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History of India
Facts about India
Prime Ministers of India
Presidents of India India
India is home to one of the richest and the most ancient civilizations in the world, which existed over 5,000 years ago. India's history and culture is dynamic, spanning back to the beginning of human civilization. It begins with a mysterious culture along the Indus River and in farming communities in the southern lands of India. The history of India is punctuated by constant integration of migrating people with the diverse cultures that surround India. Available evidence suggests that the use of iron, copper and other metals was widely prevalent in the Indian sub-continent at a fairly early period, which is indicative of the progress that this part of the world had made. By the end of the fourth millennium BC, India had emerged as a region of highly developed civilization
Indus Valley Civilization-- This civilization originated in the Indus River Valley, hence the name given to it was Indus Valley civilization. It is the origin of many of the ideas, philosophies and movements which have shaped the destiny of mankind. Harappa and the city of Mohenjo-Daro were the greatest achievements of the Indus valley civilization. These cities are well known for their impressive, organized and regular layout. The civilization with its main cities Mohenjadaro and Harappa flourished for over eight centuries. Its people thought to be Dravidians, whose descendants still inhabit the far south of India.
Aryan and Greek Invasions- - The country was influenced by many invasions, the Arya or Aryans (1500BC) as they are known today, are the first invaders. Aryans were a group of nomadic tribes who had originally inhabited the steppes of Central Asia, in particular the region between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. Tall, fair haired, with clear cut features, they spoke a group of languages which have become known as Indo-European. They settled in the region to the north west of India, known as the Punjab. They brought with them new ideas, new technology and new gods, this is one of the most important epochs in Indian history. With time, the Aryans were engaged in struggle with the dark skinned people or Dasyus. The Dasyus were the Dravidians. The superiority of the Aryans resulted in the Dravidian submission.
The second great invasion into India occurred around 500 BC, when the Persian kings Cyrus and Darius, pushing their empire eastward, conquered the prized Indus Valley. After centuries of obscurity, doubt and conjecture, India came into the full light of recorded history with the invasion of Alexander the Great of Macedonia in 327 BC. Although Alexander crossed the Indus and defeated an Indian king, he turned back without extending his power into India.
Maurya and Gupta Periods ---The receding tide of Greek power led to a period of confusion and uncertainty in northern India as various rulers tried to make capital of the vacuum that Alexander had left behind. These circumstances saw the rise of Mauryas, India's first imperial dynasty, founded by Chandragupta Maurya. Maurya dynasty reached its peak around 260 BC under the Emperor Ashoka, the most famous figures in Indian History. He left a series of inscriptions on pillars and rocks across the sub-continent. But after his death, the Mauryan empire gradually fell apart because his descendants were not as strong rulers as he was.
At the beginning of the fourth century AD, India was fragmented into a lot of small kingdoms. They were often invaded by stronger neighbors like Greeks. They conquered Indus Valley again but they didn't stay for long. Out of this seeming Chaos, King Chandragupta II united all of northern India into a great empire again. The Gupta period has been described as the golden age of Indian history and under their rule of northern India, arts, including poetry and literature, flourished. The exquisite Ajanta and Ellora caves were excavated in this period. Gupta period extended from 320AD to 480AD. But in 455 AD the Huns invaded India from the north and destroyed the Guptan Empire. Again India was split into small kingdoms until the Muslim invasions around 1000 AD.
In South India, great empires rose, entirely independently from those of the north. These included the Kalachuris, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadhavas, Hoysalas, Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas, Cheras and the Vijayanagar kingdom.
Muslim Invasions--The Medieval Period in Indian history began with the Muslim Invasions. While the Hindu kingdoms ruled in the south and Buddhism was fading in the north, Muslim invasions from the Middle East began, towards the end of the 12th century. The Muslim period in India began with the Turkish conquests under Mahmud of Ghazni and Muhammad Ghori. Many famous dynasties such as the the Slave Dynasty, Khilji Dynasty, Tughlaq Dynasty, Saiyyid and Lodhi, Bahmani Dynasty, and Others followed. In the16th century, Babur from Fergana (Uzbekistan), a descendant of Genghis Khan swept across the Khyber Pass, defeated Ibrahim Lodi the last ruler of the Delhi Sultanate at the battle of Panipat and established the Great Mughal Dynasty which lasted for 200 years.
The Mughal (Mogul) period saw a remarkable blend of Indian, Persian and Central Asian influences manifested in an impressive legacy of magnificent palaces, forts, tombs and landscaped gardens-including India's magnificent edifice, the Taj Mahal. The golden era of the Mughal period was under the rule of Akbar the great.
European Invasions--The country’s riches in different cultures, wealth in spices and minerals - made it a target for invasion and colonisation by European powers from the fifteenth century onwards.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to settle in India, in Goa, in the fifteenth century (1498). The Europeans arrived even before the Mughals. The Dutch East India company was chartered in 1602 and they established spice trade and factories in Cochin, Nagapatinam and Agra. They did not have any military ambitions for India. In 1613, the British East India Company, a trading company, started its first trading post in Gujarat. Later in the century, the East India Company opened permanent trading stations at Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta, each under the protection of native rulers.
Meanwhile around 1644, the French established trade with India. Pondicherry was the hub of French settlements. Other French factories and settlements were at Surat, their first trading post in 1666, then Masulipatanam, Karikal, Chandernagore in Bengal and Mahe at the Malabar coast. The struggle for establishing supremacy in trade resulted in wars between the English and the French in the Deccan. The latter of the three successive Carnatic wars between them, from 1746-48, 1748-54 and 1758-63 moreover sealed the fate of the French possessions in India
In 1757, at the Battle of Plassey, Robert Clive, an employee of the British East India Company, defeated the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daulah and established their political sovereignty in India. It was an important step towards the eventual British dominance of the country. The First War of Independence (Sepoy Mutiny) or the first major Indian rebellion against the British after the battle of Plassey took place in 1857. Although the rebels succeeded in capturing territories in the Gangetic plain, it was recaptured by the British and the rebellion was completely crushed by mid 1858. The British government took over control of India from the East India Company. Britain then ruled India with local rulers for over three hundred years.
Indian Independence-- Eventually demand grew for Indian independence. The socio- religious movements brought forth by various social reformers all over the country inspired national consciousness to improve their social condition and invoked the spirit of patriotism among the Indian masses. A national movement for independence was created. Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Subhash Chandra Bosh, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Mahamana, Sardar Ballabh Bhai Patel, Sarojini Naidu, Chander Shekhar Azad were the notable people of the movement. But the most relevantverent leader of the movement was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a lawyer who believed in non violent protest (civil disobedience). Gandhi worked with Jawaharlal Nehru, the secretary of the Indian National Congress and transformed the Indian National Congress political party into a mass movement to campaign against the British colonial rule. After several years of struggle, Britain decided to quit India. But a major problem had arisen. A large Muslim minority doubted that an independent India would also mean a Hindu-dominated India. The Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah began to call for an independent Muslim region- Pakistan. On 15th of August, 1947, India became completely independent from colonial rule, ending nearly 350 years of British presence in India. Nehru became the first Prime Minister of independent India.
Following independence India was divided, to create Pakistan, which initially also included present-day Bangladesh where there were Muslim majorities. The separation escalated the brewing violence into a bloodbath. It is estimated that over one million people were killed in sectarian violence as up to six million Muslims moved towards Pakistan and up to five million Hindus and Sikhs moved towards India. Mahatma Gandhi opposed partition and in 30th January 1948 he himself was gunned down by a Hindu fundamentalist, enraged by his support for the Muslims.
On January 26, 1950 India became a republic. The country adopted a new constitution based on the British parliamentary model. Newly independent, India worked to establish strong institutions of justice, media and bureaucracy.
Governments of India --Nehru governed India until his death in and Lal Bahadur Shastri succeeded him as Prime Minister of India in 1964. He successfully repulsed Pakistan's twin attack on India-in the Rann of Kutch and in Kashmir. After India-Pakistan War of 1965, Shastri met in Tashkent with Pakistan's President and signed a “no-war” declaration.
After Shastri's death he was succeeded by Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi. She rode a wave of success in1971 with India's victory in the second Indo-Pak war (1971), resulting in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh; launching of the India's first satellite into space (1975), nuclear explosion in Pokhran (1974). Other major decisions during her tenure include the nationalization of banks and the abolition of privy purses to the princes. In her attempt to control population growth, she implemented a voluntary sterilization program. But her adversaries criticized it. In 1975, beset with deepening political and economic problems, Mrs. Gandhi declared a state of emergency and suspended many civil liberties. The Emergency was a dark night in Indian democracy.
The people also suffered a lot from this emergency rule. In the same year India acquired Sikkim. Seeking a mandate at the polls for her policies, she called for elections in 1977. Congress party lost the election to the Janata Party and Morarji Desai became India's new prime minister. In 1979 Desai's government crumbled and Charan Singh of the Janata Secular Party formed an interim government. But in 1980, Gandhi's government returned to power.
In 1984, Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated by her own Sikh guards in apparent retaliation for dispatching troops to the Sikh Golden Temple. After her death many Sikhs were killed in Delhi. The years following the assassination, saw the Sikh Terrorism in Punjab. The situation has returned to normal after a decade of bitter violence.
Within 24 hours, Indira's son Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as the new prime minister. But his government was brought down in 1989 by allegations of corruption. Two major scandals, the "Spy" and the "Bofors" affairs, tarnished his reputation and he resigned his position. This was followed by opposition coalition governments headed by V.P. Singh and then Chandra Shekhar. That alliance also collapsed, resulting in national elections in 1991. But Rajiv Gandhi who stood for the elections, met with a tragic end in 1991 at Sriperumbudur, near Chennai by an LTTE Suicide Bomber when he was attending an election meeting.
In the elections INC becomes the largest party and returned to power at the head of a coalition, under the leadership of P.V. Narasimha Rao. In 1996, he and his cabinet officials were subsequently indicted for major corruption. Religious conflict between Hindus and Muslims lead to bloody riots in 1992. Rao's tenure also marked extensive economic reforms under the Finance Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in the early 90s, which paved the way for India's economy growth at a high rate.
In 1996, When general elections were held Rao and Congress were badly defeated, and he lost the prime minister ship. The Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged from national elections as the single-largest party in the Lok Sabha but without a parliamentary majority. Under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, BJP coalition government lasted only 13 days. With all political parties wishing to avoid another round of elections, a 14-party coalition led by the Janata Dal formed a government with H.D. Deve Gowda as Prime Minister but his government collapsed within a year. Another minor party leader, I.K. Gujral replaced Dev Gowda. In November 1997, the Congress Party again withdrew support from the United Front. In new elections in February 1998, the BJP won the largest number of seats in Parliament, but fell far short of a majority. The President inaugurated a BJP-led coalition government under Vajpayee. This coalition fell apart and new elections in 1999 improved the position of the BJP, Vajpayee formed a new coalition. In 1999, Pakistani infiltrators crossed the line of control in Kargil, Kashmir resulting in an armed conflict between the Indian army and Pakistani paramilitary forces, resulting in eventual withdrawal by the Pakistani soldiers. In 2004 elections, Congress formed the government under the former Finance Minister popularly known as the father of Indian Economic Reforms, Dr. Manmohan Singh.
16th May 2009- Congress won the elections again, Dr. Manmohan Singh is the first PM after Nehru to complete a full term and then return for second New Delhi..
Facts about India
Geographical Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan Geographic coordinates: 20 00 N, 77 00 E Map references: Asia Area: Total: 3,287,590 sq km, Land: 2,973,190 sq km , Water: 314,400 sq km Land boundaries: 14,103 km Border countries: Bangladesh 4,053 km, Bhutan 605 km, Burma 1,463 km, China 3,380 km, Nepal 1,690 km, Pakistan 2,912 km Coastline: 7,000 km Climate: varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north Currency (code): Indian rupee (INR) Currency code: INR Exchange rates: Indian rupees per US dollar - 51 (2009) 45.5 (2006), 44.101 (2005), 45.317 (2004), 46.583 (2003), 48.61 (2002) Financial year: 1 April - 31 March International: country code : 91 Internet countrycode: .in
Population: 1,095,351,995 (July 2006 est.) Age structure: 0-14 years: 30.8% (male 173,478,760/female 163,852,827)
15-64 years: 64.3% (male 363,876,219/female 340,181,764)
65 years and over: 4.9% (male 27,258,020/female 26,704,405) (2006 est.) Median age:
Male: 24.9 years,
Female: 24.9 years (2006 est.) Population growth rate: 1.38% (2006 est.) Birth rate: 22.01 births/1,000 population (2006 est.) Death rate: 8.18 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.) Sex ratio: 1.06 male(s)/female (2006 est.) Life expectancy at birth: Male: 63.9 years ,
Female: 65.57 years (2006 est.) Total fertility rate: 2.73 children born/woman (2006 est.)
Nationality: noun: Indian(s) ,
adjective: Indian Flag Description: Three equal horizontal bands of saffron (subdued orange) (top), white, and green with a blue chakra (24-spoked wheel) centered in the white band; similar to the flag of Niger, which has a small orange disk centered in the white band Languages: English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindi is the national language and primary tongue of 30% 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 Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write ,
Female: 48.3% (2003 est.)
Government India Country name: conventional long form: Republic of India
conventional short form: India Local long form: Republic of India/Bharatiya Ganarajya Local short form: India/Bharat Government type: federal republic Capital: name: New Delhi Executive branch: President Pratibha Patil (since 27 July 2007); Prime Minister Manmohan SINGH (Since 22 May 2004) Elections: People's Assembly - Last held May 2009
Time difference: UTC+5.5 (2.50 hours ahead of Hong Kong) Administrative divisions: 28 states and 7 union territories Independence: 15 August 1947 (from UK) National holiday: Republic Day, 26 January (1950) Constitution: 26 January 1950; amended many times Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Legal system: based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations; separate personal law codes apply to Muslims, Christians, and Hindus Judicial branch: Supreme Court (one chief justice and 25 associate justices are appointed by the president and remain in office until they reach the age of 65 or are removed for "proved misbehavior")
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GDP - per capita (PPP): $3,700 (2006 est.)
Railways: total 63,230 km Roadways: total: 3,383,344 km Ports and Terminals: Chennai, Haldia, Kandla, Jawaharal Nehru, Kolkata (Calcutta), Mumbai (Bombay), Vishakhapatnam, New Mangalore
Military branches: Army, Navy (includes naval air arm), Air Force, Coast Guard, various security or paramilitary forces (includes Border Security Force, Assam Rifles, National Security Guards, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Special Frontier Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Railway Protection Force, and Defense Security Corps) Military service age and obligation: 16 years of age for voluntary military service (2001) Manpower fit for military service: Males age 16-49:,Females age 16-49:
Natural resources: coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land Natural hazards: droughts; flash floods, as well as widespread and destructive flooding from monsoonal rains; severe thunderstorms; earthquakes
Note: Information given on this page is just general Information.. We shall not take any responsibility for any error, outdated or incomplete information on this page. For updated information please visit www.indianconsulate.org.hk
Dr.MANMOHAN SINGH (May 22, 2004 - till date)
Present Prime Minister of India. Born in 1932, he is best known as ' father of Indian Reforms'. An academician by profession, he has taught in several universities and also held various positions in the government service. Former Finance Minister (1991) under the Congress government.
A.B.VAJPAYEE (13-10-1999- 22-5-2004) A.B.VAJPAYEE ( 19.3.1998 - 13-10-1999)
Again elected as the Prime Minister from the BJP party from the Lucknow constituency (1998, 1999). Over the decades, the veteran has emerged as a national leader who has mass appeal and commands respect for his liberal worldview and commitment to democratic ideals.
I .K.GUJARAL (21.4.1997 - 18.3.1998)
He was born in 1919. Formerly in Union Cabinet from 67 - 76 and 89 - 90. Minister of External Affairs (89-90, 96-97), Ambassador to USSR (76 - 80).
H.D.DEVEGOWDA (1.6.1996 - 21.4.1997)
He was born in 1933. Former Chief Minister of Karnataka and Janata Dal leader.
He was born in 1921. Served as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh from 1971-73, External Affairs Minister, Defence Minister and Human Resources Minister in Congress Government from 1980 onwards and later as the Prime Minister
He was born in 1927. A parliamentarian, socialist and serving as President of Socialist Janata Party from 1977.
VISWANATH PRATAP SINGH (1989-1990)
He was the Union Minister in Janata party ministry, a senior leader of Janata Dal. He was born in 1931. A renowned painter. Served as Prime Minister from 1989-90.
RAJIV GANDHI (1984-1989)
Youngest Prime Minister of the World's largest democratic country, was born in 1944. Son of Mrs. Indira Gandhi. A commercial pilot turned politician, was assassinated during an election campaign in 1991. He was awarded with 'Bharat Ratna' posthumously.
INDIRA GANDHI (1966-1977)
Daughter of the first P.M. of India Jawaharlal Nehru, was born at Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) in 1917. India's first women Prime Minister. Awarded 'Bharat Ratna' in 1971. Her bold polices led India to victory in the 1971 war against Pakistan. Assasinated in 1984 INDIRA GANDHI (1980-1984)
She was again elected as the Prime Minister in 1980. She was shot dead in 1984 at her residence. she encouraged 'scientific development' in the country.
CHARAN SINGH (1979-1980)
He was born in 1902. Occupied the position of President of Lok Dal for many years. He was the Deputy Prime Minister during Janata regime. Died in 1987.
MORARJI DESAI (1977-1979)
First non-congress party Prime Minister of India, was born in 1896. He served as Chief Minister of Maharashtra from 1952-56. A staunch Gandhian and naturalist. Occupied the positions as Union Minister, Deputy Prime minister and Finance Minister. Awarded Bharat Ratna in1991. He passed away in 1995.
LAL BAHADUR SHASTRI (1964-1966)
A great Indian statesman and freedom fighter, born in 1904. He acquired the title 'Shastri' from Kashi Vidya Peetha'. The slogan 'Jai Jawan and Jai Kisan' was introduced by him. Died in 1966.
GULZARI LAL NANDA (MAY - JUNE, 1964 'acting')
A Gandhian and veteran labour leader, was born in 1898. He held several portfolios in the Union Cabinet. Received 'Bharat Ratna' in 1997. Died in 1998.
GULZARI LAL NANDA (11-24, JANUARY,1966 'acting')
A Gandhian and veteran labour leader, was born in 1898. He held several portfolios in the Union Cabinet. Received 'Bharat Ratna' in 1997. Died in 1998.
Jawahar Lal Nehru (Tenure1947-1964 ) The first Prime Minister of Independent India. He was born in 1889. An intellectual who laid the foundation for a better India. Author of the famous book'The discovery of India'. Died in 1964.
25 July 2007-Incumbent
Patil was the first woman to become President of India. She was also the first female Governor of Rajasthan
P. J. Abdul Kalam 25 July 2002-25 July 2007
Kalam, India's Third Muslim President, was a scientist who played a leading role in the development of India's ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.Kalam also received theBharat Ratna.
Kocheril Raman Narayanan (25 July 1997-25 July 2002)
Narayanan served as India's ambassador to Thailand, Turkey, China and United States of America. He received doctorates in Science and Law and was also a chancellor in several universities. He was also the vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Shankar Dayal Sharma
25 July 1992-25 July 1997
Sharma was Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, and the Indian Minister for Communications. He has also served as the governor of Andhra Pradesh, Punjaband Maharashtra.
25 July 1987-25 July 1992
In 1942, Venkataraman was jailed by the British for his involvement in theIndia's independencemovement.After his release, he was elected to independent India’s Provisional Parliament as a member of the Congress Party in 1950 and eventually joined the central government, where he first served as Minister of Finance and Industry and later as Minister of Defence.
Giani Zail Singh
25 July 1982-25 July 1987
In March 1972, Singh assumed the position of chief Minister of Punjab, and in 1980, he became Union Home Minister.
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
25 July 1977-25 July 1982
Reddy was the only Member of Parliament from the Janata Party to get elected from Andhra Pradesh. He was unanimously elected Speaker of the Lok Sabhaon 26 March 1977 and relinquished this office on 13 July 1977 to become the 6thPresident of India.
Basappa Danappa Jatti
11 February 1977-25 July 1977
Jatti was the vice president of India during Ahmed's term of office, and was sworn in as acting president upon Ahmed's death. He earlier functioned as the Chief Minister for the State of Mysore.
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed
24 August 1974-11 February 1977
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed served as a Minister before being elected as president. He died in 1977 before his term of office ended, and was the second Indian president to have died during a term of office.
Varahagiri Venkata Giri
24 August 1969-24 August 1974
Giri is the only person to have served as both an acting president and president of India. He was a recipient of the Bharat Ratna, and has functioned as Indian Minister of Labour and High Commissioner to Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
20 July 1969-24 August 1969
Hidayatullah served as the Chief Justice of India, and was a recipient of the Order of the British Empire. He served as acting president until the election of Giri as the President of India.
Varahagiri Venkata Giri
3 May 1969-20 July 1969
Giri was appointed as acting president following the death of Hussain. He resigned in a few months to take part in the presidential elections
13 May 1967-3 May 1969
Hussain was vice chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University and a recipient of Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna. He died before his term of office was ended.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan :
13 May 1962-13 May 1967
Radhakrishnan was a prominent philosopher, writer, a Knight of the Realm and also held the position of vice chancellor of the Andhra University and Banaras Hindu University. He was also made a Knight of the Golden Army of Angels by Pope Paul VI.
Rajendra Prasad :
26 January 1950-13 May 1962
Prasad was the first President of independent India. He was also an independence activist of the Indian Independence Movement. Prasad was the only president to serve for two terms in office.