular sport in India; it is played by many people in open spaces throughout the country though it is not the nation's official national sport . The India national cricket team won the 1983 Cricket World Cup, the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, and the 2011 Cricket World Cup, and...

 is administered by the Board of Control for Cricket in India
Board of Control for Cricket in India
The Board of Control for Cricket in India , headquartered at Mumbai, is the national governing body for all cricket in India. It's not the apex governing body in India. The board was formed in December 1928 as BCCI replaced Calcutta Cricket Club. BCCI is a society, registered under the Tamil Nadu...

, or BCCI; the Ranji Trophy
Ranji Trophy
The Ranji Trophy is a domestic first-class cricket championship played in India between different city and state sides, equivalent to the County Championship in England and the Sheffield Shield in Australia...

, the Duleep Trophy
Duleep Trophy
The Duleep Trophy is a domestic first-class cricket competition played in India between teams representing geographical zones of India. The competition is named after Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji .-History:...

, the Deodhar Trophy
Deodhar Trophy
The current List A cricket competition in Indian domestic cricket is the Deodhar Trophy. It is named after Prof. D. B. Deodhar and is a 50-over knockout competition played on an annual basis among the 5 zonal teams - North Zone, South Zone, East Zone, West Zone and Central Zone...

, the Irani Trophy
Irani Trophy
The Irani Cup tournament was conceived during the 1959-60 season to mark the completion of 25 years of the Ranji Trophy championship and was named after the late Z.R. Irani, who was associated with the Board of Control for Cricket in India from its inception in 1928, till his death in 1970...

, and the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy
NKP Salve Challenger Trophy
Challenger series is played with the purpose of show-casing the talent that the country has, as well as providing opportunities to younger players to make an impression...

 are domestic competitions. The BCCI conducts a Twenty20 competition known as the Indian Premier League
Indian Premier League
The Indian Premier League is a professional league for Twenty20 cricket competition in India. It was initiated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India , headquartered in Mumbai, and is supervised by BCCI Vice President Rajeev Shukla, who serves as the league's Chairman and Commissioner...

. India has hosted or co-hosted several international sporting events: the 1951
1951 Asian Games
The 1951 Asian Games, officially known as the First Asian Games, was a multi-sport event celebrated in Delhi, India from 4 to 11 March 1951. The Games received names like First Asiad and 1951 Asiad by the president of the organising committee Anthony de Mello...

 and 1982 Asian Games
1982 Asian Games
The 9th Asian Games were held from November 19, 1982 to December 4, 1982 in Delhi, India.An incredible 74 Asian and Asian Games records were broken. This was also the first Asiad to be held under the aegis of the Olympic Council of Asia.-Sports:...

; the 1987
1987 Cricket World Cup
The 1987 Cricket World Cup was the fourth edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup tournament. It was held from October 8 to November 8, 1987 in India and Pakistan — the first held outside England. The format was unchanged from 1983 except for a reduction in the number of overs a team played from 60...

, 1996
1996 Cricket World Cup
The 1996 Cricket World Cup, also called the Wills World Cup after its official sponsors, was the sixth edition of the tournament organized by the International Cricket Council . It was the second World Cup to be hosted by Pakistan and India, and for the first time by Sri Lanka...

, and 2011
2011 Cricket World Cup
The 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup was the tenth Cricket World Cup. It was played in India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. It was Bangladesh's first time co-hosting a World Cup...

 Cricket World Cups; the 2003 Afro-Asian Games
2003 Afro-Asian Games
The 2003 Afro-Asian Games, officially known as the First Afro-Asian Games or I Afro-Asian Games and unofficially known as the Inaugural Afro-Asian Games, was a major international multi-sport event held in Hyderabad, India, from October 24 to November 1, 2003.The Afro-Asian Games...

; the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy
2006 ICC Champions Trophy
The 2006 ICC Champions Trophy was a One Day International cricket tournament held in India from 7 October to 5 November 2006. It was the fifth edition of the ICC Champions Trophy...

; the 2010 Hockey World Cup
2010 Men's Hockey World Cup
The 2010 Hockey World Cup was the twelfth installment of the Men's Hockey World Cup. On November 14, 2007, the International Hockey Federation announced that the championship would be held in India, taking place over two weeks from February 28 to March 13, 2010 at New Delhi's Dhyan Chand National...

; and the 2010 Commonwealth Games
2010 Commonwealth Games
The 2010 Commonwealth Games, officially known as the XIX Commonwealth Games, were held in Delhi, India, from 3 to 14 October 2010. A total of 6,081 athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations and dependencies competed in 21 sports and 272 events, making it the largest Commonwealth Games till date...

. Major international sporting events held annually in India include the Chennai Open
Chennai Open
The Chennai Open is a professional tennis tournament played on outdoor hard courts. It is currently part of the ATP World Tour 250 series of the Association of Tennis Professionals World Tour...

, Mumbai Marathon
Mumbai Marathon
The Mumbai Marathon is an annual international road running competition over the marathon distance that is held in Mumbai, India, each January. The course records set in 2011 were also the fastest times ever run for the marathon on Indian soil – 2:09:54 by Girma Assefa and 2:26:56 by the women's...

, Delhi Half Marathon, and the Indian Masters
Indian Masters
The Indian Masters was a professional golf tournament on the European and Asian Tours, that was played in February 2008. The tournament was introduced as part of the continuing globalisation of the European Tour, making India the 37th territory to stage a European Tour event, and increasing to...

. The first Indian Grand Prix
Indian Grand Prix
The Indian Grand Prix is a race in the calendar of the FIA Formula One World Championship. It is currently held at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India...

 featured in late 2011.

External links


  • National Portal of the Government of India
  • India at the UCB
    University of Colorado at Boulder
    The University of Colorado Boulder is a public research university located in Boulder, Colorado...

    Government Information Library