All About India
The second most populated country in the world with more than 1.34 billion people (2017) is India, second only to China where Indian men, women, and children call home. It is the 7th largest country in land size. The area is about 1.3 million square miles, about one-third the size of the United States.
India can be found on the continent of Asia and shares a border in the northwest and northeast with several countries including Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, and others. Most of the country forms a peninsula, which is an area of land surrounded on three sides by water. The southwest borders the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal borders its southeast. Directly south of India is the Laccadive Sea, part of the Indian Ocean, and the small island of Sri Lanka.
The terrain of the country includes the world's highest mountain range, the Himalayas, in the north; the Thar Desert in the west; and jungles to its northeast. The Ganges Plain is a very fertile area of land covering much of northern India and had been created from soil deposited by rivers running from the Himalayan Mountain Range. The Ganges River is over 1,500 miles long and the Hindus consider it sacred, home of the goddess Ganga, and it is used by many people for purification.
The capital of India is New Delhi, the largest city, and the second largest is Mumbai. Though Hindi is the main language in the country, most of the people speak English quite well. Hinduism is the main religion and is second only to Islamism.
The society and population of India are divided into social ranks called castes. A caste is used to determine the class of people a person belongs, and is determined at a person's birth and is nearly impossible to change. High castes include people who are priests, landowners, and soldiers; the lower peoples have no castes and are called the untouchables. They do the most menial and lowest paying jobs, and many of them are poor and live in terrible conditions.
India became an independent country in 1947 following nearly 200 years of British control. Following its independence, India became the largest democracy in the world. Many different political parties compete for elected positions, and the economy of India continues to grow rapidly. Experts predict it will become one of the leading markets in the world.
One of the most famous people and leaders from India was Mahatma Gandhi, who in 1920, began a campaign against non-violence against the British government as the country was seeking its independence. He led three decades of organized protests and peaceful demonstrations, but there were many Indian people who were killed during the movement. Later, Gandhi was assassinated.
A famous landmark in Indian is the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was built as a mausoleum between 1632 and 1648. It is made of white marble and can be found on the banks of the Yamuna River. Respect for animal life is very important to the people's beliefs. In fact, the cow is a sacred animal and may not be harmed. They often wander the crowded streets of India causing traffic jams.
There are varied climate zones throughout India, and other animals found in the country include elephants, pythons, river dolphins, tigers, rhinos, and many others. In the Sundarbans forest, tigers swim in the same river as dolphins, crocodiles, and sharks.
The famous writer, Mark Twain, once said of India: 'India is the cradle of human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great-grandmother of tradition.'
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