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This article is about the Republic of India.

For other uses, see India (disambig

Republic of India
Bharat Ga?arajya
Horizontal tricolor flag bearing, from top to bottom, deep saffron, white, and g
reen horizontal bands. In the center of the white band is a navy-blue wheel with
24 spokes.
Three lions facing left, right, and toward viewer, atop a frieze
containing a galloping horse, a 24-spoke wheel, and an elephant. Underneath is
a motto: "??????? ????".
Motto: "Satyameva Jayate" (Sanskrit)
"Truth Alone Triumphs"[1]
Anthem: Jana Gana Mana
"Thou art the rulers of the minds of all people"[2][3]
National song
Vande Mataram
"I Bow to Thee, Mother"[a][1][3]
Image of a globe centred on India, with India highlighted.
Area controlled by India shown in dark green;
claimed but uncontrolled regions shown in light green.
New Delhi
2836.8'N 7712.5'E
Largest city
1858'30?N 7249'33?E
Official languages
English[4][5][nb 1]
Recognised regional languages
8th Schedule
National language
79.8% Hinduism
14.2% Islam
2.3% Christianity
1.72% Sikhism
0.24% others[11][12]
Federal parliamentary
Pranab Mukherjee
Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Chief Justice T. S. Thakur[13]
Speaker of the House
Sumitra Mahajan
Parliament of India
Upper house
Rajya Sabha
Lower house
Lok Sabha
Independence from the United Kingdom
15 August 1947
26 January 1950
Total 3,287,263[14] km2[b] (7th)
1,269,346 sq mi
Water (%)
2015 estimate 1,276,267,000[15] (2nd)
2011 census
1,210,193,422[16] (2nd)
386.8/km2 (31st)

1,001.9/sq mi
2015 estimate
Total $8.027 trillion[17] (3rd)
Per capita
$6,209[17] (124th)
GDP (nominal) 2015 estimate
Total $2.182 trillion[17] (7th)
Per capita
$1,688[17] (141st)
Gini (2009)
medium 79th
HDI (2014)
Increase 0.609[19]
medium 130th
Indian rupee (?) (INR)
Time zone
IST (UTC+05:30)
DST is not observed
Date format
Drives on the left
Calling code
ISO 3166 code IN
Internet TLD
other TLDs
India, officially the Republic of India (IAST: Bharat Ga?arajya),[20][21][c] is
a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-m
ost populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democra
cy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on th
e south-west, and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east, it shares land borders wi
th Pakistan to the west;[d] China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Myan
mar (Burma) and Bangladesh to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vic
inity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; in addition, India's Andaman and Nicobar Is
lands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.
Home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation and a region of historic trade rou
tes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial
and cultural wealth for much of its long history.[22] Four religions Hinduism, Bu
ddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism originated here, whereas Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Chr
istianity, and Islam arrived in the 1st millennium CE and also shaped the region
's diverse culture. Gradually annexed by and brought under the administration of
the British East India Company from the early 18th century and administered dir
ectly by the United Kingdom after the Indian Rebellion of 1857, India became an
independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by
non-violent resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi.
Economists estimate India to have been the most populous and wealthiest region o
f the world throughout the first millennium CE. This advantage was lost in the 1
8th century as other regions edged forward.[23] Currently, the Indian economy is
the world's seventh-largest by nominal GDP and third-largest by purchasing powe
r parity (PPP).[17] Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India becam
e one of the fastest-growing major economies; it is considered a newly industria
lised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corrupti
on, malnutrition, inadequate public healthcare, and terrorism. A nuclear weapons
state and a regional power, it has the third-largest standing army in the world
and ranks sixth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal repub
lic governed under a parliamentary system consisting of 29 states and 7 union te
rritories. India is a pluralistic, multilingual, and a multi-ethnic society. It
is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.
1 Etymology

2 History
2.1 Ancient India
2.2 Medieval India
2.3 Early modern India
2.4 Modern India
3 Geography
4 Biodiversity
5 Politics
5.1 Government
5.2 Subdivisions
6 Foreign relations and military
7 Economy
7.1 Sectors
7.2 Poverty
8 Demographics
9 Culture
9.1 Art and architecture
9.2 Literature
9.3 Performing arts
9.4 Motion pictures, television
9.5 Society
9.6 Clothing
9.7 Sports
10 See also
11 Notes
12 References
13 Bibliography
14 External links
Main article: Names of India
The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word
Sindhi.[24] The latter term stems from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, which was the
historical local appellation for the Indus River.[25] The ancient Greeks referre
d to the Indians as Indoi (??d??), which translates as "The people of the Indus"
The geographical term Bharat (Bharat, pronounced ['b?a?r?t?] ( listen)), which i
s recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country,[2
7] is used by many Indian languages in its variations. It is a modernisation of
the historical name Bharatavarsha, which gained increasing currency from the mid
-19th century onwards as a native name of India.[20] Scholars believe it to be n
amed after the Vedic tribe of Bharatas in Punjab in the second millennium B.C.E.
[28] It is also traditionally associated with the rule of the legendary emperor
Bharata.[29] Ga?arajya (literally, people's State) is the Sanskrit/Hindi term fo
r "republic" dating back to the ancient times.[30][31][32]
Hindustan ([??nd??'st?a?n] ( listen)) is an ancient Persian name for India datin
g to 3 century B.C.E. It was introduced into India by the Mughals and widely use
d since then, often being thought of as the "Land of the Hindus." Its meaning va
ried, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or Indi
a in its entirety.[20][33][34]
Main articles: History of India and History of the Republic of India
Ancient India
The earliest authenticated human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 year
s ago.[35] Nearly contemporaneous Mesolithic rock art sites have been found in m
any parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters i

n Madhya Pradesh.[36] Around 7000 BCE, the first known Neolithic settlements app
eared on the subcontinent in Mehrgarh and other sites in western Pakistan.[37] T
hese gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation,[38] the first urban
culture in South Asia;[39] it flourished during 2500 1900 BCE in Pakistan and wes
tern India.[40] Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Dholavira,
and Kalibangan, and relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilisation eng
aged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade.[39]
Map of the Indian subcontinent during the Vedic period
During the period 2000 500 BCE, in terms of culture, many regions of the subcontin
ent transitioned from the Chalcolithic to the Iron Age.[41] The Vedas, the oldes
t scriptures of Hinduism,[42] were composed during this period,[43] and historia
ns have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upp
er Gangetic Plain.[41] Most historians also consider this period to have encompa
ssed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent.[44][42] The ca
ste system arose during this period, creating a hierarchy of priests, warriors,
free peasants and traders, and lastly the indigenous peoples who were regarded a
s impure; and small tribal units gradually coalesced into monarchical, state-lev
el polities.[45][46] On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this pe
riod suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation.[41] I
n southern India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large numb
er of megalithic monuments dating from this period,[47] as well as by nearby tra
ces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, and craft traditions.[47]
Damaged brown painting of a reclining man and woman.
Paintings at the Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, 6th century
In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chief
doms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16
major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas.[48][49] T
he emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of whic
h became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of
its exemplar, Mahavira.[50] Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha a
ttracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle class; chronicli
ng the life of the Buddha was central to the beginnings of recorded history in I
ndia.[51][52][53] In an age of increasing urban wealth, both religions held up r
enunciation as an ideal,[54] and both established long-lasting monastic traditio
ns. Politically, by the 3rd century BCE, the kingdom of Magadha had annexed or r
educed other states to emerge as the Mauryan Empire.[55] The empire was once tho
ught to have controlled most of the subcontinent excepting the far south, but it
s core regions are now thought to have been separated by large autonomous areas.
[56][57] The Mauryan kings are known as much for their empire-building and deter
mined management of public life as for Ashoka's renunciation of militarism and f
ar-flung advocacy of the Buddhist dhamma.[58][59]
The Sangam literature of the Tamil language reveals that, between 200 BCE and 20
0 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 a
nd South-East Asia.[60][61] In North India, Hinduism asserted patriarchal contro
l within the family, leading to increased subordination of women.[62][55] 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 I
ndian kingdoms.[63][64] Under the Guptas, a renewed Hinduism based on devotion r
ather than the management of ritual began to assert itself.[65] The renewal was
reflected in a flowering of sculpture and architecture, which found patrons amon
g an urban elite.[64] Classical Sanskrit literature flowered as well, and Indian
science, astronomy, medicine, and mathematics made significant advances.[64]
Medieval India
The granite tower of Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur was completed in 1010 CE
by Raja Raja Chola I.

The Indian early medieval age, 600 CE to 1200 CE, is defined by regional kingdom
s and cultural diversity.[66] When Harsha of Kannauj, who ruled much of the Indo
-Gangetic Plain from 606 to 647 CE, attempted to expand southwards, he was defea
ted by the Chalukya ruler of the Deccan.[67] When his successor attempted to exp
and eastwards, he was defeated by the Pala king of Bengal.[67] When the Chalukya
s attempted to expand southwards, they were defeated by the Pallavas from farthe
r south, who in turn were opposed by the Pandyas and the Cholas from still farth
er south.[67] No ruler of this period was able to create an empire and consisten
tly control lands much beyond his core region.[66] During this time, pastoral pe
oples whose land had been cleared to make way for the growing agricultural econo
my were accommodated within caste society, as were new non-traditional ruling cl
asses.[68] The caste system consequently began to show regional differences.[68]
In the 6th and 7th centuries, the first devotional hymns were created in the Tam
il language.[69] They were imitated all over India and led to both the resurgenc
e of Hinduism and the development of all modern languages of the subcontinent.[6
9] 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.[70]
Temple towns of various sizes began to appear everywhere as India underwent ano
ther urbanisation.[70] By the 8th and 9th centuries, the effects were felt in So
uth-East Asia, as South Indian culture and political systems were exported to la
nds that became part of modern-day Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, P
hilippines, Malaysia, and Java.[71] Indian merchants, scholars, and sometimes ar
mies were involved in this transmission; South-East Asians took the initiative a
s well, with many sojourning in Indian seminaries and translating Buddhist and H
indu texts into their languages.[71]
After the 10th century, Muslim Central Asian nomadic clans, using swift-horse ca
valry and raising vast armies united by ethnicity and religion, repeatedly overr
an South Asia's north-western plains, leading eventually to the establishment of
the Islamic Delhi Sultanate in 1206.[72] The sultanate was to control much of N
orth India, and to make many forays into South India. Although at first disrupti
ve for the Indian elites, the sultanate largely left its vast non-Muslim subject
population to its own laws and customs.[73][74] By repeatedly repulsing Mongol
raiders in the 13th century, the sultanate saved India from the devastation visi
ted on West and Central Asia, setting the scene for centuries of migration of fl
eeing soldiers, learned men, mystics, traders, artists, and artisans from that r
egion into the subcontinent, thereby creating a syncretic Indo-Islamic culture i
n the north.[75][76] The sultanate's raiding and weakening of the regional kingd
oms of South India paved the way for the indigenous Vijayanagara Empire.[77] Emb
racing a strong Shaivite tradition and building upon the military technology of
the sultanate, the empire came to control much of peninsular India,[78] and was
to influence South Indian society for long afterwards.[77]
Early modern India
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
,[79] fell again to the superior mobility and firepower of a new generation of C
entral Asian warriors.[80] The resulting Mughal Empire did not stamp out the loc
al societies it came to rule, but rather balanced and pacified them through new
administrative practices[81][82] and diverse and inclusive ruling elites,[83] le
ading to more systematic, centralised, and uniform rule.[84] Eschewing tribal bo
nds and Islamic identity, especially under Akbar, the Mughals united their far-f
lung realms through loyalty, expressed through a Persianised culture, to an empe
ror who had near-divine status.[83] The Mughal state's economic policies, derivi
ng most revenues from agriculture[85] and mandating that taxes be paid in the we
ll-regulated silver currency,[86] caused peasants and artisans to enter larger m
arkets.[84] The relative peace maintained by the empire during much of the 17th
century was a factor in India's economic expansion,[84] resulting in greater pat
ronage of painting, literary forms, textiles, and architecture.[87] Newly cohere

nt social groups in northern and western India, such as the Marathas, the Rajput
s, and the Sikhs, gained military and governing ambitions during Mughal rule, wh
ich, through collaboration or adversity, gave them both recognition and military
experience.[88] Expanding commerce during Mughal rule gave rise to new Indian c
ommercial and political elites along the coasts of southern and eastern India.[8
8] As the empire disintegrated, many among these elites were able to seek and co
ntrol their own affairs.[89] The "single most important power" that emerged in t
he early modern period was the Maratha confederacy.[90]
By the early 18th century, with the lines between commercial and political domin
ance being increasingly blurred, a number of European trading companies, includi
ng the English East India Company, had established coastal outposts.[91][92] 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 re
gion by 1765 and sideline the other European companies.[93][91][94][95] Its furt
her access to the riches of Bengal and the subsequent increased strength and siz
e of its army enabled it to annex or subdue most of India by the 1820s.[96] Indi
a was then no longer exporting manufactured goods as it long had, but was instea
d supplying the British Empire with raw materials, and many historians consider
this to be the onset of India's colonial period.[91] By this time, with its econ
omic power severely curtailed by the British parliament and itself effectively m
ade an arm of British administration, the Company began to more consciously ente
r non-economic arenas such as education, social reform, and culture.[97]
Modern India
The British Indian Empire, from the 1909 edition of The Imperial Gazetteer of In
dia. 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 1
885. The appointment in 1848 of Lord Dalhousie as Governor General of the East I
ndia Company set the stage for changes essential to a modern state. These includ
ed the consolidation and demarcation of sovereignty, the surveillance of the pop
ulation, and the education of citizens. Technological changes among them, railways
, canals, and the telegraph were introduced not long after their introduction in E
urope.[98][99][100][101] 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 ta
xes, and summary treatment of some rich landowners and princes, the rebellion ro
cked many regions of northern and central India and shook the foundations of Com
pany rule.[102][103] Although the rebellion was suppressed by 1858, it led to th
e dissolution of the East India Company and to the direct administration of Indi
a by the British government. Proclaiming a unitary state and a gradual but limit
ed British-style parliamentary system, the new rulers also protected princes and
landed gentry as a feudal safeguard against future unrest.[104][105] In the dec
ades following, public life gradually emerged all over India, leading eventually
to the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885.[106][107][108][109]
Jawaharlal Nehru sharing a joke with Mahatma Gandhi, Mumbai, July 6, 1946
Jawaharlal Nehru (left) became India's first prime minister in 1947. Mahatma Gan
dhi (right) led the independence movement.
The rush of technology and the commercialisation of agriculture in the second ha
lf of the 19th century was marked by economic setbacks many small farmers became d
ependent on the whims of far-away markets.[110] There was an increase in the num
ber of large-scale famines,[111] and, despite the risks of infrastructure develo
pment borne by Indian taxpayers, little industrial employment was generated for
Indians.[112] There were also salutary effects: commercial cropping, especially
in the newly canalled Punjab, led to increased food production for internal cons
umption.[113] The railway network provided critical famine relief,[114] notably

reduced the cost of moving goods,[114] and helped nascent Indian-owned industry.
[113] After World War I, in which approximately one million Indians served,[115]
a new period began. It was marked by British reforms but also repressive legisl
ations, by more strident Indian calls for self-rule, and by the beginnings of a
nonviolent movement of non-cooperation, of which Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi woul
d become the leader and enduring symbol.[1ologically most stable part of India.
It extends as far north as the Satpura and Vindhya ranges in central India. Thes
e parallel chains run from the Arabian Sea coast in