India is located in southern Asia. India borders Pakistan, China, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Pakistan is on the northwest border. China and Nepal are on the northern border. Bangladesh is on the northeastern border. More than half of India is surrounded by the Indian Ocean.
Climate, Weather, and Seasons
India has one of the most diverse climates in the world. It has monsoons, to very hot weather, all the way to the snowy Himalayan Mountains. A monsoon is a wind that changes direction with the change of seasons. Monsoons also bring rain which can cause flooding and other disasters. Monsoons almost only happen in the Indian Ocean. But at the same time, the monsoons are very helpful, because they give the people of India their water to irrigate their crops, growing their crops, and for drinking water for the people of India.
India has three main seasons. Their seasons are the rainy season which is from June-October, the Indian Winter which is from November-January, and the Humid Heat from April-May. The monsoons usually come through in April-October.
Major Landforms The Himalayan Mountains is a mountain range that goes through India. Himalaya means House of Snow in Sanskrit. They go east to west for 1,500 miles making three mountain ranges between India and Tibet. They are the highest and youngest mountains in the world.
The Indo-Gangetic Plain is a flat area of land. The Plain is where the Ganges River runs through. It covers 300,000 square miles of northern India. It has some of the most fertile soil in the country of India.
The Thar Desert is a sandy region that covers 100,394 square miles of land. It only receives ten inches of rain in one year. Camels are very important in the desert because they need some way of transportation.
The Southern Peninsula separates northern India and Southern India. These mountains are about 4000 feet high, not nearly as tall as the Himalaya. The Eastern Ghats, The Western Ghats, and the Vindhya Range form, the Deccan Plateau. There is water everywhere on the Southern Peninsula. It has many rivers.
Major Rivers, Lakes, Seas, and Other Bodies of Water One of the most famous rivers in the world is the Ganges River and the Ganges is located in India. The Ganges River is very important in the Hindu Religion, because they are supposed to bathe in the River at least once in their lives. It is located in northern India and goes almost all the way across India.
The Bay of Bengal is a bay bordering almost the entire eastern border of India. It also borders Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Myanmar. It merges with the Padma Delta. Also, many rivers flow into the Bay of Bengal. Although, because of the monsoons the northern coast of the bay is losing its people.
The Arabian Sea borders India, The Arabian Peninsula, Iran, and Pakistan. The Indus River is the most important river that flows into the Arabian Sea. It is a very large principle in India and Europe’s trading.
Significant, Unusual, or Unique Geographic Features of the Country India is a subcontinent of Asia. A subcontinent is a large landmass that is usually attached to a continent. India also has 4,000 miles of pure coastline. The Indian Ocean is what makes up the 4,000 miles.
History of India Pre-History One of the first civilizations in India settled around 2,500 B.C. That civilization lived in central and southern India. They were called the Dravidians. The descendants of the Dravidians still live in southern India today. Another early civilization was called the Aryans. They were there from about 1,500-200 B.C. The word Aryans means “noble ones.” They invaded the Dravidians and made them go farther south. Some of the Dravidians stayed with the Aryans and lived the Aryan lifestyle. In return the Aryans would use some of the Dravidians customs. The Aryans also invented the Sanskrit language, which is one of the oldest languages in the world. They also set up the Caste System. They started the Hindu religion and wrote the Vedas, which is the most important book of the Hindu scriptures.
Ancient Empires Two hundred years before Alexander the Great invaded a kingdom was forming. They were known as the Maurya’s. The first ruler of this empire was Chandragupta. They ruled for about 140 years. They had a big army, a government, and tax collection. But in 184 B.C. the empire fell apart. In A.D. 319 a king named Chandragupta I founded the Gupta Empire. Chandragupta II was his grandson and during his reign was the peak of their empire. He reigned from 330-375. Chandragupta II also invented the concept of zero and figured out that the world was round. The Gupta Empire ended in 550 because the White Huns conquered them. Invasions and Exploration
In 518 B.C. the Persian King Darius conquered both the Indus Valley and West Punjab. In 327 B.C Alexander the Great of Macedonia defeated and overthrew Darius III and the defeated king Porus and marched to the Beas River. The Indians were so fierce that Alexander was so weak that him and his troops had to go back home.
In 977 bandit raids of Muslims came into India. Then in 1192 the Muslims marched in again and conquered some land. They built there capitol at present day Delhi. When the Muslims were conquering they destroyed many Hindu temples and statues, but when they were settled there were very few problems between the Hindu’s and Muslims.
Marco Polo was one of the first Europeans to set foot in India. He became a favorite to Kublai Khan, who sent him on expeditions all around Asia including India. In India Marco Polo was amazed by the wealth of India. He gave Europe their information about India, which only made them want India’s riches. Mughal Empire
In 1526 the Mongols invaded northern India and made the Mughal Empire. Their leader was called Babur. The Mughal Empire’s land was northern India, parts of southern India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Their capitols were Agra and Delhi. The Mongols did not get rid of the ways of life before them, and for the Hindu’s protection they made them pay taxes. The local government was in charge of the people that lived there. The Mongols were the ones to build the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. Akbar was considered their best ruler, because he combined military ability with religious tolerance and some culture, he had lively discussions with all religions, and he also prevented taxes. Revolts inside and outside of the kingdom weakened the empire and by the 1800’s the empire had fallen.
British India East India Trading Company By the early nineteenth century Great Britain controlled almost all of India. The East India Trading Company was the administration of India. The company was ruled by either the government or generals, all whom which Britain had chosen. They actually only controlled half of India. The other half was controlled by an Indian princess whom had pledged loyalty to Great Britain.
British Changes in India Great Britain caused many changes for India. They built school, hospitals, paved roads, and they built the railway system in India. They also invented the Indian Civil Service; which was a way for Indians to be employed. But, they also passed the Permanent Settlement Act of 1793, is a law that says if you can not pay your taxes for your land, your land will be taken away. Lord Cornwallis passed a law that prevents Indians from high posts in the government. Also, because of the Industrial Revolution in England, the cloth from England was sent to India so that the expensive cloth in India stopped being purchased and many craftspeople went out of business. In 1857 the Indians rebelled and many people died. In 1858 the uprising was over, the East India Trading Company lost control over India and the British government took control.
British Raj After the Sepoy Mutiny the British rule was at its peak. Queen Victoria was named Empress of India in 1877. The British people gloried over their rule of the Indians. At this time the Indians began to want their own country without the British in control. The India National Congress was formed in 1885. At first the Congress was just a little group of people that met and talked about what they would like to do in India, but then it turned into a big group of people which often and openly opposed British rule. In 1906 the Muslims started a group called the All-India Muslim League. This group fought for the rights of Muslims. The British had two strong forces against them at this point. Independence
Around 1915 a new leader emerged, his name was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Gandhi was a lawyer from a wealthy Hindu family. In 1915 Gandhi returned from South Africa. He dedicated his life to fighting for India’s independence. Gandhi used a method called Satyagraha, which means nonviolent in Hindi. Instead of physically fighting he would do things like peaceful marches, hunger strikes, and refusing to buy British goods. In 1919 the British army fired on a peaceful protest and killed 400 Indians and injured 1,200 Indians.
The massacre turned almost the entire world against British rule. Many leaders such as Gandhi and Nehru were put in prison for their peaceful resistance. In 1935 the British passed the Government of India Act, which said that it was possible that later on they could be self-governed. On August 15, 1947 the Indians celebrated their first independence day. Muslims also wanted their own land away from the Indians, so the British gave them East and West Pakistan. However, the Muslims and Hindu’s broke into riots. Gandhi was very upset about the riots so he went and spoke his peaceful word to different parts of India hoping that the riots would stop. Some Hindu’s thought Gandhi was being too sympathetic to the Muslims and one of those people shot Gandhi on January 30, 1948.
Modern India The people had won their independence, but they wanted even more freedom. On January 26, 1950 India became the first republic of the British Commonwealth. Jawaharlal Nehru was already the prime minister of India. He planned to introduce modern methods of technology, hoping that he would raise a standard living for all Indians. Nehru tried to keep India at peace with the world, but they had a few problems with neighboring countries. In 1966 Nehru’s daughter became India’s third prime minister. Her name was Indira Gandhi (she was not related to Mohandas Gandhi.) In 1971 she led the victory over Pakistan.
This war granted East Pakistan from West Pakistan. India was now considered the most powerful country in the south. Although, she lost her position as prime minister in 1977 because of the price of goods going up, she came back into power 1980. Then she was assassinated by her own bodyguards, because of the way she treated the Sikhs most holy place. After she was killed her son, Rajiv Gandhi, took her place. He introduced more technology to India, which made them closer to the rest of the world. In 1991 he was assassinated by terrorists at an election rally. India is achieving more than anyone could imagine India could and they are on a good path for the future.
Government and Politics Type of Government and Organization India is a democracy country. India has three branches of law, legislative, judicial, and executive branches. The Executive Branch consists of president and prime minister. The president is Pratibha Patil and the prime minister is Manmohan Singh. The legislative branch consists of the Council of States or the Rajya Sabha. The Judicial Branch is considered the Supreme Court. Their political parties are the Congress Party and the BJP (Bahujan Samaj Party.) Political Divisions
India has twenty-eight states and seven union territories. India also has local village councils. Local Village Councils are groups of people in a village that are part of that council. Population and Demographics
India has about 1.2 billion people. India is 72% Indo-Aryan, 25% Dravidian, 3% Mongoloid and other. India is 80.5% Hindu, 13.4% Muslim, 2.3% Christian, 1.9% Sikh, and 1.8% other. Major Cities and Areas of Population
Mumbai (Bombay) is one of India’s major cities with 15 million people. Kolkata (Calcutta) is another major city with 12 million people. Delhi is also a major city with 11.3 million people. Military Forces and Other Foreign Relations
India’s military branches are the Army, Coast Guard, Navy, and Air Force. In India there is a city named Kashmir. Kashmir is mostly in India but partially in Pakistan. Pakistan and India have been fighting over Kashmir for a very long time and they have had wars over it and many people have died. India is also part of the British Commonwealth and does a lot of trading with the British. National Symbols and Anthems
India’s National Anthem is the Jana-gana-mana
Economy Agriculture 65% of India’s people are farmers. The largest amount of land a farmer gets is 2 acres and many farmers get below 1 acre. They have to grow enough food to feed their family and to sell to others. Rice is one of India’s most important crops. Rice is usually planted in flooded paddy fields because rice needs a lot of water to be able to grow. Wheat is another important crop grown all over India. Tea is one of India’s largest exports. It is grown on vast plantations in the hills. About 1.5 billion pounds of tea are picked each year and about 800,000 pounds are exported each year. Another important crop is coffee. Also many fruits are grown in India. Some of those fruits are pineapples, mangoes, coconuts, watermelons, oranges, bananas, papayas, grapes, and apples.
Manufacturing and Industry The textile industry was one of the first industries to come into India. India’s textile industry is the 2nd largest in the world. Textile is a fabric that has been woven. In India the textile industry is the most important in the world. Another important industry is mining. Coal is the main item India mines. Another important mining item is iron, but coal is the most important in their industry world. India also has an industry in car building. They build their cars for people all over the world. India also wants to have good cars to drive so they also make it for you.
Business India has always been the most desired call center area, because call centers in India offer advantages that other countries don’t. India has been able to meet the international demand for call centers by providing cost-effective services and customer-oriented services. India’s type of money is called a rupee. In India everything is bought with rupees. 95% of India’s businesses are family-run. Family businesses in India started in the 1890’s. These businesses started mainly because of the freedom movement, in protest to buying British trade. Trade
India’s main trading partners are China and the United States of America. India’s main exports are petroleum products, textile goods, gems, jewelry, engineering goods, chemicals, and leather manufactures. India’s main imports are crude oil, machinery, gems, fertilizer, and chemicals. Types of Transportation
Trains are one of the most important ways Indians get around. India has a very large and complex railway system. Each train has cars according to different classes. Buses are another way to travel in India. Buses are usually very crowded. They are so crowded many people ride on top of the buses to have room. India also has airways and waterways.
Culture People, Language, and Religion In India there is 72% Indo-Aryan, 25% Dravidian, and Mongoloid and other tribal groups 3%. India’s main language is Hindi. There are many other languages such as Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, etc. Also most Indians speak English, because of the British peoples influence. India is 80.5% Hindu, 13.4% Muslim, 2.3% Christian, 1.9% Sikh, 1.8% other, and 0.1% unspecified.
Cuisine Curry is India’s main ingredient in their food. Curry is an Indian spice used in most of India food. In South India they have Dosas. Dosas look like an American omelet or pancake. They are fried on a large flat skillet and eaten when they are very hot. But, instead of being served on a plate they are served on a leaf. They call it Meal on a Leaf. In the Hindu religion they think cows are sacred so they do not eat beef.
Dress and Customs An Indian woman wears a proper dress called a sari. Saris wrap around your body tightly but are loose at the bottom so you can walk. Indians also have something called a caste system which is basically something to put people in certain classes. The lowest class is called untouchables. No other classes are aloud to make any physical contact with the untouchables, because they are considered unclean. The next class up is the servants and slaves. Next are the farmers and merchants. Next are the rulers and warriors.
Then on top are the priests. Hindu weddings are usually long and beautiful. It’s an all day affair with a party and dancing. Then by the end of the day they are finally married. If a Hindu dies they are to be cremated. After they are made into ashes they throw the ashes to the wind. To show their grief they shave their heads and wear white, the color of mourning. Indians are all supposed to bathe in the Ganges River at least once in their life; it is part of the Hindu religion.
Education When Indians are young they go to village schools. Most Indians don’t go to school. Village Schools are very small and simple. They do a lot of their learning outside because most don’t have indoor classrooms. There are 130 universities in India and more people are starting to go to college.
Music, Art, and Literature The Sitar is the most important instrument in the North. It looks like a guitar but smaller and rounded at the bottom. It is very popular in Indian music. The Vedas is the most important book in the Hindu religion. It is their scriptures and their Bible. Textiles are beautifully woven cloths. They make them in India on the streets and in factories, although, it is very expensive. Jewelry is decorative and symbolic in India. Most women wear bangles around their wrists and they where many other jewelry pieces.
Architecture Ruins dot the Indian countryside. India has some of the largest ruin sites in the world. There are also many Mughal buildings. Mughal buildings are distinguished by the arched doorways and windows, minarets, domes, and decorations carved into the wall and covered in gemstones. The British also built many buildings in India. Science, Inventions, and Innovations
India’s greatest contribution to mathematics is probably the concept of the number zero. Also, they came up with concept of infinity. They had maps of the stars and contributed a lot to astronomy. Holidays, Sports, Entertainment, and Leisure Activities
The four major holidays in India are New Years Day, Republic Day, Independence Day, and Gandhi’s Birthday. A major sport in India is cricket. Bollywood is where all of India’s movies are made. Many people watch Bollywood movies. Many people in India like fling kites. Famous People
Gandhi Gandhi was a Hindu man who believed in a free India and peace. He was a strong and independent person. Many people believed in him. He was born in October 2, 1869. He lived his whole life fighting for his country and the people. He had a tragic death on January 30, 1948; he was shot by a Hindu fanatic. He died with pride and the assurance that his country was independent.
Nehru When Gandhi was alive Nehru was his assistant in a way. He was the first prime minister of India. He believed in making India more modern and bringing in modern technology. He contributed a lot to his country, but he died in 1964.
Indira Gandhi Indira Gandhi was the third prime minister of India. She was Nehru’s daughter. She believed in helping the rural areas and she loved helping children. She was a very popular prime minister, until things started being more costly. Then, she lost her job as prime minister, but regained her position back. Later, she was assassinated. It was a tragic death but she helped her country in many ways.
Famous Places Taj Mahal Shah Jahan had the Taj Mahal built in memory to his favorite wife. It was like her tomb or memorial. It was built in the Mughal period. It is a very complex building. It was never finished. The Taj Mahal is a very popular tourist spot and it is one of India’s most famous place to people all around the world.
The Red Fort The Red Fort was also built during the Mughal period. It was originally called the Mughal fort, but because of its red sandstone walls it was called the Red Fort. Inside of the walls are palaces, barracks, gardens, and other buildings. It is a major tourist attraction as well.
Gir National Park Gir National Park is a forest and a wildlife refuge. It was established in 1965 to protect nature and wildlife. It is one of the most protected areas in Asia because of the animals in it. It is a place for animals to roam free in their natural habitat while being protected. Many tourist can go see it but can’t disturb the animals.