Welcome to our India Page containing information about India and her rich cultural diversity, customs and traditions! As you may know, India is a vast country with a diverse culture, unparalleled anywhere in the world, that a single site cannot do justice to her. You will find, from these pages, links to cool sites on the Web where you can find a wealth of information. Hopefully, this will aid you in your quest for knowledge on India. As always, your comments and suggestions about these pages are most welcome!

Overview

A federal republic of southern Asia and member of the Commonwealth, India is situated on a peninsula extending into the Indian Ocean, with the Arabian Sea to the west and the Bay of Bengal to the east. Separated from the rest of Asia by the immense Himalayan ranges in the north, India is roughly a third of the land mass of the United States. India is a land of great rivers, along the banks of which much of Indian civilization flourished. Ganga is one of India’s most important rivers while it was along the banks of Indus the world’s first major civilization flourished.

Modern India became independent of British Raj (rule) at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947. The official name of India is Bharat (in Hindi) and Republic of India (in English). The main official languages of India are Hindi & English. Being a secular country, India has no official religion, but is a mix of many religions. New Delhi is the capital of India but is Mumbai (formerly Bombay) that is known as the business capital of India.

History

India has had an existence that goes back to several thousand years. It has been determined, through archaelogical excavations, that the Indian sub-continent has been inhabitated by man beginning from 40,000 and 20,000 BC. The Indus Valley civilization was the world’s first major civilization. Learn more about India’s long history by visiting History page. You can also take a look at the Decisive Dates in India’s history.

Culture

The site of one of the oldest civilizations in the world, India has a ancient and diverse culture stretching back to more than 5000 years. Successive years of migration have been absorbed into the culture giving it a distinct physical, religious and racial variety as well as a rich linguistic diversity. It has also been considered the oldest and the most resilient cultures in the world. Modern India presents a picture of unity in diversity where people of different faiths and beliefs live together in peace and harmony. Discover more about India’s diverse culture by visiting Culture page.

Religion

India remains one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. Apart from her many religions and sects, India is home to innumerable castes and tribes, as well as to more than a dozen major and hundreds of minor linguistic groups from several totally different language families. Religion, an inseparable part of Indian life, permeates every aspect of life, from common-place daily chores to education and politics. Secular India is home to Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and other innumerable religious traditions with Hinduism being the dominant faith, practised by over 80% of the population. Learn more about India’s many religions by visiting Religion page.

Government

India is a union of 29 states and seven union territories. She is a Sovereign, Secular, Democratic Republic with a Parliamentary system of Government. The architects of India’s constitution, though drawing on many external sources, were most heavily influenced by the British model of parliamentary democracy. In addition, a number of principles were adopted from the U.S. Constitution, including the separation of powers among the major branches of government, the establishment of a Supreme Court, and the adoption, albeit in modified form, of a federal structure (a constitutional division of power between the central and state governments). Discover more about India’s democratic form of governance by visiting Government page.

Economy

Since becoming independent in 1947, India has transformed herself into a dominant economic powerhouse.The seventh largest and second most populous country in the world, India has a a well-developed infrastructure and a highly diversified industrial base. Today India can boast of having a pool of scientific and engineering personnel that is the third largest in the world. A series of ambitious economic reforms aimed at deregulating the country and stimulating foreign investment has moved India firmly into the front ranks of the rapidly growing Asia Pacific region and unleashed the latent strengths of a complex and rapidly changing nation. Discover more about India’s vibrant economy through Economy page.

Earliest physical proof of India’s heritage can be found at the sites of the ancient cities of Mohenjodaro and Harappa, two cities that belong to the Indus Valley civilization. These excavations, have shown that people at the time had a sophisticated lifestyle, a highly developed sense of aesthetics and an astonishing knowledge of town planning. The people of this civilization also had a script language – however attempts to decipher it have, unfortunately, largely been unsuccessful. At its height, the Indus civilization extended nearly a million square kilometres across the Indus river valley, and though it existed at the same time as the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Sumer, it far outlasted them.

Records of Indian people and their culture are also found in the four Vedas, ancient books of knowledge. The Rig Veda, the first of the Vedas, is the oldest book humanity possesses. It is supposed to have been written in 1500 BC. The other Vedas, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Athar Veda, all date back to 1000 BC. The Vedas are written in Sanskrit and were brought to India by the Aryans. They were nomadic people who came to India from various places and settled along the banks of of the Indus. However, Aryans were conquerors and they soon took over the north and moved to the east. Dravidians migrated to the south.

Over a period of time, the Aryan and Dravidian cultures began to merge and a new civilization began to surface. Aryan thought blended with the philosophy of the older civilization. A combination of socio-economic divisions that existed within the society of the two cultures gave rise to a stratified, hierarchical caste system that governs Indian society today. The term Hindu, signifying the people of the land of the Indus, a highly organized civilization that discovered the use of iron and built cities across the north of India, now applies to a comprehensive Indian culture.

One distinctive feature of these times, which later on led to their downfall, was the division of the land into smaller (and more manageable) pieces. India was divided into several territorial states, who had their own kings with a measure of autonomy. The most powerful of these states was Pataliputra (now called Patna), was ruled over by the Nandas. In 326 BC, Alexander, the Greek emperor, invaded India and ruled over most of north India. However, Alexander was more of a soldier than a king. Instead of staying back to consolidate his conquest, he left India and died shortly thereafter in Babylon. Seven years after the invasion, Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Maurya Empire, routed the Nandas and took over their throne. He was assisted by the brilliant Brahmin statesman, Chanakya, with whose help he established a vast empire which was spread all across India until Kabul (in present day Afghanistan).

The best known Mauryan emperor was Emperor Ashoka, Chandragupta’s grandson. During his reign, only the southern tip of India and Kalinga (now Orissa) was not a part of the Mauryan empire. After a victorious but devastating battle at Kalinga, in which thousands of people were slaughtered, he was deeply shocked and distressed. He adopted non-violence and became a Buddhist. His creed advocated non-violence and vegetarianism which certainly influenced the Hindus, the majority of whom do not eat meat anymore. The Ashoka pillar at Sarnath has been adopted by India as its national emblem and the Dharma Chakra on the Ashoka Pillar adorns the National Flag.

Fifty years after Ashoka’s death, the Mauryan empire disintegrated and faded away. North India was in a state of confusion, however in the South the Andhra kings became powerful and they reached northward, occupying the holy city of Ujjain. Later India was again invaded by the Greeks and their interaction with Indian cultures gave rise to the Greco-Buddhist art. According to many historians, image worship in India came from Greece. India was later invaded by the Scythians who established what is now known as Gujarat.

The fourth century was the age of the Guptas who ruled over India for 150 years, during which the established a powerful and widespread empire, completing the Mauryan design of unity and consolidated the whole of India under the governance of a centralized state. This period, the Gupta period, is often termed as the Golden Age of the arts in ancient India. Its emperors were responsible for an incredible flourishing of Indian art, literature and learning. They created schools and universities where learning and cultural & scientific developments were encouraged. The great university of Nalanda was established during this time. The Puranas, the Panchtantra Tales, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata were rewritten and edited during this time. Kalidasa, the great Sanskrit poet and playwright, wrote his famous Shakuntala at the court of Chandragupta Vikramaditya. Bharata’s Natyashastra, the great treatsie on the dance, music and theatre traditions of India was written during this period.

The Guptas were defeated by the White Huns in the sixth century. A barbarous tribe, they were quickly defeated by another tribe, the Gurjaras, who settled in Rajasthan and Gujarat. India soon turned into a fragmented nation with dozens of small states. In 606 AD, Harshvardhana dominated much of North India and proclaimed himself Emperor of Five Indias. Amongst the more important dynasties after Harshvardhana are the Pratihara, ancestors of todays Rajputs. In the South the scene was different with the Pallavas, of present day Tamil Nadu, and the Chalukyas, fighting each other to gain control. After them, the Cholas ruled for over 500 years and dominated the whole of the east coast to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). It was during this period that arts, crafts, painting and architecture achieved a summit of perfection.

Indians were avid travellers and settled in distant lands. The Cholas encouraged and organized expeditions through which the religion and culture of the land was carried beyond India’s borders. The ancient name for Java is Yava Dvipa, the Island of Millet – the Indian word for millet is Java. Cambodia was once called Kambhoja, named after the Indian city in ancient Gandhara in today’s Kabul region. The epic, Ramayana, is a part of mythology of Thailand and Indonesia, Balinese and Thai dance forms are of Indian origin.

At this time, India was largely fragmented with the Cholas ruling over the South, Palas over Bihar and Bengal by the Sena dynasty. Prithviraj Chauhan was the flamboyant ruler of Delhi, who despite routing the Afghans in 1191, is largely remembered as the most romantic king in Indian history. He fell in love with the daughter of his most bitter rival, Jaichandra, and carried her off despite the opposition. A year later, Muhammad Ghur returned and in the battle that ensued, Prithviraj lost his life and the battle. Ghur’s lieutenant, Qutb-uddin Aibak later ruled India and founded India’s first Muslim ruling dynasty. He ruled over India for fourteen years, consolidating his power by annexing the territories of Delhi and eventually defeating Jaichandra. His son-in-law constructed the famous Qutb Minar, a mosque and minaret, in his memory.

The Delhi Sultanate, as it was known, was ruled by the Kiljis, and then the Tughlaqs. An eccentric ruler, Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq decide that Delhi was unsafe as a capital and transferred the entire city to Dualatabad, a good thousand miles south of Delhi. He had to come all the way back again because the people were unhappy with the change. he introduced copper coins but failing to control counterfeit coinage, had to give up on the scheme. Most of his experiments ended in a disaster and by the time he died, he had lost most of the India he had conquered.

After his death, the Sultanate was in a disarray and it lost all its power. It was then that Timur of Samarkahand chose to invade India. A barbarian, he butchered people mercilessly but fortunately returned as quickly as he came. The Tughlaqs tried to make a comeback but were ousted by the Sayyids who were then defeated by the Lodis. Sikander Lodi was peace-loving man and a poet and a musician. He spent most of his life making improvements to his territories.

At the battle of Panipat, Babar, the Mughal, defeated the last of the Lodis. Panipat was a major battlefield where India defended itself against many invaders: the Afghans, the Mughals and the British. Babar laid the foundation of the Mughal empire that ruled India for nearly 350 years until 1857. Babar’s grandson Akbar fought many battles to prove he was fit to be king. His closest neighbors, the Sisodia and the Rajputs of Mewar, remain un cowed despite the fact that Akbar took their stronghold at Chittor. A terrible battle, every man went to his death in defending his kingdom, all the women performed the rite of jauhar (collective death by fire) to protect their honor. During his reign, Akbar achieved a political unification of nearly the whole of India by frequent annexations and matrimonial alliances. A liberal at heart, he married the princess of Amber, a Rajput. His grandson was Shah Jahaan, who is famous for building the Taj Mahal at Agra. However he spent most of the last years of his life imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb.

A fanatic anti-Hindu, Aurangzeb destroyed temples replacing them with mosques and banned Hindus from celebrating their festivals. having a talent to alienate everybody, he re-imposed jizya, tax on unbelievers, that had been abolished by Akbar. Many Hindus bowed to Islam to avoid this exorbitant tax. His fighting with the Rajputs and Marathas cost him much. The great Maratha leader, Shivaji, gave Hindus the much needed faith in themselves. He constantly fought the Mughals, the Portuguese and the British. The nascent nationalism of the Marathas acted as a magnet for the Hindu rulers who joined the fight against the Mughals in the Deccan. Later on, the Marathas posed a significant threat to the British supremacy.

Aurangzeb’s lack of political diplomacy soon disintegrated the Mughal empire led to the rule of Nadir Shah, the Persian invader. After plundering India, he left with all the wealth of Delhi. The last of the Mughal, Bahadur Shah, lived his reign as a prisoner of the British who had by then assumed control in Delhi. India was then ruled by the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French and the English. The British ruled over all of India and divided India into governable districts, reorganized the Indian administrative system, created India railway system (which remains the largest in the world today), improved the postal system, and undertook major public works.

In 1857, Indian soldiers in the British army revolted in what is called the Revolt of 1857 and succeeded in bringing together all of the princely states and civilians against the British. This is largely believed to be India’s first war of independence. Mangal Pandey, a lone but brave dissident, fired at his officers in amove that was then considered insignificant. This led to mutinies all over India and soldiers marched to Delhi and proclaimed Bahadur Shah as the Emperor of India. In retrospect, had the Indians been better organized they could have easily driven out the British. However, the mutiny led to great massacres all over India by the British in which thousands of people lost their lives. The Revolt of 1857 succeeded in shaking the British complacency and making the considerably less secure and arrogant. The Queen’s Proclamation in 1858 assured the rights of people and princes of India and guaranteed religious non-interference.

The Revolt managed to sow the seeds of national consciousness and the beginnings of a more organized national movement. In 1915, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi came onto the scene, calling for unity of the country in an astonishing display of leadership that would eventually lead the country to independence. The profound impact Gandhi had on India and his ability to gain independence through a totally non-violent mass movement made him one of the most remarkable leaders the world has ever known. He led by example, wearing homespun clothes to weaken the British textile industry and orchestrating a march to the sea (the Dandi March), where demonstrators proceeded to make their own salt in protest against the British monopoly. Indians gave him the name Mahatma, or Great Soul. The British had to bow down to the calls for independence and they would leave India by 1947.

Independence came at great cost. While Mahatma Gandhi was for India gaining independence as a united country, Mohammed Ali Jinnah was fronting a Muslim one through a group called the Muslim League. Jinnah advocated the division of India into two separate states: Muslim and Hindu. When the British left, they created the separate states of Pakistan and Bangladesh, and violence erupted when stranded Muslims and Hindu minorities in the areas fled in opposite directions. Within a few weeks, half a million people had died in the course of the greatest migration of human beings in the world’s history. Mahatma Gandhi vowed to fast until the violence stopped, which it did when his health was seriously threatened. The irony of this incident is that today India has a far greater size of Muslim population than Pakistan.

Today, as the world’s largest democracy, India is poised to realize its potential as an international economic power.

Modern day Indian culture has been influenced by foreign invaders, settlers and colonizers. This has often left people wondering as to the origins of Indian culture. The present theory is that Dravidians were the original settlers who were chased to the south by the Aryans during their migrations from Central Asia. With time however, their traditions merged and as a result, throughout India today, traditions are quite similar.

India is rich in her ceremonial greetings. Each gesture is meaningful and bears its own name: Namaste, Vanakkam, Swagattam, Sat Sri Akal and many more, signifying respect and welcome, blessings and greetings. The most universal is the soft-spoken Namaste. Swagattam or welcome is expressed in a hundred different ways appropriate to a land as rich, vast and varied as India. As someone once said, “If there is one place on the face of the earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began to dream of existence, it is India.”

Languages

With over 1600 languages and dialects, India’s linguistic diversity is extreme. Three-fourths of the population speak languages belonging to the Indo-Aryan group of the Indo-European family, all of which ultimately descend from Sanskrit. These include Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sindhi and Urdu, all enjoying official status. Nearly one-fourth of all Indians speak languages belonging to the Dravidian family, among which Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu have official status. Hundreds of additional languages, grouped in several families, account for less than 5 percent of the population. English, an auxiliary official language, serves as an all-Indian lingua franca.

Linguistic diversity in India had far-reaching political repercussions as the structure was used as a basis for the formation of the first 14 states of the Indian republic. Nine other parts of India have more recently attained statehood and have their own languages. Hindi, is spoken by about 40 percent of the population and covers most of the northen states. School children in Maharashtra learn Marathi, Gujarati in Gujarat, Punjabi in Punjab, Oriya in Orissa, Bengali in Bengal, Malayalam in Kerala, Telugu in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil in Tamil Nadu, Kannada in Karnataka and Kashmiri in Jammu & Kashmir. Assamese is usually spoke in the north-eastern states.

Art

Indian art is a mix of indigenous and outside influences, yet having a unique character and distinctiveness of its own. It has changed with the evolution of a civilization which was full of remarkable innovations in all areas of artistic expression and features spirals and curvaceous lines, vines and tendrils, round-figured goddesses, circular amulets, colored gemstones, arches and domes, hallowed deities, crescent moons, and the globe of the sun. Indian sculptures and paintings depict the diversity, color and spontaneity of this country and are representations of the all-encompassing nature of Indian culture. Art in India is vivid and lively, refined and sophisticated and bold and vigorous at the same time. From being essentially religious in purpose in the beginning, Indian paintings and sculpture have evolved over the years to become a fusion of various traditions which influenced them.

The greatest art dynasties were the Mauryans who ruled over the whole of India during 3 BC. Sculpture has always been the most popular form of art, possibly since it serves not only to satisfy creative urges but can also be used to portray symbols of the empire. In fact, the Mauryan pillar with its four lions has been adopted as the seal of independent India. Examples of Mauryan art can be seen in museums all over India.

During the Gupta dynasty, the cave paintings and sculptures of Ajanta and Ellora were executed in fine detail. Their excellence has been unparalleled in the world. Another fine example of Indian art is the Nataraja, or the dancing Shiva traces its origins to the Pallava dynasty in southern India. Shiva, the Lord of Destruction, is depicted in his performance of his Cosmic Dance of Destruction in which he dances with a composed face in spite of a sense of energy in the posture of his body and the flurry of his hands while the universe around him descends in flames.

In India, one can also find innumerable temples, fortresses and palaces that exhibit excellent examples of Indian architecture through the ages. Sustained invasions however have meant a loss of much of the earlier examples of Indian architecture. Much of what is seen today dates back from the Mughal era. The finest example of pure Hindu skills applied to fort building can be seen in the Gwalior fort. The Mughals built impressive memorials for their dead, as in Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, as well as the famous Taj Mahal at Agra.

Music

India is a country with many different forms of music, the most popular form of which heard today are film songs. However, India also has many unique regional forms of music which can be classified as: devotional and ritual music, seasonal songs and dance, functional and social items, ballads and narrative forms.

Seasonal songs relate to harvests and sowing, or to festivals like Holi and Diwali which are common throughout the country. Ballads, the songs of legendary heroes and heroines, are sung by professional musicians to the accompaniment of drums and cymbals. Devotional music in India is, perhaps, the next most popular form after film songs. Visiting a church in Goa, Madras or Calcutta you can hear familiar hymns sung in Portugese, Tamil, Bengali, or English. Bhajans (hymns) sung in the different Indian languages are songs sung in praise of various Hindu deities.

Apart from regional forms of music, there are two broad systems of classical music that dominate the scene today. Hindustani music of northern India and Carnatic music which is more popular in the southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Dance

Similar to the musical tradition, there are several forms of dance in India that are related to the celebration of festivals and social functions such as marriage and rituals. Classical dance forms in India include Bharatnatyam from Tamil Nadu and South India, Kuchipudi from Andhra Pradesh, Odissi from Orissa, Kathakali from Kerala, Kathak from northern India and Manipuri from the north-eastern state of Manipur.

Most of the classical dance forms seem to have evolved from a single generic source. The Natyashastra is a Sanskrit compilation of the basic components of Indian music, dance and drama. The text is believed to have been written between 2 BC and 2 AD. The text explains the essential ingredients of dance: music, composition, movements, the role of costumes, hastas (hand gestures) and the use of facial and body postures that can be employed to convey expression through the medium of dance. All the classical dances of India follow these codes, though each form has unfolded and blossomed through its own individual expression.

Literature

The earliest known records are the Vedas and the Puranas both of which were not authored by a single author but are a collective pool of the learning, wisdom, religion and philosophy of the great sages of the past. This was followed by the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, both written several centuries before the dawn of the Christian era. Other major works include Shankuntala, Nala-Damayanti, Panchatantra, all of which were written in Sanskrit.

Since the coming of the British, Indian literature underwent a renaissance with the rise of nationalist writers writing in vernacular languages. The freedom struggle produced a number of original writers, among them was the poetess Sarojini Naidu. Famous writers in modern day India include Ruskin Bond, VS Naipaul, Nirad Chaudhari, RK Narayan, Khushwant Singh, Vikram Seth and Salman Rushdie among others.

Engineering & Medicine

Indian mathematicians are credited with introducing the concept of zero to the world. There is plenty of evidence that ancient India had a very strong interest in astronomy. Ayurveda, India’s indigenous form of medicine, is still popular throughout the country and indeed the world. Archaeologists have found ancient India to have a very high degree of town planning in terms of straight roads, sophisticated sewage systems, granary storage and public baths.

Social Issues

Social legislation in India has done much to alleviate the disabilities previously suffered by formerly untouchable castes, tribal populations, women, and other disadvantaged segments of society. Due to its size and nature, it is only natural that the government has not been able to tackle every social problem. This has led to the mushrooming of several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to protect and promote the interests of women and children. NGOs run facilities that provide basic health and child care services, run homes for the destitute & distressed and provide education and training opportunities.

Media

In India the print and the electronic media are both very active and free. The publications in the country are in Hindi, English and all vernacular languages. While most of the print media is privately-run, the TV networks are in the hands of the government. In the recent past, the electronic media has come in for a major change with global TV networks making their presence felt.

The Prasar Bharati Act (India’s Communications policy) promises autonomy of the state-run TV networks. It however is being implemented slowly. The most popular foreign TV network is Star TV. Broadcasting out of Hong Kong via satellite it reaches a couple of million households; however it is no match for the reach and popularity of the state-run, Doordarshan.

In spite of being under the British rule for a long period, India borrowed heavily from English and American constitutionswhile framing her own Constitution after independence. The preamble states*:

We, the People of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens:

  • Justice, social, economic and political;
  • Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
  • Equality of status and of opportunity;
  • and to promote among them all Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation

in our Constituent Assembly this twenty-sixth day of November 1949, do hereby Adopt, Enact and Give to ourselves this Constitution.

* The words “Socialist Secular” and “the unity and the integrity of the Nation”, were added by the 42nd Amendment.

As the world’s largest democracy, Indian government rests on: the central parliament and state legislatures, the judiciary and the executive. Each one functions independently, however, all of them are interlinked and operate under the parameters defined by the Constitution.

India’s government consists of a central government and state governments. The central government has exclusive authority, which include foreign policy, defense, communications, currency, taxation on corporations and nonagricultural income, and railroads. State governments have the sole power to legislate on such subjects as law and order, public health and sanitation, local government, betting and gambling, and taxation on agricultural income, entertainment, and alcoholic beverages. On some issues both the union government and state governments may legislate, though a union law generally takes precedence. Among these areas are criminal law, marriage and divorce, contracts, economic and social planning, population control and family planning, trade unions, social security, and education. Matters requiring legislation that are not specifically covered in the listed powers lie within the exclusive domain of the central government.

An exceedingly important power of the union government is that of creating new states, combining states, changing state boundaries, and terminating a state’s existence. The union government may also create and dissolve any of the union territories, which have more limited powers than those of the states. Although the states exercise either sole or joint control over a substantial range of issues, the constitution establishes a more dominant role for the union government.

Parliament

Indian Parliament consists of the Rajya Sabha, (Upper House) and the Lok Sabha (Lower House). Members of the Rajya Sabha are indirectly elected by the state legislative assemblies on the basis of proportional representation. A third of its members retire every two years; they can however be re-elected. Traditionally, the President appoints twelve members to the Rajya Sabha who have been outstanding in various fields like arts, sports, music, etc. Members to the Lok Sabha are elected directly by the people for a five-year term. Any Indian citizen over 25 years of age is eligible to get voted into the Lok Sabha and any Indian citizen over the age of 18 is eligible to vote.

States are governed in the same manner as the nation. States have a Vidhan Sabha (Legislative assembly) which is similar to the Lok Sabha. Members to the Vidhan Sabha are voted by the people for a period of five years. The leader of the Sabha is the chief minister who appoints his own council of ministers. Every state also has a Governor who is appointed by the President. In case it is required, the Governor can exercise his emergency powers, dismiss the state government and take over functioning of the state. This however rarely happens in practice.

Executive

The President is the constitutional head of Executive of the Union. Real executive power vests in a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as head who aid and advise the President. The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha, the House of the People. In the states, the Governor, as the representative of the President, is the head of Executive, but real executive power rests with the Chief Minister who heads the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers of a state is collectively responsible to the elected legislative assembly of the state. The Constitution governs the sharing of legislative power between Parliament and the State Legislatures, and provides for the vesting of residual powers in Parliament. The power to amend the Constitution also vests in Parliament. The Union Executive consists of the President, the Vice President and Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advise the President.

Judiciary

Judicial authority in India is exercised through a system of national courts administering the laws of the republic and the states. All judges are appointees of the executive branch of the government, but their independence is guaranteed by a variety of safeguards. Noteworthy among the latter is a provision requiring a two-thirds vote of the national legislature to effect removal from office. At the apex of the judicial system is a Supreme Court, consisting of up to 26 members. Next in authority are the high courts and subordinate courts in each state.

The main purpose of the Supreme Court is to deal between disputes between the central and state governments and in public litigation cases which involve interpretation of the Constitution. Totally autonomous in operation, the Supreme Court has often been used, in recent history, by the people to keep the government in check.

Election Process
The entire election process in India is controlled and conducted by an Election Commission (EC). This is an independent body and it ensures that elections are held in a free and fair manner. The Election Commission fixes and announces the dates for elections.

After counting of votes, the party getting simple majority is declared elected. Majority can be of 2 types:

  • Simple Majority (the party with the highest number of votes) and
  • Absolute Majority (where the party gets more than 50% of the votes).

A simple majority may, at times lead to paradoxes, in that the elected representative may win only because he has the highest number of votes but he may not have the mandate of the majority of the voting public. This leads to interesting situations in the post-election period!

Political Parties

The Indian National Congress, founded in 1885, led India in the struggle for independence and provided the country’s prime ministers until 1977. In 1969 a group of Congress members left the party to form the small Indian National Congress-Organization (or O), the nation’s first officially recognized opposition party. In early 1977 the Congress-Organization joined with three other parties, Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Bharatiya Lok Dal, and the Socialist party, to form the Janata party, which won about half of the seats in the House of the People in elections in March 1977. In May the Janata party achieved a solid majority by merging with the Congress for Democracy. In 1978 the Congress party split again, as Indira Gandhi founded the Indian National Congress-Indira (now Congress-I), which swept to victory in parliamentary elections in 1980 and 1984, but lost its majority in 1989, although retaining the largest share of seats. Its major competitors in the 1991 elections included Janata Dal (the largest party in National Front coalition) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1999. Today, the Prime Minister of India is Shri Manmohan Singh, Congress(I) and the President is Abdul Kalaam.

Defence

The President is the supreme commander of all the armed forces. All branches of the armed services of India are made up solely of volunteers. The strength of the regular army is 1,265,000 people. The navy comprises 55,000 personnel and the Air force strength is 110,000, with more than 700 combat aircraft. Having been involved in three wars since independence, India places great importance in its defense. Having two nuclear-weapon states with aggressive intentions as neighbors, India has also developed and tested nuclear weapons. The Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has also promised a moratorium on further testing. It is interesting to note that India has never been the aggressor in any war so far. Today India also possesses the technology to produce missiles, fighter planes, tanks and other weapons.

Foreign Policy

India’s foreign policy has been officially one of nonalignment with any of the world’s major power blocs. The country was a founding member of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) and has remained one of its prominent leaders. She plays an important role in global affairs, often as a champion of the causes of the world’s colonially exploited and less developed nations. India has maintained its membership in the Commonwealth (formerly, the British Commonwealth of Nations), and in 1950 it became the first Commonwealth country to change from a dominion to a republic. It was a charter member, even though not yet independent, of the United Nations (as it was of the League of Nations) and has played an active role in virtually all the organs within the United Nations system. In 1985 India joined six neighboring countries in launching the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Today India is a member of the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations).

The Indian government supports a mixed economy, most of which is in the control of private enterprise. Under a policy announced in 1956, the government undertook a plan to nationalize entire segments of the economy, while leaving other sectors subject to varying degrees of government planning and control. Nearly 250 corporations are owned by the state today.

Agriculture

Agriculture is the mainstay of the majority of the population in India. A far-seeing agricultural policy initiated in the 60s resulted in a green revolution in India. With extensive cultivable regions, a comprehensive network of irrigation facilities, and valuable stands of timber, today India is not only self-sufficient in foodgrains but also exports its crops. India has the largest area in the world under pulse crops and is also the first in the world to evolve a cotton hybrid.

Banking

India has a well developed banking system that is government-regulated and largely government-owned. The Reserve Bank of India, founded in 1935 and nationalized in 1949, is India’s principal banking institution. It regulates the circulation of bank notes, manages the country’s reserves of foreign exchange, and operates the currency and credit system. Fourteen of the country’s largest commercial banks were nationalized in 1969 and by 1980, most of the country’s commercial banking passed into the public sector. Other banks have been established by the central government to provide credits promoting various types of industry and foreign trade. Many foreign banks maintain branch offices in India, and Indian banks maintain offices in numerous foreign countries. The rupee, India’s basic monetary unit, is divided into 100 paisa (approx. 43 rupees equal U.S.$1).

Manufacturing

India’s manufacturing sector is highly diversified and includes a range of heavy- and high-technology industries, largely under government ownership. Consumer-goods industries are more commonly privately owned. The country’s chief manufactures include textiles, iron and steel, cement, fertilizers, other chemicals, automotive vehicles, ships, bicycles, textile and other machinery, electrical appliances and electronics, and pharmaceuticals. Electricity is generated mainly by thermal and secondarily by hydroelectric installations. Labour unions, generally affiliated with various political parties, are important in the modern sectors of the economy. India’s chief trading partners include the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, and Saudi Arabia.

Mining

Domestically supplied minerals form an important underpinning for India’s diversified manufacturing industry, as well as a source of modest export revenues. The nationalization of many foreign and domestic enterprises and the government initiation and management of others have given the Indian government a predominant role in the mining industry. India ranks among the world leaders in the production of iron ore, coal, and bauxite and produces significant amounts of manganese, mica, dolomite, copper, petroleum, chromium, lead, limestone, phosphate rock, zinc, gold, and silver.

Trade

Initially, stock exchanges did not play the prominent role in India in the way that they do in more affluent capitalist societies. However, today one can find vibrant stock exchanges in most of the largest Indian cities and they facilitate the flow of capital in the form of securities under rules set down by the Ministry of Finance. India’s trade links are worldwide. The United States and the former Soviet Union have been the principal destinations for India’s exports (often, in the latter case, under barter arrangements), while Japan and the countries of the European Community (EC), especially Germany and the United Kingdom, have also been important. The main import sources have been Japan, the United States, the EC, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union. Today, the United States is India’s leading trading partner, receiving about 16 percent of India’s yearly exports and supplying about 10 percent of its imports.

Transportation

India, at independence, had a superior transportation system. In the decades that followed, she built steadily on that base, and railroads in particular formed the sinews that initially bound the new nation together. Although railroads have continued to carry the bulk of goods traffic, there has been a steady increase in the relative dependence on roads and motorized transport. India has a broad network of railroad lines, the largest in Asia and the fourth largest in the world, all of which are publicly controlled. The major Indian ports, including Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, and Vishakhapatnam, are reached by cargo carriers and passenger liners operating to all parts of the world. A comprehensive network of Indian-operated air routes connects the major cities and towns of the country. International connections are maintained by Air India, Indian Airlines, and foreign air-transport services.

Ancient Indian Civilization

2500-1500 BC The Indus Valley Civilization: Mohenjodaro, Harappa 1500 BC The Hindu sacred text, Rig Veda, is written 563 BC Birth of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism 599-527 BC Vardhamana Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, is born 326 BC Alexander the Great invades India 320 BC Chandragupta starts the Mauryan Empire that rules over Northern India 273-232 BC Emperor Ashoka 261 BC Kalinga War: Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism 180 BC Menander, Greek king of Sialkot is born 100 BC The Scythians (Sakas) rule Northern India 52 AD Saint Thomas arrives in India to promote Christianity 68-182 The Kushan Empire flourishes 320-490 The Gupta Empire, the Golden Age of Indian Civilization, is established. Science, literature and arts flourish. 470 The Huns invade India, the fall of the Guptas, Decline of Buddhism 528 Defeat of the Huns by the Hindus 506-647 Harsha rules the throne of Kanauj 630-645 Hiuen Tsang, the Chinese traveller, visits India 6th-7th Century The Chalukya Dynasty of South India - Aiholi, Badami 8th Century The Rashtrakutas of Ellora, the Ganga Dynasty of Puri & Bhubaneshwar 788 Birth of Sankracharya, the Vedanta philosopher
The Rajput Period: 900-1200
850 Anangpal builds Lal Kot, Delhi's first city 1000-1300Hoysala Empire rules the South 1001-1019 Muhammed of Ghazni raids India 1026 Looting of Somnath by Muhammed of Ghazni 1176 Muhammed Ghor's invades the North and makes Qutub-ud-Din Aibak Delhi's first ruler 1192 Battle of Tarain: Prithviraj Chauhan slain

The Delhi Sultanate

1206 Qutub-ud-din Aibak becomes sultan of Delhi. His dynasty is overthrown in 1296 by Feroz Shah, a Turk, who builds Delhi's second city east of Lal Kot 1297 Marco Polo visits South India 1321 Ghias-ud-Din Tughlaq is proclaimed sultan. He starts building Tughlaqabad, the third city of Delhi 1325-1929 Muhammed-bin Tughlaq becomes sultan and builds Jahanpanah, the fourth city. 1336 The Hindu kingdom of Vijaynagara is built in South India 1351 Feroz Shah Tughlaq builds Ferozabad, the fifth city. 1398 Looting of Delhi by Timurlane 1414 Power passes to the Sayyids 1451 Buhlbal Lodi, an Afghan noble, captures the throne and founds the Lodhi dynasty 14th-16th centuries Islam is established throughout the north. The south remains independent under the Hindu Vijayanagar dynasty 1469 Birth of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism 1498 The Portugese arrive in Kerala, Vasco De Gama establishes Portugese trading posts, followed by the Dutch, French and English
The Mughal Dynasty: 1526-1857
1526 Babur, a warlord from Samarkand, defeats the Sultan of Delhi at the Battle of Panipat, and proclaims himself the first Mughal emperor 1540 Humayun succeeds his father, Babur, and starts to build Purana Qila, Delhi's sixth city 1556 Akbar is enthroned, aged 13. He pushes the borders of the Mughal Empire three-quarters of the way across the sub-continent 1565 Akbar starts to build the Red Fort in his capital city, Agra. Meanwhile, Muslim forces bring down the Vijayanagar dynasty in the south, which in turn is conquered by the Mughals 1569-1574 Akbar builds his "dream city" of Fatehpur Sikri, near Agra and moves his capital there, but the court returns to Agra ten years later. Akbar then starts to build his tomb at Sikandara 1600 Queen Elizabeth I grants a trading charter to the British East India Company, and in 1608, English merchants set up a trading base at Surat in Gujarat 1605 Akbar is succeeded by his son, Jahangir 1627-1658 Shah Jahan, Akbar's grandson, becomes emperor. 1632 Shah Jahan starts building the Taj Mahal in memory of his wife. 1638 Shah Jahan moves the capital from Agra to Delhi and lays the foundation for Shahjahanabad, Delhi's seventh city 1639 Shah Jahan begins work on Lal Qila (Red Fort) 1646-1680 Shivaji captures the hill forests around Poona which signals the rise of Maratha power 1659-1707 Aurangzeb becomes emperor by imprisoning his father, Shah Jahan, in the Red Fort at Agra. Following his death the Mughal Empire declines. 1674 The French setup a trading post at Pondicherry 1739 Nadir Shah, a Persian king, invades Delhi and slaughters 30,000 residents of Shahjahanabad before returning to Persia with the Peacock throne 1756-1763 In the Seven Years' War the British East India Company ousts the French from Bengal 1761 The British defeat the Maratha armies at Panipat 1764 In the Battle of Buxar, Clive receives the Diwani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa for the East India Company 1774-1785 Warren Hastings consolidates British gains 1799 Rise of Maharaja Ranjit Singh & the Sikhs 1804 Delhi Emperor is put under British protectorate 1818 By finally overthrowing the Marathas, the British establish themselves as the paramount power in India 1849 Second Sikh War: annexation of Punjab 1857 Indian Mutiny breaks out in Meerut, where sepoys are incited by a rumour that a new issue of bullets is greased with animal fat from pigs, which are unclean to Muslims, and cows, which are sacred to Hindus. The anti-British campaign spreads across India, causing much bloodshed. The British quell the rebellion. Bahadur Shah, last of the Mughal Emperors, is exiled to Burma. The reign of the East India Company comes to an end.
The British Raj: 1858-1947
1858 The British Crown imposes direct rule and appoints a viceroy as the sovereign's representative 1869 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is born at Porbandar in Gujarat 1877 Queen Victoria is proclaimed Empress of India 1885 The first political party, the Indian National Congress, is founded 1906 Foundation of the Muslim League 1911 George V, King and Emperor, announces that the capital will be transferred from Calcutta to Delhi 1915 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known as the "Mahatma" (great soul), returns from South Africa, and starts to campaign for passive resistance to British rule 1919 General Dyer orders his Gurkha troops to open fire on a peaceful but illegal anti-British protest meeting in Amritsar, killing 379 and wounding 1,200 people in the courtyard of Jalianwala Bagh. This proves catalytic to the Indian Independence movement 1922-1929 The first workers union is established. The Congress, inspired by Gandhi, goes to the masses for support and non-violence becomes the banner for the freedom movement 1930 Gandhi's "Quit India" drive gains momemtum with his Dandi Salt March from Ahmedabad to protest against taxes on Indian-produced salt 1931 New Delhi inaugurated as the capital of India 1935 Mohammed Ali Jinnah, head of the Muslim League, calls for a new Muslim nation of Pakistan 1937 In the elections to the Provincial Assemblies, the Congress wins a majority, its relations with the Muslim League deteriorate 1939 Congress refuses to support England during the World War II 1941 Congress revises position on World War and offers support in exchange for Independence. Gandhi disapproves and leaves Congress 1942 Negotiations between the Congress and British fail. Congress launches Quit India Movement, in which thousands of Congress leaders, including Gandhi, are imprisoned 1946 Congress wins the elections, Jawaharlal Nehru angers Jinnah who announces Direct Action day. This results in an outbreak of communal riots in Calcutta, with the violence spreading all across North India and Punjab is in flames
Independence: 1947-Present
15th August 1947 India gains independence from Britain at midnight on 15th August. Jawaharlal Nehru becomes her first Prime Minister. India is divided into two countries, the mainly Hindu nation of India and the Muslim nation of Pakistan. During Partition more than 10 million people migrate in each direction across the divided Punjab. Communal violence between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims claims between 200,000 and 1,000,000 lives. 30th January 1948 Mahatma Gandhi is assasinated by a Hindu fanatic 1948 India and Pakistan go to war over Kashmir 26th January 1950 India becomes a Republic and the Consitution comes into force 1954 France return Pondicerry, Mahe to India 1955 The Non-Aligned Movement is launched with India as a founding member 1961 The Indian Army takes over the last Portugese possession in India - Goa, Daman, Diu 1962 Indo-Chinese War 1964 Jawaharlal Nehru dies. Lal Bahadur Shastri becomes India's Prime Minister and in 1965, repulses Pakistan's attacks on India in the Rann of Kutch and Kashmir 1966 Indira Gandhi, Nehru's daughter, becomes Prime Minister 1971 War with East Pakistan leads to the creation of a new independent nation of Bangladesh 1975-1977 Indira Gandhi imposes a State of Emergency, suspends civil liberties and imprisons her political opponents. She is defeated in the 1977 elections 1977-1979 Janata Party comes to power under Morarji Desai 1980 Indira Gandhi returns as prime minister 1984 Sikhs demand independence for Punjab; 1,000 people die when the Indian army storms the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest Sikh Shrine. Indira Gandhi is assasinated on 31st October. Her son, Rajiv Gandhi becomes prime minister 1988 New opposition party, Janata Dal, is established 1989 Congress-I loses majority in general election; Janata Dal forms minority government 1990 Communal and civil disturbances in Jammu and Kashmir and Assam. Religious violence in Punjab. 1991 Rajiv Gandhi is assasinated. Congress forms a minority goverment lead by Narasimha Rao 1992-1993 Destruction of Babri Masjid in Ayodhaya by Hindu militants provokes riots nationwide 1996 The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) falls from power after two weeks in office. A leftist coalition under Deve Gowda, later succeeded by I K Gujral, takes control 1999 Election victory for BJP; their leader Atal Behari Vajpayee, becomes prime minister 2004 Election victory for Congress-I, Manmohan Singh, becomes prime minister

There are around 18 languages recognized by the Indian Constitution. These languages are

  1. Assamese
  2. Bengali
  3. Gujrati
  4. Hindi
  5. Kannada
  6. Kashmiri
  7. Konkani
  8. Malayalam
  9. Manipuri
  10. Marathi
  11. Nepali
  12. Oriya
  13. Punjabi
  14. Sanskrit
  15. Sindhi
  16. Tamil
  17. Telugu
  18. Urdu

Hindi is the official and main link language of India. Its homeland is mainly in the north of India, but it is spoken and widely understood in all urban centers of India. It is written in the Devanagri script, which is phonetic and, unlike English, is pronounced as it is written. Hindi is a direct descendant of Sanskrit through Prakrit and Apabhramsha. It has been influenced and enriched by Dravidian, Turkish, Farsi, Arabic, Portugese and English. It is a very expressive language. In poetry and songs, it can convey emotions using simple and gentle words. It can also be used for exact and rational reasoning.

STATES

  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • Assam
  • Bihar
  • Chattisgarh
  • Delhi
  • Goa
  • Gujarat
  • Haryana
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Jammu & Kashmir
  • 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

ABOHAR
ACHALPUR
ADAIPUR
ADILABAD
ADITYAPUR
ADONI
AGARTALA
AGRA
AHMADABAD
AHMADNAGAR
AIZAWL
AJMER
AKOLA
AKOT
ALANDUR
ALIGARH
ALIPURDUAR
ALLAHABAD
ALLEPPEY
ALLINAGARAM
ALWAR
AMALNER
AMBAJOGAI
AMBALA
AMBALASADAR
AMBATTUR
AMBIKAPUR
AMBUR
AMRAVATI
AMRELI
AMRITSAR
AMROHA
ANAKAPALLE
ANAND
ANANTAPUR
ANJAR
ANKLESHWAR
ARA
ARAKKONAM
ARANI
ARCOT
ARUPPUKKOTTAI
ASANSOL
ASHOKNAGAR-KALYANGARH
ATTUR
AURAIYA
AURANGABAD
AVADI
AZAMGARH
BADAGARA
BAGAHA
BAGALKOT
BAHADURGARH
BAHARAMPUR
BAHRAICH
BAIDYABATI
BALAGHAT
BALANGIR
BALESHWAR
BALLARPUR
BALLIA
BALLY
BALRAMPUR
BALURGHAT
BANDA
BANDAR (12)
BANGALORE
BANGAON
BANKURA
BANSBERIA
BANSWARA
BAPATLA
BARAKPUR
BARAN
BARANAGAR
BARASAT
BARAUNI
BARAUT
BARDDHAMAN
BAREILLY (21)
BARELI
BARGARH
BARMER
BARNALA
BARSI
BASIRHAT
BASSEIN
BASTI
BATALA
BATHINDA
BEAWAR
BEGUSARAI
BELA
BELAMPALLI
BELGAUM
BELLARY
BETTIAH
BETUL
BEYPORE
BHADOHI
BHADRAK
BHADRAVATI
BHADRAVATI NEWTOWN
BHADRESWAR
BHAGALPUR (9)
BHAKDAHA
BHANDARA
BHARATPUR
BHARUCH
BHATPARA
BHAVANI
BHAVNAGAR
BHAWANIPATNA
BHAYANDAR
BHILAI
BHILWARA
BHIMAVARAM
BHIND
BHIR
BHIWANDI
BHIWANI
BHOPAL
BHUBANESHWAR
BHUBANESWAR
BHUJ
BHUSAWAL
BID
BIDAR
BIHAR
BIJAPUR
BIJNOR
BIKANER
BILASPUR
BIRNAGAR
BISHNUPUR
BODHAN
BODINAYAKKANUR
BOKARO
BOKAROSTEELCITY
BOLANGIR
BOLPUR
BOLPUR
BOTAD
BRAHMAPUR
BRAJRAJNAGAR
BROACH
BUDAUN
BUDGEBUDGE
BULANDSHAHR
BULDANA
BULSAR
BUNDI
BURHANPUR
BURHAR
BURNPUR
BUXAR
CALCUTTA
CALICUT
CANNANORE
CAWNPORE
CHAIBASA
CHALISGAON
CHAMPDANI
CHANDANNAGAR
CHANDAUSI
CHANDIGARH
CHANDPUR
CHANDRAPUR
CHANGANACHERI
CHANNAPATNA
CHAPRA
CHAS
CHENGALPATTU
CHENNAI
CHHAPRA
CHHATARPUR
CHHINDWARA
CHIDAMBARAM
CHIKMAGALUR
CHILAKALURUPET
CHINGLEPUT
CHINTAMANI
CHIRALA
CHITRADURGA
CHITTAURGARH
CHITTOOR
CHURU
COCHIN
COIMBATORE
CONTAI
COOCHBEHAR
COONOOR
CUDDALORE
CUDDAPAH
CUMBUM
CUTTACK (31)

DABGRAM
DALLIRAJHARA
DALTENGANJ
DAMOH
DANAPUR
DANDELI
DARBHANGA
DARJILING
DATIA
DAVANAGERE
DEHRADUN
DEHRI
DELHI
DELHICANTONMENT
DEOBAND
DEOGHAR
DEORIA
DEWAS
DHAMTARI
DHANBAD
DHAR
DHARMAPURI
DHARMAVARAM
DHAULPUR
DHOLKA
DHOLPUR
DHORAJI
DHRANGADHRA
DHUBURI
DHULE
DHULIA
DIBRUGARH
DIMAPUR
DINDIGUL
DISA
DISHERGARH
DODBALLAPUR
DUMDUM
DURG
DURGAPUR
ELURU
EMMIGANURU
ERODE
ETAH
ETAWAH
FAIZABAD (6)
FARIDABAD
FARIDKOT
FARRUKHABAD (6)
FATEHPUR
FAZILKA
FIROZABAD
FIROZPUR
FIROZPURCANTONMENT
GADAG
GANDHIDHAM
GANDHINAGAR
GANGAGHAT
GANGANAGAR
GANGAPUR
GANGAWATI
GARULIA
GAUHATI
GAYA
GHAZIABAD
GHAZIPUR
GIRIDIH
GODHRA
GOKAK
GONDA
GONDAL
GONDIA
GOPICHETTIPALAIYAM
GORAKHPUR
GUDIVADA
GUDIYATTAM
GUDUR
GULBARGA
GUNA
GUNTAKAL
GUNTUR
GURDASPUR
GURGAON
GURUBAYUR
GUWAHATI
GWALIOR
HABRA
HAJIPUR
HALDWANI
HALISAHAR
HANSI
HANUMANGARH
HAORA
HAPUR
HARDOI
HARIDWAR
HARIHAR
HASSAN
HATHRAS
HAZARIBAG
HIMATNAGAR
HINDAUN
HINDUPUR
HINGANGHAT
HINGOLI
HISAR
HOOGHLYCHINSURA
HOSHANGABAD
HOSHIARPUR
HOSPET
HOWRAH (7)
HUBLIDHARWAR
HUBLI-DHARWAR
HUGLI-CHINSURAH
HYDERABAD
ICHAIKARONJI
ICHALKARANJI
IMPHAL
INDORE
INGRAJBAZAR
ITARSI
JABALPUR
JABALPURCANTONMENT
JAGADHRI
JAGDALPUR
JAGTIAL
JAHANABAD
JAIPUR
JALANDHAR
JALGAON
JALNA
JALPAIGURI
JAMALPUR
JAMMU
JAMNAGAR
JAMSHEDPUR
JANGIPUR
JAORA
JAUNPUR
JAYPUR
JETPUR
JHANSI
JHARIA
JHARSUGUDA
JHUNJHUNUN
JIND
JODHPUR
JORHAT
JULLUNDUR (2)
JULLUNDUR
JUNAGADH
KADAIYANALLUR
KADIRI
KAGAZNAGAR
KAIRANA
KAITHAL
KAKINADA
KALAMASSERY
KALIKATA
KALOL
KALYAN
KAMARHATI
KAMBAM
KAMPTEE
KAMTHI
KANCHIPURAM
KANCHRAPARA
KANNANGAD
KANNAUJ
KANPUR
KANPURCANTONMENT
KAPRA
KAPURTHALA
KARAD
KARAIKAL
KARAIKKUDI
KARIKAL
KARIMNAGAR
KARNAL
KARUR
KARWAR
KASARAGOD
KASGANJ
KASHIPUR
KATIHAR
KATWA
KAVALI
KAYANKULAM
KESHOD
KHADKI
KHAMBHAT

KHAMGAON
KHAMMAM
KHANDWA
KHANNA
KHARAGPUR
KHARAGPURRAILWAYSETTLEMENT
KHARDAHA
KHARGON
KHARGONE
KHURJA
KISHANGANJ
KISHANGARH
KISHANGARHBAS
KOCHBIHAR
KOCHI
KODARMA
KOHIMA
KOLAR
KOLARGOLDFIELDS
KOLHAPUR
KOLKATA
KONNAGAR
KORBA
KOTA
KOTKAPURA
KOTTAGUDEM
KOTTAYAM
KOVILPATTI
KOZHIKODE
KRISHNAGIRI
KRISHNANAGAR
KUKATPALLE
KULTI
KUMARAPALAIYAM
KUMBAKONAM
KUNDLA
KURASIA
KURICHI
KURNOOL
LAKHIMPUR
LALBAHADURNAGAR
LALITPUR
LASHKAR
LATUR
LUCKEESARAI
LUCKNOW
LUCKNOWCANTONMENT
LUDHIANA
MACHILIPATNAM
MADANAPALLE
MADGAON
MADHUBANI
MADHYAMGRAM
MADHYAMGRAM
MADRAS
MADURAI
MAHBUBNAGAR
MAHESANA
MAHOBA
MAHUVA
MAINPURI
MAKRANA
MALAPPURAM
MALAUT
MALEGAON
MALERKOTLA
MALKAJGIRI
MALKAPUR
MANCHERAL
MANDSAUR
MANDYA
MANGALAGIRI
MANGALORE
MANGO
MANJERI
MANMAD
MANNARGUDI
MANSA
MASULIPATAM
MASULIPATNAM
MATHURA
MAUNATHBHANJAN
MAWANA
MAYURAM
MEDINIPUR
MEERUT
MEERUTCANTONMENT
MELAPPALAIYAM
METTUPALAYAM
MHOW
MIDNAPORE
MIRABHAYANDAR
MIRAJ
MIRYALAGUDA
MIRZAPUR
MODINAGAR
MOGA
MOKAMA
MORADABAD
MORBI
MORENA
MORMUGAO
MORVI
MOTIHARI
MUGHALSARAI
MUKTSAR
MUMBAI
MUNGER
MURWARA
MUZAFFARNAGAR
MUZAFFARPUR
MYSORE
NABHA
NADIAD
NAGAON
NAGAPPATTINAM
NAGAPPATTINAM
NAGAUR
NAGDA
NAGERCOIL
NAGINA
NAGPUR
NAIHATI
NAJIBAABAD
NALASOPARA
NALGONDA
NANDED
NANDURBAR
NANDYAL
NANGI
NARASAPUR
NARASARAOPET
NARNAUL
NASHIK
NASIK
NAVADWIP
NAVANAGAR
NAVSARI
NAWABGANJ
NAWADA
NAWALGARH
NEDUMANGAD
NEEMUCH
NELLORE
NEWBARAKPUR
NEWBOMBAY
NEWDELHI
NEYVELI
NIMACH
NIPANI
NIRMAL
NIZAMABAD
NORTHBARAKPUR
NORTHDUMDUM
NOWGONG
ONGOLE
ORAI
OSMANABAD
PALAKODU
PALANI
PALANPUR
PALAYANKOTTAI
PALGHAT
PALI
PALLAVARAM
PALONCHA
PALWAL
PALWANCHA
PANAJI
PANCHUR
PANDHARPUR
PANIHATI
PANIPAT
PANRUTI
PANVEL
PARAMAKKUDI
PARASIA
PARBHANI
PARLI
PATAN
PATHANKOT
PATIALA
PATNA
PATTUKKOTTAI
PAYYANNUR
PHAGWARA
PILIBHIT
PILKHUA
PIMPRI-CHINCHWAD
POLLACHI

PONDICHERRY
PONMALAI
PONNANI
PONNURUNIDUBROLU
POONA
PORBANDAR
PORTBLAIR
PRODDATUR
PUDUKKOTTAI
PULIYANGUDI
PUNE
PUNECANTONMENT
PURI
PURNIA
PURULIYA
PUSAD
QUILON
QUTUBULLAPUR
RABKAVIBANHATTI
RAEBARELI
RAICHUR
RAIGANJ
RAIGARH
RAIPUR
RAJAHMUNDRY (33)
RAJAPALAIYAM
RAJENDRANAGAR
RAJHARA-JHARANDALLI
RAJKOT
RAJNANDGAON
RAJPUR
RAJPURA
RAMANAGARAM
RAMANATHAPURAM
RAMGARH
RAMPUR
RANAGHAT
RANCHI
RANIBENNUR
RANIGANJ
RATANGARH
RATLAM
RATNAGIRI
RAYACHOTI
REWA
REWARI
RISHRA
ROBERTSONPET
ROHTAK
ROORKEE
ROURKELA
ROURKELACIVILTOWNSHIP
RUDRAPUR
SAGAR
SAHARANPUR
SAHARSA
SAHASWAN
SALEM
SAMBALPUR
SAMBHAL
SANGAREDDI
SANGLI
SANGRUR
SANTIPUR
SARDARSHAHR
SARNI
SASARAM
SATARA
SATNA
SAUNDA
SAWAIMADHOPUR
SECUNDERABADCANTONMENT
SEHORE
SEONI
SERAMPORE
SERILUNGAMPALLE
SHAHABAD
SHAHDOL
SHAHJAHANPUR (9)
SHAMLI
SHANTIPUR
SHERTALLAI
SHIKOHABAD
SHILIGURI
SHILLONG
SHIMLA
SHIMOGA
SHIVPURI
SHOLAPUR (5)
SHRIRAMPUR
SIDDHAPUR
SIDDHPUR
SIDDIPET
SIDHPUR
SIKANDARABAD
SIKAR
SILCHAR
SIMLA
SINDRI
SIRSA
SIRSILLA
SITAPUR
SIURI
SIVAKASI
SIWAN
SOLAPUR
SONIPAT
SOUTHDUMDUM
SRIKAKULAM
SRIKALAHASTI
SRINAGAR
SRIRAMPUR
SRIRANGAM
SRIVILLIPUTTUR
SUJANGARH
SULTANPUR
SURAT
SURENDRANAGAR
SURIAPET
TADEPALLEGUDEM
TADPATRI
TALIPARAMBA
TAMBARAM
TANDA
TANUKU
TELLICHERY
TENALI
TENKASI
TEZPUR
THANA
THANESAR
THANJAVUR
THENI-ALLINAGARAM
THRIPPUNITHURA
TIKAMGARH
TINDIVANAM
TINSUKIA
TIRUCHCHIRAPPALLI
TIRUCHENGODU
TIRUNELVELI
TIRUPATI
TIRUPPATTUR
TIRUPPUR
TIRUVALLA
TIRUVANNAMALAI
TIRUVOTTIYUR
TITAGARH
TITAGARH
TONK
TRICHUR
TRIVANDRUM
TUMKUR
TUTICORIN
UDAGAMANDALAM
UDAMALPET
UDAYPUR (3)
UDGIR
UDUPI
UJJAIN
ULHASNAGAR
ULUBARIA
UNJHA
UNNAO
UPLETA
UPPALKALAN
UTTARPARAKOTRUNG
UTTARPARA-KOTRUNG
VADODARA
VALPARAI
VANIYAMBADI
VARANASI
VASAI
VEERAPPANCHATTIRAM
VEJALPUR
VELLORE
VERAVAL
VIDISHA
VIJAYAVADA (2)
VIKRAMASINGAPURAM
VILUPPURAM
VIRAMGAM
VIRAR
VIRUDUNAGAR
VISHAKHAPATNAM
VISNAGAR
VIZIANAGARAM
VRIDDHACHALAM
WARANGAL
WARDHA
YAMUNANAGAR
YAVATMAL
YEMMIGANUR

India Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic The Indian Union 28 States and seven centrally administered Union Territories Form of government Parliamentary, based on universal adult franchise Legislature Parliament, consists of President and the two Houses, known as Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and Lok Sabha (House of the People) Executive Consists of President, Vice-President and Council of Ministers led by the Prime Minister Judiciary Independent of executive
GDP at current prices$ 1.16 trillion (2007-08)
GDP (PPP)US $4156 (5th largest in the world) (2006)
GDP growth rate 9% (2007-08)
Foreign Exchange reservesUS $273.89 billion (as on 17.10.2008)
ExportsUS $159 billion, Growth Rate: 25.8 % (2007-08)
ImportsUS $239.65 billion, Growth Rate : 29% (2007-08)
Foreign Direct InvestmentUS $32.44 billion (2007-08)
Portfolio InvestmentUS $17.23 billion (2007)
Power generation 499.5 billion kilo watt hour in 2000-01
Coal production 332 million tonnes in 2000-01
Crude oil production 32.2 million tonnes in 2000-01
Railway passenger traffic 4,864 million in 2000-01
Railway freight traffic 473 million tonnes in 2000-01
Total road length 2.47 million km in 1996-97
Iron ore export 26.0 million tonnes in 1994-95
Foodgrains production 195.5 million tonnes in 2000-01
Sugar cane production 299.2 million tonnes in 2000-01
Cotton production 9.7 million bales in 2000-01
Oilseed production 18.4 million tonnes in 2000-01
Cement production 99.5 million tonnes in 2000-01
Nitrogenous fertilizer production 11.02 million tonnes in 2000-01
Nuclear energy generation 16.9 billion kilo watt hour in 2000-01
A
  • Abhohar 01634
  • Achikanam 0499
  • Adampur 075696
  • Adilabad 08732
  • Adiperanda 0492
  • Adiram Patnam 0437
  • Adoni 08512
  • Aduthurai 04376
  • Afzalpura 08476
  • Agartala 0381
  • Agra 0562
  • Ahmedabad 079
  • Ahmednagar 0241
  • Ainapur 08339
  • Ajmer 0145
  • Akiveedu 08828
  • Akluj (mstd) 0218
  • Alacode 0498
  • Alambagh 05225
  • Alanallur 0492
  • Alandi 021262
  • Alangudi 043225
  • Alappad 0475
  • Aldur 08262
  • Aligarh 0571
  • Alipura 08155
  • Achanta 08814
  • Adagur 08172
  • Addagadde 08265
  • Adimali 04865
  • Adipur 0283686
  • Adityapur 0657
  • Adoor 04734
  • Adyarpadru 082474
  • Agali 0492
  • Agathy 048674
  • Agra (malwa) 07362
  • Ahmedgarh 0167311
  • Ahwa 02631
  • Aizwal 03832
  • Akivedu 08828
  • Akkalkot 027132
  • Akola 0724
  • Alagappanagar 048788
  • Alamuru 0885382
  • Aland 08477
  • Alangad 0484
  • Alangulam 046337
  • Alathur 04922
  • Alibaug 02143
  • Alindra 0224
  • Alipurduar

International Calling Codes

Country Country Code
  • Algeria 213
  • Andorra 376
  • Angola 244
  • Anguilla 1264
  • Antigua and Barbuda 1268
Country Country Code
  • Greenland 299
  • Grenada 1809
  • Guadeloupe 590
  • Guam 671
  • Guatemala 502
Country Country Code
  • Oman 968
  • Pakistan 92
  • Panama 507
  • Papua New Guine 675
  • Paraguay
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Air Ways
  • Indian Airlines 1600 180 1407
  • Jet Airways 1600 22 5522
  • SpiceJet 1600 180 3333
Automobiles
  • Mahindra Scorpio 1600 22 6006
  • Maruti 1600 111 515
  • Tata Motors 1600 22 5552
  • Windshield Experts 1600 11 3636
Cell Phones
  • BenQ 1600 22 08 08
  • Bird CellPhones 1600 11 7700
  • Motorola MotoAssist 1600 11 1211
  • Nokia 3030 3838
  • Sony Ericsson 3901 1111
Banks
  • ABN AMRO 1600 11 2224
  • Canara Bank 1600 44 6000
  • Citibank 1600 44 2265
  • Corporatin Bank 1600 443 555
  • Development Credit Bank 1600 22 5769
  • HDFC Bank 1600 227 227
  • ICICI Bank 1600 333 499
  • ICICI Bank NRI 1600 22 4848
  • IDBI Bank 1600 11 6999
  • Indian Bank 1600 425 1400
  • ING Vysya 1600 44 9900
  • Kotak Mahindra Bank 1600 22 6022
  • Lord Krishna Bank 1600 11 2300
  • Punjab National Bank 1600 122 222
  • State Bank of India 1600 44 1955
  • Syndicate Bank 1600 44 6655
Computers/IT
  • Adrenalin 1600 444 445
  • AMD 1600 425 6664
  • Apple Computers 1600 444 683
  • Canon 1600 333 366
  • Cisco Systems 1600 221 777
  • Compaq - HP 1600 444 999
  • Dell 1600 444 026
  • Data One Broadband 1600 424 1600
  • Epson 1600 44 0011
  • eSys 3970 0011
  • Genesis Tally Academy 1600 444 888
  • HCL 1600 180 8080
  • IBM 1600 443 333
  • Lexmark 1600 22 4477
  • Marshal's Point 1600 33 4488
  • Microsoft 1600 111 100
  • Microsoft Virus Update 1901 333 334
  • Seagate 1600 180 1104
  • Symantec 1600 44 5533
  • TVS Electronics 1600 444 566
  • WeP Peripherals 1600 44 6446
  • Wipro 1600 333 312
  • xerox 1600 180 1225
  • Zenith 1600 222 004
Couriers/Packers & Movers
  • ABT Courier 1600 44 8585
  • AFL Wizz 1600 22 9696
  • Agarwal Packers & Movers 1600 11 4321
  • Associated Packers P Ltd 1600 21 4560
  • DHL 1600 111 345
  • FedEx 1600 22 6161
  • Goel Packers & Movers 1600 11 3456
  • UPS 1600 22 7171
Education
  • Edu Plus 1600 444 000
  • Hindustan College 1600 33 4438
  • NCERT 1600 11 1265
  • Vellore Institute of Technology 1600 441 555
Healthcare
  • Best on Health 1600 11 8899
  • Dr Batras 1600 11 6767
  • GlaxoSmithKline 1600 22 8797
  • Johnson & Johnson 1600 22 8111
  • Kaya Skin Clinic 1600 22 5292
  • LifeCell 1600 44 5323
  • Manmar Technologies 1600 33 4420
  • Pfizer 1600 442 442
  • Roche Accu-Chek 1600 11 45 46
  • Rudraksha 1600 21 4708
  • Varilux Lenses 1600 44 8383
  • VLCC 1600 33 1262
Home Appliances
  • Aiwa/Sony 1600 11 1188
  • Anchor Switches 1600 22 7979
  • Blue Star 1600 22 2200
  • Bose Audio 1600 11 2673
  • Bru Coffee Vending Machines 1600 44 7171
  • Daikin Air Conditioners 1600 444 222
  • DishTV 1600 12 3474
  • Faber Chimneys 1600 21 4595
  • Godrej 1600 22 5511
  • Grundfos Pumps 1600 33 4555
  • LG 1901 180 9999
  • Philips 1600 22 4422
  • Samsung 1600 113 444
  • Sanyo 1600 11 0101
  • Voltas <1600 33 4546/span>
  • WorldSpace Satellite Radio 1600 44 5432
Hotel Reservations
  • GRT Grand 1600 44 5500
  • InterContinental Hotels Group 1600 111 000
  • Marriott 1600 22 0044
  • Sarovar Park Plaza 1600 111 222
  • Taj Holidays 1600 111 825
Insurance
  • AMP Sanmar 1600 44 2200
  • Aviva 1600 33 2244
  • Bajaj Allianz 1600 22 5858
  • Chola MS General Insurance 1600 44 5544
  • HDFC Standard Life 1600 227 227
  • LIC 1600 33 4433
  • Max New York Life 1600 33 5577
  • Royal Sundaram 1600 33 8899
  • SBI Life Insurance 1600 22 9090
Mattresses
  • Kurl-on 1600 44 0404
  • Sleepwell 1600 11 2266
  • Investments/Finance
  • CAMS 1600 44 2267
  • Chola Mutual Fund 1600 22 2300
  • Easy IPO's 3030 5757
  • Fidelity Investments 1600 180 8000
  • Franklin Templeton Fund 1600 425 4255
  • J M Morgan Stanley 1600 22 0004
  • Kotak Mutual Fund 1600 222 626
  • LIC Housing Finance 1600 44 0005
  • SBI Mutual Fund 1600 22 3040
  • Sharekhan 1600 22 7500
  • Tata Mutual Fund 1600 22 0101
Paints
  • Asian Paints Home Solutions 1600 22 5678
  • Berger Paints Home Decor 1600 33 8800
Teleshopping
  • Asian Sky Shop 1600 22 1600
  • Jaipan Teleshoppe 1600 11 5225
  • Tele Brands 1600 11 8000
  • VMI Teleshopping 1600 447 777
  • WWS Teleshopping 1600 220 777
Travel
  • Club Mahindra Holidays 1600 33 4539
  • Cox & Kings 1600 22 1235
  • God TV Tours 1600 442 777
  • Kerala Tourism 1600 444 747
  • Kumarakom Lake Resort 1600 44 5030
  • Raj Travels & Tours 1600 22 9900
  • Sita Tours 1600 111 911
  • SOTC Tours 1600 22 3344
UPS
  • APC 1600 44 4272
  • Numeric 1600 44 3266
Others
  • Consumer Helpline 1600 11 4000
  • L'Oréal, GARNIeR 1600 223 000
  • KONE Elevator 1600 444 666
  • Indane 1600 44 51 15
  • Aavin 1600 44 3300
  • Pedigree 1600 11 2121
  • Kodak India 1600 22 8877
  • Domino's Pizza 1600 111 123
  • World Vision India 1600 444 550
  • Telecom Monitoring Cell 1600 110 420

Encyclopedia of Indian Names & Their Meanings
more…

The National flag is a horizontal tricolour of deep saffron (kesari) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion.

The ratio of width of the flag to its length is two to three. In the centre of the white band is a navy blue wheel which represents the chakra. Its design is that of the wheel which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. Its diameter approximates to the width of the white band and it has 24 spokes.

The design of the national flag was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on 22 July 1947. Its use and display are regulated by the Indian Flag Code.

Preamble To The Flag Code of India:

The following is an extract from the preamble to the flag code of India as posted on the official Home Ministry website of the Indian government:

“Bhagwa or the saffron colour denotes renunciation of disinterestedness. Our leaders must be indifferent to material gains and dedicate themselves to their work.”
“The white in the centre is light, the path of truth to guide our conduct.”
“The green shows our relation to soil, our relation to the plant life here on which all other life depends.”
“The Ashoka Wheel in the centre of the white is the wheel of the law of dharma. Truth or satya, dharma or virtue ought to be the controlling principles of those who work under this flag. Again, the wheel denotes motion. There is death in stagnation. There is life in movement. India should no more resist change, it must move and go forward. The wheel represents the dynamism of a peaceful change.”

The song Jana-gana-mana, composed originally in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore, was adopted in its Hindi version by the Constituent Assembly as the national anthem of India on 24 January 1950. It was first sung on 27 December 1911 at the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress. The complete song consists of five stanzas. The first stanza contains the full version of the National Anthem :

Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka, jaya he
Bharata-bhagya-vidhata.
Punjab-Sindh-Gujarat-Maratha
Dravida-Utkala-Banga
Vindhya-Himachala-Yamuna-Ganga
Uchchala-Jaladhi-taranga.
Tava shubha name jage,
Tava shubha asisa mage,
Gahe tava jaya gatha,
Jana-gana-mangala-dayaka jaya he
Bharata-bhagya-vidhata.
Jaya he, jaya he, jaya he,
Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he!

The following is Tagore’s English rendering of the anthem :

Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people,
dispenser of India’s destiny.
Thy name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sind,
Gujarat and Maratha,
Of the Dravida and Orissa and Bengal;
It echoes in the hills of the Vindyas and Himalayas,
mingles in the music of Jamuna and Ganges and is
chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea.
They pray for thy blessings and sing thy praise.
The saving of all people waits in thy hand,
thou dispenser of India’s destiny.
Victory, victory, victory to thee.

The State emblem is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka. In the original, there are four lions, standing back to back, mounted on an abacus with a frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and a lion separated by intervening wheels over a bell-shaped lotus. Carved out of a single block of polished sandstone, the capital is crowned by the Wheel of the Law (Dharma Chakra).

In the State emblem, adopted by the Government of India on 26 January 1950,only three lions are visible, the fourth being hidden from view. The wheel appears in relief in the centre of the abacus with a bull on right and a horse on left and the outlines of other wheels on extreme right and left. The bell-shaped lotus has been omitted. The words Satyameva Jayate from Mundaka Upanishad, meaning ‘Truth Alone Triumphs’, are inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script.

The song Vande Mataram, composed in Sanskrit by Bankimchandra Chatterji, was a source of inspiration to the people in their struggle for freedom. It has an equal status with Jana-gana-mana. The first political occasion when it was sung was the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress. The following is the text of its first stanza

Vande Mataram!
Sujalam, suphalam, malayaja shitalam,
Shasyashyamalam, Mataram!
Shubhrajyothsna pulakitayaminim,
Phullakusumita drumadala shobhinim,
Suhasinim sumadhura bhashinim,
Sukhadam varadam, Mataram!

The English translation of the stanza rendered by Sri Aurobindo in prose 1 is :

I bow to thee, Mother,
richly-watered, richly-fruited,
cool with the winds of the south,
dark with the crops of the harvests,
The Mother!
Her nights rejoicing in the glory of the moonlight,
her lands clothed beautifully with her trees in flowering bloom,
sweet of laughter, sweet of speech,
The Mother, giver of boons, giver of bliss.

The magnificent tiger, Panthera tigris (Linnaeus), is a striped animal. It has a thick yellow coat of fur with dark stripes. The combination of grace, strength, agility and enormous power has earned the tiger its pride of place as the national animal of India. Out of eight races of the species known, the Indian race, the Royal Bengal Tiger, is found throughout the country except in the north-western region and also in the neighbouring countries, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. To check the dwindling population of tigers in India ‘Project Tiger’ was launched in April 1973. So far, 25 tiger reserves have been established in the country under this project, covering an area of 33,875 sq km

The Indian peacock, Pavo cristatus (Linnaeus), the national bird of India, is a colourful, swan-sized bird, with a fan-shaped crest of feathers, a white patch under the eye and a long, slender neck. The male of the species is more colourful than the female, with a glistening blue breast and neck and a spectacular bronze-green train of around 200 elongated feathers. The female is brownish, slightly smaller than the male, and lacks the train. The elaborate courtship dance of the male, fanning out the tail and preening its feathers, is a gorgeous sight.

The peacock is widely found in the Indian sub-continent from the south and east of the Indus river, Jammu and Kashmir, east Assam, south Mizoram and the whole of the Indian peninsula. The Peacock enjoys protection from the people as it is never molested for religious and sentimental reasons. It is fully protected under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

The Indian lotus, the national flower of India, is a colourful

The lotus is widely found in the Indian sub-continent from the south and east of the Indus river, and every canal and small water tanks

The national calendar based on the Saka Era with Chaitra as its first month and a normal year of 365 days was adopted from 22 March 1957 along with the Gregorian calendar for the following official purposes: (i) Gazette of India, (ii) news broadcast by All India Radio, (iii) calendars issued by the Government of India and (iv) Government communications addressed to the members of the public.

Dates of the national calendar have a permanent correspondence with dates of the Gregorian calendar : 1 Chaitra falling on 22 March normally and on 21 March in leap year.

Meet the Prime Minister
Shri Narendra Modi  –  A Profile

Sri Rajendra Prasad

Dr Radhakrishanan

Dr Zakir Hussain

Sri V V Giri

Sri Farukuddin Ali Ahmed

Sri Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy

Sri Gaini Zail Singh

Sri R Venkatraman

Sri Sankar Dayal Sharma

Sri K R Narayanan

Dr APJ Abdul Kalaam

Smt Pratibha Patil

Pranab Mukherjee

Ram Nath Kovind

  • Full Name Republic of India
  • Capital New Delhi
  • Most-populated city Mumbai (Bombay)
  • Population 1.2 billion (UN, 2008)
  • Area
  • Geographical Location
  • Coastline Length
  • Languages
  • Major Religions
  • National Anthem
  • National Emblem
  • National Flag
  • National Animal Tiger (Panthera tigris)
  • National Bird Peacock
  • National Flower Lotus
  • National Tree Banyan
  • National Fruit Mango
  • National Currency Rupees (One Rupees = 100 paise)
  • Life Expectancy 63 years (men), 66 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit 1 Indian Rupee = 100 paise
  • Main exports Agricultural products, textile goods, gems and jewellery, software services and technology, engineering goods, chemicals, leather products
  • GNI per Capita US $950 (World Bank, 2007)
  • Internet Domain .in
  • International Dailing code +91
  • Hindi is the national language.
  • Our maiden independence speech by the first PM was in English.
  • We are the largest democracy in the world.
  • We have the 1st largest railway network in the world.
  • Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans.
  • Charaka the father of medicine consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago. Today Ayurveda is fast regaining its rightful place in our civilization.
  • We gave the number system the rest of the world uses today, and discovered the structure of the solar system.
  • India has never invaded any country in the last 10,000 years of history.
  • The World’s first university was established in Takshila in 700BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studies more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century BC was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
  • Sanskrit is the mother of all the European languages. Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software – a report in Forbes magazine, July 1987.
  • The art of Navigation was born in the river Sindh 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word NAVGATIH. The word navy is also derived from Sanskrit ‘Nou’.
  • The value of “pi” was first calculated by Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century long before the European mathematicians.
  • Algebra, trigonometry and calculus came from India. Quadratic equations were by Sridharacharya in the 11th century. The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Hindus used numbers as big as 1053 with specific names as early as 5000 BC during the Vedic period. Even today, the largest used number is Tera 1012.
  • USA based IEEE has proved what has been a century old suspicion in the world scientific community that the pioneer of wireless communication was Prof. Jagdeesh Bose and not Marconi.
  • Chess (Shataranja or AshtaPada) was invented in India.
  • Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2600 years ago he and health scientists of his time conducted complicated surgeries like cesareans, cataract, artificial limbs, fractures, urinary stones and even plastic surgery and brain surgery.
  • When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in the Sindhu valley (Indus Valley Civilization).
  • Albert Einstein said: We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.
  • Mark Twain said: India is, the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured in India only.
  • French scholar Romain Rolland said: If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.
  • Hu Shih, former Ambassador of China to USA said: India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.
  • We are one of the first few countries to elevate a woman to the topmost office of the nation.
  • We exported over Rs.70,000 million worth of agricultural produce in 1994-95.
  • India is the only developing country in the world, to be a universally acknowledged nuclear power.

Primal Religions
Hinduism
Judaism
Confucianism
Buddhism
Christianity
Islam
Shinto
Sikhism
Taoism
The Bala ‘I’ Faith
Rastafarianism
Other Sects & Denominations
Voodoo, Transcendental Meditation, The Harekrishna Movement, Zoroastrianism, Hasidic Judaism, Soka Gakkai Reiyukai, Orthodox Churches, Methodism, Pentecostalists, Anabapists, Amish, Jehvah’s witness, Seventhday Adventists, The Church of Jesus,Christ of Latterday Saints (Momons), Sunnis and Shi’ites, Sufism, Neo-Sufism, Konkokys, Seicho No IR, Omotokyo, Humanism

rank
country
area sq.km.
population (all estimates)
     
01/07/2006
yearly growth
yesterday
daily increase
today
WORLD  510,072,000 6,525,170,264 1.14% 6,533,729,857
203.800
6,533,933,657
1
China 9,596,960 1,313,973,713 0.59% 1,314,865,775 21,240 1,314,887,015
India 3,287,590 1,095,351,995 1.38% 1,097,091,354 41,413 1,097,132,767
3
United States of America 9,631,418 298,444,215 0.91% 298,756,723 7,441 298,764,164
4
Indonesia 1,919,440 245,452,739 1.41% 245,850,978 9,482 245,860,460
5
Brazil 8,511,965 188,078,227 1.04% 188,303,303 5,359 188,308,661
6
Pakistan 803,940 165,803,560 2.09% 166,202,306 9,494 166,211,800
7
Bangladesh 144,000 147,365,352 2.09% 147,719,756 8,438 147,728,194
8
Russia 17,075,200 142,893,540 -0.37% 142,832,703 -1,449 142,831,254
9
Nigeria 923,768 131,859,731 2.38% 132,220,846 8,598 132,229,444
10
Japan 377,835 127,463,611 0.02% 127,466,544 70 127,466,614
11
Mexico 1,972,550 107,449,525 1.16% 107,592,948 3,415 107,596,363
12
Philippines 300,000 89,468,677 1.80% 89,653,987 4,412 89,658,400
13
Vietnam 329,560 84,402,966 1.02% 84,502,030 2,359 84,504,388
14
Germany 357,021 82,422,299 -0.02% 82,420,402 -45 82,420,357
15
Egypt 1,001,450 78,887,007 1.75% 79,045,862 3,782 79,049,644
16
Ethiopia 1,127,127 74,777,981 2.31% 74,976,747 4,733 74,981,480
17
Turkey 780,580 70,413,958 1.06% 70,499,844 2,045 70,501,889
18
Iran 1,648,000 68,688,433 1.10% 68,775,376 2,070 68,777,446
19
Thailand 514,000 64,631,595 0.68% 64,682,167 1,204 64,683,371
20
Congo, Dem. Rep. of the 2,345,410 62,660,551 3.07% 62,881,906 5,270 62,887,176
21
France 547,030 60,876,136 0.35% 60,900,653 584 60,901,237
22
United Kingdom 244,820 60,609,153 0.28% 60,628,681 465 60,629,146
23
Italy 301,230 58,133,509 0.04% 58,136,185 64 58,136,248
24
Korea, South 98,480 48,846,823 0.42% 48,870,430 562 48,870,992
25
Myanmar 678,500 47,382,633 0.81% 47,426,796 1,052 47,427,848
26
Ukraine 603,700 46,710,816 -0.60% 46,678,566 -768 46,677,798
27
South Africa 1,219,912 44,187,637 -0.40% 44,167,299 -484 44,166,814
28
Colombia 1,138,910 43,593,035 1.46% 43,666,271 1,744 43,668,015
29
Sudan 2,505,810 41,236,378 2.55% 41,357,376 2,881 41,360,257
30
Spain 504,782 40,397,842 0.13% 40,403,885 144 40,404,029
31
Argentina 2,766,890 39,921,833 0.96% 39,965,933 1,050 39,966,983
32
Poland 312,685 38,536,869 -0.05% 38,534,652 -53 38,534,599
33
Tanzania 945,087 37,445,392 1.83% 37,524,243 1,877 37,526,120
34
Kenya 582,650 34,707,817 2.57% 34,810,457 2,444 34,812,901
35
Morocco 446,550 33,241,259 1.55% 33,300,547 1,412 33,301,958
36
Canada 9,984,670 33,098,932 0.88% 33,132,448 798 33,133,246
37
Algeria 2,381,740 32,930,091 1.22% 32,976,319 1,101 32,977,420
38
Afghanistan 647,500 31,056,997 2.67% 31,152,414 2,272 31,154,686
39
Nepal 140,800 28,287,147 2.17% 28,357,780 1,682 28,359,461
40
Peru 1,285,220 28,302,603 1.32% 28,345,592 1,024 28,346,615
41
Uganda 236,040 28,195,754 3.37% 28,305,092 2,603 28,307,695
42
Uzbekistan 447,400 27,307,134 1.70% 27,360,551 1,272 27,361,823
43
Saudi Arabia 1,960,582 27,019,731 2.18% 27,087,510 1,614 27,089,124
44
Iraq 437,072 26,783,383 2.66% 26,865,362 1,952 26,867,314
45
Venezuela 912,050 25,730,435 1.38% 25,771,294 973 25,772,266
46
Malaysia 329,750 24,385,858 1.78% 24,435,806 1,189 24,436,995
47
Korea, North 120,540 23,113,019 0.84% 23,135,359 532 23,135,891
48
Taiwan 35,980 23,036,087 0.61% 23,052,256 385 23,052,641
49
Ghana 239,460 22,409,572 2.07% 22,462,950 1,271 22,464,221
50
Romania 237,500 22,303,552 -0.12% 22,300,472 -73 22,300,399
51
Yemen 527,970 21,456,188 3.46% 21,541,613 2,034 21,543,647
52
Australia 7,686,850 20,264,082 0.85% 20,283,902 472 20,284,374
53
Sri Lanka 65,610 20,222,240 0.78% 20,240,390 432 20,240,822
54
Mozambique 801,590 19,686,505 1.38% 19,717,766 744 19,718,510
55
Syria 185,180 18,881,361 2.30% 18,931,332 1,190 18,932,522
56
Madagascar 587,040 18,595,469 3.03% 18,660,304 1,544 18,661,847
57
Cote d'Ivoire 322,460 17,654,843 2.03% 17,696,083 982 17,697,065
58
Cameroon 475,440 17,340,702 2.04% 17,381,408 969 17,382,377
59
Netherlands 41,526 16,491,461 0.49% 16,500,759 221 16,500,981
60
Chile 756,950 16,134,219 0.94% 16,151,670 416 16,152,086
61
Kazakhstan 2,717,300 15,233,244 0.33% 15,239,028 138 15,239,166
62
Burkina Faso 274,200 13,902,972 3.00% 13,950,966 1,143 13,952,109
63
Cambodia 181,040 13,881,427 1.78% 13,909,859 677 13,910,536
64
Ecuador 283,560 13,547,510 1.50% 13,570,893 557 13,571,450
65
Malawi 118,480 13,013,926 2.38% 13,049,566 849 13,050,415
66
Niger 1,267,000 12,525,094 2.92% 12,567,178 1,002 12,568,180
67
Guatemala 108,890 12,293,545 2.27% 12,325,656 765 12,326,421
68
Zimbabwe 390,580 12,236,805 0.62% 12,245,535 208 12,245,743
69
Angola 1,246,700 12,127,071 2.45% 12,161,259 814 12,162,073
70
Senegal 196,190 11,987,121 2.34% 12,019,398 768 12,020,166
71
Mali 1,240,000 11,716,829 2.63% 11,752,288 844 11,753,132
72
Zambia 752,614 11,502,010 2.11% 11,529,936 665 11,530,601
73
Cuba 110,860 11,382,820 0.31% 11,386,880 97 11,386,977
74
Greece 131,940 10,688,058 0.18% 10,690,272 53 10,690,324
75
Portugal 92,391 10,605,870 0.36% 10,610,263 105 10,610,368
76
Belgium 30,528 10,379,067 0.13% 10,380,620 37 10,380,657
77
Belarus 207,600 10,293,011 -0.06% 10,292,300 -17 10,292,283
78
Czech Republic 78,866 10,235,455 -0.06% 10,234,748 -17 10,234,732
79
Tunisia 163,610 10,175,014 0.99% 10,186,605 276