The first millennium saw many highly developed independent kingdoms some of which acquired imperial stature. Arts, mathematics, engineering, astrology and philosophy all flourished under the patronage of kings. Trade was conducted with Central, East, West Asia and Africa. The religions of Jainism and Buddhism were conceived. In 326 BC, Alexander the Great conquered north-western India. The Mauryas, Guptas and Ashoka were some of the monarchs of early India.
(Full Article: Early India)
Though the earliest Islamic invasion dates back to the 8thcc. in the Arab invasion of Sind, it was the Turkic invasions of the 12th c that culminated in the formation of the Delhi Sultanate. Islamic provinces were established in many regions starting from the 14thcc. In 1526, Babur, a Central Asian chieftain, invaded India and established the Mughal dynasty which under Aurangazeb almost covered the whole of India. Kingdoms such as the Vijayanagara, theRajput and the Maratha offered stiff resistance to the Mughals. Islamic influence was generally much lesser in South India and Hindu kingdoms continued to hold sway.
By the 15th c, European traders started to arrive in India to establish commodity trading.
''(Full Article: Medieval India). See also Islamic Empires in India; Mughal Era
In 1498, the Portuguese set foot in Goa. Rivalry between reigning European powers saw the entry of the British and French among others. The fractured debilitate kingdoms of India were quickly usurped by the Europeans and indirectly assumed control by subjugating rulers. By early 19th century the British had assumed direct and indirect control over most of India. In 1857, an insurrection in the army sepoys ensued in the popular Revolt of 1857. This mobilised resistance, though short-lasting, was caused due to the widespread resentment due to British discriminatory policies. As a result of this, India formally became a Crown colony. From then on there were numerous independence movements. In 1914, the independence movement was bolstered with the return of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a pacifist. As a colony of Britain, India fought on the side of the British in both World Wars.
Full Article: British India; See also European colonies in India; Indian Mutiny; Indian National Congress; British Raj; British East India Company; India during World War II
On August 8, 1942, Gandhi led the Quit India Movement, a move for early independence. However, due to World War II, it was agreed that a free India was to be created after the war. Variances amongst the Hindus and Muslims, lead to the creation of two dominion nations - India and Pakistan on August 15, 1947.
See: Partition of India.
India began its tryst with destiny with Jawaharlal Nehru taking oath as India's first Prime Minister. On 26 January, 1950. India became a Republic. Nehru's tenure saw two wars with Pakistan over Kashmir and one against China. His socialist tenets resulted in India leaning to the ideology for several decades. Though Nehru refused to actively align with either of the superpowers, India did have to close ties with the Soviet Union. India was also one of the founding members of the Non-aligned Movement. In 1971, India went to war with Pakistan again, resulting in the creation of Bangladesh from East Pakistan.
See Sino-Indian War, Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Modern day India
In 1975, PM Indira Gandhi declared an Emergency suspending civil rights of citizens. Many protesters were arrested or detained without a trial. Emergency was revoked in 1977. In the 1980s India began to upgrade its military. In October 1984, Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards, affiliated to a Sikhist separatist group. This lead to large scale anti Sikh riots in Delhi. By the early 1990s India started to open its markets and gradually moved away from socialism. On December 6,1992, the Babri Masjid was demolished, resulting in nationwide Hindu-Muslim riots. India exploded 5 nuclear bombs in 1998. In 1999, India mobilised its military in Kargil, Kashmir to repel Islamic insurgents squatting there.
Full article: Modern day India
Main article: Politics of India
The Republic of India is a sovereign democratic republic. It is a Union of states with a federal structure. The head of state is a ceremonial President. The president and vice-president are elected indirectly through an electoral college have 5 year staggered terms.
The head of government who wields the actual Executive power is the Prime Minister. He is assisted by the Council of Ministers (The cabinet) whom he appoints. All ministers are sworn in by the president. The prime minister is designated by legislators of the political party or coalition commanding a parliamentary majority. The president then appoints subordinate ministers on the advice of the prime minister.
India's bicameral parliament consists of the upper house called 'The Council of States' (Rajya Sabha) and the lower house called 'The House of the People' (Lok Sabha). The Rajya Sabha consists of incumbents elected through an electoral college whereas the Lok Sabha consists of directly elected representatives.
Also see Indian Administrative Service; List of political parties in India; Indian election process; Election Commission of India; List of government ministers
Geography and climate
Main article: Geography of India, Source | Copyright