Culture of India

Topics: India, Andhra Pradesh, South India Pages: 8 (4195 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Nearly one sixth of all the human beings on Earth live in India, the world's most populous democracy. Officially titled the Republic of India, it's 1,269,413 sq. mi. lie in South Asia, occupying most of the Indian subcontinent, bordered by Pakistan (W); China, Nepal, and Bhutan (N); and Myanmar (E) and Bangladesh forms an enclave in the NE. Its borders encompass a vast variety of peoples, practicing most of the world's major religions, speaking scores of different languages, divided into thousands of socially exclusive castes, and combining the physical traits of several major racial groups (Compton's). The modern nation of India (also known by its ancient Hindi name, Bharat) is smaller than the Indian Empire formerly ruled by Britain. Burma (now Myanmar), a mainly Buddhist country lying to the east, was administratively detached from India in 1937. Ten years later, when Britain granted independence to the peoples of the Indian subcontinent, two regions with Muslim majorities--a large one in the northwest (West Pakistan) and a smaller one in the northeast (East Pakistan)--were partitioned from the predominantly Hindu areas and became the separate nation of Pakistan. East Pakistan broke away from Pakistan in 1971 to form the independent nation of Bangladesh. Also bordering India on its long northern frontier are the People's Republic of China and the relatively small kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan. The island republic of Sri Lanka lies just off India's southern tip (New World Encyclopedia).Much of India's area of almost 1.3 million square miles (3.3 million square kilometers--including the Pakistani-held part of Jammu and Kashmir) is a peninsula jutting into the Indian Ocean between the Arabian Sea on the west and the Bay of Bengal on the east. There are three distinct physiographic regions. In the north the high peaks of the Himalayas lie partly in India but mostly just beyond its borders in Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet. South of the mountains, the low-lying Indo-Gangetic Plain, shared with Pakistan and Bangladesh, extends more than 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal (Compton's). Finally, the peninsular tableland, largely the Deccan, together with its adjacent coastal plains, makes up more than half of the nation's area. In general, India's climate is governed by the monsoon, or seasonal, rain-bearing wind. Most of the country has three seasons: hot, wet, and cool. During the hot season, which usually lasts from early March to mid-June, very high temperatures are accompanied by intermittent winds and occasional dust storms (Concise). Strong, humid winds from the southwest and south usually lasts from early March to mid-June, very high temperatures are accompanied by intermittent winds and occasional dust storms. Most of the far northeast (north and east of Bangladesh), northern West Bengal, and the west coast from Cochin to somewhat north of Bombay get more than 80 inches (200 centimeters) of rainfall annually. This is usually enough to keep the soil moist throughout the year. The natural vegetation associated with these regions is an exceedingly varied, broadleaf, evergreen rain forest, typically tall and dense. Much of the rain forest, however, is in hilly regions that have been repeatedly burned over and cleared for slash-and-burn agriculture, a type of farming particularly associated with India's tribal population. As a result, the soil has become less fertile. Where the forest has grown again, it is generally lower and less open than the original vegetation (New World Encyclopedia). It is not certain which racial group first occupied India. The assumption is often made that the first inhabitants had characteristics in common with the small-statured, dark, aboriginal population of Australia, as well as with other tribal groups still found in isolated, forested regions of Southeast Asia. Therefore, the term proto-Australoid has been applied...

Cited: /b>
  • India. Compton 's Encyclopedia Online. 1 November 1999
    http://comptonsv3.web.aol.com/ceo99-cgi/article? 'fastweb?getdoc+viewcomptons+A+3993+35++India '. html
  • India. Concise Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Third Edition. 1 November 1999 .
  • India. New World Encyclopedia. New York: Pelican, 1995.
  • MLA. Modern Language Association. 23 October 1999 http://www.mla.org/set_stl.htm.

    Fact Summary
    Official Name: Republic of India.
    Capital: New Delhi.
    India: Indus, from Sanskrit Sindhu referring to Indus River.
    National Emblem: Adapted from Sarnath Lion Capital of Asoka in 1950. Four lions (one of which is hidden from view) standing back to back with wheel in the center of the abacus; a bull on the right, a horse on the left, and the outlines of the other wheels on the extreme right and left. The words Satyameva jayate (Truth Alone Triumphs) are inscribed below the wheel in the Devanagari script.
    Anthem: 'Jana Gana Mana ' (Lord of the People, of Society, and of the Mind).

    NATURAL FEATURES
    Borders: Coast, 3,533 miles (5,686 kilometers); land frontier, 9,425 miles (15,168 kilometers).
    Natural Regions: Himalaya; Indo-Gangetic Plain; Deccan.
    Major Ranges: Himayalas, Karakoram, Vindbya, Aravalli, Satpura, Western and Eastern Ghats.
    Major Peaks: Nanda Devi, 25,646 feet (7,817 meters); Kamet, 25,447 feet (7,756 meters); Anai Mudi, 8,842 feet (2,695 meters).
    Major Rivers: Ganges, Yamuna (Jumna), Brahmaputra, Narbada, Mahanadi, Godavari, Kaveri.
    Notable Lake: Wular.
    Major Islands: Andaman, Nicobar, Lakshadweep.
    Climate: Three seasons for most of the country--cold season from November to February; hot season from March to June; rainy season from June to October.

    THE PEOPLE
    Population (1996 estimate): 952,969,000; 733.1 persons per square mile (288.8 persons per square kilometer); 26.8 percent urban, 73.2 percent rural (1995 estimate).
    Vital Statistics (estimated rate per 1,000 population): Births, 26.5; deaths, 9.8.
    Life Expectancy (at birth): Males, 58.7 years; females, 59.8.
    Major Languages: Hindi (official), English (official), Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese.
    Major Religions: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism.

    MAJOR CITIES (1991 estimate)
    Bombay (9,925,891) Major port and financial and commercial center of India; capital of Maharashtra state; well known for cotton-textile, film, and printing industry; Victoria Gardens, Brabourne Stadium, and Marine Drive.
    Delhi (7,206,704) Capital of India; political, educational, cultural, and transportation center; Red Fort, Central Secretariat, Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Qutab Minar, and the National Gallery of Modern Art.
    Calcutta (4,399,819) Major port, capital of West Bengal state; cultural, commercial, religious, educational, and political centerError! Bookmark not defined..
    Madras (3,841,396) Major port and capital of Tamil Nadu state; educational, transportation, cultural and traditional handicraft center; the Indian Institute of Technology, University of Madras, the Madras Government Museum, Napier Park, Marina beach, and the Corporation Stadium.
    Bangalore (3,302,296) Capital of Karnataka state; leading cultural, educational, industrial, publishing, and transportation center of south India; Vidhana Saudha, Mysore Government Museum, Lal Bagh, and Hesaraghatta Lake.
    Hyderabad (3,145,939) Capital of Andhra Pradesh state; educational, cultural, industrial, commercial, and handicraft center; the Char Minar, Mecca Masjid, Salar Jung Museum, and racecourse.
    Ahmadabad (2,954,526) Industrial, commercial, financial, and educational city; major cotton-textile center, Lake Kankaria, Gandhi Ashram, Jama Masjid, Tin Darwaza (Three Gates), and the Tomb of Ahmad Shah.
    Kanpur (1,879,420) Industrial and commercial city; rail and lead junction; Kanpur University, the Indian Institute of Technology, and a Hindu glass temple, cantonment, and Sati Chaura.
    Nagpur (1,624,752) Transportation, industrial, educational, agricultural, and cultural center; British Fort, Ambajheri Tank, Bhonsla Palace, Kasturchand Park, and Secretariat.
    Lucknow (1,619,115) Capital of Uttar Pradesh state; transportation, commercial, educational, cultural, and handicraft center; Hazratganj, Great Imambara, Rumi Darwaza, Residency, botanical and zoological gardens.
    Pune (1,566,651) Educational, cultural, commercial, and industrial center; Empress Gardens, Wellesley Bridge, Deccan College, Statue of Shivaji, and Shanwar Wada (Saturday Palace).

    ECONOMY
    Chief Agricultural Products: Crops--sugarcane, rice, wheat, corn (maize), sorghum, millet, mangoes, bananas, oranges, lemons, limes, apples oilseeds, pulses, coconuts. Livestock--cattle, goats, water buffalo, sheep.
    Chief Mined Products: Limestone, iron ore, bauxite, manganese, chromium, zinc, copper, lead, gold, diamonds, coal, crude petroleum, natural gas.
    Chief Manufactured Products: Cement, finished steel, steel ingots, refined sugar, fertilizers, paper and paperboard, bicycles, motorcycles and scooters, cotton cloth.
    Foreign Trade: Imports 59 percent, exports 41 percent.
    Chief Imports: Fuel oil and refined petroleum products, chemicals, fertilizers, iron and steel, machinery, vegetable oils, rough diamonds, transport equipment, electrical machinery, foodstuffs.
    Chief Exports: Handicrafts, engineering goods, tea, fish, fruits and vegetables, coffee, textile yarn and fabrics, clothing, leather, precious and semiprecious stones, iron ore, road motor vehicles, works of art, tobacco, iron and steel.
    Chief Trading Partners: United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia.
    Monetary Unit: 1 Indian rupee = 100 paisa.

    EDUCATION
    Public Schools: Lower primary (age 6-10) is free throughout India; secondary (age 11-17) is free in most areas.
    Compulsory School Age: From 6 to 14 in all states except Nagaland and Himachal Pradesh.
    Literacy: 52 percent.
    Leading Universities: More than 100; Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Allahabad, Benaras Hindu, Mysore, Patna, Osmania.
    Notable Libraries: Central Secretariat Library, New Delhi; National Library, Calcutta; Indian Council of World Affairs Library, New Delhi, Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna.
    Notable Museums and Art Galleries: Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, Bombay; Birla Industrial and Technological Museum, Calcutta; Indian Museum, Calcutta; National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; Government Museum and National Art Gallery, Madras.

    GOVERNMENT
    Form of Government: Republic.
    Constitution: Effective Jan. 26, 1950.
    Chief of State: President; elected by electoral college, 5-year term.
    Head of Government: Prime Minister.
    Legislature: Parliament: Council of States (Rajya Sabha) consists of not more than 250 members elected for 6 years; House of the People (Lok Sabha) consists of not more than 545 members elected for 6 years.
    Executive: President, vice-president, and Council of Ministers headed by the prime minister to advise the president; supreme command of the defense forces is vested in the president.
    Judiciary: Supreme Court; final authority subject to the provisions of the constitution; a chief justice and not more than 17 other judges appointed by the president; members hold office until age 65. Others--High Courts, Courts of Session, Courts of Magistrates.
    Political Divisions: 25 states; 6 union territories; 1 national capital territory (Delhi).
    Voting Qualification: 21 years of age.
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