Indians are the people who are the nationals or citizens of India, the
second most populous nation containing 17.50% of the world's
population. "Indian" refers to nationality, but not ethnicity or
language. The Indian nationality consists of many regional
ethno-linguistic groups, reflecting the rich and complex history of
India hosts all major ethnic groups found in the Indian
Subcontinent. The diaspora populations with Indian ancestry, as a
result of emigration, are somewhat widespread most notably in
3.5 Performing arts
3.6 Contribution and discoveries
3.7 National personification
4 Indian diaspora
4.3 South Africa
4.5 United States
6 See also
The name Bhārata has been used as a self-ascribed name by people of
Indian subcontinent and the Republic of India. The designation
Bhārata appears in the official
Sanskrit name of the country,
Bhārata Gaṇarājya. The name is derived from the ancient
Puranas, which refer to the land that comprises
India as Bhārata
varṣam and uses this term to distinguish it from other varṣas or
Bhāratas were a vedic tribe mentioned in the
Rigveda, notably participating in the Battle of the Ten Kings.
India is named after legendary
Emperor Bharata who was a descendant of
Bhāratas tribe, scion of
Kuru Dynasty who unified the Indian
Subcontinent under one realm.
हिमाद्रेश्चैव दक्षिणम् ।
वर्षं तद् भारतं नाम भारती
यत्र संततिः ।।
"The country (varṣam) that lies north of the ocean and south of the
snowy mountains is called Bhāratam; there dwell the descendants of
Vedic literature, the term
आर्यावर्त) was in popular use before Bhārata. The
Manusmṛti (2.22) gives the name
Āryāvarta to "the tract between
the Himalaya and the Vindhya ranges, from the Eastern (Bay of Bengal)
to the Western Sea (Arabian Sea)".
While the word Indian and
India is derived from Greek Ἰνδία
(Indía), via Latin India. Indía in
Koine Greek denoted the region
beyond the Indus (Ἰνδός) river, since
Herodotus (5th century BC)
ἡ Ἰνδική χώρη, hē Indikē chōrē; "the Indian land",
Ἰνδός, Indos, "an Indian", from
Old Persian Hinduš and medieval
term Hindustani. The name is derived ultimately from Sindhu, the
Sanskrit name of the river Indus, but also meaning "river"
India and Greater India
Priest-King, Indus Valley civilisation
Map of the
Mauryan Empire 3rd century BC
Buddhist rock-cut architecture, 2nd century BC
Ashoka pillar, erected by Emperor
Ashoka in about 250 BC. It has been
adopted as emblem of India.
The history of
India includes the prehistoric settlements and
societies in the Indian subcontinent; the blending of the Indus Valley
Civilization and Indo-Aryan culture into the
Vedic Civilization; the
Hinduism as a synthesis of various Indian cultures and
traditions; rise of sixteen oligarchic republics known as
Mahajanapadas; rise of
Śramaṇa movement; birth of
9th-century BCE and
Buddhism in 6th-century BCE, and the
onset of a succession of powerful dynasties and empires for more than
two millennia throughout various geographic areas of the subcontinent,
including the growth of
Muslim dynasties during the Medieval period
Hindu powers; the advent of European traders
resulting in the establishment of the British rule; and the subsequent
independence movement that led to the Partition of
India and the
creation of the Republic of India.
Indian people established during ancient, medieval to early
eighteenth century some of the greatest empires and dynasties in South
Asian history like the Maurya Empire, Satavahana dynasty, Gupta
Empire, Rashtrakuta dynasty, Chalukya Empire, Chola Empire, Karkota
Empire, Pala Empire, Vijayanagara Empire,
Maratha Empire and Sikh
Empire.The first great Empire of the
Indian people was the Maurya
Empire having Patliputra(currently Patna, Bihar) as its capital,
conquered the major part of South
Asia in the 4th and 3rd century BC
during the reign of the Indian Emperors
Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka
alongside their senior advisor, Acharya Chanakya, the pioneer of the
field of political science and economics in the World. The next great
ancient Empire of the
Indian people was the Gupta Empire. This period,
Hindu religious and intellectual resurgence, is known as
the classical or "Golden Age of India". During this period, aspects of
Indian civilisation, administration, culture, and
Buddhism spread to much of Asia, while
Chola Empire in the south had
flourishing maritime trade links with the
Roman Empire during this
period. The ancient Indian mathematicians Aryabhata,
Bhāskara I and
Brahmagupta invented the concept of zero and the Hindu–Arabic
numeral system decimal system during this period. During this
period Indian cultural influence spread over many parts of Southeast
Asia which led to the establishment of Indianized kingdoms in
Maratha Empire: Territory under Maratha control in 1760 (yellow),
without its vassals
During the early medieval period the great Rashtrakuta dynasty
dominated the major part of the Indian subcontinent. from the 8th to
10th century and the Indian Emperor
Amoghavarsha of the Rashtrakuta
Dynasty was described by the Arab traveller Sulaiman as one of the
four great kings of the world. The medieval south Indian
mathematician Mahāvīra lived in the
Rashtrakuta dynasty and was the
first Indian mathematician who separated astrology from mathematics
and who wrote the earliest Indian text entirely devoted to
mathematics. The greatest maritime Empire of the medieval Indians
was the Chola dynasty. Under the great Indian Emperors Rajaraja Chola
I and his successor
Rajendra Chola I
Rajendra Chola I the
Chola dynasty became a
military, economic and cultural power in South
Asia and South-East
Asia. The power of the
Chola empire was proclaimed to the
eastern world by the expedition to the
Ganges which Rajendra Chola I
undertook and by the occupation of cities of the maritime empire of
Srivijaya in Southeast Asia, as well as by the repeated embassies to
During the late medieval period the great Vijayanagara Empire
dominated the major part of southern
India from the 14th to 16th
century and reached its peak during the reign of the south Indian
Emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya The medieval
Kerala school of
astronomy and mathematics flourished during this period under such
well known south Indian mathematicians as Madhava (c. 1340-1425) who
made important contributions to Trigonometery and Calculus, and
Nilakhanta (c. 1444-1545) who postulated on the orbitals of
Mughal Empire unified much of Indian sub-continent under one
realm. Under the Mughals
India developed a strong and stable economy,
leading to commercial expansion and greater patronage of culture. This
marked a huge influence in the Indian society. The Mughal Empire
balanced and pacified local societies through new administrative
practices and had diverse and inclusive ruling elites,
leading to more systematic, centralised, and uniform rule. Newly
coherent social groups in northern and western India, such as the
Marathas, the Rajputs, the Pathans, the
Jats and the Sikhs, gained
military and governing ambitions during Mughal rule, which, through
collaboration or adversity, gave them both recognition and military
Sikhs emerged in the 17th century and established the
Maratha Empire and
Sikh Empire which became the dominant power in
India in the 18th century. The
Maratha Empire is credited to a
large extent for ending the Mughal rule in India. The
empire at its peak stretched from
Tamil Nadu in the south, to
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the north and Bengal and Andaman
Islands in the east.
Main articles: Culture of
India and Greater India
India is one of the world's oldest civilisations. The Indian
culture, often labelled as an amalgamation of several various
cultures, spans across the
Indian subcontinent and has been influenced
and shaped by a history that is several thousand years old.
Throughout the history of India, Indian culture has been heavily
influenced by Dharmic religions. They have been credited with
shaping much of Indian philosophy, literature, architecture, art and
India was the historical extent of Indian culture
beyond the Indian subcontinent. This particularly concerns the spread
of Hinduism, Buddhism, architecture, administration and writing system
India to other parts of
Asia through the
Silk Road by the
travellers and maritime traders during the early centuries of the
Common Era. To the west, Greater
India overlaps with Greater
Persia in the
Hindu Kush and Pamir Mountains. During medieval
Islam played a significant role in shaping Indian cultural
heritage Over the centuries, there has been significant
integration of Hindus, Jains, and
Religion in India, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism,
Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, and Irreligion in India
Goddess Lakshmi on gold coinage issued under Gupta Empire, c.
Holi is a major Indian festival celebrated every spring.
India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism,
Jainism and Sikhism,
collectively known as Indian religions. Indian religions, also
known as Dharmic religions are a major form of world religions along
Abrahamic ones. Today,
Buddhism are the world's
third- and fourth-largest religions respectively, with over 1 billion
followers altogether, and possibly as many as 1.5 or 1.6
billion followers. Throughout India's history, religion has
been an important part of the country's culture. Religious diversity
and religious tolerance are both established in the country by the law
and by custom; the Constitution of
India has declared the right to
freedom of religion to be a fundamental right.
Atheism and agnosticism have a long history in
India and flourished
Śramaṇa movement. The
Cārvāka school originated in
India around the 6th century BCE and is one of the earliest form
of materialistic and atheistic movement in ancient India.
Sramana, Buddhism, Jainism,
Ājīvika and some schools of Hinduism
Samkhya consider atheism to be valid and reject the concept of
creator deity, ritualism and supernaturalism.
produced some notable atheist politicians and social
According to the 2011 census, 79.8% of the population of India
Hinduism and 14.2% adheres to Islam, while the remaining
7.37% adheres to other religions, mostly Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism
Judaism each has several
thousands of Indian adherents, and also have an ancient history in
India has the largest population of people adhering to
Bahá'í Faith in the world, even though these two
religions are not native to India. Many other world religions also
have a relationship with Indian spirituality, such as the Bahá'í
Faith which recognises
Krishna as manifestations of the God
Almighty. Despite the strong role of religion in Indian life,
atheism and agnostics also have visible influence along with a
self-ascribed tolerance to other people. According to the 2012
WIN-Gallup Global Index of
Atheism report, 81% of Indians
were religious, 13% were not religious, 3% were convinced atheists,
and 3% were unsure or did not respond.
Traditionally, Indian society is grouped according to their caste.
It's a system in which social stratification within various social
sections defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups are
often termed jāti or castes. Within a jāti, there exists exogamous
groups known as gotras, the lineage or clan of an individuals.
Caste barriers have mostly broken down in cities but still exists in
some form in rural areas.
Hinduism is the majority in most states; Kashmir and
Muslim majority; Nagaland,
Meghalaya are Christian
majority; Punjab is a
Sikh majority with
Hindus 37%. It is to be noted
that while participants in the Indian census may choose to not declare
their religion, there is no mechanism for a person to indicate that
he/she does not adhere to any religion. Due to this limitation in the
Indian census process, the data for persons not affiliated with any
religion may not be accurate.
India contains the majority of the
world's Hindus, Jains, Sikhs,
Zoroastrians and Bahá'í. Christianity
is widespread in the Northeast India, parts of southern India,
Kerala and among various populations of Central India.
Muslims are the largest religious minority.
India is also home to the
Muslim population in the world after
Indian bride in traditional wedding attire
India had a prevailing tradition of the joint family
system or undivided family. Joint family system is an extended family
arrangement prevalent throughout the Indian subcontinent, particularly
in India. The family is headed by a patriarch, the oldest male,
who makes decisions on economic and social matters on behalf of the
entire family. The patriarch's wife generally exerts control over the
household, minor religious practices and often wields considerable
influence in domestic matters. A patrilineal joint family consists of
an older man and his wife, his sons and unmarried daughters, his
sons’ wives and children. Family income flows into a common pool,
from which resources are drawn to meet the needs of all members, which
are regulated by the heads of the family. However, with
modernisation and economic development,
India has witnessed a break up
of traditional joint family into more nuclear families and the
traditional joint family in
India accounted for a small percent of
Arranged marriages have been the tradition in Indian society. Marriage
is considered a union of the two families rather than just the
individuals, the process involved in an arranged marriage can be
different depending on the communities and families. Recent survey
study found that fewer marriages are purely arranged without consent
and that the majority of surveyed Indian marriages are arranged with
consent. The study also suggested that Indian culture is trending
away from traditional arranged marriages, they find that the marriage
India are similar to trends observed over last 40 years
where arranged marriages was previously common, particularly in China
India's clothing styles have continuously evolved over the course of
Cotton was first cultivated in
Indian subcontinent around the
5th millennium BC. Dyes used during this period are still in use,
particularly indigo, red madder, lac and turmeric.
Silk was woven
around 2450 BC and 2000 BC. In 11th-century BC Rig-veda
mentions dyed and embroidered garments known as paridhan and pesas
respectively and thus highlights the development of sophisticated
garment manufacturing techniques during this period. In the 5th
century BCE, Greek historian
Herodotus describes the richness of
the quality of Indian textiles. By the 2nd century AD,
cotton, muslins and silk textiles manufactured in
India were imported
Roman Empire and was one of the major exports of ancient India
to other parts of the world along with
Indian spices and Wootz
steel. Traditional Indian clothing greatly varies across
different parts of the country and is influenced by local culture,
geography and climate. Women traditionally wear Sari, Gagra Choli,
Angarkha, Phiran, Shalwar Kameez,
Gharara and Bandi with
Ghoonghat worn over head or shoulder to complete the outfit. Men
traditionally wear Angarkha, Achkan, Kurta, Kameez, Phiran, Sherwani
and Koti for upper garment, lower garment includes Dhoti, Churidar,
Shalwar, and Lungi. Pagri is usually worn around head to complete the
outfit. In urban centres, people often wear western clothing and
variety of other contemporary fashion.
Main article: Indian cuisine
Vegetarian thali with naan, daal, raita and papad
Indian food varies from region to region. Staple foods of Indian
cuisine include a variety of lentils (dal), whole-wheat flour
(aṭṭa), rice and pearl millet (bājra), which has been cultivated
Indian subcontinent since 6200 BCE. Over time,
segments of the population embraced vegetarianism during Śramaṇa
movement while an equitable climate permitted a variety of
fruits, vegetables, and grains to be grown throughout the year. A food
classification system that categorised any item as saatvic, raajsic or
taamsic developed in
Yoga tradition. The Bhagavad Gita
prescribed certain dietary practices. During this period, consumption
of various types of meat became taboo, due to being considered sacred
or impure. Indian cuisines use numerous ingredients, deploy
a wide range of food preparation styles, cooking techniques and
culinary presentation depending on geographical location.
Dance in India
Kathakali one of classical theatre forms of India
The oldest preserved examples of Indian music are the melodies of the
Samaveda (1000 BC) that are still sung in certain Śrauta sacrifices;
this is the earliest account of Indian musical hymns. The
Samaveda, and other
Hindu texts, heavily influenced India's classical
music tradition, which is known today in two distinct styles:
Hindustani music and Carnatic music. Both the Hindustani and Carnatic
music systems are based on the melodic base known as Rāga, sung to a
rhythmic cycle known as Tāla. These principles were refined in the
nātyaśāstra (200 BC) and the dattilam (300 AD).
The nātyaśāstrais an ancient Indian treatise on the performing
arts, encompassing theatre, dance and music. It was written during the
period between 200 BCE and 200 CE in classical
India and is
traditionally attributed to the Sage Bharata. Natya Shastra is
incredibly wide in its scope. While it primarily deals with
stagecraft, it has come to influence music, classical dance, and
literature as well. It covers stage design, music, dance, makeup, and
virtually every other aspect of stagecraft.
Indian drama and theatre has a long history alongside its music and
dance. One of the earliest known theatre play is Mṛcchakatika
composed by Śudraka. Followed by Aśvaghoṣa's
Śāriputraprakaraṇa and Bhāsa's
Pancharātra. Most notable works are Kālidāsa's
Vikramorvaśīya and Mālavikāgnimitra.
Harsha's Ratnavali, Priyadarsika, and Naganandam, other notable
ancient dramatists include Bhatta Narayana, Bhavabhuti, Vishakhadatta,
Thirayattam and Viswanatha Kaviraja.
Notable fable story-plays Panchatantra, Baital Pachisi,
Jataka tales were performed in folk
theatres since ancient period.
Jataka tales has become part of
Southeast and East Asian folklore with the spread of Buddhism. These
literature's were also influential in development of One Thousand and
One Nights during medieval period.
Contribution and discoveries
List of Indian inventions and discoveries
List of Indian inventions and discoveries and history
of science and technology in the Indian subcontinent
Indian people have played a major role in the development of the
philosophy, sciences, mathematics, arts, architecture and astronomy
throughout history. During the ancient period, notable mathematics
Hindu–Arabic numeral system
Hindu–Arabic numeral system with
decimal place-value and a symbol for zero, interpolation formula,
Fibonacci's identity, theorem, the first complete arithmetic solution
(including zero and negative solutions) to quadratic equations.
Chakravala method, sign convention, madhava series, and the sine and
cosine in trigonometric functions can be traced to the jyā and
koti-jyā. Notable military inventions include war elephants,
crucible steel weapons popularly known as
Damascus steel and Mysorean
rockets. Other notable inventions during ancient period include
chess, cotton, sugar, fired bricks, carbon pigment ink, ruler, lac,
lacquer, stepwell, indigo dye, snake and ladder, muslin, ludo, calico,
Wootz steel, incense clock, shampoo, palampore, chintz, and
Indian cultural aspects, religions, philosophy, arts and architecture
have developed over several millennia and have spread through much of
Asia in peaceful manner. Many architectural structures of India
such as Sanchi Stupa,
Taj Mahal and
Mahabodhi Temple are
Heritage sites today.
In modern times,
Indian people have continued to contribute to
mathematics, sciences and astrophysics. Among them are Satyendra Nath
Bose, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Meghnad Saha, Homi
Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis
Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis and notable Nobel Prize
recipients C. V. Raman, Har Gobind Khorana, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar who is notable for currently accepted
theory on the later evolutionary stages of massive stars, including
Bharat Mata (Hindi, from
Sanskrit भारत माता, Bhārata
Mātā), Mother India, or Bhāratāmbā (from अंबा ambā
'mother') is the national personification of
India as a mother
The image of
Bharat Mata formed with the Indian independence movement
of the late 19th century. A play by Kiran Chandra Bandyopadhyay,
Bhārat Mātā, was first performed in 1873. She is usually depicted
as a woman clad in an orange or saffron sari holding a flag, and
sometimes accompanied by a lion.
Main article: Non-resident Indian and person of Indian origin
Although, population groups originating in different parts of the
Indian subcontinent and within the international borders of the modern
India had been migrating to south east Asia, far east Asia,
central Asia, north Africa and even along the European mediterranean
Indian diaspora generally socio-politically or historically
refers to those whose families or themselves migrated to other parts
of the world after the British Empire established itself in India.
Population estimates vary from a conservative 12 million to 20 million
Main article: British Indian
British Indian community had grown to number over one million.
According to the 2001 UK Census, 1,053,411 Britons had full Indian
ethnicity (representing 1.8% of the UK's population). An overwhelming
majority of 99.3% resided in England (in 2008 the figure is thought to
be around 97.0%). In the seven-year period between 2001 and 2009, the
number of Indian-born people in the UK increased in size by 38% from
467,634 to around 647,000 (an increase of approximately 180,000).
Main article: Indo-Canadians
There are over 1.5 million people of Indian origin or ancestry in
Canada, the majority of which live in Greater
Toronto and Vancouver,
with growing communities in Alberta and Quebec. Nearly 4% of the total
Canadian population is of Indian ancestry, a figure higher than both
United States and Britain. According to Statistics Canada,
Indo-Canadians are one of the fastest growing visible minority groups
in Canada, making up the second largest non-European ethnic group in
the country after Chinese Canadians. The Indo-Canadian community can
trace its history in
Canada back 120 years to 1897 when a contingent
Sikh soldiers visited the western coast of Canada, primarily
British Columbia which at the time was very sparsely populated and the
Canadian government wanted to settle in order to prevent a takeover of
the territory by the United States.
Main article: Indian South Africans
More than a million people of Indian descent live in South Africa,
concentrated around the city of Durban.
Main article: Indians in Tanzania
About 40,000 people of Indian origin live in Tanzania mostly in the
Main article: Indian American
According to the
American Community Survey
American Community Survey of the US Census Bureau,
Indian American population in the
United States grew from almost
1.67 million in 2000 to 3.1 million in 2010 which is the third-largest
Asian American community in the
United States after Chinese Americans
and Filipino Americans.
Main articles: Indo-Caribbean,
Indo-Caribbean American, British
Indo-Canadians § Indians from the
Caribbean, Indians in the Netherlands, and
Indian diaspora in France
Indians from the
Hindi Belt and other parts of South Asia; primarily
the Awadhi, Bhojpuri, and
Purvanchal regions of the
Hindi Belt in the
present-day states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh,
Uttar Pradesh in
India and the
Madhesh regions of the
Hindi Belt in Provinces No. 2, No. 3, and No. 5 in
Nepal were sent to
Caribbean by the British, French, and Dutch, from the 1830s to the
1920s as indentured laborers to work on the sugarcane, cocoa, rice,
and coffee estates. There are more than a million Indo-Caribbeans.
Many of them live in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, and
Jamaica, but some live in others parts of the Caribbean. There are
also many Indians living in
Guadeloupe and Martinique, who most are of
South Indian descent. Many of them have migrated to the United States,
United Kingdom, France, Canada, the Netherlands, and Ireland, and some
of them have migrated to the neighboring
Latin American countries of
Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Peru, Panama, and Brazil. A majority
of them are Hindus, while there are some Muslims, Christians, Jains,
Sikhs, or another religion. They are known as the descendants of the
jahajis or girmityas.
Main article: Genetics and archaeogenetics of South Asia
Recent genome studies appear to show that South Asians are descendants
of two major ancestral components, one component restricted to South
Asia and the other component shared with Central Asia, West
Lists of people from
India by state
South Asian ethnic groups
Ethnic groups in Asia
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