India - In a Nutshell

Author: Sue Rogers
Date: 25th January 2018

India - Snippets of Information

  • India is projected to be the country with the largest population in the world towards the end of the next decade. It's estimated population in 2018 was 1,400,000,000
  • India is the world’s largest democracy.
  • India has three of the largest cities in the world: Delhi, Mumbai (Bombay) and Kolkata (Calcutta). According to the UN, Delhi is now the second-largest urban agglomeration in the world with over 22.65 million people; it is only surpassed by Tokyo. Mumbai is ranked seventh and Calcutta tenth.
  • India has more linguistic diversity than any other large country. There are over 1,000 languages, but many overlap and are hard to define. Official languages are Hindi and English.
  • India has the second (or third) highest population of Muslims in the world. Even though less than 15% of Indians are Muslim, the country's enormous population means that by this measure it outranks all Muslim-majority countries, except Indonesia and possibly Pakistan. (There are almost exactly the same numbers of Muslims in Pakistan as in India).
  • The majority religion in India is Hinduism (79%). Minority relions include Christianity, (2.3%) Sikhism, (1.7% ) Buddhism ().7% ) and to Jainism. (0.4% )
  • India was once an island. It broke off from an ancient supercontinent referred to as Gondwanaland by paleogeographers (named after Gondwana, a forested area of central India), and moved slowly northwards. from modern day Madagascar, to join Asia.
  • Bollywood, the film industry of Mumbai, produces about 200 films a year. However, more than 1,100 movies are produced, on average, each year overall in India - that's slightly ahead of Nigeria, twice as many as the American film industry and ten times as many as Britain produces.

Who Colonised India?

  • India is home to one of the oldest civilisations in the world. From the traces of hominoid activity discovered in the subcontinent, it is recognised that the area now known as India was inhabited approximately 250,000 years ago
  • The Dutch Republic, England, France, and Denmark-Norway all established trading posts in India in the early 17th century. As the Mughal Empire disintegrated in the early 18th century many relatively weak and unstable Indian states which emerged were increasingly open to manipulation by the Europeans, through dependent Indian rulers.
  • In the later 18th century Great Britain and France struggled for dominance, partly through proxy Indian rulers but also by direct military intervention. The defeat of the formidable Indian ruler Tipu Sultan in 1799 marginalised the French influence. This was followed by a rapid expansion of British power through the greater part of the Indian subcontinent in the early 19th century. By the middle of the century the British had already gained direct or indirect control over almost all of India. British India, consisting of the directly-ruled British presidencies and provinces, contained the most populous and valuable parts of the British Empire and thus became known as "the jewel in the British crown".
  • In 1947, India gained its independence and was partitioned into the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan, the latter of which was created as a homeland for colonial India's Muslims.

Is India a Poor Country?

From being a comparatively poor country at Independence in 1947, India has become a fast-growing major economy, a hub for worldwide information technology services, and plenty of call centres - labour is cheap. It has a space programme which includes several planned or completed extraterrestrial missions and s a nuclear weapons state, ranking high in military expenditure. It has ongoing and long term disputes over Kashmir with its neighbours, Pakistan and China.

Indian movies, music, and spiritual teachings play an increasing role in global culture. India has therefore substantially reduced its rate of poverty, but it still faces the challenges of gender inequality, child malnutrition, and rising levels of air pollution. The extreme poverty rate in India is now down to 3%. but that is still nearly 50 million people.

Is India Safe to Visit?

There are more road deaths in India than any other country in the world. Officially about 115,000 people die on Indian roads each year - though a recent British Medical Journal study suggests that the true number of fatalities is closer to 200,000.

What to See and Do in India?

I have a love- hate relationship with India. It is an endlessly fascinating assault on the senses: colourful, vibrant, and wonderfully spiritual. The festivals are joyful and amazing. the landscapes temples and architecture are astonishing

The crowds and disregard for personal space are wearing, the poverty is difficult to deal with, (though numbers of people living on the streets appear to have diminished dramatically over recent years). The treatment of women as second class citizens is still a huge challenge in many places..

I have visited ten times and still only seen a small part of India’s incredible diversity.

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