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{{about|the Republic of India}}{{pp-move-indef}}{{Use dmy dates|date=October 2019}}{{pp-30-500|small=yes}}{{short description|Country in South Asia}}{{Use Indian English|date=June 2016}}

| image_flag = Flag of India.svg| alt_flag = Horizontal tricolor flag bearing, from top to bottom, deep saffron, white, and green horizontal bands. In the centre of the white band is a navy-blue wheel with 24 spokes.| image_coat = Emblem of India.svg| symbol_width = 60px| alt_coat = Three lions facing left, right, and toward viewer, atop a frieze containing a galloping horse, a 24-spoke wheel, and an elephant. Underneath is a motto: "सत्यमेव जयते".State Emblem of India>State emblemsaVande Mataram">italics=off}}{{small0.2em"[...] Jana Gana Mana is the National Anthem of India, subject to such alterations in the words as the Government may authorise as occasion arises; and the song Vande Mataram, which has played a historic part in the struggle for Indian freedom, shall be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and shall have equal status with it."{{harv1950}}.}}{{sfn2005}}}}| other_symbol_type = National songsaSatyameva Jayate">italics=off}}bnJana Gana Mana">italics=offPUBLISHER=INDIA.GOV.IN ACCESSDATE=1 MARCH 2017 ARCHIVEDATE=4 FEBRUARY 2017, NATIONAL ANTHEM OF INDIA: A BRIEF ON 'JANA GANA MANA' >URL=HTTPS://WWW.NEWS18.COM/NEWS/INDIA/NATIONAL-ANTHEM-OF-INDIA-A-BRIEF-ON-JANA-GANA-MANA-498576.HTML PUBLISHER=NEWS18 INDIA >ARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20190417194530/HTTPS://WWW.NEWS18.COM/NEWS/INDIA/NATIONAL-ANTHEM-OF-INDIA-A-BRIEF-ON-JANA-GANA-MANA-498576.HTML "Thou Art the Ruler of the Minds of All People"}}{{lower{{sfn2003|p=1}}}}{{center|(File:Jana Gana Mana instrumental.ogg)}}| languages_type = National language| languages = None| image_map = India (orthographic projection).svg| map_width = 250px| alt_map = Image of a globe centred on India, with India highlighted.| map_caption = Area controlled by India shown in dark green;regions claimed but not controlled shown in light green| capital = New Delhi28507730type:city_region:IN}}Mumbai18307233|E}}}}HindiIndian English>English{{efnPart XVII of the Constitution of India, Standard Hindi>Hindi in the Devanagari script is the official language of the Union, along with Indian English as an additional official language.{{sfn>Ministry of Home Affairs 1960}}{{sfn2005}}HTTPS://INDIA.GOV.IN/INDIA-GLANCE/PROFILE >TITLE=PROFILE | NATIONAL PORTAL OF INDIA ACCESSDATE=23 AUGUST 2013 ARCHIVEDATE=30 AUGUST 2013, States and union territories of India can have a different official language of their own other than Hindi or English.}}HTTP://RAJBHASHA.NIC.IN/UI/PAGECONTENT.ASPX?PC=MZU%3D LANGUAGE=HINDI NATIONAL INFORMATICS CENTRE >ACCESSDATE=1 DECEMBER 2017 ARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20161108170457/HTTP://WWW.RAJBHASHA.NIC.IN/UI/PAGECONTENT.ASPX?PC=MZU=, 8 November 2016, }}| regional_languages = {{collapsible list
|titlestyle = background:transparent;text-align:left;font-weight:normal;font-size:100%;
|title = State level andEighth ScheduleWEB,weblink Report of the Commissioner for linguistic minorities: 50th report (July 2012 to June 2013), Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India, 26 December 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 8 July 2016, | {{hlist
| Assamese
| Bengali
| Bodo
| Dogri
| Gujarati
| Kannada
| Kashmiri
| Kokborok
| Konkani
| Maithili
| Malayalam
| Manipuri
| Marathi
| Mizo
| Nepali
| Odia
| Punjabi
| Sanskrit
| Santali
| Sindhi
| Tamil
| Telugu
| Urdu
}}Indian people>IndianUnited Nations>UN, World Trade Organization, BRICS, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation>SAARC, SCO, G8+5, G20, Commonwealth of NationsFederalism>Federal parliamentary constitutional republicPresident of India>President| leader_name1 = Ram Nath KovindVice President of India>Vice President| leader_name2 = Venkaiah NaiduPrime Minister of India>Prime Ministerfrom=Q668}}Chief Justice of India>Chief Justice| leader_name4 = Ranjan Gogoi| leader_title5 = Speaker of the Lok Sabha| leader_name5 = Om BirlaParliament of India>Parliament| upper_house = Rajya Sabha| lower_house = Lok SabhaIndian independence movement>Independence| sovereignty_note = from the United KingdomDominion of India>Dominion| established_date1 = 15 August 1947| established_event2 = Republic| established_date2 = 26 January 1950| area_km2 = 3,287,263"The country's exact size is subject to debate because some borders are disputed. The Indian government lists the total area as {{convertkm2abbr=on}} and the total land area as {{convertkm2abbr=on}}; the United Nations lists the total area as {{convertkm2abbr=on}} and total land area as {{convertkm2abbr=on}}."{{harv2004}}.}}| area_rank = 7th| area_sq_mi = 1,269,346| percent_water = 9.6India}}{{UN Population|ref}}WORK=2011 CENSUS DATAACCESS-DATE=17 JUNE 2016ARCHIVEDATE=22 MAY 2016, HTTP://WWW.CENSUSINDIA.GOV.IN/2011CENSUS/PCA/A-2_DATA_TABLES/00%20A%202-INDIA.PDF>TITLE=A – 2 DECADAL VARIATION IN POPULATION SINCE 1901PUBLISHER=OFFICE OF THE REGISTRAR GENERAL & CENSUS COMMISSIONER, INDIAARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20160430213141/HTTP://WWW.CENSUSINDIA.GOV.IN/2011CENSUS/PCA/A-2_DATA_TABLES/00%20A%202-INDIA.PDF, 30 April 2016, Year}}| population_estimate_rank = 2nd| population_census_year = 2011| population_census_rank = 2nd{{Indian population clock}}km2prec=1}}{{Indian population clock}}sqmiprec=1}}| population_density_rank = 31stPUBLISHER=INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND ACCESS-DATE=30 OCTOBER 2019, | GDP_PPP_year = 2019| GDP_PPP_rank = 3rd| GDP_PPP_per_capita = {{increase}} $8,378| GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = 119th| GDP_nominal = {{increase}} $2.936 trillion| GDP_nominal_year = 2019| GDP_nominal_rank = 5th| GDP_nominal_per_capita = {{increase}} $2,172| GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank = 142nd| Gini = 33.9 | Gini_year = 2013| Gini_change = WEBSITE=UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMEARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20100610232357/HTTPS://WWW.CIA.GOV/LIBRARY/PUBLICATIONS/THE-WORLD-FACTBOOK/FIELDS/2172.HTML, 10 June 2010, | Gini_rank = 79th| HDI = 0.640 | HDI_year = 2017 | HDI_change = increase PUBLISHER=UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMEACCESSDATE=15 SEPTEMBER 2018ARCHIVE-DATE=17 SEPTEMBER 2018, live, 130}}Indian rupee (Indian rupee sign>₹)| currency_code = INRIndian Standard Time>IST| utc_offset = +05:30| utc_offset_DST =Daylight saving time>DST is not observed| time_zone_DST =| date_format = {hide}ubl
| {{nowrap|{{abbr|dd|day{edih}-{{abbr|mm|month}}-{{abbr|yyyy|year}}}}
| {{nowrap|{{abbr|yyyy|year}}-{{abbr|mm|month}}-{{abbr|dd|day}}}}{{efn|See Date and time notation in India.}}
}}Left- and right-hand traffic>leftTelephone numbers in India> (.in#Internationalized domain names and country codes>others)0.2emNational Informatics Centre|2005}}}}| religion = {{ubl
| 79.8% Hinduism
| 14.2% Islam
| 2.3% Christianity
| 1.7% Sikhism
| 0.7% Buddhism
| 0.4% Jainism
| 0.23% Not stated
| 0.65% others
}} See Religion in India| official_website =
}}India (Hindi: {{transl|hi|ISO|Bhārat}}), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: {{transl|hi|ISO|Bhārat Gaṇarājya}}),–{{citation|title=The Essential Desk Reference|url=|year=2002|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=978-0-19-512873-4|page=76}} "Official name: Republic of India.";–{{citation|author=John Da Graça|title=Heads of State and Government|url=|year=2017|publisher=Macmillan|location=London|isbn=978-1-349-65771-1|page=421}} "Official name: Republic of India; Bharat Ganarajya (Hindi)";–{{citation|author=Graham Rhind|title=Global Sourcebook of Address Data Management: A Guide to Address Formats and Data in 194 Countries|url=|year=2017|publisher=Taylor & Francis|isbn=978-1-351-93326-1|page=302}} "Official name: Republic of India; Bharat.";–{{citation|last=Bradnock|first=Robert W.|title=The Routledge Atlas of South Asian Affairs|url=|year=2015|publisher=Routledge|isbn=978-1-317-40511-5|page=108}} "Official name: English: Republic of India; Hindi:Bharat Ganarajya";–{{citation|title=Penguin Compact Atlas of the World|url=|year=2012|publisher=Penguin|isbn=978-0-7566-9859-1|page=140}} "Official name: Republic of India";–{{citation|title=Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary|url=|year=1997|isbn=978-0-87779-546-9|edition=3rd|publisher=Merriam-Webster|pages=515–516}} "Officially, Republic of India";–{{citation|title=Complete Atlas of the World, 3rd Edition: The Definitive View of the Earth|url=|year=2016|publisher=DK Publishing|isbn=978-1-4654-5528-4|page=54}} "Official name: Republic of India";–{{citation|title=Worldwide Government Directory with Intergovernmental Organizations 2013|url=|date=10 May 2013|publisher=CQ Press|isbn=978-1-4522-9937-2|page=726}} "India (Republic of India; Bharat Ganarajya)" is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west;{{efn|1 = The Government of India also regards Afghanistan as a bordering country, as it considers all of Kashmir to be part of India. However, this is disputed, and the region bordering Afghanistan is administered by Pakistan. Source: WEB, Ministry of Home Affairs (Department of Border Management),weblink 1 September 2008, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 17 March 2015, }} China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.Modern humans arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa no later than 55,000 years ago.(a) {{citationfirst=Timurl= University Presspage=1}}; (b) MICHAEL D. PETRAGLIA >AUTHOR2=BRIDGET ALLCHIN TITLE=THE EVOLUTION AND HISTORY OF HUMAN POPULATIONS IN SOUTH ASIA: INTER-DISCIPLINARY STUDIES IN ARCHAEOLOGY, BIOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY, LINGUISTICS AND GENETICS PUBLISHER=SPRINGER SCIENCE + BUSINESS MEDIA ISBN=978-1-4020-5562-1last=Fishertitle=An Environmental History of India: From Earliest Times to the Twenty-First Centuryyear=2018Cambridge University Press>isbn=978-1-107-11162-2|page=23}}Their long occupation, initially in varying forms of isolation as hunter-gatherers, has made the region highly diverse, second only to Africa in human genetic diversity.{{citationfirst=Timurl= University Presspage=28}}
Settled life emerged on the subcontinent in the western margins of the Indus river basin 9,000 years ago, evolving gradually into the Indus Valley Civilisation of the third millennium BCE.
(a) {{citationfirst=Timurl= University Presspages=4–5}}; (b) {{citationfirst=Michael H.url= University Presspage=33}}By 1200 BCE, an archaic form of Sanskrit, an Indo-European language, had diffused into India from the northwest, unfolding as the language of the Rigveda, and recording the dawning of Hinduism in India.(a) {{citationfirst=Timurl= University Presspages=14–15}}; (b) {{citationfirst=Peterurl= Publishers >isbn=978-0-230-34549-2last=Luddentitle=India and South Asia: A Short Historyyear=2013Oneworld Publications>isbn=978-1-78074-108-6|page=19}}The Dravidian languages of India were supplanted in the northern regions.(a) {{citationfirst=Timurl= University Presspage=25}}; (b){{citationfirst=Timurl= University Presspage=16}}By 400 BCE, stratification and exclusion by caste had emerged within Hinduism,{{citationfirst=Timurl= University Presspage=16}}and Buddhism and Jainism had arisen, proclaiming social orders unlinked to heredity.{{citation|last=Fisher|first=Michael H.|title=An Environmental History of India: From Earliest Times to the Twenty-First Century|url=|year=2018|publisher=Cambridge University Press|isbn=978-1-107-11162-2|page=59}}Early political consolidations gave rise to the loose-knit Maurya and Gupta Empires based in the Ganges Basin.(a) {{citation|last=Dyson|first=Tim|title=A Population History of India: From the First Modern People to the Present Day|url=|year=2018|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=978-0-19-882905-8|pages=16–17}}; (b) {{citation|last=Fisher|first=Michael H.|title=An Environmental History of India: From Earliest Times to the Twenty-First Century|url=|year=2018|publisher=Cambridge University Press|isbn=978-1-107-11162-2|page=67}}; (c) {{citation|last=Robb|first=Peter|title=A History of India|url=|year=2011|publisher=Macmillan |isbn=978-0-230-34549-2|pages=56–57}}; (d) {{citation|last=Ludden|first=David|title=India and South Asia: A Short History|url=|year=2013|publisher=Oneworld Publications|isbn=978-1-78074-108-6|pages=29–30}}Their collective era was suffused with wide-ranging creativity,(a) {{citation|last=Luddentitle=India and South Asia: A Short Historyyear=2013Oneworld Publications>isbn=978-1-78074-108-6author=Glenn Van Brummelen editor2=Steven Livesey title=Medieval Science, Technology, and Medicine: An Encyclopediayear=2014Routledge>isbn=978-1-135-45932-1chapter=Arithmetic}}
but also marked by the declining status of women,
(a) {{citationfirst=Timurl= University Presspage=20}}; (b) {{citationfirst=Burtonurl= Wiley & Sonspage=90}}; (c) {{citationfirst=Barbara N.title=Women in Asia: Restoring Women to Historyyear=1999Indiana University Press>isbn=0-253-21267-7chapter=Women in South Asia}}
and the incorporation of untouchability into an organized system of belief.{{efn|" A Chinese pilgrim also recorded evidence of the caste system as he could observe it. According to this evidence the treatment meted out to untouchables such as the Chandalas was very similar to that which they experienced in later periods. This would contradict assertions that this rigid form of the caste system emerged in India only as a reaction to the Islamic conquest.{{sfn|Kulke|Rothermund|2004|p = 93}}}}{{sfn|Kulke|Rothermund|2004|p = 93}} In south India, the Middle kingdoms exported Dravidian-languages scripts and religious cultures to the kingdoms of southeast Asia.
{{citationfirst1=Catherine B.first2=Cynthiaurl= University Presspage=17}}In the early medieval era, Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Zoroastrianism put down roots on India's southern and western coasts.(a) {{citation|last=Luddentitle=India and South Asia: A Short Historyyear=2013Oneworld Publications>isbn=978-1-78074-108-6|page=54}}; (b) {{citationfirst1=Catherine B.first2=Cynthiaurl= University Presspages=78–79}}; (c) {{citationfirst=Michael H.url= University Presspage=76}}Armies from Central Asia intermittently overran India's plains,(a) {{citation|last=Ludden|first=David|title=India and South Asia: A Short History|url=|year=2013|publisher=Oneworld Publications|isbn=978-1-78074-108-6|pages=68–70}}; (b) {{citation|last1=Asher|first1=Catherine B.|last2=Talbot|first2=Cynthia|title=India Before Europe|url=|year=2006|publisher=Cambridge University Press|isbn=978-0-521-80904-7|pages=19, 24}}eventually establishing the Delhi sultanate, and drawing northern India into the cosmopolitan networks of medieval Islam.(a) {{citation|last=Dysontitle=A Population History of India: From the First Modern People to the Present Daydate=20 September 2018Oxford University Press>isbn=978-0-19-256430-6|page=48}}; (b) {{citationfirst1=Catherine B.first2=Cynthiaurl= University Presspage=52}}In the 15th century, the Vijayanagara Empire created a long-lasting composite Hindu culture in south India.{{citation|last1=Asherlast2=Talbottitle=India Before Europeyear=2006Cambridge University Press>isbn=978-0-521-80904-7|page=74}}"In the Punjab, Sikhism emerged, rejecting institutionalized religion.{{citation|last1=Asherlast2=Talbottitle=India Before Europeyear=2006Cambridge University Press>isbn=978-0-521-80904-7|page=267}} The Mughal empire, in 1526, ushered in two centuries of relative peace,{{citation|last1=Asherlast2=Talbottitle=India Before Europeyear=2006Cambridge University Press>isbn=978-0-521-80904-7|page=152}}leaving a legacy of luminous architecture.{{efn|"Shah Jahan eventually sent her body 800 km (500 mi) to Agra for burial in the Rauza-i Munauwara ("Illuminated Tomb") – a personal tribute and a stone manifestation of his imperial power. This tomb has been celebrated globally as the Taj Mahal."}}{{citationfirst=Michael H.url= University Presspage=106}}Gradually expanding rule of the British East India Company followed, turning India into a colonial economy, but also consolidating its sovereignty.(a) {{citation|last1=Asher|first1=Catherine B.|last2=Talbot|first2=Cynthia|title=India Before Europe|url=|year=2006|publisher=Cambridge University Press|isbn=978-0-521-80904-7|page=289}}; (b) {{citationfirst=Michael H.url= University Presspage=120}}
British Crown rule began in 1858. The rights promised to Indians were granted slowly,{{citation|last=Taylor|first=Miles|editor=Aldrish, Robert |editor2=McCreery, Cindy |title=Crowns and Colonies: European Monarchies and Overseas Empires|chapter-url=|year=2016|publisher=Manchester University Press|isbn=978-1-5261-0088-7|pages=38–39|chapter=The British royal family and the colonial empire from the Georgians to Prince George}}; (b) {{citation|last=Peers|first=Douglas M.|title=India Under Colonial Rule: 1700–1885|url=|year=2013|publisher=Routledge|isbn=978-1-317-88286-2|page=76|access-date=13 August 2019|archive-url=|archive-date=31 March 2017|url-status=live}} but technological changes were introduced, and ideas of education, modernity and the public life took root.
{{citationfirst1=Ainslie Thomasfirst2=Stephen N.first3=William Theodore Dechapter-url= University Presspage=85|chapter=Nationalism Takes Root: The Moderates}}A pioneering and influential nationalist movement emerged,{{citation|last=Marshall|first=P. J.|title=The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire|url={{Google books|S2EXN8JTwAEC|page=PA179|keywords=|text=|plainurl=yes}}|year=2001|publisher=Cambridge University Press|isbn=978-0-521-00254-7|page=179}}
which was noted for nonviolent resistance and led India to its independence in 1947.India is a secular federal republic governed in a democratic parliamentary system. It is a pluralistic, multilingual and multi-ethnic society. India's population grew from 361 million in 1951 to 1,211 million in 2011.{{citationfirst=Timurl= University Presspages=219, 262}}During the same time, its nominal per capita income increased from US$64 annually to US$1,498, and its literacy rate from 16.6% to 74%. From being a comparatively destitute country in 1951,{{citationfirst=Michael H.url= University Presspage=8}}
India has become a fast-growing major economy, a hub for information technology services, with an expanding middle class.{{citation|last1=Metcalflast2=Metcalftitle=A Concise History of Modern Indiayear=2012Cambridge University Press>isbn=978-1-107-02649-0|pages=265–266}}
It has a space programme which includes several planned or completed extraterrestrial missions. Indian movies, music, and spiritual teachings play an increasing role in global culture.
{{citation|last1=Metcalflast2=Metcalftitle=A Concise History of Modern Indiayear=2012Cambridge University Press>isbn=978-1-107-02649-0|page=266}}India has substantially reduced its rate of poverty, though at the cost of increasing economic inequality.{{citationfirst=Timurl= University Presspage=216}}India is a nuclear weapons state, which ranks high in military expenditure. It has disputes over Kashmir with its neighbours, Pakistan and China, unresolved since the mid-20th century.(a) {{citation |title=Kashmir, region Indian subcontinent |encyclopedia=Encyclopaedia Britannica |url= |accessdate=15 August 2019 |url-access=subscription |quote=Kashmir, region of the northwestern Indian subcontinent ... has been the subject of dispute between India and Pakistan since the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947. |archive-url= |archive-date=13 August 2019 |url-status=live }}; (b) {{citation |last1=Pletcher |first1=Kenneth |title=Aksai Chin, Plateau Region, Asia |encyclopedia=Encyclopaedia Britannica |url= |accessdate=16 August 2019 |url-access=subscription |quote=Aksai Chin, Chinese (Pinyin) Aksayqin, portion of the Kashmir region, ... constitutes nearly all the territory of the Chinese-administered sector of Kashmir that is claimed by India |archive-url= |archive-date=2 April 2019 |url-status=live }}; (c) {{citation|chapter=Kashmir|encyclopedia=Encyclopedia Americana |publisher=Scholastic Library Publishing|chapter-url= |year=2006 |isbn=978-0-7172-0139-6 |page=328 |author=C. E Bosworth |quote=KASHMIR, kash'mer, the northernmost region of the Indian subcontinent, administered partly by India, partly by Pakistan, and partly by China. The region has been the subject of a bitter dispute between India and Pakistan since they became independent in 1947}}Among the socio-economic challenges India faces are gender inequality, child malnutrition,JOURNAL, Narayan, Jitendra, John, Denny, Ramadas, Nirupama, Malnutrition in India: status and government initiatives, Journal of Public Health Policy, 40, 1, 2018, 126–141, 0197-5897, 10.1057/s41271-018-0149-5, 30353132, and rising levels of air pollution.JOURNAL, Balakrishnan, Kalpana, Dey, Sagnik, The impact of air pollution on deaths, disease burden, and life expectancy across the states of India: the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017, The Lancet Planetary Health, 3, 1, 2019, e26–e39, etal, 2542-5196, 10.1016/S2542-5196(18)30261-4, 30528905, 6358127,
India's land is megadiverse, with four biodiversity hotspots.{{citation|title=India|publisher=International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)|url=|year=2019}}
Its forest cover comprises 21.4% of its area.
{{citationfirst=Raghbendraurl= Publishing>isbn=978-1-349-95342-4|page=198}}
India's wildlife, which has traditionally been viewed with tolerance in India's culture,{{citation|last1=Karanth|first1=K. Ullas|last2=Gopal|first2=Rajesh |editor=Rosie Woodroffe |editor2=Simon Thirgood |editor3=Alan Rabinowitz |title=People and Wildlife, Conflict Or Co-existence?|chapter-url=|year=2005|publisher=Cambridge University Press|isbn=978-0-521-53203-7|page=374|chapter=An ecology-based policy framework for human-tiger coexistence in India}} is supported among these forests, and elsewhere, in protected habitats.


According to the Oxford English Dictionary (Third Edition 2009), the name "India" is derived from the Classical Latin India, a reference to South Asia and an uncertain region to its east; and in turn derived successively from: Hellenistic Greek India ( Ἰνδία); ancient Greek Indos ( Ἰνδός); Old Persian Hindush, an eastern province of the Achaemenid empire; and ultimately its cognate, the Sanskrit Sindhu, or "river," but especially the Indus river and, by implication, its well-settled southern basin.{{citation|title=India (noun)|publisher=Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd Edition|year=2009|url=}} (subscription required){{citation |last=Thieme |first=P. |chapter=Sanskrit sindu-/Sindhu- and Old Iranian hindu-/Hindu- |editor1=Mary Boyce |editor2=Ilya Gershevitch |title=W. B. Henning memorial volume |url= |year=1970 |publisher=Lund Humphries |pp=447–450}} The ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi ({{ISO 639-2|GRC|Ἰνδοί}}), which translates as "The people of the Indus".{{sfn|Kuiper|2010|p = 86}}The term Bharat ({{transl|hi|ISO|Bhārat}}; {{IPA-hns|ˈbʱaːɾət|pron|hi-Bharat.ogg}}), mentioned in both Indian epic poetry and the Constitution of India,{{sfn|Ministry of Law and Justice 2008}} is used in its variations by many Indian languages. A modern rendering of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which applied originally to a region of the Gangetic Valley,{{citation|last=Jha|first=Dwijendra Narayan|title=Rethinking Hindu Identity|url=|year=2014|publisher=Routledge|isbn=978-1-317-49034-0|page=11}}{{citation|last=Singh|first=Upinder|title=Political Violence in Ancient India|url=|year=2017|publisher=Harvard University Press|isbn=978-0-674-98128-7|page=253}} Bharat gained increased currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India.JOURNAL, Clémentin-Ojha, Catherine, 'India, that is Bharat…': One Country, Two Names, South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, 10, 2014,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 28 September 2015, Hindustan ({{IPA-hns|ɦɪndʊˈstaːn||Hindustan.ogg}}) is a Middle Persian name for India, introduced during the Mughal Empire and used widely since. Its meaning has varied, referring to a region encompassing present-day northern India and Pakistan or to India in its near entirety.JOURNAL, Barrow, Ian J., From Hindustan to India: Naming change in changing names, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 26, 37–49, 1, 2003, 10.1080/085640032000063977, {{sfn|Encyclopædia Britannica}}


Ancient India

{{multiple image|perrow=1/1|total_width=300|caption_align=center| align = left|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FDF5E6| image1 = 1500-1200 BCE Rigveda, manuscript page sample i, Mandala 1, Hymn 1 (Sukta 1), Adhyaya 1, lines 1.1.1 to 1.1.9, Sanskrit, Devanagari.jpg| image2 = Battle at Lanka, Ramayana, Udaipur, 1649-53.jpgsize=110%text=(Top) A pre-14th century CE manuscript of the Rigveda, which was composed from 1500 BCE to 1200 BCE and subsequently orally transmitted. (Bottom) The "Battle at Lanka," a scene from the Sanskrit epic Ramayana—composed between 700 BCE and 200 CE—was illustrated by Sahibdin, an artist of the 17th century.}} }}By 55,000 years ago, the first modern humans, or Homo sapiens, had arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa, where they had earlier evolved.{{citation|last=Dyson|first=Tim |title=A Population History of India: From the First Modern People to the Present Day|url=|year=2018 |publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=978-0-19-882905-8|page=1}} Quote: "Modern human beings—Homo sapiens—originated in Africa. Then, intermittently, sometime between 60,000 and 80,000 years ago, tiny groups of them began to enter the north-west of the Indian subcontinent. It seems likely that initially they came by way of the coast. ... it is virtually certain that there were Homo sapiens in the subcontinent 55,000 years ago, even though the earliest fossils that have been found of them date to only about 30,000 years before the present. (page 1)"BOOK, Michael D. Petraglia, Bridget Allchin, Bridget Allchin, The Evolution and History of Human Populations in South Asia: Inter-disciplinary Studies in Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Linguistics and Genetics,weblink Springer Science + Business Media, 6, 978-1-4020-5562-1, 22 May 2007, Quote: "Y-Chromosome and Mt-DNA data support the colonization of South Asia by modern humans originating in Africa. ... Coalescence dates for most non-European populations average to between 73–55 ka."{{citation|last=Fisher|first=Michael H.|title=An Environmental History of India: From Earliest Times to the Twenty-First Century|url=|year=2018|publisher=Cambridge University Press|isbn=978-1-107-11162-2|page=23}} Quote: "Scholars estimate that the first successful expansion of the Homo sapiens range beyond Africa and across the Arabian Peninsula occurred from as early as 80,000 years ago to as late as 40,000 years ago, although there may have been prior unsuccessful emigrations. Some of their descendants extended the human range ever further in each generation, spreading into each habitable land they encountered. One human channel was along the warm and productive coastal lands of the Persian Gulf and northern Indian Ocean. Eventually, various bands entered India between 75,000 years ago and 35,000 years ago (page 23)"The earliest known modern human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago.{{sfn|Petraglia|Allchin||2007|p=6}} After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, and storage of agricultural surplus appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan.{{sfn|Coningham|Young|2015|pp = 104–105}} These gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation,{{sfn|Kulke|Rothermund|2004|pp = 21–23}}{{sfn|Coningham|Young|2015|pp = 104–105}} the first urban culture in South Asia,{{sfn|Singh|2009|p = 181}} which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India.{{sfn|Possehl|2003|p = 2}} Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Dholavira, and Kalibangan, and relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade.{{sfn|Singh|2009|p = 181}}During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones.{{sfn|Singh|2009|p = 255}} The Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism,{{sfn|Singh|2009|pp = 186–187}} were composed during this period,{{sfn|Witzel|2003|pp = 68–69}} and historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.{{sfn|Singh|2009|p = 255}} Most historians also consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west.{{Sfn|Singh|2009|pp=186–187}} 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.{{Sfn|Kulke|Rothermund|2004|pp=41–43}} On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation.{{Sfn|Singh|2009|p=255}} In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period,{{Sfn|Singh|2009|pp=250–251}} as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, and craft traditions.{{Sfn|Singh|2009|pp=250–251}}{{multiple image|perrow=2|total_width=360|caption_align=center| align = right|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FDF5E6| image1 = India in 250 BCE Joppen.jpg| image2 = India in 350 CE Joppen.jpg|image3=Cave 26, Ajanta.jpgsize=110%text=Clockwise from upper left: (a) A map of the rough extent of the empire of Ashoka, ca 250 BCE; (b) The map of India, ca 350 CE; (c) Cave 26 of the rock-cut Ajanta Caves, fifth century CE}}}}In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas.{{sfn|Singh|2009|pp = 260–265}}{{sfn|Kulke|Rothermund|2004|pp = 53–54}} The emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of its exemplar, Mahavira.{{sfn|Singh|2009|pp = 312–313}} Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle class; chronicling the life of the Buddha was central to the beginnings of recorded history in India.{{sfn|Kulke|Rothermund|2004|pp = 54–56}}{{sfn|Stein|1998|p = 21}}{{sfn|Stein|1998|pp = 67–68}} In an age of increasing urban wealth, both religions held up renunciation as an ideal,{{sfn|Singh|2009|p = 300}} and both established long-lasting monastic traditions. Politically, by the 3rd century BCE, the kingdom of Magadha had annexed or reduced other states to emerge as the Mauryan Empire.{{sfn|Singh|2009|p = 319}} The empire was once thought to have controlled most of the subcontinent except the far south, but its core regions are now thought to have been separated by large autonomous areas.{{sfn|Stein|1998|pp = 78–79}}{{sfn|Kulke|Rothermund|2004|p = 70}} The Mauryan kings are known as much for their empire-building and determined management of public life as for Ashoka's renunciation of militarism and far-flung advocacy of the Buddhist dhamma.{{sfn|Singh|2009|p = 367}}{{sfn|Kulke|Rothermund|2004|p = 63}}The Sangam literature of the Tamil language reveals that, between 200 BCE and 200 CE, the southern peninsula was ruled by the Cheras, the Cholas, and the Pandyas, dynasties that traded extensively with the Roman Empire and with West and South-East Asia.{{sfn|Stein|1998|pp = 89–90}}{{sfn|Singh|2009|pp = 408–415}} In North India, Hinduism asserted patriarchal control within the family, leading to increased subordination of women.{{sfn|Stein|1998|pp = 92–95}}{{sfn|Singh|2009|p = 319}} By the 4th and 5th centuries, the Gupta Empire had created a complex system of administration and taxation in the greater Ganges Plain that became a model for later Indian kingdoms.{{sfn|Kulke|Rothermund|2004|pp = 89–91}}{{sfn|Singh|2009|p = 545}} Under the Guptas, a renewed Hinduism based on devotion, rather than the management of ritual, began to assert itself.{{sfn|Stein|1998|pp = 98–99}} This renewal was reflected in a flowering of sculpture and architecture, which found patrons among an urban elite.{{sfn|Singh|2009|p = 545}} Classical Sanskrit literature flowered as well, and Indian science, astronomy, medicine, and mathematics made significant advances.{{sfn|Singh|2009|p = 545}}

Medieval India

{{multiple image|perrow=2|total_width=360|caption_align=center| align = left|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FDF5E6| title =| image1 = India in 1022 Joppen.jpg| image2 = Gopuram Corner View of Thanjavur Brihadeeswara Temple..JPGsize=110%text=(left) A map of India in 1022 CE; (right) Brihadeshwara temple, Thanjavur, completed in 1010 CE}}}}The Indian early medieval age, 600 CE to 1200 CE, is defined by regional kingdoms and cultural diversity.{{sfn|Stein|1998|p = 132}} When Harsha of Kannauj, who ruled much of the Indo-Gangetic Plain from 606 to 647 CE, attempted to expand southwards, he was defeated by the Chalukya ruler of the Deccan.{{sfn|Stein|1998|pp = 119–120}} When his successor attempted to expand eastwards, he was defeated by the Pala king of Bengal.{{sfn|Stein|1998|pp = 119–120}} When the Chalukyas attempted to expand southwards, they were defeated by the Pallavas from farther south, who in turn were opposed by the Pandyas and the Cholas from still farther south.{{sfn|Stein|1998|pp = 119–120}} No ruler of this period was able to create an empire and consistently control lands much beyond his core region.{{sfn|Stein|1998|p = 132}} During this time, pastoral peoples, whose land had been cleared to make way for the growing agricultural economy, were accommodated within caste society, as were new non-traditional ruling classes.{{sfn|Stein|1998|pp = 121–122}} The caste system consequently began to show regional differences.{{sfn|Stein|1998|pp = 121–122}}In the 6th and 7th centuries, the first devotional hymns were created in the Tamil language.{{sfn|Stein|1998|p = 123}} They were imitated all over India and led to both the resurgence of Hinduism and the development of all modern languages of the subcontinent.{{sfn|Stein|1998|p = 123}} Indian royalty, big and small, and the temples they patronised drew citizens in great numbers to the capital cities, which became economic hubs as well.{{sfn|Stein|1998|p = 124}} Temple towns of various sizes began to appear everywhere as India underwent another urbanisation.{{sfn|Stein|1998|p = 124}} By the 8th and 9th centuries, the effects were felt in South-East Asia, as South Indian culture and political systems were exported to lands that became part of modern-day Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Java.{{sfn|Stein|1998|pp = 127–128}} 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.{{sfn|Stein|1998|pp = 127–128}}{{multiple image|perrow=2|total_width=360|caption_align=center| align = right|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FDF5E6| title =| image1 = India in 1398 Joppen.jpg| image2 = Qutb minar ruins.jpgsize=110%text=(left) India in 1398 CE, during the Delhi Sultanate (marked "Afghan empire" in the map); (b) The Qutub Minar, {{convertm0}} tall, completed by the Sultan of Delhi, Iltutmish}}}}After the 10th century, Muslim Central Asian nomadic clans, using swift-horse cavalry and raising vast armies united by ethnicity and religion, repeatedly overran South Asia's north-western plains, leading eventually to the establishment of the Islamic Delhi Sultanate in 1206.{{sfn|Ludden|2002|p = 68}} 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.{{sfn|Asher|Talbot|2008|p = 47}}{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|p = 6}} By repeatedly repulsing Mongol raiders in the 13th century, the sultanate saved India from the devastation visited on West and Central Asia, setting the scene for centuries of migration of fleeing soldiers, learned men, mystics, traders, artists, and artisans from that region into the subcontinent, thereby creating a syncretic Indo-Islamic culture in the north.{{sfn|Ludden|2002|p = 67}}{{sfn|Asher|Talbot|2008|pp = 50–51}} The sultanate's raiding and weakening of the regional kingdoms of South India paved the way for the indigenous Vijayanagara Empire.{{sfn|Asher|Talbot|2008|p = 53}} Embracing a strong Shaivite tradition and building upon the military technology of the sultanate, the empire came to control much of peninsular India,{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|p = 12}} and was to influence South Indian society for long afterwards.{{sfn|Asher|Talbot|2008|p = 53}}

Early modern India

{{multiple image|perrow=2/1|total_width=360|caption_align=center| align = left|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FDF5E6| image1 = India in 1525 Joppen Hi Def.jpg| image2 = India in1605 Joppen Hi Def.jpg| image3 = Agra Fort DistantTaj.JPGsize=110%text=Clockwise from upper left: (a) India in 1525 at the onset of Mughal Empire; (b) India in 1605 during the rule of Akbar the Great>Akbar; (c) A distant view of the Taj Mahal from the Agra Fort}}}}In the early 16th century, northern India, then under mainly Muslim rulers,{{sfn|Robb|2001|p = 80}} fell again to the superior mobility and firepower of a new generation of Central Asian warriors.{{sfn|Stein|1998|p = 164}} The resulting Mughal Empire did not stamp out the local societies it came to rule. Instead, it balanced and pacified them through new administrative practices{{sfn|Asher|Talbot|2008|p = 115}}{{sfn|Robb|2001|pp = 90–91}} and diverse and inclusive ruling elites,{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|p = 17}} leading to more systematic, centralised, and uniform rule.{{sfn|Asher|Talbot|2008|p = 152}} 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.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|p = 17}} The Mughal state's economic policies, deriving most revenues from agriculture{{sfn|Asher|Talbot|2008|p = 158}} and mandating that taxes be paid in the well-regulated silver currency,{{sfn|Stein|1998|p = 169}} caused peasants and artisans to enter larger markets.{{sfn|Asher|Talbot|2008|p = 152}} The relative peace maintained by the empire during much of the 17th century was a factor in India's economic expansion,{{sfn|Asher|Talbot|2008|p = 152}} resulting in greater patronage of painting, literary forms, textiles, and architecture.{{sfn|Asher|Talbot|2008|p = 186}} Newly coherent social groups in northern and western India, such as the Marathas, the Rajputs, and the Sikhs, gained military and governing ambitions during Mughal rule, which, through collaboration or adversity, gave them both recognition and military experience.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|pp = 23–24}} Expanding commerce during Mughal rule gave rise to new Indian commercial and political elites along the coasts of southern and eastern India.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|pp = 23–24}} As the empire disintegrated, many among these elites were able to seek and control their own affairs.{{sfn|Asher|Talbot|2008|p = 256}}{{multiple image|perrow=2/1|total_width=360|caption_align=center| align = right|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FDF5E6| image1 = India in 1795 Joppen High Def.jpg| image2 = India in 1848 Joppen.jpg|image3=India 1835 2 Mohurs.jpgsize=110%text=Clockwise from top left: (a) India under British Company rule in India in 1795; (b) India in 1848; (c) A two mohur gold coin issued by the Company in 1835 with the bust of William IV of the United Kingdom>William IV, King on the obverse, and the face value in English and Persian, on the reverse}}}}By the early 18th century, with the lines between commercial and political dominance being increasingly blurred, a number of European trading companies, including the English East India Company, had established coastal outposts.{{sfn|Asher|Talbot|2008|p = 286}}{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|pp = 44–49}} The East India Company's control of the seas, greater resources, and more advanced military training and technology led it to increasingly flex its military muscle and caused it to become attractive to a portion of the Indian elite; these factors were crucial in allowing the company to gain control over the Bengal region by 1765 and sideline the other European companies.{{sfn|Robb|2001|pp = 98–100}}{{sfn|Asher|Talbot|2008|p = 286}}{{sfn|Ludden|2002|pp = 128–132}}{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|pp = 51–55}} 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.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|pp = 68–71}} India was then no longer exporting manufactured goods as it long had, but was instead supplying the British Empire with raw materials. Many historians consider this to be the onset of India's colonial period.{{sfn|Asher|Talbot|2008|p = 286}} By this time, with its economic power severely curtailed by the British parliament and having effectively been made an arm of British administration, the company began more consciously to enter non-economic arenas like education, social reform, and culture.{{sfn|Asher|Talbot|2008|p = 289}}

Modern India

{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=360|caption_align=center| align = left|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FDF5E6| image1 = British Indian Empire 1909 Imperial Gazetteer of India.jpgsize=110%text=1909 map of the British Indian Empire}}}}Historians consider India's modern age to have begun sometime between 1848 and 1885. The appointment in 1848 of Lord Dalhousie as Governor General of the East India Company set the stage for changes essential to a modern state. These included the consolidation and demarcation of sovereignty, the surveillance of the population, and the education of citizens. Technological changes—among them, railways, canals, and the telegraph—were introduced not long after their introduction in Europe.{{sfn|Robb|2001|pp = 151–152}}{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|pp = 94–99}}{{sfn|Brown|1994|p = 83}}{{sfn|Peers|2006|p = 50}} However, disaffection with the company also grew during this time and set off the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Fed by diverse resentments and perceptions, including invasive British-style social reforms, harsh land taxes, and summary treatment of some rich landowners and princes, the rebellion rocked many regions of northern and central India and shook the foundations of Company rule.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|pp = 100–103}}{{sfn|Brown|1994|pp = 85–86}} Although the rebellion was suppressed by 1858, it led to the dissolution of the East India Company and the direct administration of India by the British government. Proclaiming a unitary state and a gradual but limited British-style parliamentary system, the new rulers also protected princes and landed gentry as a feudal safeguard against future unrest.{{sfn|Stein|1998|p = 239}}{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|pp = 103–108}} In the decades following, public life gradually emerged all over India, leading eventually to the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885.{{sfn|Robb|2001|p = 183}}{{sfn|Sarkar|1983|pp = 1–4}}{{sfn|Copland|2001|pp = ix–x}}{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|p = 123}}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.{{sfn|Stein|1998|p = 260}} There was an increase in the number of large-scale famines,{{sfn|Bose|Jalal|2011|p = 117}} and, despite the risks of infrastructure development borne by Indian taxpayers, little industrial employment was generated for Indians.{{sfn|Stein|1998|p = 258}} There were also salutary effects: commercial cropping, especially in the newly canalled Punjab, led to increased food production for internal consumption.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|p = 126}} The railway network provided critical famine relief,{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|p = 97}} notably reduced the cost of moving goods,{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|p = 97}} and helped nascent Indian-owned industry.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|p = 126}}{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=240|caption_align=center|image_style = border:none;|background color = #F5F5F5| align = rightimage1=Nehru gandhi.jpgsize=110%text=Jawaharlal Nehru sharing a light moment with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Mumbai, 6 July 1946}}}}After World War I, in which approximately one million Indians served,{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|p = 163}} a new period began. It was marked by British reforms but also repressive legislation, by more strident Indian calls for self-rule, and by the beginnings of a nonviolent movement of non-co-operation, of which Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would become the leader and enduring symbol.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|p = 167}} During the 1930s, slow legislative reform was enacted by the British; the Indian National Congress won victories in the resulting elections.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|pp = 195–197}} The next decade was beset with crises: Indian participation in World War II, the Congress's final push for non-co-operation, and an upsurge of Muslim nationalism. All were capped by the advent of independence in 1947, but tempered by the partition of India into two states: India and Pakistan.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|p = 203}}Vital to India's self-image as an independent nation was its constitution, completed in 1950, which put in place a secular and democratic republic.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|p = 231}} It has remained a democracy with civil liberties, an active Supreme Court, and a largely independent press.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|pp = 265–266}} Economic liberalisation, which began in the 1990s, has created a large urban middle class, transformed India into one of the world's fastest-growing economies,{{sfn|United States Department of Agriculture}} and increased its geopolitical clout. Indian movies, music, and spiritual teachings play an increasing role in global culture.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|pp = 265–266}} Yet, India is also shaped by seemingly unyielding poverty, both rural and urban;{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|pp = 265–266}} by religious and caste-related violence;{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|pp = 266–270}} by Maoist-inspired Naxalite insurgencies;{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|p = 253}} and by separatism in Jammu and Kashmir and in Northeast India.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|p = 274}} It has unresolved territorial disputes with China{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|pp = 247–248}} and with Pakistan.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|pp = 247–248}} The India–Pakistan nuclear rivalry came to a head in 1998.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|pp = 293–295}} India's sustained democratic freedoms are unique among the world's newer nations; however, in spite of its recent economic successes, freedom from want for its disadvantaged population remains a goal yet to be achieved.{{sfn|Metcalf|Metcalf|2006|p = 304}}


{{multiple image|perrow=2/1|total_width=360|caption_align=center|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FDF5E6caption3={{fontfont=Sans-serifcreek (tidal)>tidal creek in Anjarle, a coastal village in Maharashtra.}}caption1={{fontfont=Sans-seriforographical features include the Ganges and Indus plains, the Western Ghats>Western and Eastern Ghats, the Thar desert, the Aravalli hills, and Satpura Range and Vindhya Range>Vindhya ranges.}}caption2={{fontfont=Sans-serif|text=The average onset dates and wind directions during India's southwest summer monsoon}}}}India accounts for the bulk of the Indian subcontinent, lying atop the Indian tectonic plate, a part of the Indo-Australian Plate.{{sfn|Ali|Aitchison|2005}} India's defining geological processes began 75 million years ago when the Indian Plate, then part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, began a north-eastward drift caused by seafloor spreading to its south-west, and later, south and south-east.{{sfn|Ali|Aitchison|2005}} Simultaneously, the vast Tethyan oceanic crust, to its northeast, began to subduct under the Eurasian Plate.{{sfn|Ali|Aitchison|2005}} These dual processes, driven by convection in the Earth's mantle, both created the Indian Ocean and caused the Indian continental crust eventually to under-thrust Eurasia and to uplift the Himalayas.{{sfn|Ali|Aitchison|2005}} Immediately south of the emerging Himalayas, plate movement created a vast trough that rapidly filled with river-borne sediment{{sfn|Dikshit & Schwartzberg|p = 7}} and now constitutes the Indo-Gangetic Plain.{{sfn|Prakash et al.|2000}} Cut off from the plain by the ancient Aravalli Range lies the Thar Desert.{{sfn|Dikshit & Schwartzberg|p = 11}}The original Indian Plate survives as peninsular India, the oldest and geologically most stable part of India. It extends as far north as the Satpura and Vindhya ranges in central India. These parallel chains run from the Arabian Sea coast in Gujarat in the west to the coal-rich Chota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand in the east.{{sfn|Dikshit & Schwartzberg|p = 8}} To the south, the remaining peninsular landmass, the Deccan Plateau, is flanked on the west and east by coastal ranges known as the Western and Eastern Ghats;{{sfn|Dikshit & Schwartzberg|pp = 9–10}} the plateau contains the country's oldest rock formations, some over one billion years old. Constituted in such fashion, India lies to the north of the equator between 6° 44' and 35° 30' north latitude{{efn|The northernmost point under Indian control is the disputed Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir; however, the Government of India regards the entire region of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, including the Gilgit-Baltistan administered by Pakistan, to be its territory. It therefore assigns the latitude 37° 6' to its northernmost point.}} and 68° 7' and 97° 25' east longitude.{{sfn|Ministry of Information and Broadcasting|2007|p = 1}}India's coastline measures {{Convert|7517|km|mi|-2}} in length; of this distance, {{Convert|5423|km|mi|-2}} belong to peninsular India and {{Convert|2094|km|mi|-2}} to the Andaman, Nicobar, and Lakshadweep island chains.{{sfn|Kumar|Pathak|Pednekar|Raju|2006}} According to the Indian naval hydrographic charts, the mainland coastline consists of the following: 43% sandy beaches; 11% rocky shores, including cliffs; and 46% mudflats or marshy shores.{{sfn|Kumar|Pathak|Pednekar|Raju|2006}}{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=220|caption_align=center|image_style = border:none;|background color = #F5F5DC| align = left |image1=Tungabhadra River and Coracle Boats.JPG|caption1={{font|size=110%|font=|text=Flowing near Hampi is the Tungabhadra river, a tributary of the peninsular Krishna river, which empties into the Bay of Bengal. The circular shape of the coracle makes it stable in rivers with rocky outcrops.}}{{citation|last1=Mcgrail|first1=Sean|last2=Blue|first2=Lucy|last3=Kentley|first3=Eric|title=Boats of South Asia|url=|date=2003|publisher=Routledge|isbn=978-1-134-43130-4|page=257}}}}Major Himalayan-origin rivers that substantially flow through India include the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, both of which drain into the Bay of Bengal.{{sfn|Dikshit & Schwartzberg|p = 15}} Important tributaries of the Ganges include the Yamuna and the Kosi; the latter's extremely low gradient, caused by long-term silt deposition, leads to severe floods and course changes.{{sfn|Duff|1993|p = 353}}{{citation|last1=Basu|first1=Mahua|last2=SJ|first2=Xavier Savarimuthu|title=Fundamentals of Environmental Studies|url= |date=2017|publisher=Cambridge University Press|isbn=978-1-316-87051-8|page=78}} Major peninsular rivers, whose steeper gradients prevent their waters from flooding, include the Godavari, the Mahanadi, the Kaveri, and the Krishna, which also drain into the Bay of Bengal;{{sfn|Dikshit & Schwartzberg|p = 16}} and the Narmada and the Tapti, which drain into the Arabian Sea.{{sfn|Dikshit & Schwartzberg|p = 17}} Coastal features include the marshy Rann of Kutch of western India and the alluvial Sundarbans delta of eastern India; the latter is shared with Bangladesh.{{sfn|Dikshit & Schwartzberg|p = 12}} India has two archipelagos: the Lakshadweep, coral atolls off India's south-western coast; and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a volcanic chain in the Andaman Sea.{{sfn|Dikshit & Schwartzberg|p = 13}}The Indian climate is strongly influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert, both of which drive the economically and culturally pivotal summer and winter monsoons.{{sfn|Chang|1967|pp = 391–394}} The Himalayas prevent cold Central Asian katabatic winds from blowing in, keeping the bulk of the Indian subcontinent warmer than most locations at similar latitudes.{{sfn|Posey|1994|p = 118}}{{sfn|Wolpert|2003|p = 4}} 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.{{sfn|Chang|1967|pp = 391–394}} Four major climatic groupings predominate in India: tropical wet, tropical dry, subtropical humid, and montane.{{sfn|Heitzman|Worden|1996|p = 97}}


{{multiple image|perrow=2/1|total_width=360|caption_align=center|background color = #FDF5E6caption3={{fontfont=Sans-serifurl= July 2019access-date=2 August 2019weblink>archive-date=1 August 2019Bengal tiger>Bengal tigress of the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra.}}caption1={{fontfont=Sans-serif|text=A 1909 map showing India's forests, bush and small wood, cultivated lands, steppe, and desert}}caption2={{fontfont=Sans-serif|text=A 2010 map shows India's forest cover averaged out for each state.}} }}India is a megadiverse country, a term employed for 17 countries which display high biological diversity and contain many species exclusively indigenous, or endemic, to them.{{citation|publisher=Biodiversity A–Z and UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre|title=Megadiverse Countries}} India is a habitat for 8.6% of all mammal species, 13.7% of bird species, 7.9% of reptile species, 6% of amphibian species, 12.2% of fish species, and 6.0% of all flowering plant species.{{sfn|Zoological Survey of India|2012|p = 1}}{{sfn|Puri}} Fully a third of Indian plant species are endemic.{{sfn|Basak|1983|p = 24}} India also contains four of the world's 34 biodiversity hotspots, or regions that display significant habitat loss in the presence of high endemism.{{efn|A biodiversity hotspot is a biogeographical region which has more than 1,500 vascular plant species, but less than 30% of its primary habitat.}}{{citation|last1=Venkataraman|first1=K.|last2=Sivaperuman|first2=C. |editor=Sivaperuman, C. |editor2=Venkataraman, K. |title=Indian Hotspots: Vertebrate Faunal Diversity, Conservation and Management|chapter-url=|year=2018|publisher=Springer|isbn=978-981-10-6605-4|page=5|chapter=Biodiversity Hotspots in India}}India's forest cover is {{convert|701673|km2|sqmi|abbr=on}}, which is 21.35% of the country's total land area. It can be subdivided further into broad categories of canopy density, or the proportion of the area of a forest covered by its tree canopy.{{citation|last=Jha|first=Raghbendra|title=Facets of India's Economy and Her Society Volume II: Current State and Future Prospects|url=|year=2018|publisher=Springer|isbn=978-1-349-95342-4|page=198}} Very dense forest, whose canopy density is greater than 70%, occupies 2.61% of India's land area. It predominates in the tropical moist forest of the Andaman Islands, the Western Ghats, and Northeast India.{{sfn|Tritsch|2001}} Moderately dense forest, whose canopy density is between 40% and 70%, occupies 9.59% of India's land area. It predominates in the temperate coniferous forest of the Himalayas, the moist deciduous sal forest of eastern India, and the dry deciduous teak forest of central and southern India.{{sfn|Tritsch|2001}} Open forest, whose canopy density is between 10% and 40%, occupies 9.14% of India's land area, and predominates in the babul-dominated thorn forest of the central Deccan Plateau and the western Gangetic plain.{{sfn|Tritsch|2001}}Among the Indian subcontinent's notable indigenous trees are the astringent Azadirachta indica, or neem, which is widely used in rural Indian herbal medicine,{{citation|last=Goyal|first=Anupam|title=The WTO and International Environmental Law: Towards Conciliation|url=|year=2006|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=978-0-19-567710-2|page=295}} Quote: "The Indian government successfully argued that the medicinal neem tree is part of traditional Indian knowledge. (page 295)" and the luxuriant Ficus religiosa, or peepul,{{citation|last=Hughes|first=Julie E.|title=Animal Kingdoms|url=|year=2013|publisher=Harvard University Press|isbn=978-0-674-07480-4|page=106|quote=At same time, the leafy pipal trees and comparative abundance that marked the Mewari landscape fostered refinements unattainable in other lands.}} which is displayed on the ancient seals of Mohenjo-daro,{{citation|last1=Ameri|first1=Marta|last2=Costello|first2=Sarah Kielt|last3=Jamison|first3=Gregg; Scott, Sarah Jarmer|title=Seals and Sealing in the Ancient World: Case Studies from the Near East, Egypt, the Aegean, and South Asia|url=|year=2018|publisher=Cambridge University Press|isbn=978-1-108-17351-3|pages=156–157}} Quote: "The last of the centaurs has the long, wavy, horizontal horns of a markhor, a human face, a heavy-set body that appears bovine, and a goat tail ... This figure is often depicted by itself, but it is also consistently represented in scenes that seem to reflect the adoration of a figure in a pipal tree or arbor and which may be termed ritual. These include fully detailed scenes like that visible in the large 'divine adoration' seal from Mohenjo-daro." and under which the Buddha is recorded in the Pali canon to have sought enlightenment,{{citation|author=Paul Gwynne|title=World Religions in Practice: A Comparative Introduction|url=|year=2011|publisher=John Wiley & Sons|isbn=978-1-4443-6005-9|page=358}} Quote: "The tree under which Sakyamuni became the Buddha is a peepal tree (Ficus religiosa)."Many Indian species have descended from those of Gondwana, the southern supercontinent from which India separated more than 100 million years ago.{{sfn|Crame|Owen|2002|p = 142}} India's subsequent collision with Eurasia set off a mass exchange of species. However, volcanism and climatic changes later caused the extinction of many endemic Indian forms.{{sfn|Karanth|2006}} Still later, mammals entered India from Asia through two zoogeographical passes flanking the Himalayas.{{sfn|Tritsch|2001}} This had the effect of lowering endemism among India's mammals, which stands at 12.6%, contrasting with 45.8% among reptiles and 55.8% among amphibians.{{sfn|Puri}} Notable endemics are the vulnerableJOURNAL, Singh, M., Kumar, A., Molur, S., yes, Trachypithecus johnii, The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 2008, e.T44694A10927987, 2008, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T44694A10927987.en, hooded leaf monkeyWEB, Semnopithecus johnii,weblink ITIS, 27 August 2018,weblink 29 August 2018, live, and the threatenedJOURNAL, S.D. Biju, Sushil Dutta, M.S. Ravichandran Karthikeyan Vasudevan, S.P. Vijayakumar, Chelmala Srinivasulu, Gajanan Dasaramji Bhuddhe, Duttaphrynus beddomii, The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 2004, e.T54584A86543952, IUCN, 2004, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2004.RLTS.T54584A11155448.en, Beddom's toadWEB,weblink Duttaphrynus beddomii (Günther, 1876), Frost, Darrel R., 2015, Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0, American Museum of Natural History, 13 September 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 21 July 2015, live, of the Western Ghats.{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=220|caption_align=center|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FFDEAD| align = left |image1=Axis axis (Nagarhole, 2010).jpg|caption1={{font|size=110%|font=|text=A Chital (Axis axis) stag attempts to browse in the Nagarhole National Park in a region covered by a moderately dense{{efn|A forest cover is moderately dense if between 40% and 70% of its area is covered by its tree canopy.}} forest.{{sfn|Tritsch|2001}}}}}}India contains 172 IUCN-designated threatened animal species, or 2.9% of endangered forms.{{sfn|Mace|1994|p = 4}} These include the endangered Bengal tiger and the Ganges river dolphin. Critically endangered species include: the gharial, a crocodilian; the great Indian bustard; and the Indian white-rumped vulture, which has become nearly extinct by having ingested the carrion of diclofenac-treated cattle.{{citation|last1=Lovette|first1=Irby J.|last2=Fitzpatrick|first2=John W.|title=Handbook of Bird Biology|url=|year=2016|publisher=John Wiley & Sons|isbn=978-1-118-29105-4|page=599}} The pervasive and ecologically devastating human encroachment of recent decades has critically endangered Indian wildlife. In response, the system of national parks and protected areas, first established in 1935, was expanded substantially. In 1972, India enacted the Wildlife Protection Act{{sfn|Ministry of Environments and Forests 1972}} and Project Tiger to safeguard crucial wilderness; the Forest Conservation Act was enacted in 1980 and amendments added in 1988.{{sfn|Department of Environment and Forests|1988}} India hosts more than five hundred wildlife sanctuaries and thirteen{{Nbsp}}biosphere reserves,{{sfn|Ministry of Environment and Forests}} four of which are part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves; twenty-five wetlands are registered under the Ramsar Convention.{{sfn|Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands}}

Politics and government


{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=220|caption_align=center|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FDF5E6| align = right |image1=Rajagopal speaking to 25,000 people, Janadesh 2007, India.jpg|caption1={{font|size=110%|font=|text=Social movements have long been a part of democracy in India. The picture shows a section of 25,000 landless people in the state of Madhya Pradesh listening to Rajagopal P. V. before their {{cvt|350|km}} march, Janadesh 2007, from Gwalior to New Delhi to publicize their demand for further land reform in India.{{citation|last=Johnston|first=Hank|title=Social Movements, Nonviolent Resistance, and the State|url=|year=2019|publisher=Routledge|isbn=978-0-429-88566-2|page=83}}}}}}India is the world's most populous democracy.{{sfn|United Nations Population Division}} A parliamentary republic with a multi-party system,{{sfn|Burnell|Calvert|1999|p = 125}} it has seven{{Nbsp}}recognised national parties, including the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and more than 40{{Nbsp}}regional parties.{{sfn|Election Commission of India}} The Congress is considered centre-left in Indian political culture,JOURNAL, Saez, Lawrence, Sinha, Aseema, Political cycles, political institutions and public expenditure in India, 1980–2000, British Journal of Political Science, 40, 1, 2010, 91–113, 10.1017/s0007123409990226, and the BJP right-wing.{{sfn|Malik|Singh|1992|pp=318–336}}{{sfn|BBC|2012}}{{sfn|Banerjee|2005|p=3118}} 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,{{sfn|Sarkar|2007|p = 84}} as well as with powerful regional parties which have often forced the creation of multi-party coalition governments at the centre.{{sfn|Chander|2004|p = 117}}In the Republic of India's first three general elections, in 1951, 1957, and 1962, the Jawaharlal Nehru-led Congress won easy victories. On Nehru's death in 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri briefly became prime minister; he was succeeded, after his own unexpected death in 1966, by Indira Gandhi, who went on to lead the Congress to election victories in 1967 and 1971. Following public discontent with the state of emergency she declared in 1975, the Congress was voted out of power in 1977; the then-new Janata Party, which had opposed the emergency, was voted in. Its government lasted just over two years. Voted back into power in 1980, the Congress saw a change in leadership in 1984, when Indira Gandhi was assassinated; she was succeeded by her son Rajiv Gandhi, who won an easy victory in the general elections later that year. The Congress was voted out again in 1989 when a National Front coalition, led by the newly formed Janata Dal in alliance with the Left Front, won the elections; that government too proved relatively short-lived, lasting just under two years.{{sfn|Bhambhri|1992|pp = 118, 143}} Elections were held again in 1991; no party won an absolute majority. The Congress, as the largest single party, was able to form a minority government led by P. V. Narasimha Rao.NEWS, 24 December 2004, Narasimha Rao Passes Away, The Hindu,weblink 2 November 2008,weblink" title="">weblink 13 February 2009, live, {{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=220|caption_align=center|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FFF5EE | align = left |image1=Barack Obama at Parliament of India in New Delhi addressing Joint session of both houses 2010.jpg|caption1={{font|size=110%|font=|text=At the Parliament of India in New Delhi, US president Barack Obama is shown here addressing the members of parliament of both houses, the lower, Lok Sabha, and the upper, Rajya Sabha, in a joint session, 8 November 2010.}}}}A two-year period of political turmoil followed the general election of 1996. Several short-lived alliances shared power at the centre. The BJP formed a government briefly in 1996; it was followed by two comparatively long-lasting United Front coalitions, which depended on external support. In 1998, the BJP was able to form a successful coalition, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the NDA became the first non-Congress, coalition government to complete a five-year term.{{sfn|Dunleavy|Diwakar|Dunleavy|2007}} Again in the 2004 Indian general elections, no party won an absolute majority, but the Congress emerged as the largest single party, forming another successful coalition: the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). It had the support of left-leaning parties and MPs who opposed the BJP. The UPA returned to power in the 2009 general election with increased numbers, and it no longer required external support from India's communist parties.{{sfn|Kulke|Rothermund|2004|p = 384}} That year, Manmohan Singh became the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru in 1957 and 1962 to be re-elected to a consecutive five-year term.{{sfn|Business Standard|2009}} In the 2014 general election, the BJP became the first political party since 1984 to win a majority and govern without the support of other parties.NEWS, BJP first party since 1984 to win parliamentary majority on its own,weblink 20 May 2014, Daily News and Analysis, DNA, 16 May 2014, IANS,weblink" title="">weblink 21 May 2014, The incumbent prime minister is Narendra Modi, a former chief minister of Gujarat. On 20 July 2017, Ram Nath Kovind was elected India's 14th president and took the oath of office on 25 July 2017.WEB,weblink Election commission, 21 July 2017,,weblink" title="">weblink 11 August 2017, WEB,weblink Oath, India Today,weblink" title="">weblink 21 July 2017, NEWS, Highlights: Ram Nath Kovind takes oath as India's 14th President,weblink 25 July 2017, The Indian Express, 10 August 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 11 August 2017,


{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=220|caption_align=center|image_style = border:none;|background color =#FAEBD7 | align = right |image1=Rashtrapati Bhavan Wide New Delhi India.jpg|caption1={{font|size=110%|font=|text=The official home of the President of India, the Rashtrapati Bhavan, was designed between 1911 and 1931 by British architects, Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker for the Viceroy of India during the British Raj.{{citation|last=Bremner|first=G. A.|title=Architecture and Urbanism in the British Empire|url=|year=2016|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=978-0-19-102232-6|page=117}}}}}}India is a federation with a parliamentary system governed under the Constitution of India—the country's supreme legal document. It is a constitutional republic and representative democracy, in which "majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law". Federalism in India defines the power distribution between the union, or central, government and the states. The Constitution of India, which came into effect on {{Date|1950-01-26|dmy}},{{sfn|Pylee|2003|a|p = 4}} originally stated India to be a "sovereign, democratic republic;" this characterization was amended in 1971 to "a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic".{{sfn|Dutt|1998|p = 421}} India's form of government, traditionally described as "quasi-federal" with a strong centre and weak states,{{sfn|Wheare|1980|p = 28}} has grown increasingly federal since the late 1990s as a result of political, economic, and social changes.{{sfn|Echeverri-Gent|2002|pp = 19–20}}{{sfn|Sinha|2004|p = 25}}

  • Executive: The President of India is the ceremonial head of state,{{sfn|Sharma|2007|p = 31}} who is elected indirectly for a five-year term by an electoral college comprising members of national and state legislatures.{{sfn|Sharma|2007|p = 138}}{{sfn|Gledhill|1970|p = 112}} The Prime Minister of India is the head of government and exercises most executive power.{{sfn|Sharma|1950}} Appointed by the president,{{sfn|Sharma|2007|p = 162}} the prime minister is by convention supported by the party or political alliance having a majority of seats in the lower house of parliament.{{sfn|Sharma|1950}} The executive of the Indian government consists of the president, the vice president, and the Union Council of Ministers—with the cabinet 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.{{sfn|Sharma|2007|p = 31}} In the Indian parliamentary system, the executive is subordinate to the legislature; the prime minister and their council are directly responsible to the lower house of the parliament. Civil servants act as permanent executives and all decisions of the executive are implemented by them.{{sfn|Mathew|2003|p = 524}}
  • Legislature: The legislature of India is the bicameral parliament. Operating under a Westminster-style parliamentary system, it comprises an upper house called the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and a lower house called the Lok Sabha (House of the People).{{sfn|Gledhill|1970|p = 127}} The Rajya Sabha is a permanent body of 245{{Nbsp}}members who serve staggered six-year{{Nbsp}}terms.{{sfn|Sharma|2007|p = 161}} Most are elected indirectly by the state and union territorial legislatures in numbers proportional to their state's share of the national population.{{sfn|Sharma|2007|p = 162}} All but two of the Lok Sabha's 545{{Nbsp}}members are elected directly by popular vote; they represent single-member constituencies for five-year{{Nbsp}}terms.{{sfn|Sharma|2007|p = 143}} The remaining two{{Nbsp}}members are nominated by the president from among the Anglo-Indian community, in case the president decides they are not adequately represented.{{sfn|Sharma|2007|p = 360}}
  • Judiciary: India has a three-tier{{Nbsp}}unitary independent judiciary{{sfn|Neuborne|2003|p = 478}} comprising the supreme court, headed by the Chief Justice of India, 24{{Nbsp}}high courts, and a large number of trial courts.{{sfn|Neuborne|2003|p = 478}} The supreme court has original jurisdiction over cases involving fundamental rights and over disputes between states and the centre and has appellate jurisdiction over the high courts.{{sfn|Sharma|2007|pp = 238, 255}} It has the power to both strike down union or state laws which contravene the constitution,{{sfn|Sripati|1998|pp = 423–424}} and invalidate any government action it deems unconstitutional.{{sfn|Pylee|2003|b|p = 314}}

Administrative divisions

{{See also|Political integration of India}}{{Indian states and territories image map|image-width=380}}{| class="wikitable sortable mw-collapsible floatleft" style="font-size:85%; text-align:center; margin:0 0 1.5em 1.5em;"|+ States (1–28) & Union territories (A-I)1. Andhra Pradesh20. Punjab2. Arunachal Pradesh21. Rajasthan3. Assam22. Sikkim4. Bihar23. Tamil Nadu5. Chhattisgarh24. Telangana6. Goa25. Tripura7. Gujarat26. Uttar Pradesh8. Haryana27. Uttarakhand 9. Himachal Pradesh28. West Bengal 10. JharkhandA. Andaman and Nicobar Islands11. KarnatakaB. Chandigarh12. KeralaC. Dadra and Nagar Haveli13. Madhya PradeshD. Daman and Diu14. MaharashtraE. Jammu and Kashmir15. ManipurF. Ladakh16. MeghalayaG. Lakshadweep17. MizoramH. National Capital Territory of Delhi18. NagalandI. Puducherry19. Odisha{{clear}}India is a federal union comprising 28 states and nine union territories.{{sfn|Library of Congress|2004}} All states, as well as the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, Puducherry and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, have elected legislatures and governments following the Westminster system of governance. The remaining six union territories are directly ruled by the centre through appointed administrators. In 1956, under the States Reorganisation Act, states were reorganised on a linguistic basis.{{sfn|Sharma|2007|p = 49}} There are over a quarter of a million local government bodies at city, town, block, district and village levels.WEB,weblink India, Commonwealth Local Government Forum, 7 September 2019,weblink" title="">weblink 15 July 2019, live,

Foreign, economic and strategic relations

{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=220|caption_align=center|image_style = border:none;|background color = #F5F5F5| align = leftimage1=Jawaharlal Nehru, Nasser and Tito at the Conference of Non-Aligned Nations held in Belgrade.jpgsize=110%text=During the 1950s and 60s, India played a pivotal role in the Non-Aligned Movement.}}DINKEL>FIRST=JüRGENURL=HTTPS://BOOKS.GOOGLE.COM/BOOKS?ID=YQOODWAAQBAJPUBLISHER=BRILL PUBLISHERS>ISBN=978-90-04-33613-1size=110%text=From left to right: Gamal Abdel Nasser of United Arab Republic (now Egypt), Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia and Jawaharlal Nehru in Belgrade, September 1961.}}}}In the 1950s, India strongly supported decolonisation in Africa and Asia and played a leading role in the Non-Aligned Movement.{{sfn|Rothermund|2000|pp = 48, 227}} After initially cordial relations with neighbouring China, India went to war with China in 1962, and was widely thought to have been humiliated. India has had tense relations with neighbouring Pakistan; the two nations have gone to war four times: in 1947, 1965, 1971, and 1999. Three of these wars were fought over the disputed territory of Kashmir, while the fourth, the 1971 war, followed from India's support for the independence of Bangladesh.{{sfn|Gilbert|2002|pp = 486–487}} In the late 1980s, the Indian military twice intervened abroad at the invitation of the host country: a peace-keeping operation in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990; and an armed intervention to prevent a 1988 coup d'état attempt in the Maldives. After the 1965 war with Pakistan, India began to pursue close military and economic ties with the Soviet Union; by the late 1960s, the Soviet Union was its largest arms supplier.{{sfn|Sharma|1999|p = 56}}Aside from ongoing its special relationship with Russia,NEWS,weblink No ties with Pakistan at India's cost, relations with New Delhi long-term: Russia {{!, India News| | access-date=14 October 2018|language=en-GB|archive-url=|archive-date=14 October 2018|url-status=live}} India has wide-ranging defence relations with Israel and France. In recent years, it has played key roles in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and the World Trade Organization. The nation has provided 100,000 military and police personnel to serve in 35 UN peacekeeping operations across four continents. It participates in the East Asia Summit, the G8+5, and other multilateral forums.{{sfn|Alford|2008}} India has close economic ties with South America,WEB,weblink The Other BRIC in Latin America: India, Jorge Heine, R. Viswanathan, Spring 2011, Americas Quarterly, 19 May 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 25 May 2017, Asia, and Africa; it pursues a "Look East" policy that seeks to strengthen partnerships with the ASEAN nations, Japan, and South Korea that revolve around many issues, but especially those involving economic investment and regional security.{{sfn|Ghosh|2009|pp = 282–289}}{{sfn|Sisodia|Naidu|2005|pp = 1–8}}{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=220|upright=|caption_align=center| align = right|image_style = border:none;|background color = #F0FFFF| image1 = Indian Air Force contingent as a part of the Bastille Day Parade of France, in Paris on July 14, 2009.jpgsize=110%text=The Indian Air Force contingent marching at the 221st Bastille Day military parade in Paris, on 14 July 2009. The parade at which India was the foreign guest was led by the India's oldest regiment, the Maratha Light Infantry, founded in 1768.}}{{citationfirst=Hughwork=The Guardianurl=}} Quote: "Members of the Indian armed forces have the plum job of leading off the great morning parade for Bastille Day. Only after units and bands from India's navy and air force have followed the Maratha Light Infantry will the parade be entirely given over to ... France's armed services." }}China's nuclear test of 1964, as well as its repeated threats to intervene in support of Pakistan in the 1965 war, convinced India to develop nuclear weapons.{{sfn|Perkovich|2001|pp = 60–86, 106–125}} India conducted its first nuclear weapons test in 1974 and carried out additional underground testing in 1998. Despite criticism and military sanctions, India has signed neither the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty nor the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, considering both to be flawed and discriminatory.{{sfn|Kumar|2010}} India maintains a "no first use" nuclear policy and is developing a nuclear triad capability as a part of its "Minimum Credible Deterrence" doctrine.{{sfn|Nair|2007}}{{sfn|Pandit|2009}} It is developing a ballistic missile defence shield and, a fifth-generation fighter jet.NEWS, Pandit, Rajat, Make-in-India: Plan to develop 5th-generation fighter aircraft,weblink The Times of India, TNN, 8 January 2015, WEB,weblink The Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft:A Technical Analysis, Abhijit Iyer-Mitra and Pushan Das, Observer Research Foundation, Other indigenous military projects involve the design and implementation of Vikrant-class aircraft carriers and Arihant-class nuclear submarines.NEWS, 5 October 2009, India, Russia Review Defence Ties, The Hindu,weblink 8 October 2011,weblink" title="">weblink 7 October 2011, live, Since the end of the Cold War, India has increased its economic, strategic, and military co-operation with the United States and the European Union.{{sfn|Europa 2008}} 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 a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it received waivers from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, ending earlier restrictions on India's nuclear technology and commerce. As a consequence, India became the sixth de facto nuclear weapons state.{{sfn|The Times of India 2008}} India subsequently signed co-operation agreements involving civilian nuclear energy with Russia,{{sfn|British Broadcasting Corporation 2009}} France,{{sfn|Rediff 2008 a}} the United Kingdom,{{sfn|Reuters|2010}} and Canada.{{sfn|Curry|2010}}{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=220|caption_align=center|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FAEBD7| align = leftimage1=Modi Nieto Mexico June 2016.jpgsize=110%text=Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India (left, background) in talks with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico during the former's visit to Mexico, June 2016}}}}The President of India is the supreme commander of the nation's armed forces; with 1.395 million active troops, they compose the world's second-largest military. It comprises the Indian Army, the Indian Navy, the Indian Air Force, and the Indian Coast Guard.{{sfn|Central Intelligence Agency}} The official Indian defence budget for 2011 was US$36.03 billion, or 1.83% of GDP.{{sfn|Behera|2011}} For the fiscal year spanning 2012–2013, US$40.44 billion was budgeted.{{sfn|Behera|2012}} According to a 2008 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report, India's annual military expenditure in terms of purchasing power stood at US$72.7 billion.{{sfn|Stockholm International Peace Research Institute 2008|p = 178}} In 2011, the annual defence budget increased by 11.6%,{{sfn|Miglani|2011}} although this does not include funds that reach the military through other branches of government.{{sfn|Shukla|2011}} {{As of|2012}}, India is the world's largest arms importer; between 2007 and 2011, it accounted for 10% of funds spent on international arms purchases.{{sfn|Stockholm International Peace Research Initiative 2012}} Much of the military expenditure was focused on defence against Pakistan and countering growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean.{{sfn|Miglani|2011}} In May 2017, the Indian Space Research Organisation launched the South Asia Satellite, a gift from India to its neighbouring SAARC countries.NEWS,weblink Isro-Saarc satellite to be a communication vehicle, Deccan Herald, Deccan Herald News Service, 12 January 2015, 22 April 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 28 June 2015, live, In October 2018, India signed a US$5.43 billion (over Rs 400 billion) agreement with Russia to procure four S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile defence systems, Russia's most advanced long-range missile defence system.NEWS, India Russia S-400 missile deal: All you need to know,weblink 5 October 2018, The Times of India, 9 October 2018,weblink 5 October 2018, live,


{{multiple image|perrow=1/2|total_width=440|caption_align=center| align = right|image_style = border:none;|background color = #F5F5DC| image1 = Plowing the land in India - modern and traditional.jpg| image3 = Women at work, Gujarat (cropped).jpg| image2 = ILRI, Stevie Mann - Villager and calf share milk from cow in Rajasthan, India.jpgsize=110%text=Clockwise from top: (a) A farmer in northwestern Karnataka ploughs his field with a tractor even as another in a field beyond does the same with a pair of oxen. In 2018, 44% of India's total workforce was employed in agriculture.{{citation url= accessdate=22 August 2019 The World Bank >archive-url= url-status=live }} (b) Women tend to a recently planted rice field in Junagadh district in Gujarat. 57% of India's female workforce was employed in agriculture in 2018.{{citation url= accessdate=22 August 2019 The World Bank >archive-url= url-status=live }} (c) India is the world's largest producer of milk, with the largest population of cattle. In 2018, nearly 80% of India's milk was sourced from small farms with herd size between one and two, the milk harvested by hand milking.{{citationThe Hindu Business Line>last=Kapoortitle=Growth in organised dairy sector, a boost for rural livelihooddate=2015archive-url=}} Quote: "Nearly 80 per cent of India's milk production is contributed by small and marginal farmers, with an average herd size of one to two milching animals"}}}}According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Indian economy in 2017 was nominally worth US$2.611 trillion; it is the sixth-largest economy by market exchange rates, and is, at US$9.459 trillion, the third-largest by purchasing power parity, or PPP. With its average annual GDP growth rate of 5.8% over the past two decades, and reaching 6.1% during 2011–2012,{{sfn|International Monetary Fund 2011|p = 2}} India is one of the world's fastest-growing economies.{{sfn|Nayak|Goldar|Agrawal|2010|p = xxv}} However, the country ranks 140th in the world in nominal GDP per capita and 129th in GDP per capita at PPP.{{sfn|International Monetary Fund}} Until 1991, all Indian governments followed protectionist policies that were influenced by socialist economics. Widespread state intervention and regulation largely walled the economy off from the outside world. An acute balance of payments crisis in 1991 forced the nation to liberalise its economy;{{sfn|Wolpert|2003|p = xiv}} since then it has moved slowly towards a free-market system{{sfn|Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2007}}{{sfn|Gargan|1992}} by emphasising both foreign trade and direct investment inflows.{{sfn|Alamgir|2008|pp = 23, 97}} India has been a member of WTO since 1 January 1995.{{sfn|WTO 1995}}The 513.7-million-worker Indian labour force is the world's second-largest, {{As of|2016|lc=y}}.{{sfn|Central Intelligence Agency}} The service sector makes up 55.6% of GDP, the industrial sector 26.3% and the agricultural sector 18.1%. India's foreign exchange remittances of US$70 billion in 2014, the largest in the world, were contributed to its economy by 25 million Indians working in foreign countries.WEB,weblink Pakistan's remittances, Sakib Sherani,, 17 December 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 16 December 2015, 17 April 2015, Major agricultural products include: rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, and potatoes.{{sfn|Library of Congress|2004}} Major industries include: textiles, telecommunications, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, food processing, steel, transport equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, and software.{{sfn|Library of Congress|2004}} In 2006, the share of external trade in India's GDP stood at 24%, up from 6% in 1985.{{sfn|Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2007}} In 2008, India's share of world trade was 1.68%;{{citation|date=28 August 2009|title=Exporters Get Wider Market Reach|newspaper=The Times of India|url=|accessdate=23 July 2011|archive-url=|archive-date=12 September 2014|url-status=live}} In 2011, India was the world's tenth-largest importer and the nineteenth-largest exporter.{{sfn|World Trade Organization 2010}} Major exports include: petroleum products, textile goods, jewellery, software, engineering goods, chemicals, and manufactured leather goods.{{sfn|Library of Congress|2004}} Major imports include: crude oil, machinery, gems, fertiliser, and chemicals.{{sfn|Library of Congress|2004}} Between 2001 and 2011, the contribution of petrochemical and engineering goods to total exports grew from 14% to 42%.{{sfn|Economist 2011}} India was the world's second largest textile exporter after China in the 2013 calendar year.WEB, India world's second largest textiles exporter,weblink economictimes: TechCrunch, 2 June 2014, UN Comtrade, 4 February 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 5 June 2014, live, Averaging an economic growth rate of 7.5% for several years prior to 2007,{{sfn|Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2007}} India has more than doubled its hourly wage rates during the first decade of the 21st century.{{sfn|Bonner|2010}} Some 431 million Indians have left poverty since 1985; India's middle classes are projected to number around 580 million by 2030.{{sfn|Farrell|Beinhocker|2007}} Though ranking 51st in global competitiveness, {{As of|2010|lc=y}}, 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.{{sfn|Schwab|2010}} With seven of the world's top 15 information technology outsourcing companies based in India, {{As of|2009|lc=y}}, the country is viewed as the second-most favourable outsourcing destination after the United States.{{sfn|Sheth|2009}} India's consumer market, the world's eleventh-largest, is expected to become fifth-largest by 2030.{{sfn|Farrell|Beinhocker|2007}} However, barely 2% of Indians pay income taxes.WEB, How Many People in India Pay Income Tax? Hardly Anyone,weblink 6 June 2013,,weblink" title="">weblink 31 December 2013, Driven by growth, India's nominal GDP per capita increased steadily from US$329 in 1991, when economic liberalisation began, to US$1,265 in 2010, to an estimated US$1,723 in 2016. It is expected to grow to US$2,358 by 2020. However, it has remained lower than those of other Asian developing countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and is expected to remain so in the near future. Its GDP per capita is higher than Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and others.{{sfn|International Monetary Fund 2011}}{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=500|caption_align=center| align = left|image_style = border:none;|background color = #F0F8FF| image1 = Bangalore Panorama edit1.jpgsize=110%text=A panorama of Bangalore, the center of India's software development economy. In the 1980s, when the first multinational corporations began to set up centers in India, they chose Bangalore because of the large pool of skilled graduates in the area, in turn due to the many science and engineering colleges in the surrounding region.{{citationfirst1=Allen J.first2=Gioacchinourl=}}}}}}According to a 2011 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, India's GDP at purchasing power parity could overtake that of the United States by 2045.{{sfn|Hawksworth|Tiwari|2011}} 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.{{sfn|Hawksworth|Tiwari|2011}} The report highlights key growth factors: a young and rapidly growing working-age population; growth in the manufacturing sector because of rising education and engineering skill levels; and sustained growth of the consumer market driven by a rapidly growing middle-class.{{sfn|Hawksworth|Tiwari|2011}} The World Bank cautions that, for India to achieve its economic potential, it must continue to focus on public sector reform, transport infrastructure, agricultural and rural development, removal of labour regulations, education, energy security, and public health and nutrition.{{citation|date=September 2010|title=India Country Overview September 2010|publisher=World Bank|url=,,contentMDK:20195738~menuPK:295591~pagePK:141137~piPK:141127~theSitePK:295584,00.html|accessdate=23 July 2011|url-status=dead|archive-url=|archive-date=2011-05-22}}According to the Worldwide Cost of Living Report 2017 released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) which was created by comparing more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services, four of the cheapest cities were in India: Bangalore (3rd), Mumbai (5th), Chennai (5th) and New Delhi (8th).JOURNAL,weblink Measuring the cost of living worldwide, The Economist, 25 May 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 25 May 2017, 21 March 2017,


{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=220|caption_align=center|image_style = border:none;|background color = #F5F5DC| align = right |image1=Cherry Resort inside Temi Tea Garden, Namchi, Sikkim.jpg|caption1={{font|size=110%|font=|text=A tea garden in Sikkim. India, the world's second largest-producer of tea, is a nation of one billion tea drinkers, who consume 70% of India's tea output.}}}}India's telecommunication industry, the world's fastest-growing, added 227 million subscribers during the period 2010–2011,{{sfn|Telecom Regulatory Authority 2011}} and after the third quarter of 2017, India surpassed the US to become the second largest smartphone market in the world after China.NEWS, Danish, Khan, Indian smartphone market grows 23% to overtake US in Q3; Samsung, Xiaomi drive shipments,weblink The Economic Times, 28 October 2017, 5 November 2017,weblink 31 October 2017, The Indian automotive industry, the world's second-fastest growing, increased domestic sales by 26% during 2009–2010,{{sfn|Business Line 2010}} and exports by 36% during 2008–2009.{{sfn|Express India 2009}} India's capacity to generate electrical power is 300 gigawatts, of which 42 gigawatts is renewable.WEB,weblink India's total power capacity crosses 300 gw mark, NDTV India, NDTV,weblink" title="">weblink 16 June 2017, At the end of 2011, the Indian IT industry employed 2.8 million professionals, generated revenues close to US$100 billion equalling 7.5% of Indian GDP, and contributed 26% of India's merchandise exports.{{sfn|Nasscom 2011–2012}}The pharmaceutical industry in India is among the significant emerging markets for the global pharmaceutical industry. The Indian pharmaceutical market is expected to reach $48.5 billion by 2020. India's R & D spending constitutes 60% of the biopharmaceutical industry.NEWS, Vishal Dutta,weblink Indian biotech industry at critical juncture, global biotech stabilises: Report, The Economic Times, 10 July 2012, 31 October 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 16 January 2013, live, NEWS,weblink Indian pharmaceutical industry – growth story to continue, Express Pharma, 15 January 2012, 31 October 2012,weblink" title="">weblink 16 January 2013, India is among the top 12 biotech destinations in the world.Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Sector in India: sector briefing by the UK Trade and Investment 2011,{{sfn|Yep|2011}} The Indian biotech industry grew by 15.1% in 2012–2013, increasing its revenues from 204.4 billion INR (Indian rupees) to 235.24 billion INR (3.94 B US$ – exchange rate June 2013: 1 US$ approx. 60 INR).WEB,weblink Differding Consulting Publi 6,, 11 February 2014, 4 April 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 23 February 2014,

Socio-economic challenges

{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=220|caption_align=center| align = left|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FFF5EE| image1 = Female health workers in India (34332433890).jpgsize=110%text=Female health workers about to begin another day of immunization against infectious diseases in 2006. Eight years later, and three years after India's last case of polio, the World Health Organization on 11 February 2014 declared India to be polio-free.}}{{citationfirst1=Margarettitle=Address at the "India celebrates triumph over polio" eventpublisher=World Health Organizationurl=}}}}Despite economic growth during recent decades, India continues to face socio-economic challenges. In 2006, India contained the largest number of people living below the World Bank's international poverty line of US$1.25 per day.{{citation|date=29 May 2006|title=Inclusive Growth and Service Delivery: Building on India's Success|publisher=World Bank|url=|accessdate=7 May 2009|archive-url=|archive-date=14 May 2012|url-status=dead}} The proportion decreased from 60% in 1981 to 42% in 2005.{{citation|title=New Global Poverty Estimates – What It Means for India|publisher=World Bank|url=,,contentMDK:21880725~pagePK:141137~piPK:141127~theSitePK:295584,00.html|accessdate=23 July 2011|url-status=dead|archive-url=|archive-date=6 May 2012}} Under the World Bank's later revised poverty line, it was 21% in 2011.{{efn|In 2015, the World Bank raised its international poverty line to $1.90 per day.WEB, Kenny, Charles, Sandefur, Justin, Why the World Bank is changing the definition of the word "poor",weblink Vox Media, Vox, 26 February 2017, 7 October 2015,weblink" title="">weblink 14 January 2017, }}WEB, Poverty headcount ratio at $1.90 a day (2011 PPP) (% of population),weblink World Bank, 26 February 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 15 February 2017, 30.7% of India's children under the age of five are underweight.WEB, India's rank improves to 55th position on global hunger index,weblink 13 October 2014, India Times, 18 October 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 19 October 2014, live, According to a Food and Agriculture Organization report in 2015, 15% of the population is undernourished.NEWS,weblink India is home to 194 million hungry people: UN, Internet Desk, The Hindu,weblink" title="">weblink 2 December 2016, 28 May 2015, WEB,weblink India home to world's largest number of hungry people: report,,weblink" title="">weblink 29 May 2015, 29 May 2015, The Mid-Day Meal Scheme attempts to lower these rates.{{sfn|Drèze|Goyal|2008|p = 46}}According to a 2016 Walk Free Foundation report there were an estimated 18.3 million people in India, or 1.4% of the population, living in the forms of modern slavery, such as bonded labour, child labour, human trafficking, and forced begging, among others.NEWS,weblink India – Global Slavery Index 2016, 21 November 2017, Walk Free Foundation,weblink" title="">weblink 3 May 2017, WEB,weblink Bonded labourers, sex workers, forced beggars: India leads world in slavery, 31 May 2016,, 21 November 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 1 October 2017, NEWS, India ranks fourth in global slavery survey,weblink 1 June 2016, 21 November 2017, Times of India,weblink" title="">weblink 1 October 2017, According to the 2011 census, there were 10.1 million child labourers in the country, a decline of 2.6 million from 12.6 million in 2001.WEB,weblink Child labour in India, International Labour Organization, 21 November 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 1 December 2017, Since 1991, economic inequality between India's states has consistently grown: the per-capita net state domestic product of the richest states in 2007 was 3.2 times that of the poorest.{{sfn|Pal|Ghosh|2007}} Corruption in India is perceived to have decreased. According to the Corruption Perceptions Index, India ranked 78th out of 180 countries in 2018 with a score of 41 out of 100, an improvement from 85th in 2014.WEB,weblink India improves its ranking on corruption index, 27 January 2016, The Hindu, 21 November 2017,weblink 20 August 2018, live, WEB,weblink Corruption Perceptions Index 2018, Transparency International,, 15 July 2019,weblink 21 April 2019, live,

Demographics, languages, and religion

{{multiple image|perrow=2|total_width=440|caption_align=center|background color = #F5F5DC| align = right| title = India by population density, religion, languagecaption1={{fonttext=The population density of India by natural divisions, based on the Indian census of 1901}}caption2={{fonttext=Population density of India by each state, based on the Indian census of 2011}}caption3={{fonttext=The prevailing religions of South Asia based on district-wise majorities in the 1901 census}}caption4={{fonttext=The language families of South Asia}}| footer =}}With 1,210,193,422 residents reported in the 2011 provisional census report,{{sfn|Provisional Population Totals Paper 1 of 2011 India|p=160}} India is the world's second-most populous country. Its population grew by 17.64% from 2001 to 2011,{{sfn|Provisional Population Totals Paper 1 of 2011 India|p=165}} compared to 21.54% growth in the previous decade (1991–2001).{{sfn|Provisional Population Totals Paper 1 of 2011 India|p=165}} The human sex ratio, according to the 2011 census, is 940 females per 1,000 males.{{sfn|Provisional Population Totals Paper 1 of 2011 India|p=160}} The median age was 27.6 {{as of|2016|lc=on}}.{{sfn|Central Intelligence Agency}} The first post-colonial census, conducted in 1951, counted 361 million people.WEB,weblink Census Population, Census of India, Ministry of Finance (India), dead,weblink" title="">weblink 12 August 2011, 13 February 2013, Medical advances made in the last 50 years as well as increased agricultural productivity brought about by the "Green Revolution" have caused India's population to grow rapidly.{{sfn|Rorabacher|2010|pp = 35–39}}The average life expectancy in India is at 68 years—69.6 years for women, 67.3 years for men.NEWS,weblink Life expectancy in India, Times of India,weblink" title="">weblink 21 September 2014, There are around 50 physicians per 100,000 Indians.{{sfn|Dev|Rao|2009|p = 329}} Migration from rural to urban areas has been an important dynamic in India's recent history. The number of people living in urban areas grew by 31.2% between 1991 and 2001.{{sfn|Garg|2005}} Yet, in 2001, over 70% still lived in rural areas.{{sfn|Dyson|Visaria|2005|pp = 115–129}}{{sfn|Ratna|2007|pp = 271–272}} The level of urbanisation increased further from 27.81% in the 2001 Census to 31.16% in the 2011 Census. The slowing down of the overall population growth rate was due to the sharp decline in the growth rate in rural areas since 1991.{{sfn|Chandramouli|2011}} According to the 2011 census, there are 53 million-plus urban agglomerations in India; among them Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad, in decreasing order by population.WEB,weblink Urban Agglomerations/Cities having population 1 lakh and above, Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India, 12 May 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 17 October 2013, The literacy rate in 2011 was 74.04%: 65.46% among females and 82.14% among males.{{sfn|Provisional Population Totals Paper 1 of 2011 India|p=163}} The rural-urban literacy gap, which was 21.2 percentage points in 2001, dropped to 16.1 percentage points in 2011. The improvement in the rural literacy rate is twice that of urban areas.{{sfn|Chandramouli|2011}} Kerala is the most literate state with 93.91% literacy; while Bihar the least with 63.82%.{{sfn|Provisional Population Totals Paper 1 of 2011 India|p=163}}{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=220|caption_align=center|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FAEBD7| align = left |image1=Interior of San Thome Basilica.jpg|caption1={{font|size=110%|font=|text=The interior of San Thome Basilica, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Christianity is believed to have been introduced to India by the late 2nd century by Syriac-speaking Christians.}}}}India is home to two major language families: Indo-Aryan (spoken by about 74% of the population) and Dravidian (spoken by 24% of the population). Other languages spoken in India come from the Austroasiatic and Sino-Tibetan language families. India has no national language.{{sfn|Dharwadker|2010|pp = 168–194, 186}} Hindi, with the largest number of speakers, is the official language of the government.{{sfn|Ottenheimer|2008|p = 303}}{{sfn|Mallikarjun|2004}} English is used extensively in business and administration and has the status of a "subsidiary official language";{{sfn|Ministry of Home Affairs 1960}} it is important in education, especially as a medium of higher education. Each state and union territory has one or more official languages, and the constitution recognises in particular 22 "scheduled languages".The 2011 census reported the religion in India with the largest number of followers was Hinduism (79.80% of the population), followed by Islam (14.23%); the remaining were Christianity (2.30%), Sikhism (1.72%), Buddhism (0.70%), Jainism (0.36%) and others{{efn|name=remaining religions}} (0.9%).WEB,weblink C −1 Population by religious community – 2011, Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, 25 August 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 25 August 2015, India has the world's largest Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Zoroastrian, and Bahá'í populations, and has the third-largest Muslim population—the largest for a non-Muslim majority country.NEWS,weblink Global Muslim population estimated at 1.57 billion,weblink" title="">weblink 1 June 2013, The Hindu, 8 October 2009, WEB,weblink India Chapter Summary 2012, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom,weblink" title="">weblink 7 April 2014,


{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=220|caption_align=center|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FAEBD7| align = right |image1=Sikh pilgrim at the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) in Amritsar, India.jpg|caption1={{font|size=110%|font=|text=A Sikh pilgrim at the Harmandir Sahib, or Golden Temple, in Amritsar, Punjab }}}}Indian cultural history spans more than 4,500{{Nbsp}}years.{{sfn|Kuiper|2010|p = 15}} During the Vedic period ({{Circa|1700|500{{nbsp}}BCE}}), the foundations of Hindu philosophy, mythology, theology and literature were laid, and many beliefs and practices which still exist today, such as dhárma, kárma, yóga, and mokṣa, were established.{{sfn|Kuiper|2010|p = 86}} India is notable for its religious diversity, with Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, and Jainism among the nation's major religions.{{sfn|Heehs|2002|pp = 2–5}} The predominant religion, Hinduism, has been shaped by various historical schools of thought, including those of the Upanishads,{{sfn|Deutsch|1969|pp = 3, 78}} the Yoga Sutras, the Bhakti movement,{{sfn|Heehs|2002|pp = 2–5}} and by Buddhist philosophy.{{sfn|Nakamura|1999}}

Art, architecture and literature

{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=200|caption_align=center|image_style = border:none;|background color = #F0F8FF| align = left |image1=Gomateswara, Shravanabelagola.jpg|caption1={{font|size=110%|font=|text=A Jain woman washes the feet of Bahubali Gomateswara at Shravanabelagola, Karnataka. }}}}Much of Indian architecture, including the Taj Mahal, other works of Mughal architecture, and South Indian architecture, blends ancient local traditions with imported styles.{{sfn|Kuiper|2010|pp = 296–329}} Vernacular architecture is also regional in its flavours. Vastu shastra, literally "science of construction" or "architecture" and ascribed to Mamuni Mayan,{{sfn|Silverman|2007|p = 20}} explores how the laws of nature affect human dwellings;{{sfn|Kumar|2000|p = 5}} it employs precise geometry and directional alignments to reflect perceived cosmic constructs.{{sfn|Roberts|2004|p = 73}} As applied in Hindu temple architecture, it is influenced by the Shilpa Shastras, a series of foundational texts whose basic mythological form is the Vastu-Purusha mandala, a square that embodied the "absolute".{{sfn|Lang|Moleski|2010|pp = 151–152}} The Taj Mahal, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by orders of Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, has been described in the UNESCO World Heritage List as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage".{{sfn|United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation}} Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture, developed by the British in the late 19th century, drew on Indo-Islamic architecture.{{sfn|Chopra|2011|p = 46}}The earliest literature in India, composed between 1500 BCE and 1200 CE, was in the Sanskrit language.{{sfn|Hoiberg|Ramchandani|2000}} Major works of Sanskrit literature include the Rigveda (c. 1500 BCE – 1200 BCE), the epics: Mahābhārata (c. 400 BCE – 400 CE) and the Ramayana (c. 300 BCE and later); Abhijñānaśākuntalam (The Recognition of Śakuntalā, and other dramas of Kālidāsa (c. 5th century CE) and Mahākāvya poetry.{{sfn|Johnson|2008}}{{sfn|MacDonell|2004|pp = 1–40}}{{sfn|Kālidāsa|Johnson|2001}} In Tamil literature, the Sangam literature (c. 600 BCE – 300 BCE) consisting of 2,381 poems, composed by 473 poets, is the earliest work.{{sfn|Zvelebil|1997|p = 12}}{{sfn|Hart|1975}}{{sfn|Encyclopædia Britannica|2008}}{{sfn|Ramanujan|1985|pp = ix–x}} From the 14th to the 18th centuries, India's literary traditions went through a period of drastic change because of the emergence of devotional poets like Kabīr, Tulsīdās, and Guru Nānak. This period was characterised by a varied and wide spectrum of thought and expression; as a consequence, medieval Indian literary works differed significantly from classical traditions.{{sfn|Das|2005}} In the 19th century, Indian writers took a new interest in social questions and psychological descriptions. In the 20th century, Indian literature was influenced by the works of the Bengali poet and novelist Rabindranath Tagore,{{sfn|Datta|2006}} who was a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Performing arts and media

{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=200|caption_align=center|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FFF0F5| align = right |image1=Kuchipudi Performer DS.jpg|caption1={{font|size=110%|font=|text=India's National Academy of Performance Arts has recognized eight Indian dance styles to be classical. One such is Kuchipudi shown here. }}}}Indian music ranges over various traditions and regional styles. Classical music encompasses two genres and their various folk offshoots: the northern Hindustani and southern Carnatic schools.{{sfn|Massey|Massey|1998}} Regionalised popular forms include filmi and folk music; the syncretic tradition of the bauls is a well-known form of the latter. Indian dance also features diverse folk and classical forms. Among the better-known folk dances are: the bhangra of Punjab, the bihu of Assam, the Jhumair and chhau of Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal, garba and dandiya of Gujarat, ghoomar of Rajasthan, and the lavani of Maharashtra. Eight dance forms, many with narrative forms and mythological elements, have been accorded classical dance status by India's National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama. These are: bharatanatyam of the state of Tamil Nadu, kathak of Uttar Pradesh, kathakali and mohiniyattam of Kerala, kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, manipuri of Manipur, odissi of Odisha, and the sattriya of Assam.{{sfn|Encyclopædia Britannica b}} Theatre in India melds music, dance, and improvised or written dialogue.{{sfn|Lal|2004|pp = 23, 30, 235}} Often based on Hindu mythology, but also borrowing from medieval romances or social and political events, Indian theatre includes: the bhavai of Gujarat, the jatra of West Bengal, the nautanki and ramlila of North India, tamasha of Maharashtra, burrakatha of Andhra Pradesh, terukkuttu of Tamil Nadu, and the yakshagana of Karnataka.{{sfn|Karanth|2002|p = 26}} India has a theatre training institute the National School of Drama (NSD) that is situated at New Delhi It is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.WEB,weblink The Sunday Tribune – Spectrum,, 4 October 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 10 October 2017, The Indian film industry produces the world's most-watched cinema.{{sfn|Dissanayake|Gokulsing|2004}} Established regional cinematic traditions exist in the Assamese, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Odia, Tamil, and Telugu languages.{{sfn|Rajadhyaksha|Willemen|1999|page = 652}} South Indian cinema attracts more than 75% of national film revenue.{{sfn|The Economic Times}}Television broadcasting began in India in 1959 as a state-run medium of communication and expanded slowly for more than two decades.Sunetra Sen Narayan, Globalization and Television: A Study of the Indian Experience, 1990–2010 (Oxford University Press, 2015); 307 pages{{sfn|Kaminsky|Long|2011|pp = 684–692}} The state monopoly on television broadcast ended in the 1990s. Since then, satellite channels have increasingly shaped the popular culture of Indian society.{{sfn|Mehta|2008|pp = 1–10}} Today, television is the most penetrative media in India; industry estimates indicate that {{As of|2012|lc=y}} there are over 554 million TV consumers, 462 million with satellite and/or cable connections, compared to other forms of mass media such as the press (350 million), radio (156 million) or internet (37 million).{{sfn|Media Research Users Council 2012}}


{{multiple image|perrow=1|total_width=220|caption_align=center|image_style = border:none;|background color = #F0FFF0| align = left |image1=Muslims praying in mosque in Srinagar, Kashmir.jpg|caption1={{font|size=110%|font=|text=Muslims offer namaz at a mosque in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.}}}}Traditional Indian society is sometimes defined by social hierarchy. The Indian caste system embodies much of the social stratification and many of the social restrictions found in the Indian subcontinent. Social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups, often termed as jātis, or "castes".{{sfn|Schwartzberg|2011}} India declared untouchability to be illegal"Spiritual Terrorism: Spiritual Abuse from the Womb to the Tomb", p. 391, by Boyd C. Purcell in 1947 and has since enacted other anti-discriminatory laws and social welfare initiatives. At the workplace in urban India, and in international or leading Indian companies, caste-related identification has pretty much lost its importance.{{sfn|Messner|2009|pp = 51-53}}{{sfn|Messner|2012|pp = 27-28}}Family values are important in the Indian tradition, and multi-generational patriarchal joint families have been the norm in India, though nuclear families are becoming common in urban areas.{{sfn|Makar|2007}} An overwhelming majority of Indians, with their consent, have their marriages arranged by their parents or other family elders.{{sfn|Medora|2003}} Marriage is thought to be for life,{{sfn|Medora|2003}} and the divorce rate is extremely low.{{sfn|Jones|Ramdas|2005|p = 111}} {{As of|2001}}, just 1.6 percent of Indian women were divorced, but this figure was rising due to their education and economic independence.{{sfn|Jones|Ramdas|2005|p = 111}} Child marriages are common, especially in rural areas; many women wed before reaching 18, which is their legal marriageable age.{{sfn|Cullen-Dupont|2009|p = 96}} Female infanticide and female foeticide in the country have caused a discrepancy in the sex ratio; {{As of|2005|lc=y}} it was estimated that there were 50 million more males than females in the nation.{{sfn|Bunting|2011}}{{sfn|Agnivesh|2005}} However, a report from 2011 has shown improvement in the gender ratio.WEB,weblink 2011 Census Data, Gender Composition,weblink" title="">weblink 13 November 2013, The payment of dowry, although illegal, remains widespread across class lines.NEWS,weblink Woman killed over dowry 'every hour' in India, telegraph, 10 February 2014, 2 September 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 23 March 2014, Deaths resulting from dowry, mostly from bride burning, are on the rise, despite stringent anti-dowry laws.NEWS,weblink Rising number of dowry deaths in India:NCRB, The Hindu, 10 February 2014, Ignatius Pereira, 7 August 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 7 February 2014, Many Indian festivals are religious in origin. The best known include: Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Thai Pongal, Holi, Durga Puja, Eid ul-Fitr, Bakr-Id, Christmas, and Vaisakhi.{{Citation|url=|title=Indian Festivals|website=sscnet.ucla.eduaccessdate=14 May 2016|archiveurl=|archivedate=14 July 2016}}{{Citation |url=weblink
|title= Popular India Festivals | | accessdate = 23 December 2007 |archiveurl =weblink" title="">weblink |archivedate = 28 July 2011 }}


{{multiple image|perrow=2|total_width=500|caption_align=center| align = right|image_style = border:none;|background color = #F0FFFF| image1 = India School.jpg| image2 = Water pump, Varanasi (15563170660) Cropped.jpgsize=110%text=Women in sari at an adult literacy class in Tamil Nadu; right: a man in dhoti, wearing a woollen shawl in Varanasi}}}}The most widely worn traditional dress in India, for both women and men, from ancient times until the advent of modern times, was draped.{{citation|last=Tarlo|first=Emma|title=Clothing Matters: Dress and Identity in India|url=|year=1996|publisher=University of Chicago Press|location=Chicago and London|isbn=978-0-226-78976-7|page=26}} For women it eventually took the form of a sari, a single long piece of cloth, famously six yards long, and of width spanning the lower body. The sari is tied around the waist and knotted at one end, wrapped around the lower body, and then over the shoulder. In its more modern form, it has been used to cover the head, and sometimes the face, as a veil. It has been combined with an underskirt, or Indian petticoat, and tucked in the waist band for more secure fastening, It is also commonly worn with an Indian blouse, or choli, which serves as the primary upper-body garment, the sari's end, passing over the shoulder, now serving to obscure the upper body's contours, and to cover the midriff.For men, a similar but shorter length of cloth, the dhoti, has served as a lower-body garment.{{citation|last=Tarlo|first=Emma|title=Clothing Matters: Dress and Identity in India|url=|year=1996|publisher=University of Chicago Press|location=Chicago and London|isbn=978-0-226-78976-7|pages=26–28}} It too is tied around the waist and wrapped. In south India, it is usually wrapped around the lower body, the upper end tucked in the waistband, the lower left free. In addition, in northern India, it is also wrapped once around each leg before being brought up through the legs to be tucked in at the back. Other forms of traditional apparel that involve no stitching or tailoring are the chaddar (a shawl worn by both sexes to cover the upper body during colder weather, or a large veil worn by women for framing the head, or covering it) and the pagri (a turban or a scarf worn around the head as a part of a tradition, or to keep off the sun or the cold).{{multiple image|perrow=2/2|total_width=440|caption_align=center| align = left|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FFF0F5| image1 = Strolling_Shoppers_in_Paltan_Bazaar.jpg| image2 = Kurta traditional front sandalwood buttons.jpg| image3 = Girls in Kargil.jpg| image4 = Happy Tailor (5274603493).jpgsize=110%text=From top left to bottom right (a) Women (from l. to r) churidars and kameez, with back to the camera; in jeans and sweater; in pink Shalwar kameez shopping; (b) a boy in kurta with chikan embroidery; (c) girls in the Kashmir region in embroidered hijab; (d) a tailor in pagri and kameez working outside a fabric shop}}}}Until the beginning of the first millennium CE, the ordinary dress of people in India was entirely unstitched. The arrival of the Kushans from Central Asia, circa 48 CE, popularized cut and sewn garments in the style of Central Asian favoured by the elite in northern India. However, it was not until Muslim rule was established, first with the Delhi sultanate and then the Mughal Empire, that the range of stitched clothes in India grew and their use became significantly more widespread. Among the various garments gradually establishing themselves in northern India during medieval and early-modern times and now commonly worn are: the shalwars and pyjamas both forms of trousers, as well as the tunics kurta and kameez. In southern India, however, the traditional draped garments were to see much longer continuous use.Shalwars are atypically wide at the waist but narrow to a cuffed bottom. They are held up by a drawstring or elastic belt, which causes them to become pleated around the waist.{{citation|last1=Stevenson|first1=Angus|last2=Waite|first2=Maurice|title=Concise Oxford English Dictionary: Book & CD-ROM Set|url=|year=2011|publisher=Oxford University Press|accessdate=3 September 2019|isbn=978-0-19-960110-3|page=1272}} The pants can be wide and baggy, or they can be cut quite narrow, on the bias, in which case they are called churidars. The kameez is a long shirt or tunic.{{citation|last1=Stevenson|first1=Angus|last2=Waite|first2=Maurice|title=Concise Oxford English Dictionary: Book & CD-ROM Set|url=|year=2011|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=978-0-19-960110-3|page=774}} The side seams are left open below the waist-line,{{citation|url=|author=Platts, John T. (John Thompson)|title=A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi, and English|location=London|page=418|publisher=W. H. Allen & Co.|year= 1884}} (online; updated February 2015)), which gives the wearer greater freedom of movement. The kameez is usually cut straight and flat; older kameez use traditional cuts; modern kameez are more likely to have European-inspired set-in sleeves. The kameez may have a European-style collar, a Mandarin-collar, or it may be collarless; in the latter case, its design as a women's garment is similar to a kurta.{{citation|last1=Stevenson|first1=Angus|last2=Waite|first2=Maurice|title=Concise Oxford English Dictionary: Book & CD-ROM Set|url=|year=2011|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=978-0-19-960110-3|page=792}} At first worn by Muslim women, the use of shalwar kameez gradually spread, making them a regional style,{{citation|last=Tarlo|first=Emma|title=Clothing Matters: Dress and Identity in India|url=|year=1996|publisher=University of Chicago Press|location=Chicago and London|isbn=978-0-226-78976-7|page=28}}{{citation|last=Tarlo|first=Emma|title=Clothing Matters: Dress and Identity in India|url=|year=1996|publisher=University of Chicago Press|isbn=978-0-226-78976-7|page=133}} especially in the Punjab region.{{citation|last=Mooney|first=Nicola|title=Rural Nostalgias and Transnational Dreams: Identity and Modernity Among Jat Sikhs|url=|year=2011|publisher=University of Toronto Press|isbn=978-0-8020-9257-1|page=260|access-date=29 August 2019|archive-url=|archive-date=20 June 2019|url-status=live}}{{citation|last=Shome|first=Raka|title=Diana and Beyond: White Femininity, National Identity, and Contemporary Media Culture|url=|year=2014|publisher=University of Illinois Press|isbn=978-0-252-09668-6|pages=102–103}}A kurta, which traces its roots to Central Asian nomadic tunics, has evolved stylistically in India as a garment for everyday wear as well as for formal occasions.{{citation |last=Alkazi |first=Roshen |editor=Rahman, Abdur |title=India's Interaction with China, Central and West Asia |chapter-url= |year=2002 |publisher=Oxford University Press |isbn=978-0-19-565789-0 |pages=464–484 |chapter=Evolution of Indian Costume as a result of the links between Central Asia and India in ancient and medieval times}} It is traditionally made of cotton or silk; it is worn plain or with embroidered decoration, such as chikan; and it can be loose or tight in the torso, typically falling either just above or somewhere below the wearer's knees. The sleeves of a traditional kurta fall to the wrist without narrowing, the ends hemmed but not cuffed; the kurta can be worn by both men and women; it is traditionally collarless, though standing collars are increasingly popular; and it can be worn over ordinary pajamas, loose shalwars, churidars, or less traditionally over jeans.{{citation|last=Shukla|first=Pravina|title=The Grace of Four Moons: Dress, Adornment, and the Art of the Body in Modern India|url=|year=2015|publisher=Indiana University Press|isbn=978-0-253-02121-2|page=71}}In the last 50 years, fashions have changed a great deal in India. Increasingly, in urban settings in northern India, the sari is no longer the apparel of everyday wear, transformed instead into one for formal occasions.{{citation|last=Dwyer|first=Rachel|authorlink=Rachel Dwyer|title=Bollywood's India: Hindi Cinema as a Guide to Contemporary India|url=|year=2014|publisher=Reaktion Books|isbn=978-1-78023-304-8|pages=244–245}} The traditional shalwar kameez is rarely worn by younger women, who favour churidars or jeans. The kurtas worn by young men usually fall to the shins and are seldom plain. In white-collar office settings, ubiquitous air conditioning allows men to wear sports jackets year-round. For weddings and formal occasions, men in the middle- and upper classes often wear bandgala, or short Nehru jackets, with pants, with the groom and his groomsmen sporting sherwanis and churidars. The dhoti, the once universal garment of Hindu India, the wearing of which in the homespun and handwoven form of khadi allowed Gandhi to bring Indian nationalism to the millions,{{citation|last=Dwyer|first=Rachel|authorlink=Rachel Dwyer|editor=Stella Bruzzi, Pamela Church Gibson|title=Fashion Cultures: Theories, Explorations and Analysis|chapter-url=|year=2013|publisher=Routledge|isbn=978-1-136-29537-9|pages=178–189|chapter=Bombay Ishtyle|authormask=|chapterurl=}}is seldom seen in the cities, reduced now, with brocaded border, to the liturgical vestments of Hindu priests.


{{multiple image|perrow=2/2/2|total_width=440|caption_align=center| align = right|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FDF5E6| image4 = Vindalho.jpg| image3 = Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani.jpg| image6 = Odia Mutton Curry (Mansha Tarkari) Rotated.jpg| image2 = Assamese Thali.jpg| image1 = South Indian Thali Cropped.jpg| image5 = Tiffin wallah lunch.jpgsize=110%text=Top l. to bottom r. (a) South Indian vegetarian thali, or platter; (b) an Assamese thali (c) Chicken Hyderabadi biryani, (d) Pork vindaloo from Goa, (e) Home-cooked lunch delivered to the office by the tiffin wallah; (e) Mutton curry>Railway mutton curry from Odisha.}} }}Indian cuisine consists of a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic groups, and occupations, these cuisines vary substantially from each other, using locally available spices, herbs, vegetables, and fruit. Indian foodways have been influenced by religion, in particular Hindu cultural choices and traditions.BOOK, Dias, Steward, The,weblink 29 June 2012, 1 January 1996, Orient Blackswan, 978-81-250-0325-0, 215,weblink 28 May 2013, live, They have been also shaped by Islamic rule, particularly that of the Mughals, by the arrival of the Portuguese on India's southwestern shores, and by British rule. These three influences are reflected, respectively, in the dishes of pilaf and biryani; the vindaloo; and the tiffin and the Railway mutton curry.BOOK, Gesteland, Richard R., Gesteland, Mary C., India: Cross-cultural Business Behavior : for Business People, Expatriates and Scholars,weblink 29 June 2012, 23 February 2010, Copenhagen Business School Press DK, 978-87-630-0222-6, 176,weblink 28 May 2013, live, Earlier, the Columbian exchange had brought the potato, the tomato, maize, peanuts, cashew nuts, pineapples, guavas, and most notably, chilli peppers, to India. Each became staples of use.NEWS,weblink The Hindu, 26 June 2012, Potato: historically important vegetable, 16 October 2008, D Balasubramanian, Chennai, India,weblink" title="">weblink 12 July 2012, live, In turn, the spice trade between India and Europe was a catalyst for Europe's Age of Discovery.WEB,weblink The History of the Spice Trade in India, Louise Marie M., Cornillez, Spring 1999,, 30 August 2016,weblink 3 October 2012, live, The cereals grown in India, their choice, times, and regions of planting, correspond strongly to the timing of India's monsoons, and the variation across regions in their associated rainfall.{{citation|last=Sen|first=Colleen Taylor|title=Feasts and Fasts: A History of Food in India|url=|year=2014|publisher=Reaktion Books|isbn=978-1-78023-391-8|pages=164–165}} In general, the broad division of cereal zones in India, as determined by their dependence on rain, was firmly in place before the arrival of artificial irrigation. Rice, which requires a lot of water, has been grown traditionally in regions of high rainfall in the northeast and the western coast, wheat in regions of moderate rainfall, like India's northern plains, and millet in regions of low rainfall, such as on the Deccan Plateau and in Rajasthan.{{citation|last=Roger|first=Delphine |editor=Kiple, Kenneth F. |editor2=Ornelas, Kriemhild Coneè |title=The Cambridge World History of Food|chapter-url=|volume=2|year=2000|publisher=Cambridge University Press|location=Cambridge and New York|isbn=978-0-521-40215-6|pages=1140–1150|chapter=The Middle East and South Asia (in Chapter: History and Culture of Food and Drink in Asia)}}The foundation of a typical Indian meal is a cereal cooked in plain fashion, and complemented with flavorful savory dishes.{{citation|last=Davidson|first=Alan|title=The Oxford Companion to Food|url=|year=2014|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=978-0-19-967733-7|page=409|authormask=}} The latter includes lentils, pulses and vegetables spiced commonly with ginger and garlic, but also more discerningly with a combination of spices that may include coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamon and others as informed by culinary conventions. In an actual meal, this mental representation takes the form of a platter, or thali, with a central place for the cooked cereal, peripheral ones, often in small bowls, for the flavorful accompaniments, and the simultaneous, rather than piecemeal, ingestion of the two in each act of eating, whether by actual mixing—for example of rice and lentils—or in the folding of one—such as bread—around the other, such as cooked vegetables. {{multiple image|perrow=2|total_width=220|caption_align=center| align = left|image_style = border:none;|background color = #FDF5E6| image1 = Making Khameeri Roti in Tandoor in Turkman Gate Old Delhi.webmsize=110%text=A tandoor chef in the Turkman Gate, Old Delhi, makes Khameeri roti (a Muslim style of bread with sourdough).}}}}A notable feature of Indian food is the existence of a number of distinctive vegetarian cuisines, each a feature of the geographical and cultural histories of its adherents.{{citation|last=Davidson|first=Alan|title=The Oxford Companion to Food|url=|year=2014|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=978-0-19-967733-7|page=410}} The appearance of ahimsa, or the avoidance of violence toward all forms of life in many religious orders early in Indian history, especially Upanishadic Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, is thought to have been a notable factor in the prevalence of vegetarianism among a segment of India's Hindu population, especially in southern India, Gujarat, and the Hindi-speaking belt of north-central India, as well as among Jains. Among these groups, strong discomfort is felt at thoughts of eating meat,{{citation|last1=Sahakian|first1=Marlyne|last2=Saloma|first2=Czarina|last3=Erkman|first3=Suren|title=Food Consumption in the City: Practices and patterns in urban Asia and the Pacific|url=|year=2016|publisher=Taylor & Francis|isbn=978-1-317-31050-1|page=50}} and contributes to the low proportional consumption of meat to overall diet in India. Unlike China, which has increased its per capita meat consumption substantially in its years of increased economic growth, in India the strong dietary traditions have contributed to dairy, rather than meat, becoming the preferred form of animal protein consumption accompanying higher economic growth.{{citation|author1=OECD|author2=Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations|title=OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2018-2027|url=|year=2018|publisher=OECD Publishing|isbn=978-92-64-06203-0|page=21}}In the last millennium, the most significant import of cooking techniques into India occurred during the Mughal Empire. The cultivation of rice had spread much earlier from India to Central and West Asia; however, it was during Mughal rule that dishes, such as the pilaf, developed in the interim during the Abbasid caliphate,{{citation|last=Sengupta|first=Jayanta |editor=Freedman, Paul |editor2=Chaplin, Joyce E. |editor3=Albala, Ken |title=Food in Time and Place: The American Historical Association Companion to Food History|chapter-url=|year=2014|publisher=University of California Press|isbn=978-0-520-27745-8|page=74|chapter=India}} and cooking techniques such as the marinating of meat in yogurt, spread into northern India from regions to its northwest.{{citation|last=Collingham|first=Elizabeth M.|title=Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors|url=|year=2007|publisher=Oxford University Press |isbn=978-0-19-532001-5|page=25|authormask=}} To the simple yogurt marinade of Persia, onions, garlic, almonds, and spices began to be added in India. Rice grown to the southwest of the Mughal capital, Agra, which had become famous in the Islamic world for its fine grain, was partially cooked and layered alternately with the sauteed meat, the pot sealed tightly, and slow cooked according to another Persian cooking technique, to produce what has today become the Indian biryani, a feature of festive dining in many parts of India.{{citation|last1=Nandy|first1=Ashis|authorlink=Ashis Nandy|title=The Changing Popular Culture of Indian Food: Preliminary Notes|journal=South Asia Research |volume=24 year=2004issn=0262-7280citeseerx=}}In food served in restaurants in urban north India, and internationally, the diversity of Indian food has been partially concealed by the dominance of Punjabi cuisine. This was caused in large part by an entrepreneurial response among people from the Punjab region who had been displaced by the 1947 partition of India, and had arrived in India as refugees. The identification of Indian cuisine with the tandoori chicken—cooked in the tandoor oven, which had traditionally been used for baking bread in the rural Punjab and the Delhi region, especially among Muslims, but which is originally from Central Asia—dates to this period.

Sports and recreation

{{multiple image| perrow = 1| total_width = 500| caption_align = center| image_style = border:none;| background color = #F0FFF0| image1 = Sachin Tendulkar about to score 14000th run in test cricket.jpgsize=110%During a twenty-four-year career, Sachin Tendulkar has set many batting records in cricket. The picture shows him about to score a record 14,000 runs in test cricket while playing Australia in Bangalore on 10 October 2010.}}| direction = | alt1 = | image2 = | caption2 = }}In India, several traditional indigenous sports remain fairly popular, such as kabaddi, kho kho, pehlwani and gilli-danda. Some of the earliest forms of Asian martial arts, such as kalarippayattu, musti yuddha, silambam, and marma adi, originated in India. Chess, commonly held to have originated in India as chaturaṅga, is regaining widespread popularity with the rise in the number of Indian grandmasters.{{sfn|Wolpert|2003|p = 2}}{{sfn|Rediff 2008 b}} Pachisi, from which parcheesi derives, was played on a giant marble court by Akbar.{{sfn|Binmore|2007|p = 98}}The improved results garnered by the Indian Davis Cup team and other (:Category:Indian tennis players|Indian tennis players) in the early 2010s have made tennis increasingly popular in the country.{{sfn|The Wall Street Journal 2009}} India has a (:Category:Indian sport shooters|comparatively strong presence) in shooting sports, and has won several medals at the Olympics, the World Shooting Championships, and the Commonwealth Games.{{sfn|British Broadcasting Corporation 2010 b}}{{sfn|The Times of India 2010}} Other sports in which Indians have succeeded internationally include badminton{{sfn|British Broadcasting Corporation 2010 a}} (Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu are two of the top-ranked female badminton players in the world), boxing,{{sfn|Mint 2010}} and wrestling.{{sfn|Xavier|2010}} Football is popular in West Bengal, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and the north-eastern states.{{sfn|Majumdar|Bandyopadhyay|2006|pp = 1–5}}{{multiple image| perrow = 1| total_width = 220| caption_align = center| image_style = border:none;| background color = #FDF5E6| align = right| image1 = Filles jouant à la marelle, Jaura, Inde.jpgsize=110%Girls play hopscotch in Juara, Madhya Pradesh. Hopscotch has been commonly played by girls in rural India.{{citationfirst1=Radhikafirst2=Lesliefirst3=Hui Huiurl= Books Internationalpage=109}} Quote: "Girls in India usually play jump rope, or hopscotch, and five stones, tossing the stones up in the air and catching them in many different ways ... the coconut-plucking contests, groundnut-eating races, ... of rural India."}}| direction = | alt1 = | image2 = | caption2 = }}Cricket is the most popular sport in India.{{citation|last=Shores|first=Lori|title=Teens in India|url=|accessdate=24 July 2011|date=15 February 2007|publisher=Compass Point Books|isbn=978-0-7565-2063-2|page=78|archive-url=|archive-date=17 June 2012|url-status=live}} Major domestic competitions include the Indian Premier League, which is the most-watched cricket league in the world and ranks sixth among all sports leagues.WEB,weblink Top 10 most watched sports leagues in the world, 11 January 2016,, en, 2019-05-14,weblink 7 April 2019, live, India has hosted or co-hosted several international sporting events: the 1951 and 1982 Asian Games; the 1987, 1996, and 2011 Cricket World Cup tournaments; the 2003 Afro-Asian Games; the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy; the 2010 Hockey World Cup; the 2010 Commonwealth Games; and the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Major international sporting events held annually in India include the Chennai Open, the Mumbai Marathon, the Delhi Half Marathon, and the Indian Masters. The first Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix featured in late 2011 but has been discontinued from the F1 season calendar since 2014.{{sfn|Dehejia|2011}} India has traditionally been the dominant country at the South Asian Games. An example of this dominance is the basketball competition where the Indian team won three out of four tournaments to date.WEB,weblink Basketball team named for 11th South Asian Games,, 2 January 2010, 8 March 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2 December 2012,

See also


{{notes|refs={{efn|name=remaining religions|Besides specific religions, the last two categories in the 2011 Census were "Other religions and persuasions" (0.65%) and "Religion not stated" (0.23%).}}|33em}}




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Further reading

{{Library resources box}}
  • Deb, Debal, "Restoring Rice Biodiversity", Scientific American, vol. 321, no. 4 (October 2019), pp. 54–61. "India originally possessed some 110,000 landraces of rice with diverse and valuable properties. These include enrichment in vital nutrients and the ability to withstand flood, drought, salinity or pest infestations. The Green Revolution covered fields with a few high-yielding varieties, so that roughly 90 percent of the landraces vanished from farmers' collections. High-yielding varieties require expensive inputs. They perform abysmally on marginal farms or in adverse environmental conditions, forcing poor farmers into debt." (p. 54.)

External links

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