Useful country information
Land area: 1,147,949 sq mi (2,973,190 sq km); total area:1,269,338 sq mi (3,287,590 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 1,236,344,631 (growth rate: 1.25%); birth rate: 19.89/1000; infant mortality rate: 43.19/1000; life expectancy: 67.8
Capital (2011 est.): New Delhi, 22.654 million
Largest cities: Mumbai 19.744 million; Kolkata 14.402 million; Chennai 8.784 million; Bangalore 8.614 million; Hyderabad 7.837 million (2011)
Monetary unit: Rupee
National name: Bharat
Principal languages: Hindi 41%, Bengali 8.1%, Telugu 7.2%, Marathi 7%, Tamil 5.9%, Urdu 5%, Gujarati 4.5%, Kannada 3.7%, Malayalam 3.2%, Oriya 3.2%, Punjabi 2.8%, Assamese 1.3%, Maithili 1.2%, other 5.9% note: English enjoys the status of subsidiary official language but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindi is the most widely spoken language and primary tongue of 41% of the people; there are 14 other official languages: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit; Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India but is not an official language (2001 census)
Ethnicity/race: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3% (2000)
Religions: Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.1% (2001)
National Holiday: Republic Day, January 26
Literacy rate: 62.8% (2006 est.)
The Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest in the world, goes back at least 5,000 years.
Arab incursions starting in the 8th century and Turkish in the 12th were followed by European traders beginning in the late 15th century. By the 19th century, Britain had assumed political control of virtually all Indian lands.
Nonviolent resistance to British colonialism under Mohandas GANDHI and Jawaharlal NEHRU led to India's independence in 1947.
The subcontinent was divided into the secular state of India and the smaller Muslim state of Pakistan. A third war between the two countries in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh.
Fundamental concerns in India include the ongoing dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir, massive overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty, and ethnic strife, all this despite impressive gains in economic investment and output.
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