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India is the seventh largest country in the world. The country’s official name India is derived from the Old Persian version of Sindhu, the historic local appellation for the river Indus. The Constitution of India and general usage also recognises Bharat, which is derived from the Sanskrit name of an ancient Hindu king, whose story is to be found in the Mahabharata, as an official name of equal status. A third name, Hindustan, or land of the Hindus in Persian, was used from Mughal times onwards, though its contemporary use is unevenly applied due to domestic disputes over how representative it is as a national signifier.

Location

The Republic of India is a country in South Asia which comprises most of the Indian subcontinent. India has a coastline which stretches for over seven thousand kilometers and shares its borders with Pakistan on the northwest, the People's Republic of China, Nepal, and Bhutan on the north, and Bangladesh and Myanmar on the east. On the Indian Ocean, it is also adjacent to the island nations of the Maldives on the southwest, Sri Lanka on the south, and Indonesia on the southeast. India is the second most populous country in the world, with a population of over one billion, and is the seventh largest country by geographical area. The distance from India's southern tip to its northernmost point is 3214 kms. Its distance from east to west is 2933 kms. It has 7,516 kms of coastline on three bodies of water: the Arabian sea off its western coast, the Indian Ocean to the south and the Bay of Bengal on its eastern side. India is a vast expanse of cultural, traditional and religious diversity. The Indian Subcontinent is separated from the rest of Asia by the Great Himalayan range. Indian subcontinent occupies an area of 3,268,000 sq. km which is roughly a third of the land mass of continental United States. Its geographical features are as diverse, ranging from perpetually snowcapped peaks to torrid deserts, form tropical rainforests to huge fertile plains & from rock escarpments to gentle rolling downs. Occupying most of the Indian subcontinent, India's entire north and northeast states are made up of the Himalayan Range. The rest of northern, central and eastern India consists of the fertile Indo-Gangetic plain.

Climate

Because of India's size, its climate depends not only on the time of year, but also the location. In general, temperatures tend to be cooler in the north, especially between September and March. The south is coolest between November to January. In June, winds and warm surface currents begin to move northwards and westwards, heading out of the Indian Ocean and into the Arabian Gulf. This creates a phenomenon known as the south-west monsoon, and it brings heavy rains to the west coast. Between October and December, a similar climatic pattern called the north-east monsoon appears in the Bay of Bengal, bringing rains to the east coast. In addition to the two monsoons, there are two other seasons, spring and autumn.

Economy

India is mainly an agricultural country, though it also has a large iron and steel industry and produces every type of manufactured goods. In the last few years India has gotten more and more involved in information technology and every year over 100,000 software professionals leave India to work in other countries, mainly the United States. India produces the world's highest number of films annually. The most recognisable face is that of Bollywood, based in Mumbai, which produces mainly commercial Hindi films. Education is highly regarded by members of every socio-economic strata. India is also known for its beautiful jewelry and fashion.

Demographics

India is also home to a large and diverse population that has added to its vibrant character since ages. Its population is one billion (one thousand million), making it the second most populous country after China. It is more than three times the population of the United States though its area is only about one-third. It is the largest democracy in the world. India, it is often said, is not a country but a continent. From North to South & East to West the people are different, the culture is different, the moods are different. A pluralist, multilingual and multicultural society, Indians are largely tolerant and peaceful. Religious practices of various faiths are an integral part of everyday life in society. In 2001, India had 35 cities / urban areas with a population of more than one million people. In total, some 108 million Indians, or 10.5 per cent of the national population, live in the country's 35 largest cities. Mumbai (Bombay) with a population of more than 16 million is now the world's fourth-largest urban area followed by Kolkata (Calcutta) in fifth place. The United Nations now estimates that by 2050 India will have overtaken China as the most populous country in the world. Today, Indians make up 16.7 per cent of the world's population with an annual growth rate of close to two per cent while the world population is growing at an annual rate of 1.4 per cent. In 2001, the sex ratio for the whole of India stood at 933 females to 1,000 males. Based on their physical type and language, we can easily divide Indian people into four broad classes. First, a majority of high class Hindus, who live in North India and whose language is derived from Sanskrit. Secondly, those who live in that part of India that is south of the Vindhyas and whose languages - Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam - are entirely different from Sanskrit. These are known by the generic name of "Dravidians". Thirdly, primitive tribes living in hills and jungles of India, who as mentioned above constitute eight percent of the total population in India. The Kols, Bhils and Mundas belong to this class. Fourthly, there are a people with strong Mongolian features inhabiting within India the slopes of the Himalayas and mountains of Assam. The Gorkhas, Bhutiyas and Khasis are striking examples of this. It is impossible to speak of any one Indian culture, although there are deep cultural continuities that tie its people together. English is the major language of trade and politics, but there are fourteen official languages in all. There are twenty-four languages that are spoken by a million people or more, and countless other dialects. India has seven major religions and many minor ones, six main ethnic groups, and countless holidays.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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