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India

Etymology

The name India is derived from Greek Indos, which is derived from the Old Persian word Hindu, the historic local appellation for the region of Indus. The origin of Hindu lies in the Sanskrit term Sindhu, meaning "river" or more specifically "the Indus river"; mentioned several times the Rigveda, the oldest of Hindu

Demographic

 Population of 1.12 billion  India is the world's second most populous country
and the world's largest democracy.

 Hindi, with the largest number of speakers, is the
official language of India.English, 21 other languages that are either abundantly spoken or have classical status. The number of dialects in India is as high as 1,652.  India's literacy rate is 64.8% (53.7% for females and 75.3% for males)]  The state of Kerala has the highest literacy rate (91%) Bihar has the lowest (47%). The national gender ratio is 944 females per 1,000 males. India's median age is 24.9, and the population growth rate of 1.38% per annum; there are 22.01 births per 1,000 people per year

 India's largest cities are Mumbai
(formerly Bombay), Delhi, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), Chennai (formerly Madras), Bangalore, and Hyderabad

 Stone age rock shelters with paintings at the
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh are the earliest known traces of human life in India. Dating back to 3300 BCE in western India.  It was followed by the Vedic Civilization, which laid the foundations of Hinduism and other cultural aspects of early Indian society. From around 550 BC, many independent kingdoms and republics known as the Mahajanapadas were established across the country.

 The empire built by the Maurya dynasty under
Emperor Ashoka united most of South Asia in the third century BC  From the third century BC, the Gupta dynasty oversaw the period referred to as ancient "India's Golden Age  From the sixteenth century, several European countries, including Portugal, Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom, started arriving as traders and later took advantage of the fractious nature of relations between the kingdoms to establish colonies in the country. By 1856, most of India was under the control of the British East India Company  Jawaharlal Nehru would go on to become India's first prime minister in 1947.

Government today
 The constitution of India, the longest and most exhaustive constitution of any independent nation in the world, came into force on January 26, 1950  The preamble of the constitution defines India as a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic  It has three branches of governance: the Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary  The President of India is the official head of state elected indirectly by an electoral college for a five-year term  The Prime Minister is, however, the de facto head of government and exercises most executive powers

 The Prime Minister is appointed by the President and, by convention, is the candidate supported by the party or political alliance holding the majority of seats in the lower house of Parliament  The legislature of India is the bicameral Parliament, which consists of the upper house called the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the lower house called the Lok Sabha (House of People).  The executive branch consists of the President, Vice-President, and the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet being its executive committee) headed by the Prime Minister  India has a unitary three-tier judiciary, consisting of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India, twentyone High Courts, and a large number of trial courts

Economy Today
 The Bombay Stock Exchange, in Mumbai, is Asia's oldest and India's largest stock exchange  India has the world's second largest labour force, with 509.3 million people, 60% of whom are employed in agriculture and related industries; 28% in services and related industries; and 12% in industry.
 Major agricultural crops include rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, and potatoes.  Major industries include automobiles, cement, chemicals, consumer electronics, food processing, machinery, mining, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, steel, transportation equipment, and textiles.  Despite significant economic progress, a quarter of the nation's population earns less than the government-specified poverty threshold of $0.40 per day.

 Indian lawmakers have selected the nation's first female president in a vote seen as a symbolic victory for women contending with widespread discrimination last 2007.  Pratibha Patil, the 72-year-old candidate of the governing Congress party and its political allies, took nearly two-thirds of the vote for the largely ceremonial post.

*National Symbols*

The National Symbol of India comes from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Emperor Ashoka. Ashoka ruled the land from 272 BCE to 232 BCE. The original sculpture shows four lions on a pillar with an elephant, horse, bull, and lion separated by a lotus on the base. A Dharma Chakra (wheel of law) is also carved into the stone.

The National Bird is the Indian peacock (Pavo cristatus). Peacocks symbolize grace, pride, and beauty. They are a sign of joy for all who see them. Peacocks are often used in Indian mythology and folk stories

The National Animal is the tiger, officially known as Panthera tigris. It is respected in India for its strength and grace, as well as its incredible power. The Indian tiger is also called the Royal Bengal Tiger.

• The lotus is the official
flower of India. It represents long life, honor, and good fortune. It is also a symbol of triumph, since the lotus is rooted in the mud and can survive to regerminate for thousands of years.

• The mango is the

national fruit. It has been cultivated in India since time immemorial. There are over 100 varieties of mangos in India, in a range of colors, sizes, and shapes

History and Significance of Bindi "A woman's beauty is multiplied 1,000 times when she wears a bindi" -Hindu Proverb

Pronounced Bin Dee, the word bindi is derived from the Sanskrit word bindu, which means "drop". There are two common meanings of bindi throughout India. The first is tied to Hindu religion and the second is social symbol. many believe it is suppose to be representative of the mystic third eye and become the central point of the base of creation Therefore, the traditional red dot (often made with tikka powder or vermillion) can be seen on men and women alike Red was chosen because that color was suppose to bring good fortune into the home of the bride. The red mark made the bride the preserver of the family's honor and welfare. Over time, they also became a fashion accessory and changed in shape and colors. Bindis are fast becoming the accessory of choice for their sensual charm and sparkle.

Famous Persons in India

Shah jahan was the fifth Mughal emperor and most prolific builder in Indian history. Shahjahan ascended to the throne when Mughal Empire had reached its zenith. Son of Jahangir and grandson of Akbar.

Mumtaz Mahal : The Pristine Beauty

the daughter of Asaf Khan. Exquisitely pretty she stole the heart of Emperor Shahjahan. Shahjahan was besotted with her beauty and asked for her hand in marriage.

 

Akbar AKBAR : Embodiment of the perfect Mughal Emperor

Humayun's son, Akbar the Great, is conventionally described as the glory of the empire. Akbar reigned from 1556 to 1605, and extended his empire as far to the west as Afghanistan, and as far south as the Godavari river.

 Mahatma Gandhi  Mahatma Gandhi : Father of the Nation Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in the town of Porbander in the state of Gujarat on 2 October 1869. He studied law at University College, London. In 1891, after having been admitted to the British bar, Gandhi returned to India and attempted to establish a law practice in Bombay, with little success.

 Mother Teresa  Mother Teresa : Angel of Mercy Universal prayer : Father of all In all clime adored By saint, by savage and by sage Jehovah, Jove, or Lord! From 1931 to 1948 Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary's High School in Calcutta, but the suffering and poverty she glimpsed outside the convent walls and devote herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta.

• Rabindranath Tagore : The Nobel Laureate
Greatest writer in modern Indian literature, Bengali poet, novelist, educator.

Plan nan-Unleavened white flour baked bread ,

Poori -Very light puffed bread, slightly crisp and flaky, always a
source of delight as it comes to the table in its characteristic balloon shape

• Rajma

Dried kidney beans: Red chilli powder: Turmeric powder: Ghe Coriander seeds:Cumin seeds: Fennel seeds:Chopped ginger:Garam masala:Tomatoes (chopped):Fresh coriander (choppedRajma Chawal
• Rajma Chawal is a meal in itself, capturing the nutrition and taste of authentic Indian cuisine.

Festivals

Lohri is a popular festival of North India and is mainly celebrated in the states of Punjab, Haryana, parts of Himanchal Pradesh and Delhi. The festival is celebrated on the 13th day in the month of January and marks the end of the cold winter months. Lohri is particularly a happy occasion for farmers. For them it is the time to relax after days of toil of cutting and gathering grains and other food crops

Wedding Traditions in India

Sweets, eggs, and money are woven into to wedding themes of India. They symbolize, respectively, a sweet life, fertility, and prosperity. The Hindu wedding ceremony includes customary rituals to ward off evil spirits.

RELIGIONS IN INDIA

India known as the land of spirituality and philosophy, was the birthplace of some religions, which even exist today in the world. The most dominant religion in India today is Hinduism. About 80% of Indians are Hindus. Hinduism is a colorful religion with a vast gallery of Gods and Goddesses. Hinduism is one of the ancient religions in the world. These three ancient religions, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, are seen as the molders of the India philosophy. In 'modern' period new religions were also established in India.

► HINDUISM - about 82%

► ISLAM - about 12%
► CHRISTIANITY - about 2.5% ► SIKHISM - about 2% ► BUDDHISM - about 0.7% ► JAINISM - about 0.5% ► ZOROASTRIANISM - about 0.01% ► JUDAISM - about 0.0005%

Taj Mahal

Location: Taj Mahal is located in the city of Agra, one of the most powerful cities in the medieval world. An immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Arjumand Banu/ mumtaz Mahal. Taj Mahal means "Crown Palace" and is in fact the most well preserved and architecturally beautiful tomb in the world.

Ganges River
The Ganges has been a symbol of India's age-long culture and civilization, ever changing, ever flowing, and yet ever the same Ganga. The river has its source in the Himalayas, at Gaumakh in the southern Himalayas on the Indian side of the Tibetan border. Religious Significance: Hindus regard the Ganges as the holiest of rivers. It was named after the goddess Ganga, the daughter of the mountain god Himalaya