‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ India-Introduction Geography People Government Economy Religions Politics Culture Great Leaders Women Conflict with Pakistan over J&K Indians in America Useful Links And Sights of India


The Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest in the world, goes back at least 5,000 years. Aryan tribes from the northwest invaded about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier inhabitants created classical Indian culture. Arab incursions starting in the 8th century and Turkish in 12th were followed by European traders beginning in the late 15th century. By the 19th century, Britain had assumed political control of virtually all Indian lands. Nonviolent resistance to British colonialism under Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru led to independence in 1947. The subcontinent was divided into the secular state of India and the smaller Muslim state of Pakistan. A third war between the two countries in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. Fundamental concerns in India include the ongoing dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir, massive overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and ethnic strife, all this despite impressive gains in economic investment and output.

Geography Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan Geographic coordinates: 20 00 N, 77 00 E Map references: Asia Area: Total: 3,287,590 sq km Land: 2,973,190 sq km Water: 314,400 sq km Area - comparative: slightly more than one-third the size of the US Land boundaries:Total: 14,103 km Border countries: Bangladesh 4,053 km, Bhutan 605 km, Burma 1,463 km, China 3,380 km, Nepal 1,690 km, Pakistan 2,912 km Coastline: 7,000 km Maritime claims:contiguous zone: 24 NM

Continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin Exclusive economic zone: 200 NM Territorial sea: 12 NM Climate:varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north Terrain: upland plain (Deccan Plateau) in south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in west,Himalayas in north Elevation extremes:lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m highest point: Kanchenjunga 8,598 m Natural resources: Coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, titanium ore, chromite,natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land Land use:Arable land: 56% Permanent crops: 1% Permanent pastures: 4% Forests and woodland: 23% Other: 16% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land:535,100 sq km (1995/96 EST.) Natural hazards:droughts, flash floods, severe thunderstorms common; earthquakes Environment - current issues: Deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; desertification; air pollution from industrial effluents and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage and runoff of agricultural pesticides; tap water is not potable throughout the country; huge and growing population is overstraining natural resources Environment -international agreements: Party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty,Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution,Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

People Population:1,029,991,145 (July 2001 EST.) Age structure: 0-14 years: 33.12% (male 175,630,537; female 165,540,672) 15-64 years: 62.2% (male 331,790,850; female 308,902,864) 65 years and over: 4.68% (male 24,439,022; female 23,687,200) (2001 EST.) Population growth rate: 1.55% (2001 EST.) Birth rate: 24.28 births/1,000 population (2001 EST.) Death rate:8.74 deaths/1,000 population (2001 EST.) Net migration rate:-0.08 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 EST.) Sex ratio:At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 1.03 male(s)/female total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2001 EST.)

Infant mortality rate:63.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 EST.) Life expectancy at birth: Total population: 62.86 years Male: 62.22 years Female: 63.53 years (2001 EST.) Total fertility rate:3.04 children born/woman (2001 EST.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.7% (1999 EST.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 3.7 million (1999 EST.) HIV/AIDS - deaths:310,000 (1999 EST.) Nationality: Noun: Indian(s) Adjective: Indian Ethnic groups: India-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3% (2000) Religions: Hindu 81.3%, Muslim 12%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other groups including Buddhist, Jain, Parsi 2.5% (2000)

Languages: English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication, Hindi the national language and primary tongue of 30% of the people,Bengali (official), Telugu (official), Marathi (official), Tamil (official), Urdu (official), Gujarati (official),Malayalam (official), Kannada (official), Oriya (official), Punjabi (official), Assamese (official), Kashmiri (official), Sindhi (official), Sanskrit (official), Hindustani (a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India) note: 24 languages each spoken by a million or more persons; numerous other languages and dialects, for the most part mutually unintelligible Literacy:Definition: Age 15 and over can read and write Total population: 52% Male: 65.5% Female: 37.7% (1995 est.)

Government Country name:Conventional long form: Republic of India Conventional short form: India Government type:Federal Republic Capital:New Delhi Administrative divisions: 28 states and 7 union territories Independence:15 August 1947 (from UK) National holiday:Republic Day, 26 January (1950) Constitution:26 January 1950 Legal system:Based on English common law; limited judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations Suffrage:18 years of age; universal Executive branch: Chief of state: President Kicheril Raman Narayanan (since 25 July 1997); Vice President Krishnan Kant (since 21 August 1997) Head of government: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee (since 19 March 1998) Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister

Legislative branch:Bicameral Parliament or Sansad consists of the Council of States or Rajya Sabha (a body consisting of not more than 250 members, up to 12 of which are appointed by the president, the remainder are chosen by the elected members of the state and territorial assemblies; members serve six-year terms) and the People's Assembly or Lok Sabha (545 seats; 543 elected by popular vote, 2 appointed by the president; members serve five-year terms) Elections: People's Assembly - last held 5 September through 3 October 1999 (next to be held NA 2004) Election results: People's Assembly - percent of vote by party - BJP alliance 40.8%, Congress Alliance 33.8%, other 25.4%; seats by party BJP alliance 304, Congress alliance 134, other 107 Judicial branch: Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president and remain in office until they reach the age of 65)

Flag description: Three equal horizontal bands of orange (top), white, and green with a blue chakra (24-spoked wheel) centered in the white band; similar to the flag of Niger, which has a small orange disk centered in the white band Economy Economy : Overview India's economy encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries, and a multitude of support services. More than a third of the population is too poor to be able to afford an adequate diet. India's international payments position remained strong in 2000 with adequate foreign exchange reserves, moderately depreciating nominal exchange rates, and booming exports of software services. Growth in manufacturing output slowed, and electricity shortages continue in many regions. GDP:Purchasing power parity - $2.2 trillion (2000 est.) GDP - real growth rate:6% (2000 est.) GDP - per capita:Purchasing power parity - $2,200 (2000 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:Agriculture: 25% Industry: 24% Services: 51% (2000) Population below poverty line:35% (1994 est.) Household income or consumption by percentage share: Lowest 10%: 3.5% Highest 10%: 33.5% (1997) Inflation rate (consumer prices):5.4% (2000 est.) Labor force - by occupation: Agriculture 67%, services 18%, industry 15% (1995 EST.) Budget: Revenues: $44.3 billion Expenditures: $73.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY00/01 EST.) Industries:Textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum,machinery, software Industrial production growth rate:7.5% (2000 EST.) Electricity - production:454.561 billion kWh (1999)

Electricity - production by source: Fossil fuel: 79.41% Hydra: 17.77% Nuclear: 2.52% Other: 0.3% (1999) Electricity -consumption: 424.032 billion kWh (1999) Electricity - exports:200 million kWh (1999) Electricity - imports:1.49 billion kWh (1999) Agriculture - products:Rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, potatoes; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, poultry; fish Exports:$43.1 billion (f.o.b., 2000) Exports - commodities: Textile goods, gems and jewelry, engineering goods, chemicals, leather manufactures Exports - partners:US 22%, UK 6%, Germany 5%, Japan 5%, Hong Kong 5%, UAE 4% (1999) Imports:$60.8 billion (f.o.b., 2000) Imports - commodities: Crude oil, machinery, gems, fertilizer, chemicals

Imports - partners: US 9%, Benelux 8%, UK 6%, Saudi Arabia 6%, Japan 6%, Germany 5% (1999) Debt - external:$99.6 billion (2000) Economic aid -recipient:$2.9 billion (FY98/99) Currency:Indian rupee (INR) Currency code:INR Exchange rates:Indian rupees per US dollar - 46.540 (January 2001), 44.942 (2000), 43.055 (1999), 41.259 (1998),36.313 (1997), 35.433 (1996) Fiscal year:1 April - 31 March

yPolitical Parties In India yBharatiya Janata Party (commonly known as BJP): currently heads the ruling coalition of parties. yIndian National Congress (commonly known as Congress): currently the main opposition. yCommunist Party of India (Marxist) - commonly known as CPM: strong in West Bengal and Kerala states. ySamajwadi Party yShiv Sena (strong in Maharashtra state; has presence in some other parts of India including the state of Delhi) yAll-India Anna DMK (commonly known as AIADMK; strong in Tamil Nadu state) yAkali Dal (strong in Punjab state)

BJP: Bharatiya Janata Party is today the most prominent member of the family of organisations known as the "Sangh Parivar".And RSS has always been dubbed "communal", "reactionary´and what not by its detractors. Sanghs of swayamsevaks have of course always shaken off that criticism like so much water off a duck's back. They have never had any doubt that the organisation is wedded to national unity, national integrity, national identity and national strength through individual character and national character. And today this organisation is poised for a gresat leap forward. Even its long- time detractors think and say that now bjp is "unstoppable".What is the story of this national epic?

Congress: The oldest Indian political party, the Indian National Congress was formed in 1885 and was the most powerful force behind the country's struggle for independence. It also held power for most years after independence. The party has also been instrumental in the making or fall of non-Congress governments at the center when it was out of power. However, the party has undergone many splits and its fetish for the Gandhi family has today put it in a tight spot.

CPI(M): The CPI(M) was formed at the Seventh Congress of the Communist Party of India held in Calcutta from October 31 to November 7, 1964. The CPI(M) was born in the struggle against revisionism and sectarianism in the communist movement at the international and national level, in order to defend the scientific and revolutionary tenets of Marxism-Leninism and its appropriate application in the concrete Indian conditions. The CPI(M) combines the fine heritage of the anti-imperialist struggle and the revolutionary legacy of the undivided Communist Party which was founded in 1920. Over the years, the Party has emerged as the foremost Left force in the country.

‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Music Festivals Art Architecture Dance

‡ Music has always occupied a central place in the imagination of Indians. The range of musical phenomenon in India, and indeed the rest of South Asia, extends from simple melodies, commonly encountered among hill tribes, to what is one of the most well- developed "systems" of classical music in the world. Indian music can be described as having been inaugurated with the chanting of Vedic hymns, though it is more than probable that the Indus Valley Civilization was not without its musical culture, of which almost nothing is known. There are references to various string and wind instruments, as well as several kinds of drums and cymbals, in the Vedas. Sometime between the 2nd century BC and the 5th century AD, the Natyasastra, on Treatise on the Dramatic Arts, was composed by Bharata. This work has ever since exercised an incalculable

influence on the development of Indian music, dance, and the performing arts in general. Festivals: The festivals of importance are Diwali, Dussera, Raksha Bandhan etc. Diwali: Diwali signifies many different things to people across the country. In north India, Diwali celebrates Rama's homecoming, that is his return to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana and his coronation as king; in Gujarat, the festival honors Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth; and in Bengal, it is associated with the goddess Kali. Everywhere, it signifies the renewal of life, and accordingly it is common to wear new clothes on the day of the festival; similarly, it heralds the approach of winter and the beginning of the sowing season. It is colloquially known as the "festival of lights", for the common practice is to light small oil lamps (called diyas) and place them around the home, in courtyards, verandahs, and gardens, as well as on roof-tops and outer walls.

Dussera: This festival lasts ten days, and most communities celebrate it with great fanfare. During the festival, the Ramleela, or the story of Rama, is enacted by professional dance companies and amateur troupes. On the last day of the festival, young men and small boys, dressed as Rama, his brother Lakshman, Ravana, and other players in the drama, proceed through the streets of the community as part of a float that is sometimes quite elaborate. Rama and Ravana engage in battle; Ravana is defeated. Though known by different Rama over Ravana, or the orces "good" over the forces of "evil". Large effigies of the ten-headed Ravana, the king of Lanka who abducted Rama's wife, Sita, and was subsequently vanquished in battle, are burnt as the sun goes down; on either side of him are the slightly smaller effigies of Meghnada, the son of Ravana, and Kumbhakarna, the full brother of Ravana whose name has become a household word in India for lethargy and laziness. (It is said that Kumbhakarna slept for six months and would then stay awake for a full day, no doubt to replenish himself.)

Raksha Bandhan: The annual "festival" of Raksha Bandhan, which is meant to commemorate the abiding ties between siblings of opposite sex, usually takes place in late August, and is marked by a very simple ceremony in which a woman ties a rakhi ² which may be a colorful thread, a simple bracelet, or a decorative string ² around the waist of her brother(s). The word "raksha" signifies protection, and "bandhan" is an association signifying an enduring sort of bond; and so, when a woman ties a rakhi around the waist of her brother, she signifies her loving attachment to him. He, likewise, recognizes the special bonds between them, and by extending his wrist forward, he in fact extends the hand of his protection over her. The thread-tying ceremony is sometimes preceded by the woman conducting aarti before her brother, so that the blessings of God may be showered upon him, and this is to the accompaniment of her enunciation or chanting of a mantra, which may be in Sanskrit or one of the other Indian languages.

BAKRI-ID : It is one of the Muslim festivals, the celebration of which is enjoined in Koran and it commemorates Abraham's sacrifice of his beloved son in obedience to God's command. Abraham having implicit faith in God decided to offer the sacrifice. Abraham blindfolded himself and killed his son but when he removed the bandage from his eyes, found his son standing before him with a slain ram at the altar. Therefore, for Bakri-Id every Muslim family is required to sacrifice a healthy animal and distribute two-thirds of the meat among the poor. A full grown camel, cow, goat or sheep free from disease is considered the best offering with a short prayer which is an absolute surrendering of the soul and acknowledging the greatness of Allah. ID-I-Milad : The prophet was born on the twelfth day of the third month of the Muslim year and his death anniversary also falls on the same date. During the twelve days of sickness of the Prophet which ended in his death, sermons are delivered in mosques by learned men. Also a ceremony known as the "Sandal Rite" is performed over the symbolic

foot-prints of the Prophet in stone, kept in some households or mosques. A replica of Burag, the horse on which the Prophet is believed to have ascended to heaven is kept near the foot-prints and is anointed with Sandal Paste. And the casket of foot-prints are decorated and illuminated. The twelfth day, which is the URS proper is observed quietly and spent in prayers and alms-giving. SHAB-I-BARAT: This feast is held either on the thirteenth or on the fourteenth day of the eighth month of the Muslim year. It is a nocturnal observance as the fortunes of all mortals for the coming year are to be registered in heaven during the night. Fatiha, which means blessings are recited over the food and the sweet dishes in the name of the Prophet, his daughter Fatima and her husband Ali. RAMZAN ID: This is perhaps, the gayest of the Muslim festivals. It comes at the end of the Muslim month of Ramzan during which every devout Muslim fasts by day and eats only at night. It is celebrated on the day following the

appearance of the New Moon at the end of Ramzan and in the evening anxious crowds are seen watching the fading light of the western sky for a trace of the moon. The Ramzan fast, observed during the whole month begins daily from the time the first streak of daylight is observed on the horizon till nightfall when the stars become clearly visible. During the day even drinking water is prohibited but food is permitted to be eaten at night. Muslims spent the day in reading the Koran. The odd nights of the last ten days of Ramzan are known as Lailut-ulKadar or "the nights of power", as the Koran is believed to have descended from heaven on one of these nights. The actual date and time of the event is known only to Allah and the Prophet who did not reveal it to his followers. On this night, the whole of creation is believed to low down mysteriously in praise of Allah. Community prayer, generally held in an open space is the most important part in Ramzan Id celebrations. Every Muslim is commanded by Koran to offer Id prayer with his breathern in full faith. As the congregation

becomes too unwieldy to be accommodated in a mosque spacious grounds are selected for Community Prayers. It is required that every Muslim gives alms to the poor and dresses in clean clothes before attending the public prayer. The Fitr or alms must be a minimum of two kilos and a half of wheat or any other grain, dates or grapes. Thus every member of a Muslim household is under religious obligation to give this Fitr or alms before proceeding to the ground where Id Prayer or Community Ibadat is arranged. After the distribution of alms the congregation proceeds to the house of the Kazi who is a Muslim religious official or some other learned and pious man who is detailed to lead the Ibadat and then the Kazi is conducted to the place of worship. After the Ibadat or prayer is over, a sermon is delivered for an hour or so. The preacher then offers extempore supplementary prayers which are known as `Munajat' to the Almighty Allah for the welfare of the Muslim faith, remission of sins for all Muslims, for the safety of pilgrims and

travellers, for the recovery of the sick, for timely rain, preservation from misfortune and freedom from indebtedness. He then comes down from the pulpit, kneels on a prayer carpet to do "NAMAZ" supplication on behalf of the people. The congregation at the end of each prayer , rises up and ejaculates "Faith"- Din. After the ritual prayers, the assembled people conduct the Kazi back to his house and the people who had accompanied him to house take leave of him. People spend the rest of the day in feasting, visiting friends and relatives and going to the fairs which are held in open spaces for the sale of toys and trinkets. Children also enjoy themselves to their hearts content in these fairs. Muslims firmly believe that those who neither give alms freely nor take part in the Community prayers nor observe Ramzan Id as prescribed by religion, remain suspended after death between heaven and earth. Ramzan Id is an occasion for a general expression of goodwill and friendship.

Even those who are dead are not excluded from the benefit of this Id. So it is a prevalent custom in certain parts of India for the living wife of a Muslim to offer new clothes and finery to a former dead wife in a small ceremony which is known by the name -"SAUKAN MAURA" which literally means first wife's crown. Greeting cards printed with "Id Mubarak" which is also the greetings for this Id festival are sent to friends and relatives also when friends meet they greet each other saying "Id Mubarak".

Indian Art

Architecture One of the most enduring achievements of Indian civilization is undoubtedly its architecture, which extends to a great deal more than the Taj Mahal or the temple complexes of Khajuraho and Vijayanagara. Though the Indus Valley sites of Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, and Lothal provide substantial evidence of extensive town planning, the beginnings of Indian architecture are more properly to be dated to the advent of Buddhism in India, in the reign of Ashoka (c. 270-232), and the construction of Buddhist monasteries and stupas. Buddhist architecture was predominant for several centuries, and there are few remains of Hindu temples from even late antiquity. Among the many highlights of Buddhist art and architecture are the Great Stupa at Sanchi and the rockcut caves at Ajanta. Many other architectures of importance are: Ajanta, Buddhist Architecture, Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram, South Indian Architecture, Khajuraho, Orissan Architecture, Mughal Architecture, Fatehpur Sikri, Taj Mahal, Fort Architecture, Stepwells

Dance There are many types of dance in India, from those which are deeply religious in content to those which are danced on more trivial happy occasions. Classical dances of India are usually always spiritual in content, although this is often true also of Folk dances. The classical dances are Kathakali and Mohini Attam from Kerala. Bharata Natyam from Tamil Nadu.Kuchipudi from Andhra Pradesh Odissi from Orissa ,Kathak from Uttar Pradesh, Manipuri from Manipur Folk Dances:Dumhal of Kashmir ,Bihu of Assam ,Brita or Vrita of West Bengal ,Dalkhai of Orissa,Hikat of Himachal Pradesh

Heroes of India Gandhiji¶s life was dedicated to the ideals of Truth, Non-violence and Love. 'The Bhagavad Gita is my mother,' he once said;and the name of Sri Rama was his shield. He was the architect of India's freedom and one of the greatest men of this century. Bal Gangadhar Tilak (29th Couplet) Described by British as "The Father of Indian Unrest " Tilak was born on 23.07.1856. His slogan, "Swaraj (Self Rule) is my birthright", inspired millions of Indians. His book "Geetarahasya"a classic treatise on Geeta in Marathi was written by him, in prison at Mandalay.Great journalist- editor, an authority on Vedas, Sanskrit Scholar, mathematician and a natural leader of India. Died 01.08.1920 "Swaraj is our birthright," thundered Tilak, the Lion of India.He founded schools and published newspapers, all for his motherland. countrymen.

Bhagat Singh : He is the symbol of the heroism of the youth of India. A revolutionary He threw a bomb when the Legislature was in session to warn the British Government. He was put to death but lives in the hearts of his countrymen. Ramaprasad Bismil:A brave revolutionary who gave up his life smilingly for the sake of the Motherland. He was persecuted by an enraged foreign government, hunted by the police and betrayed by follow workers. And yet he lit the fire of revolution to burn down the slavery.He was the brave leader of the Kakori Rail Dacoity episode. His poetry is also a lamp lighted at the altar of the Mother land. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of Independent India and architect of India's foreign policy, grew from a anglicized child into a dedicated nationalist par excellence.

‡ Rabindranath Tagore was born into a distinguished Bengali family in Calcutta, West Bengal on 1861.In 1901 he founded the famous Shantiniketan near Calcutta. This was designed to provide a traditional ashram and Western education. He began with 5 pupils and 5 teachers (three of whom were Christian). His ideals were simplicity of living and the cultivation of beauty. ‡ Lala Lajpat Rai :A great national leader who came to be called the 'Lion of Punjab.' Worked tire- lessly to improve education, to promote unity among Hindus and to reform society.

Madan Mohana Malaviya :The founder of Benares Hindu University. His boyhood was spent in utter poverty. By his scholarship, pure life and selflessness he won such respect that he collected more than thirteen million rupees for the University. He was the tireless exponent of the greatness of India and her culture. Raja Rammohan Roy has come to be called the µMaker of Modern India¶. Without giving up what was good and noble in the past, he laid the foundations for a great future. He put an end to the horrible custom of burning the living wife with the dead husband. He was a great scholar and an independent thinker. He advocated the study of English, Science, Western Medicine and Technology. He spent his money on a college to promote these studies.

Dr.M.VISVESVARAYA :One of the makers of modern India. 'MV' was a genius. Perfectly honest and devoted to his work, he set new standards of efficiency. This is the story of a poor boy that became the Grand Old Man of India. Dr.C.V. Raman: The genius who won the Nobel Prize for Physics, with simple equipment barely worth RS. 300. He was the first Asian scientist to win the Nobel Prize. He was a man of boundless curiosity and a lively sense of humor. His spirit of inquiry and devotion to science laid the foundations for scientific research in India. And he won honor as a scientist and affection as a teacher and a man.

Jhansi Lakshmi Bhai: The great heroine of the First war of India Freedom. She lived for only twenty-two years. She became a widow in her eighteenth year. Jhansi, of which she was the queen, was in the grip of the cunning, cruel British. She was the embodiment of patriotism, self-respect and heroism. She was the queen of a small state, but the empress of a limitless empire of glory. Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) was the only child of Kamla and Jawaharlal Nehru. Mrs.. Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India from1966-77 and 198084. Mrs.. Gandhi acquired a formidable international reputation as a "statesman", and there is no doubt that she was extraordinarily skilled in politics. She was prone, like many other politicians, to thrive on slogans, and one -- Garibi Hatao, "Remove Poverty" - became the rallying cry for one of her election campaigns.

Women in India India has always been a relentless champion of the cause of women at all international and national fora. The policy makers realise that real development cannot take roots if it bypasses women, who represent the very kernel around which social change must take shape. The past few years have seen unprecedented changes in the political, diplomatic, economic and ideological spheres, but certain quiet but perhaps more far reaching developments have also taken roots. From growth to growth with equity, from routine delivery of services to people's participation, from economic development to human development and from services endowment to empowerment, the paradigms of development have certainly come a long way.The development of women in India - who according to the 1991 census represent 48.1 per cent of the country's population - has occupied the centre-stage in our development planning since independence. However, it was in 1980s that women were recognised as a separate target group and given their rightful place in developmental planning by including a separate chapter viz.,

'Women and Development' in the Sixth Plan Document (1980-85). This marked the final breakaway from a welfare approach to women's problems in the earlier years. Since then, all efforts of the government have been directed towards bringing women into the mainstream of the national development process by raising their overall status -social, economic, political and legal - at par with that of men.

Conflict with Pakistan over Kashmir The first test for the Indian armed forces came shortly after independence with the first Indo-Pakistani conflict (1947-48). The military was called upon to defend the borders of the state of Jammu and Kashmir when tribals--principally Pathans--attacked from the northwest reaches of Kashmir on October 22, 1947. India's 161st Infantry Brigade was deployed and thwarted the advance of the tribal forces. In early November 1947, the 161st counterattacked and successfully broke through the enemy defenses. Despite early successes, the Indian army suffered a setback in December because of logistical problems. The problems enabled the forces of Azad Kashmir (Free Kashmir, as the part of Kashmir under Pakistani control is called) to take the initiative and force the Indian troops to retreat from the border areas. In the spring of 1948, the Indian side mounted another offensive to retake some of the ground that it had lost. No doubt fearing that the war might move into Pakistan proper, regular units of the Pakistani army became more actively involved.

As the conflict escalated, the Indian leadership was quick to recognize that the war could not be brought to a close unless Pakistani support for the Azad Kashmir forces could be stopped. Accordingly, on the advice of Governor General Earl Louis Mountbatten (Britain's last viceroy in India in 1947 and governor general of India, 1947-48), the Indian government sought United Nations (UN) mediation of the conflict on December 31, 1947. There was some opposition to this move within the cabinet by those who did not agree with referring the Kashmir dispute to the UN. The UN mediation process brought the war to a close on January 1, 1949. In all, 1,500 soldiers died on each side during the war. The second Indo-Pakistani conflict (1965) was also fought over Kashmir and started without a formal declaration of war. It is widely accepted that the war began with the infiltration of Pakistani-controlled guerrillas into Indian Kashmir on about August 5, 1965. Skirmishes with Indian forces started as early as August 6 or 7.

The first major engagement between the regular armed forces of the two sides took place on August 14. The next day, Indian forces scored a major victory after a prolonged artillery barrage and captured three important mountain positions in the northern sector. Later in the month, the Pakistanis counterattacked, moving concentrations near Tithwal, Uri, and Punch. Their move, in turn, provoked a powerful Indian thrust into Azad Kashmir. Other Indian forces captured a number of strategic mountain positions and eventually took the key Haji Pir Pass, eight kilometers inside Pakistani territory. The Indian gains led to a major Pakistani counterattack on September 1 in the southern sector, in Punjab, where Indian forces were caught unprepared and suffered heavy losses. The sheer strength of the Pakistani thrust, which was spearheaded by seventy tanks and two infantry brigades, led Indian commanders to call in air support. Pakistan retaliated on September 2 with its own air strikes in both Kashmir and Punjab.

The war was at the point of stalemate when the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution on September 20 that called for a ceasefire. New Delhi accepted the cease-fire resolution on September 21 and Islamabad on September 22, and the war ended on September 23. The Indian side lost 3,000 while the Pakistani side suffered 3,800 battlefield deaths. The Soviet-brokered Tashkent Declaration was signed on January 10, 1966. It required that both sides withdraw by February 26, 1966, to positions held prior to August 5, 1965, and observe the cease-fire line agreed to on June 30, 1965. The origins of the third Indo-Pakistani conflict (1971) were different from the previous conflicts. The Pakistani failure to accommodate demands for autonomy in East Pakistan in 1970 led to secessionist demands in 1971 (see The Rise of Indira Gandhi, ch. 1). In March 1971, Pakistan's armed forces launched a fierce campaign to suppress the resistance movement.

But they encountered unexpected mass defections among East Pakistani soldiers and police. The Pakistani forces regrouped and reasserted their authority over most of East Pakistan by May. As a result of these military actions, thousands of East Pakistanis died at the hands of the Pakistani army. Resistance fighters and nearly 10 million refugees fled to sanctuary in West Bengal, the adjacent Indian state. By midsummer, the Indian leadership, in the absence of a political solution to the East Pakistan crisis, had fashioned a strategy designed to assist the establishment of the independent nation of Bangladesh. As part of this strategy, in August 1971, India signed a twenty-year Treaty of Peace, Friendship, and Cooperation with the Soviet Union. One of the treaty's clauses implied that each nation was expected to come to the assistance of the other in the event of a threat to national security such as that occurring in the 1965 war with Pakistan. Simultaneously, India organized, trained, and provided sanctuary to the Mukti Bahini (meaning Liberation Force in Bengali), the East Pakistani armed resistance fighters.

Unable to deter India's activities in the eastern sector, on December 3, 1971, Pakistan launched an air attack in the western sector on a number of Indian airfields, including Ambala in Haryana, Amritsar in Punjab, and Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir. The attacks did not succeed in inflicting substantial damage. The Indian air force retaliated the next day and quickly achieved air superiority. On the ground, the strategy in the eastern sector marked a significant departure from previous Indian battle plans and tactics, which had emphasized set-piece battles and slow advances. The strategy adopted was a swift, threepronged assault of nine infantry divisions with attached armored units and close air support that rapidly converged on Dhaka, the capital of East Pakistan. Lieutenant General Sagat Singh, who commanded the eighth, twenty-third, and fifty-seventh divisions, led the Indian thrust into East Pakistan. As these forces attacked Pakistani formations, the Indian air force rapidly destroyed the small air contingent in East Pakistan and put the Dhaka airfield out of commission. In the meantime, the Indian navy effectively blockaded East Pakistan. Dhaka fell to combined Indian and Mukti Bahini forces on December 16, bringing a quick end to the war.

Action in the western sector was divided into four segments, from the cease-fire line in Jammu and Kashmir to the marshes of the Rann of Kutch in northwestern Gujarat. On the evening of December 3, the Pakistani army launched ground operations in Kashmir and Punjab. It also started an armored operation in Rajasthan. In Kashmir, the operations were concentrated on two key points, Punch and Chhamb. The Chhamb area witnessed a particularly intense battle where the Pakistanis forced the Indians to withdraw from their positions. In other parts of Kashmir, the Indians made some small gains along the cease-fire line. The major Indian counteroffensive came in the Sialkot-Shakargarh area south and west of Chhamb. There, two Pakistani tank regiments, equipped with United States-made Patton tanks, confronted the Indian First Armored Corps, which had British Centurion tanks. In what proved to be the largest tank battle of the war, both sides suffered considerable casualties.

Though the Indian conduct of the land war on the western front was somewhat timid, the role of the Indian air force was both extensive and daring. During the fourteen-day war, the air force's Western Command conducted some 4,000 sorties. There was little retaliation by Pakistan's air force, partly because of the paucity of non-Bengali technical personnel. Additionally, this lack of retaliation reflected the deliberate decision of the Pakistan Air Force headquarters to conserve its forces because of heavy losses incurred in the early days of the war.

The Kargil Conflict With Pakistan

Pakistan Military aim for carrying out the intrusions was based on following considerations:(a) Exploit large gaps which exist in the defences in the sector both on Indian and Pak side of the Line of Control (LOC). The terrain is extremely rugged with very few tracks leading from the main roads towards the LOC. During winters the area gets very heavy snow fall making movements almost impossible.

(b) Zoji La Pass normally opens by end May / beginning June, thus moving of reinforcements by surface means from Srinagar is not possible till then. Pak calculated that even if the intrusions were discovered in early May, as it was, Indian Army reaction would be slow and limited, thereby allowing him to consolidate the intrusions more effectively. In the event, however, Zoji La was opened for troops induction in early May itself. (c) The intrusions, if effective, would enable Pak troops to secure number of dominating heights from where the Road Srinagar-Leh could be interdicted at number of places, which was the plan.The intrusion would also draw in and tie down own reserves.Give Pak control over substantial piece of ground across LOC and enable her to negotiate from a position of strength. (d) Alter the status of LOC

Use of Militants: Some numbers of militants from Lashkar-e-Toiba, Harkat-ul-Ansar and afghan War veterans were also grouped with each battalion to give it a facade of "jihad". After the intrusion 800 or more militants have been brought to Skardu Area for further reinforcements. Artillery Support: Pak artillery numbering 20 batteries were to provide fire support to the intruding groups from Pak side of LOC. This ensured that each intrusion had the support of three to four batteries. Observation post officers from Pak Army were also grouped along with line and radio communication. Execution of Plan The plan having been finalized was put into action towards the end of April. The main groups were broken into a number of smaller sub groups of 30 to 40 each for

carrying out multiple intrusions along the ridge lines and occupy dominating heights. The intrusions were in four main sub sector as under:(a) Batalik - 250 Numbers approximately (b) Kaksar - 100 Numbers approximately (c) Dras - 250 Numbers approximately (d) Mushko Nullah - 200-300 Numbers approximately Logistics: Logistic support was carried out by soldiers from within each battalion and militants. The route for supply is along ridge lines and Nullahs. Reserves: After the plan had been implemented, Pak moved approximately a brigade worth of troops into FCNA to re-create reserves.

Obfuscation Attempts There has been a systematic and consistent effort by the Pak Government to obfuscate the issue. As directed by the Pak COAS, the Foreign Minister of Pak Sartaj Aziz spoke in different languages without any substance. The shifting stand of Pak since then has been on following lines:(a) LOC is delineated but not demarcated. This is the most brazen attempt towards obfuscation. The line while not marked on the ground is clearly identified by both the Armies and has remained so for last 27 years. (b) Pak Army has been in occupation of these heights for a long time. (c) The intrusion of the LOC is not by Pak Army but by militants over which Pak has on control. (d) Pak Army is fighting in Dras and Kargil Sectors.

These statements are consistent in their contradictions. Bodies of Pak soldiers with identification papers bring out the lie vividly. The LOC is also marked on Pak maps as it is on Indian ones. A captured map of Pak Army recovered in Dras sector clearly shows the alignment of LOC. Indian Resolve As events unfolded, the Zoji La Pass opened early and Indian reaction was far swifter than Pak expected. Further Pak did not expect the reaction of Indian Government and the Army to be as vigorous as has manifested. We do not think Pak while starting on the venture reckoned the level of Indian resolve in their calculations.

Indians in America For more information on Indians in USA please go to the web site and click on the link for Indian Americans. A few highlights of Indians in US: yThere are now more than 1.5 million peoples of Indian origin in America. They reflect the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-lingual society of India. yIndian Americans are represented in many fields including academics and entrepreneurs, doctors and lawyers, engineers and financiers. yAccording to the U.S. Census Bureau, Indian American median family income is $60,093 as against the national median family income of $38, 885. The high income clearly reflects the advanced educational levels achieved by the community.

yMore than 87% of Indians in America have completed high school while at least 62% have some college education. As much as 58% of Indian Americans over the age of 25 hold a bachelor's degree or higher. yHigh levels of education have also enabled Indian Americans to become a productive segment of the U. S. population, with 72.3% participating in the work force. yOf these work force participants, 43.6% are employed in managerial and professional specialties. yTechnical, sales, and administrative support occupations constitute another 33.2% of the work force. yThe remaining 23.3% of the population works in other areas, such as operators, fabricators, laborers and precision production. More than 5,000 Indian Americans today serve as faculty members in institutions of higher education in the U. S.

yAbout 300,000 Indian Americans work in technology firms in California¶s Silicon Valley. They account for more than 15%[i] of high-tech startups in that region. The median income of Indian Americans in that region is estimated to be $125,000 (average $200,000)[ii] a year. Two Indian Americans - Har Gobind Khorana of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and late Subrahmanyan Chandrashekhar of University of Chicago - have been awarded the Nobel Prize, in medicine and physics respectively. yIn deed, the NASA's premier X-ray observatory was named the Chandra X-ray Observatory in honor of the late Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. Known to the world as Chandra, he was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. The observatory was launched into space in July 1999.

yDr. Kalpana Chawla added a new chapter to the history of the Indian American community. In 1997, She became the first Indian or Indian American to fly in the US space shuttle. She was part of the Space Shuttle Columbia Flight STS-87. yThe estimated annual buying power of Indian Americans in the United States is around $ 20 billion. yIndian Americans are increasingly beginning to take a more direct role in political activities. They have traditionally exercised the most political influence through their campaign contributions, and are actively involved in fundraising efforts for political candidates on the federal, state and local levels. yAs a result of these activities, together with the growing commercial interest in investment in India, the India caucus in the House of Representatives now numbers 118.

[i] Anna Lee Saxenian Professor of Regional Development Department of City and Regional Planning University of California, Berkeley Based on her report - " Silicon Valley's New Immigrant Entrepreneurs" [ii] Rafiq Dossani Consulting Professor, Asia/Pacific Research Center Stanford University, CA Specifically based on his presentation at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington, DC during February 2000.

A few links to various information about India (Air India home page) (All India Radio - Home Page) (Govt of India links) (Newpaper link) (maps of India0 (Yahoo! India) (Indian Embassy in D.C) (India Yellow Pages) (Country Study by library of congress) Portal Sites For India: (History of India:) (links to great people of india.) NGO: AID - Association for India's Development: ASHA An action group for basic education in CRY - Child Relief and You SAMUHA Working with people to improve the quality of life. India Network Foundation South Asian Journalists Association Maharishi Programmes in India Army in Kashmir: Bibliographic Sources:

A Few Sights Of India Taj Mahal

Corbett National Park Founded in 1935 by the British, Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India. One of two tiger reserves in Uttar Pradesh, this breathtaking park rests along the Ramganga river and clutches the Himalayan foothills.Though it is most famous for the tigers it harbors, it is also an excellent place to see elephant and is home to an enormous variety of bird species.

Dances of Kashmir

Classical Dances

The Himalayas



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