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REFERENCE

About Indian Beauty

About India and its History

Indian Culinary History

India's Vegetarian Culinary Culture

The Jain Influence on India's Cuisine

The Muslim Influence on India's Cuisine

Indian Cuisine

What is Curry?

The Role of Indian Spices

North Indian Cuisine

South Indian Cuisine

Indian Cooking Techniques

Indian Restaurant Guide
North Indian Restaurant
South Indian Restaurant

Indian Entertaining

Food Pyramid

Glossary

Ayurveda

Healthy Eating


INDIA

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Indian civilization is more than 5000 years old and is the largest democracy in the world. It is the second most populated (nearly 1 billion) the seventh largest country of the world. It is about 1/3 the size of United States. It is triangular shaped and lies in Southern Asia.


It has the Himalayan mountains to its North, the Arabian Sea to its west, Bay of Bengal to its east and Indian Ocean to its south. Pakistan is on its west border, Bangladesh and Mayanmar (Burma) to its east and Tibet and China to its north. Sri Lanka is the teardrop-shaped island hanging off its southern tip. Its capital city is New Delhi and its people are 72% Indo-Aryan, 25% Dravidian, 3% Mongoloid. Its main languages are Hindi and English, plus 15 main languages and over 700 dialects. It consists of 82% Hindus, 11% Muslims, 2% Christians, 2% Sikh, 0.7% Buddhist and 0.7% Jains.

India is a country with probably the largest and most diverse mixture of races. All the five major racial types - Australoid, Mongoloid, Europoid, Caucasian and Negroid - find representation among the people of India, who are mainly a mixed race. The people of India belong to diverse ethnic groups. At various periods of India's long history, successive waves of settlers and invaders including the Aryans, Parthians, Greeks and Central Asians, Jews and Zorastrians came into the country and merged with the local population. This explains the variety of racial types, cultures and languages in India.


History of India

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I
ndia's first major civilization flourished for a thousand years from around 2500 BC along the Indus River valley. Its great cities were Mohenjodaro and Harappa (now in Pakistan) where an advanced urban civilization flourished. Shiva a great symbol of Hinduism is thought to have been from this culture.

In 1500 and 2000 B.C Aryan invaders from central Asia invaded and secured control of northern India and pushed the original Dravidian inhabitants south. The Aryan rule was interrupted shortly in 325 BC when Alexander the Great attacked the Indus River region and captured large areas of North India and ruled till his death in 323 BC. The Aryan rule continued and its Gupta Empire was the most glorious with its peace and prosperity and is considered as "THE GOLDEN AGE" in Indian history.


In 1192 Muslim power arrived in India on a permanent basis and within 20 years the whole of the Ganges (North India) basin was under Muslim control. The Mughal emperors are the giants of Indian history and of Muslim rule in India. The built the Taj Mahal, combined Hindi and Arabic languages to give rise to a new language Urdu, and generally ushered another golden age of building, arts and literature

British power in India was initially exercised by the East India Company, which established a trading post at Surat in Gujarat 9Western India) in 1612. The British were not the first or the only European power with a presence in India in the 17th century but they soon established their dominance over India which lasted about 200 years. Opposition to British rule began in earnest at the turn of the 20th century.

Gandhi, an attorney, returned from South Africa to his motherland to question British rule and insisting on India’s freedom while adopting a policy of passive resistance, or satyagraha. At the same time WWII dealt a deathblow to colonialism and Indian independence became inevitable.

Within India, however, the large Muslim minority resented the impending majority Hindu rule and tensions began to mount between the two. Faced with a political stand-off and rising tension, the viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten, reluctantly decided to divide the country and set a rapid timetable for independence. When the dividing line was announced, the greatest exodus in human history took place as Muslims moved to Pakistan and Hindus and Sikhs relocated to India. The effects of that move are still felt in India and Pakistan today and the resentment that it caused still divides the two countries.

Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru became the first Prime minister of independent India. India became a Republic on 26th January, 1950 and Dr. Rajinder Prashad was nominated as the first President of the Indian republic.

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This work is dedicated to my mother Shanta who taught me the tenants of Ayurvedic Cuisine and Knowledge.

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1990 to 2001 - Kavita Mehta.  All Rights Reserved.
Kavita has been giving classes on Indian Cuisine in Minneapolis for the past 10 years.  She now shares her work on her website for all to enjoy.

 

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