Most of the people of India live in villages. Agricultural production has become specialized, but India does not have the historical or natural conditions of being an agricultural country. As late as the 19th century, half of the Indian population lived in larger and smaller cities and were engaged in crafts and industry. Especially the textile industry has long traditions in the country. It was far more advanced than the corresponding industry in Europe, but was systematically destroyed by the English colonial power, which transferred textile production to England and encouraged the production of raw materials – cotton – instead. From the 1850s, Indian economy went from producing finished goods to exporting raw materials. The British financed their own industrial revolutionby drawing great values out of India. Especially Bengal – the present Bangla Desh, Bengal (with Calcutta) and Bihar – faced severe taxation and looting for three hundred years. Where the Ganges and Bramaputra rivers meet, some of the world’s first civilizations emerged. Here were the richest and most fertile areas of the world. Today, Bangla Desh and Calcutta are monuments of the European plunder of the Third World.
Since independence in 1947, Indian authorities have been relying on the use of modern technology. The Indian landscape is characterized by nuclear power plants, satellite television, large dam and irrigation plants, petrochemicals, fertilizers, automobile factories, aircraft factories and electronic industry. In the southern part of the country around the city of Bangalore an extensive computer industry has been built. About ten percent of all the world’s scientists are Indians. India, the United States and Russia have about the same number of researchers. But as India’s income levels are on average low compared to other countries in the world, the country is considered very poor. India is perceived by the West as a typical developing country and has been used as a laboratory for aid projects – e.g. child restriction and «the green revolution ». Over 2/3 of India’s population falls below the level of revenue that the country’s authorities have defined as the minimum subsistence level. See abbreviationfinder for geography, history, society, politics, and economy of India.
Modernization has reached the furthest point in Northern India, where poverty is also the worst. Best known is the Green Revolution in the state of Punjab, where India’s wheat chamber in the 60s was used as the American laboratory for new wheat varieties that could absorb a lot of artificial fertilizers and thus produce greater returns. In the south, traditional methods of cultivation are preserved to a greater extent, and legumes and millet are still grown. But throughout the country, there is a trend towards commercial agriculture. Wheat and rice are not grown as food for the peasants, but as commodities for the cities. With increased commercial agriculture, the importance of class division at the expense of traditional caste is also increased in the villages – just as it has been in the cities. But people keep asking what caste they belong to when they meet randomly.
Area: 3,287,263 km2 (world rank: 7)
Population density: 407 per km2 (as of 2017, world rank: 2)
Capital: New Delhi (New Delhi)
Official languages: Hindi, English, 22 other regional languages
Gross domestic product: 2597 billion US $; Real growth: 6.6%
Gross national product (GNP, per resident and year): 1820 US$
Currency: 1 Indian rupee (iR) = 100 Paise
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Head of State: Ram Nath Kovind Venkaiah Naidu, Head of Government: Narendra Modi, Appearance: Sushma Swaraj
National holiday: 26.1. (Republic Day) and 15.8.
29 states (federal states) and 7 Union territories (union territories)
State and form of government
Constitution of 1950
Secular Federal Republic (in the Commonwealth)
Parliament: House of the People (Lok Sabha) with 545 members (543 elected, 2 members appointed by the head of state Anglo-Indian community), election every 5 years; House of States (Rajya Sabha) with 245 members (233 indirectly elected for 6 years, 12 appointed by the head of state), partial election every 2 years
Election of the head of state by electoral college every 5 years
Suffrage from 18 years
Population of: Indians in the, last census 2011: 1,210,854,977 residents
almost exclusively Indians; Minorities of Tibetans, Chinese, Europeans
Cities (with population): (As of 2011) Mumbai (Bombay) 12,478,447 inh. (A 18.4 million), Delhi 11,007,835 (A 16.3 million), Bengaluru (Bangalore) 8,425,970, Hyderabad 6,809,970, Ahmedabad 5,570.585, Chennai (Madras) 4,681,087, Kolkata (Calcutta) 4,486,679 (A 14.1 million), Surat 4,462,002, Pune 3,115,431, Jaipur 3,073,350, Lucknow 2,815,601, Kanpur 2,767. 031, Nagpur 2,405,421, Indore 1,960,631, Thane 1,818,872, Bhopal 1,795,648, Visakhapatnam 1,730,320, Pimpri-Chinchwad 1,729,359, Patna 1,683,200, Vadodara 1,666,703, Ghaziabad 1,636,068, Ludhiana 1,613,878, Agra 1,574,542, Nashik 1,486,973, Faridabad 1,404,653, Meerut 1,309,023, Rajkot 1,286,995, New Delhi (New Delhi) 249,998
Religions: 80% Hindus, 14% Muslims, 2% Christians, 2% Sikhs; Buddhists, Jainists and others (as of 2006)
Languages: 41% Hindi, 8% Bengali, 7% Telugu, 7% Marathi, 6% Tamil, 5% Urdu, 5% Gujarati, 4% Kannada, 3% Malayalam, 3% Odia, 3% Punjabi, 1% Asamiya, 1% Maithili, 1% Santali, 1% Kashmiri; also Konkani, Dogri, Nepali, Sindhi, Manipuri, Bodo, Sanskrit; English
Employees by economic sector: agriculture. 42%, industry 24%, business 34% (2017)
unemployment (in% of all economically active persons)
Inflation rate (in%): 2017: 3.6%
Foreign trade: import: 447.2 billion US$ (2017); Export: US $ 298.4 billion (2017)
Throws and classes
The caste system is the side of Indian society that makes it most foreign to Europeans. The caste system is ancient and has roots in Indian mythology. To some extent, it may be reminiscent of European laug tradition. In the castes, people are grouped according to their profession. But most casts – and some claim that there are three thousand different – have local origins. The only caste that is widely spread is the highest caste – the Brahmins – which historically included the scholars and the priesthood. The distinction between castes is maintained through religiously reasoned norms where notions of purity play a central role. The Brahmins can, e.g. not eating with people of lower caste or marrying their daughters with men of lower caste.
The caste was officially abolished after India’s independence, but the millennial traditions are only slowly changing, though emerging capitalism is helping to beat the old structures. Besides the caste system, there are economic dividing lines. The economic classes and traditional casts often cross one another. Rich families can come from lower castes, and many Brahmins are poor. In the villages, the class divide between, on the one hand, the wealthy and medium-sized farmers, and on the other the small farmers and the landless. The upper class gets credit and can buy necessary funds for production. The subclass cannot and therefore lose in the modernization process. In the cities, the upper class is made up of businessmen and traders. Trade is often far more profitable in India than production. There is much speculation in creating artificial scarcity of food and other necessary items in order to raise prices – and then to launch the goods on the market. Much food is spoiled due to storage during such periods, while food becomes so expensive that people cannot pay it. This type of speculation leads to famine.