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
India'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.
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 Indias 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.
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
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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.