Introduction and Geography
India is a country in Asia. This nation is very large. India is the seventh largest in area and the second largest in population. The country has several neighbours. These are Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma). There is a maritime border between India and Sri Lanka as well as the Maldives. The Maldives is an independent country close to the Lakshadweep Islands which belong to India. The Straits of Mannar separates India from Sri Lanka. India is the only country in the world to have an ocean named after it. It is the Indian Ocean. The Maldives lie in the Indian Ocean. The Arabian Sea is to the west of India. The Bay of Bengal is to the east of India. India has many offshore islands. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are Indian islands in the Bay of Bengal. The major town of these islands is called Port Blair.
China is occupying some Indian territory and so is Pakistan. India has a border dispute with both. Pakistan holds a third of Jammu and Kashmir which is the northernmost state of India. Jammu and Kashmir is sometimes called simply ‘Kashmir’ for short.
The Himalayas are found in northern India. These are the highest mountains in the world. These mountains lie on the border with Pakistan, Nepal and China. In Sanskrit ‘Himalayas’ means ‘House of the Snows’. Sanskrit is an ancient language that grew into many modern Indian languages. Much of India is very flat. In southern India there are two ranges of mountains – the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats. In Hindi a ‘ghat’ is a platform or raised area.
The Himalayas is the highest mountain range in the world. The highest mountain in the world and it is in the Himalayas (Mount Everest) but located in Nepal.
This country is warm in winter. It is very hot in the summer. In August there is a monsoon – very heavy rain almost every night. There is sometimes inundations. For much of the year is does not rain.
India is sometimes called ‘Bharat’ or ‘Hindustan’. ‘Bharat’ is also a man’s name. The ‘stan’ part of ‘Hindustan’ means ‘land.’ These names are a little old fashioned. In English the name is usually ‘India’. There is a newspaper in India called The Hindustan Times. The name India is possibly derived from the River Indus. However, the Indus is now in Pakistan.
India has over 1.36 billion people. It is the second most populous country in the world. It is set to overtake China’s population within 20 years.
The capital city of India is New Delhi. The capital has shifted several times in India’s incredibly long history. Kolata and Fatehpur Sikri have also been capitals of India. Simla used to be the summer capital. Simla is pronounced ”SHIMA la”. When it was boiling hot in New Delhi at the height of summer civil servants and politicians would go to the hills in Simla and run the country from there. Kolkata was the capital until 1930. In the summers the government used to shift from Kolkata to Darjeeling because Darleeling was not so hot being located at high altitude. Darjeeling is renowned for its tea production.
Mumbai is the largest connurbation in India. The people of this city are called Mumbaikers. This city is the undisputed commercial capital of the country. It is the nexus of finance. The Indian film industry is located there. The film area is called Bollywood. Mumbai was named Bombay from the 16th century until 1998. Bombay derived from the Portuguese ‘bom bahia’ meaning ‘good bay.’
Ootacamund is a hill station in South India. It is known as Ooty for short.
Bangalore is a South Indian city that is famous for IT.
- How many nations have a land frontier with India?
- What is a maritime border?
- What range of mountains exists in northern India?
- What are the two ranges of mountains in South India?
- What is the monsoon?
- Which country lies in the Indian Ocean?
- What are the Indian islands in the Bay of Bengal called?
- What is the population of India?
India has had civilisation for several thousand years. Hinduism was founded here almost 5 000 years ago. The ancient Indian language is Sanskrit. The language is no longer spoken but a few people can read it. The tongue was used to pen the Hindu scriptures – the Bhagavad Ghita and the Mahabharata and the Vedas for example. The Mahabharata is the great epic of the Indian nation. Sanskrit is the ur language for many languages in South Asia and South-East Asia. Millennia ago Sanskirt was read by scholars as far away as Indonesia. The Hindu religion was also the major religion of other countries such as Afghanistan, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia.
Ashoka was an ancient emperor of India. He invented human rights. Slavery and the death penalty were outlawed. Sadly his code did not long survive him and injustice returned. The lions of Ashoka are still a symbol of India. There are three of them visible – the fourth one is facing away. His motto was ‘Truth Alone Triumphs‘ which is the motto of India today.
Many dynasties ruled India. At times India was divided and at times it was united. India sometimes included Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burma and Pakistan. Like most nations the frontier of India have waxed and waned.
In the 1st century AD St Thomas came to India from Judea. He brought Christianity. He converted a few people in South India to the Christian faith. The Assyrian Church is the religious organisations of those people descended from those converted by St Thomas.
Islam came to India in the 8th century AD. Mohammad bin Qasim brought Islam from Saudi Arabia. Islam became the main religion of eastern India and western India. These areas are no longer part of India. These regions are now called Pakistan and Bangladesh. The majority of Indians remained Hindus especially in the north centre of India and in South India.
Jainism was a breakaway from Hinduism. It is a vegan religion. Jains often have the surname Jain. They do not eat root vegetables because in uprooting the vegetables they might harm insects. Some wear masks to avoid accidentally swallowing bugs. Jains are mostly from the State of Rajasthan in western India. The Jains are a minority even in that state.
The Moghuls came to India in the 15th century. They were of Mongol ancestry – hence their surname. They intermarried with local people and lost their Central Asian phenotypes. They were also Muslims. The Moghuls spoke Persian which is the language of Iran. In 1527 they came to rule India. They were not the first Muslims to do so. They had their capital at Delhi. Many Indian civilisations have had their capital at Delhi. There is a legend that any empire that shifts its capital from Delhi is doomed. Note that Moghul is sometimes spelt Mughal. Some people have Mughal as a surname. The word ‘moghul’ has come to mean a very mighty person. For instance, a media moghul means someone who owns many newspapers and TV stations.
The Hindi language was blended with Persian. This produced the Urdu language which is written in the Persian script. ‘Urdu’ means ‘camp’ in Persian as in ‘army camp’. The language had this name because it was spoken in army camps. Urdu and Hindi are mutually comprehensible when spoken.
Most Hindi speakers continued to speak Hindi. They did not switch to Urdu. Hindi is written in the Devanagari script which is shared by several North Indian languages.
The Moghuls had no law of succession. Because there was no primogeniture rule it was unclear who would succeed the emperor. Any male relative could make a power play. India regularly descended into internecine warfare as Moghuls battled it out for the crown. When an emperor died it could be any of his brothers, sons, uncles, nephews, cousins or grandsons who seized the throne. It was survival of the fittest. India was enfeebled by this routine power struggles. Princelings did not necessarily wait for an emperor’s demise before making a grab for the paramount position. Princes might depose a living emperor. An old emperor might make an alliance with his grandsons against his sons. He knew that his sons would be against him. In turn his grandsons would one day be against his sons. There were regular free for alls.
One Moghul ruler Aurangzeb tried to impose Islam on others. He penalised the Hindu majority. He was deeply unpopular. Aurangzeb ordered some Hindu temples at holy sites to be razed and had mosques built in their stead. He imposed heavy taxes on non-Muslims. In 1707 Aurangzeb died. The Mughals were never as mighty again. The Mughals had their capital at Agra. Later they shifted it to Fatehpur Sikri. Latterly they moved it to Delhi. There is a legend that says that any Indian dynasty that moves its capital to Delhi will soon fall.
Others Mughal emperors more broadminded and welcomed discourse with other faiths. Shahjahan was one such ecumenical emperor. He was living in Agra when his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal died. He built a mausoleum for her called the Taj Mahal. This is thought to be the superlative example of Moghul architecture. Further, this tomb that he erected to memorialise his wife is regarded as an unparalleled expression of love. The Taj Mahal is white. The emperor wanted to build a fascimile of the building facing it from across the river. The fascimile would be built all in black stone. The cost of this was prohibitive. He was ousted by his family partly because his building projects threatened to empty the treasury. A city named Shahjahanapur is named in his honour.
In the late 15th century Sikhism emerged. This faith was propagated by Guru Nanak in the Punjab. He was a former Muslim. Mohammedans detested him as an apostate. The penalty for apostasy is death. The Sikhs had to fight for survival. Their holy city is Amritsar meaning the pond of nectar.
In the 16th century Europeans arrived in India. They were traders and missionaries. The missionaries were spreading Christianity. They made very little progress. Britishers and Portuguese came first. In 1600 the Honourable East India Company was founded. They purchased land. Over time they acquired more territory. France, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom all established East India Companies. The Dutch Compagnie van de verre Oost. That translates as ‘the Company of the Far East’. The Hollanders became more interested in Indonesia. Their East India company later changed its name to De Vereinigde Oost Indisch Compagnie meaning ‘The United East India Company.’ It was written as VOC for short. The British called it ‘the Dutch East India Company.’ The French had la Societe des Indes meaning the Company of the Indies. The Indies did not just mean India. It included what is now Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore etc…
In 1690 the East India Company founded Calcutta. The city is now named Kolkata. Many Indians say that Calcutta was a British mispronunciation of Kolkata. There had already been a village there called Kali Ghat as in ‘Kali’s Altar.’ The British pronounced it ‘Calcutta’. Job Charnock married a Hindu widow after talking her out of sati. Sati was committing suicide on her husband’s funeral pyre.
In the 18th century the Moghul Empire was enfeebled. Provincial governors and army commanders were able to effectively secede from the empire. The emperor’s writ no longer ran in swathes of his domain. Some provinces stopped paying taxes to him. There was no law of succession. Members of the imperial house fought each other for the crown. The Britishers, French and Portuguese were able to gain more land at this time. Indians often enlisted foreign aid to fight other Indians.
By the late 18th century the British ruled Bengal. Robert Clive was an employee of the East India Company who proved to be an effective military commander. The Britishers had their capital at Calcutta. They beat the French. Calcutta is now called Kolkata. Robert Clive became known as Clive of India. He was a hero to Britishers into the 20th century. Clive was ennobled as Lord Clive of Plassey. A village in Co Limerick, Ireland was named Plassey. He took an Irish peerage. He was therefore able to be elected to the Parliament of Great Britain. Robert Clive became a very wealthy man.
By 1757 the Britishers were clearly the dominant force in India. The Battle of Plassey that year signaled the start of the British era. In the late 18th century English replaced Persian as the language of the courts. The British did little to proselytise for the Christian faith. A few Indians became educated in the British manner. A very few of them went to the United Kingdom to study.
In 1783 the Regulating Act was passed. The British Government would send a governor-general to Calcutta. The East India Company had its own army. The British Army was also stationed in India. The Regulating Act had to be updated every 20 years. Each time the Regulating Act was reviewed Parliament insisted on more changes.
There were very few British women in India in the 18th century. British males in India wed Indian women. Their children were half Indian and their grandchildren were three-quarters Indian. Most Britishers found Indian culture deeply alluring. They ate Indian food, wore Indian clothes and learnt Indian languages.
Sir William Jones was a British judge at the High Court of Calcutta. He was a hyperpolyglot. He knew over 30 languages. Sir William read Indian legal codes which were written in Sanskrit. Jones also read Islamic Law codes in Arabic. He translated them into English and wrote a summary.
The EIC increased tax in Bengal. There was a famine and millions of people died.
In the 19th century the British did a lot to improve agriculture. They dug irrigation ditches and improved the roads. British inventions such as the railway did much to unite India. Trains were introduced to India in the 1850s. By that time the Moghul Empire had all but ceased to be. The emperor only styled himself King of Delhi.
In the early 19th century missionary activity began in earnest. This irked many Indians. Soldiers in the Army of the East India Company were obliged to listen to Christian sermons. These were translated into their languages.
In 1857 the Indian Mutiny broke out. Some soldiers in the British Indian Army mutinied. Most soldiers remained loyal. North India was severely affected for six months. The proximate cause was a new cartridge which was greased. Rumour had it that this was made from pork and beef. Muslims may not touch pork and Hindus may not touch beef. The Sikhs stayed on the British side. This may well have been the determinative.
The Mughal Empire was then officially abolished. The last Mughal Emperor was sent into exile in Myanmar (Burma).
The British Government took direct control of India in 1858. The governor-general was given the additional title of viceroy. However, he was usually known simply The viceroy was appointed by the crown. The Britons learnt not to aggravate the Indians by treading on religious sensibilities. From then on the army and police never went into places of worship in their official capacity.
Queen Victoria issued a proclamation saying that all posts were open to every man regardless of race. In practice whites held all the higher grades.
In 1877 Queen Victoria was made Empress of India. Her son Edward VII went to India. A Delhi Durbar was held. The princes bowed to him and recognised his mother as empress.
The late 19th century was the high Raj. It was the zenith of the British era. This time is known as the British Raj because it was the time that the British ruled India. ‘Raj’ means ‘government’ or ‘rule’ in Hindi. Britishers were convinced of their superiority. The Indian Army assisted the Britishers. There were three wars against Afghanistan. The first one was a calamity for the British and their India confederates. The last two were semi-successful. There was intermittent fighting on the north-west frontier.
Opium was cultivated in India and sold for recreational use. It is very dangerous. Despite that it was sold in India, the UK and China. There was an Opium Department of the Government of India. Only the government was permitted to grow it.
In 1885 the Indian National Congress was founded with the blessing of the British Raj. Congress was there to critique the Government of India. The Britishers welcomed this constructive criticism. At that time Congress was a tiny group of wealthy anglophile intellectuals. There were also some whites in Congress at first. Among them were Allan Octavian Hume and Annie Besant.
Some Muslims in Congress felt that they did not get a fair crack of the whip. They founded the Muslim League. At first this was a subsection of Congress. In time it broke away.
There were terrible famines in India in the 19th century. Millions of people died. Some Indians blamed the British administration.
There was an attempt to divide Bengal around 1905. Muslims wanted this and Hindus did not – by and large. In the end the government reversed its decision due to Hindu demands in 1912.
King Edward VII came to India in 1902. He held a Durbar at Delhi. The 585 princes came to Delhi and did obeisance to him. They recognised him as Emperor of India (Kaiser i Hind).
In the First World War many Indians volunteered to serve the British Empire. Congress emphasised that in gratitude for this fulsome loyalty they expected significant reform after the war. The British authorities were chary about promising too much. The UK would not give an answer. Why? That was because they did not want it. If they said no then that would anger Congress. The UK did not want to have to deal with large scale protests. If they said yes then then the UK would have to deliver on these promises.
Despite their misgivings the British Government was broadly positive about the idea of political evolution for India. Gandhi was a doyen of Congress. He urged Indians to enlist in the Indian Army.
When the First World War ended the British Government was willing to offer much less than Congress sought. Congress wished for dominion status – the same situation as pertained in Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, South Africa or Australia. The British did not appear to be ingratiated to the Indians. Many Indians were seriously disappointed.
The government brought in extraordinary security legislation in 1919. This allowed censorship and detention without trial. This was called the Rowlatt Act because Mr Rowlatt wrote it. The First World War was not clearly finished. There was also Bolshevik agitation. There were large scale protests in India.
Congress pointed out that the UK professed to believe in a free press. Yet India was being denied the freedom of the press.
In 1919 there was an illegal rally in Amritsar. There had been rioting in the town. Five Britons had been killed and several public buildings had been burnt down.
A crowd of thousands gathered at a park called Jallianwala Bagh. The British commander there Dyer had his men shoot dead hundreds of civilians. His men were Indians and Nepalese. Dyer had had his men block the only exit to the park. He had his troops open fire without warning. Over 475 people were killed. The soldiers fired 1 600 bullets. Most were men but a few were women and children. Some people jumped down a well to avoid the hail of bullets.
Reginald Dyer’s action was described by the official report as ‘injudicious’. He was forced to retire but was not punished. Brigadier General Dyer was utterly impenitent. He said that none of the protesters had guns and they did not threaten his troops. Some Britons said that Dyer had done the right thing. They donated £ 26 000 to him so he could enjoy opulence in retirement. This sum is worth over £ 1 000 000 now.
A sword was given to Dyer. It said ‘Saviour of the Punjab’ on one side and ‘Hero of the Hour’ on the other.
Agitation gradually died down in the 1920s. Congress had been supportive of the British Raj until this point. By this stage they were mainly oppositional. Congress was briefly led by Motilal Nehru the father of Jawaharlal Nehru.
In 1930 the British Raj moved to Delhi. New Delhi was founded. This was designed by the British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. It is just south of Old Delhi. There is a legend that any Indian empire that moves its capital to Delhi shall soon meet its doom.
The British Raj founded the Chamber of Princes. This was for the rulers of the princely states to discuss matters of common concern. The British justified its creation saying it was like the House of Lords.
In 1930 Congress announced that they no longer wanted dominion status. They sought total independence. There were some extremists who used force against the British Government. They had very little support for their terrorist methods. Congress believed in moral force and not physical force. Congress resorted to civil disobedience. They believed in non-co-operation with the British Raj.
In 1930 there was a Round Table Conference in London to discuss India’s future. Congress was there. So was the Muslim League, the princes and the Liberal Party of India.
In the 1930s Congress was banned for two years. Its leaders Gandhi and Nehru were imprisoned for a time. Congress had invented a tricolour flag with a blue spinning wheel in the middle white horizontal bar. The top bar was orange and the bottom one was green. This flag was briefly banned. There was a Flag of British India: it had the British Flag in the top left hand corner. Its background was mostly red.
There were two more Round Table Conference. Congress was not invited to it. They would have refused to attend anyway.
In 1935 the Government of India was passed. It took effect two years later.
In 1937 a new system of government began. The British controlled the centre. That is to say at Delhi the British administration ran departments that controlled certain things such as railways for the whole country. Elected government ran the provinces. Men of property were allowed to vote. Congress controlled most provinces and the Muslim League controlled a few.
In 1939 the Second World War began. Congress soon resigned form provincial governments because the government had declared war on Germany without asking the elected politicians. The Muslim League was able to take over more provinces. The Hindu Mahasabha was a political party that also governed some provinces.
In 1940 the Muslim League issued its Lahore Declaration. This called for the creation of Pakistan.
The Indians beat off Japanese attacks. Congress undermined the war effort with its Quit India Campaign. They sabotaged. The British declared that once the war was won they would expedite Indian independence as soon as practicable. Sir Stafford Cripps was sent out to convey this message. He also tried to mediate between the Muslim League and Congress.
In 1942 a famine broke out in Bengal due to a cyclone. It was hard to get food aid through due to Japanese submarines sinking ships in the Bay of Bengal. Railways had been wrecked by Congress. Boats and bridges in Bengal had mostly been destroyed to forestall the Japanese advance.
The Muslim League announced during the war that they sought the creation of a separate Muslim nation. It was to be called Pakistan.
In 1945 the war ended. A new viceroy came out called Lord Mountbatten. In 1947 he decided to facilitate independence as soon as possible. In August 1947 India was partitioned. Pakistan was created. India and Pakistan were independent.
Nehru was the first prime minister. He faced a war against Pakistan and the influx of refugees. He managed to developed the country well. However, most people were still illiterate. Poverty was widespread. It was a very testing time.
In 1950 India become a republic. Rajendra Prasad became the first President of India.
Nehru died in 1964. He was succeeded by Lal Bahadur Shastri who was the second PM of India. In 1965 there was another war against Pakistan. Shastri went to the USSR to make peace with Pakistan. He signed a peace deal. He soon died. Then Indira Gandhi became prime minister. Indira was the daughter of Nehru.
India beat Pakistan in 1971. Indira was at the zenith of her popularity. This soon faded away due to the oil crisis and corruption scandals. She was out of office briefly. She returned to office in 1980. Four years later she was assassinated. Her son then became prime minister. Rajiv Gandhi ruled till 1989. He then lost office.
As Rajiv sought to regain office he was assassinated in 1991. Since then power has gone back and forth between Congress and the BJP. The BJP is the Bharatiya Janata Party.
In 1989 the Kashmir Conflict erupted once again. The Pakistanis armed and trained various terrorist organisations.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee became PM in 1999. He ruled as a BJP leader until 2004.
In 1999 the Pakistani Army attacked Indian at Kargil. After a few months the Pakistanis were repelled.
Congress was led to victory by Sonia Gandhi in 2004. She is the widow of Rajiv. She declined to become PM. Her son and daughter are both Congress MPs.
India is a republic. It has had a woman as president. Her name was Pratiba Patil.
India prides herself on equality. Four Muslims have served as president. One Sikh Zail Singh has been president. This is cited as proof positive that the Hindu majority does not mistreat the minority.
- How long has Hinduism existed?
- When did Islam come to India?
- Who were the Mughals?
- When was the East India Company founded?
- Which Mughal emperor ordered thousands of Hindu temples to be demolished?
- When was Regulating Act passed?
- What was special about Sir William Jones?
- When did the Indian Mutiny take place?
- What caused it? Five marks.
- When was Congress founded?
- What was the original purpose of Congress?
- What happened in Jallianwala Bagh?
- What was the symbol on Congress’ flag?
- When did the Second World War break out?
- What was the Lahore Declaration?
- When did India become independent?
- Who was the first president of India?
- Who was India’s second prime minister?
- Who was the first woman to be PM of India?
- Has there been a female president of India?
- How many generations of the Nehru-Gandhi family have been in politics?
The currency is the Indian Rupee. The symbol of the currency is IRS. It is divided into 100 baisas. These used to be subdivided into annas. Nobody uses annas anymore because these are too small. The neighbouring lands of Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka all used rupees but these are different currencies from the IRS. In India people sometimes just write ‘Rs’ for Rupees. The IRS is more valuable that the currencies of the adjacent countries.
There are 2 000 languages in India. 18 are official according to the constitution. The main ones are English and Hindi. Hindi and English are the only languages in India passports.
India’s Flag is a Tricolour. A tricolour is a flag which has three bars each of a different colour. It is orange, white and green horizontal bars. In the middle of the white bar there is a blue sixteen spoked wheel. This flag represents peace (white) between Muslims (green) and Hindus (orange). The Indian Tricolour resembles the Irish Flag. The two flags are even confused sometimes. That is despite the fact that the Irish Tricolour has vertical bars and has no symbol. Indian nationalists were inspired by Irish revolutionaries which is partly why the Indian Tricolour is
The national carrier is Air India. The late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was once a pilot for the airline. There are other airlines like Indigo and Kingfisher.
The national anthem was composed by Sir Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore was a Bengali writer of the early 20th century. It is called the Jana Mana Gana. It lists the provinces of India including the ones which are now part of Pakistan. The first line is in Hindi and says, ‘You are the ruler of the minds of all the people.’
The capital city is New Delhi. It is new since it was built in the 1920s a few miles south of Old Delhi.
India is a middle income country. Its economy is growing rapidly. This nation has 70 per cent literacy.
80 per cent of the people are Hindus. 15 per cent are Muslims. There are Christians (2% of the population), Buddhists and Sikhs (2%) as well.
India is a secular state. According to the constitution government does not support or oppose any faith. However, under the BJP the Government of India has privileged Hinduism. Undocumented people who are Hindus are assumed to be Indian citizens. Non-Hindus are presumed to be illegal aliens.
The BJP promotes Hindutva. That is Hindu mindedness.
Mumbai is the largest city in the country. It is also the financial nerve centre. Moreover, it is where the film industry is based – Bollywood. This is because of the old name of Mumbai – Bombay – and Hollywood. India produces more films than any other country. These movies tend to be escapist. They feature very wealthy and attractive people. The storylines are hackneyed and Manichean. These films appeal to fantasies of being rich, beautiful and glamorous. The films have a hero and an anti-hero. The villain is often portrayed to be a Pakistani. The films feature lavish song and dance routines.
India acquired nuclear weapons in the 1970s. This nation is a regional superpower. She is prominent in the Commonwealth and has produced a secretary-general of the Commonwealth. Bharat once hosted the Commonwealth Games. India is pushing for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
India is in the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC). This involves all of India’s neighbours with the exception of China.
- What is the currency?
- Is the Pakistani Rupee the same as the Indian one?
- Does India have nuclear arms?
- How many official languages are there?
- What symbol is on the Indian Tricolour?
- Describe the symbolism of the flag.
- Who wrote the national anthem?
- What are the two biggest religions after Hinduism and Islam?
- What is Bollywood?
- What is India’s aspiration for the UN?
India has been a republic since 26 January 1950. The president is elected by the legislatures of the states. The president serves a five year term. He or she can be re-elected once but only once. A woman named Pratibha Patil served as president from 2007 to 2012. She is the only woman to hold the office.
The President can suspend a state government. The state can be subject to president’s rule if there is grave disorder there.
The President of India appoints the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister can be sacked by the President. Indira Gandhi became PM in 1966. She was the second woman in the world to be PM.
The motto of India is ‘truth alone triumphs.’
Every Indian adult has the right to vote unless he or she is in prison. Indians cannot be dual citizens.
The Republic of India is divided into 28 states. These are based around a major language. The states have autonomy. Autonomy can be suspended and president’s rule can be implemented in extremis.
The states include Andra Pradesh (meaning southern state), Uttar Pradesh (northern state), Madhya Pradesh (central state), Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Orissa, West Bengal, Gujarat, the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh (”snowy state”), Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Manipur, Kerala and others.
There are Union Territories. These are areas that are not states. Among them are Diu, Daman, Pudicherry and Delhi. Pudicherry is unusual in that it was French ruled. Therefore many people can speak French there.
This country has two houses to its parliament. The lower house is directly elected. There are single member constituencies. The upper house consists of representatives of the states. The Lok Sabha is the lower house. The Rajya Sabha is the upper house.
It takes over 2 000 000 people to elect an MP to the Lok Sabha. The country is divided into constituencies.
The country uses common law. This is partly based on English law. The court of cassation is the Supreme Court of India. The courts use English. There are no juries in India.
- Do the ordinary people elect the president?
- What is a Union Territory?
- Which part of India is partly French speaking?
- How many houses are in Parliament?
- What is the legal system of India?
To the west of India is the Arabian Sea. To the west is the Bay of Bengal. To the south is the Indian Ocean. India has many islands such as the Lakshadweep Islands.
India is fantastic at cricket. The country has won the world cup twice.
Bollywood is the centre of the Indian film industry. It produces more films than any other nation.
Rice is the staple food. Many people are vegetarians. Some people are vegans. Killing a cow is illegal in most states for religious reasons.
The national airline is Air India. There are several others such as Indigo.
Bangalore is an IT centre. India has produced countless doctors and accountants. India’s famous companies include Jet Airways, Kingfisher, Cobra Beer, Adidas and Tata. India’s Tata has built the first car for under $1000. It is called the Nano. A lot of scientific companies are based here too.
India has the second largest population in the world. It has almost 1.4 billion people. In a few years India’s population will overtake China’s.
The Government of India wants to have a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. The UK supports India’s goal. China does not want India to be on the UNSC because the Chinese have taken Indian land and do not wish to give it back.
- What is the most popular sport in this land?
- Which country has the most people?
- Name an Indian airline?
- What is special about the Nano?
- Name an Indian sports brand?
- Which continent is this country on?
- What was special about Ashoka? Three marks.
- Draw the flag. Five marks.
- Name three neighbours of India. Three marks.
- What is the capital city?
- What is Sanskrit?
- What is the main faith in India?
- When did Britishers arrive?
- Who were the Moghuls? Five marks.
- Where in India did Muslims predominate?
- What mountain range is in North India?
- How many official languages are there in India?
- Which Britisher won British mastery in India in the 18th century?
- What was the East India Company?
- What happened in India in 1857?
- What did Congress do 1885-1919?
- What was the Muslim League?
- Who was the first Prime Minister of India?
- Which country split off India in 1947?
- What difficulties did India face in the aftermath of Partition?
- Who was the last viceroy?
- Besides English which is the principal language of India?
- Which sea is east of India?
- Who was the daughter of a prime minister and herself served as PM?
- Who was Indira’s son who also became PM?
- Which party besides Congress has been vital in Indian politics?
- What is the climate of India like?
- What is the currency?
- What is the national airline called?
- Would you like to visit this country? Why or why not? Five marks.