Something of Interest
India, officially the Republic of India (Bharat Ganrajya) is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Burma and Bangladesh to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; in addition, India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.
Home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history. Four world religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism—originated here, whereas Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam arrived in the 1st millennium CE and also helped shape the region's diverse culture. Gradually annexed by and brought under the administration of the British East India Company from the early 18th century and administered directly by the United Kingdom from the mid-19th century, India became an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by non-violent resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi.
The Indian economy is the world's eleventh-largest by nominal GDP and third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies; it is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption, malnutrition, inadequate public healthcare, and terrorism. A nuclear weapons state and a regional power, it has the third-largest standing army in the world and ranks eighth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal constitutional republic governed under a parliamentary system consisting of 28 states and 7 union territories. India is a pluralistic, multilingual, and a multi-ethnic society. It is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.
The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hinduš. The latter term stems from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, which was the historical local appellation for the Indus River. The ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "the people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, which is recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations. The eponym of Bharat is Bharata, a theological figure that Hindu scriptures describe as a legendary emperor of ancient India. Hindustan was originally a Persian word that meant "Land of the Hindus"; prior to 1947, it referred to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan. It is occasionally used to solely denote India in its entirety.
The official language of the Union Government of Republic of India is Hindi, while English is the secondary official language. 41.03% of the Indians speak Hindi while the rest speak Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and a variety of other languages and dialects.
Religions of India: Hindu 80.5% Muslim 13.4% Christian 2.3% Sikh 1.8% Buddhists 0.8% Jains 0.4% others 0.7% unspecified 0.1%
History of India
The history of the Republic of India began on 26 January 1950. The country became an independent nation within the British Commonwealth on 15 August 1947. Concurrently the Muslim-majority northwest and east of British India was separated into the Dominion of Pakistan, by the partition of India. The partition led to a population transfer of more than 10 million people between India and Pakistan and the death of about one million people. Nationalist leader Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of India and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel became the Deputy Prime Minister of India and its Minister of Home Affairs. But the most powerful moral leader Mahatma Gandhi accepted no office. The new constitution of 1950 made India a secular and a democratic state. It has a Hindu majority, a large Muslim minority, and numerous other religious minorities including Sikhs and Christians.
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948, sometimes known as the First Kashmir War, was fought between India and Pakistan over the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu from 1947 to 1948. It was the first of four wars fought between the two newly independent nations. Pakistan precipitated the War a few weeks after independence by launching tribal lashkar (militia) from Waziristan in an effort to wrest Kashmir from India. The result of the war still affects the geopolitics of both countries.
India's population passed the 500 million mark in the early 1970s, but its long-standing food crisis was resolved with greatly improved agricultural productivity due to the Green revolution. The Government sponsored modern agricultural implements, new varieties of generic seeds and increased financial assistance to farmers that increased the yield of food crops such as wheat, rice and corn, as well as commercial crops like cotton, tea, tobacco and coffee. Increased agricultural productivity expanded across the states of the Indo-Gangetic plains and the Punjab. Under Operation Flood, the Government encouraged the production of milk, which increased greatly, and improved rearing of livestock across India. This enabled India to become self-sufficient in feeding its own population, ending two decades of food imports.
Geography and Geology of India
India comprises the bulk of the Indian subcontinent and lies atop the minor Indian tectonic plate, which in turn belongs to the Indo-Australian Plate. India's defining geological processes commenced 75 million years ago when the Indian subcontinent, then part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, began a north-eastward drift across the then-unformed Indian Ocean that lasted fifty million years. The subcontinent's subsequent collision with, and subduction under, the Eurasian Plate bore aloft the planet's highest mountains, the Himalayas. They abut India in the north and the north-east. In the former seabed immediately south of the emerging Himalayas, plate movement created a vast trough that has gradually filled with river-borne sediment; it now forms the Indo-Gangetic Plain. To the west lies the Thar Desert, which is cut off by the Aravalli Range.
Administrative Divisions of India
India is a federation composed of 28 states and 7 union territories. All states, as well as the union territories of Puducherry and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, have elected legislatures and governments, both patterned on the Westminster model. The remaining five union territories are directly ruled by the centre through appointed administrators. In 1956, under the States Reorganisation Act, states were reorganised on a linguistic basis. Since then, their structure has remained largely unchanged. Each state or union territory is further divided into administrative districts. The districts in turn are further divided into tehsils and ultimately into villages.
Society of India
Traditional Indian society is 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". India declared untouchability illegal in 1947 and has since enacted other anti-discriminatory laws and social welfare initiatives, albeit numerous reports suggest that many Dalits ("ex–Untouchables") and other low castes in rural areas continue to live in segregation and face persecution and discrimination. At the workplace in urban India and in international or leading Indian companies, the caste system has pretty much lost its importance. 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. An overwhelming majority of Indians, with their consent, have their marriages arranged by their parents or other family members. Marriage is thought to be for life, and the divorce rate is extremely low. Child marriages are common, especially in rural areas; many women in India wed before reaching 18, which is their legal marriageable age. India has three national holidays which are observed in all states and union territories: Republic Day, Independence Day, and Gandhi Jayanti. Other sets of holidays, varying between nine and twelve, are officially observed in individual states.
Wildlife of India
The wildlife in India comprises a mix of species of different types of organisms. Apart from a handful of the major farm animals such as cows, buffaloes, goats, poultry and sheep, India has an amazingly wide variety of animals native to the country. It is home to Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Pythons, Wolves, Foxes, Bears, Crocodiles, Rhinoceroses, Camels, Wild dogs, Monkeys, Snakes, Antelope species, Deer species, varieties of bison and not to mention the mighty Asian elephant. The region's rich and diverse wildlife is preserved in 89 national parks, 18 Bio reserves and 400+ wildlife sanctuaries across the country.India has some of the most biodiverse regions of the world and hosts three of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots – or treasure-houses – that is the Western Ghats, the Eastern Himalayas and Indo- Burma. Since India is home to a number of rare and threatened animal species, wildlife management in the country is essential to preserve these species. According to one study, India along with 17 mega diverse countries is home to about 60-70 % of the world's biodiversity.
Politics of India
India is the world's most populous democracy. A parliamentary republic with a multi-party system, it has six recognised national parties, including the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and more than 40 regional parties. The Congress is considered centre-left or "liberal" in Indian political culture, and the BJP centre-right or "conservative". For most of the period between 1950—when India first became a republic—and the late 1980s, the Congress held a majority in the parliament. Since then, however, it has increasingly shared the political stage with the BJP, as well as with powerful regional parties which have often forced the creation of multi-party coalitions at the centre.
India has been in possession of nuclear weapons since 1974. Its most recent nuclear test has been done on 11 May 1998, when Operation Shakti (Pokhran-II) was initiated with the detonation of one fusion and three fission bombs. On 13 May 1998, two additional fission devices were detonated. India, however, maintains a no-first use and a nuclear deterrence policy against nuclear adversaries. India's nuclear doctrine envisages building a credible minimum deterrent for maintaining a second strike capability which will be massive and designed to induce unacceptable damage on the enemy. India is on the verge of becoming one of only four nations in the world to posses a Nuclear Triad. India's nuclear missiles include the Prithvi, the Agni, the Shaurya, Sagarika, Dhanush, and others. India conducted its first test with the Agni-V, which can carry a nuclear warhead in the east as far as all of China and in the west deep into Europe with its 5000 km range, in April 2012 and a second test in September, 2013. Agni-VI, with a perceived range of 6000–8000 km is also under development with features like Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Warheads (MIRVs).
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