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Bhārat, also known as India (Bhārat Gaṇarājya),[lower-alpha 1] is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country (with over 1.2 billion people), and the most populous democracy in the world. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast. It shares land borders with Pakistan to the west;[lower-alpha 2] China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives. India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

The Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, and Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Maurya and Gupta empires; the later peninsular Middle Kingdoms influenced cultures as far as southeast Asia. In the medieval era, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam arrived, and Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture. Much of the north fell to the Delhi sultanate; the south was united under the Vijayanagara Empire. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, and in the mid-19th under British crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which later, under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947.


The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindu.[1] The latter term stems from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, which was the historical local appellation for the Indus River.[2] The ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi (Ἰνδοί), which translates as "The people of the Indus".[3]

The geographical term Bharat (Bhārat, pronounced [ˈbʱaːrət̪]), which is recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country,[4] is used by many Indian languages in its variations. It is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India.[5][6] Scholars believe it to be named after the Vedic tribe of Bhāratas in the second millennium B.C.E.[7] It is also traditionally associated with the rule of the legendary emperor Bharata.[8] Gaṇarājya (literally, people's State) is the Sanskrit/Hindi term for "republic" dating back to the ancient times.[9][10][11]

Hindustan ([ɦɪnd̪ʊˈst̪aːn]) is a Persian name for India dating back to the 3rd century B.C.E. It was introduced into India by the Mughals and widely used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety.[5][6][12] Currently, the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.[12]

Reception on wikipedia[edit]

Wikipedia in the very first sentence mistakenly says that the sole official English language name of the nation is 'Republic of India'.[1]


Ancient India[edit]

The earliest authenticated human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago.[13] Nearly contemporaneous Mesolithic rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh.[14] Around 7000 BCE, the first known Neolithic settlements appeared on the subcontinent in Mehrgarh and other sites in western Pakistan.[15] These gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation,[16] the first urban culture in South Asia;[17] it flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in Pakistan and western India.[18] Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Dholavira, and Kalibangan, and relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilisation engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade.[17]

During the period 2000–500 BCE, in terms of culture, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic to the Iron Age.[19] The Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism,[20] were composed during this period,[21] and historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.[19] Most historians also consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent.[22][20] The caste system arose during this period, creating a hierarchy of priests, warriors, free peasants and traders, and lastly the indigenous peoples who were regarded as impure; and small tribal units gradually coalesced into monarchical, state-level polities.[23][24] On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation.[19] In southern India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period,[25] as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, and craft traditions.[25]

In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas.[26][27] The emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of its exemplar, Mahavira.[28] Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle class; chronicling the life of the Buddha was central to the beginnings of recorded history in India.[29][30][31] In an age of increasing urban wealth, both religions held up renunciation as an ideal,[32] and both established long-lasting monastic traditions. Politically, by the 3rd century BCE, the kingdom of Magadha had annexed or reduced other states to emerge as the Mauryan Empire.[33] The empire was once thought to have controlled most of the subcontinent excepting the far south, but its core regions are now thought to have been separated by large autonomous areas.[34][35] The Mauryan kings are known as much for their empire-building and determined management of public life as for Ashoka's renunciation of militarism and far-flung advocacy of the Buddhist dhamma.[36][37]

The Sangam literature of the Tamil language reveals that, between 200 BCE and 200 CE, the southern peninsula was being ruled by the Cheras, the Cholas, and the Pandyas, dynasties that traded extensively with the Roman Empire and with West and South-East Asia.[38][39] In North India, Hinduism asserted patriarchal control within the family, leading to increased subordination of women.[40][33] By the 4th and 5th centuries, the Gupta Empire had created in the greater Ganges Plain a complex system of administration and taxation that became a model for later Indian kingdoms.[41][42] Under the Guptas, a renewed Hinduism based on devotion rather than the management of ritual began to assert itself.[43] The renewal was reflected in a flowering of sculpture and architecture, which found patrons among an urban elite.[42] Classical Sanskrit literature flowered as well, and Indian science, astronomy, medicine, and mathematics made significant advances.[42]

Medieval India[edit]

The Indian early medieval age, 600 CE to 1200 CE, is defined by regional kingdoms and cultural diversity.[44] When Harsha of Kannauj, who ruled much of the Indo-Gangetic Plain from 606 to 647 CE, attempted to expand southwards, he was defeated by the Chalukya ruler of the Deccan.[45] When his successor attempted to expand eastwards, he was defeated by the Pala king of Bengal.[45] When the Chalukyas attempted to expand southwards, they were defeated by the Pallavas from farther south, who in turn were opposed by the Pandyas and the Cholas from still farther south.[45] No ruler of this period was able to create an empire and consistently control lands much beyond his core region.[44] During this time, pastoral peoples whose land had been cleared to make way for the growing agricultural economy were accommodated within caste society, as were new non-traditional ruling classes.[46] The caste system consequently began to show regional differences.[46]

In the 6th and 7th centuries, the first devotional hymns were created in the Tamil language.[47] They were imitated all over India and led to both the resurgence of Hinduism and the development of all modern languages of the subcontinent.[47] Indian royalty, big and small, and the temples they patronised, drew citizens in great numbers to the capital cities, which became economic hubs as well.[48] Temple towns of various sizes began to appear everywhere as India underwent another urbanisation.[48] By the 8th and 9th centuries, the effects were felt in South-East Asia, as South Indian culture and political systems were exported to lands that became part of modern-day Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Java.[49] Indian merchants, scholars, and sometimes armies were involved in this transmission; South-East Asians took the initiative as well, with many sojourning in Indian seminaries and translating Buddhist and Hindu texts into their languages.[49]

After the 10th century, Muslim Central Asian nomadic clans, using swift-horse cavalry and raising vast armies united by ethnicity and religion, repeatedly overran South Asia's north-western plains, leading eventually to the establishment of the Islamic Delhi Sultanate in 1206.[50] The sultanate was to control much of North India, and to make many forays into South India. Although at first disruptive for the Indian elites, the sultanate largely left its vast non-Muslim subject population to its own laws and customs.[51][52] By repeatedly repulsing Mongol raiders in the 13th century, the sultanate saved India from the devastation visited on West and Central Asia, setting the scene for centuries of migration of fleeing soldiers, learned men, mystics, traders, artists, and artisans from that region into the subcontinent, thereby creating a syncretic Indo-Islamic culture in the north.[53][54] The sultanate's raiding and weakening of the regional kingdoms of South India paved the way for the indigenous Vijayanagara Empire.[55] Embracing a strong Shaivite tradition and building upon the military technology of the sultanate, the empire came to control much of peninsular India,[56] and was to influence South Indian society for long afterwards.[55]

Early modern India[edit]

Writing the will and testament of the Mughal king court in Persian, 1590–1595

In the early 16th century, northern India, being then under mainly Muslim rulers,[57] fell again to the superior mobility and firepower of a new generation of Central Asian warriors.[58] The resulting Mughal Empire did not stamp out the local societies it came to rule, but rather balanced and pacified them through new administrative practices[59][60] and diverse and inclusive ruling elites,[61] leading to more systematic, centralised, and uniform rule.[62] Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic identity, especially under Akbar, the Mughals united their far-flung realms through loyalty, expressed through a Persianised culture, to an emperor who had near-divine status.[61] The Mughal state's economic policies, deriving most revenues from agriculture[63] and mandating that taxes be paid in the well-regulated silver currency,[64] caused peasants and artisans to enter larger markets.[62] The relative peace maintained by the empire during much of the 17th century was a factor in India's economic expansion,[62] resulting in greater patronage of painting, literary forms, textiles, and architecture.[65] Newly coherent social groups in northern and western India, such as the Marathas, the Rajputs, and the Sikhs, gained military and governing ambitions during Mughal rule, which, through collaboration or adversity, gave them both recognition and military experience.[66] Expanding commerce during Mughal rule gave rise to new Indian commercial and political elites along the coasts of southern and eastern India.[66] As the empire disintegrated, many among these elites were able to seek and control their own affairs.[67]

By the early 18th century, with the lines between commercial and political dominance being increasingly blurred, a number of European trading companies, including the English East India Company, had established coastal outposts.[68][69] The East India Company's control of the seas, greater resources, and more advanced military training and technology led it to increasingly flex its military muscle and caused it to become attractive to a portion of the Indian elite; both these factors were crucial in allowing the company to gain control over the Bengal region by 1765 and sideline the other European companies.[70][68][71][72] Its further access to the riches of Bengal and the subsequent increased strength and size of its army enabled it to annex or subdue most of India by the 1820s.[73] India was then no longer exporting manufactured goods as it long had, but was instead supplying the British Empire with raw materials, and many historians consider this to be the onset of India's colonial period.[68] By this time, with its economic power severely curtailed by the British parliament and itself effectively made an arm of British administration, the company began to more consciously enter non-economic arenas such as education, social reform, and culture.[74]

Modern India[edit]

File:British Indian Empire 1909 Imperial Gazetteer of India.jpg
The British Indian Empire, from the 1909 edition of The Imperial Gazetteer of India. Areas directly governed by the British are shaded pink; the princely states under British suzerainty are in yellow.

Historians consider India's modern age to have begun sometime between 1848 and 1885. The appointment in 1848 of Lord Dalhousie as Governor General of the East India Company set the stage for changes essential to a modern state. These included the consolidation and demarcation of sovereignty, the surveillance of the population, and the education of citizens. Technological changes—among them, railways, canals, and the telegraph—were introduced not long after their introduction in Europe.[75][76][77][78] However, disaffection with the company also grew during this time, and set off the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Fed by diverse resentments and perceptions, including invasive British-style social reforms, harsh land taxes, and summary treatment of some rich landowners and princes, the rebellion rocked many regions of northern and central India and shook the foundations of Company rule.[79][80] Although the rebellion was suppressed by 1858, it led to the dissolution of the East India Company and to the direct administration of India by the British government. Proclaiming a unitary state and a gradual but limited British-style parliamentary system, the new rulers also protected princes and landed gentry as a feudal safeguard against future unrest.[81][82] In the decades following, public life gradually emerged all over India, leading eventually to the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885.[83][84][85][86]

File:Nehru gandhi.jpg
Jawaharlal Nehru (left) became India's first prime minister in 1947. Mahatma Gandhi (right) led the independence movement.

The rush of technology and the commercialisation of agriculture in the second half of the 19th century was marked by economic setbacks—many small farmers became dependent on the whims of far-away markets.[87] There was an increase in the number of large-scale famines,[88] and, despite the risks of infrastructure development borne by Indian taxpayers, little industrial employment was generated for Indians.[89] There were also salutary effects: commercial cropping, especially in the newly canalled Punjab, led to increased food production for internal consumption.[90] The railway network provided critical famine relief,[91] notably reduced the cost of moving goods,[91] and helped nascent Indian-owned industry.[90]

After World War I, in which approximately one million Indians served,[92] a new period began. It was marked by British reforms but also repressive legislations, by more strident Indian calls for self-rule, and by the beginnings of a nonviolent movement of non-co-operation, of which Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would become the leader and enduring symbol.[93] During the 1930s, slow legislative reform was enacted by the British; the Indian National Congress won victories in the resulting elections.[94] The next decade was beset with crises: Indian participation in World War II, the Congress's final push for non-co-operation, and an upsurge of Muslim nationalism. All were capped by the advent of independence in 1947, but tempered by the partition of India into two states: India and Pakistan.[95]

Vital to India's self-image as an independent nation was its constitution, completed in 1950, which put in place a secular and democratic republic.[96] In the 60 years since, India has had a mixed record of successes and failures.[97] It has remained a democracy with civil liberties, an active Supreme Court, and a largely independent press.[97] Economic liberalisation, which was begun in the 1990s, has created a large urban middle class, transformed India into one of the world's fastest-growing economies,[98] and increased its geopolitical clout. Indian movies, music, and spiritual teachings play an increasing role in global culture.[97] Yet, India is also shaped by seemingly unyielding poverty, both rural and urban;[97] by religious and caste-related violence;[99] by Maoist-inspired Naxalite insurgencies;[100] and by separatism in Jammu and Kashmir and in Northeast India.[101] It has unresolved territorial disputes with China[102] and with Pakistan.[102] The India–Pakistan nuclear rivalry came to a head in 1998.[103] India's sustained democratic freedoms are unique among the world's newer nations; however, in spite of its recent economic successes, freedom from want for its disadvantaged population remains a goal yet to be achieved.[104]


File:India topo big.jpg
A topographic map of India

India comprises the bulk of the Indian subcontinent, lying atop the Indian tectonic plate, and part of the Indo-Australian Plate.[105] India's defining geological processes began 75 million years ago when the Indian plate, then part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, began a north-eastward drift caused by seafloor spreading to its south-west, and later, south and south-east.[105] Simultaneously, the vast Tethyn oceanic crust, to its northeast, began to subduct under the Eurasian plate.[105] These dual processes, driven by convection in the Earth's mantle, both created the Indian Ocean and caused the Indian continental crust eventually to under-thrust Eurasia and to uplift the Himalayas.[105] Immediately south of the emerging Himalayas, plate movement created a vast trough that rapidly filled with river-borne sediment[106] and now constitutes the Indo-Gangetic Plain.[107] Cut off from the plain by the ancient Aravalli Range lies the Thar Desert.[108]

The original Indian plate survives as peninsular India, the oldest and geologically most stable part of India. It extends as far north as the Satpura and Vindhya ranges in central India. These parallel chains run from the Arabian Sea coast in Gujarat in the west to the coal-rich Chota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand in the east.[109] To the south, the remaining peninsular landmass, the Deccan Plateau, is flanked on the west and east by coastal ranges known as the Western and Eastern Ghats;[110] the plateau contains the country's oldest rock formations, some over one billion years old. Constituted in such fashion, India lies to the north of the equator between 6° 44' and 35° 30' north latitude[lower-alpha 3] and 68° 7' and 97° 25' east longitude.[111]

The Kedar Range of the Greater Himalayas rises behind Kedarnath Temple (Indian state of Uttarakhand), which is one of the twelve jyotirlinga shrines.

India's coastline measures 7,517 kilometres (4,700 mi) in length; of this distance, 5,423 kilometres (3,400 mi) belong to peninsular India and 2,094 kilometres (1,300 mi) to the Andaman, Nicobar, and Lakshadweep island chains.[112] According to the Indian naval hydrographic charts, the mainland coastline consists of the following: 43% sandy beaches; 11% rocky shores, including cliffs; and 46% mudflats or marshy shores.[112]

Major Himalayan-origin rivers that substantially flow through India include the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, both of which drain into the Bay of Bengal.[113] Important tributaries of the Ganges include the Yamuna and the Kosi; the latter's extremely low gradient often leads to severe floods and course changes.[114] Major peninsular rivers, whose steeper gradients prevent their waters from flooding, include the Godavari, the Mahanadi, the Kaveri, and the Krishna, which also drain into the Bay of Bengal;[115] and the Narmada and the Tapti, which drain into the Arabian Sea.[116] Coastal features include the marshy Rann of Kutch of western India and the alluvial Sundarbans delta of eastern India; the latter is shared with Bangladesh.[117] India has two archipelagos: the Lakshadweep, coral atolls off India's south-western coast; and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a volcanic chain in the Andaman Sea.[118]

The Indian climate is strongly influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert, both of which drive the economically and culturally pivotal summer and winter monsoons.[119] The Himalayas prevent cold Central Asian katabatic winds from blowing in, keeping the bulk of the Indian subcontinent warmer than most locations at similar latitudes.[120][121] The Thar Desert plays a crucial role in attracting the moisture-laden south-west summer monsoon winds that, between June and October, provide the majority of India's rainfall.[119] Four major climatic groupings predominate in India: tropical wet, tropical dry, subtropical humid, and montane.[122]


India is the world's most populous democracy.[123] A parliamentary republic with a multi-party system,[124] it has six recognised national parties, including the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and more than 40 regional parties.[125] The Congress is considered centre-left in Indian political culture,[126] and the BJP right-wing.[127][128][129] For most of the period between 1950—when India first became a republic—and the late 1980s, the Congress held a majority in the parliament. Since then, however, it has increasingly shared the political stage with the BJP,[130] as well as with powerful regional parties which have often forced the creation of multi-party coalitions at the centre.[131]

In the Republic of India's first three general elections, in 1951, 1957, and 1962, the Jawaharlal Nehru-led Congress won easy victories. On Nehru's death in 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri briefly became prime minister; he was succeeded, after his own unexpected death in 1966, by Indira Gandhi, who went on to lead the Congress to election victories in 1967 and 1971. Following public discontent with the state of emergency she declared in 1975, the Congress was voted out of power in 1977; the then-new Janata Party, which had opposed the emergency, was voted in. Its government lasted just over three years. Voted back into power in 1980, the Congress saw a change in leadership in 1984, when Indira Gandhi was assassinated; she was succeeded by her son Rajiv Gandhi, who won an easy victory in the general elections later that year. The Congress was voted out again in 1989 when a National Front coalition, led by the newly formed Janata Dal in alliance with the Left Front, won the elections; that government too proved relatively short-lived, lasting just under two years.[132] Elections were held again in 1991; no party won an absolute majority. The Congress, as the largest single party, was able to form a minority government led by P. V. Narasimha Rao.[133]

File:Rashtrapati Bhavan Wide New Delhi India.jpg
The Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official residence of the president of India.

A two-year period of political turmoil followed the general election of 1996. Several short-lived alliances shared power at the centre. The BJP formed a government briefly in 1996; it was followed by two comparatively long-lasting United Front coalitions, which depended on external support. In 1998, the BJP was able to form a successful coalition, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the NDA became the first non-Congress, coalition government to complete a five-year term.[134] In the 2004 Indian general elections, again no party won an absolute majority, but the Congress emerged as the largest single party, forming another successful coalition: the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). It had the support of left-leaning parties and MPs who opposed the BJP. The UPA returned to power in the 2009 general election with increased numbers, and it no longer required external support from India's communist parties.[135] That year, Manmohan Singh became the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru in 1957 and 1962 to be re-elected to a consecutive five-year term.[136] In the 2014 general election, the BJP became the first political party since 1984 to win a majority and govern without the support of other parties.[137] The Prime Minister of India is Narendra Modi, who was formerly Chief Minister of Gujarat.


With 1,210,193,422 residents reported in the 2011 provisional census report,[138] India is the world's second-most populous country. Its population grew by 17.64% during 2001–2011,[139] compared to 21.54% growth in the previous decade (1991–2001).[139] The human sex ratio, according to the 2011 census, is 940 females per 1,000 males.[138] The median age was 24.9 in the 2001 census.[140] The first post-colonial census, conducted in 1951, counted 361.1 million people.[141] Medical advances made in the last 50 years as well as increased agricultural productivity brought about by the "Green Revolution" have caused India's population to grow rapidly.[142] India continues to face several public health-related challenges.[143][144]

Life expectancy in India is at 68 years, with life expectancy for women being 69.6 years and for men being 67.3.[145] There are around 50 physicians per 100,000 Indians.[146] The number of Indians living in urban areas has grown by 31.2% between 1991 and 2001.[147] Yet, in 2001, over 70% lived in rural areas.[148][149] The level of urbanisation increased from 27.81% in 2001 Census to 31.16% in 2011 Census. The slowing down of the overall growth rate of population was due to the sharp decline in the growth rate in rural areas since 1991.[150] According to the 2011 census, there are 53 million-plus urban agglomerations in India; among them Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad, in decreasing order by population.[151] The literacy rate in 2011 was 74.04%: 65.46% among females and 82.14% among males.[152] The rural urban literacy gap which was 21.2 percentage points in 2001, dropped to 16.1 percentage points in 2011. The improvement in literacy rate in rural area is two times that in urban areas.[150] Kerala is the most literate state with 93.91% literacy; while Bihar the least with 63.82%.[152]

India is home to two major language families: Indo-Aryan (spoken by about 74% of the population) and Dravidian (spoken by 24% of the population). Other languages spoken in India come from the Austroasiatic and Sino-Tibetan language families. India has no national language.[153] Hindi, with the largest number of speakers, is the official language of the government.[154][155] English is used extensively in business and administration and has the status of a "subsidiary official language";[156] it is important in education, especially as a medium of higher education. Each state and union territory has one or more official languages, and the constitution recognises in particular 22 "scheduled languages". The Constitution of India recognises 212 scheduled tribal groups which together constitute about 7.5% of the country's population.[157] The 2011 census reported that the religion in India with the largest number of followers was Hinduism (79.8% of the population), followed by Islam (14.23%); the remaining were Christianity (2.30%), Sikhism (1.72%), Buddhism (0.70%), Jainism (0.36%) and others[lower-alpha 4] (0.9%).[158] India has the world's largest Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Zoroastrian, and Bahá'í populations, and has the third-largest Muslim population—the largest for a non-Muslim majority country.[159][160]


File:Shiva as the Lord of Dance LACMA edit.jpg
A Chola bronze depicting Nataraja, who is seen as a cosmic "Lord of the Dance" and representative of Shiva

Indian cultural history spans more than 4,500 years.[161] During the Vedic period (c. 1700 – 500 BCE), the foundations of Hindu philosophy, mythology, theology and literature were laid, and many beliefs and practices which still exist today, such as dhárma, kárma, yóga, and mokṣa, were established.[3] India is notable for its religious diversity, with Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, and Jainism among the nation's major religions.[162] The predominant religion, Hinduism, has been shaped by various historical schools of thought, including those of the Upanishads,[163] the Yoga Sutras, the Bhakti movement,[162] and by Buddhist philosophy.[164]

Art and architecture[edit]

Much of Indian architecture, including the Taj Mahal, other works of Mughal architecture, and South Indian architecture, blends ancient local traditions with imported styles.[165] Vernacular architecture is also highly regional in it flavours. Vastu shastra, literally "science of construction" or "architecture" and ascribed to Mamuni Mayan,[166] explores how the laws of nature affect human dwellings;[167] it employs precise geometry and directional alignments to reflect perceived cosmic constructs.[168] As applied in Hindu temple architecture, it is influenced by the Shilpa Shastras, a series of foundational texts whose basic mythological form is the Vastu-Purusha mandala, a square that embodied the "absolute".[169] The Taj Mahal, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by orders of Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, has been described in the UNESCO World Heritage List as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage".[170] Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture, developed by the British in the late 19th century, drew on Indo-Islamic architecture.[171]


The earliest literary writings in India, composed between 1700 BCE and 1200 CE, were in the Sanskrit language.[172][173] Prominent works of this Sanskrit literature include epics such as the Mahābhārata and the Ramayana, the dramas of Kālidāsa such as the Abhijñānaśākuntalam (The Recognition of Śakuntalā), and poetry such as the Mahākāvya.[174][175][176] Kamasutra, the famous book about sexual intercourse also originated in India. Developed between 600 BCE and 300 CE in South India, the Sangam literature, consisting of 2,381 poems, is regarded as a predecessor of Tamil literature.[177][178][179][180] From the 14th to the 18th centuries, India's literary traditions went through a period of drastic change because of the emergence of devotional poets such as Kabīr, Tulsīdās, and Guru Nānak. This period was characterised by a varied and wide spectrum of thought and expression; as a consequence, medieval Indian literary works differed significantly from classical traditions.[181] In the 19th century, Indian writers took a new interest in social questions and psychological descriptions. In the 20th century, Indian literature was influenced by the works of Bengali poet and novelist Rabindranath Tagore,[182] who was a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Performing arts[edit]

File:Inde muria 0511.jpg
Muria tribal dancers in Bastar, Chhattisgarh

Indian music ranges over various traditions and regional styles. Classical music encompasses two genres and their various folk offshoots: the northern Hindustani and southern Carnatic schools.[183] Regionalised popular forms include filmi and folk music; the syncretic tradition of the bauls is a well-known form of the latter. Indian dance also features diverse folk and classical forms. Among the better-known folk dances are the bhangra of Punjab, the bihu of Assam, the chhau of Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand, garba and dandiya of Gujarat, ghoomar of Rajasthan, and the lavani of Maharashtra. Eight dance forms, many with narrative forms and mythological elements, have been accorded classical dance status by India's National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama. These are: bharatanatyam of the state of Tamil Nadu, kathak of Uttar Pradesh, kathakali and mohiniyattam of Kerala, kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, manipuri of Manipur, odissi of Odisha, and the sattriya of Assam.[184] Theatre in India melds music, dance, and improvised or written dialogue.[185] Often based on Hindu mythology, but also borrowing from medieval romances or social and political events, Indian theatre includes the bhavai of Gujarat, the jatra of West Bengal, the nautanki and ramlila of North India, tamasha of Maharashtra, burrakatha of Andhra Pradesh, terukkuttu of Tamil Nadu, and the yakshagana of Karnataka.[186]

Motion pictures, television[edit]

The Indian film industry produces the world's most-watched cinema.[187] Established regional cinematic traditions exist in the Assamese, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Odia, Tamil, and Telugu languages.[188] South Indian cinema attracts more than 75% of national film revenue.[189]

Television broadcasting began in India in 1959 as a state-run medium of communication, and had slow expansion for more than two decades.[190][191] The state monopoly on television broadcast ended in the 1990s and, since then, satellite channels have increasingly shaped popular culture of Indian society.[192] Today, television is the most penetrative media in India; industry estimates indicate that as of 2012 there are over 554 million TV consumers, 462 million with satellite and/or cable connections, compared to other forms of mass media such as press (350 million), radio (156 million) or internet (37 million).[193]


Indian cuisine encompasses a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines, often depending on a particular state (such as Maharashtrian cuisine). Staple foods of Indian cuisine include pearl millet (bājra), rice, whole-wheat flour (aṭṭa), and a variety of lentils, such as masoor (most often red lentils), toor (pigeon peas), urad (black gram), and mong (mung beans). Lentils may be used whole, dehusked—for example, dhuli moong or dhuli urad—or split. Split lentils, or dal, are used extensively.[194] The spice trade between India and Europe is often cited by historians as the primary catalyst for Europe's Age of Discovery.[195]


File:India Christian wedding Madurai Tamil Nadu.jpg
A Christian wedding in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Christianity is believed to have been introduced to India by the late 2nd century by Syriac-speaking Christians.

Traditional Indian society is sometimes defined by social hierarchy. The Indian caste system embodies much of the social stratification and many of the social restrictions found in the Indian subcontinent. Social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups, often termed as jātis, or "castes".[196] India declared untouchability to be illegal[197] in 1947 and has since enacted other anti-discriminatory laws and social welfare initiatives. At the workplace in urban India and in international or leading Indian companies, the caste related identification has pretty much lost its importance.[198][199]

Family values are important in the Indian tradition, and multi-generational patriarchal joint families have been the norm in India, though nuclear families are becoming common in urban areas.[200] An overwhelming majority of Indians, with their consent, have their marriages arranged by their parents or other elders in the family.[201] Marriage is thought to be for life,[201] and the divorce rate is extremely low.[202] As of 2001, just 1.6 percent of Indian women were divorced but this figure was rising due to their education and economic independence.[202] Child marriages are common, especially in rural areas; many women wed before reaching 18, which is their legal marriageable age.[203] Female infanticide and female foeticide in the country have caused a discrepancy in the sex ratio, as of 2005 it was estimated that there were 50 million more males than females in the nation.[204][205] However a report from 2011 has shown improvement in the gender ratio.[206] The payment of dowry, although illegal, remains widespread across class lines.[207] Deaths resulting from dowry, mostly from bride burning, are on the rise.[208]

Many Indian festivals are religious in origin. The best known include Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Thai Pongal, Holi, Durga Puja, Eid ul-Fitr, Bakr-Id, Christmas, and Vaisakhi.[209][210] India has three national holidays which are observed in all states and union territories – Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti. Other sets of holidays, varying between nine and twelve, are officially observed in individual states.


Cotton was domesticated in India by 4000 BCE. Traditional Indian dress varies in colour and style across regions and depends on various factors, including climate and faith. Popular styles of dress include draped garments such as the sari for women and the dhoti or lungi for men. Stitched clothes, such as the shalwar kameez for women and kurtapyjama combinations or European-style trousers and shirts for men, are also popular.[211] Use of delicate jewellery, modelled on real flowers worn in ancient India, is part of a tradition dating back some 5,000 years; gemstones are also worn in India as talismans.[212]


In India, several traditional indigenous sports remain fairly popular, such as kabaddi, kho kho, pehlwani and gilli-danda. Some of the earliest forms of Asian martial arts, such as kalarippayattu, musti yuddha, silambam, and marma adi, originated in India. Chess, commonly held to have originated in India as chaturaṅga, is regaining widespread popularity with the rise in the number of Indian grandmasters.[213][214] Pachisi, from which parcheesi derives, was played on a giant marble court by Akbar.[215]

See also[edit]

  • In India I found a race of mortals living upon the Earth, but not adhering to it. Inhabiting cities, but not being fixed to them, possessing everything but possessed by nothing.
    • Apollonius of Tyana, quoted in The Transition to a Global Society (1991) by Kishor Gandhi, p. 17, and in The Age of Elephants (2006) by Peter Moss, p. v
  • This also is remarkable in India, that all Indians are free, and no Indian at all is a slave. In this the Indians agree with the Lacedaemonians. Yet the Lacedaemonians have Helots for slaves, who perform the duties of slaves; but the Indians have no slaves at all, much less is any Indian a slave.
    • Arrian, Anabasis Alexandri, Book VII : Indica, as translated by Edgar Iliff Robson (1929), p. 335
  • India of the ages is not dead nor has She spoken her last creative word; She lives and has still something to do for herself and the human peoples. And that which must seek now to awake is not an Anglicized oriental people, docile pupil of the West and doomed to repeat the cycle of the Occident's success and failure, but still the ancient immemorial Shakti recovering Her deepest self, lifting Her head higher toward the supreme source of light and strength and turning to discover the complete meaning and a vaster form of her Dharma.
  • For what is a nation? What is our mother-country? It is not a piece of earth, nor a figure of speech, nor a fiction of the mind. It is a mighty Shakti, composed of the Shaktis of all the millions of units that make up the nation, just as Bhawani Mahisha Mardini sprang into being from the Shaktis of all the millions of gods assembled in one mass of force and welded into unity. The Shakti we call India, Bhawani Bharati, is the living unity of the Shaktis of three hundred million people …
    • Sri Aurobindo (Bhawāni Mandir) quoted in Issues of Identity in Indian English Fiction: A Close Reading of Canonical Indian English Novels by H. S. Komalesha
  • India is the guru of the nations, the physician of the human soul in its profounder maladies; she is destined once more to remould the life of the world and restore the peace of the human spirit. But Swaraj is the necessary condition of her work and before she can do the work , she must fulfil the condition.
  • The English have taught us that we were not one nation before and that it will require centuries before we become one nation. This is without foundation. We were one nation before they came to India. One thought inspired us. Our mode of life was the same. It was because we were one nation that they were able to establish one kingdom. Subsequently they divided us.
    • Mahatma Gandhi: Hind Swaraj, Chapter ix [2]
  • India is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the equator.
  • India is a nation of unfulfilled greatness. Its potential has lain fallow, under used.
    • Lee Kuan Yew in the second volume of his memoirs, published in 2000, quoted at [3]
  • India is an intrinsic part of this unfolding new world order. India can no longer be dismissed as a “wounded civilisation”, in the hurtful phrase of a westernised non resident Indian author (V.S. Naipaul).
    • Lee Kuan Yew - At the 37th Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Lecture on 21st Nov 2005 in New Delhi, quoted at [4]
  • The logic of the Greeks prevents them having the idea at all and it is to the Indian cultures that we must look to find thinkers who are comfortable with the idea that Nothing might be something.
    • John D. Barrow, The Book of Nothing (2009) chapter nought, "Nothingology—Flying to Nowhere"
  • The Indian religious traditions... accepted the concept of non-being on an equal footing with that of being. Like many other Eastern religions, the Indian culture regarded Nothing as a state from which one might have come and to which one might return.. Where Western religious traditions sought to flee from nothingness... a state of non-being was something to be actively sought by Buddhist and Hindus in order to achieve Nirvana: oneness with the Cosmos.
    • John D. Barrow, The Book of Nothing (2009) chapter one "Zero—The Whole Story"
  • The Indian system of counting is probably the most successful intellectual innovation ever devised by human beings. It has been universally adopted. ...It is the nearest thing we have to a universal language.
    • John D. Barrow, The Book of Nothing (2009) chapter one "Zero—The Whole Story"
  • The age in which true history appeared in India was one of great intellectual and spiritual ferment. Mystics and sophists of all kinds roamed through the Ganga Valley, all advocating some form of mental discipline and asceticism as a means to salvation; but the age of the Buddha, when many of the best minds were abandoning their homes and professions for a life of asceticism, was also a time of advance in commerce and politics. It produced not only philosophers and ascetics, but also merchant princes and men of action.
  • There are some parts of the world that, once visited, get into your heart and won’t go. For me, India is such a place. When I first visited, I was stunned by the richness of the land, by its lush beauty and exotic architecture, by its ability to overload the senses with the pure, concentrated intensity of its colors, smells, tastes, and sounds. It was as if all my life I had been seeing the world in black and white and, when brought face-to-face with India, experienced everything re-rendered in brilliant technicolor.
    • Keith Bellows, Vice-President, National Geographic Society, as quoted in Think India: The Rise of the World's Next Superpower and What It Means for Every American (2007) by Vinay Rai and William L. Simon, p. 187
    • Keith Bellows, as quoted in ''Study in India - A Guide by Knowledge Must
  • The India I Love, does not make the headlines, but I find it wherever I go – in field or forest, town or village, mountain or desert – and in the hearts and minds of people who have given me love and affection for the better part of my lifetime.
    • Ruskin Bond (June 07, 2012). "You cannot die of boredom in India" (Interview). Interviewed by Prajwala Hegde. Unknown parameter |city= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |program= ignored (help); Check date values in: |date= (help); External link in |title= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>.
  • India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe's languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all.
  • India will teach us the tolerance and gentleness of mature mind, understanding spirit and a unifying, pacifying love for all human beings.
    • Will Durant, attributed in Dancing With Siva : Hinduism's Contemporary Catechism (2003) by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, p. 691
  • Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest. If we want the Arms Act to be repealed, if we want to learn the use of arms, here is a golden opportunity. If the middle classes render voluntary help to Government in the hour of its trial, distrust will disappear, and the ban on possessing arms will be withdrawn.
  • Nesselmann observes that we can, as regards the form of exposition of algebraic operations and equations, distinguish three historical stages of development... 1. ...Rhetoric Algebra, or "reckoning by complete words." ...the absolute want of all symbols, the whole of the calculation being carried on by means of complete words, and forming... continuous prose. ...2. ...Syncopated Algebra... is essentially rhetorical and therein like the first in its treatment of questions, but we now find for often-recurring operations and quantities certain abbreviational symbols. ...3. ...Symbolic Algebra ...uses a complete system of notation by signs having no visible connection with the words or things which they represent, a complete language of symbols, which supplants entirely the rhetorical system, it being possible to work out a solution without using a single word of the ordinary written language, with the exception (for clearness' sake) of a conjunction here and there, and so on. Neither is it the Europeans posterior to the middle of the seventeenth century who were the first to use Symbolic forms of Algebra. In this they were anticipated many centuries by the Indians.
  • The British Government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom, but has debased it economically, politically, culturally, and spiritually. We believe that India must sever the British connection and attain purna swarajya, or complete independence...We hold it to be a crime against man and God to submit any longer to the rule that has caused this disaster to our country. We recognize, however, that the most effective way of gaining our freedom is not through violence.
  • Indian National Congress, “Independence Day Resolution,” January 20, 1930. Cited in The British Empire, ed. Jane Sampson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, 245-246
  • After these conversations with Tagore some of the ideas that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense. That was a great help for me.
    • Werner Heisenberg, on conversations with Rabindranath Tagore, as quoted in Uncommon Wisdom: Conversations With Remarkable People (1988) by Fritjof Capra, who states of Heisenberg, that after these "He began to see that the recognition of relativity, interconnectedness, and impermanence as fundamental aspects of physical reality, which had been so difficult for himself and his fellow physicists, was the very basis of the Indian spiritual traditions."
    • Variant: After the conversations about Indian philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense.
  • C'est de l'Inde que nous vient l'ingénieuse méthode d'exprimer tous les nombres avec dix caractères, en leur donnant à la fois, une valeur absolue et une valeur de position; idée fine et importante, qui nous paraît maîntenant si simple, que nous en sentons à peine, le mérite. Mais cette simplicité même, et l'extrême facilité qui en résulte pour tous les calculs, placent notre système d'arithmétique au premier rang des inventions utiles; et l'on appréciera la difficulté d'y parvenir, si l'on considère qu'il a échappé au génie d'Archimède et d'Apollonius, deux des plus grands hommes dont l'antiquité s'honore.
    • It is India that gave us the ingenious method of expressing all numbers using ten characters, giving these numbers simultaneously a value absolute and a value of position; a fine and important idea, which seems so simple now, that we hardly appreciate its merit. But this very simplicity, the extreme ease resulting in all calculations, place our system of arithmetic in the first rank of useful inventions; and we appreciate the difficulty of achieving this, considering that it escaped the genius of Archimedes and Apollonius, two of the greatest and most honored men of antiquity.
    • Pierre-Simon Laplace, Exposition du Système du Monde, Vol. 2 (1798) also quoted in Tobias Dantzig, Number: The Language of Science (1930).
  • India as a land of Desire iced an essential element in general history. From the most ancient times downwards, all nations have directed their wishes and longings to pining access to the treasures of this land of marvels, the most costly which the earth presents, treasures of nature ‑ pearls, diamonds, perfumes, rose essences, lions, elephants, etc. ‑ as also treasures of wisdom. The way by which these treasures have passed to the West has at all tins been a matter of world historical importance bound up with the fate of nations.
    • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, quoted in Panikkar, K. M. (1953). Asia and Western dominance, a survey of the Vasco da Gama epoch of Asian history, 1498-1945, by K.M. Panikkar. London: G. Allen and Unwin.
  • India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.
    • Hu Shih, quoted in Consolation of Mind (2004). by H. K. Suhas, p. 111.
  • You'd have to be brain dead to live in India and not be affected by Hinduism. It's not like Christianity in America, where you feel it only on Sunday mornings … if you go to church at all. Hinduism is an on-going daily procedure. You live it, you breathe it. … Hinduism has a playful aspect which I've not experienced in any other religion. Its not so righteous or sober as is Christianity, nor is it puritanical. That's one of the reasons I enjoy India. I wake up in the morning, and I'm very content.
  • If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered over the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions of some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant, I should point to India. And if I were to ask myself from what literature we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans, and of the Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw the corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human a life... again I should point to India.
    • Max Müller, India, What Can It Teach Us (1882) Lecture IV
  • Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment, we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.
  • Swami Vivekananda said that the four castes, by turn, governed human society. The brahmin dominated the thought-current of the world during the glorious days of the ancient Hindu civilization. Then came the rule of the kshattriya, the military as manifested through the supremacy of Europe from the time of the Roman Empire to the middle of the seventeenth century. Next followed the rule of the vaisya, marked by the rise of America. The Swami prophesied the coming supremacy of the sudra class. After the completion of the cycle, he said, the spiritual culture would again assert itself and influence human civilization through the power of the brahmin. Swami Vivekananda often spoke of the future greatness of India as surpassing all her glories of the past.
    • Swami Nikhilananda, Swami Vivekânanda : A Biography (1975); the "vaisya" represent those primarily living at the mercantile levels of human motivation, and the sudra represent the working class, or laborers.
  • There was a lot of protest after Bravo, from countries like India, for example. India was the first country which came forward and proposed at the United Nations that all of these nuclear tests should be stopped, that there should be a complete ban on nuclear testing.
  • If I had remained in India, I would probably have lived my whole life within a five-mile radius of where I was born. I would undoubtedly have married a woman of my identical religious and socioeconomic background. I would almost certainly have become a medical doctor, or an engineer, or a computer programmer. I would have socialized entirely within my ethnic community. I would have a whole set of opinions that could be predicted in advance; indeed, they would not be very different from what my father believed, or his father before him. In sum, my destiny would to a large degree have been given to me... The typical American could come to India, live for 40 years, and take Indian citizenship. But he could not 'become Indian'. He wouldn't see himself that way, nor would most Indians see him that way. In America, by contrast, hundreds of millions have come from far-flung shores and over time they, or at least their children, have in a profound and full sense 'become American'.
  • Indeed how many were the seers and sages, poets and prophets - right from the Vedic age upto the modern times - who had fostered in the nation's breast the integrated and whole picture of Bharat as the Divine Mother. Bharat, in their eyes, was not a mere clod of clay. It was verily the Matrubhoomi, the Punyabhoomi, the Dharmabhoomi, the Devabhoomi, the Karmabhoomi - all sublimated into one single majestic figure of Bharat Mata. To Bankimchandra, She appeared as the triple manifestation of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Durga. Rabindranath Tagore visualised Her as Devi bhuvana-mana-mohini - the divine enchantress of the world. To Swami Vivekananda, She was the Mother of all the thirty-three crores of gods and goddesses - whose worship would gratify all those myriad deities. Guruji Golwalkar visualised Her as Trinity of Mata - the loving mother, Pita - the protecting father, and Guru - the elevating spiritual guide. The unity of Bharat is so basic to its nature, so sublime in its depths - in fact, an inseparable aspect of its national soul.
    • H. V. Sheshadri: The Tragic Story of Partition, Bangalore Jagarana Prakashana 1982, p.9.
  • What India has been, the whole world is now. The whole world is becoming one country through scientific facility. And the moment is arriving when you also must find a basis of unity which is not political. If India can offer to the world her solution, it will be a contribution to humanity. There is only one history — the history of Man. All national histories are merely chapters in the larger one.
    • Rabindranath Tagore, "Nationalism in the West", 1917. Reprinted in Rabindranath Tagore and Mohit K. Ray, Essays (2007, p. 492).
  • This is indeed India! the land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendor and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genii and giants and Aladdin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of a hundred nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of tradition, whose yesterdays bear date with the mouldering antiquities of the rest of the nations — the one sole country under the sun that is endowed with an imperishable interest for alien prince and alien peasant, for lettered and ignorant, wise and fool, rich and poor, bond and free, the one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the globe combined. Even now, after the lapse of a year, the delirium of those days in Bombay has not left me, and I hope never will.
  • Famine is India's specialty. Elsewhere famines are inconsequential incidents — in India they are devastating cataclysms; in one case they annihilate hundreds; in the other, millions.
    India has 2,000,000 gods, and worships them all. In religion all other countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire.
    With her everything is on a giant scale — even her poverty; no other country can show anything to compare with it. And she has been used to wealth on so vast a scale that she has to shorten to single words the expressions describing great sums.
  • India had the start of the whole world in the beginning of things. She had the first civilization; she had the first accumulation of material wealth; she was populous with deep thinkers and subtle intellects; she had mines, and woods, and a fruitful soil. It would seem as if she should have kept the lead, and should be to-day not the meek dependent of an alien master, but mistress of the world, and delivering law and command to every tribe and nation in it. But, in truth, there was never any possibility of such supremacy for her. If there had been but one India and one language — but there were eighty of them! Where there are eighty nations and several hundred governments, fighting and quarreling must be the common business of life; unity of purpose and policy are impossible; out of such elements supremacy in the world cannot come. Even caste itself could have had the defeating effect of a multiplicity of tongues, no doubt; for it separates a people into layers, and layers, and still other layers, that have no community of feeling with each other; and in such a condition of things as that, patriotism can have no healthy growth.
    • Mark Twain, Following the Equator (1897), Ch. XLIII
  • So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or Nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his round. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked. Always, when you think you have come to the end of her tremendous specialties and have finished hanging tags upon her as the Land of the Thug, the Land of the Plague, the Land of Famine, the Land of Giant Illusions, the Land of Stupendous Mountains, and so forth, another specialty crops up and another tag is required. I have been overlooking the fact that India is by an unapproachable supremacy — the Land of Murderous Wild Creatures. Perhaps it will be simplest to throw away the tags and generalize her with one all-comprehensive name, as the Land of Wonders.
  • We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.
  • Ancient civilizations of Greece, Egypt and Rome have all disappeared from this world, but the elements of our civilization still continue. Although world-events have been inimical to us for centuries, there is something in our civilization which has withstood these onslaughts.
  • The Indian way of life provides the vision of the natural, real way of life. We veil ourselves with unnatural masks. On the face of India are the tender expressions which carry the mark of the Creator's hand.
  • Over the years of sovereign development your country has achieved impressive results in social-economic, industrial and scientific spheres. Today India as an authoritative member of world community plays an important role in UN, SCO, BRICS, other global and regional structures.
  • India represents the new world in a unique sense. Traditionally democracies were trying to bring equality to all walks of life, today there is a change. Democracy wants to enable every country to have the equal right to be different; it's a collection of differences, not an attempt to force or impose equality on every country. I think India is the greatest show of how so many differences in language, in sects can coexist facing great suffering and keeping full freedom... Many of the countries in the Middle East should learn from you how to escape poverty. You didn't escape poverty by getting American dollars or Russian Roubles but by introducing your own internal reforms and by understanding that the new call of modernity is science. In between the spiritual wealth of Gandhi and the earthly wisdom of Nehru, you combined a great performance of spirit and practice to escape poverty...I know you still have a long way to go but you do it without compromising freedom. The temptation when you're such a large country to introduce discipline and imposition is great but you tried to do it, to make progress not with force and discipline but in an open way. Many of us were educated on the literature of India when we fell in love we read Rabindranath Tagore and when we matured we tried to understand Gandhi.
  • “India is truly a mystery containing all that is the worthiest, most spiritual, and intellectual in humankind and the worst aspects of humankind one could ever hope to find including total lack of concern for others, extreme material poverty, and spiritual bankruptcy and fraud. India is the world in other words with everything in the world revealed both of the highest form and lowest denominator. I love India. I hate India. I cannot ever go to India without returned with strong feelings about it. My later writings would not be the same without my frequent stays in India and the influences that this country has had on my thoughts and feelings. If India did not exist, we would create it just as it is perfect in its imperfection.”
    • Dr Fred Alan Wolf (Author of Taking the Quantum Leap: The New Physics for Nonscientists). As quoted in "Indian Ethos and Values in Management", McGraw Hill India, 2011.
  • “India has many strengths which make it one of the greatest countries in the world. I believe India's greatest strength is the Indian people, in particular their spiritual devotion and purity. Many Indians see beyond illusion and understand the deeper meaning is best displayed by the custom of bowing of life. Perhaps this to the God within when greeting another person. Many Western people visit India to find spiritual inspiration, clarity and renewal. This focus on the deeper reality of humanity's oneness with nature and each other is needed to address growing environmental and social problems around the world. The Indian people model the peace, wisdom, love and respect needed to achieve the beautiful, prosperous, sustainable world that all humanity seeks.”
    • Frank Dixon, Former Director – Research, Innovest Venture Partners. As quoted in "Environmental Management", Oxford University Press, 2015.
  • “Bharat has been an inspiration to me through her great gift to the modern world, Mahatma Gandhi, and the incredible tradition of spirituality from which he came. India doubtless needs some things today from the West -- not the ones she has chosen to adopt, namely the materialism and superficiality, rather the West’s efficiency and organization. But the West needs even more badly India’s humanity and spirituality, which is unrivalled by any culture I know of, past or present.”
    • Michael Nagler, Professor Emeritus - Languages, University of California, Berkeley. As quoted in "Indian Ethos and Values in Management", McGraw Hill India, 2011.
  • “I learned that Bharat is the most ancient source of living wisdom (spirituality) and that it has always generated its revelations world wide.”
    • Keith Critchlow, an architect known for his works on sacred geometry and also a former professor of Islamic Art at the Royal College of Art in London. As quoted in "Indian Ethos and Values in Management", McGraw Hill India, 2011.


  1. See names of India in its official languages.
  2. The Government of India also regards Afghanistan as a bordering country, as it considers all of Kashmir to be part of India. However, this is disputed, and the region bordering Afghanistan is administered by Pakistan. Source: "Ministry of Home Affairs (Department of Border Management)" (PDF). Retrieved 1 September 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. The northernmost point under Indian control is the disputed Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir; however, the Government of India regards the entire region of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, including the Gilgit-Baltistan administered by Pakistan, to be its territory. It therefore assigns the longitude 37° 6' to its northernmost point.
  4. Besides specific religions, the last two categories in the 2011 Census were "Other religions and persuasions" (0.65%) and "Religion not stated" (0.23%).


  1. Serge Gruzinski 2015.
  2. Oxford English Dictionary.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Kuiper 2010, p. 86.
  4. Ministry of Law and Justice 2008.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Clémentin-Ojha, Catherine (2014). "'India, that is Bharat…': One Country, Two Names". South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal. 10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Barrow, Ian J. (2003). "From Hindustan to India: Naming change in changing names". South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies. 26 (1): 37–49. doi:10.1080/085640032000063977.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Scharfe, Hartmut E. (2006), "Bharat", in Stanley Wolpert (ed.), Encyclopedia of India, 1 (A-D), Thomson Gale, pp. 143–144, ISBN 0-684-31512-2<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Thapar, Romila (2002), The Penguin History of Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300, Allen Lane; Penguin Press, pp. 38–39, ISBN 0141937424<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Chakrabarti, Atulananda (1961), Nehru: His Democracy and India, Thacker's Press & Directories, p. 23<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Thapar, Romila (2002), The Penguin History of Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300, Allen Lane; Penguin Press, pp. 146–150, ISBN 0141937424<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Sharma, Ram Sharan (1991), Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., pp. 119–132, ISBN 978-81-208-0827-0<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 12.0 12.1 Encyclopædia Britannica.
  13. Petraglia, Allchin & 2007, p. 6.
  14. Singh 2009, pp. 89–93.
  15. Possehl 2003, pp. 24–25.
  16. Kulke & Rothermund 2004, pp. 21–23.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Singh 2009, p. 181.
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The Cultural Heritage of India (in nine volumes): Ramakrishna Ashram

Foundations of Indian Culture (in two volumes): G.C. Pandey

The Fundamental Unity of India: Radhakumud Mookerji

India in Kalidasa: Bhagavat Saran Upadhyaya

The Arthashastra of Kautilya: R.P. Kangle

The Complete Works: Swami Vivekananda

Essays in National Idealism: Ananda K Coomaraswamy

Trade and Trade Routes in Ancient India: Motichandra

The World of Courtesans: Motichandra

Suvarnadvipa, Ancient Indian Colonies in the Far East: R C Majumdar

Rama and Ayodhya: Meenakshi Jain

History of the Dharmashastras (in six volumes): Pandurang Vaman Kane

India: The Land of Kalpasutras: Ram Gopal

Manusmriti: Translated by Ganganath Jha (suggested by Hari Ravikumar)

Karpasa in Prehistoric India: A Chronological and Cultural Clue: K D Sethna

Legal and Constitutional History of India: Rama Jois

A Case for India: Will Durant

Nature of the Indian Society: Dharampal

India in the Eighteenth Century: Dharampal

Transition from an Indigenous to the Colonial System: Dharampal

A Beautiful Tree: Dharampal

Annam Bahukurvita: Dr. J.K. Bajaj and M.D. Srinivas

Hindu Polity: K P Jayaswal

Essentials of Hindutva: Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

The Indian War of Independence, 1857: Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History: Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

India’s Rebirth: Sri Aurobindo

Is India Civilized? by John George Woodroffe

Sri Aurobindo’s Foundations of Indian Culture.

Ancient Indian Education: Brahmanical and Buddhist: Radha Kumud Mookerji

Travels in India (in two volumes): Jean Baptiste Tavernier

The Untouchables: Who Were They? And Why They Became Untouchables: B.R. Ambedkar

Who were the Shudras? B.R. Ambedkar

Warfare in Ancient India: Organizational & Operational Dimensions: Uma Prasad Thapliyal

Military History of India: Uma Prasad Thapliyal

Festivals, Sports and Pastimes of Ancient India: V. Raghavan

External links[edit]