At its broadest extremities, India, which occupies an area of 1,269,640 square miles, covers a fifteenth of the earth's circumference. The Indian Union, which was proclaimed a Republic on January 26, 1950, comprises 14 States and six Union territories. The country is shaped like a triangle with its base resting on the Himalayas in the North. In the extreme south, the waters of the Indian Ocean wash ceaselessly against Cape Comorin, situated at the apex. Separated from the mainland of Asia by the towering Himalayan range, which has some of the highest peaks in the world, India is bounded on three sides by the sea. From west to east she has a common frontier with West Pakistan, Turkestan, Tibet, China, Burma and East Pakistan.


India's 1.21 billion people (2011 census) constitute a seventh of the human race. The average density of population, which varies considerably from State to State, is 382 per square mile. There are 940 females for every 1,000 males. Only 27·8 per cent of the people live in cities and towns.


The great Himalayan wall effectively shuts out the strong Central Asian winds which would otherwise sweep over India. The climate, therefore, is influenced by other factors. The Tropic of Cancer passes through central India, dividing the sub-continent into two climatic zones. One should expect the north to be temperate and the south to be tropical. However, the Indian year can be broadly classified under three heads:
1. the cold season from November to February, characterized by low rainfall, except in the south-east.
2. the period March to June, hot and dry.
3. the monsoon between July and October.


India is a land of many languages. Out of a total of 845 languages or dialects, the Constitution has recognized 14 languages, namely Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Mclayalam, Oriya, Assamese, Kashmiri and Sanskrit. Hindi, with the Devnagri script, has been declared the national language. English will, however, continue to be the official language till 1965. Ninety-one per cent of the population speak one or other of the 14 languages, 3.2 per cent speak one or other of the tribal languages, and 5 per cent a dialect current among a lakh or more people. Nearly half the people speak Hindi, Urdu or Hindustani, whereas Telugu accounts for 10.2 per cent, Marathi 8.3 per cent, Tamil 8.2 per cent, Bengali 7.8 per cent, Gujarati 5.7 per cent, Kannada 4.5 per cent, Malayalam 4.1 per cent, Oriya 4 per cent and Assamese 1.5 per cent.

The constitution

On January 26, 1950, India's Constitution, the first charter of her freedom, came into force. Since then it has been amended seven times. It is a comprehensive .document comprising 397 articles and nine schedules. India is a sovereign democratic republic. She continues io be a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations by choice. Membership of the Commonwealth does not detract from India's sovereignty.

India is a secular State. Subject to public order, morality, health, etc., the people are entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to practice and propagate religion. In respect of civic rights, services and obligations, no discrimination is made on grounds of religion, race, caste or sex.

Mineral Resources

India has large deposits of important minerals. She ranks seventh among the coal-producing countries of the world and mines 70 to 80 per cent of the world's supply of mica. There are· rich reserves of high-grade iron ore as well as alloy minerals, fluxes and refractories. In addition te titanium, which is found in abundance, there are ample supplies of steatite, silica, monazite and industrial clays.


Although India is being steadily industrialized, agriculture is still the mainstay of nearly two-thirds of the population and the primary source of national wealth. Out of a total area of 811 million acres, some 315 million acres are cultivated. This works out to less than 1.3 acres per head of the agricultural population, though the average size of a holding is about 7.5 acres. Attempts have been made in recent years in almost all the States to effect a progressive consolidation of small, subdivided and scattered holdings. Much, however, remains to be done in this direction. About 32 per cent of the cultivated area in India possesses irrigation facilities.

The two outstanding features of agricultural production in India are the wide variety of crops and the preponderance of food over non-food crops. Food crops occupy about 130 per cent of the gross area sown.

There are two well-defined crop seasons, kharif and rabi. The major kharif crops are rice, jowar, bajra, maize, cotton, sugarcane, sesame and groundnut. Wheat, barley, gram, linseed, rape and mustard are the major rabi crops.


"There is no country", says Professor F. W. Thomas, where the love of learning has so early an origin or has exercised so lasting and powerful an influence." In ancient India education was fostered by the State and its influence was widespread. There existed a network of educational institutions, hermitage schools, monasteries, guild schools, academies and Universities. The Universities of Taxila, Nalanda, Kanchi, Madura, Vikramasila, Odantapuri, Nadia and Banaras were famous seats of learning.

According to the 2011 census, 74.04% of the Indian people were literate. Among males, 82.14% are literate, while 65.46% of females are literate. The youth literacy rate is 8% higher than adult literacy rate. The Constitution requires the State to make an effort to provide free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14.


Ranging from austere fasts to exuberant fairs, the festivals of India are as varied and colourful as its people. Hinduism, Islam and Christianity are the three most widely professed religions, and since each has its own. particular observances and celebrations, the total number of festivals is very large. Among the Hindus alone, there are about 70. Only a few, however, are widely observed. Hindu festivals are of four kinds" the festivals proper, vratas (fasts), jayantis (birthdays) and melas (fairs). As a rule, they commemorate events of moral and spiritual significance in the lives of the gods and goddesses of mythology as well as legendary heroes and heroines. Also, certain positions and conjunctions of the planets give certain days a sacred character, e.g., the Puranmashi Vrata (Fast of the Full Moon), which comes once a month. The more important Hindu festivals are Diwali, Basant Panchami, Rakshabandhan, Dusserah and Holi.


The largest transport provider in India is the Indian Railways, employing 1.3 million people. It is the largest civilian employer in the world. Transporting 23 million Indians in 12,500 trains every day, the Indian railways has the fourth largest network in the world with 60,000 kilometer. The yearly expenditure for the railways comes to around 25 billion dollars a year. However, the railways are notorious for inefficiency and lack of co-ordination, and have been hobbled for years due to lack of investment and growth.

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