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Republic of India
भारत गणराज्य
Bhārat Ganarājya
Flag of India Emblem of India
(In Detail) (In Detail)
National motto: Satyamēva Jayatē

(Sanskrit: Truth Alone Triumphs)
(Mundaka Upanishad)

Official language Hindi, English, and + 21 other official languages)
Capital New Delhi
Largest City Mumbai
President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh
- Total
- % water
Ranked 7th
3,287,590 kmĀ²
- Total (2003)
- Density
Ranked 2nd
GDP (2003)

- Total
- Total
- GDP/head
- GDP/head
Ranked 4th, 12th, 155th, 133rd
$3.022 trillion (PPP)
$0.599 trillion (Nominal)
$2,800 (PPP)
$603 (Nominal)
Independence August 15, 1947
Republic January 26, 1950
Currency Code (ISO 4217)
Indian Rupee (₨)
Time zone UTC +5.30 (IST)
National anthem Jana Gana Mana
National song Vandē Mātaram
Internet TLD .in
Calling Code 91
National game Field Hockey
National animal Bengal Tiger
National bird Peacock
National flower Lotus
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The Republic of India is a large multicultural country in South Asia, with a population of over one billion. The Indian economy is the fourth largest in the world in terms of purchasing power parity and is the world's second fastest growing economy. India is also the second most populous country in the world and the world'Democracy" title ="Democracy">democracy. It has grown significantly, in both population and strategic importance, in the last twenty years. India has also emerged as an important regional power, with one of the world'Military_of_India" title ="Military of India">largest militaries and a declared nuclear weapons capability. Located in Asia and constituting most of the Indian subcontinent, India straddles many trade routes. It shares its borders with Pakistan, the People's Republic of China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan1. Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Indonesia are nearby island nations in the Indian Ocean. India is home to some of the most ancient civilizations and has given birth to four major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. The country was part of the British Empire before gaining independence in 1947.


Origin of names

Main article: Origin of India's name

The official name India is derived from Sindhu, the historic local appellation for the river Indus. The Constitution of India and general usage also recognize Bharat as an official name of equal status. Bharat was the name of an ancient Hindu king. A third name, Hindustan, or land of the Hindus, was used from Mughal times onwards.


Main articles: History of India, Timeline of Indian history

Stone Age rock shelters with paintings at Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh are the earliest known traces of human life in India. The first known permanent settlements appeared 9,000 years ago and developed into the Indus Valley Civilization, which peaked between 2600 BC and 1900 BC. Around 1500 BC, Aryan tribes from Central Asia migrated to India and intermixed with the indigenous Dravidian culture. The Aryan invasion theory is accepted in most academic institutions. Recently, however, a movement has arisen which disputes the Aryan invasion theory and believes in a preexisting and continuous Vedic culture that assimilated the Aryan, but this alternate theory is academically still in the minority.

Early Hinduism was Brahmanical and based on the Vedas. Later, Buddhism and Jainism arose in waves of religious reform. Eventually, Hinduism regained its primacy by interacting with the Vedic and indigenous Dravidian culture. In the first millennium CE, many independent kingdoms came into being. The Hindu Gupta dynasty oversaw the period referred to as India'Golden_Age" title ="Golden Age">Golden Age, and the Maurya dynasty, which included the Buddhist king Ashoka, made great contributions to India'Arts" title ="Arts">arts, mathematics, engineering, astrology, religion, and philosophy flourished under the patronage of these kings. Following the Islamic invasions in the beginning of the second millennium, most parts of India were ruled by the Delhi Sultanate and later the Mughal dynasty, although some Hindu kingdoms remained in or rose to power.

Portuguese, French, and English traders took advantage of the fractured kingdoms to colonize India. The British East India Company became powerful, and their discriminatory policies caused widespread resentment resulting in 1857 in an insurrection popularly known as the Indian Mutiny. After the revolt, India came under the crown of the British Empire. Subsequently, the Indian independence movements began its struggle for independence. On August 15, 1947, India was granted independence from British rule and became a secular republic.

Since its independence, India has fought four wars with its neighbors. In 1974 India became the world'1975" title ="1975">1975 to 1977, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a "State of Emergency in India," thereby freezing civil rights and detaining civilians without trial. The destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992 resulted in religious strife in much of India. In 1998, the Indian government exploded five nuclear warheads, confirming India'1999" title ="1999">1999, India participated in the Kargil War in Kashmir to repel Islamist terrorists.

Government and politics

Main article: Politics of India

India is a democratic republic. It is a federation of states within a federal structure. The head of state is the President, who has a largely ceremonial role. The President and Vice-President are elected indirectly by an electoral college for five-year terms.

The Prime Minister wields the executive power. The Prime Minister is designated by legislators of the political party or coalition commanding a parliamentary majority. He or she is assisted by the Council of Ministers, or the cabinet, appointed by the Prime Minister. All ministers are sworn in by the President. The President then appoints subordinate ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister.

India'Bicameral" title ="Bicameral">bicameral parliament consists of the upper house known as the Council of States, or Rajya Sabha and the lower house known as the House of the People, or Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha is chosen by an electoral college whereas the Lok Sabha is elected directly.

For most of its independent history, India'Indian_National_Congress_Party" title ="Indian National Congress Party">Indian National Congress Party. Having been the biggest political group in pre-independence India, the Congress enjoyed nearly unchallenged dominance in national politics for over forty years. The first party to end the Congress Party'1970s" title ="1970s">1970s. They did not, however, last their full term. In the early and mid-1990s, left-leaning parties intermittently formed non-Congress governments at the center. It was only in 1999 that the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) finally became the first non-Congress party to hold on to power with the help of regional allies. In the 2004 elections, in a surprise result, the Congress returned to power, leading a center-left coalition.

See also:

Map of India: The black line is the boundary as recognised by the government of India. The northern region of Kashmir is currently administered by India, Pakistan, and China (and coloured in as such). The delimiting of the three administered regions is not the international boundary but a ceasefire line demarcated in red. The boundary separating India and Pakistan is known as the Line of Control, that separating India and China as the 'Line of Actual Control'.
Map of India: The black line is the boundary as recognised by the government of India. The northern region of Kashmir is currently administered by India, Pakistan, and China (and coloured in as such). The delimiting of the three administered regions is not the international boundary but a ceasefire line demarcated in red. The boundary separating India and Pakistan is known as the Line of Control, that separating India and China as the 'Line_of_Actual_Control" title ="Line of Actual Control">Line of Actual Control'.

Geography and climate

Main article: Geography of India

A land of varied landscape that occupies most of the Indian subcontinent, India has snow-capped peaks, tropical islands, fertile plains and a sandy desert to offer. India'Himalayas" title ="Himalayas">Himalayan Range. The rest of northern, central and eastern India consists of the fertile Indo-Gangetic plain. Towards western India, bordering southeast Pakistan, lies the Thar Desert. The southern Indian peninsula is almost entirely composed of the Deccan plateau. The plateau is flanked by two hilly coastal ranges, the Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats.

India is home to several major rivers such as the Ganga (Ganges), the Brahmaputra, the Yamuna, the Godavari, and the Krishna.

The Indian climate varies from a tropical climate in the south to a more temperate climate in the north. India gets its rains through the monsoons.

See also:

States and Union territories

Main article: States and Territories of India

India is divided into 28 states (which are further subdivided into districts), 6 Union Territories and the National Capital Territory of Delhi. States have their own elected government, whereas Union Territories are governed by an administrator appointed by the union government.


  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Arunachal Pradesh
  3. Assam
  4. Bihar
  5. Chhattisgarh
  6. Goa
  7. Gujarat
  8. Haryana
  9. Himachal Pradesh
  10. Jammu and Kashmir
  11. Jharkhand
  12. Karnataka
  13. Keralam
  14. Madhya Pradesh

  1. Maharashtra
  2. Manipur
  3. Meghalaya
  4. Mizoram
  5. Nagaland
  6. Orissa
  7. Punjab
  8. Rajasthan
  9. Sikkim
  10. Tamil Nadu
  11. Tripura
  12. Uttaranchal
  13. Uttar Pradesh
  14. West Bengal
States of India
States of India

Union Territories:

National Capital Territory:

India has made no territorial claim in Antarctica but had two scientific bases there—Dakshin Gangotri and Maitri.

See also: List of states of India by population


Main articles: Economy of India, List of Indian companies

A nation in rapid development, India has an economy ranked as the twelth largest in the world (in terms of currency conversion) or fourth largest (in terms of Purchasing Power Parity) and recorded the second-fastest annual growth rate at around 8 percent in 2003. However, owing to its huge population, India'Purchasing_power_parity" title ="Purchasing power parity">purchasing power parity works out to be US$ 2,540. India'Foreign_exchange" title ="Foreign exchange">foreign exchange reserves amount to over US$120 billion. Mumbai serves as the nation'Reserve_Bank_of_India" title ="Reserve Bank of India">Reserve Bank of India (The Central Bank) and the Bombay Stock Exchange.

While many Indians live in poverty, a large middle class has emerged along with the growth of a promising IT industry.

The Indian economy has shed much of its historical dependence on agriculture, which now contributes to less than 25% of the GDP. Other important industries are mining, petroleum, diamond polishing, films, textiles, information technology services, and handicrafts. Most of India's industrial regions are centred around the major cities. In recent years, India has emerged the global leader in software and business process outsourcing services, raking in revenues of US$12.5 billion in the year that ended March 2004. There are also a lot of small-scale industries that provide steady employment to many of its citizens in small towns and villages. While India receives only around two million foreign visitors a year, its tourism base is still an important aspect of its national income. India'United_States" title ="United States">United States, Japan, and the European Union.


Main article: Demographics of India

India is the second most populous country in the world, with only China having a larger population. Language, religion, and caste are major determinants of social and political organisation within the highly diverse Indian population today. Its biggest metropolitan agglomerations are Mumbai (formerly Bombay), Delhi, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), and Chennai (formerly Madras).

India's literacy rate is 64.8%, with 53.7% of females being literate. The sex ratio is 933 females for every 1000 males.

Although 80.5% of the people are Hindus, India is also home to the third largest population of Muslims in the world (13.4%). Other smaller religious minorities include Christians (2.33%), Sikhs (1.84%), Buddhists (0.76%), Jains (0.40%), Jews, Parsis, Ahmadi, and Baha'i. Religion in India is very public, with many rich and colourful practices imbued with pomp and vitality accompanying their underlying spiritual qualities. A melting pot of many religions, India has rich festivals celebrated by one and all. The most widely known and popular celebrations include the Hindu festivals of Diwali, Holi and Dussera.

India is home to two major linguistic families, those of the Indo-Aryan and Dravidian-derived languages. India'Hindi" title ="Hindi">Hindi. English, which is classified as the Language of the Union for official purposes, is seen as the language of social mobility and standing, owing to its centrality in international business. Two classical languages native to the land are Sanskrit and Tamil.

Twenty-one other official languages are recognised by the Constitution for official administrative use by various state governments. The number of mother tongues in India is as high as 1652.

See also:


Main article: Culture of India

The Taj Mahal in Agra is India's most popular tourist destination.
The Taj Mahal in Agra is India's most popular tourist destination.

India has a rich and unique cultural heritage, having striven to preserve its established traditions throughout history; its dynamic nature is manifest in its willingness to respect and tolerate foreign ways and practices.

Living in a pluralist, multilingual and multicultural society, Indians are largely tolerant and peaceful. Religious practices of various faiths are an integral part of everyday life in society. Education is highly regarded by members of every socio-economic stratum. The traditional Indian family values are highly respected and considered sacred. Some urban families have grown into a nuclear family system, owing to the socio-economic constraints imposed by the traditional joint family system.

Indian music is represented by a wide variety of forms. The two main ones in terms of classical music are Carnatic from South India and Hindustani from the north. Popular forms of music also prevail, the most notable being Filmi music; interestingly, Hindu religious bhajans and Urdu ghazals often cross over between the classical and popular realms. In addition to this are the diverse traditions of folk music. Many dance forms exist in India—Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Kathakali and others. They often have a narrative form (based on the Indian epics) and are usually infused with devotional and spiritual elements.

The earliest literary traditions were mostly oral and were later transcribed. Most of these spring from Hindu tradition and are represented by sacred works like the Vedas and the epics of the Mahabharatha and Ramayana. Sangam literature from Tamil Nadu represents some of India'Indian_Writing_in_English" title ="Indian Writing in English">and English. India'Nobel_Prize_for_Literature" title ="Nobel Prize for Literature">Nobel laureate in literature was the Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore.

India produces the world'Cinema_of_India" title ="Cinema of India">films annually. The most recognisable face is that of Bollywood, based in Mumbai, which produces mainly commercial Hindi films. Cinema in other language bases is particularly strong, with movies regularly produced in well-established Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu industries. India'Bengali_language" title ="Bengali language">Bengali language director Satyajit Ray.

Rice and wheat (in bread forms) are the staple foods in the country. The gastronomy of India is extremely rich and varied, as spices and other ingredients vary from region to region. Notable is the country'Indian_Dress" title ="Indian Dress">Traditional dress in India greatly varies across the regions in its colours and styles. The Sari and Salwar Kameez are popular styles of dress for women. Traditional accoutrement for men comprises the Kurta and Dhoti.

See also:

Sports and games

Main article: Sports in India

India's national sport is field hockey, although many would assert that cricket is now the de facto national game due to its success in recent times. Football (soccer) too finds large viewership in almost the entire country. Some traditional indigenous games are kabaddi and gilli-danda. Chess, carrom, polo, and badminton are some other games and sports that are said to have originated in India.

Indian athletes, however, do not shine in the international arena in many sports. Many blame the Indian government for not having an active sports policy and allowing for the breakdown of the sporting infrastructure. Others choose to criticise the perpetual media fixation on cricket as a distraction from other sports.


See also

Topics related to India
History of India Timeline of Indian history Indus Valley Civilization, Meluhha, Aryan invasion theory, Greek Conquests in India, Mauryan dynasty, Ashokan Era, Sunga dynasty, Indo-Greek kingdom, Indo-Scythians, Indo-Parthian Kingdom, Kushan Empire, Gupta Empire, Pala Empire, Islamic incursions in India, Mughal Era, British Raj, British East India Company, Governor-General, Viceroy, War of Independence, 1857, Indian independence movement, Quit India Movement, Partition of India, Non-Aligned Movement, Sino-Indian War, Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Kargil War, Foreign relations, Military, Demographic and Postal history
Politics Law, Constitution, Political parties (Bahujan Samaj Party, Bharatiya Janata Party, Indian National Congress) Elections, Political divisions
Government Government agencies, Legislative branch (Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha) Executive branch (President & Vice-President, Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Attorney-General, Election Commission, Foreign Minister; Law enforcement: CBI, CID, Intelligence: IB, RAW), Judicial branch (Supreme Court), Military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Border Security Force, Coast Guard)
Geography Himalayan Mtns., Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, Indo Gangetic Plain, Deccan Plateau, Thar Desert, Ganges River, Rann of Kutch, Brahmaputra River, North-East India; Mountains, Valleys, Islands, Rivers; States and territories, Cities, List of Indian Districts, Regions
Economy Rupee, Bombay Stock Exchange, National Stock Exchange India, Standard of living, Companies, Reserve Bank of India
Demographics Languages, Standard of living, Religion
Arts & Culture Music (Carnatic, Hindustani, Indi-pop), Film & TV (Bollywood), TV stations, Literature, Cuisine, Holidays, Folklore, Dance, Architecture; Education, Languages, Media
Other Indian English, Numbering system, Indian Space Research Organization, Communications, Transportation (Highways, Rail transport, Auto rickshaw), Flag, Tourism, News sources


External links


1The government of India recognises the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir to be a part of India. This state borders a part of Afghanistan. A ceasefire sponsored by the United Nations in 1948 freezes the positions of Indian- and Pakistani-held territory. As a consequence, the region bordering Afghanistan is in Pakistani-administered territory.

Other uses

India is also the letter I in the NATO phonetic alphabet.

Countries in South Asia

Bangladesh | Bhutan | India | Maldives | Nepal | Pakistan | Sri Lanka

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