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An illustration from an early-modern manuscript of the Sanskrit epic Ramayana, composed in story-telling fashion c. 400 BCE – c. 300 CE.
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. The earliest known modern human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. 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, Pakistan. These gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Dholavira, and Kalibangan, and relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilisation engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade.
During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones. The Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, and historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain. Most historians also consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests, warriors, and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labelling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, and craft traditions.
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. 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.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. In an age of increasing urban wealth, both religions held up renunciation as an ideal, 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. 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. 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.
The Indian early medieval age, from 600 to 1200 CE, is defined by regional kingdoms and cultural diversity. 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. When his successor attempted to expand eastwards, he was defeated by the Pala king of Bengal. 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. No ruler of this period was able to create an empire and consistently control lands much beyond their core region. 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. The caste system consequently began to show regional differences.
In the 6th and 7th centuries, the first devotional hymns were created in the Tamil language. They were imitated all over India and led to both the resurgence of Hinduism and the development of all modern languages of the subcontinent. 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. Temple towns of various sizes began to appear everywhere as India underwent another urbanisation. 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, Brunei, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Indian merchants, scholars, and sometimes armies were involved in this transmission; South-East Asians took the initiative as well, with many sojourning in Indian seminaries and translating Buddhist and Hindu texts into their languages.
After the 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. The sultanate was to control much of North India and to make many forays into South India. Although at first disruptive for the Indian elites, the sultanate largely left its vast non-Muslim subject population to its own laws and customs. By repeatedly repulsing 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. The sultanate's raiding and weakening of the regional kingdoms of South India paved the way for the indigenous Vijayanagara Empire. Embracing a strong Shaivite tradition and building upon the military technology of the sultanate, the empire came to control much of peninsular India, and was to influence South Indian society for long afterwards.
Early modern India
In the early 16th century, northern India, then under mainly Muslim rulers, fell again to the superior mobility and firepower of a new generation of Central Asian warriors. The resulting Mughal Empire did not stamp out the local societies it came to rule. Instead, it balanced and pacified them through new administrative practices and diverse and inclusive ruling elites, leading to more systematic, centralised, and uniform rule. Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic identity, especially under Akbar, the Mughals united their far-flung realms through loyalty, expressed through a Persianised culture, to an emperor who had near-divine status. The Mughal state's economic policies, deriving most revenues from agriculture and mandating that taxes be paid in the well-regulated silver currency, caused peasants and artisans to enter larger markets. The relative peace maintained by the empire during much of the 17th century was a factor in India's economic expansion, resulting in greater patronage of painting, literary forms, textiles, and architecture. 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. Expanding commerce during Mughal rule gave rise to new Indian commercial and political elites along the coasts of southern and eastern India. As the empire disintegrated, many among these elites were able to seek and control their own affairs.
By the early 18th century, with the lines between commercial and political dominance being increasingly blurred, a number of European trading companies, including the English East India Company, had established coastal outposts. The East India Company's control of the seas, greater resources, and more advanced military training and technology led it to increasingly assert its military strength 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. Its further access to the riches of Bengal and the subsequent increased strength and size of its army enabled it to annexe or subdue most of India by the 1820s. 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. By this time, with its economic power severely curtailed by the British parliament and having effectively been made an arm of British administration, the East India Company began more consciously to enter non-economic arenas, including education, social reform and culture.
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. 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. 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. In the decades following, public life gradually emerged all over India, leading eventually to the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885.
The rush of technology and the commercialisation of agriculture in the second half of the 19th century was marked by economic setbacks and many small farmers became dependent on the whims of far-away markets. There was an increase in the number of large-scale famines, and, despite the risks of infrastructure development borne by Indian taxpayers, little industrial employment was generated for Indians. There were also salutary effects: commercial cropping, especially in the newly canalled Punjab, led to increased food production for internal consumption. The railway network provided critical famine relief, notably reduced the cost of moving goods, and helped nascent Indian-owned industry.
After World War I, in which approximately one million Indians served, a new period began. It was marked by British reforms but also repressive legislation, by more strident Indian calls for self-rule, and by the beginnings of a nonviolent movement of non-co-operation, of which Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would become the leader and enduring symbol. During the 1930s, slow legislative reform was enacted by the British; the Indian National Congress won victories in the resulting elections. The next decade was beset with crises: Indian participation in World War II, 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.
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. 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, and increased its geopolitical clout. Indian films, music, and spiritual teachings play an increasing role in global culture. Yet, India is also shaped by seemingly unyielding poverty, both rural and urban; by religious and caste-related violence; by Maoist-inspired Naxalite insurgencies; and by separatism in Jammu and Kashmir and in Northeast India. It has unresolved territorial disputes with China and with Pakistan. 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.
India accounts for the bulk of the Indian subcontinent, lying atop the Indian tectonic plate, a part of the Indo-Australian Plate. 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. Simultaneously, the vast Tethyanoceanic crust, to its northeast, began to subduct under the Eurasian Plate. 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. Immediately south of the emerging Himalayas, plate movement created a vast crescent-shaped trough that rapidly filled with river-borne sediment and now constitutes the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The original Indian plate makes its first appearance above the sediment in the ancient Aravalli range, which extends from the Delhi Ridge in a southwesterly direction. To the west lies the Thar Desert, the eastern spread of which is checked by the Aravallis.
Fishing boats lashed together before a monsoon storm in a tidal creek in Anjarle village, Maharashtra.
The remaining 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. 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; 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 and 68° 7′ and 97° 25′ east longitude.
India's coastline measures 7,517 kilometres (4,700 mi) in length; of this distance, 5,423 kilometres (3,400 mi) belong to peninsular India and 2,094 kilometres (1,300 mi) to the Andaman, Nicobar, and Lakshadweep island chains. 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.
Major Himalayan-origin rivers that substantially flow through India include the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, both of which drain into the Bay of Bengal. 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. 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; and the Narmada and the Tapti, which drain into the Arabian Sea. 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. 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.
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. 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. The Thar Desert plays a crucial role in attracting the moisture-laden south-west summer monsoon winds that, between June and October, provide the majority of India's rainfall. Four major climatic groupings predominate in India: tropical wet, tropical dry, subtropical humid, and montane.
Temperatures in India have risen by 0.7 °C (1.3 °F) between 1901 and 2018.Climate change in India is often thought to be the cause. The retreat of Himalayan glaciers has adversely affected the flow rate of the major Himalayan rivers, including the Ganges and the Brahmaputra. According to some current projections, the number and severity of droughts in India will have markedly increased by the end of the present century.
According to official statistics, India's forest cover is 713,789 km2 (275,595 sq mi), which is 21.71% 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.Very dense forest, whose canopy density is greater than 70%, occupies 3.02% of India's land area. It predominates in the tropical moist forest of the Andaman Islands, the Western Ghats, and Northeast India.Moderately dense forest, whose canopy density is between 40% and 70%, occupies 9.39% 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.Open forest, whose canopy density is between 10% and 40%, occupies 9.26% of India's land area. India has two natural zones of thorn forest, one in the Deccan Plateau, immediately east of the Western Ghats, and the other in the western part of the Indo-Gangetic plain, now turned into rich agricultural land by irrigation, its features no longer visible.
Many Indian species have descended from those of Gondwana, the southern supercontinent from which India separated more than 100 million years ago. 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. Still later, mammals entered India from Asia through two zoogeographical passes flanking the Himalayas. 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. Among endemics are the vulnerablehooded leaf monkey and the threatenedBeddome's toad of the Western Ghats.
The last three Asiatic cheetahs (on record) in India were shot dead in Surguja district, Madhya Pradesh, Central India by Maharajah Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo. The young males, all from the same litter, were sitting together when they were shot at night in 1948.
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 Nehru's daughter 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. 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.
Legislature: The legislature of India is the bicameralparliament. 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). The Rajya Sabha is a permanent body of 245members who serve staggered six-year terms. Most are elected indirectly by the state and union territorial legislatures in numbers proportional to their state's share of the national population. All but two of the Lok Sabha's 545members are elected directly by popular vote; they represent single-member constituencies for five-yearterms. Two seats of parliament, reserved for Anglo-Indian in the article 331, have been scrapped.
India is a federal union comprising 28 states and 8 union territories. 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 five union territories are directly ruled by the central government through appointed administrators. In 1956, under the States Reorganisation Act, states were reorganised on a linguistic basis. There are over a quarter of a million local government bodies at city, town, block, district and village levels.
A clickable map of the 28 states and 8 union territories of India
The President of India is the supreme commander of the nation's armed forces; with 1.45 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. The official Indian defence budget for 2011 was US$36.03 billion, or 1.83% of GDP. Defence expenditure was pegged at US$70.12 billion for fiscal year 2022–23 and, increased 9.8% than previous fiscal year. India is the world's second largest arms importer; between 2016 and 2020, it accounted for 9.5% of the total global arms imports. Much of the military expenditure was focused on defence against Pakistan and countering growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean. In May 2017, the Indian Space Research Organisation launched the South Asia Satellite, a gift from India to its neighbouring SAARC countries. In October 2018, India signed a US$5.43 billion (over ₹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.
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 2019, 43% of India's total workforce was employed in agriculture.
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.
Women tend to a recently planted rice field in Junagadh district in Gujarat. 55% of India's female workforce was employed in agriculture in 2019.
The 522-million-worker Indian labour force is the world's second-largest, as of 2017. 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$87 billion in 2021, highest in the world, were contributed to its economy by 32 million Indians working in foreign countries. Major agricultural products include: rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, and potatoes. Major industries include: textiles, telecommunications, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, food processing, steel, transport equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, and software. In 2006, the share of external trade in India's GDP stood at 24%, up from 6% in 1985. In 2008, India's share of world trade was 1.68%; In 2021, India was the world's ninth-largest importer and the sixteenth-largest exporter. Major exports include: petroleum products, textile goods, jewellery, software, engineering goods, chemicals, and manufactured leather goods. Major imports include: crude oil, machinery, gems, fertiliser, and chemicals. Between 2001 and 2011, the contribution of petrochemical and engineering goods to total exports grew from 14% to 42%. India was the world's second largest textile exporter after China in the 2013 calendar year.
Averaging an economic growth rate of 7.5% for several years prior to 2007, India has more than doubled its hourly wage rates during the first decade of the 21st century. Some 431 million Indians have left poverty since 1985; India's middle classes are projected to number around 580 million by 2030. Though ranking 51st in global competitiveness, as of 2010, India ranks 17th in financial market sophistication, 24th in the banking sector, 44th in business sophistication, and 39th in innovation, ahead of several advanced economies. With seven of the world's top 15 information technology outsourcing companies based in India, as of 2009, the country is viewed as the second-most favourable outsourcing destination after the United States. India is ranked 40th in the Global Innovation Index in 2022. India's consumer market, the world's eleventh-largest, is expected to become fifth-largest by 2030.
Driven by growth, India's nominal GDP per capita increased steadily from US$308 in 1991, when economic liberalisation began, to US$1,380 in 2010, to an estimated US$1,730 in 2016. It is expected to grow to US$2,313 by 2022. However, it has remained lower than those of other Asian developing countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and is expected to remain so in the near future.
A panorama of Bangalore, the centre of India's software development economy. In the 1980s, when the first multinational corporations began to set up centres 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.
According to a 2011 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, India's GDP at purchasing power parity could overtake that of the United States by 2045. During the next four decades, Indian GDP is expected to grow at an annualised average of 8%, making it potentially the world's fastest-growing major economy until 2050. The report highlights key growth factors: a young and rapidly growing working-age population; growth in the manufacturing sector because of rising education and engineering skill levels; and sustained growth of the consumer market driven by a rapidly growing middle-class. The World Bank cautions that, for India to achieve its economic potential, it must continue to focus on public sector reform, transport infrastructure, agricultural and rural development, removal of labour regulations, education, energy security, and public health and nutrition.
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).
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 is the second-largest in the world with over 1.2 billion subscribers. It contributes 6.5% to India's GDP. After the third quarter of 2017, India surpassed the US to become the second largest smartphone market in the world after China.
The Indian automotive industry, the world's second-fastest growing, increased domestic sales by 26% during 2009–2010, and exports by 36% during 2008–2009. 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.
The pharmaceutical industry in India emerged as a global player. As of 2021, with 3000 pharmaceutical companies and 10,500 manufacturing units India is the world's third-largest pharmaceutical producer, largest producer of generic medicines and supply up to 50%—60% of global vaccines demand, these all contribute up to US$24.44 billions in exports and India's local pharmacutical market is estimated up to US$42 billion. India is among the top 12 biotech destinations in the world. The Indian biotech industry grew by 15.1% in 2012–2013, increasing its revenues from ₹204.4 billion (Indian rupees) to ₹235.24 billion (US$3.94 billion at June 2013 exchange rates).
Health workers about to begin another day of immunisation against infectious diseases in 2006. Eight years later, and three years after India's last case of polio, the World Health Organization declared India to be polio-free.
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. The proportion decreased from 60% in 1981 to 42% in 2005. Under the World Bank's later revised poverty line, it was 21% in 2011. 30.7% of India's children under the age of five are underweight. According to a Food and Agriculture Organization report in 2015, 15% of the population is undernourished. The Mid-Day Meal Scheme attempts to lower these rates.
A 2018 Walk Free Foundation report estimated that nearly 8 million people in India were living in different forms of modern slavery, such as bonded labour, child labour, human trafficking, and forced begging, among others. 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.
With 1,210,193,422 residents reported in the 2011 provisional census report, India is the world's second-most populous country. Its population grew by 17.64% from 2001 to 2011, compared to 21.54% growth in the previous decade (1991–2001). The human sex ratio, according to the 2011 census, is 940 females per 1,000 males. The median age was 28.7 as of 2020. The first post-colonial census, conducted in 1951, counted 361 million people. 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.
The average life expectancy in India is at 70 years—71.5 years for women, 68.7 years for men. There are around 93 physicians per 100,000 people. 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. Yet, in 2001, over 70% still lived in rural areas. 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. 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. The literacy rate in 2011 was 74.04%: 65.46% among females and 82.14% among males. 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.Kerala is the most literate state with 93.91% literacy; while Bihar the least with 63.82%.
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.Hindi, with the largest number of speakers, is the official language of the government.English is used extensively in business and administration and has the status of a "subsidiary official language"; it is important in education, 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".
India has a very ancient tradition of art, which has exchanged many influences with the rest of Eurasia, especially in the first millennium, when Buddhist art spread with Indian religions to Central, East and South-East Asia, the last also greatly influenced by Hindu art. Thousands of seals from the Indus Valley Civilization of the third millennium BCE have been found, usually carved with animals, but a few with human figures. The "Pashupati" seal, excavated in Mohenjo-daro, Pakistan, in 1928–29, is the best known. After this there is a long period with virtually nothing surviving. Almost all surviving ancient Indian art thereafter is in various forms of religious sculpture in durable materials, or coins. There was probably originally far more in wood, which is lost. In north India Mauryan art is the first imperial movement. In the first millennium CE, Buddhist art spread with Indian religions to Central, East and South-East Asia, the last also greatly influenced by Hindu art. Over the following centuries a distinctly Indian style of sculpting the human figure developed, with less interest in articulating precise anatomy than ancient Greek sculpture but showing smoothly-flowing forms expressing prana ("breath" or life-force). This is often complicated by the need to give figures multiple arms or heads, or represent different genders on the left and right of figures, as with the Ardhanarishvara form of Shiva and Parvati.
Most of the earliest large sculpture is Buddhist, either excavated from Buddhist stupas such as Sanchi, Sarnath and Amaravati, or is rock-cut reliefs at sites such as Ajanta, Karla and Ellora. Hindu and Jain sites appear rather later. In spite of this complex mixture of religious traditions, generally, the prevailing artistic style at any time and place has been shared by the major religious groups, and sculptors probably usually served all communities.Gupta art, at its peak c. 300 CE – c. 500 CE, is often regarded as a classical period whose influence lingered for many centuries after; it saw a new dominance of Hindu sculpture, as at the Elephanta Caves. Across the north, this became rather stiff and formulaic after c. 800 CE, though rich with finely carved detail in the surrounds of statues. But in the South, under the Pallava and Chola dynasties, sculpture in both stone and bronze had a sustained period of great achievement; the large bronzes with Shiva as Nataraja have become an iconic symbol of India.
Ancient painting has only survived at a few sites, of which the crowded scenes of court life in the Ajanta Caves are by far the most important, but it was evidently highly developed, and is mentioned as a courtly accomplishment in Gupta times. Painted manuscripts of religious texts survive from Eastern India about the 10th century onwards, most of the earliest being Buddhist and later Jain. No doubt the style of these was used in larger paintings. The Persian-derived Deccan painting, starting just before the Mughal miniature, between them give the first large body of secular painting, with an emphasis on portraits, and the recording of princely pleasures and wars. The style spread to Hindu courts, especially among the Rajputs, and developed a variety of styles, with the smaller courts often the most innovative, with figures such as Nihâl Chand and Nainsukh. As a market developed among European residents, it was supplied by Company painting by Indian artists with considerable Western influence. In the 19th century, cheap Kalighat paintings of gods and everyday life, done on paper, were urban folk art from Calcutta, which later saw the Bengal School of Art, reflecting the art colleges founded by the British, the first movement in modern Indian painting.
The earliest literature in India, composed between 1500 BCE and 1200 CE, was in the Sanskrit language. Major works of Sanskrit literature include the Rigveda (c. 1500 BCE – c. 1200 BCE), the epics: Mahābhārata ( c. 400 BCE – c. 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. In Tamil literature, the Sangam literature (c. 600 BCE – c. 300 BCE) consisting of 2,381 poems, composed by 473 poets, is the earliest work. 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. 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, author and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore, who was a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Television broadcasting began in India in 1959 as a state-run medium of communication and expanded slowly for more than two decades. The state monopoly on television broadcast ended in the 1990s. Since then, satellite channels have increasingly shaped the popular culture of Indian society. Today, television is the most penetrative media in India; industry estimates indicate that as of 2012 there are over 554 million TV consumers, 462 million with satellite or cable connections compared to other forms of mass media such as the press (350 million), radio (156 million) or internet (37 million).
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 on the Indian subcontinent. Social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups, often termed as jātis, or "castes". India abolished untouchability in 1950 with the adoption of the constitution and has since enacted other anti-discriminatory laws and social welfare initiatives.
Family values are important in the Indian tradition, and multi-generational patrilinealjoint families have been the norm in India, though nuclear families are becoming common in urban areas. An overwhelming majority of Indians, with their consent, have their marriages arranged by their parents or other family elders. Marriage is thought to be for life, and the divorce rate is extremely low, with less than one in a thousand marriages ending in divorce.Child marriages are common, especially in rural areas; many women wed before reaching 18, which is their legal marriageable age.Female infanticide in India, and lately female foeticide, have created skewed gender ratios; the number of missing women in the country quadrupled from 15 million to 63 million in the 50-year period ending in 2014, faster than the population growth during the same period, and constituting 20 percent of India's female electorate. Accord to an Indian government study, an additional 21 million girls are unwanted and do not receive adequate care. Despite a government ban on sex-selective foeticide, the practice remains commonplace in India, the result of a preference for boys in a patriarchal society. The payment of dowry, although illegal, remains widespread across class lines.Deaths resulting from dowry, mostly from bride burning, are on the rise, despite stringent anti-dowry laws.
Children awaiting school lunch in Rayka (also Raika), a village in rural Gujarat. The salutation Jai Bhim written on the blackboard honours the jurist, social reformer, and Dalit leader B. R. Ambedkar.
In the 2011 census, about 73% of the population was literate, with 81% for men and 65% for women. This compares to 1981 when the respective rates were 41%, 53% and 29%. In 1951 the rates were 18%, 27% and 9%. In 1921 the rates 7%, 12% and 2%. In 1891 they were 5%, 9% and 1%, According to Latika Chaudhary, in 1911 there were under three primary schools for every ten villages. Statistically, more caste and religious diversity reduced private spending. Primary schools taught literacy, so local diversity limited its growth.
The education system of India is the world's second-largest. India has over 900 universities, 40,000 colleges and 1.5 million schools. In India's higher education system, a significant number of seats are reserved under affirmative action policies for the historically disadvantaged. In recent decades India's improved education system is often cited as one of the main contributors to its economic development.
From ancient times until the advent of the modern, the most widely worn traditional dress in India was draped. For women it took the form of a sari, a single piece of cloth many yards long. The sari was traditionally wrapped around the lower body and the shoulder. In its modern form, it is 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—serving to cover the midriff and obscure the upper body's contours. For men, a similar but shorter length of cloth, the dhoti, has served as a lower-body garment.
The use of stitched clothes became widespread after Muslim rule was established at first by the Delhi sultanate (ca 1300 CE) and then continued by the Mughal Empire (ca 1525 CE). Among the garments introduced during this time and still commonly worn are: the shalwars and pyjamas, both styles of trousers, and the tunics kurta and kameez. In southern India, 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, which causes them to become pleated around the waist. The pants can be wide and baggy, or they can be cut quite narrow, on the bias, in which case they are called churidars. When they are ordinarily wide at the waist and their bottoms are hemmed but not cuffed, they are called pyjamas. The kameez is a long shirt or tunic, its side seams left open below the waist-line. The kurta is traditionally collarless and made of cotton or silk; it is worn plain or with embroidered decoration, such as chikan; and typically falls to either just above or just below the wearer's knees.
In the last 50 years, fashions have changed a great deal in India. Increasingly, in urban northern India, the sari is no longer the apparel of everyday wear, though they remain popular on formal occasions. The traditional shalwar kameez is rarely worn by younger urban women, who favour churidars or jeans. 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, once the universal garment of Hindu males, the wearing of which in the homespun and handwoven khadi allowed Gandhi to bring Indian nationalism to the millions,
is seldom seen in the cities.
The foundation of a typical Indian meal is a cereal cooked in a plain fashion and complemented with flavourful savoury dishes. The cooked cereal could be steamed rice; chapati, a thin unleavened bread made from wheat flour, or occasionally cornmeal, and griddle-cooked dry; the idli, a steamed breakfast cake, or dosa, a griddled pancake, both leavened and made from a batter of rice- and gram meal. The savoury dishes might include lentils, pulses and vegetables commonly spiced with ginger and garlic, but also with a combination of spices that may include coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamon and others as informed by culinary conventions. They might also include poultry, fish, or meat dishes. In some instances, the ingredients might be mixed during the process of cooking.
A platter, or thali, used for eating usually has a central place reserved for the cooked cereal, and peripheral ones for the flavourful accompaniments, which are often served in small bowls. The cereal and its accompaniments are eaten simultaneously rather than a piecemeal manner. This is accomplished by mixing—for example of rice and lentils—or folding, wrapping, scooping or dipping—such as chapati and cooked vegetables or lentils.
India has distinctive vegetarian cuisines, each a feature of the geographical and cultural histories of its adherents. 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 contributed to the predominance of vegetarianism among a large segment of India's Hindu population, especially in southern India, Gujarat, the Hindi-speaking belt of north-central India, as well as among Jains. Although meat is eaten widely in India, the proportional consumption of meat in the overall diet is low. 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.
The most significant import of cooking techniques into India during the last millennium occurred during the Mughal Empire. Dishes such as the pilaf, developed in the Abbasid caliphate, and cooking techniques such as the marinating of meat in yogurt, spread into northern India from regions to its northwest. To the simple yogurt marinade of Persia, onions, garlic, almonds, and spices began to be added in India. Rice 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. In the food served in Indian restaurants worldwide the diversity of Indian food has been partially concealed by the dominance of Punjabi cuisine. The popularity of 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 the 1950s, and was caused in large part by an entrepreneurial response among people from the Punjab who had been displaced by the 1947 partition of India.
Cricket is the most popular sport in India. 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. Other professional leagues include the Indian Super League (football) and the pro Kabaddi league.
^" 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."
^Different sources give widely differing figures, primarily based on how the terms "language" and "dialect" are defined and grouped. Ethnologue lists 461 tongues for India (out of 6,912 worldwide), 447 of which are living, while 14 are extinct.
^"The country's exact size is subject to debate because some borders are disputed. The Indian government lists the total area as 3,287,260 km2 (1,269,220 sq mi) and the total land area as 3,060,500 km2 (1,181,700 sq mi); the United Nations lists the total area as 3,287,263 km2 (1,269,219 sq mi) and total land area as 2,973,190 km2 (1,147,960 sq mi)."
^"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."
^"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."
^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.
^A forest cover is moderately dense if between 40% and 70% of its area is covered by its tree canopy.
^ abcPetraglia & Allchin 2007, p. 10, "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."
^ abDyson 2018, p. 1, "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."
^ abFisher 2018, p. 23, "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."
^(a) Witzel, Michael (2008). "Vedas and Upanisads". In Gavin Flood (ed.). The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 68–70. ISBN978-0-470-99868-7. It is known from internal evidence that the Vedic texts were orally composed in northern India, at first in the Greater Punjab and later on also in more eastern areas, including northern Bihar, between ca. 1500 BCE and ca. 500–400 BCE. The oldest text, the Rgveda, must have been more or less contemporary with the Mitanni texts of northern Syria/Iraq (1450–1350 BCE); ... The Vedic texts were orally composed and transmitted, without the use of script, in an unbroken line of transmission from teacher to student that was formalized early on. This ensured an impeccable textual transmission superior to the classical texts of other cultures; it is in fact something of a tape-recording of ca. 1500–500 BCE. Not just the actual words, but even the long-lost musical (tonal) accent (as in old Greek or in Japanese) has been preserved up to the present. (pp. 68–69) ... The RV text was composed before the introduction and massive use of iron, that is before ca. 1200–1000 BCE. (p. 70) (b) Doniger, Wendy (3 February 2014), On Hinduism, Oxford University Press, pp. xviii, 10, ISBN978-0-19-936009-3, A Chronology of Hinduism: ca. 1500-1000 BCE Rig Veda; ca. 1200-900 BCE Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda (p. xviii); Hindu texts began with the Rig Veda ('Knowledge of Verses'), composed in northwest India around 1500 BCE (p. 10) (c) Ludden 2014, p. 19, "In Punjab, a dry region with grasslands watered by five rivers (hence ‘panch’ and ‘ab’) draining the western Himalayas, one prehistoric culture left no material remains, but some of its ritual texts were preserved orally over the millennia. The culture is called Aryan, and evidence in its texts indicates that it spread slowly south-east, following the course of the Yamuna and Ganga Rivers. Its elite called itself Arya (pure) and distinguished themselves sharply from others. Aryans led kin groups organized as nomadic horse-herding tribes. Their ritual texts are called Vedas, composed in Sanskrit. Vedic Sanskrit is recorded only in hymns that were part of Vedic rituals to Aryan gods. To be Aryan apparently meant to belong to the elite among pastoral tribes. Texts that record Aryan culture are not precisely datable, but they seem to begin around 1200 BCE with four collections of Vedic hymns (Rg, Sama, Yajur, and Artharva)."
(d) Dyson 2018, pp. 14–15, "Although the collapse of the Indus valley civilization is no longer believed to have been due to an ‘Aryan invasion’ it is widely thought that, at roughly the same time, or perhaps a few centuries later, new Indo-Aryan-speaking people and influences began to enter the subcontinent from the north-west. Detailed evidence is lacking. Nevertheless, a predecessor of the language that would eventually be called Sanskrit was probably introduced into the north-west sometime between 3,900 and 3,000 years ago. This language was related to one then spoken in eastern Iran; and both of these languages belonged to the Indo-European language family. ... It seems likely that various small-scale migrations were involved in the gradual introduction of the predecessor language and associated cultural characteristics. However, there may not have been a tight relationship between movements of people on the one hand, and changes in language and culture on the other. Moreover, the process whereby a dynamic new force gradually arose—a people with a distinct ideology who eventually seem to have referred to themselves as ‘Arya’—was certainly two-way. That is, it involved a blending of new features which came from outside with other features—probably including some surviving Harappan influences—that were already present. Anyhow, it would be quite a few centuries before Sanskrit was written down. And the hymns and stories of the Arya people—especially the Vedas and the later Mahabharata and Ramayana epics—are poor guides as to historical events. Of course, the emerging Arya were to have a huge impact on the history of the subcontinent. Nevertheless, little is known about their early presence."; (e) Robb 2011, pp. 46–, "The expansion of Aryan culture is supposed to have begun around 1500 BCE. It should not be thought that this Aryan emergence (though it implies some migration) necessarily meant either a sudden invasion of new peoples, or a complete break with earlier traditions. It comprises a set of cultural ideas and practices, upheld by a Sanskrit-speaking elite, or Aryans. The features of this society are recorded in the Vedas."
^(a) Jamison, Stephanie; Brereton, Joel (2020), The Rigveda, Oxford University Press, pp. 2, 4, ISBN978-0-19-063339-4, The RgVeda is one of the four Vedas, which together constitute the oldest texts in Sanskrit and the earliest evidence for what will become Hinduism. (p. 2) Although Vedic religion is very different in many regards from what is known as Classical Hinduism, the seeds are there. Gods like Visnu and Siva (under the name Rudra), who will become so dominant later, are already present in the Rgveda, though in roles both lesser than and different from those they will later play, and the principal Rgvedic gods like Indra remain in later Hinduism, though in diminished capacity (p. 4).; (b) Flood, Gavin (20 August 2020), "Introduction", in Gavin Flood (ed.), The Oxford History of Hinduism: Hindu Practice: Hindu Practice, Oxford University Press, pp. 4–, ISBN978-0-19-105322-1, I take the term ‘Hinduism to meaningfully denote a range and history of practice characterized by a number of features, particularly reference to Vedic textual and sacrificial origins, belonging to endogamous social units (jati/varna), participating in practices that involve making an offering to a deity and receiving a blessing (puja), and a first-level cultural polytheism (although many Hindus adhere to a second-level monotheism in which many gods are regarded as emanations or manifestations of the one, supreme being).; (c) Michaels, Axel (2017). Patrick Olivelle, Donald R. Davis (ed.). The Oxford History of Hinduism: Hindu Law: A New History of Dharmaśāstra. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 86–97. ISBN978-0-19-100709-5. Almost all traditional Hindu families observe until today at least three samskaras (initiation, marriage, and death ritual). Most other rituals have lost their popularity, are combined with other rites of passage, or are drastically shortened. Although samskaras vary from region to region, from class (varna) to class, and from caste to caste, their core elements remain the same owing to the common source, the Veda, and a common priestly tradition preserved by the Brahmin priests. (p 86) (d) Flood, Gavin D. (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge University Press. p. 35. ISBN978-0-521-43878-0. It is this Sansrit, vedic, tradition which has maintained a continuity into modern times and which has provided the most important resource and inspiration for Hindu traditions and individuals. The Veda is the foundation for most later developments in what is known as Hinduism.
^Fisher 2018, pp. 173–174: "The partition of South Asia that produced India and West and East Pakistan resulted from years of bitter negotiations and recriminations ... The departing British also decreed that the hundreds of princes, who ruled one-third of the subcontinent and a quarter of its population, became legally independent, their status to be settled later. Geographical location, personal and popular sentiment, and substantial pressure and incentives from the new governments led almost all princes eventually to merge their domains into either Pakistan or India. ... Each new government asserted its exclusive sovereignty within its borders, realigning all territories, animals, plants, minerals, and all other natural and human-made resources as either Pakistani or Indian property, to be used for its national development... Simultaneously, the central civil and military services and judiciary split roughly along religious 'communal' lines, even as they divided movable government assets according to a negotiated formula: 22.7 percent for Pakistan and 77.3 percent for India."
^Chatterji, Joya; Washbrook, David (2013), "Introduction: Concepts and Questions", in Chatterji, Joya; Washbrook, David (eds.), Routledge Handbook of the South Asian Diaspora, London and New York: Routledge, ISBN978-0-415-48010-9, Joya Chatterji describes how the partition of the British Indian empire into the new nation states of India and Pakistan produced new diaspora on a vast, and hitherto unprecedented, scale, but hints that the sheer magnitude of refugee movements in South Asia after 1947 must be understood in the context of pre-existing migratory flows within the partitioned regions (see also Chatterji 2013). She also demonstrates that the new national states of India and Pakistan were quickly drawn into trying to stem this migration. As they put into place laws designed to restrict the return of partition emigrants, this produced new dilemmas for both new nations in their treatment of ‘overseas Indians’; and many of them lost their right to return to their places of origin in the subcontinent, and also their claims to full citizenship in host countries.
^Talbot, Ian; Singh, Gurharpal (2009), The Partition of India, Cambridge University Press, ISBN978-0-521-85661-4, archived from the original on 13 December 2016, retrieved 15 November 2015, When the British divided and quit India in August 1947, they not only partitioned the subcontinent with the emergence of the two nations of India and Pakistan but also the provinces of Punjab and Bengal. ... Indeed for many the Indian subcontinent's division in August 1947 is seen as a unique event which defies comparative historical and conceptual analysis
^Khan, Yasmin (2017) , The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan (2 ed.), New Haven and London: Yale University Press, p. 1, ISBN978-0-300-23032-1, South Asians learned that the British Indian empire would be partitioned on 3 June 1947. They heard about it on the radio, from relations and friends, by reading newspapers and, later, through government pamphlets. Among a population of almost four hundred million, where the vast majority live in the countryside, ploughing the land as landless peasants or sharecroppers, it is hardly surprising that many thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, did not hear the new for many weeks afterwards. For some, the butchery and forced relocation of the summer months of 1947 may hve been the first that they knew about the creation of the two new states rising from the fragmentary and terminally weakened British empire in India
^Kaul 1970, p. 160, " The Aravalli range boldy defines the eastern limit of the arid and semi-arid zone. Probably the more humid conditions that prevail near the Aravallis prevented the extension of aridity towards the east and the Ganges Valley. It is noteworthy that, wherever there are gaps in this range, sand has advanced to the east of it."
^Prasad 1974, p. 372, " The topography of the Indian Desert is dominated by the Aravalli Ranges on its eastern border, which consist largely of tightly folded and highly metamorphosed Archaean rocks."
^Fisher 2018, p. 83, " East of the lower Indus lay the inhospitable Rann of Kutch and Thar Desert. East of the upper Indus lay the more promising but narrow corridor between the Himalayan foothills on the north and the Thar Desert and Aravalli Mountains on the south. At the strategic choke point, just before reaching the fertile, well-watered Gangetic plain, sat Delhi. On this site, where life giving streams running off the most northern spur of the rocky Aravalli ridge flowed into the Jumna river, and where the war-horse and war-elephant trade intersected, a series of dynasties built fortified capitals."
^Tritsch 2001, p. 14India has two natural zones of thorn forest, one in the rain shadow area of the Deccan Plateau east of the Western Ghats, and the other in the western part of the Indo-Gangetic plain. Growth is limited only by moisture availability in these areas, so with irrigation the fertile alluvial soil of Punjab and Haryana has been turned into India's prime agricultural area. Much of the thorn forest covering the plains probably had savannah-like features now no longer visible.
^Tritsch 2001, p. 17Before it was so heavily settled and intensively exploited, the Punjab was dominated by thorn forest interspersed by rolling grasslands which were grazed on by millions of Blackbuck, accompanied by their dominant predator, the Cheetah. Always keen hunters, the Moghul princes kept tame cheetahs which were used to chase and bring down the Blackbuck. Today the Cheetah is extinct in India and the severely endangered Blackbuck no longer exists in the Punjab.
^(a) Guyot-Rechard, Berenice (2017), Shadow States: India, China and the Himalayas, 1910–1962, Cambridge University Press, p. 235, ISBN978-1-107-17679-9, By invading NEFA, the PRC did not just aim to force a humiliated India to recognise its possession of the Aksai Chin. It also hoped to get, once and for all, the upper hand in their shadowing competition. (b) Chubb, Andrew (2021), "The Sino-Indian Border Crisis: Chinese Perceptions of Indian Nationalism", in Golley, Jane; Jaivan, Linda; Strange, Sharon (eds.), Crisis, Australian National University Press, pp. 231–232, ISBN978-1-76046-439-4, The ensuing cycle of escalation culminated in the 1962 Sino-Indian border war in which Mao Zedong's troops overran almost the entire state of Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern sector before unilaterally withdrawing, as if to underline the insult; most of the war's several thousand casualties were Indian. The PLA's decisive victories in the 1962 war not only humiliated the Indian Army, they also entrenched a status quo in Ladakh that was highly unfavourable for India, in which China controls almost all of the disputed territory. A nationalistic press and commentariat have kept 1962 vivid in India's popular consciousness. (c) Lintner, Bertil (2018), China's India War: Collision Course on the Roof of the World, Oxford University Press, ISBN978-0-19-909163-8, And that became a reality after the victory over India in 1962. Two years later, Nehru died, humiliated by the Chinese, a broken man. Brigadier Dalvi noted this in his account of the 1962 War and its aftermath, ‘Without a Nehru India ceased to be the moral leader of the non-aligned world. Whereas prior to 1962 she wielded immense power and influence despite her poverty and lack of military power, after the Chinese attack she was "cut to size" in the words of one unfriendly critic of Nehru.' (d) Medcalf, Rory (2020), Indo-Pacific Empire: China, America and the contest for the world's pivotal, Manchester University Press, ISBN978-1-5261-5077-6, From an Indian perspective, the China-India war of 1962 was a shocking betrayal of the principles of cooperation and coexistence: a surprise attack that humiliated India and personally broke Nehru. (e) Ganguly, Sumit (1997), The Crisis in Kashmir: Portents of War, Hope of Peace, Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Cambridge University Press, p. 44, ISBN978-0-521-65566-8, In October 1962 India suffered the most humiliating military debacle in its post-independence history, at the hands of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). The outcome of this conflict had far-reaching consequences for Indian foreign and defence policies. The harsh defeat that the Chinese PLA had inflicted on the Indian Army called into question some of the most deeply held precepts of Nehru's foreign and defence policies. (f) Raghavan, Srinath (2019), "A Missed Opportunity? The Nehru-Zhou Enlai Summit of 1960", in Bhagavan, Manu (ed.), India and the Cold War, University of North Carolina Press, p. 121, ISBN978-1-4696-5117-0, The 'forward policy' adopted by India to prevent the Chinese from occupying territory claimed by them was undertaken in the mistaken belief that Beijing would be cautious in dealing with India owing to Moscow's stance on the dispute and its growing proximity to India. These misjudgments would eventually culminate in India's humiliating defeat in the war of October–November 1962.
^Muir, Hugh (13 July 2009), "Diary", The Guardian, archived from the original on 19 October 2014, retrieved 17 October 2021, 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.
^Kapoor, Mudit; Shamika, Ravi (10 February 2014). "India's missing women". The Hindu. Retrieved 17 November 2019. In the last 50 years of Indian democracy, the absolute number of missing women has increased fourfold from 15 million to 68 million. This is not merely a reflection of the growth in the overall population, but, rather, of the fact that this dangerous trend has worsened with time. As a percentage of the female electorate, missing women have gone up significantly — from 13 per cent to approximately 20 per cent
^"More than 63 million women 'missing' in India, statistics show". Associated Press via The Guardian. 30 January 2018. Retrieved 17 November 2019. Quote: "More than 63 million women are “missing” statistically across India, and more than 21 million girls are unwanted by their families, government officials say. The skewed ratio of men to women is largely the result of sex-selective abortions, and better nutrition and medical care for boys, according to the government's annual economic survey, which was released on Monday. In addition, the survey found that “families where a son is born are more likely to stop having children than families where a girl is born”.
^Tamang, J. P.; Fleet, G. H. (2009), "Yeasts Diversity in Fermented Foods and Beverages", in Satyanarayana, T.; Kunze, G. (eds.), Yeast Biotechnology: Diversity and Applications, Springer, p. 180, ISBN978-1-4020-8292-4, Idli is an acid-leavened and steamed cake made by bacterial fermentation of a thick batter made from coarsely ground rice and dehulled black gram. Idli cakes are soft, moist and spongy, have desirable sour flavour, and is eaten as breakfast in South India. Dosa batter is very similar to idli batter, except that both the rice and black gram are finely grounded. The batter is thinner than that of idli and is fried as a thin, crisp pancake and eaten directly in South India.
^Jhala, Angma Day (2015), Royal Patronage, Power and Aesthetics in Princely India, Routledge, p. 70, ISBN978-1-317-31657-2, With the ascent of the Mughal Empire in sixteenth-century India, Turkic, Persian and Afghan traditions of dress, 'architecture and cuisine' were adopted by non-Muslim indigenous elites in South Asia. In this manner, Central Asian cooking merged with older traditions within the subcontinent, to create such signature dishes as biryani (a fusion of the Persian pilau and the spice-laden dishes of Hindustan), and the Kashmiri meat stew of Rogan Josh. It not only generated new dishes and entire cuisines, but also fostered novel modes of eating. Such newer trends included the consumption of Persian condiments, which relied heavily on almonds, pastries and quince jams, alongside Indian achars made from sweet limes, green vegetables and curds as side relishes during Mughlai meals.
^Srinivasan, Radhika; Jermyn, Leslie; Lek, Hui Hui (2001), India, Times Books International, p. 109, ISBN978-981-232-184-8 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."
Medora, N. (2003), "Mate Selection in Contemporary India: Love Marriages Versus Arranged Marriages", in Hamon, R. R.; Ingoldsby, B. B. (eds.), Mate Selection Across Cultures, SAGE Publications, pp. 209–230, ISBN978-0-7619-2592-7