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tiistai 12. heinäkuuta 2016

India, Cool Facts #125

<= 124. Cameroon                                                                                                       126. Pakistan =>                           

1. Indo-Aryans vs Dravidians

The oldest human remains in India date to 30,000 BC. The settlements gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilization, which flourished in present-day Indian and Pakistani areas around 2500-1900 BC. These people were Dravidian people, who were later pushed to the south by the lighter skinned Indo-Aryans, who migrated from Central Asia.

The Indo-Aryans started arriving around 1800BC and they created the division of India, which is still influencing India as the south is inhabited by Dravidian people and the northern and central parts by Indo-Aryan descendants. The Indo-Aryans brought their language Sanskrit with them, the language in which Hindi is based on.

The Indo-Aryans also brought their hierarchical caste system, which brought stability but was unequal and discriminatory. The casteless 15% of the population were given full civil rights in the constitution of 1950, but the caste system continues influencing the Indian society.

Theoretical migration map of the Indo-Aryan people between 4000-1000BC
Comparison between Indo-Aryan and Dravidian descendants 
Language family map of South Asia

2. Birthplace of Religions 

Four religions were born in India: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Other religions shaped the regions diverse culture as Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam all spread to India during the 1st millennium CE. 

The religion has no single founder or source, it has developed since the 1750BC and gone through several development periods like The Epic, Puranic and Classical periods.

The religion has its roots in Indus Valley Civilization, reflecting the spirituality of the native people before the Indo-Aryan migration to India.

A religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who was born in Lumbini, present-day Nepal

Based on the teachings of Guru Nanak, the first guru of the eleven gurus of Sikhism. Sikhism has existed for 546 years now (2016).

Religious groups in India (2011): 

Hindu 79,8%
Islam 14,23%
Christianity 2,30%
Sikhism 1,72%
Buddhism 0,70%

India has the world's largest Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Zoroastrian and Baha'i populations and the third-largest Muslim population

India Religious Demographics

3. British Raj 

India was a British colony called the British Raj between 1858-1947.

Time before the colonial time: 

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish a settlement as they conquered Goa as their base. In 1599 English businessmen established the East India Company to handle trade in Far East. The British followed as the Mughal Empire and Maratha Empire fought against each other in the 1600s and 1700s.

They benefitted from the situation, where the Mughal Empire degraded getting the control over its areas and starting to fight against the Maratha Empire. In 1818 after three wars India was practically completely under British control.

British rule 

In 1857 the Indian soldiers, Sepoys, rebelled against the British. The rebellion was suppressed violently and the last Mughal Emperor was overthrown. In 1858 The British established its Indian colony, the British Raj.


In 1921 Mahatma Gandhi assumed the leadership of the Indian National Congress and led the independence movement in the 1930s and 1940s. In the end India became independent in 1947.

Indian Empire in 1936

4. Indian Partition 

In the beginning of the independence the British Indian Empire was partitioned into two dominions, the Hindu-majority India and the Muslim-majority Pakistan in 1947. Millions of people were displaced as the partition was made and that caused practically a civil war, where a million people died. The clashes were especially severe in Punjab and Bengal.

India and Pakistan have fought over the region of Jammu and Kashmir several times since the independence and the insurgency is still ongoing. One major cause of the insurgency was the fact that the Hindu Maharaja of Kashmir wanted to join India as the majority of the population were Muslims and wanted to join Pakistan.

In 1971 the Indian troops supported East Pakistan as it split from West Pakistan to become the independent state of Bangladesh.

Important dates: 
1947 British Indian Empire becomes independent as Pakistan and India
1971 Pakistan is split into Pakistan (West Pakistan) and Bangladesh (East Pakistan)

5. Nehru-Gandhi Dynasty 

India has had a very special political dynasty as the Nehru-Gandhi family has ruled several times the Indian politics. The Gandhi surname comes from Feroze Gandhi, who wasn't related to Mahatma Gandhi. Feroze married Indira Nehru, the daugher of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Many members of this family have been involved in the Indian politics and unfortunately many of them have been also assassinated.

Nehru-Gandhi family Indian Prime Ministers: 

1947-1964 Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister
1966-1977 and 1980-1984 Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal's only daughter and India's first female Prime Minister. Assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984
1984-1989 Rajiv Gandhi, became the Prime Minister after her mother Indira was assassinated. Rajiv was assassinated in 1991 by a Tamil suicide bomber

Other family members involved in politics: 

Arun Nehru (1944-2013) politician and union minister during the 1980s
Sanjay Gandhi (1948-1980) was expected to become the Prime Minister after his mother but Sanjay died in a plane crash
Sonia Gandhi (1946) Italian wife of Rajiv Gandhi, she is the incumbent President of the Indian National Congress
Maneka Gandhi (1956) wife of Sanjay Gandhi and a prominent member of the Bharatiya Janata Party
Rahul Gandhi (1970) son of Rajiv and Sonia. Vice-president of the Congress party
Varun Gandhi (1980) son of Sanjay Gandhi and Maneka Gandhi. The youngest National Secretary in the history of the Bharatiya Janata Party.


2500-1900 BC The Indus Valley Civilization thrived around cities like Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, Dholavira and Kalibangan
2000-500 BC The Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism were composed and Indo-Aryan people drove the existing Dravidian people to the south of India
500s BC Buddhism arose based on Siddharta Gautama's teachings and spread strongly during the Mauryan Empire
200s BC Maurya Dynasty's most pre-eminent ruler Ashoka united the Indian subcontinent for the first time, but the Empire disintegrated after his death and Hinduism supplanted Buddhism
320-550 Gupta Empire ruled India and during this time the classical Sanskrit literature, Indian science, astronomy, medicine and mathematics thrived making significant advances
600-1200 Indian early Medieval age, no ruler was able to control the whole subcontinent during this time
700-800s South Indian culture and political systems were exported to areas which are present-day Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Java
800s Islam started spreading to India
1206 Delhi Sultanate, the first Islamic state, was created in India
1200s The Delhi Sultanate repeatedly repulsed Mongol raiders saving India from the devastation that the Mongols caused in West and Central Asia
1300s Timur Lenk's Tatars attacked from Central Asia causing a statal disintegration in India
1336-1646 Vijayanagara Empire ruled in southern India
1498 Portuguese Vasco da Gama was the first European to find a maritime route to India
1500s The Portuguese conquered Goa as their base in western Indian
1526 Timur's descendent Babur established the Islamic Mughal Empire and in the end of the century Mogul Emperor Akbar conquered India completely
1599 British businessmen established the East India Company to handle trade in Far East
1674 Chattrapahti Shivaji's Maratha Empire won the war against the Mughal Empire, which lasted for 27 years
1700s Maratha Empire had conquered the majority of India under its influence
1757 As the Mughal Empire degenerated the East India Company got control over its areas and started fighting against the Maratha Empire
1818 After three was India was practically completely under British control
1846 Muslim majority Jammu and Kashmir had been detached from the Sikh Empire as separate Sultanates
1857 Indian Rebellion against the British, which was suppressed in 1858 and as a result the control of India was removed from the East India Company to the British government
1858 The British Raj was established, the British colony of India with Queen Victoria as the Queen of India
1885 Indian National Congress was established
1906 The Muslim population pursued an independent islamic state, but the National Congress didn't approve it
1919 Amritsar massacre, where British soldiers killed over 400 protestors 
1940s After the World War II the Muslims and Hindus of India had violent clashes with each others
1947 British India became independent, the country was divided into the Hindu majority India and Muslim majority Pakistan 
1948 Mahatma Gandhi was shot to death by a Hindu militant
1950 India recognized the independence of Sikkim between India and Tibet
1959 and 1962 Wars with China as China demanded the annexation of Sikkim to Tibet
1961 Indian soldiers marched to Goa and ended the Portuguese colonial rule there
1966 Jawaharlal Nehru's daugther Indira Gandhi became India's Prime Minister
1971 Pakistan was divided as Indian troops supported East India to become the independent Bangladesh
1975 After a referendum Sikkim ended its 300-year period of autonomy and joined India
1984 Sikh bodyguards murdered Indira Gandhi as a revenge after the Indian troops had attacked the Sikhs' holy golden temple in Amritsar 
1991 Rajiv Gandhi was murdered by Tamil guerrillas during the election campaign, they revenged the intervention made by Indian troops in Sri Lanka's civil war between the Tamils and Sinhalese
1992 Severe wave of violent clashes between the Hindu and Muslim people after the Hindu destroyed the mosque in Ayodhya, erected to honor Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire
1998 Hindu party BJP got finally into the government and its leader Atal Behari became the Prime Minister and by carrying out nuclear weapon tests provoked Pakistan to its own tests
2004 Manmohan Singh became India's first Sikh president
2014 Narendra Modhi followed Singh as the Prime Minister 


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