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India Essay Research Paper India the largest

India Essay, Research Paper

India, the largest democracy, the second most populous country, is


located at 20? N and 77? E. India is bounded by Pakistan to north-west, Nepal

and China to the north-east, Arabian sea to the south-east and Bay of Bengal to

the south-west. The capital of India is New Delhi, a sprawling city with 11

million people. Indian history can be traced back over some 5,000 years. Many

dynasties like Gupta, Mogul, and Sultans ruled India over centuries. The history

of British India begins in 1600, with the setting up of the East India Company.

Gradually they became the rulers and ruled India until it became independent in

1947 under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. After independence India was

partitioned to create Pakistan, a Muslim state.

According to Indian constitution, India is a “sovereign, socialist, secular,


republic”. The central government is patterned after the British parliamentary

system. The government has three branches, executive, legislative, judiciary.

The president is the head of the state and his duties are largely ceremonial.

Prime Minister is the head of the government and he leads the cabinet, the

council of ministers. India’s bicameral parliament consists of the Council

of States, Rajya Sabha, and the House of the People, Lok Sabha. The Council of


is responsible to the Lok Sabha. The Council of states consists of 250 members

and the

House of People is composed of 550 members.

India’s natural resources are coal, iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite,

chromite, thorium, limestone, barite, titanium ore, diamonds, and crude oil. Its

agriculture products are wheat, rice, coarse grains, oilseeds, sugar, cotton,

jute, and tea. India’s industry is based on textiles, jute, processed food,

steel, machinery, transport equipment, cement, aluminum, fertilizers, mining,

petroleum, chemicals, and computer software. India exports 4 billion in

agricultural products, engineering goods, precious stones, cotton apparel and

fabrics, handicrafts, and tea. India imports 2 billion in petroleum, machinery

and transport equipment, edible oils, fertilizer, jewelry, iron, and steel.

India’s major trade partners are the United States, Russia, Japan, Iraq, and


India’s nuclear tests in May 1998 seriously damaged Indian-American relations.

President Clinton imposed wide ranging sanctions pursuant to the 1994 Nuclear

Proliferation Prevention Act. The United States encouraged India to sign the

Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty immediately and without condition. The non

proliferation dialogue initiated after the 1998 nuclear tests has bridged many

of the gaps in understanding between the countries. However, India has yet to

sign the CTBT, agree to a fissile material production moratorium, or define its

intentions on acquiring a nuclear deterrent clearly.

The Bharatiya Janata Party emerged as the single-largest party in the Lok Sabha

(lower house of Parliament) elections in September 1999. The BJP currently leads

a coalition government under Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee. The coalition

reflects the ongoing transition in Indian politics away from the historically

dominant and national-based Congress Party toward smaller, narrower-based

regional parties. This process has been underway throughout much of the past

decade and is likely to continue in the future. The Congress Party, led by

Sonia Gandhi, holds the second-largest number of seats in the Lok Sabha. Priding

itself as a secular, centrist party, the Congress has been the historically

dominant political party in India. Its performance in national elections has

steadily declined during the last decade. The Janata Dal (United) Party claims

to be a national party and advocates a secular and socialist ideology and draws

much of its popular support from Muslims, lower castes, and tribals.

In India, religion is a way of life. It is an integral part of the entire Indian

tradition. For the majority of Indians, religion permeates every aspect of life,

from common-place daily chores to education and politics. India is home to

Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and other religious

traditions. Hinduism is the dominant faith, practiced by over 80% of the

population. Besides Hindus, Muslims are the most prominent religious group and

are an integral part of Indian society. In fact India has the second largest

population of Muslims in the world after Indonesia. Common practices have crept

into most religious faiths in India and many of the festivals that mark each

year with music, dance and feasting are shared by all communities. Each has its

own pilgrimage sites, heroes, legends and even culinary specialties, mingling in

diversity that is the very pulse of society.

Stretching back in an unbroken sweep over 5000 years, India’s culture has been

enriched by successive waves of migration which were absorbed into the Indian

way of life. It is this variety which is a special hallmark of India. Its

physical, religious and racial variety is as immense as its linguistic

diversity. Underneath this diversity lies the continuity of Indian civilization

and social structure from the very earliest times until the present day.