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India Fact Summary
Official Name.Republic of India. Capital. New Delhi. India. Indus, from Sanskrit Sindhu referring to Indus River. National Emblem. Adapted from Sarnath Lion Capital of Asoka in 1950. Four lions (one of which is hidden from view) standing back to back with wheel in the center of the abacus; a bull on the right, a horse on the left, and the outlines of the other wheels on the extreme right and left. The words Satyameva jayate (Truth Alone Triumphs) are inscribed below the wheel in the Devanagari script. Anthem. 'Jana Gana Mana' (Lord of the People, of Society, and of the Mind).
Borders.Coast, 3,533 miles (5,686 kilometers); land frontier, 9,425 miles (15,168 kilometers). Natural Regions. Himalaya; Indo-Gangetic Plain; Deccan. Major Ranges. Himayalas, Karakoram, Vindbya, Aravalli, Satpura, Western and Eastern Ghats. Major Peaks. Nanda Devi, 25,646 feet (7,817 meters); Kamet, 25,447 feet (7,756 meters); Anai Mudi, 8,842 feet (2,695 meters). Major Rivers. Ganges, Yamuna (Jumna), Brahmaputra, Narbada, Mahanadi, Godavari, Kaveri. Notable Lake. Wular. Major Islands. Andaman, Nicobar, Lakshadweep. Climate. Three seasons for most of the country--cold season from November to February; hot season from March to June; rainy season from June to October.
Population(1996 estimate). 952,969,000; 733.1 persons per square mile (288.8 persons per square kilometer); 26.8 percent urban, 73.2 percent rural (1995 estimate). Vital Statistics (estimated rate per 1,000 population). Births, 26.5; deaths, 9.8. Life Expectancy (at birth). Males, 58.7 years; females, 59.8. Major Languages. Hindi (official), English (official), Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese. Major Religions. Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism.
MAJOR CITIES (1991 estimate)
Bombay(9,925,891). Major port and financial and commercial center of India; capital of Maharashtra state; well known for cotton-textile, film, and printing industry; Victoria Gardens, Brabourne Stadium, and Marine Drive . Delhi (7,206,704). Capital of India; political, educational, cultural, and transportation center; Red Fort, Central Secretariat, Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Qutab Minar, and the National Gallery of Modern Art . Calcutta (4,399,819). Major port, capital of West Bengal state; cultural, commercial, religious, educational, and political center. Madras (3,841,396). Major port and capital of Tamil Nadu state; educational, transportation, cultural and traditional handicraft center; the Indian Institute of Technology, University of Madras, the Madras Government Museum, Napier Park, Marina beach, and the Corporation Stadium. Bangalore (3,302,296). Capital of Karnataka state; leading cultural, educational, industrial, publishing, and transportation center of south India; Vidhana Saudha, Mysore Government Museum, Lal Bagh, and Hesaraghatta Lake. Hyderabad (3,145,939). Capital of Andhra Pradesh state; educational, cultural, industrial, commercial, and handicraft center; the Char Minar, Mecca Masjid, Salar Jung Museum, and racecourse. Ahmadabad (2,954,526). Industrial, commercial, financial, and educational city; major cotton-textile center, Lake Kankaria, Gandhi Ashram, Jama Masjid, Tin Darwaza (Three Gates), and the Tomb of Ahmad Shah). Kanpur (1,879,420). Industrial and commercial city; rail and lead junction; Kanpur University, the Indian Institute of Technology, and a Hindu glass temple, cantonment, and Sati Chaura. Nagpur (1,624,752). Transportation, industrial, educational, agricultural, and cultural center; British Fort, Ambajheri Tank, Bhonsla Palace, Kasturchand Park, and Secretariat. Lucknow (1,619,115). Capital of Uttar Pradesh state; transportation, commercial, educational, cultural, and handicraft center; Hazratganj, Great Imambara, Rumi Darwaza, Residency, botanical and zoological gardens. Pune (1,566,651). Educational, cultural, commercial, and industrial center; Empress Gardens, Wellesley Bridge, Deccan College, Statue of Shivaji, and Shanwar Wada (Saturday Palace).
Chief Agricultural Products.Crops--sugarcane, rice, wheat, corn (maize), sorghum, millet, mangoes, bananas, oranges, lemons, limes, apples oilseeds, pulses, coconuts. Livestock--cattle, goats, water buffalo, sheep. Chief Mined Products. Limestone, iron ore, bauxite, manganese, chromium, zinc, copper, lead, gold, diamonds, coal, crude petroleum, natural gas. Chief Manufactured Products.Cement, finished steel, steel ingots, refined sugar, fertilizers, paper and paperboard, bicycles, motorcycles and scooters, cotton cloth. Foreign Trade. Imports 59 percent, exports 41 percent. Chief Imports. Fuel oil and refined petroleum products, chemicals, fertilizers, iron and steel, machinery, vegetable oils, rough diamonds, transport equipment, electrical machinery, foodstuffs. Chief Exports. Handicrafts, engineering goods, tea, fish, fruits and vegetables, coffee, textile yarn and fabrics, clothing, leather, precious and semiprecious stones, iron ore, road motor vehicles, works of art, tobacco, iron and steel. Chief Trading Partners. United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia. Monetary Unit. 1 Indian rupee = 100 paisa.
Public Schools.Lower primary (age 6-10) is free throughout India; secondary (age 11-17) is free in most areas. Compulsory School Age. From 6 to 14 in all states except Nagaland and Himachal Pradesh. Literacy. 52 percent. Leading Universities. More than 100; Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Allahabad, Benaras Hindu, Mysore, Patna, Osmania. Notable Libraries. Central Secretariat Library, New Delhi; National Library, Calcutta; Indian Council of World Affairs Library, New Delhi, Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna. Notable Museums and Art Galleries. Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, Bombay; Birla Industrial and Technological Museum, Calcutta; Indian Museum, Calcutta; National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; Government Museum and National Art Gallery, Madras.
Form of Government.Republic. Constitution. Effective Jan. 26, 1950. Chief of State. President; elected by electoral college, 5-year term. Head of Government. Prime Minister. Legislature. Parliament: Council of States (Rajya Sabha) consists of not more than 250 members elected for 6 years; House of the People (Lok Sabha) consists of not more than 545 members elected for 6 years. Executive. President, vice-president, and Council of Ministers headed by the prime minister to advise the president; supreme command of the defense forces is vested in the president. Judiciary. Supreme Court; final authority subject to the provisions of the constitution; a chief justice and not more than 17 other judges appointed by the president; members hold office until age 65. Others--High Courts, Courts of Session, Courts of Magistrates. Political Divisions. 25 states; 6 union territories; 1 national capital territory (Delhi). Voting Qualification. 21 years of age.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Agra.Historic city; location of 17th-century Taj Mahal; Agra Fort; Akbar's Tomb (Sikandara); Dayal Bagh; Jami Masjid (mosque); Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah. Ajanta. Complex of about 30 rock-cut cave temples and monasteries dating back to 200 BC; one of the noblest memorials of Buddhism in India. Ajmer. Religious city; site of a most revered Muslim shrine, Khwaja Muin-ud Din Chishti's Dargah (burial place); Arhai-din-ka jhonpara (mosque); Palace of Akbar. Amritsar. Religious city; site of the most revered Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple with a gold-foil-covered dome; a national monument dedicated to people killed in the Amritsar Massacre (1919). Asansol. Industrial city; center of the Kulti-Burnpur complex of iron and steel, and textile factories. Bhakra Dam. One of the biggest of India, 725 feet (221 meters) high. Part of multipurpose hydroelectric project. Buddh Gaya. One of the holiest of Buddhist sites where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment; a shrine of Buddha dating back to 300 BC; Magadh University. Chandigarh. Joint capital of Punjab and Haryana states; modern planned city designed by Swiss architect Le Corbusier; it is divided into 36 rectangular sections. Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC). A multipurpose project with four dams and one barrage, covers about 7,000 square miles (18,130 square kilometers). Darjeeling. Summer resort in the Himalayas; noted for its tea plantations; Lloyd Botanical Garden; Institute of Mountaineering; Mahakal Temple. Ganges River. Great river of the plains of North India; held sacred by Hindus; rising from Himalayas, its course is about 1,557 miles (2,506 kilometers) long. Goa. Natural harbor and tourist resort with a unique Portuguese colonial heritage; 16th-century Basilica Bom Jesus; Se Cathedral; shrine of St. Francis Xavier. Khajuraho. Historical site having a complex of 20 surviving temples of Siva, Visnu, and Jain patriarchs, dating back to AD 1000. Ootacamund. Called Queen of Indian Hill Stations; situated at about 7,500 feet (2,300 meters) in Nilgiri Hills; tea processing; Botanical Garden; Fern Hill Palace; race course; golf courses. Pondicherry. Religious place; Ashram (retreat) of Sri Aurobindo Ghose, noted Indian philosopher and poet; international study center; Auroville, new universal (international) township. Puri. Hindu pilgrimage center; site of the 12th-century Jagannath (Krsna) Temple; annual Chariot Festival. Sanchi. Historic site having best-preserved group of Buddhist monuments, dating back to 300 BC; Great Stupa (shrine). Srinagar. Internationally famous tourist place in the Vale of Kashmir; seven wooden bridges on Jhelum River; Shalimar and Nishat gardens; Dal Lake; Hazratbal Mosque. Tirupati. One of the richest temples in India; believed to be the abode of god Venkateswara; center of Hindu pilgrimage and a fine example of Dravidianart; Sri Venkateswara University. Varanasi. Commonly known as Kashi; the most holy place for Hindus; principal Hindu religious center since prehistoric times; complex of about 1,500 temples headed by the Kashi Vishwanath Temple; Benares Hindu University; handicrafts, perfumes, and silk and muslin textiles.
FURTHER RESOURCES FOR INDIA
Ashton, Stephen. The British in India (Batsford, 1988). Caldwell, J.C. India (Chelsea House, 1990). Forster, E.M. A Passage to India (Harcourt, 1984). Jaffrey, Madhur. Seasons of Splendour: Tales, Myths and Legends from India (Puffin Books, 1987). Karan, P.P., ed. India in the Global Community (Gateway, 1988). Kipling, Rudyard. The Jungle Book (Viking Kestrel, 1987). Kipling, Rudyard. Kim (Penguin, 1987). Lerner Publications Company, Department of Geography Staff, ed. India in Pictures (Lerner, 1989). Mason, Philip. The Men Who Ruled India (Norton, 1985). Ogle, Carol and Ogle, John. People at Work in India (Batsford, 1988). Scholberg, Henry. The Encyclopedias of India (Promilla, 1986). Thapar, Romila. A History of India (Penguin, 1985). Traub, James. India: The Challenge of Change, rev. ed. (Messner, 1985). Wolpert, Stanley. A New History of India, 3rd ed. (Oxford, 1989).