Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cocktail: Movie Review

Cocktail: Movie Review

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Director: Homi Adajania

Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Diana Penty, Dimple Kapadia, Boman Irani

Synopsis: Gautam (Saif Ali Khan) is an incorrigible flirt who runs after every girl he sees. Meera (Diana Penty) is a pretty girl with desi values and attire who comes to London from Delhi for a fresh start. Veronica (Deepika Padukone) is the spoilt bombshell who loves partying and drinking. Though different from each other, these three are perfect friends staying under one roof until friendship becomes confusing and love becomes complicated afterwards.

Review: Director Homi Adjania has carved a niche for himself as an off-beat film-maker. The industry hailed laurels on his debut venture, ‘Being Cyrus’. Almost path-breaking, in terms of English language films in India. Make no mistake about it, he doesn’t mind being unconventional. Rather, he thrives on it and makes it his USP. Which is why I had some pretty high expectations from Cocktail in terms of uniqueness and out-of-the-box story telling. However, it saddened me to see the mediocrity with which the story was portrayed. Utterly predictable in some places. On the up side, there are still moments in Cocktail that stay with you even after the movie. The first half, in particular is laden with frolic filled moments. All in all, it just about manages to do justice to that ever so tricky, ‘Romantic Comedy’ genre.

Meera (Diana Penty) is an awkward and docile 23 year old who’s recovering from a hoax marriage to her husband, Kunal (Randeep Hooda). Veronica (Padukone), a wild child who lives solely for the flashing lights of a club and the kinky touch of a man’s hand touching her gyrating posterior, takes Meera under wing. Veronica has most of her conversations with the bottom of a liquor bottle and in contrast, Meera with her meekness and timidity is awkward and an absolute introvert. The two start living together and their incommensurable personalities make them forge an extremely close friendship.

Enter: Gautam Kapoor (Saif Ali Khan). A colorful Delhi lad who has a roving eye for anything with a pair of breasts. He is given full freedom to do so by his ever-encouraging and supportive mamaji (Boman Irani). Gautam tries his luck with virtually every pretty face he comes across. Much to the chagrin of Meera, who despises his vain ways and his manipulative attitude towards women. Veronica, on the other hand fancies Gautam and the two get into a casual relationship. However, the bot agree that it’s just a fling and nothing serious. Eventually, the three move in together and a rather unorthodox bond develops between them. All is hunky-dory until the old adage of ‘Two’s company, three’s a crowd’ shakes it ugly head.

Things complicate when Meera and Gautam, while masquerading as a couple to appease his eccentric Punjabi mother (Dimple Kapadia), start developing genuine feelings for each other. Veronica initially fakes a sense of security about them and reinstates that she is more than happy about the two of them commencing a relationship. However, the following night, in her drunken stupor she comes out with all the venomous insecurity she harbors deep within her. Things go downhill from there and the three are pushed to live separately.

The thing that bothers me most about romantic comedies is that they seem to endorse this fake sense of flowery love. At least, the director doesn’t do that in Cocktail. Every scene is raw and true to life. There are a lot of relatable circumstances that are handled rather realistically. This is one of the plus points of the flick. The ending however, is a tad bit shoddy and leaves you with a ‘This is so cliche’ mindset. However, we have to remember that Imtiaz Ali is the writer. More so, there’s not much that can be asked of the director when you have a veteran like Ali penning the climax.

In terms of the look of the film, Cocktail certainly is an impressive watch. The intimate depiction of London and the serene locales of Cape Town are indeed a treat. Add to that, the brilliant cinematography, which for my money was top notch. Special mention to the parting scene between Meera and Veronica through the peephole of the door. Very tastefully done, Mr. Anil Mehta.

The music is extremely peppy. I especially loved the opening credit sequence. The Punjabi tracks are upbeat and really add to the feel of the club scenes. However, I do have my doubts about clubs in London playing exclusively Punjabi music. Every night! Regardless, Pritam delivers yet again and the album is rampant with chartbusters.
Saif Ali Khan is astute in his portrayal of Gautam. He finds a balance between characterless jerk and charming loverboy. Plus, he’s worked with Adjania before and it’s his own production house, which really eases the actor’s pressure. This is visible on screen and he reestablishes himself as one of the more versatile actors of our generation. Diana Penty makes a lucrative debut. She is easy on the eyes and plays the traditional Indian girl effortlessly. She shines in some scenes but I found myself wanting her to emote more in most others. All in all, she’s set the platform for her Bollywood career and folk are sure going to take notice.

Deepika Padukone however, steals the show. I was blown away by her performance and would rate it as one of her best, if not the best. Her portrayal of an impulsive and free-spirited diva who in reality, is a crumbling mess deep inside, must have taken a lot of effort. And it certainly pays off since she pulls it off with élan. She bares her soul(not to mention, her body) as a performer and really makes a connect with the audience. The anguish, the turmoil and the disturbing disguise of being strong willed to hide her troubled upbringing; She delivers phenomenally well in every emotional scene.

Boman Irani is funny in his limited screen time. He manages a few chuckles in the first half. Dimple Kapadia is delightful as the Punjabi mother harassed with her son’s unsteady ways. The scenes with both her and Irani are especially hilarious. Randeep Hooda is fairly good in his cameo. However, his character is not given any depth and is confusing to the audience since he looks vagrant in some scenes and then has a house in the second half.

To cut it down, Cocktail is a fun watch till the first half but becomes a drag in the second. Though it isn’t a humdrum affair and has it’s plus points, it does leave you a tad bit disappointed. The multiplex audiences might enjoy it but then again, it’s not something they haven’t seen before.

Verdict: Even though it doesn’t fully manage to get you in high spirits, This cocktail still has a lot of fun ingredients. 

Avi Aggarwal

Bol Bachchan: Movie Review

Bol Bachchan: Movie Review

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Director: Rohit Shetty
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan,  Asin, Prachi Desai, Ajay Devgan, Asrani, Archana Puran Singh
Synopsis: Abbas Ali (Abhishek Bachchan) lives in Karol Bagh, New Delhi withhissister Sania (Asin Thottumkal). They are legally fighting for their ancestral property but the odds turn against them and they lose. Their well wisher, Shastri Chacha, advises and convinces them to migrate to his village Ranakpur. He assures Abbas that he will get him a job at his owner`s place, the owner being none other than the powerful Prithviraj Raghuvanshi (Ajay Devgn). 
But an incident occurs which compels Abbas to cook up a lie. From here starts a series of cover-ups, goof-ups and comic situations where to cover one lie, Abbas starts padding up with a bigger lie.
Review: Rohit Shetty has come a long way since directingZameen in 2003. He’s proved his versatility with great panache in both comedy and action. Moviegoers are now well acquainted with his classic over-the-top car pile ups and uncanny slapstick routines. There’s no questioning the fact that he sets the cash registers ringing with blockbusters like Singham and the Golmaal franchise under his belt. The Devgn-Shetty partnership has given him the title as being one of the few ‘paisa- vasool’ directors of our time. Not to mention, it revived an otherwise intensely typecast career of one, Mr. Ajay Devgn. However, Bol Bachchan still had an awkward whisper going around when it’s trailer would go up during intervals. The average cynic who considered Shetty’s formulas as tried, tested and on the way to wash out. So does he manage to silence those few who still doubted his credibility as a director with this outing? Simply put, he almost converts them into ardent fans.
I personally believe that we’ve seen a slump when it comes to good comedies recently. May be the genre isn’t lucrative anymore or the audience has gotten way too used to outbursts of humor on their phones and instant messengers. Regardless, in today’s times, making people laugh is serious business. Thankfully, Mr. Shetty takes his job very seriously.
Abhishek Bachchan portrays Abbas Ali. A young, middle-class orphan who’s down in the dumps in terms of financial stability. His sister, Saniya Ali (Asin) is the silent and more rational type. Shastri (Asrani), they’re godfather of sorts, shows them a ray of light in the form of job opportunities in his village. He speaks of a rich and powerful yet fair and just leader of the village (Ajay Devgn). The siblings happily move there with starry eyed aspirations of getting both financial security and easy jobs. What transpires further, is a joyride of twists, turns and an unimaginably hilarious sequence of events.
Bol Bachchan is light-hearted, warm and astonishingly intelligent in parts. The first 25 minutes aren’t well executed but the parts post that, and especially the ones in the second half are what make this worth a watch. I found myself laughing in an embarrassingly uproarious manner post interval. The only solace was that I wasn’t the only one in a packed preview theatre who felt that way. I had an entire auditorium echoing my jovial sentiment.
Ajay Devgn steals the show with his admirable portrayal of Prithviraj, the naïve yet no-nonsense village head. His obsession with speaking English, coupled with his inability to speak it without making a debacle of the sentence, make for the majority of comedy. The double meaning vocabulary errors are indeed ROFL material. Abhishek Bachchan comes into his own after a series of below par performances. He shines brightly in the homo-erotic sequences, in particular. The director certainly cashes in on his Dostana exploits. In all fairness though, it’s no cake walk to match the comedic brilliance of a veteran like Devgn. AB Jr., however holds his own and that’s more than reasonable testament to his ability as a bankable actor. More so, his chemistry with Prachi Desai is endearing as well.
The leading ladies are given little to no scope to exhibit their talents. No surprise there, since the script is mainly dominated by the male leads and other supporting characters. It must be said though, that Prachi Desai portrays the stubborn little sister with poise. And on a side note, Asin makes the best out of whatever limited screen time she’s given.
The supporting characters, although repetitive and annoying in some scenarios, go on to play their part effectively. Krushna Abhishek is as annoying as he is on the obnoxious TV skits he attributes his fame to. That’s pretty much the best and worst that can be said about his over-zealous performance. Archana Puransingh is believable. Asrani provides the desired chuckles and lives up to the standard expected of him after a lifetime in the industry. The obese man who plays one of Ajay Devgn’s goons is worth a mention for his effortless comedic talent.
The cinematography is unique. The music however, is lack luster. The Himesh Reshamiya sung track, in particular. It could very well prove to be the last nail in the almost sealed coffin that is his career. Though the opening track adds a certain spark with Amitabh Bachchan’s exuberant charm. The action sequences look like the ones Shetty wanted to use in the Singham sequel. As exaggerated as they come.
All in all, Bol Bachchan is everything you expect out of a Rohit Shetty film. It leaves you with a feeling of Bollywood patriotism while wondering whether or not he owns a warehouse of Mahendra Scorpios. Give this one a watch if you’re looking for some genuine comedy. It’s way better than the recent, gimmicky nonsense on Indian celluloid.
Verdict: Shetty-Devgn combo delivers again. Most enjoyable comedy of the year.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Samsung Galaxy 750 vs Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1


Samsung Galaxy 750

Samsung Galaxy 750
 30,000 onwards

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 (GT-P5100)
 32,990 onwards

Average User Rating
Average User Rating
Screen Size (Inches)10.110.1
Screen Resolution (pixels)1280 x 8001280 x 800
Screen TypeWXGAPLS TFT LCD capacitive touchscreen
Internal Storage16GB16GB, 1GB RAM
External Memory TypeMicro SD
Upgradeable Upto32GB
Video resolution / frame rate1920 x 1080 / 30fps1280 x 720 / 30fps
Front facing camera2MP0.3MP
Integrated FlashAdobe Flash
Audio connector3.5mm3.5mm
3GHSPA 21Mbps 850/900/1900/2100
Bluetooth (Version)v3.0V3.0
WiFi (802.11b/g/n)802.11 a/b/g/n802.11 b/g/n
ProcessorDual CoreDual Core
Speed1GHz1.0 GHz
Capacity6800 mAh7000 mAh
Standby Time2120 (2G), 1840h (3G)Up to 2398 hrs (2G), 2158 hrs (3G)
Dimensions (H x W x D)256.6 x 172.9 x 8.6 mm256.7 x 9.7 x 175.3 mm
Weight (g)595583
Miscellaneous Features
Bundled AppsGoogle+
- Search
- Voice Search
- Gmail
- Map
- Calendar
- Navigation
- Latitude
- Places
- Google Talk
- YouTube
- Online Widget
- Exchange Active Sync
- Google Play
- Samsung Apps
- Android Browser
Other FeaturesPush Email, Accelerometer, Ambient Light, Gyroscope, E-compassGeo-Tagging, Memo, Offline Mode, Document Viewer, Place, ChatON Messenger, To do list, Clock, Alarm, Calculator, vCard / vCalendar, Predictive Text
After Sales Service
Warranty1 Year

Monday, July 23, 2012


India, officially the Republic of India (Bhārat Gaṇarājya),[c] is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largestcountry by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west;[d] ChinaNepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Burma and Bangladesh to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; in addition, India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.
Home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history.[8] Four of the world's major religions—Hinduism,BuddhismJainism, and Sikhism—originated here, whereas ZoroastrianismChristianity, and Islam arrived in the 1st millennium CEand also helped shape the region's diverse culture. Gradually annexed by and brought under the administration of the British East India Company from the early 18th century and administered directly by the United Kingdom from the mid-19th century, India became an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by non-violent resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi.
The Indian economy is the world's eleventh-largest by nominal GDP and third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). Followingmarket-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies; it is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of povertyilliteracycorruption, and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and a regional power, it has the third-largest standing army in the world and ranks ninth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal constitutional republic governed under a parliamentary system consisting of 28 states and 7 union territories. India is a pluralistic, multilingual, and multiethnic society. It is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety ofprotected habitats.
Republic of India
Bhārat Gaṇarājya
Horizontal tricolour flag bearing, from top to bottom, deep saffron, white, and green horizontal bands. In the centre of the white band is a navy-blue wheel with 24 spokes.Three lions facing left, right, and toward viewer, atop a frieze containing a galloping horse, a 24-spoke wheel, and an elephant. Underneath is a motto: "सत्यमेव जयते".
"Satyameva Jayate" (Sanskrit)
   "Truth Alone Triumphs"[1]
Jana Gana Mana instrumental.ogg

Jana Gana Mana
   "Thou Art the Ruler of the Minds of All People"[2]
National song:
Vande Mataram.ogg

Vande Mataram
        "I Bow to Thee, Mother"[a][1]
Image of a globe centred on India, with India highlighted.
Area controlled by India is in dark green.
Claimed but uncontrolled regions are in light green.
CapitalNew Delhi
28°36.8′N 77°12.5′E
Largest cityMumbai
Official language(s)
Recognised regional languages
National language(s)none[3]
GovernmentFederal parliamentary
constitutional republic[1]
 - PresidentPratibha Patil
 - Prime MinisterManmohan Singh
 - President-electPranab Mukherjee
LegislatureParliament of India
 - Upper houseRajya Sabha
 - Lower houseLok Sabha
Independencefrom the United Kingdom 
 - Dominion15 August 1947 
 - Republic26 January 1950 
 - Total3,287,263 km2 [b](7th)
1,269,219 sq mi 
 - Water (%)9.56
 - 2011 census1,210,193,422[4] (2nd)
 - Density369.5/km2 (31st)
957/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2011 estimate
 - Total$4.457 trillion[5] (3rd)
 - Per capita$3,693[5] (129th)
GDP (nominal)2011 estimate
 - Total$1.676 trillion[5] (11th)
 - Per capita$1,388[5] (140th)
Gini (2004)36.8[6] (79th)
HDI (2011)increase0.547[7] (medium) (134th)
CurrencyIndian rupee (INR) (INR)
Time zoneIST (UTC+05:30)
 - Summer (DST)not observed (UTC+05:30)
Date formatsdd-mm-yyyy (AD)
Drives on theleft
ISO 3166 codeIN
Internet TLD.in
Calling code91


The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindu. The latter term stems from the Sanskritword Sindhu, which was the historical local appellation for the Indus River.[9] The ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi(Ινδοί), which translates as "the people of the Indus".[10] The geographical term Bharat (pronounced [ˈbʱaːrət̪] ( listen)), which is recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in various subtle guises.[11] The eponym of Bharat is Bharata, a mythological figure that Hindu scriptures describe as a legendary emperor of ancient India. Hindustan ([ɦɪnd̪ʊˈst̪aːn] ( listen)) was originally a Persian word that meant "Land of the Hindus"; prior to 1947, it referred to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan. It is occasionally used to solely denote India in its entirety.[12][13]


Ancient India

The earliest anatomically modern human remains found in South Asia date from approximately 30,000 years ago.[14] Nearly contemporaneous Mesolithic rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh.[15] Around 7000 BCE, the first known Neolithic settlements appeared on the subcontinent inMehrgarh and other sites in western Pakistan.[16] These gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation,[17] the first urban culture in South Asia;[18] it flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in Pakistan and western India.[19] Centred around cities such asMohenjo-daroHarappaDholavira, and Kalibangan, and relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilisation engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade.[18]
Damaged brown painting of a reclining man and woman.
Paintings at the Ajanta Cavesin AurangabadMaharashtra, 6th century
During the period 2000–500 BCE, in terms of culture, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic to the Iron Age.[20] The Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism,[21] were composed during this period,[22] and historians have analysed these to posit aVedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.[20] Most historians also consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west.[23][21][24] The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests, warriors, and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period.[25] On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation.[20] In southern India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period,[26]as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, and craft traditions.[26]
In the late Vedic period, around the 5th century BCE, the small chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas.[27][28] The emerging urbanisation and the orthodoxies of this age also created the religious reform movements of Buddhism and Jainism,[29] both of which became independent religions.[30] Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddhaattracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle class; chronicling the life of the Buddha was central to the beginnings of recorded history in India.[29][31][32] Jainism came into prominence around the same time during the life of its exemplar, Mahavira.[33] In an age of increasing urban wealth, both religions held up renunciation as an ideal,[34] and both established long-lasting monasteries.[27] Politically, by the 3rd century BCE, the kingdom of Magadha had annexed or reduced other states to emerge as the Mauryan Empire.[27] The empire was once thought to have controlled most of the subcontinent excepting the far south, but its core regions are now thought to have been separated by large autonomous areas.[35][36] The Mauryan kings are known as much for their empire-building and determined management of public life as for Ashoka's renunciation of militarism and far-flung advocacy of the Buddhist dhamma.[37][38]
The Sangam literature of the Tamil language reveals that, between 200 BCE and 200 CE, the southern peninsula was being ruled by the Cheras, the Cholas, and the Pandyas, dynasties that traded extensively with the Roman Empire and with West and South-East Asia.[39][40] In North India, Hinduism asserted patriarchal control within the family, leading to increased subordination of women.[41][27] By the 4th and 5th centuries, the Gupta Empire had created in the greater Ganges Plain a complex system of administration and taxation that became a model for later Indian kingdoms.[42][43] Under the Guptas, a renewed Hinduism based on devotion rather than the management of ritual began to assert itself.[44] The renewal was reflected in a flowering of sculpture and architecture, which found patrons among an urban elite.[43] Classical Sanskrit literature flowered as well, andIndian scienceastronomymedicine, and mathematics made significant advances.[43]

Medieval India

The granite tower ofBrihadeeswarar Temple inThanjavur was completed in 1010 CE by Raja Raja Chola I.
The Indian early medieval age, 600 CE to 1200 CE, is defined by regional kingdoms and cultural diversity.[45] When Harsha of Kannauj, who ruled much of the Indo-Gangetic Plain from 606 to 647 CE, attempted to expand southwards, he was defeated by the Chalukya ruler of the Deccan.[46]When his successor attempted to expand eastwards, he was defeated by the Pala king of Bengal.[46] When the Chalukyas attempted to expand southwards, they were defeated by the Pallavas from farther south, who in turn were opposed by the Pandyas and the Cholas from still farther south.[46] No ruler of this period was able to create an empire and consistently control lands much beyond his core region.[45] During this time, pastoral peoples whose land had been cleared to make way for the growing agricultural economy were accommodated within caste society, as were new non-traditional ruling classes.[47] The caste system consequently began to show regional differences.[47]
In the 6th and 7th centuries, the first devotional hymns were created in the Tamil language.[48] They were imitated all over India and led to both the resurgence of Hinduism and the development of all modern languages of the subcontinent.[48] Indian royalty, big and small, and the temples they patronised, drew citizens in great numbers to the capital cities, which became economic hubs as well.[49] Temple towns of various sizes began to appear everywhere as India underwent another urbanisation.[49] By the 8th and 9th centuries, the effects were felt in South-East Asia, as South Indian culture and political systems were exported to lands that became part of modern-day ThailandLaosCambodiaVietnamMalaysia, andJava.[50] Indian merchants, scholars, and sometimes armies were involved in this transmission; South-East Asians took the initiative as well, with many sojourning in Indian seminaries and translating Buddhist and Hindu texts into their languages.[50]
After the 10th century, Muslim Central Asian nomadic clans, using swift-horse cavalry and raising vast armies united by ethnicity and religion, repeatedly overran South Asia's north-western plains, leading eventually to the establishment of the Islamic Delhi Sultanate in 1206.[51] The sultanate was to control much of North India, and to make many forays into South India. Although at first disruptive for the Indian elites, the sultanate largely left its vast non-Muslim subject population to its own laws and customs.[52][53] By repeatedly repulsing Mongol raiders in the 13th century, the sultanate saved India from the devastation visited on West and Central Asia, setting the scene for centuries of migration of fleeing soldiers, learned men, mystics, traders, artists, and artisans from that region into the subcontinent, thereby creating a syncretic Indo-Islamic culture in the north.[54][55] The sultanate's raiding and weakening of the regional kingdoms of South India paved the way for the indigenous Vijayanagara Empire.[56] Embracing a strong Shaivite tradition and building upon the military technology of the sultanate, the empire came to control much of peninsular India,[57] and was to influence South Indian society for long afterwards.[56]

Early modern India

Scribes and artists in the Mughal court, 1590–1595
In the early 16th century, northern India, being then under mainly Muslim rulers,[58] fell again to the superior mobility and firepower of a new generation of Central Asian warriors.[59] The resulting Mughal Empire did not stamp out the local societies it came to rule, but rather balanced and pacified them through new administrative practices[60][61] and diverse and inclusive ruling elites,[62] leading to more systematic, centralised, and uniform rule.[63] Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic identity, especially under Akbar, the Mughals united their far-flung realms through loyalty, expressed through a Persianised culture, to an emperor who had near-divine status.[62] The Mughal state's economic policies, deriving most revenues from agriculture[64] and mandating that taxes be paid in the well-regulated silver currency,[65] caused peasants and artisans to enter larger markets.[63] The relative peace maintained by the empire during much of the 17th century was a factor in India's economic expansion,[63]resulting in greater patronage of painting, literary forms, textiles, and architecture.[66] Newly coherent social groups in northern and western India, such as the Marathas, the Rajputs, and the Sikhs, gained military and governing ambitions during Mughal rule, which, through collaboration or adversity, gave them both recognition and military experience.[67] Expanding commerce during Mughal rule gave rise to new Indian commercial and political elites along the coasts of southern and eastern India.[67] As the empire disintegrated, many among these elites were able to seek and control their own affairs.[68]
By the early 18th century, with the lines between commercial and political dominance being increasingly blurred, a number of European trading companies, including the English East India Company, had established coastal outposts.[69][70] The East India Company's control of the seas, greater resources, and more advanced military training and technology led it to increasingly flex its military muscle and caused it to become attractive to a portion of the Indian elite; both these factors were crucial in allowing the Company to gain control over the Bengal region by 1765 and sideline the other European companies.[71][69][72][73] Its further access to the riches of Bengal and the subsequent increased strength and size of its army enabled it to annex or subdue most of India by the 1820s.[74] India was now no longer exporting manufactured goods as it long had, but was instead supplying the British empire with raw materials, and many historians consider this to be the onset of India's colonial period.[69] By this time, with its economic power severely curtailed by the British parliament and itself effectively made an arm of British administration, the Company began to more consciously enter non-economic arenas such as education, social reform, and culture.[75]

Modern India

The British Indian Empire, from the 1909 edition of The Imperial Gazetteer of India. Areas directly governed by the British are shaded pink; the princely states under British suzerainty are in yellow.
Historians consider India's modern age to have begun sometime between 1848 and 1885. The appointment in 1848 of Lord Dalhousie as Governor General of the East India Company rule in India set the stage for changes essential to a modern state. These included the consolidation and demarcation of sovereignty, the surveillance of the population, and the education of citizens. Technological changes—among them, railways, canals, and the telegraph—were introduced not long after their introduction in Europe.[76][77][78][79] However, disaffection with the Company also grew during this time, and set off the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Fed by diverse resentments and perceptions, including invasive British-style social reforms, harsh land taxes, and summary treatment of some rich landowners and princes, the rebellion rocked many regions of northern and central India and shook the foundations of Company rule.[80][81] Although the rebellion was suppressed by 1858, it led to the dissolution of the East India Company and to the direct administration of India by the British government. Proclaiming a unitary state and a gradual but limited British-style parliamentary system, the new rulers also protected princes and landed gentry as a feudal safeguard against future unrest.[82][83] In the decades following, public life gradually emerged all over India, leading eventually to the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885.[84][85][86][87]
Two smiling men in robes sitting on the ground with bodies facing the viewer and with heads turned toward each other. The younger wears a white Nehru cap; the elder is bald and wears glasses. A half-dozen other people are in the background.
Jawaharlal Nehru (left) became India's first prime minister in 1947. Mahatma Gandhi(right) led the independence movement.
The rush of technology and the commercialisation of agriculture in the second half of the 19th century was marked by economic setbacks—many small farmers became dependent on the whims of far-away markets.[88] There was an increase in the number of large-scale famines,[89]and, despite the risks of infrastructure development borne by Indian taxpayers, little industrial employment was generated for Indians.[90] There were also salutary effects: commercial cropping, especially in the newly canalled Punjab, led to increased food production for internal consumption.[91] The railway network provided critical famine relief,[92] notably reduced the cost of moving goods,[92] and helped nascent Indian-owned industry.[91] After World War I, in which some one million Indians served,[93] a new period began. It was marked by British reforms but also repressive legislation, by more strident Indian calls for self-rule, and by the beginnings of a non-violent movement of non-cooperation, of which Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would become the leader and enduring symbol.[94] During the 1930s, slow legislative reform was enacted by the British; the Indian National Congress won victories in the resulting elections.[95] The next decade was beset with crises: Indian participation in World War II, the Congress's final push for non-cooperation, and an upsurge of Muslim nationalism. All were capped by the advent of independence in 1947, but tempered by the bloody partition of the subcontinent into two states: India and Pakistan.[96]
Vital to India's self-image as an independent nation was its constitution, completed in 1950, which put in place a sovereign, secular, and democratic republic.[97] In the 60 years since, India has had a mixed bag of successes and failures.[98] It has remained a democracy with civil liberties, an activist Supreme Court, and a largely independent press.[98]Economic liberalisation, which was begun in the 1990s, has created a large urban middle class, transformed India into one of the world's fastest-growing economies,[99] and increased its geopolitical clout. Indian movies, music, and spiritual teachings play an increasing role in global culture.[98] Yet, India has also been weighed down by seemingly unyielding poverty, both rural and urban;[98] by religious and caste-related violence;[100] by Maoist-inspired Naxalite insurgencies;[101] and by separatism in Jammu and Kashmir.[102] It has unresolved territorial disputes with China, which escalated into the Sino-Indian War of 1962;[103] and with Pakistan, which flared into wars fought in 19471965,1971, and 1999.[103] The India–Pakistan nuclear rivalry came to a head in 1998.[104] India's sustained democratic freedoms are unique among the world's new nations; however, in spite of its recent economic successes, freedom from want for its disadvantaged population remains a goal yet to be achieved.[105]


Map of India. Most of India is yellow (elevation 100–1000 m). Some areas in the south and mid-east are brown (above 1000 m). Major river valleys are green (below 100 m).
A topographic map of India
India comprises the bulk of the Indian subcontinent and lies atop the minor Indian tectonic plate, which in turn belongs to the Indo-Australian Plate.[106] India's defining geological processes commenced 75 million years ago when the Indian subcontinent, then part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, began a north-eastward drift across the then-unformed Indian Ocean that lasted fifty million years.[106] The subcontinent's subsequent collision with, and subduction under, the Eurasian Plate bore aloft the planet's highest mountains, the Himalayas. They abut India in the north and the north-east.[106] In the former seabed immediately south of the emerging Himalayas, plate movement created a vast trough that has gradually filled with river-borne sediment;[107] it now forms the Indo-Gangetic Plain.[108] To the west lies the Thar Desert, which is cut off by the Aravalli Range.[109]
The original Indian plate survives as peninsular India, which is the oldest and geologically most stable part of India; it extends as far north as the Satpura and Vindhya ranges in central India. These parallel chains run from the Arabian Sea coast in Gujarat in the west to the coal-rich Chota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand in the east.[110] To the south, the remaining peninsular landmass, the Deccan Plateau, is flanked on the west and east by coastal ranges known as the Western and Eastern Ghats;[111] the plateau contains the nation's oldest rock formations, some of them over one billion years old. Constituted in such fashion, India lies to the north of the equator between 6° 44' and 35° 30' north latitude[e] and 68° 7' and 97° 25' east longitude.[112]
A shining white snow-clad range, framed against a turquoise sky. In the middle ground, a ridge descends from the right to form a saddle in the centre of the photograph, partly in shadow. In the near foreground, a loop of a road is seen.
The Kedar Range of the Greater Himalayas rises behindKedarnath Temple, which is one of the twelve jyotirlinga shrines.
India's coastline measures 7,517 kilometres (4,700 mi) in length; of this distance, 5,423 kilometres (3,400 mi) belong to peninsular India and 2,094 kilometres (1,300 mi) to the Andaman, Nicobar, and Lakshadweep island chains.[113] According to the Indian naval hydrographic charts, the mainland coastline consists of the following: 43% sandy beaches; 11% rocky shores, including cliffs; and 46% mudflats or marshy shores.[113]
Major Himalayan-origin rivers that substantially flow through India include the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, both of which drain into the Bay of Bengal.[114] Important tributaries of the Ganges include the Yamuna and the Kosi; the latter's extremely low gradient often leads to severe floods and course changes.[115] Major peninsular rivers, whose steeper gradients prevent their waters from flooding, include the Godavari, the Mahanadi, the Kaveri, and the Krishna, which also drain into the Bay of Bengal;[116] and the Narmada and the Tapti, which drain into the Arabian Sea.[117]Coastal features include the marshy Rann of Kutch of western India and the alluvial Sundarbans delta of eastern India; the latter is shared with Bangladesh.[118] India has two archipelagos: the Lakshadweep, coral atolls off India's south-western coast; and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a volcanic chain in the Andaman Sea.[119]
The Indian climate is strongly influenced by the Himalayas and the Thar Desert, both of which drive the economically and culturally pivotal summer and winter monsoons.[120] The Himalayas prevent cold Central Asian katabatic winds from blowing in, keeping the bulk of the Indian subcontinent warmer than most locations at similar latitudes.[121][122] The Thar Desert plays a crucial role in attracting the moisture-laden south-west summer monsoon winds that, between June and October, provide the majority of India's rainfall.[120] Four major climatic groupings predominate in India: tropical wettropical drysubtropical humid, and montane.[123]


The brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) is identified with Garuda, the mythical mount ofVishnu. It hunts for fish and other prey near the coasts and around inland wetlands.
India lies within the Indomalaya ecozone and contains three biodiversity hotspots.[124] One of 17 megadiverse countries, it hosts 8.6% of all mammalian, 13.7% of all avian, 7.9% of all reptilian, 6% of all amphibian, 12.2% of all piscine, and 6.0% of all flowering plant species.[125][126] Endemism is high among plants, 33%, and among ecoregions such as the shola forests.[127] Habitat ranges from thetropical rainforest of the Andaman IslandsWestern Ghats, and North-East India to the coniferous forest of the Himalaya. Between these extremes lie the moist deciduous sal forest of eastern India; the dry deciduous teak forest of central and southern India; and the babul-dominated thorn forest of the central Deccan and western Gangetic plain.[128] Under 12% of India's landmass bears thick jungle.[129] The medicinal neem, widely used in rural Indian herbal remedies, is a key Indian tree. The luxuriant pipal fig tree, shown on the seals ofMohenjo-daro, shaded Gautama Buddha as he sought enlightenment.
Shola highlands are found inKudremukh National Park, which is part of the Western Ghats.
Many Indian species descend from taxa originating in Gondwana, from which the Indian plate separated more than 105 million years before present.[130] Peninsular India's subsequent movement towards and collision with the Laurasian landmass set off a mass exchange of species. Epochal volcanism and climatic changes 20 million years ago forced a mass extinction.[131] Mammals then entered India from Asia through two zoogeographical passes flanking the rising Himalaya.[128] Thus, while 45.8% of reptiles and 55.8% of amphibians are endemic, only 12.6% of mammals and 4.5% of birds are.[126]Among them are the Nilgiri leaf monkey and Beddome's toad of the Western Ghats. India contains 172 IUCN-designated threatened species, or 2.9% of endangered forms.[132] These include the Asiatic lion, the Bengal tiger, and the Indian white-rumped vulture, which, by ingesting the carrion of diclofenac-laced cattle, nearly went extinct.
The pervasive and ecologically devastating human encroachment of recent decades has critically endangered Indian wildlife. In response the system of national parks and protected areas, first established in 1935, was substantially expanded. In 1972, India enacted the Wildlife Protection Act[133] and Project Tiger to safeguard crucial wilderness; the Forest Conservation Act was enacted in 1980 and amendments added in 1988.[134] India hosts more than five hundred wildlife sanctuaries and thirteen biosphere reserves,[135] four of which are part of the World Network of Biosphere Reservestwenty-five wetlands are registered under the Ramsar Convention.[136]


A parliamentary joint session is held in the Sansad Bhavan.
India is the world's most populous democracy.[137] A parliamentary republic with a multi-party system,[138] it has six recognised national parties, including the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and more than 40 regional parties.[139] The Congress is considered centre-left or "liberal" in Indian political culture, and the BJP centre-right or "conservative". For most of the period between 1950—when India first became a republic—and the late 1980s, the Congress held a majority in the parliament. Since then, however, it has increasingly shared the political stage with the BJP,[140] as well as with powerful regional parties which have often forced the creation of multi-party coalitions at the centre.[141]
In the Republic of India's first three general elections, in 1951, 1957, and 1962, the Jawaharlal Nehru-led Congress won easy victories. On Nehru's death in 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri briefly became prime minister; he was succeeded, after his own unexpected death in 1966, by Indira Gandhi, who went on to lead the Congress to election victories in 1967 and 1971. Following public discontent with the state of emergency she declared in 1975, the Congress was voted out of power in 1977; the then-new Janata Party, which had opposed the emergency, was voted in. Its government lasted just over three years. Voted back into power in 1980, the Congress saw a change in leadership in 1984, when Indira Gandhi was assassinated; she was succeeded by her son Rajiv Gandhi, who won an easy victory in the general elections later that year. The Congress was voted out again in 1989 when a National Front coalition, led by the newly formed Janata Dal in alliance with the Left Front, won the elections; that government too proved relatively short-lived: it lasted just under two years.[142] Elections were held again in 1991; no party won an absolute majority. But the Congress, as the largest single party, was able to form a minority government led by P. V. Narasimha Rao.[143]
A two-year period of political turmoil followed the general election of 1996. Several short-lived alliances shared power at the centre. The BJP formed a government briefly in 1996; it was followed by two comparatively long-lasting United Front coalitions, which depended on external support. In 1998, the BJP was able to form a successful coalition, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the NDA became the first non-Congress, coalition government to complete a five-year term.[144] In the 2004 Indian general elections, again no party won an absolute majority, but the Congress emerged as the largest single party, forming another successful coalition: the United Progressive Alliance(UPA). It had the support of left-leaning parties and MPs who opposed the BJP. The UPA returned to power in the 2009 general election with increased numbers, and it no longer required external support from India's communist parties.[145] That year, Manmohan Singh became the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru in 1957 and 1962 to be re-elected to a consecutive five-year term.[146]


The Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official residence of the President of India.
India is a federation with a parliamentary system governed under the Constitution of India, which serves as the country's supreme legal document. It is a constitutional republic and representative democracy, in which "majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected bylaw". Federalism in India defines the power distribution between the federal government and the states. The government abides by constitutional checks and balances. The Constitution of India, which came into effect on 26 January 1950,[147] states in its preamble that India is a sovereignsocialistseculardemocratic republic.[148] India's form of government, traditionally described as "quasi-federal" with a strong centre and weak states,[149] has grown increasingly federal since the late 1990s as a result of political, economic, and social changes.[150][151]
National symbols[1]
EmblemSarnath Lion Capital
AnthemJana Gana Mana
SongVande Mataram
BirdIndian Peafowl
Land animalRoyal Bengal Tiger
Aquatic animalRiver Dolphin
RiverGanga (Ganges)
The federal government comprises three branches:
  • Executive: The President of India is the head of state[152] and is elected indirectly by a national electoral college[153] for a five-year term.[154] The Prime Minister of India is the head of government and exercises most executive power.[155] Appointed by the president,[156] the prime minister is by convention supported by the party or political alliance holding the majority of seats in the lower house of parliament.[155] The executive branch of the Indian government consists of the president, the vice-president, and the Council of Ministers—the cabinet being its executive committee—headed by the prime minister. Any minister holding a portfolio must be a member of one of the houses of parliament.[152] In the Indian parliamentary system, the executive is subordinate to the legislature; the prime minister and his council directly responsible to the lower house of the parliament.[157]
  • Legislative: The legislature of India is the bicameral parliament. It operates under a Westminster-style parliamentary system and comprises the upper house called the Rajya Sabha ("Council of States") and the lower called the Lok Sabha ("House of the People").[158]The Rajya Sabha is a permanent body that has 245 members who serve in staggered six-year terms.[159] Most are elected indirectly by the state and territorial legislatures in numbers proportional to their state's share of the national population.[156] All but two of the Lok Sabha's 545 members are directly elected by popular vote; they represent individual constituencies via five-year terms.[160] The remaining two members are nominated by the president from among the Anglo-Indian community, in case the president decides that they are not adequately represented.[161]
  • Judicial: India has a unitary three-tier independent judiciary[162] that comprises the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India, 21 High Courts, and a large number of trial courts.[162] The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over cases involving fundamental rights and over disputes between states and the centre; it has appellate jurisdictionover the High Courts.[163] It has the power both to declare the law and to strike down union or state laws which contravene the constitution.[164] The Supreme Court is also the ultimate interpreter of the constitution.[165]


A clickable map of the 28 states and 7 union territories of India
India is a federation composed of 28 states and 7 union territories.[166] All states, as well as the union territories of Pondicherry and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, have elected legislatures and governments, both patterned on the Westminster model. The remaining five union territories are directly ruled by the centre through appointed administrators. In 1956, under the States Reorganisation Act, states were reorganised on a linguistic basis.[167] Since then, their structure has remained largely unchanged. Each state or union territory is further divided into administrative districts. The districts in turn are further divided into tehsils and ultimately into villages.
  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Arunachal Pradesh
  3. Assam
  4. Bihar
  5. Chhattisgarh
  6. Goa
  7. Gujarat
  1. Haryana
  2. Himachal Pradesh
  3. Jammu and Kashmir
  4. Jharkhand
  5. Karnataka
  6. Kerala
  7. Madhya Pradesh
  1. Maharashtra
  2. Manipur
  3. Meghalaya
  4. Mizoram
  5. Nagaland
  6. Orissa
  7. Punjab
  1. Rajasthan
  2. Sikkim
  3. Tamil Nadu
  4. Tripura
  5. Uttar Pradesh
  6. Uttarakhand
  7. West Bengal
Union territories
  1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  2. Chandigarh
  3. Dadra and Nagar Haveli
  4. Daman and Diu
  5. Lakshadweep
  6. National Capital Territory of Delhi
  7. Pondicherry

Foreign relations and military

Two seated men converse. The first is dressed in Indian clothing and turban and sits before an Indian flag; the second is in a Western business suit and sits before a Russian flag.
Manmohan Singh meets Dmitry Medvedevat the 34th G8 summit. India and Russia share extensive economic, defence, and technological ties.
Since its independence in 1947, India has maintained cordial relations with most nations. In the 1950s, it strongly supported decolonisation in Africa and Asia and played a lead role in the Non-Aligned Movement.[168] In the late 1980s, the Indian military twice intervened abroad at the invitation of neighbouring countries: a peace-keeping operation in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990; and an armed intervention to prevent a coup d'état attempt in Maldives. India has tense relations with neighbouring Pakistan; the two nationshave gone to war four times: in 194719651971, and 1999. Three of these wars were fought over the disputed territory of Kashmir, while the fourth, the 1971 war, followed from India's support for the independence of Bangladesh.[169] After waging the 1962 Sino-Indian Warand the 1965 war with Pakistan, India pursued close military and economic ties with the Soviet Union; by the late 1960s, the Soviet Union was its largest arms supplier.[170]
Aside from ongoing strategic relations with Russia, India has wide-ranging defence relations with Israel and France. In recent years, it has played key roles in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and the World Trade Organisation. The nation has provided 100,000 military and police personnel to serve in 35 UN peacekeeping operations across four continents. It participates in the East Asia Summit, the G8+5, and other multilateral forums.[171] India has close economic ties with South America, Asia, and Africa; it pursues a"Look East" policy that seeks to strengthen partnerships with the ASEAN nations, Japan, and South Korea that revolve around many issues, but especially those involving economic investment and regional security.[172][173]
The HAL Tejas is a light supersonic fighter developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency and manufactured byHindustan Aeronautics inBangalore.[174]
China's nuclear test of 1964, as well as its repeated threats to intervene in support of Pakistan in the 1965 war, convinced India to develop nuclear weapons.[175] India conducted its first nuclear weapons test in 1974 and carried out further underground testing in 1998. Despite criticism and military sanctions, India has signed neither the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty nor the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, considering both to be flawed and discriminatory.[176] India maintains a "no first use" nuclear policy and is developing a nuclear triad capability as a part of its "minimum credible deterrence" doctrine.[177][178] It is developing a ballistic missile defence shield and, in collaboration with Russia, a fifth-generation fighter jet.[179] Other indigenous military projects involve the design and implementation of Vikrant-class aircraft carriers and Arihant-class nuclear submarines.[179]
Since the end of the Cold War, India has increased its economic, strategic, and military cooperation with the United States and the European Union.[180] In 2008, a civilian nuclear agreement was signed between India and the United States. Although India possessed nuclear weapons at the time and was not party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it received waivers from the International Atomic Energy Agency and theNuclear Suppliers Group, ending earlier restrictions on India's nuclear technology and commerce. As a consequence, India became the sixth de facto nuclear weapons state.[181] India subsequently signed cooperation agreements involving civilian nuclear energy with Russia,[182] France,[183]the United Kingdom,[184] and Canada.[185]
The President of India is the supreme commander of the nation's armed forces; with 1.6 million active troops, they compose the world's third-largest military.[186] It comprises theIndian Army, the Indian Navy, and the Indian Air Force; auxiliary organisations include the Strategic Forces Command and three paramilitary groups: the Assam Rifles, the Special Frontier Force, and the Indian Coast Guard.[6] The official Indian defence budget for 2011 was US$36.03 billion, or 1.83% of GDP.[187] For the fiscal year spanning 2012–2013, US$40.44 billion was budgeted.[188] According to a 2008 SIPRI report, India's annual military expenditure in terms of purchasing power stood at US$72.7 billion,[189] In 2011, the annual defence budget increased by 11.6%,[190] although this does not include funds that reach the military through other branches of government.[191] As of 2012, India is the world's largest arms importer; between 2007 and 2011, it accounted for 10% of funds spent on international arms purchases.[192] Much of the military expenditure was focused on defence against Pakistan and countering growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean.[190]


Indian agriculture dates from the period 7,000–6,000 BCE,[193] employs most of the national workforce, and is second in farm output worldwide. Above, a farmer works an ox-drawn plow in Kadmati, West Bengal.
According to the International Monetary Fund, as of 2011, the Indian economy is nominally worth US$1.676 trillion; it is the eleventh-largest economy by market exchange rates, and is, at US$4.457 trillion, the third-largest by purchasing power parity, or PPP.[194] With its average annual GDP growth rate of 5.8% over the past two decades, and reaching 6.1% during 2011–12,[195] India is one of the world's fastest-growing economies.[196] However, the country ranks 140th in the world in nominal GDP per capita and 129th in GDP per capita at PPP.[194] Until 1991, all Indian governments followed protectionist policies that were influenced by socialist economics. Widespread state intervention and regulation largely walled the economy off from the outside world. An acute balance of payments crisis in 1991 forced the nation to liberalise its economy;[197] since then it has slowly moved towards a free-market system[198][199] by emphasizing both foreign trade and direct investment inflows.[200] India's recent economic model is largely capitalist.[199] India has been a member of WTO since 1 January 1995.[201]
The 487.6-million worker Indian labour force is the world's second-largest.[6] The service sector makes up 55.6% of GDP, the industrial sector 26.3% and the agricultural sector 18.1%. Major agricultural products include rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, and potatoes.[166] Major industries include textiles, telecommunications, chemicals, food processing, steel, transport equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, and software.[166] In 2006, the share of external trade in India's GDP stood at 24%, up from 6% in 1985.[198] In 2008, India's share of world trade was 1.68%;[202] In 2011, India was the world's tenth-largest importer and the nineteenth-largest exporter.[203] Major exports include petroleum products, textile goods, jewelry, software, engineering goods, chemicals, and leather manufactures.[166] Major imports include crude oil, machinery, gems, fertiliser, and chemicals.[166] Between 2001 and 2011, the contribution of petrochemical and engineering goods to total exports grew from 14% to 42%.[204]
Street-level view looking up at a modern 30-story building.
The Bombay Stock Exchangeis Asia's oldest and India's largest bourse by market capitalisation.
Averaging an economic growth rate of 7.5% during the last few years,[198] India has more than doubled its hourly wage rates during the last decade.[205] Some 431 million Indians have left poverty since 1985; India's middle classes are projected to number around 580 million by 2030.[206] Though ranking 51st in global competitiveness, India ranks 17th in financial market sophistication, 24th in the banking sector, 44th in business sophistication, and 39th in innovation, ahead of several advanced economies.[207] With 7 of the world's top 15 information technology outsourcing companies based in India, the country is viewed as the second-most favourable outsourcing destination after the United States.[208]India's consumer market, currently the world's eleventh-largest, is expected to become fifth-largest by 2030.[206] Its telecommunication industry, the world's fastest-growing, added 227 million subscribers during the period 2010–11.[209] Its automotive industry, the world's second fastest growing, increased domestic sales by 26% during 2009–10,[210] and exports by 36% during 2008–09.[211] Power capacity is 250 gigawatts, of which 8% is renewable.[212] At the end of 2011, Indian IT Industry employed 2.8 million professionals, generated revenues close to US$100 billion equaling 7.5% of Indian GDP and contributed 26% of India's merchandize exports.[213]
Despite impressive economic growth during recent decades, India continues to face socio-economic challenges. India contains the largest concentration of people living below the World Bank's international poverty line of US$1.25 per day,[214] the proportion having decreased from 60% in 1981 to 42% in 2005.[215] Half of the children in India are underweight,[216] and 46% of children under the age of three suffer frommalnutrition.[214] The Mid-Day Meal Scheme attempts to lower these rates.[217] Since 1991, economic inequality between India's states has consistently grown: the per-capita net state domestic product of the richest states in 2007 was 3.2 times that of the poorest.[218] Corruption in India is perceived to have increased significantly,[219] with one report estimating the illegal capital flows since independence to be US$462 billion.[220] Driven by growth, India's nominal GDP per capita has steadily increased from US$329 in 1991, when economic liberalisation began, to US$1,265 in 2010, and is estimated to increase to US$2,110 by 2016; however, it has always remained lower than those of other Asian developing countries such as Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and is expected to remain so in the near future.[221]
According to a 2011 PricewaterhouseCoopers report, India's GDP at purchasing power parity could overtake that of the United States by 2045.[222] During the next four decades, Indian GDP is expected to grow at an annualised average of 8%, making it potentially the world's fastest-growing major economy until 2050.[222] The report highlights key growth factors: a young and rapidly growing working-age population; growth in the manufacturing sector due to rising education and engineering skill levels; and sustained growth of the consumer market driven by a rapidly growing middle class.[222] The World Bank cautions that, for India to achieve its economic potential, it must continue to focus on public sector reform, transport infrastructure, agricultural and rural development, removal of labour regulations, educationenergy security, and public health and nutrition.[223]
As per a report by Datamonitor, India is expected to occupy sixth place in top 10 wealth markets list by the end of 2012.[224]
Citing persistent inflation pressures, weak public finances, limited progress on fiscal consolidation and ineffectiveness of the government, rating agency Fitch revised India's Outlook to Negative from Stable on 18 June 2012.[225] Another credit rating agency S&P had warned previously that a slowing GDP growth and political roadblocks to economic policy-making could put India at the risk of losing its investment grade rating.[226] However, Moody didn't revise its outlook on India keeping it stable[227], but termed the national government as the "single biggest drag" on the business activity.[228]


Map of India. High population density areas (above 1000 persons per square kilometer) centre on Kolkata along with other parts of the Ganges River Basin, Mumbai, Bangalore, the south-west coast, and the Lakshadweep Islands. Low density areas (below 100) include the western desert, eastern Kashmir, and the eastern frontier.
A population density and Indian Railwaysconnectivity map. The already densely settled Indo-Gangetic Plain is the main driver of Indian population growth.
With 1,210,193,422 residents reported in the 2011 provisional census,[4] India is the world's second-most populous country. Its population grew at 1.76% per annum during 2001–2011,[4] down from 2.13% per annum in the previous decade (1991–2001).[229] The human sex ratio, according to the 2011 census, is 940 females per 1,000 males.[4] The median age was 24.9 in the 2001 census.[6] Medical advances made in the last 50 years as well as increased agricultural productivity brought about by the "Green Revolution" have caused India's population to grow rapidly.[230] India continues to face several public health-related challenges.[231][232] According to the World Health Organisation, 900,000 Indians die each year from drinking contaminated water or breathing polluted air.[233] There are around 50 physicians per 100,000 Indians.[234] The number of Indians living in urban areas has grown by 31.2% between 1991 and 2001.[235] Yet, in 2001, over 70% lived in rural areas.[236][237] According to the 2001 census, there are 27 million-plus cities in India,[235] with Mumbai,DelhiKolkata, and Chennai being the largest. The literacy rate in 2011 was 74.04%: 65.46% among females and 82.14% among males.[4] Kerala is the most literate state;[238] Bihar the least.[239]
Women in Kargil, Jammu and Kashmir
India is home to two major language familiesIndo-Aryan (spoken by about 74% of the population) andDravidian (24%). Other languages spoken in India come from the Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burmanlanguage families. India has no national language.[240] Hindi, with the largest number of speakers, is the official language of the government.[241][242] English is used extensively in business and administration and has the status of a "subsidiary official language";[243] it is important in education, especially as a medium of higher education. Each state and union territory has one or more official languages, and the constitution recognises in particular 21 "scheduled languages". The Constitution of India recognises 212 scheduled tribal groups which together constitute about 7.5% of the country's population.[244] The 2001 census reported thatHinduism, with over 800 million adherents (80.5% of the population), was the largest religion in India; it is followed by Islam (13.4%), Christianity(2.3%), Sikhism (1.9%), Buddhism (0.8%), Jainism (0.4%), JudaismZoroastrianism, and the Bahá'í Faith.[245] India has the world's largest Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Zoroastrian, and Bahá'í populations, and has the third-largest Muslim population and the largest Muslim population for a non-Muslim majority country.[246][247]


The Awadhi Hindi poet Tulsidascomposed the Ramcharitmanas, which is one of the best-known vernacular versions of the Ramayana.
Indian cultural history spans more than 4,500 years.[248] During the Vedic period (c. 1700–500 BCE), the foundations of Hindu philosophymythology, and literature were laid, and many beliefs and practices which still exist today, such as dhármakármayóga, and mokṣa, were established.[10] India is notable for its religious diversity, with Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, and Jainism among the nation's major religions.[249] The predominant religion, Hinduism, has been shaped by various historical schools of thought, including those of the Upanishads,[250] the Yoga Sutras, the Bhakti movement,[249] and by Buddhist philosophy.[251]

Art and architecture

Much of Indian architecture, including the Taj Mahal, other works of Mughal architecture, and South Indian architecture, blends ancient local traditions with imported styles.[252] Vernacular architecture is also highly regional in it flavours. Vastu shastra, literally "science of construction" or "architecture" and ascribed to Mamuni Mayan,[253] explores how the laws of nature affect human dwellings;[254] it employs precise geometry and directional alignments to reflect perceived cosmic constructs.[255] As applied in Hindu temple architecture, it is influenced by the Shilpa Shastras, a series of foundational texts whose basic mythological form is the Vastu-Purusha mandala, a square that embodied the "absolute".[256] The Taj Mahal, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by orders of Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, has been described in the UNESCO World Heritage List as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage."[257] Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture, developed by the British in the late 19th century, drew on Indo-Islamic architecture.[258]


The earliest literary writings in India, composed between 1400 BCE and 1200 CE, were in the Sanskrit language.[259][260] Prominent works of this Sanskrit literature include epics such as the Mahābhārata and the Ramayana, the dramas of Kālidāsa such as theAbhijñānaśākuntalam (The Recognition of Śakuntalā), and poetry such as the Mahākāvya.[261][262][263] Developed between 600 BCE and 300 CE in South India, the Sangam literature, consisting of 2,381 poems, is regarded as a predecessor of Tamil literature.[264][265][266][267] From the 14th to the 18th centuries, India's literary traditions went through a period of drastic change because of the emergence of devotional poets such as KabīrTulsīdās, and Guru Nānak. This period was characterised by a varied and wide spectrum of thought and expression; as a consequence, medieval Indian literary works differed significantly from classical traditions.[268] In the 19th century, Indian writers took a new interest in social questions and psychological descriptions. In the 20th century, Indian literature was influenced by the works of Bengali poet and novelist Rabindranath Tagore.[269]

Performing arts

A Kuchipudi dance performance is accompanied by Carnatic vocalisations.
Indian music ranges over various traditions and regional styles. Classical music encompasses two genres and their various folk offshoots: the northern Hindustani and southern Carnatic schools.[270] Regionalised popular forms include filmi and folk music; the syncretic tradition of the bauls is a well-known form of the latter. Indian dance also features diverse folk and classical forms. Among the better-known folk dances are the bhangra of the Punjab, the bihu of Assam, the chhau of West Bengal and Jharkhand, sambalpuri of Orissa,ghoomar of Rajasthan, and the lavani of Maharashtra. Eight dance forms, many with narrative forms and mythological elements, have been accorded classical dance status by India's National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama. These are: bharatanatyam of the state of Tamil Nadu, kathak of Uttar Pradesh, kathakali and mohiniyattam of Kerala, kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, manipuri of Manipur, odissiof Orissa, and the sattriya of Assam.[271]
Theatre in India melds music, dance, and improvised or written dialogue.[272] Often based on Hindu mythology, but also borrowing from medieval romances or social and political events, Indian theatre includes the bhavai of Gujarat, the jatra of West Bengal, the nautankiand ramlila of North India, tamasha of Maharashtra, burrakatha of Andhra Pradesh, terukkuttu of Tamil Nadu, and the yakshagana of Karnataka.[273] The Indian film industry produces the world's most-watched cinema.[274] Established regional cinematic traditions exist in the AssameseBengaliHindiKannadaMalayalamMarathiOriyaTamil, and Telugu languages.[275] South Indian cinema attracts more than 75% of national film revenue.[276]


Four activities of a Hindu priest, clockwise from top left: (1) preparing the deity for public worship; (2) makingsandlewood paste for ritual blessing; (3) successively dripping the alter with milk, honey, dry fruit, yoghurt, and bananas to make ambrosia; (4) distributing the prasad, food viewed as blessed by the deity, to the worshipers.
Traditional Indian society is defined by relatively strict social hierarchy. The Indian caste system embodies much of the social stratification and many of the social restrictions found in the Indian subcontinent. Social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups, often termed as jātis, or "castes".[277] Most Dalits ("Untouchables") and members of other lower-caste communities continue to live in segregation and often face persecution and discrimination.[278][279] Traditional Indian family values are highly valued, and multi-generational patriarchal joint families have been the norm in India, though nuclear families are becoming common in urban areas.[280] An overwhelming majority of Indians, with their consent, have their marriages arranged by their parents or other family members.[281]Marriage is thought to be for life,[281] and the divorce rate is extremely low.[282] Child marriages are common, especially in rural areas; more than half of Indian females wed before reaching 18, which is their legal marriageable age.[283]
Many Indian festivals are religious in origin; among them are DiwaliGanesh ChaturthiThai PongalNavaratriHoliDurga PujaEid ul-FitrBakr-IdChristmas, and Vaisakhi. India has three national holidays which are observed in all states and union territories: Republic DayIndependence Day, and Gandhi Jayanti. Other sets of holidays, varying between nine and twelve, are officially observed in individual states. Traditional Indian dress varies in colour and style across regions and depends on various factors, including climate and faith. Popular styles of dress include draped garments such as the sari for women and the dhoti or lungi for men. Stitched clothes, such as theshalwar kameez for women and kurtapyjama combinations or European-style trousers and shirts for men, are also popular.[284] Use of delicate jewellery, modelled on real flowers worn in ancient India, is part of a tradition dating back some 5,000 years; gemstones are also worn in India as talismans.[285]
Indian cuisine features an unsurpassed reliance on herbs and spices, with dishes often calling for the nuanced usage of a dozen or more condiments;[286] it is also known for its tandoori preparations. The tandoor, a clay oven used in India for almost 5,000 years, grills meats to an "uncommon succulence" and produces the puffy flatbread known as naan.[287] The staple foods are wheat (predominantly in the north),[288] rice (especially in the south and the east), and lentils.[289] Many spices that have worldwide appeal are native to the Indian subcontinent,[290] while chili pepper, native to the Americas and introduced by the Portuguese, is widely used by Indians.[291] Āyurveda, a system of traditional medicine, used six rasas and three guṇas to help describe comestibles.[292] Over time, as Vedic animal sacrifices were supplanted by the notion of sacred-cow inviolability, vegetarianism became associated with high religious status and grew increasingly popular,[293] a trend aided by the rise of BuddhistJain, and bhakti Hindu norms.[294] India has the world's highest concentration of vegetarians: a 2006 survey found that 31% of Indians were non-ovo vegetarian.[294] Common traditional eating customsinclude meals taken on or near the floor, caste- and gender-segregated dining,[295][296] and a lack of cutlery in favour of the right hand or a piece of roti.


A street-corner game of pachisi inPushkar, Rajasthan
In India, several traditional indigenous sports remain fairly popular, among them kabaddikho khopehlwani and gilli-danda. Some of the earliest forms of Asian martial arts, such as kalarippayattumusti yuddhasilambam, and marma adi, originated in India. The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the Arjuna Award are the highest forms of government recognition for athletic achievement; the Dronacharya Award is awarded for excellence in coaching. Chess, commonly held to have originated in India as chaturaṅga, is regaining widespread popularity with the rise in the number of Indian grandmasters.[297][298] Pachisi, from which parcheesi derives, was played on a giant marble court by Akbar.[299] The improved results garnered by the Indian Davis Cup team and other Indian tennis players in the early 2010s have made tennis increasingly popular in the country.[300] India has a comparatively strong presence in shooting sports, and has won several medals at the Olympics, the World Shooting Championships, and the Commonwealth Games.[301][302] Other sports in which Indians have succeeded internationally include badminton,[303] boxing,[304] and wrestling.[305] Football is popular in West Bengal, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and the north-eastern states.[306]
India's official national sport is field hockey; it is administered by Hockey India. The Indian national hockey team won the 1975 Hockey World Cup and have, as of 2012, taken eight gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals, making it the sport's most successful team. India has also played a major role in popularizing Cricket, thus cricket is by far the most popular sport of India; the Indian national cricket team won the 1983 and 2011 Cricket World Cup events, the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, and shared the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy with Sri Lanka. Cricket in India is administered by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, or BCCI; the Ranji Trophy, the Duleep Trophy, the Deodhar Trophy, the Irani Trophy, and the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy are domestic competitions. The BCCI conducts a Twenty20 competition known as the Indian Premier League. India has hosted or co-hosted several international sporting events: the 1951 and 1982 Asian Games; the19871996, and 2011 Cricket World Cup tournaments; the 2003 Afro-Asian Games; the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy; the 2010 Hockey World Cup; and the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Major international sporting events held annually in India include the Chennai Open, the Mumbai Marathon, the Delhi Half Marathon, and the Indian Masters. The first Indian Grand Prix featured in late 2011.[307] India has traditionally been the dominant country at the South Asian Games. An example of this dominance is the basketball competitionwhere Team India won three out of four tournaments to date.