Information About india
Who is India
Who is India and what is her claim? Is she as elusive to find as the insides of a seed? A mere country cannot assume the bewitching charms that hang on her slender wrists. Who is India?
India is the name given to the vast peninsula which the continent of Asia throws out to the south of the magnificent mountain ranges that stretch in a sword like curve across the southern border of Tibet. Shaped like an irregular quadrilateral, this large expanse of territory, we call India, deserves the name of a subcontinent. Ancient Geographers referred India as being constituted with a four-fold conformation (chatuh samasthana samsthitam), on its South and West and East is the Great Ocean, the Himavat range stretches along its north like the string of a bow.
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Indians love these snow-capped peaks because they are a part of every Indian's life. Indian's revere the mountains, as they would, the father. Even today, when Urban india is racing against time, in the caves of the snow-clad peaks, live hermits - seeking the divine. Not a surprise when you consider that even this century has seen some great philosophers like Ramana Maharishi, Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramhansa and J. Krishnamurti.
Land And Location
The Vindhya mountains cut right across the country, from West to East, and form the boundary between North and South India.
India is also fortunate in possessing one of the world's most extensive and fertile lands, made up of the alluvial Soil brought down in the form of fine silt by the mighty rivers. Lying south of the Himalayas, these Great North Indian Plains consist of the Indus basin, Ganga-Brahmaputra basin, and the tributaries of these mighty river systems.
To the south of the Great Plains of northern india lie the Great Plateau of Peninsular India, which is divided into two parts, viz., the Malwa Plateau and the Deccan Plateau. The Malwa plateau - bounded by the Aravalli hills in the northwest and the Vindhyas in the Vindhyas form the northern half of this peninsula. Chhota Nagpur region forms the northeastern part of this plateau and is the richest minerals producing region of India. The valley of the Narmada river forms the southern boundary of this plateau. The Deccan plateau, extends from the Satpura hills in the north to Kannayakumari, in South.
|Towards the west of this plateau lie the Western Ghats that comprise of the Sahyadri, the Nilgiri, the Annamalai and the Cardamom Hills. On the eastern side, this plateau merges into a layer of discontinuous low hills known as the Mahendra Giri hills, which comprise of the Eastern Ghats. |
Narrow coastal plains along the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal flank the Deccan Plateau, on its eastern and western sides, respectively. The Western coastal plains lie between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, further split into the northern Konkan Coast and the southern Malabar Coast. The eastern coastal plains, on the other hand lie between the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal and like the western plains are divided into two parts - the Coromandel Coast as the southern part and the Northern Sircaras as the northern.
These mainland areas apart, India has two groups of islands - the Andaman and Nicobar in the Bay of Bengal and the Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea.
Politically, India as it existed before its independence, however, extended beyond these natural boundaries and included not only Baluchistan beyond the Kirthar range, but also some small areas that lay in the Bay of Bengal.
Historically, this vast landmass - we call India, was known as Bharat-Varsha, or the land of Bharata, a king famous in Puranic tradition. This territorial unit was said to form part of a larger unit called Jambu-dvipa - the innermost of seven concentric island-continents into which the earth, as conceived by the Hindu cosmographers, was supposed to have been divided.
The name 'India' was applied to the country by the Greeks. It corresponds to the "Hi(n)du" of the old Persian epigraphs.Like "Sapta sindhavah" and "Hapta Hindu"- the appellations of the Aryan country in the Veda and the Vedinand - it is derived from Sindhu (Indus), the great river that constitutes the most imposing feature of that part of the sub-continent, which seems to have been the cradle of its earliest known civilizations. Rising in southwestern Tibet, at an altitude of 16,000 feet, Indus enters the Indian territory near Leh in Ladakh.
The river has a total drainage area of about 4,50,000 square miles, of which 1,75,000 square miles lie in theHimalayan Mountainsand foothills.
After flowing eleven miles beyond Leh, in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, the basin is joined on the left by its first tributary, the Zanskar, which helps green the Zanskar Valley. Many interesting mountain trails beckon the mountaineering enthusiasts to the Zanskar Valley. The Indus then flows past Batalik. When it enters the plains, its famous five tributaries-Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej-that give Punjab (the food bowl of India) its name as the "land of five rivers," join it.
However,much of the myth and sentiment attached to India is related with the Ganges. The gushing waters of the Ganges are at once peaceful, and at once tumultuous. Nature's glory and man's aspirations have long met along the Ganges. As her civilization spread out further, a pilgrimage had to be undertaken to reach her watery shores. Fairs and festivals began to be celebrated on her banks. The history of Ganga is as long as the history of the Indian civilization. Barring the period of the Harappan civilization, the Ganga basin has been a spectator to all the actions that shaped the mythology, history, and people of India. It was in this plain that the great kingdoms of India, viz., Magadh, Gupta, and Mughals found their home. It was in this region that one of the most homogenous cultures of all times was born. Furthermore, it was in this place that the essence of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism was established in India. Ever since then, the river has been the lifeline of India, economically, spiritually and even culturally.
The mighty Ganga (also known as the Ganges) emerges from beneath the Gangotri glacier at a height of 3,959 m above sea level, in the Garhwal region of North India. Here she is known as the Bhagirathi, after the legendary prince Bhagirath who is accredited with bringing her down from heaven to earth. Bursting forth at Gaumukh, out of a huge cavern shaped like the mouth of a cow, snow laden and hung with giant icicles, the Bhagirathi goes rushing, sparkling, foaming around chunks of ice that are constantly breaking off from the glacier above. Eighteen kilometers downstream, stands Gangotri, which was the source of the river until the glacier melted and retreated to its present position above Gaumukh. From here onwards the river passes through the plains of North India, covering the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Bangladesh. Along the route that Ganga and her tributaries took, were set up different settlements, each of which were distinct and developed their own indigenous culture.
Uttarkashi, Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Rishikesh and Haridwar are some of the important sites along the coast of this holy river during the early phase of its journey through North India. From Haridwar to Allahabad, the Ganga flows parallel to the Yamuna, another important river flowing through North India, each describing a huge arc. It flows past Garhmukteshwar, the very place where the goddess Ganga is said to have appeared to Shantanu (ancestor of the Pandavas), and Bithur, a city close to but much older than Kanpur, the site of an ancient Shiva temple, before reaching Allahabad, an important religious centre of india.
Allahabad is a sacred place with soul cleansing powers, particularly so because the mythical, subterranean river Saraswati is said to join the Ganga and Yamuna at this point-a speck of white sand known as the Sangam. In Vedic times, there was a settlement at this confluence, known as Prayag, where the Vedas were written. Brahma himself is said to have performed a sacrifice here. Huen Tsang visited Prayag in ad 634. It was under Mughal Emperor Akbar that Prayag was renamed Illahabas, later to be changed to Allahabad. Overlooking the confluence is a massive, historic, red stone fort built by Akbar.
Like Haridwar, Varanasi is also a temple town of India. However, it is difficult to describe Varanasi. As Shri Ramakrishna once said, "One may as well try to draw a map of the universe as attempt to describe Varanasi in words." As old as any currently inhabited city on earth, it was already well known in the days of Buddha, 2,500 years ago. It finds constant mention in ancient literature and has all along been a pilgrimage center, sacred to Shiva. Hindus consider it an auspicious place to die, for then one goes straight to heaven. Surprisingly, Varanasi does not mark one of Ganga's great confluences, but is named after two small rivers that join here, the Varuna and Asi. The oldest habitation site of India - Kashi, lies north of the Varuna.
Crossing the vast Gangetic plain, the Ganga flows past Patna, the famous Pataliputra as mentioned in the history books across India. She flows past Mokamah, a place famous as the working destination of the great hunter-conservationist Jim Corbett while in India. It flows past Farakka Barrage, built to divert more water from Ganga to Hooghly to prevent the latter from silting. Soon thereafter, the Ganga splits into the numerous tributaries that form the Gangetic delta. The Hooghly, regarded as the true Ganga, is one of these tributaries. The main channel proceeds to Bangladesh as the river Padma, so dearly loved by Rabindranath Tagore - the legendary poet of India.
Like the Ganges, the vast networks of rivers flowing throughout India are sacred to its people. The same goes for the region south of the Gangetic Plains in north India. This region is a highland zone rising to the chain of the Vindhya Mountains - forming the land of the river Cauvery, long revered by the people of India, for the bounties of fertility bestowed by the gentle waters. This river flows from the azure mountains of the Nilgiris. Today, this region covering the four south Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Kanataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh offers visible continuity with traditions in time. Above the land of Cauvery lies Orissa, another culturally rich state in India that is fed by the river Mahanadi.
Through the east of India, flows the very cascading Brahamputra. The waters of the Brahmaputra travel all the way from China, through the Indian States of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. Further northeast are seven other states -Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. The two rivers Narmada and Tapti in central and western India have a unique distinction of flowing in the east to west direction, unlike other major rivers in India with the exception of Brahmaputra. Out of the two, Narmada has more mythological significance as being the mother and giver of peace. Legends in India have it that the mere sight of this river is enough to cleanse one's soul, as against a dip in the Ganga or seven in the Yamuna.
India is also home to a large and diverse population that has added to its vibrant character since ages. There are about 3,000 communities in India. So wide and complex is the mix of the Indian population that two-thirds of her communities are found in the geographical boundaries of each of her states. They is a mingling of the Caucasoid, the Negrito, the Proto-Austroloids, the Mongoloid and the Mediterranean races.
To add all this, India is perhaps the only place in the world where twenty religious streams flow together. If that sounds cliched, here is a surprising piece of information. About 500 communities of India say they follow two religions at the same time! India has a population of over 1 billion people, the majority of whom are Hindus.
No wonder then that India is today known all over the world as the "Land of several Religions". Ancient India witnessed the birth of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism; but all these cultures and religions intermingled and acted and reacted upon one another in such a manner that though people speak different languages, practice different religions, and observe different social customs, they follow certain common styles of life throughout the country. India therefore shows a deep underlying unity despite of its great diversity.
The term Hinduism has emanated from the name given to the people who lived on the banks of the river Sindhu or Indus as it was denominated by the foreign invaders who came from the North West into India many, many centuries ago.
However, Hinduism is not really a religion; it is a philosophy and a way of life that has evolved over the millennia in the Indian subcontinent. Although there are many texts from the Vedic times, which enunciate the basic truths and lay down certain doctrines, Hinduism is not a doctrinaire religion but a catholic one with tolerance as its corner stone. Hence, the myriads of people of different racial, linguistic and religious faiths who have come in from the east and from the west, through the mountain passes and along the sea coast, bringing with them their own ideology their customs and their languages into India, have continued to live their lives according to their own traditions.
About Indian Religion
The Constitution of India has guaranteed the freedom of worship and way of life to all its citizens. This has ensured the rich kaleidoscope of festivals that are celebrated throughout the realm.
Since the majority of the inhabitants of India are Hindus, their festivals dominate the calendar. The most colorful of all the festival is Deepawali or Diwali as it is commonly known, the festival of lights. The central figure in the Indian epic, Ramayana, is Rama who went into exile for fourteen years at his father's behest, accompanied by his wife Sita and his brother Lakshman. During their wanderings in the forests, Ravana, the king of Lanka, carried Sita away. It was only after an epic battle that Rama vanquished Ravana, rescued Sita and returned home to his kingdom of Ayodhya. The journey from Lanka in the south to Ayodhya in the north took twenty days. His triumphal return to Ayodhya brought great joy to his people who illuminated the whole city to celebrate the occasion. This joy and this illumination continues to this day as houses and cities throughout the India are lit up (traditionally with small earthenware cups or diyas filled with oil) to commemorate the anniversary. Deepawli signifies the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness
The battle between Ravana and Rama and the latter's victory are celebrated as Dussehra in many parts of India, twenty days before Deepawali. Dussehra is the day when the effigies of Ravana, his brothers Meghnath and Kumbhakaran, are burnt. Dussehra is preceded by enactment of the story of the Ramayana by amateur groups of people in all villages, cities and in localities of the metropolis throughout India. Practically all-night performances of the Ramayana from the beginning to the end are enacted, analogous to street plays, and the actors are mainly young boys who perform the role of the male and the female characters. Immense popularity is reflected by the large gatherings for these performances known as Ram Lila.
These are simplified accounts of two of the major festivals of the Hindus in India but there are many variations and accretions as different people perform different rituals and forms of worship. For example, in Bengal, the worship of the Goddess Durga precedes Deepawali.
While Goddess Durga is the most eminent icon crafted with great devotion in West Bengal, Lord Ganesha - acknowledged universally in India as the remover of obstacles - who is the central figure in the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra.
Since Independence of India, there is also a definite revival in general of traditions and in particular of craft traditions. Crafts are an intrinsic part of the religious and ritual traditions in India as craftsmen often worked for the temples and for providing the appurtenances necessary for worship. Before Indian Independence, many village crafts languished as the British implemented the policy of modern industrialization.
There are many gods and goddesses in the Hindu pantheon; different parts of the country give importance to one or the other. Lord Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, is the divine core in the epic Mahabharata. It was he who gave the sermon of the Bhagwat Gita (the song Celestial) to Arjuna, one of the five Pandava brothers during their battle with the Kauravas at Kurukshetra. This battle again epitomizes the fight between the forces of evil and good. Lord Krishna, however, is not a mythical character. Lord Krishna is venerated all over India and there are temples dedicated to him specifically but in particular, his home ground of Vrindavan and Mathura where he lived as a boy and revealed his divinity by the miracles he wrought. His love for Radha has been the inspiration for miniature painters of the Kangra or Pahari school of Painting, as also for the elaborate style of painting embellished with gold, known as the Tanjore styles from South India.
The Indian calendar, as opposed to the Gregorian, starts in April. New Year's Day is April 13, celebrated as Baisakhi, which coincides with the harvesting of the wheat crop in Northern India, especially in Punjab. People wear new clothes, sing and dance in joy. In Eastern India the New Year begins on April 14th and again it is a joyous occasion with singing and dancing by young men and women who don their best silken mekhalas (sarongs) and chaddars (an overwrap) and dance to the beat of the drum. This festival is known as Rangali Bihu in Assam.
As the Hindu gods and goddesses in their myriad forms were worshipped with elaborate rituals, many introduced by the priesthood, there appeared on the scene in North India a reformer who enjoined a simpler form of worship shorn of rituals. He was Guru Nanak Dev, whose teachings and those of the nine gurus who followed later are collected in the holy book of the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib. The birth anniversaries of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last of Gurus, are very important days and are celebrated with religious fervor and devotion. Processions are taken out, the scriptures are chanted, without a break, and the Gurudwaras (Sikh temples) are illuminated.
Lord Buddha was born in India and it is from the shores of this land that Buddhism was disseminated to Sri Lanka and to Tibet. Lord Buddha's birth anniversary is celebrated as Buddha Purnima. Falling on the full moon day, this is an important holiday in India. Buddhists practice their rituals and observe their special religious days all over India.
Christians are equally at home in India. Two important Christian saints came to India many centuries ago and preached the doctrine of Christianity. It is believed that St Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Christ, came to India in the first century AD, and spent the rest of his life in India preaching Christianity, particularly in Kerala, where a large part of the population were converted to Christianity. His tomb, St Thomas Mount in Chennai, Tamil Nadu has become a place of pilgrimage for Christians in India.
The Spanish Catholic missionary, St Francis Xavier, also spent the greater part of his life in Goa - a small coastal state on the western coastal strip in India. His body, in a glass casket, has been kept in the Church of Basilica of Bom Jesu in Panjim, Goa. Every ten years, his relics are exposed to the public, and people from all over the world throng to Goa in order to get a glimpse and receive benediction.
Muslims in India celebrate all their festivals of Id, but they look westwards towards Arabia, which is their spiritual home. The Government of India has made special arrangements for Haj pilgrims who go to Mecca annually. Chartered airplanes take them to their destination and they enjoy this confessional privilege.
Thus, it is evident that all members of this country enjoy the same constitutional rights and privileges since India got its Independence and their festivals and rituals lend a new dimension to the many faceted society that is India.
India is blessed with a wide variety of climates and soil types which permit the growing of many unique earthy roots, precious woods, aromatic spices, exotic flowers, balsamic resins and scented grasses. Practitioners of Ayurveda (the traditional Indian system of medicine dating to at least 1000 BC) were well acquainted with the uses to which these plants could be put and prescribed them to treat the emotional, mental and physical ailments of the people. Sandalwood, agarwood, spikenard, vetiver, saffron, cinnamon, jasmine, rose, coriander and ginger were but a few of the aromatic plants recognized by them as being plants possessing pleasing fragrant charm as well as being plants therapeutic value. These plants and many others were used in food preparations, medicinal formulas, massage oils, cosmetics, natural sandalwood-based perfumes called attars, incense, floral wreaths and unguents, each of which served some special function in promoting the well-being of the people. There is hardly any aspect of Indian life, be it political, social, economic or religious that has not been profoundly influenced by these plants.
A person interested in India's botanical treasures will find there are many fascinating worlds to discover throughout the country. Flower markets, ayurvedic pharmacies and hospitals, traditional perfume houses, incense stores and manufacturers, essential oil and attar distilleries, botanical gardens and parks, temples, spice shops and wedding ceremonies are all good places to experience the diverse ways in which the wonderful jewels of the natural world permeate Indian life.
From the pine-clad slopes of the Himalayas to the scrub and thorn forests of the north west and peninsular India and from the semi-arid central forests to the ever-green deciduous groves of Kerala, Bengal, the northeast hills, and the Andaman and Nicobar, India's vegetation is tailored to its diverse topography. Some of the major Indian animals which inhabit its forest and green areas are: the royal Bengal tiger, monkeys, elephants, foxes, jackals, mongoose, Indian crocodile, the gharial, and lizards and snakes - including the cobra comprise the indigenous reptile population. The Indian peafowl (also known as the Peacock) - the Indian national bird joins the ranks of birds from cranes, storks, ibises, hawks, hornbills, parrots, and the common crow.
About Indian History
The spirit of India has thus fascinated the world with its very mystique. A subcontinent with a 5000-year old history. A civilization united by its diversity - India has always been known as a land where history echoes itself with all its wonders in every piece of stone and every particle of dust.
India's first major civilization flourished around 2500 BC in the Indus river valley much of which lies within present day India. This civilization, which lasted for 1000 years, and is known as the Harappan culture, appears to have been the culmination of thousands of years of settlement. From around 1500 BC onwards, Aryan tribes from Afghanistan and Central Asia began to filter into northwest India. Despite their martial superiority, their progress was gradual. Eventually though these tribes were able to control the whole of Northern India as far as Vindhya Hills, and many of the original inhabitants, the Dravidians, were pushed into south India. As the Aryan tribes spread out across the Ganges plain, in the seventh century BC, many of them were grouped together into 16 major kingdoms. Gradually these amalgamated into four large states, with Kosala and Magadha emerging to be the most powerful during the fifth century BC. North India however came to be dominated by the Nanda dynasty in about 364 BC. During this period however, North India narrowly avoided two other invasions from the west. The first was by the Persian king, Darius (521- 486 BC) and the second by Alexander the Great who marched into India from Greece in 326 BC.
The Mauryas were the first ruling dynasty to control large parts of North India and some parts of South India, as one territorial unit. Founded by Chandragupta Maurya with the able guidance of Kautilya, the author of the famous treatise - Arthshastra - he was able to set up ahighly centralized administrative setup. The empire reached its peak under Ashoka, who left pillars and rock-carved edicts, which delineate the enormous span of his territory that covered large areas of the Indian subcontinent; these can be seen in Delhi, Gujarat, Orissa, Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh and Sanchi in Madhya pradesh . Following the death of Ashoka, in 232 BC, the empire rapidly disintegrated, finally collapsing in 184 BC.
A number of empires rose and fell, especially in North India, following the collapse of the Mauryas. The next dynasty worth a mention is that of the Guptas. Although the Gupta empire was not as large as the Maurya empire, it kept North India politically united for more than a century from AD 335 to 455.
Following the decline of the Mauryan Empire a number of powerful kingdoms arose in central and south India, among them Satavahanas, Kalingas and Vakatakas hold precedence. Later on these regions saw the rise of some of the greatest dynasties of South India in the form of the Cholas, Pandyas, Cheras, Chalukyas and Pallavas.
The decline of the Guptas, in North India, and the consequent rise of a large but ineffective number of regional powers made the political situation very fluid and unstable by the ninth century AD. This paved the way for the Muslim invasion into India during the early half of the eleventh century. These were felt in the form of seventeen successive raids to North India, made by Mahmud of Ghazni between 1001 and 1025. These raids effectively shattered the balance of power in North India allowing subsequent invaders to claim the territory for themselves. However the next Muslim ruler to invade India achieved the establishment of foreign rule in India, in its truesense. This Mahmud of Ghauri attacked India and after some futile resistance by the local leadership was able to successfully lay the foundation of a foreign empire in India. Under him, large parts of India came under Muslim rule and very soon his successor Qutub - ud - Aibak became the first of the sultans of Delhi. His was followed by the rule of the Khaljis and Tughlaq, also known as the rule of the Delhi Sultanate, who ruled over a large portion of North India and parts of South India till until the coming in of the Lodis andSayyids and after them the Mughals who established, what came to be known as the most vibrant era of Indian History.
Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb were some of the most prominent rulers of the Mughal dynasty. Although the Mughal's heyday was relatively brief, their empire was massive, covering, at its height, almost the entire Indian subcontinent. Its significance was not only in its size, however. The Mughal emperors presided over a golden age of arts and literature and had a passion for building, which resulted in some of the greatest architecture in India. In particular, Shah Jahan's Taj Mahal at Agra ranks as one of the wonders of the world. This apart, the large number of forts, palaces, gates, buildings, mosques, baolis (watertank or well) gardens, etc., forms the cultural heritage of the Mughals in India. The Mughals were also instrumental in establishing one of the most efficient administrative setups in India. Most noteworthy, being their revenue administration, the characteristics of which form the basics of the revenue and land reform laws in India till date.
The decline of the Mughals saw the corresponding rise of Marathas in Western India. In other parts of India, however a new trend of foreign invasion under the garb of commercial links had started from the fifteenth century AD onwards - first, with the arrival and gradual takeover of Goa by the Portugese led by Vasco da Gama -between 1498 and 1510 AD; and then with the arrival, and the setting up of the first trading post at Surat, inGujarat, by the East India Company.
The British and Portugese were not the only Europeans in India. The Danes and Dutch also had trading posts, and in 1672 AD, the French established themselves at Pondicherry, an enclave that they held even after the British had departed. The British represented by the East India Company established their commercial control over vast areas in India, which very soon had an administrative dimension to it. The British rule in India was however formalized by the direct takeover of India by the British Crown, through the post 1857 reforms.
Since then, up till independence the history of India is one of constant struggle between the nationalists - who assumed different names, ideologies, backgrounds and methods - and the British and their repressive policies in India.
By now, iron had been discovered, and even iron implements for clearing of forests and cultivation had been fashioned out. Beginning here, the art or science of metallurgy developed very rapidly in India. India had many copper, tin, lead, brass and silver reserves, not to mention gold mines. Indian steel was so well known that after the famous battle between Alexander the Great and Porus, the only gift Porus could think of giving Alexander was steel. Today, apart from many steel plants, India has held this thread of continuity even in indigenous research in titanium technology and composites.
At that time when man had just about created the right tools to throw up an agricultural surplus, the population of the area, according to some sources was recorded as one hundred million. No wonder Indian population figures continue to be staggering. While the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu have managed to flatten their population growth curve, the Gangetic plains continue with their upwards-rising graph. Women are being empowered in this traditionally male dominated society with literacy, rural banking systems, and vocational skills. Organized women's movements are gaining ground and this has managed to effect many legislative changes in the country. The Parliament is facing a bill for the reservation of 33% seats for women candidates. Of course, this comes against the backdrop of the many firsts in India history. The first woman president of the General Assembly of the United Nations was Vijaylakshmi Pandit.
As a matter of fact, the transformation being brought about in the society today, due to both welfare schemes as well as economic liberalization, makes it comparable to the period where our story begins. Historians call the 1st century BC the first axial stage and the 20th century AD the second. The first axial stage set in motion the gigantic transformation of a simple agrarian settlement into one of the most complex and enlightened cultures. By the 5th century AD, there was a wealth of material on every aspect of life-religion, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, mathematics, arts, and crafts, even the art of governance. Today, these treatises are constantly being sourced for their eternal wisdom.
Accelerating the evolutionary process in the cultural sphere was the birth of two new religions: Buddhism and Jainism. Hinduism saw a sudden revival of activities and many magnificent temples came into being. Arrival of Islam and interaction with Greece, Arabia, Persia and Central Asia further enriched life, which can be discerned even in aspects like architecture and irrigation technology. Literature was also greatly influenced by these movements.
Equally, the process of communication became varied and spread out. Stories, songs, theatre, craft were all vehicles of communicating with the people. India has 325 languages and 25 scripts. Even today, all of them are alive and being used. Tamil is the oldest language using the Dravidian script. The ancient language of Sanskrit continues to be ever charming with its highly developed grammar.
The reason why Indian Languages are not doing the disappearing act as those in many other parts of the world is because Indians, it has been found, are essentially bilingual or even trilingual!
It is from within this society that the struggle for freedom against the British rule grew. The largest national movement in history took shape. People from every corner of India participated and all of them followed the path set by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, one of the greatest visionaries of this century. Naturally, a movement of this order finds many interpretations, insights and possible causes.
Sustaining a high moral order could not have been easy. History reveals an integrated vision of the leaders where truth and ahimsa or non-violence were held supreme. Strengthening this vision was the newly emerging intelligentsia. Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Bankim Chandra, Rabindranath Tagore, Subramanya Bharati and Abul Kalam Azad were some of those who enthused people through their soul-stirring writings and songs to reach out to nationalism.
There were many who communicated directly with the masses. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Asaf Ali, C. Rajagopalachari, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Subhas Chandra Bose, and Sarojini Naidu are some of the great names associated with the freedom struggle. Jawaharlal Nehru, of course, was the charismatic leader who later became independent India's first Prime Minister. Rajendra Prasad became the country's first President. In addition, a million others made this movement possible.
India's moment of glory finally arrived on the midnight of 15 August 1947. People delirious with joy flooded the streets to welcome the dawn of a new era. There was rejoicing everywhere. And within the Assembly Hall, Jawaharlal Nehru rose to make his famous "tryst with destiny" speech. By the early hours of morning, as the clouds sent a light drizzle to acknowledge the awakening, independent India was all set to transform a colonial society into a liberal polity.
A Constitution was drawn up in a matter of four years. It sought to assimilate different linguistic regions and religious communities of India into a cohesive Nation-State while, at the same time, conferring substantial autonomy upon the diverse states of the Indian Union. A concern for the citizens formed the basic principle for the guiding policies for governance laid down by the Constitution.
There was foresight in the visualization of the Indian Constitution, at every step. The founding fathers under the leadership of B. R. Ambedkar based governance of the country upon the free choice of its citizens. What is it that made them confident of the prudence and capabilities of the people from a society with modest social development? It was perhaps the strength of the oral tradition. The other was probably the existence of grass-root governance, a complex system having all the elements of a modern democracy. The Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary started functioning long before such systems were recognized by international thinkers.
Their faith was not misplaced. Time and again, the people of India have shown their ability to discern: to be able to match immediate interests with the over-arching interests of the nation. The unfailing mechanism of democracy assured stability for the nation. At another level, the politicization of the popular classes generated political aspirations. These aspirations were reflected in various movements, which helped redefine priorities, or in the formation of new political organizations, which added other dimensions to political thought. And, to the people, it became a source of hope for a better future.
India in 1949 was gearing up to face many challenges. She inherited a society administered for over a century by a civil service answerable to no one but itself. Her predominantly agrarian economy was stagnant, registering in fact a decline in production. In two phases, India tackled the situation.
In the first phase, governmental planning and action addressed land reforms, improvement of agricultural marketing techniques and irrigation facilities. Reducing dependency on the fickle monsoons was a major priority area since most of Indian agriculture is rain-fed.
All this required, in addition to planning, a good deal of research. This was what the second phase was all about. Moving over to scientific research and development, India raised her agricultural production to a consistent growth rate of three percent per annum. Improved methodology and the spirit of innovation of her farmers are holding out dreams of reaching in far greater strength the markets of Europe, Middle East and Far East in the near future.
Contemporary impressions of India sometimes neglect the fact that the country is a great manufacturing nation. Economic charts reveal that many domestic brands of consumer goods, be they potato chips or trucks, computers or textiles are competing vigorously with global brands.
Simultaneously, India was building a scientific foundation for all her programs, be it agricultural research or pure scientific research or product designs for the craftsmen. If C. V. Raman, Subramanyan Chandrasekhar and Hargobind Khorana were recipients of the Nobel Prize, there were others with equal capabilities like Homi Bhabha, Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar,Jagdish Chandra Bose, Meghnad Saha Kothari, Krishnan, Vikram Sarabhai and Pal who concentrated their energies on creating the environment and infrastructure for further academic and developmental activities.
The 'Green Revolution' of the sixties and the 'White Revolution' of the seventies brought about amazing results in agriculture and cooperative dairy farming.
Indian industrial policy could be broadly divided into two phases. Before 1991, the need of the moment was seen to be the development of a machinery-producing sector with associated economic skills. The second part concentrated on creating a protected home market.
Supporting infrastructure facilities are also being made available. The country has the largest railway network in Asia and the second largest in the world under a single management. Roads are taking developmental changes to the most remote corners of the country. Nearly 85% of the villages have been electrified and there are nationwide grids for the transmission and distribution of power.
New areas like oceanography, space, electronics and non-conventional energy sources were developed. Her large scientific and technological personnel were contributing to research and development all over the world. Inter-university centers and consortia for advanced studies were fast becoming active centers of learning.
Their success, it has been observed, is based on a rare combination: scientific knowledge and the readiness to test and match it to folk wisdom. A large number of wells, for instance, have been dug with the help of space imagery! The Indian remote sensing program, perhaps the best in the world, sends out a special broadcast to fishermen who listen to this broadcast before getting their nets ready to bring home a range of seafood! When science was busy with research and applying its finds to traditional Indian life, artists of all genres were busy discovering new idioms, languages and expressions.
India's newly acquired status as a nuclear power and a booming economy has thus brought it under international limelight. Its internal problems notwithstanding, India has stepped into the new millennium with great confidence.
India therefore can be defined as a land where humanity has lived since ages; where different religions, societies, cultures, languages have interplayed with each other in harmony; a land which has seen the best and the worst of everything; a land where religion means more than their name; a place where nature has bestowed itself in all its colors to end it all a land which shall remain itself till eternity.
India, a peninsular nation in South Asia, has been, for centuries, a region of attraction for many a traveler, researcher and business man around the world. India Geography sketches the spectrum of topographical features, climatic conditions based on India location, disaster prone regions as well as flora and fauna, which stretch along different India States. In India, weather conditions show marked difference with the difference in regions and seasons. In India winter season is from November to mid-March and India summer from mid-April to June. Intensity and amount of Monsoon varies from region to region. Indian Meteorological Department regularly does the India weather forecast with the help of images from satellites like INSAT, Meteosat, World (Intellicast), etc. Indian National Anthem also articulates the names of various regions of India like Sindh, Punjab, Gujarat as well as Vindhyas and the Himalayas, among others. The Indian National Anthem was originally composed by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in Bengali and sung for the first time in 1911, the same year when British shifted the capital of India from Calcutta to Delhi. Modern India history is a tale of colonization of the region by the Portuguese, Dutch, French and finally, the British. For India, independence came much late when compared to other developed countries of the world. With the formation of a sovereign India government under the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, India entered a new phase in its history. The primary challenge before this newly independent country was to bring opportunities of development to its masses and build a prosperous nation under democracy and rule of law. Hindi was given the status of national language and 14 others were considered India official language. India education has not been given much attention by changing governments as is evident from the budget share allocated to this sector till 2006. However, the percentage share allocated to this sector went up to 34.2% in 2007-08 Union Budget India universities are moribund, recent reports say.A face lift to India university should come along in the form of updated curriculum, efficient faculty, increased funds for labs, library and other infrastructure as well as competitive financial support for full-time researchers. Marginalized sections of the country need also be given equal opportunities for education. And, if years of underdevelopment and social segregation has pushed them to a disadvantageous position in competitive fields, then seats need to be reserved for them in all higher education institutions of the country. In India, untouchables were a group of people in society who were not allowed to enter public spaces visited by high caste people. Caste system in India continues to be a social evil in many of its States where Dalits (as the lower caste people are officially represented) are not given equal opportunities in social, religious and political spheres. The present day India is an economic power house of the future with its large chunk of under-30 workforce, advances in IT, open market policies since the nation's economic liberalization in 1990s, and for many other reasons. India population, at present, stands at 1.136 billion (approximate). India time zone is 5 hrs 30 minutes ahead of GMT. Standard India Time is the local time along 82.5 degree E longitude, which falls slightly west to Mirzapur town near Allahabad.
The roots of Indian culture and civilization can be traced back to more than 5,000 years ago with an unbroken continuity of traditions, customs and world-renowned schools of philosophy. In India, religion is not simply a belief system but a journey of self exploration which help mortals evolve into immortal examples of sacrifice and glory. In ancient India, kings were not only supposed to act as rulers but as great personalities. Some striking examples of this can be found in King Vikramaditya, known for his artistic and intellectual contributions, King Ashoka who is famous for his peaceful ideals and Prithviraj Chauhan, a great warrior king of India.Throughout history, Indian languages and literature have exercised a great deal of influence on other great civilizations and intellectual development of the world at large.To know the real India, languages of different regions must be acquainted with, which can afford a great deal of information on India culture, traditions, history and folklore.
For those who wish to explore the cultural richness of India through books, India Book House, a pioneer in the import and distribution of books, will be the proper place to barge in. With some of the most beautiful places in the world, India is rightly known as the paradise on earth. Kashmir is one such place, which has enchanted visitors from around the world with the sublime beauty of snow capped hills, Dal Lake and Shalimar Gardens, one of the most famous India Gardens.
Contrary to the popular perception, in traditional India, girls were placed under the guidance of learned Gurus, where, along with various sciences, they were also made to learn and practice varied forms of Indian music and dance to develop their artistic skills. Especially after marriage, Indian women were supposed to wear intricate Indian Jewellery carved by indigenous artisans and Indian Jewellers, which is considered an auspicious symbol for their marital happiness. Indian cultural resources have served as some of the great means for searching attractive Indian Baby Names for the purpose of naming India kids.
In ancient India, kitchen was considered like a place of worship where the fire God resided and nourished the whole family. The exotic Indian cuisine has never failed to attract natives as well as foreigners, perhaps for the reason that India has an unending variety of Indian recipes known for their unique flavour.
After assimilating and nurturing an incredible diversity of people and cultures for millenia, India culture still remains an object of fascination for people the world over. Even today, objects of ethnic interest like unique Indian dresses, delectable Indian food recipes, sonorous Indian music and exotic Indian names represent the true identity of India.
In the modern context as well, India occupies a special place as the home to Bollywood, one of the largest film industries around the world which represents a unique cultural identity of the nation. Indian Masala Movies, as the commercial films are colloquially represented, have already been making waves across the world after breaking records at the Indian Box Office. An expansion of commercial cinema and a number of cross-over Indian movies have created a global craze for Indian Actors and superstars. The emergence of a whole new generation of Indian models in the India fashion industry has also made a great impact on the global media who have showcased their potential by winning a number of international beauty pageants.
In India, Air or Aviation industry witnessed a boom in the recent years with the opening up of Indian skies to private airline operators. Indian flights connect Indian cities to various cities around the globe. National carrier Air India was recently in news for its amalgamation with Indian Airlines to form a new entity, National Aviation Company of India Limited. Indian Air Lines, once a key player in the India domestic flights sector, had to cede room to various other private players like, Jet Airways, Air Indigo or Indigo Airlines, Kingfisher Airlines India, Go Air India etc. Rise in fuel prices, lack of operator friendly policies of the government, inaccessibility of international routes to new entrants in the industry, etc. are the main impediments of growth of the Indian Airways industry. Air India Express is the low cost arm of the national carrier in the India airlines sector with 46 air routes in its ambit connecting 19 cities. After the merging of Air India Airlines with Indian the new name for the national carrier is Air India. Indian Airlines website has been reconstructed featuring the new face of the amalgamation.
Indian Tourism and India Travel offer experience of a lifetime to the traveler. An Indian holiday is a dream cherished by many around the world. Places like India - Kerala and India - Kashmir have been listed by many travel magazines and websites around the world as 'must visit places' of the world. With 12.32% increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting the country during the Jan-Sep 2007 period compared to the corresponding period the previous year, the Indian tours sector expects a promising future in the tourism sector. Various business activities related to India tourism has also helped the country reduce India unemployment rate. An Indian restaurant experience is a must for foreign and domestic tourists alike. Relish the Mughalai cuisine at the Indian restaurants in North India and spicy vegetarian meals on palm leaves in South India. Once on an India Vacation - Vijayawada, an important railway junction on the banks of river Krishna, don't miss out the south Indian breakfast with idly, chatni, dosai and vada. While Oberoi Hotels, Taj Hotels, etc. are the world-renowned chains of India hotels in the country, Indian restaurants like India Jones at Mumbai holds alive the traditional and modern Indian delicacies. India Habitat Centre, India International Centre, India Gate, Qutab Minar (also known as Qutub Minar), Lal Quila or Lal Qila, Siri Fort, Jama Masjid Delhi, The tomb of Safdarjung are a few must-visit places in the capital city of Delhi. Many Indian restaurants outside India have also been at the center stage for their popularity among the gourmets all around the globe. India Quay Restaurant Glasgow or India Quay, Glasgow; India Queen - Hanover, NH; India Quality Boston; India House Restaurant in New Jersey and India Palace at Santa Fe, New Mexico (US) are a few such popular Indian restaurants outside India. Indian yoga has also been an attraction for many a tourist from the West. Attend a few yoga classes in India in any of the numerous yoga mats, and learn a few yoga positions and yoga poses. You may need some simple arrangements to begin with. You may have to get special yoga pants and yoga clothes before you can be on your yoga toes. On an India yoga retreat, you'll literally feel relieved from the day to day stress of mind and you'd simply say, "Yoga works." For someone on an India Holiday, the most recommended India tour guide will be India - Lonely Planet.
On the world economy scenario, the attention of many an investor, entrepreneur and economics expert have turned to a new destination in the East, India. Economy of this nation has recorded its highest growth in the recent years with the figure hovering above 9% for the third consecutive year in 2006-07. It's true that India exports have suffered a setback in their profits owing mainly to India fund from abroad in the form of Foreign Institutional Investment (FII), Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Participatory Notes (PN), etc., whereby India exchange rate of US Dollar has depreciated more than 12% in less than one year. But India's forex reserve of $273 billion (as on Nov 2007) would definitely help the nation build long term infrastructure for its development. India mutual funds have also picked up tremendously as the investment hungry middle-class dares riskier pastures offering better growth prospects for the capital. India ETF or Exchange-Traded Funds are emerging as a good low-cost portfolio, diversified investment option for Indian stock market. At present India ETF have 5.8% market exposure. India stock market scene is stable and fool-proof thanks to the regulatory body SEBI. If India business news is anything to go by, Indian stocks are unlikely to be affected by the US sub-prime crisis. However, certain policy measures of RBI and Finance Ministry, like the proposed regulation on Participatory Notes or Overseas Derivative Instruments can make Indian stock market volatile. On the Indian income tax front, the government is contemplating an upward shift in the lower limit for tax exemption. The current limit of Rs.1,10,000 would be likely to be shifted to Rs.1,50,000. The current mark of Rs.2,50,000, above which the India income tax is 30%, will be pushed up to Rs.5,00,000. India IPO sector has also been witnessing a new enthusiasm. Buoyant India income tax regime, growing India GDP and increasing interest of the middle-class in India mutual funds, all characterize a strong economy poised to offer a bright future to nation. On India infrastructure front and on Indian agriculture front, the nation lag far behind many other growing economies and developed countries. An appreciation in the value of India currency has also been met with resentment among Indian exporters. India bank and other financial institutions have played the role of financial intermediaries between the investors and entrepreneurs. However, aggressive India bazaar or India market has solidified the purchasing power parity of the middle class alone and the different sections of rural population have been left out from the economic bonanza of the nation. Inclusive growth is yet a dream to be fulfilled by India. Stock exchange and India sensex need to reflect the rural reality of retarded agricultural growth. The government should not play back foot while curbing faulty money lending methods, corrupt bureaucracy and the prehensile middle-men in the procurement and sale of agricultural products. It should also support agriculture by ensuring better prices for the produces, renovating irrigation infrastructure, training farmers in better yield methods etc. Though mobile phones have reached even the Indian countryside, Money Order or government owned India post (Indian post) is the only method of money transfer to many of the rural regions in India. Banking system and ideals are yet to penetrate into rural India. Water supply in the urban areas is also a matter of concern in India. Water supply in the urban areas is also a matter of concern in India. Water has become a valuable commodity in the urban areas with the increasing urban population queueing itself behind an inefficient supply system. With public private partnerships, supply chains for safe drinking water can be constructed in urban India. One such case is the development of Kolkata water supply system by India KS2 or Western Knowledge Systems & Solutions India Pvt. Ltd., a leading redevelopment services firm and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Roy F. Weston Inc, US. The cost of water supplied through such chains also need to be standardized with water costs in other cities around the world. Depleting water resources, climate change and health problems were also on the high agenda of India Economic Summit 2007, jointly organised by World Economic Forum and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in December this year. For India, Kyoto Protocol in 1997 was a significant step in its fight against climate change. But at the end of United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali (Dec 2007), India's resolve seems to have diluted in line with the unresolved debates between developed countries of Europe and the US. As per 2001 Census, India literacy rate is slightly above 65%. In India, oil products like diesel, petrol, etc. is an area where successive governments play populism. Even when crude oil prices shot up in the international market, the government was hesitant to raise diesel, petrol prices in the domestic market. Indian Oil, a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) of Government of India also lags behind many of its competitors in the private sector when it comes to business expansion. India used cars market has always been on a rise in India, as the stigma on second hand automobiles and gadgets is not high in this country as it's in developed countries. Trade-in-off and exchange deals as the most common methods of buying and selling India used cars. Banks and financial institutions in India recover the default debit on an automobile by seizing the client's said vehicle, purchased using the bank loan, and reselling it in open market. Indian middle class, the workforce of the country with proportionately high purchasing power parity, is the future market for India cars. Tata's proposed Rs. 1 lac car, therefore, can be nothing but a success, given the demand for low cost family vehicles among this section of the population. In India, Lucas -TVS is in the fray to get the dealership of this upcoming car. India Xeta of Tata Indica has already been a hit in the country. On the India real estate front, much developments are in offing, especially in the fast expanding Indian cities. India property is an area in which foreign investments are ready for a plunge. Owing to the rising demands from commercial enterprises and city dwellers, many of the state governments have recently decided to make a deal with real estate agents in the cities to allow constructions on unused government owned land. The issue on the purchase of India properties for various SEZs or Special Economic Zones has also been properly dealt with when the eGOM or empowered Group of Ministers in India decided on the compensation package to be given to the uprooted families, proposing a limit to the amount of land that can be purchased for the SEZs. Measures have also been taken by India government to ensure the livelihood of the people who have sold their land for SEZ. India outsourcing has also been a chief attractor of foreign currency. Availability of English speaking workforce and efficient managerial efforts resulting in the cost cut of business processes have made India a favorite hub for business process outsourcing. According to an estimate, India in 2020 would be an economic power to reckon with owing to its expectedly high GDP and an overall improvement in its rank on the Human Development Index issued by United Nations Development Project (UNDP). Among various economic reforms that India has witnessed in the last decade, none other than the opening up of the retail sector to corporates would have made much difference in the India shopping experience. Traditional retail in the form of kirana stores or corner shops are likely to be affected. But with a growing customer base predicted for the country, these 'pop and mom' stores are unlikely to go extinct. All in all, an India unbound experience is evident in the recent overseas acquisitions of Indian majors like Tata and Mittal Steel. On the international trade front, strenghthening India - Japan trade relations as well as India - China and India - US trade relations are of much economic significance to the country.
Being the second most populated country in the world, Indian news is characterized by the variety in its hue and color, in tune with the diversity of culture and populations that inhabit the country. India newspapers at the national level are in English, a language inherited by the nation from its colonial masters. An India newspaper in English is circulated widely among academicians, executives, researchers, lawyers and national politicians. On the other hand, a vernacular India news paper is widely circulated among blue-collar workers and house-wives. The Times of India, Hindustan Times and The Indian Express are the popular national dailies of India. Along with India daily, weekly and fortnight magazines like India Today and Frontline bring India latest news to the global audience. Once a government monopoly, India radio has now permeated even to the upper strata of the society, thanks to the technical finesse of private broadcasting and entertainment oriented programs. Growth of Indian TV also has followed a rising graph since its introduction in the country in 1956. While India TV, ndtv, Jain TV are a few popular television channels aired from north India, Jaya TV, Kairali TV, Asianet, India Vision Television Kerala, ETV Kannada, Surya TV, etc. are the popular channels from down south. A few news sites like India Journal, India Together, India X Roads and Meri News are famous for their analytical news items. To summarize, media in India is free of government shackles and the infrastructure, investment and professionalism in the sector can be compared to the media scenario of other developed countries in the world. Thus, global and local audience can always read, listen to, browse and view an India uncut to update their knowledge about this biggest democracy in the world.
The emergence of a brave new face of Indian cricket in the past few years has effectively answered all the critics who questioned the cricketing potential of India in the international arena. This new era of Indian cricket began with the string of victories which propelled India into the finals of 2003 World Cup. However, losing both of the India-Australia cricket matches in the tournament, India grew still more determined to realize the dream of becoming cricketing world champions. Soon, the introduction of new and dynamic players like MS Dhoni added immensely to the Indian bench strength and the fantastic victories scored by young Indian cricketers made India matches a craze all over the world. In 2007, the cricket euphoria in India reached new heights as the Twenty20 Cricket World Tournament began in the month of September. Keeping track of India live cricket score became an obsession with Indian Cricket fans and the cricket frenzy reached unprecedented levels as India kept winning against formidable rivals to reach the finals. Of particular interest in the series were India Vs Australia matches which India won in a convincing manner and the finals of India Pakistan cricket wherein the India related its arch-rival Pakistan to become first Twenty20 world champions. The comprehensive Twenty20 victory of India raised hopes of India going ahead to claim the top spot in cricketing world. The upcoming 2007 India Australia Cricket Series was considered a crucial decider of who will emerge as future champions of the game. People remained glued to their television sets to follow each development of India Vs Australia cricket in the series and each victory was celebrated with great joy all over India. After first game was washed out due to rain, Australia won the 2nd and 3rd matches against India despite a few brilliant efforts by Indian players. In India Vs Australia 4th ODI, however, the scenario changed completely as Australia fell 8 runs behind while chasing India score resulting in the first India win in the series. This victory compelled every cricket fan to keep track of India Vs Australia Live Score in each India Vs Aus match in the series. India-Australia Live telecast was watched by millions of subcontinental viewers during the historic India Vs Australia 2007 cricket series and internet sites registered great number of hits searching for the keywords of India Cricket Score and India Live Score, India Australia Match and India Australia Series. After losing the 5th and 6th India Australia Cricket matches, India lost all possibility of winning the series. In India Vs Australia 7th ODI, however, India staged a redeeming act and defeated Australia by 2 wickets in a stunning manner. It was not all, with a sole Twenty20 match yet to be played between India and Australia after the series. India easily defeated Australia by 7 wickets in this Twenty20 match with an unusual team effort which proved India's worth in this new format of the game and silenced all the critics who considered India's Twenty20 world cup win as a fluke. Indian cricket fans could not help watching India Vs Australia highlights of this match again and again as India celebrated its arrival as the new-age cricketing champions.
India, a popular travel destination and a growing economic power in South Asia, is land-bordered by Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma and Pakistan. Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal are the country's other borders. India capital is New Delhi, a city state at the northern part of the country. Many multinational companies have their India office located at the major cities of the country, which include Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. India info would be helpful for a traveler and India yearbook would be a useful guide for him in this regard. In India, local time of Allahabad meridian is considered IST or Indian Standard Time. India demographics has it that 72% of people are Indo-Aryans, 25% Dravidian and 3% are Mongoloid or other ethnic groups. Being a land of diverse cultures, religions and ethnicities, India national holidays are numerous. However, January 26 (Republic Day), August 15 (Independence Day), October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti, or Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi) are the major ones. These India Holidays 2007 fell on Friday, Wednesday and Tuesday respectively. Dual citizenship for its citizens is not allowed by the Constitution of India. Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and persons with Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) are often referred to as India dual citizenship, but these are not the same. A person with OCI does not have voting rights and cannot hold constitutional posts like that of President, Judge of Supreme Court, etc. People with OCI cannot also posses an India Passport.
India & West
India - US nuclear deal is the India international news in vogue in the recent period even as the United Progressive Alliance government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh struggles to pull through the hurdles raised by the coalition partners as well as the opposition NDA towards the deal. India nuclear deal, according to the Prime Minister and his party, Indian National Congress, will bring in a new era of economic and environment friendly power generation methods. If India US nuclear deal becomes a reality, the country will have market access to various civil nuclear technology and raw material, like enriched Uranium, from major countries like Canada, Australia, etc. apart from US. However, Russia is negotiating a similar bilateral deal with India similar to the latter's 123Agreement with US. This deal, which is in pipeline, will not have any binding to any domestic regulations of Russia as has been the case with 123Agreement wherein India is bound by the Hyde Act of the US once it signs the deal.
India, a geographical space to which many a traveler, trader and researcher has always taken troubles to make a journey, is also one among the first few countries that have marked their virtual presence on net. India online shopping and India online music have become a way of life for net savvy people within and outside India. While Indiamart and India Plaza are two among the main e-business sites that showcase incredible India products, India Yahoo and India Google have various sections on India related news, in addition to their India specific search engines and various other features. In India, GSM technology has witnessed an unprecedented advancement in the recent period such that once the issues in the licensing of 3G technology (or Third Generation technology) are sorted out, India broadband would reach the rural areas making a headway into the sphere of advanced mobile phone features like, internet access through mobile phones. Social networking sites like Orkut and Face Book and video sharing sites like (India) Youtube have already gained wide popularity among net surfers in India. In India, yahoo finance is also opted by many for updating themselves on developments in India finance sector. Network18 of CNBC Universe has integrated all its investor, management and corporate performance related news in Indiaearnings, whereas India bull run of the stock markets is truly captured by India Infoline, Indiabulls and Sharekhan. What more, talented youth in India need not remain waiting for opportunities to come to them anymore. India Ka Hero or IKH (means, the hero of India, in Hindi) provides a platform for all art, entertainment and music industry aspirants of the country to showcase their talents. India x Guru, India Dating and India Escorts are websites dedicated to romance. India FM or India FM.com, a division of Hungama.com, tracks the developments in the Indian film industry. For the televsion and cinema freaks of the country there is platform to discuss, argue and share all what they have seen anew. India Forums provides a platform for discussion and knowledge sharing among entertainment lovers, whereas India Forum has a sober look as it publishes analytical essays on Indian culture, history and society. India Express is a news site focusing on Indian movies, Indian celebrities and Indian cricket. India Glitz, as the name suggests, is a site for Indian movie trailers in various India languages. India Mike is a discussion forum for travellers. India Mike also allows travel related chat and travel related photo sharing. Similarly, there are websites that list India jokes pertaining to different spheres of life. India quotes, India quiz questions, India questions, Madhuri Dixit are also available online. India results.com is a site for publishing results of competitive exams in India. India result of Service Selection Board exams, University exams are published on India Results website. India images, India pictures and India wallpapers are also available online.
India country code
The growth in telecommunication technology has made it quite easy to make international calls nowadays. In order to make a call from US or Canada to India, one first needs to dial US Exit code followed by India Country Code or India Dialling Code, India Area Code and then the phone number. This process would translate in dialling 011(US Exit Code) +91(India Country Code or India Dialing Code)+area code(2-7 digit codes for places within India) +phone number which would connect a call to India. If one wants to make a cellular call from US or Canada to India one needs to dial 011(US Exit Code) + 91 (India Country Code) +network code(92, 93, 94, 97, 98) + cell number. One can also make international calls through internet which is facilitated with the help of international calling cards. India calling cards can be availed from a number of websites against payment of the fixed charges which depend on the length and distance of the calls to be made. After purchasing an India calling card one can easily make a call to India through internet which is quite economical as compared to the usual calls. For making calls from one state to another within India, one needs to know India STD Code for different states which needs to be prefixed to the phone number while making the call.
The India job market is booming with the current growth of Information Technology sector and continual outsourcing of business process and knowledge process services to India. The most important contributors to this process include United States of America, Australia and other countries who find outsourcing a major chunk of services sector to India quite comfortable in terms of cheaper manpower and strengthening of international economic relations. In the process, however, Indian youth have gained a lot with mushrooming of new employment opportunities in call centers, customer relation services, content development services and IT sector. With the recent internet boom and continually increasing penetration of IT services in the Indian market, numerous Indian Job sites have come into existence to help young graduates and undergraduates find excellent job openings alongside more experienced workers. Some of the most popular India job sites include Naukri.com, Timesjobs.com, Monster.com amongst others. One can simply visit an India Job Site, sign up and search for the best openings for preferred industry within no time. This electronic revolution has helped accelerate the growth of India jobs as well as Indian economy in the process.
Indian Railways constitute an important part of Indian transportation network with its extensive reach to remotest corners of the country. Railways emerge as the second most convenient and affordable means of traveling within India after road transportation which has by far the deepest reach in rural and remote corners of the country. However, the time consumed in traveling by rail as compared to road travel far outweighs the advantages in favour of the former. Indian Rail network is estimated to be carrying 16 million passengers and 1 million tonnage of freight daily which makes it one of the busiest in the world with about 1.6 million employees on its rolls. In India, Rail network is divided into 17 regional zones for administrative purposes which are further sub-divided for administrative convenience. Today, India Railway network has acquired high technological capability and is running normal passenger trains alongside express trains and super express trains for faster reach and convenient travel. One can easily book tickets in advance with the help of a highly sophisticated Indian railway reservation system being developed by India railways. Online ticketing, electronic ticketing and a number of other services are available through the websites of Indian Railways Indian Railways on the internet. One of the best services include the introduction of a new Tatkal Quota in the Indian Railways Reservation system which allows hassle-free booking of tickets at short notice.
All foreign nationals except the citizens of Nepal and Bhutan require a valid passport and a valid Indian Visa for visiting the country. Another exception has been made in case of Maldives' citizens who do not require an Indian visa for visiting and staying in the country for a period of upto 90 days. The Consular Passport and Visa Division of the Ministry of External Affairs in India have the official authority for issuing Indian passport to Indian citizens and Indian Visa to foreign nationals. There is another exception in the case of NRIs or Non-resident Indians who hold OCI or Overseas Citizenship of India which eliminates any visa requirement for visiting India. There are 28 regional passport offices in India and 160 Indian High Commissions abroad which are invested with the authority of issuing Indian passport and Indian visa to Indian or foreign nationals. Some of the most important missions of India abroad include India Embassy, London (UK), Embassy of India, Athens (Greece), High Commission of India (Australia) and Indian Embassy in Washington D.C. (USA) amongst others.
India Embassy and India High Commission in foreign countries play an important role in regulating diplomatic relations between the two countries as well as facilitating provision of visa services. Depending on the purpose of visit, various kind of India Visas are issued by authorities which include Transit Visa, Tourist Visa, Student Visa, Business Visa and Employment Visa amongst others. The duration of legal stay in the country differs as based on the nature of visa issued. Against Business or Employment Visa, a Foreigner visiting India can be granted an India X-Visa which allows his or her spouse to visit the country without getting involved in any business or employment activities. Should the spouse wish to engage in any specific employment activity in India, an Employment Visa is required from their country of citizenship. It is a must for any Indian citizen living abroad to immediately surrender Indian passport with the respective India Consulate of the region in case of relinquishing Indian citizenship.
India is a vast country in the Southernmost portion of Asia which is bound by Indian Ocean in the South, Arabian Sea in the West and Bay of Bengal in the East and borders with Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Bangladesh in the North, Northwest, Northeast and East. Physical India maps can serve as effective tools for understanding the geophysical and topological features of the Indian Sub-continent. An India outline map clearly defines the geopolitical outline of the country and India political map can help better understand the political boundaries and sub-divisions of the country for all practical purposes. In the physical map of India, earthquake prone regions (high risk) can be located as Himalayan region, parts of north Indian plains and parts of Gujarat (Kachchh, for instance). India has also witnessed some of the devastating earthquakes in these regions.
India is an immense country with more than a billion population which makes it necessary to have proper infrastructure in terms of power generation, industrial production, agricultural development and transportation. While lagging behind many developed countries of the world in terms of such an infrastructural development, India has made great strides in the areas of agricultural, technological and industrial development which has brought about the emergence of India as a future global power with immense potential. One of the key factors behind this rapid growth is development of transportation and communication infrastructure in India which has facilitated the growth of other important sectors. India road map is an excellent tool for understanding the Indian transportation network, which includes an immense road network covering almost whole of the sub-continent. However, Indian rail network and air travel network have emerged as virtual engines of economic growth in the modern times even while falling behind the road network in terms of geographical reach.
The Law Commission of India under the aegis of the Ministry of Law & Justice in India is responsible for introducing India law reforms and implementation. The first Law Commission of Independent India was constituted in 1955 by the Government of India for democratic Indian law reforms in accordance with the directives laid down by the Constitution of India. The primary objective behind setting up of the Law Commission was to introduce suitable changes in pre-Constitution laws recognized by the Constitution of India under article 372, as and when required.
India is witnessing the emergence of a new league of gamers propelled by an internet and technology boom in the recent years. Indian gamers are not afraid of trying out the latest video-gaming and PC gaming products available in the market which has contributed greatly to the growth of Indian gaming industry. So far, however, the Indian gaming market is dominated by non-Indian global players like Sony and Microsoft who have created a niche for themselves in the global gaming arena. Some of the most sophisticated gaming products available in the market include PS 3 by Sony, Game Cube and Wii of Nintendo and Microsoft's Xbox 360. The launch of these hi-tech gaming consoles was preceded by phenomenal hype which did not fail to attract dedicated gamers' attention. In India, Xbox 360 sales figures may not have been among the best but the kind of gaming euphoria created around the game did not fail to benefit Microsoft's rivals as well by inspiring the interest of many non-believers in the world of gaming. Indian game developers are also chalking out their low-profile strategy which they plan to expand to a fuller scale and provide competition to the overseas players in the market within the next decade. India Games.com is a hub of online gamers.
India of my dreams
For many, India of their dreams is a place for equal opportunities, where all the talented people are given equal opportunities for growth irrespective of their caste, gender and economic and social status. Lessening of economic disparity across various social strata in the country is dreamt by many. While friendly ties with India and Pakistan as well as with India and other countries in the world becomes the priority for a majority, an improvement in living standards is the concern of all those who are Below Poverty Line at present. In India, democracy can be actualized at the true sense of the term if Indian politics can do away with casteism, vote bank politics, nepotism and criminalization. For many, this is the India of their dreams. Uncorrupted bureaucrary is a dream of many, especially who are into social activism, whereas undelayed justice and judicial activism are seen as an end and not as means by many towards the 'India of my dreams'.
Indian Restaurants Abroad
If one wants to experience the true enigma of India without having to visit the country, the best way is paying a visit to any of the Indian restaurants abroad. The sheer diversity of Indian cuisines and the wide range of taste palette available within any single cuisine is incredible in itself. Some of the aspects of Indian food which have held foreigners in eternal fascination include an all-too frequently spicy nature of the food and its extremely appetizing nature although low-spiced India food is a greater favorite in the west. Some of the worth visiting Indian restaurants abroad include India Quay Restaurant Glasgow, India House, Chicago India Queen, Hanover, NH, India Quality Boston, India Oven, San Antonio, Texas (US), India Palace, Santa Fe, New Mexico (US), and India House Restaurant, New Jersey amongst thousands of others.
Indian Defence capability is ranked 4th in the world with the 2nd largest army at its command which is the only one entirely composed of volunteers. Despite being empowered for conscription, the Government of India never had to resort to the same even during the periods of aggression by Pakistan and China. The President of India himself serves as the Supreme Commander of Indian Armed Forces composed of Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. In India, defence forces have grown from strength to strength after every major armed conflict and military operation in the past 60 years. In the current geopolitical context, India is faced with a complex array of internal as well as external security threats and the Indian Armed Forces are well-equipped to deal with them.
Last Updated on July 5, 2014