The India reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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The Republic of India, is the second most populous country in the world and is the world's largest democracy, with over one billion people speaking about 800 distinct languages. The Indian economy is the fourth-largest in the world, in terms of purchasing power parity.

Republic of India
भारत गणराज्य
Bhārat Gaṇarājya
Emblem of India
In Detail) In Detail)
''National motto: Satyameva Jayaté
(Sanskrit: Truth Alone Triumphs)
Mundaka Upanishad'')
Official language Hindi, English (List of national languages of India
other official languages)
Capital New Delhi
Largest City Mumbai
President APJ Abdul Kalam
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh
- Total
- % water
Ranked 7th
3,287,590 kmò
- Total
- Density
Ranked 2nd
- Total
- GDP/head
Ranked 4th (among countries)
Ranked 5th (among economies)]]
2.66 trillion $
2,540 $
Independence August 15, 1947
Republic January 26, 1950
Currency Code (ISO 4217)
Indian Rupee (₨)
Time zone UTC +5.30 (IST)
National anthem Jana Gana Mana
National song Vandé Mataram
Internet TLD .IN
Calling Code 91
National game Hockey
National animal Bengal Tiger
National bird Peacock
National flower Lotus


Table of contents
1 Origin of names
2 History
3 Politics
4 Geography and climate
5 States and Union territories
6 Economy
7 Demographics
8 Religion
9 Society
10 Culture
11 Sports
12 Trivia
13 Related topics
14 External links

Origin of names

Main article: Origin of India's name

The official name India is derived from Sindhu, the historic local appellation for the river Indus and is the most internationally recognisable of the country. The Constitution of India and general usage also recognises Bharat as the other official name of equal status. Bharat comes from the name of an ancient Hindu king and means seeker of knowledge. Hindustan, meaning land of the Hindus (Hindu from Sindhu/ Indus) is the third major name used from the Mughal times onwards. It is unevenly used across the country today due to differing views of its appropriateness as a national signifier.


''Main article: History of India.

Like a palimpsest, witness to many distinct layers of cultural history, India has a rich and colourful past. Many disruptive events have shaped its civilisation even as threads of continuity were maintained. For this reason, the periodisation of India's history is under constant review. However this is still the simplest and most popular way of understanding Indian history.

See also Timeline of Indian history


Main article: Politics of India

The Republic of India is a democratic republic. It is a Union of states with a federal structure. The head of state is the President. The President and Vice-President are elected indirectly through an electoral college and have 5 year staggered terms.

The President wields his power on the exclusive and binding advice of the Prime Minister. He is assisted by the Council of Ministers (The cabinet) whom he appoints. All ministers are sworn in by the president. The prime minister is designated by legislators of the political party or coalition commanding a parliamentary majority. The president then appoints subordinate ministers on the advice of the prime minister.

India's bicameral parliament consists of the upper house called 'The Council of States' (Rajya Sabha) and the lower house called 'The House of the People' (Lok Sabha). The Rajya Sabha consists of incumbents elected through an electoral college whereas the Lok Sabha consists of directly elected representatives.

See also:

Geography and climate

Main article:
Geography of India,
The above map is not the official Indian map; it is a [[CIA
version which distinguishes parts of Kashmir claimed by India, but controlled by Pakistan, as part of Pakistan (see also: Kashmir Map Issues). For the official Indian map, see Official map of the Government of India.]]

India shares its borders with Pakistan, China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia are the neighbouring island nations in the Indian Ocean.

Occupying most of the Indian subcontinent, India's entire north and northeast states are made up of the Himalayan Range. The rest of northern, central and eastern India consists of the fertile Indo-Gangetic plain. Towards western India, bordering southeast Pakistan lies the Thar Desert. The southern Indian peninsula, is almost entirely composed of the Deccan plateau. The plateau is flanked by two hilly coastal ranges, the Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats.

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

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

See also: Climate of India

States and Union territories

''Main articles: States and Territories of India

India is divided into 28 states (which are further sub-divided into districts), 6 Union Territories and the National Capital Territory of Delhi:

Indian States and Territories'''
Andhra Pradesh | Arunachal Pradesh | Assam | Bihar | Chhattisgarh | Goa | Gujarat | Haryana | Himachal Pradesh | Jammu and Kashmir | Jharkhand | Karnataka | Kerala | Madhya Pradesh | Maharashtra | Manipur | Meghalaya | Mizoram | Nagaland | Orissa | Punjab | Rajasthan | Sikkim | Tamil Nadu | Tripura | Uttaranchal | Uttar Pradesh | West Bengal
Union Territories: Andaman and Nicobar Islands | Chandigarh | Dadra and Nagar Haveli | Daman and Diu | Lakshadweep | Pondicherry
National Capital Territory: Delhi

India has made no territorial claim in Antarctica but had a scientific base there - Dakshin Gangotri.

See also: List of states of India by population


Main article: Economy of India

The Indian economy today is the 4th largest in the world and has the second fastest annual growth rate at around 8%. India's foreign exchange reserves amount to over 120 billion US dollars. Mumbai (formerly Bombay), headquarters of the Reserve Bank of India, and housing the Bombay Stock Exchange, remains the financial capital and nerve centre of the country's economy.

After independence, India's economy was geared towards central planning and resource allocation. In an effort to target investment and catalyse social change, the government was highly interventionist and monopolised areas such as media, aviation, banking and telecommunications. In the early 1990s, the state retreated from the market by allowing competitors into nationalised sectors, reducing import tariffs and divesting its stake in some loss making state-owned corporations.

The Indian economy is largely agrarian (25% of the economy) but Manufacturing and Services have recently gathered pace as India becomes a more attractive destination for outsourcing and grows as a consumer market. India's economic fortunes still fluctuate from monsoon to monsoon as most agriculture is rain-fed. The present government has announced a renewed emphasis on the agricultural sector in a recognition of the importance of agriculture.

Other important industries are Iron and steel, petroleum, jewellery, sports gear manufacturing, entertainment, textile, Information Technology services and handicrafts.

See also:


Main article:
Demographics of India

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


India is home to two main language families, the Indo-Aryan languages, and the four Dravidian languages that exist in south India. India's national language is Hindi. English is classified as an Associate Official Language. It is widely used in higher echleons, and is seen as the language of social mobility and standing. Two classical languages native to the land are Sanskrit and Tamil.

Eighteen other official languages are recognised by the Constitution for offical administrative use by various State Governments. The number of living languages in India has been estimated to be as high as 400. (See List of Indian languages by total speakers)


Main article: Religion in India

Although 83% of the people are Hindus, India is home to a large population of Muslims (13%) giving it the world's third largest Muslim population after Indonesia and Pakistan. Other smaller religious minorities include Christians (3%), Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Jews, Parsis, Ahmadi and Bahá'í.

Religion in India is very public with many rich and colourful practices imbued with pomp and vitality accompanying their underlying spiritual qualities.


Main article: Indian society

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

See also: Indian family name''


''Main article: Culture of India

Being one of the earliest of civilisations, India has a rich and unique cultural heritage. It has striven to preserve its established traditions throughout history, though its dynamic nature is manifest in its willingness to respect and tolerate foreign ways and practices.

See also:


Main article:
Indian music

Indian music is represented by a wide variety of forms. The two main ones in terms of classical music are the Carnatic and Hindustani. In addition to this are the diverse traditions of folk music. Popular forms of music also prevail, the most notable being Filmi music.

See also:


Main article:
Indian literature

The earliest literary traditions were mostly oral and were later transcribed. Most of these spring from Hindu tradition and are represented by sacred works like the Vedas, the epics of the Mahabharatha and Ramayana, and devotional poetry of the bhakti saints. Sangam literature from Tamil Nadu represents some of India's oldest secular traditions. Cultural and linguistic synthesis in the later periods resulted in rich traditions such as Urdu poetry. Prose writers have expressed themselves in most languages, as evidenced by the afsana (short story) writers of Urdu, the novelist boom in Bengali, and the modern day bloom of Hindi writers (like Yashpal). Indian writers modern times have experienced wide acclaim, both in Indian languages and English (with Booker Prize winners, Arundhati Roy and Salman Rushdie) . India's only Nobel laureate in Literature was the Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore.

See also: Indian Writing in English


Many dance forms exist in India - Bharata Natyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Kathakali and others. While they often have a narrative form, they are also infused with devotional and spiritual elements. Today, a distinctive blend of classical Indian and modern Western dance styles has resulted in a large industry of popular dance, primarily centered in Bollywood films. Other forms such as street theatre and puppetry are also widespread.
See also: Indian classical dance


A melting pot of many religions, festivals are celebrated by one and all. The most widely-known and popular Hindu celebrations include those of Diwali (known for fireworks), Holi (a festival of colours) and Dussera.
Full article: Indian festivals; See Also: List of holidays in India


Main article: Indian Dress
Traditional dress in India greatly varies across the regions in its colours and styles. The
Sari and Salwar Kameez are popular among women. Ethnic Indian wear for men is composed of the Dhoti and Kurta, the Sherwani or "prince-coat" (particularly in the north) and the Mundu or Lungi (primarily in the south and east). In the urban metropolitan areas, one sees most men wearing shirts and trousers; women's wear varies from traditional sarees and salwars to simple skirts and jeans depending on the region.


Main article: Indian cuisine

Rice in the south and Wheat in the north are the staple foods in the country. The gastronomy of India is extremely rich and varied as spices and other ingredients vary from region to region. Indians love their famous spicy food as much as their wide variety of sweets.


Main article: Cinema of India

India produces the world's highest number of films annually. The most recognisable face is that of Bollywood, based in Bombay, which produces mainly commercial Hindi films. Cinema in other language bases is particularly strong, with movies regularly produced in well-established Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu industries. Possibly the most acclaimed director in Indian cinema was Satyajit Ray; part of the Bengali film tradition, he is one of the few Indians to have won an Academy Award.


Main Article: Sports in India

India's National Sport is Field Hockey, although many would assert that Cricket is now the de-facto national game. Football too finds large viewership in almost the entire country. Some traditional indigenous games are Kabaddi and Gilli-danda. Chess, Carrom, Polo and Badminton are some other sports that are said to have originated from India.


Related topics

Main article:
List of India-related topics

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

External links



News Sources

Countries in South Asia
Bangladesh | Bhutan | India | Maldives | Nepal | Pakistan | Sri Lanka

India is also the letter I in the NATO phonetic alphabet