Republic of India
भारत गणराज्य
Bhārat Gaṇarājya
Horizontal tricolor flag bearing, from top to bottom, deep saffron, white, and green horizontal bands. In the centre 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: "सत्यमेव जयते".
Flag State Emblem
Motto: "Satyameva Jayate" (Sanskrit)
"Truth Alone Triumphs"
Anthem: Jana Gana Mana
"Thou art the rulers of the minds of all people"

National song
Vande Mataram
"I Bow to Thee, Mother"
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.
Capital New Delhi
Largest city Mumbai
Official languages Hindi
English
Recognised regional languages
National language None
Religion 79.8% Hinduism
14.2% Islam
2.3% Christianity
1.7% Sikhism
0.7% Buddhism
0.4% Jainism
0.9% others
Demonym Indian
Government Federal parliamentary
republic
 -  President Pranab Mukherjee
 -  Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari
 -  Prime Minister Narendra Modi
 -  Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar
 -  Speaker of the Lower House Sumitra Mahajan
Legislature Parliament of India
 -  Upper house Rajya Sabha
 -  Lower house Lok Sabha
Independence from the United Kingdom
 -  Dominion 15 August 1947 
 -  Republic 26 January 1950 
Area
 -  Total 3,287,263 km2 (7th)
1,269,346 sq mi
 -  Water (%) 9.6
Population
 -  2016 estimate 1,293,057,000 (2nd)
 -  2011 census 1,210,854,977 (2nd)
 -  Density [convert: invalid number]/km2 (31st)
[convert: invalid number]/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2016 estimate
 -  Total $8.727 trillion (3rd)
 -  Per capita $6,664 (122nd)
GDP (nominal) 2016 estimate
 -  Total $2.384 trillion (7th)
 -  Per capita $1,820 (141st)
Gini (2009) 33.9
medium · 79th
HDI (2014) Increase 0.609
medium · 130th
Currency Indian rupee (₹) (INR)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
DST is not observed
Date format dd-mm-yyyy
Drives on the left
Calling code +91
Internet TLD .in

The Republic of India (Hindi: भारत गणराज्य) is a country in Asia. It is at the center of South Asia. India has more than 1.2 billion (1,210,000,000) people, which is the second largest population in the world. It is the seventh largest country in the world by area and the largest country in South Asia. It is also the most populous democracy in the world.

India has seven neighbours: Pakistan in the north-west, China and Nepal in the north, Bhutan and Bangladesh in the north-east, Myanmar in the east and Sri Lanka, an island, in the south.

The capital of India is New Delhi. India is a peninsula, bound by the Indian Ocean in the south, the Arabian Sea on the west and Bay of Bengal in the east. The coastline of India is of about 7,517 km (4,671 mi) long. India has the third largest military force in the world and nuclear weapons.

India gets its name from the Greek word, Indus. It means "the people who live near the Indus River."

India's economy became the world's fastest growing major economy in the last quarter of 2014, replacing the People's Republic of China. India GDP grew 7.6% in 2015-16 and as a result, it continues to remain the world's fastest growing major economy. India's literacy and wealth are also rising. According to New World Wealth, India is the seventh richest country in the world with a total individual wealth of $5.6 trillion. However, it continues to face many social and economic issues like poverty and corruption.

India is a founding member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and has signed the Kyoto Protocol.

India has the fourth largest number of spoken languages per country in the world, only behind Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Nigeria. People of many different religions live there, including the five most popular world religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. The latter three religions came from the Indian subcontinent.

National Symbols of India

The National emblem of India shows four lions standing back-to-back. The lions symbolise power, pride, confidence, and courage (bravery). Only the government can use this emblem, according to the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act, 2005.

Emblem of India

History

Taj Mahal in March 2004
The Taj Mahal in Agra was built by Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is thought to be of "outstanding universal value".

Two of the main Classical languages of the world— Sanskrit and Tamil, were born in India. Both of these languages are more than 3000 years old. The country founded a religion called Hinduism, which most Indians still follow. Later, a king called Chandragupt Maurya built an empire called the Maurya Empire in 300 BC. It made most of South Asia into one whole country. From 180 BC, many other countries invaded India. Even later (100 BC  — AD 1100), other Indian dynasties (empires) came, including the Chalukyas, Cholas, Pallavas, and Pandyas. South India at that time was famous for its very good science, art, and writing.

Many dynasties ruled India around the year 1000. Some of these were the Mughal, Vijayanagara, and the Maratha empires. In the 1600s, European countries invaded India, and the British controlled most of India by 1856.

In the early 1900s, millions of people peacefully started to protest against British control. One of the people who were leading the freedom movement was Mahatma Gandhi, who only used peaceful tactics, including a way called "ahimsa", which means "non-violence". On 15 August 1947, India peacefully became free and independent from the British Empire. India's constitution was founded on 26 January 1950. Every year, on this day, Indians celebrate Republic Day. The first official leader (Prime Minister) of India was Jawaharlal Nehru.

After 1947, India has had a socialist planned economy. It is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations. It has fought many wars since independence from Britain, including in 1947-48, 1965, 1971, and 1999 with Pakistan and in 1962 with China. It also fought a war to capture Goa, a Portuguese-built port and city which was not a part of India until 1961. The Portuguese refused to give it to the country, and so India had to use force and the Portuguese were defeated. India has also done nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998, and it is one of the few countries that has nuclear bombs. Since 1991, India has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

Government

New Delhi government block 03-2016 img3
Parliament of India.

India is the largest democracy in the world.

India's government is divided into three parts: the Legislative (the one that makes the laws, the Parliament), the Executive (the government), and the Judiciary (the one that makes sure that the laws are obeyed, the supreme court).

The legislative branch is made up of the Parliament of India, which is in New Delhi, the capital of India. The Parliament of India is divided into two groups: the upper house, Rajya Sabha (Council of States); and the lower house, Lok Sabha (House of People). The Rajya Sabha has 250 members, and the Lok Sabha has 552 members.

The executive branch is made up of the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, and the Council of Ministers. The President of India is elected for five years. The President can choose the Prime Minister, who has most of the power. The Council of Ministers, such as the Minister of Defence, help the Prime Minister. Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India on May 16, 2014. He is the 19th Prime Minister of India.

The judicial branch is made up of the courts of India, including the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice of India is the head of the Supreme Court. Supreme Court members have the power to stop a law being passed by Parliament if they think that the law is illegal and contradicts (opposes) the Constitution of India. In India, there are also 24 High Courts.

Geography and climate

Indiarivers
Rivers of India

India is the seventh largest country in the world. It is the main part of the Indian subcontinent. The countries next to India are Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Bhutan, and Nepal. It is also near Sri Lanka, an island country.

India is a peninsula, which means that it is surrounded on three sides by water. One of the seven wonders of the world is located in Agra the Taj Mahal. In the west is the Arabian Sea, in the south is the Indian Ocean, and in the east is the Bay of Bengal. The northern part of India has many mountains. The most famous mountain range in India is the Himalayas, which have some of the tallest mountains in the world. There are many rivers in India. The main rivers are the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, the Yamuna, the Godavari, the Kaveri, the Narmada, and the Krishna.

India has different climates. In the South, the climate is mainly tropical, which means it can get very hot in summer and cool in winter. The northern part, though, has a cooler climate, called sub-tropical, and even alpine in mountainous regions. The Himalayas, in the alpine climate region, can get extremely cold. There is very heavy rainfall along the west coast and in the Eastern Himalayan foothills. The west, though, is drier. Because of some of the deserts of India, all of India gets rain for four months of the year. That time is called the monsoon. That is because the deserts attract water-filled winds from the Indian Ocean, which give rain when they come into India. When the monsoon rains come late or not so heavily, droughts (when the land dries out because there is less rain) are possible.

Defence

The Indian Armed Forces is the military of India. It is made up of an ArmyNavy and Air Force. There are other parts like Paramilitary and Strategic Nuclear Command.

The President of India is its Commander-in-Chief. However, it is managed by the Ministry of Defence. In 2010, the Indian Armed Forces had 1.32 million active personnel. This makes it one of the largest militaries in the world.

Currently, the Indian Army is becoming more modern by buying and making new weapons. It is also building defences against missiles of other countries. In 2011, India imported more weapons than any other nation in the world.

From its independence in 1947, India fought four wars with Pakistan and one war with China.

Indian states

For administration purposes, India has been divided into smaller pieces. Most of these pieces are called states, some are called union territories. States and union territories are different in the way they are represented. Most union territories are ruled by administrators sent by the central government. All the states, and the territories of Dehli, and Puducherry elect their local government themselves. In total, there are twenty-nine states, and seven union territories.

These are the states and territories of India, including 28 states and 7 union territories.

States:

States Capitals Code
Andhra Pradesh Amaravati AP
Arunachal Pradesh Itanagar AR
Assam Dispur AS
Bihar Patna BR
Chhattisgarh Raipur CT
Goa Panaji GA
Gujarat Gandhi nagar GJ
Haryana Chandigarh HR
Himachal Pradesh Shimla HP
Jammu and Kashmir Srinagar (summer)
Jammu (winter)
JK
Jharkhand Ranchi JH
Karnataka Bangalore KA
Kerala Tiruvanananthapuram KL
Madhya Pradesh Bhopal MP
Maharashtra Mumbai MH
Manipur Imphal MN
Meghalaya Shillong ML
Mizoram Aizawl MZ
Nagaland Kohima NL
Orissa Bhubaneshwar OR
Punjab Chandigarh PB
Rajasthan Jaipur RJ
Sikkim Gangtok SK
Tamil Nadu Chennai TN
Telangana Hyderabad TG
Tripura Agartala TR
Uttar Pradesh Lucknow UP
Uttarakhand Dehra Dun UT
West Bengal Kolkatta WB

Union territories:

Union territory Capital
Andaman and Nicobar Islands Port Blair
Chandigarh Chandigarh
Dadra and Nagar Haveli Silvassa
Daman and Diu Daman
Delhi Delhi
Lakshadweep Kavaratti
Puducherry Puducherry

    Trouble with the borders

    There are disputes about certain parts of the Indian borders. Countries do not agree on where the borders are. Pakistan and China do not recognise the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian government claims it as an Indian state. Similarly, the Republic of India does not recognise the Pakistani and Chinese parts of Kashmir.

    In 1914, British India and Tibet agreed on the McMahon Line, as part of the Simla Accord. In July 1914, China withdrew from the agreement. Indians and Tibetans see this line as the official border. China does not agree, and both mainland China and Taiwan do not recognize that Arunachal Pradesh belongs to India. According to them, it is a part of South Tibet, which belongs to China.

    Economy

    The economy of the country is among world's fastest growing. The economy of India is the 3rd largest in the world with a GDP of $4798 billion. In terms of PPP, the economy is 3rd largest (worth $4.798 trillion U.S.). The growth rate is 8.25% for fiscal 2010. However, that is still $3678 (considering PPP) per person per year. India's economy is based mainly on service sector=43%, Industries=41%, I.T=7%, farming=7%, Outsourcing=2%.

    India's economy is diverse. Major industries include automobiles, cement, chemicals, consumer electronics, food processing, machinery, mining, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, steel, transportation equipment, and textiles.

    However, despite economic growth, India suffers from poverty. 27.5% of the population was living in poverty in 2004–2005. In addition, 80.4% of the population live on less than USD $2 a day, which was lowered to 68% by 2009.

    People

    India population density map en
    This is a map of the population density of India.

    There are 1.12 billion people living in India. India is the second largest country by the number of people living in it, with China being the first. Experts think that by the year 2030, India will be the first. About 70% of Indians live in rural areas, or land set aside for farming. The largest cities in India are Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Ahmedabad. India has 23 official languages. Altogether, 1,625 languages are spoken in India.

    Languages

    There are many different languages and cultures in India. The only geographical place with more different languages and cultures is the African continent. There are two main language families in India, the Indo-Aryan and the Dravidian languages. About 69% of Indians speak an Indo-Arayan language, about 26% speak a Dravidian language. Other languages spoken in India come from the Austro-Asiatic group. Around 5% of the people speak a Tibeto-Burman language.

    Hindi is the official language in India with the largest number of speakers. It is the official language of the union. Native speakers of Hindi represent about 41% of the Indian population (2001 Indian census). English is also used, mostly for business and in the administration. It has the status of a 'subsidiary official language'. The constitution also recognises 21 other languages. Either many people speak those languages, or they have been recognised to be very important for Indian culture. The number of dialects in India is as high as 1,652.

    In the south of India, many people speak Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam. In the north, many people speak Chhattisgarhi, Punjabi, Bengali, Gujarati, and Marathi, Oriya, and Bihari.

    India has 23 official languages. Its constitution lists the name of the country in each of the languages. Hindi and English (listed in boldface) are the "official languages of the union" (Union meaning the Federal Government in Delhi); Tamil and Sanskrit kannada are officially the "classical languages of India."

    Language Long form English Pronunciation Short form
    Assamese ভাৰত গণৰাজ্য Bhārôt Gôṇôrājÿô ভাৰত Bharot
    Bengali ভারত গণরাজ্য Bʰārôt Gôṇôrājÿô ভারত Bharot
    Bodo
    Dogri
    English Republic of India India
    Gujarati ભારતીય પ્રજાસત્તાક Bhartiya Prajasattak ભારત
    Rajasthani भारत गणराज्य Bhārata Gaṇarājya भारत Bhārat
    Hindi भारत गणराज्य Bhārata Gaṇarājya भारत Bhārat
    Kannada ಭಾರತ ಗಣರಾಜ್ಯ Bhārata Gaṇarājya ಭಾರತ Bhārata
    Kashmiri ہِندوستان Hindustān
    Konkani भारोत गोणराज भारोत
    Maithili
    Malayalam ഭാരതം Bhāratam ഭാരതം Bhāratam
    Manipuri (also Meitei or Meithei) ভারত গণরাজ্য ভারত
    Marathi भारतीय प्रजासत्ताक Bhartiya Prajasattak भारत Bhārat
    Nepali भारत गणराज्य Bʰārat Gaṇarādzya भारत Bʰārat
    Oriya ଭାରତ Bharata Bharata
    Punjabi ਭਾਰਤ ਗਣਤੰਤਰ Bhārat Gantantar ਭਾਰਤ Bhārat
    Sanskrit भारत गणराज्यम् Bhārata Gaṇarājyam भारत Bhārata
    Santhali
    Sindhi ڀارت، هندستانڀارت، ڀارت،
    Tamil இந்தியக் குடியரசு Indiyak-Kudiyarasu இந்தியா India/Bharadham
    Telugu భారత గణరాజ్యము Bʰārata Gaṇa Rājyamu భారత్ Bhārath
    Urdu جمہوریہ بھارت Jumhūrīyat-e Bhārat بھارت Bhārat

    Culture

    Religion in India
    Religion Percent
    Hinduism
      
    79.80%
    Islam
      
    14.23%
    Christianity
      
    2.30%
    Sikhism
      
    1.72%
    Buddhism
      
    0.70%
    Jainism
      
    0.37%
    Others
      
    0.9%

    Cave paintings from the Stone Age are found across India. They show dances and rituals and suggest there was a prehistoric religion. During the Epic and Puranic periods, the earliest versions of the epic poems Ramayana and Mahabharata were written from about 500–100 BCE, although these were orally transmitted for centuries before this period. Other South Asian Stone Age sites apart from Pakistan are in modern India, such as the Bhimbetka rock shelters in central Madhya Pradesh and the Kupgal petroglyphs of eastern Karnataka, contain rock art showing religious rites and evidence of possible ritualised music.

    Golden Temple India
    The Harmandir Sahib or The Golden Temple of the Sikhs.

    Several modern religions are linked to India, namely modern Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. All of these religions have different schools (ways of thinking) and traditions that are related. As a group they are called the Eastern religions. The Indian religions are similar to one another in many ways: The basic beliefs, the way worship is done and several religious practices are very similar. These similarities mainly come from the fact that these religions have a common history and common origins. They also influenced each other.

    The religion of Hinduism is the main faith followed by 79.80% of people in the Republic of India; Islam – 14.23%; Christianity – 2.30%; Sikhism – 1.72%; Buddhism – 0.70% and Jainism – 0.37%.

    It's the first time ever since independence that Hindu population percentage fell below 80%.

    Technology

    India sent a spacecraft to Mars for the first time in 2014. That made it the fourth country and only Asian country to do so. India is the only country to be successful in its very first attempt to orbit Mars. It was called the Mars Orbiter Mission.

    Pop culture

    India has the largest movie industry in the world. Based in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), the industry is also known as Bollywood (an obvious play on Hollywood). It makes 1,000 movies a year, about twice as many as Hollywood.

    Sports

    IPL T20 Chennai vs Kolkata
    A 2008 Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket match being played between the Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders

    India's official national sport is field hockey which is controlled by the Indian Hockey Federation. They have also won eight gold, one silver and two bronze medals at the Olympic games. However, cricket is the most popular sport in India. The Indian cricket team won the 1983 and 2011 Cricket World Cup and the 2007 ICC World Twenty20. They shared the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy with Sri Lanka and won the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.Cricket in India is controlled by the Board of Control for Cricket in India or BCCI. Domestic tournaments are the Ranji Trophy, the Duleep Trophy, the Deodhar Trophy, the Irani Trophy and the Challenger Series. There is also the Indian cricket league and Indian premier league Twenty20 competitions.

    Tennis has become popular due to the victories of the India Davis Cup team. Association football is also a popular sport in northeast India, West Bengal, Goa and Kerala. The Indian national football team has won the South Asian Football Federation Cup many times. Chess, which comes from India, is also becoming popular. This is with the increase in the number of Indian Grandmasters. Traditional sports include kabaddi, kho kho, and gilli-danda, which are played throughout India.

    Images


    India for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.