India is a country in Asia. The official English name of the country is Republic of India. Some people also call the country Hindustan or Bharat. (The list of the 21 other official names can be found here). India has more than 1.12 billion (1,120,000,000) people, which is more than any other country in the world except China. Excluding the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Republic of India also has a land area of 2,957,429 km² (1,183,610 square miles). This includes the states of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. This means that it is bigger than Argentina but smaller than Australia. It is the seventh (7th) largest sized country in the world in amount of land. India is the largest democracy in the world. The capital of India is New Delhi and India has the third largest army in the world with nuclear weapons.
Although India is a growing economy, it has high levels of poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition. India has a higher rate of malnutrition among children under the age of three (46% in year 2007) than any other country in the world.
The languages spoken by the most people in India are English and Hindi.
Many people have looked at the diversity of languages and cultures found on the Indian subcontinent. The only other geographical place they found to be more diverse with regards to languages and cultures was the African continent. There are two main language families in India, the Indo-Aryan and the Dravidian languages. About 74% of the people speak an Indo-Arayan language, about 24% speak a Dravidian language. Other languages spoken in India come from the Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman language families.
Hindi is the language in India with the largest number of speakers. It is the official language of the union. English is also used, mostly for business and in the administration.
It has the status of a 'subsidiary official language.' The constitution also recognises in particular 21 other languages. For these there are either many people speaking them, 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.
The first people in India lived 9000 years ago; these people were the ones who made up the Indus Valley Civilization, which is one of the oldest civilizations on Earth. After that, the Vedic period came. This is the country where two main Classical languages of the world wereborn - Sanskrit and Tamil. Both these languages are more than 3000 years old. In these, Tamil is one of the oldest languages existing in the world. The country founded a religion called Hinduism, which most Indians still follow. Later, a king called Ashoka built an empire called the Maurya dynasty in 300 BC. It made most of South Asia into one unified 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. In South India at that time, science, art, and writing were very good and famous.
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 took control of most of India by 1856.
In the beginning of the 1900s, millions of people peacefully started to protest (not obey British rule). One of the people who were leading the freedom movement was Mahatma Gandhi, who only used peaceful tactics, including a way called "ahisma", which means "non-violence". On August 15, 1947, India peacefully got free from the British Empire. India's constitution was founded on January 26, 1950. The first official leader (Prime Minister) of India was Jawaharlal Nehru.
After 1947, India has become a powerful country. It is one of the nations that founded the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations (when it was being ruled by Britain). It has fought and won many wars, including ones in 1947, 1962, 1965, 1971, and 1999. India has also done nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998, and it is one of the few countries that has a nuclear bomb. Since 1991, India has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
India is the largest democracy in the world. Its government is divided into three branches: 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 located 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 545 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 has the ability to choose the Prime Minister, who has most of the power. The Council of Ministers, such as the Minister of Defence, are helpers to the Prime Minister.
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. The Supreme Court has the power to stop a law being passed by Parliament if it sees that the law is illegal and contradicts (opposes) the Constitution of India. In India, there are also twenty-one High Courts.
Indian states.
India has twenty-eight states not including the capital New Delhi and seven union territories (which are different from states). Delhi and Goa have state status.
Geography and Climate.
India is the seventh-largest country in the world. It is the main part of the Indian subcontinent.
The countries which are 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. 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 mountains in India are 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.
It mainly has a tropical climate in the south, 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 the region of the mountains. The Himalayas, part of the alpine climate, 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 called the monsoon. That is so 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 wears out because there is less rain) are possible.
Presently, the economy of the country is growing. The economy of India is the 12th largest in the world with a GDP of $568 billion (U.S.). In terms of PPP (how much that money can buy in India compared to other countries), the economy is fourth largest (worth $3.319 trillion U.S.). The growth rate is 9.0%. However, that is still only $3100 (considering PPP) per person per year.
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 below the poverty line in 2004'2005. The spread of wealth in India is not equal. 1/4 of the population earns less than $0.40/day.
There are about 1 billion (1,00,000,000) people living in India. So, India is the second largest country by the amount of people living in it. Experts think that by the year 2030, India will be the first. About 70% of Indians live in farms. The largest cities in India are Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Ahmedabad. India has twenty-three (23) official languages. Altogether, there are 1,625 languages that are spoken in India. The religion Hinduism is followed by 80.1% of India; Islam - 13.3%; Christianity - 2.3%; Sikhism - 1.8%; Buddhism - 1.5%; Jainism - 0.4%; and many others.

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