Welcome to India
On August 15th, 1947 at the stroke of midnight, India entered a new part of its history -- the age of independance. Proudly, India took its place among free nations of the world.
India is located in South Central Asia. India extends southward into the Indian ocean. It includes the Lakshadweep. The area of India is 3 287 263 sq km. It stretches 3200 kilometers from North to South and about 2 740 kilometers from East to West. India has 6843 kilometres of coastline area, including the coasts of island territories.
India has a fast growing population of about 800 million. It is second largest country in population in the world.
Eight out of ten Indians are Hindus. As a result, India is often called “Hindustan”, the land of Hindus, even though it’s official name is Bharat. Some say the names Hindu and India came from the river Indus, which flows through Pakistan ( Pakistan was once a part of India). Hindus see God in everything. So, for them many things are sacred -- trees, rivers, even cows. Hindus believe in rebirth or reincarnation. However, the people of India do not all follow the same faith. With about hundred million Muslim, India has the second largest Muslim population in the world. Sikhs, christians, Jains, Buddhists and Jews also live here. India is a secular nation; that is there is no state religion. Everybody is to practise his or her own faith. Religion is a central part of Indian life. Temples, mosques, gurdwaras and churches can be found in every city. Worship is a way of thinking and living in India. Indians are always prepared to pray,to bow their heads in humbleness and thankfulness. Whatever the religion, most Indians cover their heads and take off their shoes before they enter a place of worship.
Fifteen major Indian languages are spoken in India, along with hundreds of dialects, or local ways of speaking. Hindi, spoken by one-third of the population, is the official language of India, along with English. Millions of educated Indians all of over the nation speak English because for 200 years India was a ruled by Britain. English was the official language of India until 1965.
India is the biggest democratic country - a democracy with more people than any other. The form of government is federal. The people elect their leaders; every Indian citizen over the age of eighteen has the right to vote. The Indian president is elected by the State Legislature Assemblies ( called Vidham Sabha) and he does not have the same duties and powers the American President. The leader of the elections or majority parts of Indian Parliament ( also called Lok Sabha) becomes the Prime Minister of India. New Delhi is the capital of India. The basic unit of money is rupee.
There are several hundred sub-casts (small groups_ that fit into the four major castes. Mahatma Gandhi, one of the India’s great leaders ( also called the Father of the Nation) did much to improve the lot of untouchables. He renamed them “Harijans” or “people of God”. Today, untouchability is forbidden by law.
India’s villages are changing. The villages are being electrified, connected with roads and electric pumps bring water to the fields. Tractors are taking the place of oxen in richer parts of the nation. Television is being used to teach forward ways of growing bigger, better crops when India became independent, it had to import food. Today, India grows its own food. Through the population has almost tripled. Today the state of Punjab grows more food per acre than American fars.
Every Indian state has clothing of its own. So on a Indian street today, you can see costumes of all kinds. In the cities, most middle class men wear western clothes. Most Indian women wear a sari. The sari is six yards of fabric wrapped around the waist and over the shoulder. Indian women take pride in their thick and long hair, which they coil into a bun on their heads. Girls usually have long, skinny braids, which sometimes fall below their waists. However, city girls often cut their hair short like European girls. Girls often put a little round dot called a bindi in the middle of their forehead. A bindi can be of an colour. Women sometimes wear bindis to match their clothes. Indian clothes are usually very colourful because Indians love bright colours.
Government of India is trying hard to provide basic education for everyone. Today, nearly 87 percent attend primary school. In 1950, only 16 percent of teh population could read and write. today, 36.7 percent of Indians are literate. University education is planned so that even the the poorest can attend college. A certain portion of places are reserved in every college for disadvantaged students, women and students from more disadvantaged castes. This way, the son of a potter can become an engineer. Many women come doctors. Of all college students in India, 27 percent are women.
Cricket, field hockey, soccer known as football, volleyball, basketball, badminton, “”kabbadi”, and wrestling are the popular games in India. THe ninth Asian games were played in New Delhi in November, 1982. The Indian Government built many huge sports arenas in New Delhi for the Games. India has won gold medal in field hockey in at least eight Olympic Competitions.
The important products in India are rice, wheat, tea, sugar, peanuts, cotton, jute, coal, iron ore, copper, zinc, cotton yarn, and cloth paper, cement, aircraft, motor trucks, cycles, scooters, electricity, brass and silver handicrafts. India also produced petrol (gasoline) and natural gas in small quantity as compared to its demand. India produced the largest number of movies in the world