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
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.