India – One of the oldest and richest cultures in the world
India is the seventh largest country in the world with the second highest population density. India has been a democratic republic belonging to the Commonwealth since independence from Great Britain in 1947. The history and culture of India is one of the oldest and richest in the world and is reflected in buildings, music and literature. Over 80% of India’s population belongs to the Hindu faith communityon. Cultural events, the way of life as well as the customs and traditions of the Indians are shaped by this religion, in which, for example, cows are sacred and where rebirth is believed. Without a doubt, the most famous person in India, whose work extends far into European and Anglo-American cultures, is Mahatma Gandhi.
Around 11.5 million people study and learn at around 370 universities and 19,000 colleges. However, the illiteracy rate is still around 40% and 300 million still live below the poverty line. But 200 million Indians are now also counted among the middle class. There are around 350 television channels in the country that can be viewed by a total of 60% of all households with a TV set. The annual economic growth is around 8%; the country’s raw materials are mainly chromium, petroleum, iron ore, coal and copper. The IT industry is growing the fastest in the world, and by 2010 there will be another 11 million jobs and sales will rise to 60 to 70 billion US dollars. In 2007 around 2 million people worked and researched in the biotechnology sector.
Unfortunately, the country is increasingly becoming a target for Muslim fighters. Smaller and increasingly larger terrorist attacks now occur almost every day. The last terrorist attack in Bombay (Mumbai) on November 26, 2008 probably killed 172 people, including three Germans – while 293 were injured. It was not until November 29th that the last three assassins could be killed and the attack ended.
|Name of the country||Republic of India|
|Form of government||Parliamentary democracy in the Commonweal|
|Geographical location||South asia|
|National anthem||Jana-Gana Mana|
|Population||approx. 1.2 billion (Credit: Countryaah: India Population)|
|Ethnicities||Indo-Aryans 72%Indigenous 25%
|Religions||Approx. 81% HindusApprox. 12% Muslims
Approx. 5.9% Christians
Approx. 1.8% Sikhs as well as Buddhists, followers of Jainism and Parsees
|Languages||Hindi and English are national languages.There are also around 21 other recognized languages.|
|Capital||New Delhi with about 14 million residents|
|Surface||3,287,590 k m ²|
|Highest mountain||The highest mountain is the Kangchenjunga with 8,586 m.|
|Longest river||Indus with a length of around 3,180 km.The river also flows through China and Pakistan|
|Largest lake||Wular Lake with a diameter of 15 miles|
|International license plate||I|
|National currency||Indian rupee = 100 paises|
|Difference to CET||+ 4.5h|
|International phone code||+ 91|
|Mains voltage, frequency||230-240 volts and 50 hertz|
|Internet TLD (Top Level Domain)||.in|
Until around the year 1000
The earliest traces of human life in India go back to around 200,000 BC. Stone tools and cave paintings have come down to us from this period. Agriculture and the first settlements took place in the fourth millennium BC. Based on this, an extensive urban culture (Harappa culture) developed. The Indian caste system and the Hindu ideas of the right way of life go back to this civilization.
According to Abbreviationfinder website, the period of upheaval in Indian civilization in the 6th century BC was marked by military conflicts between Hindu kingdoms in northern India and the hardening of the caste system. During this time, Buddhism developed in India.
In the third century the first Hindu kingdom (Magadha) arose, which already ruled a large part of what would later become the whole of India. The kingdom had an army and civil service. The most famous ruler of the time, Emperor Ashoka, ended the military expansion and developed a new state philosophy of social responsibility. After Ashoka’s death, his empire and state ideology fell into disrepair. Brahmins and the kings they legitimized regained the upper hand.
Towards the end of antiquity, the Gupta dynasty succeeded in establishing a great empire. The reign of this dynasty from the fourth to the end of the fifth century is considered to be the heyday of classical Sanskrit literature. The classical period of ancient India under the Gupta dynasty was later considered the golden age of India. It brought a considerable upswing in literature and science. However, the empire was drowned in the onslaught of the Huns.
During this time, South India experienced its own territorial and dynastic conflicts. The best known here is the Chola dynasty, which ruled the Bay of Bengal with its fleet and annexed parts of Ceylon.
From the year 1000 to the 17th century
At the end of the 10th century AD, Islamic Turkic peoples invaded northwest India and conquered Delhi and the Ganges plain by the 13th century. The Sultans of Delhi based their rule on Sharia law and collected protection money from non-Muslims. However, they did not strive for complete submission to Islam and the elimination of the Hindu social order, although a number of temples were destroyed.
At the beginning of the 16th century, the Mughals from Central Asia invaded northern India and brought large parts of India under their control with their technically superior army. Immortal buildings such as the Taj Mahal tomb in Agra and the great Jama Masjid mosque in Delhi date from the time of the Mughal rulers. One of the most famous rulers was Akbar (1556-1605), who expanded the empire considerably. He managed the reforms for a stable religious peace between Hindus and Muslims and guaranteed religious and cultural freedoms.
A century after Akbar, Aurangzeb, a Mughal, came to power whose policies led Hindus and Muslims to split deeply into hostile fronts. Aurangzeb (1658 – 1707) pursued an orthodox religious course, had Hindu temples torn down and prevented the population from practicing their religion. This approach and the increasing tax exploitation of the agricultural population led to rebellions that led to the end of the dynasty.
In the 18th and 19th centuries
The rulers from the area around Bombay, who tried to inherit the Mughals, raised the population against them with high taxes. They failed in the formation of a great empire, were defeated by the invading Afghans in 1761, and finally wore themselves out in wars against the English East India Company (East India Company, 1708 – 1857), a private merchant company under the protection of the British crown.
The British and French branches supported different factions in the dynastic succession battles in southern and northern India. However, French forces could not hold their own against the British for long. At the Battle of Plassey in 1757, they defeated the Nawab of Bengal, who had driven them from Calcutta six years earlier, and thus initiated the beginning of English rule on the subcontinent. Great Britain ruled India until the East India Company Riots in 1857. South India and the Ganges plain fell under British rule at the end of the 18th century, central and northeast India followed in 1830, and the Panjab was annexed in 1849. The occupation of India by the East India Company was accompanied by extreme exploitation of the country in its early days,
Under the Governor General Lord Bentick, Indian civil and criminal law were codified according to the English model, and practices particularly violating human dignity such as widow burning or ritual murders were banned. The introduction of Western instruction in English forced the previously Persian-speaking administrative elite to switch. English became the only official language.
20th century until today
During the Second World War India was used by the British as a base base. Around two million Indian soldiers fought for the British. The interruption of rice imports from Burma and speculative price gouging led to dramatic famines in Bengal. A concession by the British was answered in 1942 with the Quit India campaign (“Get out of India”), a protest campaign decided by the Congress Party. However, it was crushed by the British and the Congress leadership remained in jail for the remainder of the war.
The 1945 elections brought a Labor government to power in London. The new government was reluctant to restore India’s independence. In June 1947, the British Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, announced his plan for independence and partition. Pakistan and India became independent and each drafted their own constitution. The princely states, including Kashmir, had to choose their respective affiliations. Border commissions were set up for the Panjab and Bengal.
Gandhi and his closest confidante Jawaharlal Nehru were against the partition, but then accepted it in order to avoid further conflict.
The partition was a disaster for India and Pakistan. The respective minorities, especially in Panjab, became victims of violent groups. There were around a million deaths. Twelve million people were displaced on both sides. In addition, the division could not solve the problem of religious conflicts, as only two thirds of Muslims lived in Pakistan, but one third stayed in India. Gandhi, who advocated fair treatment of Pakistan in the division of the colonial inheritance, was shot dead by a Hindu fanatic on January 30, 1948. The murderer, a Brahmin, stated during questioning that he killed Gandhi because he had granted the Muslim minority in India the same rights as the Hindus.
The immediate problem after the partition was the integration of the princely states. Hyderabad and Kashmir presented particular problems. In Hyderabad, the Muslim ruler hoped for international recognition, but did not bring the unrest of his largely Hindu population under control. Indian troops then marched in in August 1948. Kashmir, with its predominantly Muslim population, was ruled by a Hindu maharajah, and that with a predominantly Muslim population.
The constituent assembly elected under the old constitution drafted the constitution of the Indian Republic after independence, which came into force in 1950 and created a federal state with strong centralized elements. The sometimes very large states brought together populations of different mother tongues and cultural identities.
In 1993, the situation in Kashmir had come to a head with the assassination of local religious and political leaders. The number of security guards has increased considerably. Involvement in serious human rights violations sparked sharp protests from the international community. In the simultaneous Panjab conflict, which concerned the independence of the Union state, which was claimed by force, the situation visibly calmed down. The situation in Kashmir also began to ease slightly over the course of the year. The Indian government had set up a National Human Rights Commission, foreign delegations were invited to assess the situation and violent attacks by soldiers against the civilian population in Kashmir were prosecuted and punished for the first time. These successes were short-lived, however. Unrest broke out again after a temple where Kashmiri rebels had holed up in February 1995 was destroyed. In 1995, separatist groups also became more active again in north-east India, mainly driving foreigners out of their union states. The situation in the conflict between India and Pakistan has been moving towards an intensified armed conflict between the two nuclear powers since December 13, 2001.
On December 13, 2001, Pakistani extremists carried out a bloody attack on the Indian parliament in New Delhi. India calls on Pakistan to prosecute the attackers and the people behind them or the groups. At the same time, the two states are pulling together troop units in the region, which have been fighting repeatedly since 11.1.2002. An initial rapprochement between the warring states took place in the disputed area after the devastating earthquake on October 10, 2005 with probably 80,000 to 90,000 deaths in both countries.
In the election in April/May 2009, which was held within a month for security and organizational reasons, the ruling Congress party narrowly missed its absolute majority and thus achieved its best result for 20 years. This means that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh can continue to govern. He has ruled since May 22, 2004.