Portal:India/Selected articles/Archive

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This is a list of Selected Article that appear on the main page of the portal, numbered according to their position in the selection queue.


Devastation in Sumatra

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, also known as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, was an undersea earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC (07:58:53 local time) on December 26, 2004. The earthquake triggered a series of lethal tsunamis that spread throughout the Indian Ocean, killing large numbers of people and devastating coastal communities across South and South East Asia, including parts of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and elsewhere. The number of casualties were 186,983 dead and 42,883 missing, for a total of 229,866 affected. This catastrophe is one of the deadliest disasters in modern history and is known in Asia and in the international media as the Asian Tsunami, and also called the Boxing Day Tsunami. The magnitude of the earthquake has been upgraded to between 9.1 and 9.3 on the Richter scale. This earthquake was also reported to be the longest duration of faulting ever observed, lasting between 500 and 600 seconds, and it was large enough that it caused the entire planet to vibrate at least half an inch, or over a centimetre. The earthquake originated in the Indian Ocean just north of Simeulue island, off the western coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. The plight of the many affected people and countries prompted a widespread humanitarian response, with more than US$7 billion donated in aid for those affected. (more...)


Adi Shankara, also known as Ādi Śaṅkarācārya ("the first Shankara in his lineage"), c. 788820 CE, was the first philosopher to consolidate the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, a sub-school of Vedanta. His teachings are based on the unity of the soul and God, in which God is viewed as simultaneously personal and attributeless. In the Smārta tradition, Adi Shankara is regarded as an incarnation of Shiva.

Adi Shankara toured India with the purpose of propagating his teachings through discourses and debates with other philosophers. He founded four mathas ("abbeys") which played a key role in the historical development and spread of Hinduism and Advaita Vedanta. Adi Shankara was the founder of the Dashanami monastic order and the Shanmata tradition of worship. His works in Sanskrit, all of which are extant today, concern themselves with establishing the doctrine of Advaita (Sanskrit, "Non-dualism"). Adi Shankara quotes extensively from the Upanishads and other Hindu scriptures in forming his teachings. He also includes polemics against opposing schools of thought like Samkhya and Buddhism in his works. (more...)


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Ahmedabad is the largest city of the Indian state of Gujarat and seventh largest of India with a population of 5.2 million. Ahmedabad is located in north-central Gujarat on the banks of River Sabarmati. It once served as the capital of Gujarat and now is the administrative center of Ahmedabad district. Founded by Sultan Ahmed Shah of the Muzaffarid dynasty, Ahmedabad has been under the control of the Mughals, Marathas and then the British. Ahmeadabad was at the forefront of the Independence movement with the famous Dandi March led by Mahatma Gandhi starting from the city. The textile industry is the main industry of Ahmedabad due to which it was once called the Manchester of India. Recently endowed with the official title of "mega-city", Ahmedabad is one of the fastest growing cities of India. The various mosques built in the Indo-Saracenic style are a major attraction of the city. (more...)


Bangalore is the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. Bangalore is located on the Mysore Plateau in southwestern Karnataka. With an estimated metropolitan population of 6.1 million (2006), it is India's third-largest city and fifth-largest metropolitan area. Though historical references to the city predate 900, a modern written history of continuous settlement exists only from 1537, when Kempe Gowda I, who many regard as the architect of modern Bangalore, built a mud fort in the city and established it as a province of the imperial Vijayanagara Empire. The city's temperate climate, which is milder than that of other cities in the country, has been a major attraction to people from other parts of India. After India gained independence in 1947, Bangalore evolved into a manufacturing hub for public sector heavy industries — prominently aerospace, space and defence industries. Bangalore is referred to as the "Silicon Valley of India" and has the second-highest literacy rate in the nation. However, as a large and growing metropolis in the developing world Bangalore continues to struggle with problems such as air pollution, traffic congestion, and crime. (more...)


Shaheed Minar

Bengali or Bangla (বাংলা, Bengali pronunciation: [ˈbaŋla]) is an Indo-Aryan language of East South Asia, evolved from Prakrit, Pāli and Sanskrit. Bengali is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal. With nearly 200 million native speakers, Bengali is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world (it is ranked between fourth and seventh). Bengali is the main language spoken in Bangladesh; in India, Bengali is ranked as either the second or third most spoken language. Along with Assamese, it is geographically the most eastern of the Indo-European languages. (more...)



The BEST (Marathi: बेस्ट) or the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport is Mumbai's public transport service and electricity provider. The government-owned organisation, which was set up in 1873, operates one of India's largest fleet of buses. Originally setup as a tramway company, it branched out into supplying electricity to the city in 1905, and later into operating buses in 1926. The BEST is run by the city's municipality as an autonomous body.

The bus transport service covers the entire city and also extends its operations outside city limits into neighbouring Navi Mumbai, Thane and Mira-Bhayandar. In addition to buses, it also operates a ferry service in the northern reaches of the city. The electricity division of the organisation is also one of the few electricity departments in India to garner an annual net profit.

Until 1995, BEST stood for Bombay Electricity Supply and Transport. After the name of the city was formally changed from Bombay to Mumbai, this was also reflected with the adjustment to Brihanmumbai, which means "Greater Mumbai". (more...)


Bhagat Singh in 1929

Bhagat Singh (Punjabi: ਭਗਤ ਸਿੰਘ) (September 28, 1907–March 23, 1931) was an Indian freedom fighter, considered to be one of the most famous revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement. For this reason, he is often referred to as Shaheed Bhagat Singh (the word shaheed means "martyr"). He is also believed by many to be one of the earliest Marxists in India and has been labeled so by the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He was one of the leaders and founders of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).

Born to a family which had earlier been involved in revolutionary activities against the British Raj in India, Bhagat Singh, as a teenager, began approaching the socialist way of thought and became involved in numerous revolutionary organizations. He quickly rose in the ranks of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) and became one of its leaders, converting it to the HSRA. Singh gained support when he underwent a 63 day fast in jail, demanding equal rights for Indian and British political prisoners. He was hanged for shooting a police officer in response to the killing of veteran social activist Lala Lajpat Rai. His legacy prompted youth in India to begin fighting for Indian independence and also increased the rise of socialism in India. (more...)

Dried Peppercorns

Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. Black pepper is native to southern India and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions. The fruit is a small drupe five millimetres in diameter, dark red when fully mature, containing a single seed. Dried and ground pepper is one of the most common spices in European cuisine and its descendants, having been known and prized since antiquity for both its flavour and its use as a medicine. The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine. Ground black peppercorn, usually referred to simply as "pepper", may be found on nearly every dinner table in some parts of the world, often alongside its frequent companion, table salt. (more...)



The British East India Company was founded by a Royal Charter of Queen Elizabeth I on December 31, 1600. Over the next 250 years, it became one of the most powerful commercial enterprises of its time. The British East India Company's business was centered on India, where it also acquired auxiliary governmental and military functions which came to overshadow its commercial activities. India was often referred to as the Jewel in the Crown. (more...)


Buddhist art, defined as the figurative arts and decorative arts linked to the Buddhist religion, originated in the Indian subcontinent in the centuries following the life of the historical Gautama Buddha in the 6th to 5th century BCE, before evolving through its contact with other cultures and its diffusion through the rest of Asia and the world. A first, essentially Indian, aniconic phase (avoiding direct representations of the Buddha), was followed from around the 1st century CE by an iconic phase (with direct representations of the Buddha). From that time, Buddhist art diversified and evolved as it adapted to the new countries where the faith was expanding. It developed to the north through Central Asia and into Eastern Asia to form the Northern branch of Buddhist art, and to the east as far as South-East Asia to form the Southern Branch of Buddhist art. In India, the land of its birth, Buddhist art flourished and even influenced the development of Hindu art, until Buddhism almost disappeared around the 10th century with the expansion of Hinduism and Islam. (more...)


Side view of Chennai central

Chennai, also known as Madras, is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu and is India's fourth largest metropolitan city. It is located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. With an estimated population of 6.90 million, the 367-year-old city is the 31st largest metropolitan area in the world. The city is a large commercial and industrial centre, and is known for its cultural heritage and temple architecture. The city is the automobile capital of India, with around forty percent of the automobile industry having a base there. The 12 kilometre long Marina Beach forms the city's east coast and is one of the longest beaches in the world. The city is also known for its sport venues and hosts India's only ATP tennis event, the Chennai Open. Chennai is located on a flat coastal plain known as the Eastern Coastal Plains. The city has an average elevation of 6 metres, its highest point being 60 m. City is governed by the Corporation of Chennai, which consists of a Mayor and 155 Councillors representing the 155 Wards. Chennai's culture reflects its diverse population. The city is known for its classical dance shows and Hindu temples. (more...)


Virupaksha temple, Pattadakal, built 740

The Chalukya dynasty (Kannada: ಚಾಲುಕ್ಯರು, Kannada pronunciation: [tʃaːɭukjə]) was an Indian royal dynasty that ruled large parts of southern and central India between the 6th and the 12th centuries. During this period, they ruled as three closely related, but individual dynasties. The earliest dynasty is known as the Badami Chalukyas who ruled from their capital Badami from the middle of the 6th century. The Badami Chalukyas began to assert their independence at the decline of the Kadamba kingdom of Banavasi and rapidly rose to prominence during the reign of Pulakesi II. The other two later dynasties were the Eastern Chalukyas who ruled from Vengi and Western Chalukyas who ruled from Basavakalyan. The rise of the Chalukyas marks an important milestone in the history of South India and a golden age in the history of Karnataka. This period saw the birth of efficient administration, rise in overseas trade and commerce and the development of new style of architecture called Vesara. Around the 9th century, it also saw the growth of Kannada as a language of literature in the Jaina Puranas, Veerashaiva Vachanas and Brahminical traditions. The 11th century saw the birth of Telugu literature under the patronage of the Eastern Chalukyas. (more...)

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The Chola dynasty (Tamil: சோழர் குலம்) was a Tamil dynasty that ruled primarily in southern India until the 13th century CE. The dynasty originated in the fertile valley of the Kaveri River. Territories under their domain stretched from the islands of Maldives in the south to as far north as the banks of the river Ganges in Bengal. The dynasty was at the height of its power during the tenth and the eleventh centuries. Under Rajaraja Chola I (Rajaraja the Great) and his son Rajendra Chola, the dynasty rose as a military, economic and cultural power in Asia. The legacy of Chola rule has lasted in the region through modern times. Their patronage of Tamil literature and their zeal in building temples have resulted in some great works of Tamil architecture and poetry. The Chola kings were avid builders and envisioned the temples in their kingdoms not only as places of worship, but also as centres of economic activity, benefiting their entire community. They pioneered a centralised form of government and established a disciplined bureaucracy. (more...)



Cricket is a team sport. The game, sometimes referred to as the "gentleman's game", originated in its formal form in England, and is popular mainly in the countries of the Commonwealth. In the countries of South Asia, including India and Pakistan, cricket is by far the most popular participatory and spectator sport. It is also the national sport of Australia, and it is the major summer sport in New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The rich jargon of cricket can often leave those unfamiliar with the game confused; the rules are of similar complexity to those of its cousin baseball. Cricket fosters die-hard aficionados, for whom matches provide passionate entertainment. Occasionally, rival nations have lampooned each other over cricket matches, provoking diplomatic outrage. (more...)


An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon by Robert Knox (1681)

For thousands of years, crushing by elephant was a common method of execution for those condemned to death, mainly throughout south and southeast Asia, and particularly in India. Elephants employed in this manner were used to crush, dismember, or torture captives in public executions. The use of elephants to execute captives often attracted the horrified interest of European travellers, and was recorded in numerous contemporary journals and accounts of life in Asia. The practice was eventually suppressed by the European empires that colonised the region in the 18th and 19th centuries. (more...)


The Legislative Museum

The city of Thiruvananthapuram has been the centre of cultural activities of Kerala from the time it was made capital of Travancore in 1745. The capital city is a major intellectual and artistic center. The Thiruvananthapuram Museum and Thiruvananthapuram Zoo were started during the reign of Swathi Thirunal(1813–1847) and are one of the oldest of their kind in India. The city's libraries include the British Library and Thiruvananthapuram Public library, which was started in 1829. The 'Swathi Thirunal College of Music' and 'College of fine arts' are the leading institutions related to music and arts. The people of Thiruvananthapuram are sometimes referred to as "Trivandrumites". (more...)



Darjeeling is a hill station (a hill town) in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is the headquarters of Darjeeling district, situated in the Shiwalik Hills (or Lower Himalaya) at an average elevation of 2,134 m above sea level. Once ruled by the Kingdom of Sikkim, the Darjeeling region was converted into a hill station by the British East India Company in the 1800s, and came to be known as the "Queen of the Hills." It remained as a part of the state of West Bengal in independent India. The name Darjeeling is a composition of two Tibetan words – Dorje ("thunderbolt") and ling ("place"). Hence, darjeeling translates as "Land of the Thunderbolt".

Darjeeling is famous for its tea industry, which produces blends considered among the world's finest. Once used as a sanitarium for British troops and administrators, the town is now a popular tourist destination. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway connecting the town with the plains was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Darjeeling is noted for several western-style public schools attracting students from all over India and neighbouring countries. The town was a major centre of Gorkhaland separatism in the 1980s, resulting in a decrease in tourism-related commerce. Darjeeling has continued to grow in the recent years and the region's fragile ecology is threatened by a rising demand for environmental resources stemming from growing tourist traffic and rapid urbanisation. (more...)


Dinesh Karthik

Krishna Kumar Dinesh Karthik (born 1 June 1985 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India) is a wicketkeeper-batsman in the Indian cricket team. He was a batsman in his junior career, but turned to wicket-keeping in order to improve his future prospects. Making his international debut in late 2004 in both ODI and Test cricket, he was the regular wicket-keeper in Tests, making rare appearances in ODIs. He was replaced as Test wicketkeeper by Mahendra Singh Dhoni in late 2005. After donning the mantle of an opener for his domestic cricket team, he was recalled to the national squad as a batsman in late 2006 after injuries and form slumps hit other batsmen, playing occasional matches in both forms of cricket on the tour to South Africa. (more...)


Emblem of India

The Directive Principles of State Policy are guidelines to the central and state governments of India, to be kept in mind while framing laws and policies. These provisions, contained in Part IV of the Constitution of India, are not enforceable by any court, but the principles laid down therein are considered fundamental in the governance of the country, making it the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws to establish a just society in the country. The principles have been inspired by the Directive Principles given in the Constitution of Ireland and also by the principles of Gandhism; and relate to social justice, economic welfare, foreign policy, and legal and administrative matters.

They aim at achieving social and economic democracy for establishing a welfare state. Directive Principles are classified under the following categories: Gandhian, economic and socialistic, political and administrative, justice and legal, environmental, protection of monuments and peace and security. (more...)

The Bombay Stock Exchange is the country's main stock exchange.

The economy of India is the fourth-largest in the world as measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), with a GDP of $3.3 trillion. When measured in USD exchange rates it is the tenth largest in the world, with a GDP of $691.8 billion. However India's huge population results in a relatively low per capita income ($3,100 at PPP). Services are the major source of economic growth in India today, though two-thirds of Indian workforce earn their livelihood directly or indirectly through agriculture. In recent times, India has also capitalised on its large number of highly-educated populace fluent in the English language to become a major exporter of software services, financial services and software engineers. For most of India's independent history, a socialist inspired approach was adhered to, with strict government control and regulation on private sector participation, foreign trade and foreign direct investment. Since the early 1990s, India has gradually opened up its markets through economic reforms by reducing government controls on foreign trade and investment. The socio-economic problems India faces are the burgeoning population, growing inequality, lack of infrastructure, growing unemployment and growing poverty. (more...)


The flag of India

The Flag of India, sometimes also known as the Tiranga, which means tricolour in Hindi, was adopted as the national flag of the Republic of India on July 22, 1947, during an ad hoc meeting of the Constituent Assembly just before India's independence on August 15 1947. In India, the term "tricolour" almost always refers to the Indian national flag. The flag is a horizontal tricolour of saffron at the top, white in the middle and green at the bottom. In the centre is a navy blue wheel with twenty-four spokes, known as the Ashoka Chakra, taken from the Ashoka pillar at Sarnath. The flag is also the Indian army's war flag, hoisted daily on military installations. The Indian National Flag was designed by Pingali Venkayya. Official flag specification requires that the flag be made only of khadi–a special type of hand-spun yarn. The display and use of the flag are strictly enforced by the Indian Flag Code. A few days before India gained its freedom in August 1947, the Constituent Assembly set up an ad hoc committee headed by Rajendra Prasad. The Flag Committee was constituted on 1947-06-23 and after three weeks they came to a decision on 1947-07-14, being that the flag of the Indian National Congress should be adopted as the National Flag of India with suitable modifications. The "Dharma Chakra" which appears on the abacus of Sarnath was adopted in the place of the "Charkha". (more...).


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The Fundamental Rights in India enshrined in the Constitution of India guarantee civil liberties such that all Indians can lead their lives in peace and harmony as citizens of India. These include individual rights common to most liberal democracies, such as equality before law, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, freedom to practice religion, and the right to constitutional remedies for the protection of civil rights by means of writs such as habeas corpus. The punishment for encroaching on these rights is upon the discretion of the judiciary and the punishments laid out in the Indian Penal Code.

The Fundamental Rights are defined as basic human freedoms which every Indian citizen has the right to enjoy for a proper and harmonious development of personality. These rights (defined in Part III of the Constitution of India) universally apply to all citizens, irrespective of race, place of birth, religion, caste, creed, colour or sex. They are enforceable by the courts, subject to certain restrictions. The Rights have their origins in many sources, including England's Bill of Rights, the United States Bill of Rights and France's Declaration of the Rights of Man. (more...)


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Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles and Fundamental Duties are important parts of the Constitution of India. The Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties of the citizens of India address freedom and democracy in the country, and the Directive Principles guide the Government in making laws and policies. The Fundamental Rights are basic human freedoms which every citizen of India has the right to enjoy for a proper and harmonious development of his personality. These rights, set out in Part III of the Constitution of India, universally apply to all citizens, irrespective of race, place of birth, religion, caste, creed, colour or sex. The Directive Principles of State Policy are guidelines that the Government should use while framing laws and policies. These provisions, contained in Part IV of the Constitution, relate to social justice, economic welfare, legal and administrative matters, and foreign policy. The Fundamental Duties are moral obligations on all citizens of India which help promote a spirit of patriotism and uphold the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India. These duties, given in Part IV–A of the Constitution of India, concern the self, the environment, the State and society. and the Nation. (more...)



Gangtok is the capital and largest town of the Indian state of Sikkim. It is situated in the lower Himalayas. Known for its clean surroundings and temperate climate, this hill station of about fifty thousand people is the centre of Sikkim's tourist industry. Gangtok was a small hamlet until the construction of the Enchey Monastery in 1840 made it a pilgrimage center. It became a major stopover between Tibet and British India at the end of the 19th century. Following India's independence in 1947, Sikkim became a nation-state with Gangtok as its capital. In 1975 the monarchy was abrogated and Sikkim became India's twenty-second state, with Gangtok remaining as its capital. City is also a centre of Tibetan Buddhist culture and learning with numerous monasteries and religious educational institutions. Gangtok is connected to the rest of India by an all-weather metalled highway, NH-31A, which links Gangtok to Siliguri. The civic infrastructure of Gangtok is overseen by the local municipal corporation whose councillors are directly elected by the people. The rural roads around Gangtok however, are maintained by the Border Roads Organisation, which is a part of the Indian army. (more...)


The geography of India is extremely diverse, with landscape ranging from snow-capped mountain ranges to deserts, plains, hills and plateaus. Climate ranges from equatorial in the far south, to tundra in the Himalayan altitudes. India comprises most of the Indian subcontinent and has a long coastline of over 7,000 km (4,300 miles), most of which lies on a peninsula that protrudes into the Indian Ocean. India is bounded in the west by the Arabian Sea and in the east by the Bay of Bengal. The fertile Indo-Gangetic plain occupies most of northern, central and eastern India, while the Deccan Plateau occupies most of southern India. To the west of the country is the Thar Desert, which consists of a mix of rocky and sandy desert, while India's east and northeastern border consists of the high Himalayan range. (more...)



Goa is India's smallest state in terms of area and the second smallest in terms of population after Sikkim. It is located on the west coast of India, in the region known as the Konkan, and is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and Karnataka to the east and south. The Arabian Sea makes up the state's west coast. Panaji is the state's capital, and Margao the largest town. A former colony of Portugal, Goa was ruled by the Portuguese for almost 450 years until 1961, when it was forcibly taken, after demands for a merger with India failed. Internationally renowned for its beaches, Goa is visited by thousands of foreign and domestic tourists each year. Besides beaches, Goa is also known for its world heritage architecture including the Bom Jesus Basilica. Goa also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which are classified as a biodiversity hotspot, one of only three among the ecoregions of India. (more...).


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The Governor-General of India was the head of the British administration in India. The office was created in 1773, with the title of Governor-General of the Presidency of Fort William. The officer had direct control only over Fort William, but supervised other British East India Company officials in India. Complete authority over all of British India was granted in 1833, and the official became known as the Governor-General of India. In 1858, India came under the direct control of the British Crown, and the Governor-General acted as the Sovereign's representative. To reflect this role, the term "Viceroy" was informally applied; the title was abandoned when India became independent in 1947. The office of Governor-General continued to exist until India adopted a constitution in 1950. Governors-General served five-year terms, but could be removed earlier. After the conclusion of a term, a provisional Governor-General was sometimes appointed until a new holder of the office could be chosen. Provisional Governors General were often chosen from among the provincial Governors. (more...)

Buddha, standing

Greco-Buddhism is the cultural syncretism between the culture of Classical Greece and Buddhism, which developed over a period of close to 800 years in Central Asia in the area corresponding to modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan, between the 4th century BCE and the 5th century CE. Greco-Buddhism influenced the artistic (and, possibly, conceptual) development of Buddhism, and in particular Mahayana Buddhism, before it was adopted by Central and Northeastern Asia from the 1st century CE, ultimately spreading to China, Korea and Japan. Numerous Greco-Buddhist works of art display the intermixing of Greek and Buddhist influences, around such creation centers as Gandhara. The subject matter of Gandharan art was definitely Buddhist, while most motifs were of Western Asiatic or Hellenistic origin. The interaction between Hellenistic Greece and Buddhism started when Alexander the Great conquered Asia Minor and Central Asia in 334 BCE, going as far as the Indus, thus establishing direct contact with India, the birthplace of Buddhism. (more...)


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Hindi, an Indo-European language spoken mainly in North, Central, and Western India, is one of the national languages of India. It is part of a dialect continuum of the Indo-Aryan family. Hindi also refers to a standardized register of Hindustani that was made one of the official languages of India. The grammatical description in this article concerns standard Hindi. It evolved from Sanskrit, by way of the Middle Indo-Aryan Prakrit languages and Apabhramsha of the Middle Ages. As a standardised register of India, it became the national language of India on January 26, 1950. Hindi is often contrasted with Urdū. The primary differences between the two are that Standard Hindi is written in Devanāgarī which is written from left to right. The Devanagari script represents the sounds of spoken Hindi very closely, so that a person who knows the Devanagari letters can sound out a written Hindī text comprehensibly, even without knowing what the words mean and has supplemented some of its Persian and Arabic vocabulary, with words from Sanskrit; while Urdu is written in nastaliq script, a variant of the Persio-Arabic script, and draws heavily on Persian and Arabic vocabulary. (more...)



Hinduism is a religion or philosophy that originated from the Indian subcontinent and nearby surrounding areas. The term Hinduism is heterogeneous, as Hinduism consists of several schools of thought. It encompasses many religious rituals that widely vary in practice, as well as many diverse sects and philosophies. Many Hindus, influenced by Advaita philosophy, venerate an array of deities, considering them manifestations of the one supreme monistic Cosmic Spirit, Brahman, while many others focus on a singular concept of Brahman (God), as in Vaishnavism, Saivism and Shaktism.

Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world, with approximately 900 million adherents (2005 figure), of whom approximately 890 million live in India. It is also the oldest known religion in the world today. Unlike many other religions, Hinduism has no main founder, and no main holy city. It also has no single holy book — its original scriptures were the four Vedas, but as time has passed, many other scriptures have also emerged. (more...)


The history of Buddhism spans from the 6th century BCE to the present, starting with the birth of the Buddha Siddharta Gautama. This makes it one of the oldest religions practiced today. Throughout this period, the religion evolved as it encountered various countries and cultures, adding to its original Indian foundation Hellenistic as well as Central Asian, East Asian and Southeast Asian cultural elements. In the process, its geographical extent became considerable so as to affect at one time or another most of the Asian continent. The history of Buddhism is also characterized by the development of numerous movements and schisms, foremost among them the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions, punctuated by contrasting periods of expansion and retreat. (more...)


A temple from the Chola dynasty period. Cholas were an important ruling dynasty in the history of Tamil Nadu.

The region of Tamil Nadu has been under continuous human habitation since prehistoric times and the history of Tamil Nadu and the civilisation of the Tamil people are among the oldest in the world. Throughout its history, spanning from the early Palaeolithic age to the modern time, this region has coexisted with various external cultures. The ancient Tamil dynasties of Chera, Chola and Pandya ruled over this land with a unique culture and language, contributing to the growth of some of the oldest extant literature in the world. They had extensive maritime trade contacts with the Roman empire. Invasion by the Kalabhras during the third century disturbed the traditional order of the land by displacing the three ruling dynasties. These occupiers were overthrown by the resurgence of the Pandyas and the Pallavas, who restored the traditional kingdoms. The Cholas, who re-emerged from obscurity in the ninth century by defeating the Pallavas and the Pandyas, rose to become a great power and extended their empire over the entire southern peninsula.

With the decline of the three ancient dynasties during the fourteenth century, the Tamil country became part of the Vijayanagara Empire. Under this empire, the Nayak governors ruled Tamil Nadu. The European trading companies began to appear during the seventeenth century and eventually assumed greater sway over the indigenous rulers of the land. The Madras Presidency, comprising most of southern India, was created in the eighteenth century and was ruled directly by the British East India Company. After the independence of India, the Tamil Nadu state was created based on linguistic boundaries. (more...)


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The Hoysala Empire was a prominent South Indian empire that ruled most of the modern day state of Karnataka between the 10th and the 14th centuries. The capital of the empire was initially based at Belur but was later moved to Halebidu.

The Hoysala rulers were originally hill peoples of Malnad Karnataka, an elevated region in the Western Ghats range. In the 12th century, taking advantage of the internecine warfare between the then ruling Western Chalukyas and Kalachuri kingdoms, they annexed areas of present day Karnataka and the fertile areas north of the Kaveri River delta in present day Tamil Nadu. By the 13th century, they governed most of present-day Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and parts of western Andhra Pradesh in Deccan India.

The Hoysala era was an important period in the development of art, architecture, and religion in South India. The empire is remembered today primarily for its temple architecture. Over a hundred surviving temples are scattered across Karnataka, including the well known Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and the Kesava Temple at Somanathapura. The Hoysala rulers also patronised the fine arts. This patronage encouraged literature to flourish in Kannada and Sanskrit. (more...)


The Indian cricket team is an international cricket team representing India. It is governed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the main cricketing governing body in India. Cricket is the de facto national sport of India, with a huge fan base.

The Indian cricket team made its debut in Test cricket, the highest level of international cricket, on June 25, 1932 at Lord's, England, becoming the sixth Test team. For nearly fifty years, the India was weaker than most of the other Test cricket teams, such as Australia and England. The team gained strength in the 1970s with the emergence of players such as Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev and the Indian spin quartet, and the Indian team has continued to be highly ranked since then in both Test cricket and One-day Internationals. The team won the Cricket World Cup in 1983 and were runners-up in 2003. The current team contains many of the world's leading players, including Sachin Tendulkar. As of 9 April 2006, the team is ranked third in the ICC Test Championship and third in the ICC ODI Championship. (more...)


Main building of IIT Kharagpur

The Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (commonly known as IIT Kharagpur or IIT KGP) is an autonomous engineering and technology-oriented institute of higher education established by the Government of India. Located in Kharagpur, it was the first of the seven IITs, established in 1951. Officially recognised as an Institute of National Importance, IIT Kharagpur is widely regarded as one of the best engineering institutions in Asia.

IIT Kharagpur was established to train scientists and engineers after India attained independence from British rule in 1947. It is linked to the other IITs in its organisational structure as well as its admission process (IIT-JEE). The students and alumni of IIT Kharagpur are referred to as ‘‘KGPians’’. IIT Kharagpur has the largest campus (2,100 acres (8.5 km2)), maximum student enrollment, maximum number of departments, and the largest library among all IITs. IIT Kharagpur is particularly famous for Illumination and Rangoli festival, in addition to Spring Fest (social and cultural festival) and Kshitij (technology festival). (more...)


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The Indian Institutes of Technology (Hindi: भारतीय प्रौद्योगिकी संस्थान), or IITs, are a group of seven autonomous engineering and technology-oriented institutes of higher education established and declared as Institutes of National Importance by the Government of India. These institutes were created to train scientists and engineers to develop a skilled workforce with the aim of bolstering India's economic and social development after independence in 1947. The students and alumni of IITs are colloquially referred to as IITians. The first IIT was established at Kharagpur in 1951, followed by similar establishments at Mumbai, Chennai, Kanpur, Delhi, Guwahati and Roorkee. Although each IIT is an autonomous university, they are linked through a common IIT Council to oversee their administration. They have a common admission process, using the Joint Entrance Examination (popularly known as IIT-JEE) to select around 4,000 candidates. About 15,500 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students study in the seven IITs in addition to research scholars. Many IITians have achieved success in a variety of professions, resulting in the establishment of the widely recognised IIT Brand. The success of the IITs has led to the creation of similar institutes in other fields, such as the National Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institutes of Management and the Indian Institute of Information Technology. (more...)

The New Delhi Metro railway

Indian Railways is the state-owned railway company of India; it has a complete monopoly over the country's rail transport. Indian Railways (IR) has one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world, transporting over 5 billion passengers and over 350 million tonnes of freight annually. IR is also the world's largest commercial or utility employer, having more than 1.6 million regular employees on its payroll. Railways were first introduced to India in 1853, and by 1947, the year of India's independence, it had grown to forty-two rail systems. In 1951 the systems were nationalised as one unit, to become one of the largest networks in the world. Indian Railways operates both long distance, as well as suburban rail systems. It operates 8,702 passenger trains and transports around five billion annually across twenty-seven states and three union territories (Delhi, Puducherry and Chandigarh). Sikkim is the only state not connected. The Railway Budget deals with the induction and improvement of existing trains and routes, the modernisation and most importantly the tariff for freight and passenger travel. (more...)


Location of Mirzapur

Indian Standard Time (IST) is the time observed throughout India, with a time offset of UTC+5:30. India does not observe daylight saving time (DST) or other seasonal adjustments, although DST was used briefly during the Sino–Indian War of 1962, and the Indo–Pakistani Wars of 1965 and 1971. In certain time-zone maps, IST is designated as E*.

Indian Standard Time is calculated on the basis of 82.5 °E longitude which just west of the town of Mirzapur, near Allahabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The latitude difference between Mirzapur and the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in the UK translates to an exact time difference of 5 hours and 30 minutes. Local time is calculated from a clock tower at the Allahabad Observatory (25°09′N 82°30′E / 25.15°N 82.5°E / 25.15; 82.5) though the official time servers are located in New Delhi. (more...)



The Indo-Greek Kingdom (or sometimes Greco-Indian Kingdom) covered various parts of the northwest and northern Indian subcontinent from 180 BCE to around 10 CE, and was ruled by a succession of more than thirty Greek kings, often in conflict with each other. The kingdom was founded when the Greco-Bactrian king Demetrius invaded India in 180 BCE, ultimately creating an entity which seceded from the powerful Greco-Bactrian Kingdom centered in Bactria (today's northern Afghanistan).

During the two centuries of their rule, the Indo-Greek kings combined the Greek and Indian languages and symbols, as seen on their coins, and blended Ancient Greek, Hindu and Buddhist religious practices, as seen in the archaeological remains of their cities and in the indications of their support of Buddhism. The Indo-Greek kings seem to have achieved a level of cultural syncretism with no equivalent in history, the consequences of which are still felt today, particularly through the diffusion and influence of Greco-Buddhist art.

The Indo-Greeks ultimately disappeared as a political entity around 10 CE following the invasions of the Indo-Scythian, Indo-Parthian and Kushans, although pockets of Greek populations probably remained for several centuries longer. (more...)


The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, also known as the Second Kashmir War, was the culmination of a series of skirmishes that occurred between April 1965 and September 1965 between India and Pakistan. The war was the second fought between India and Pakistan over the region of Kashmir, the first having been fought in 1947. The war lasted five weeks, resulted in thousands of casualties on both sides and ended in a United Nations (UN) mandated ceasefire. It is generally accepted that the war began following the failure of Pakistan's "Operation Gibraltar" which was designed to infiltrate and invade Jammu and Kashmir.

Much of the war was fought by the countries' land forces in the region of Kashmir and along the International Border (IB) between India and Pakistan. The war also involved a limited participation from the countries' respective air forces. This war saw the largest amassing of troops in Kashmir, a number that was overshadowed only during the 2001-2002 military standoff between India and Pakistan. Most of the war was fought on land by each country's infantry and armored units, with substantial backing from their air forces. Many details of this war, like those of most Indo-Pakistani Wars, remain unclear and riddled with media biases. (more...)


Irfan Khan Pathan (born October 27, 1984 in Baroda, Gujarat, India) is an Indian cricketer who has been a member of the Indian national cricket team since late 2003. Beginning his career as a left-arm fast-medium swing bowler who evoked comparisons to Pakistan's Wasim Akram, Pathan eventually improved his left-hand batting to become a bowling allrounder, even opening the batting on occasions. The improvement in his batting also coincided in a steady loss of pace and bowling form, and after finding himself occasionally opening both the batting and bowling in late 2005 and early 2006, Pathan has since found himself dropped from the team in both Test and ODI forms of the game. (more...)


Emblem of India

K. M. Nanavati vs. State of Maharashtra was a 1959 Indian court case involving Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati, who was tried for shooting dead Prem Ahuja, his wife Sylvia's paramour. The incident shocked the nation, got unprecedented media coverage and inspired several books and movies. The case was not only the last jury trial held in India, but also a direct cause for the abolition of jury trials.

In the historic case, Nanavati, a Naval Officer, was put up on trial under section 302 and 304 Part I of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for alleged murder of his wife's paramour. The High Court dismissed the earlier acquittal by a Jury Trial and convicted the accused to life imprisonment under Sec. 302 of IPC. (more...)


K. R. Narayanan (4 February 1921 — 9 November 2005) was the tenth President of the Republic of India. He is the only Dalit and the only Malayali to have held the Presidency. Born in the southern state of Kerala, and after a brief stint with journalism and studying political science at the London School of Economics with the assistance of a scholarship, Narayanan began his political career in India as a member of the Indian Foreign Service under the Nehru administration. He has served as ambassador to Japan, United Kingdom, Thailand, Turkey, People's Republic of China and United States of America and was referred by Nehru as "the best diplomat of the country". He entered politics at Indira Gandhi's request and won three successive general elections to the Lok Sabha and has served as a Minister of state in the Union cabinet under Rajiv Gandhi. Elected as Vice-President in 1992, Narayanan went on to become the President of India in 1997.

In India, where the office of the President is largely ceremonial without executive powers, Narayanan was regarded as an independent and assertive President who set several precedents and enlarged the scope of the highest constitutional office. He described himself as a "working President" who worked "within the four corners of the Constitution"; something midway between an "executive President" who has direct power and a "rubber-stamp President" who endorses government decisions without question or deliberation. He used his discretionary powers as a President and deviated from conventions and precedents in many a situation including but not limited to— the appointment of the Prime Minister in a hung Parliament situation, in dismissing a state government and imposition of President's rule there at the suggestion of the Union Cabinet, and the Kargil conflict. He set a new precent in the country's general election of 1998 by becoming the first Indian President to vote. (more...)



Kalimpong is a hill station nestled in the Shiwalik Hills in the Indian state of West Bengal. The town is the headquarters of the Kalimpong subdivision, a part of the district of Darjeeling. A major forward base of the Indian Army is located on the outskirts of the town. Kalimpong is well-known for its many educational institutions, which attract students from all over North East India, West Bengal, Bhutan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. In recent times, Kalimpong has become an important tourist destination owing to its temperate climate and proximity to popular tourist locations in the region. Kalimpong is also famous for its flower market, especially the wide array of orchids. It houses several Buddhist monasteries holding a number of rare Tibetan Buddhist scriptures. (more...)



The Kargil War, also known as the Kargil conflict, was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between April and June 1999 in Kashmir. The cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control, which serves as the de facto border between the two nations. Pakistan blamed the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri insurgents; however, documents left behind by casualties and later statements by Pakistan's Prime Minister and Army Chief showed involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces. The Indian Army, supported by the air force, attacked the Pakistani positions and, with international diplomatic support, eventually forced a Pakistani withdrawal across the Line of Control (LoC).

The war is one of the most recent examples of high altitude warfare, in mountainous terrain, and posed significant logistics problems for the combating sides. This was the first ground war between any two nuclear armed countries. (India and Pakistan both test-detonated fission devices in May 1998, though the first Indian nuclear test was conducted in 1974.) The conflict led to heightened tensions between the two nations and increased defense spending on the part of India. In Pakistan, the aftermath caused instability to the government and the economy, and on October 13, 1999, a coup d'etat by the military, placed army chief Pervez Musharraf in power. (more...)



Kerala is a state on the southwestern tropical Malabar Coast of India. To its east and northeast, Kerala borders Tamil Nadu and Karnataka; to its west and south lie the Indian Ocean islands of Lakshadweep and the Maldives, respectively. Kerala also envelops Mahé, a coastal exclave of the Union Territory of Puducherry. In prehistory, Kerala's rainforests and wetlands — then thick with malaria-bearing mosquitoes and man-eating tigers — were largely avoided by Neolithic humans. More than a millennium of overseas contact and trade culminated in four centuries of struggle between and among multiple colonial powers and native Keralite states. Kerala was granted statehood on November 1, 1956. Radical social reforms begun in the 19th century by the kingdoms of Kochi and Travancore — and spurred by such leaders as Narayana Guru and Chattampi Swamikal — were continued by post-Independence governments, making Kerala among the Third World's longest-lived, healthiest, and most literate regions. Kerala's 31.8 million people now live under a stable democratic socialist political system and exhibit unusually equitable gender relations. (more...)


The history of Buddhism spans from the 6th century BCE to the present, starting with the birth of the Buddha Siddharta Gautama. This makes it one of the oldest religions practiced today. Throughout this period, the religion evolved as it encountered various countries and cultures, adding to its original Indian foundation Hellenistic as well as Central Asian, East Asian and Southeast Asian cultural elements. In the process, its geographical extent became considerable so as to affect at one time or another most of the Asian continent. The history of Buddhism is also characterized by the development of numerous movements and schisms, foremost among them the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions, punctuated by contrasting periods of expansion and retreat. (more...)


Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal and was capital of British India until 1912. The city's name was officially changed from Calcutta to Kolkata in January 2001. The urban agglomeration of Kolkata covers several municipal corporations, municipalities, city boards and villages and is the third largest urban agglomeration in India after Mumbai and Delhi. As per the census of 2001, the urban agglomeration's population was 13,216,546 while that of the city was 4,580,544. Kolkata city's population growth has been pretty low in the last decade. The city is situated on the banks of the Hoogli River (a distributary of the Ganges). Some of the renowned engineering marvels associated with Kolkata include the bridges like, Howrah Bridge, Vivekananda Setu and Vidyasagar Setu. Kolkata is the main business, commercial and financial hub of eastern India. The city's economic fortunes turned the tide as the early nineties economic liberalization in India reached Kolkata's shores during late nineties. (more...)


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Ladakh, a word which means "land of high passes", is a region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir of Northern India sandwiched between the Karakoram mountain range to the north and the Himalayas to the south. It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in India. Historically, the region included the Indus Valley, the remote Zanskar to the south, and Nubra valleys to the north over Khardung La in the Ladakh mountain range. Ladakh borders Tibet to the east, the Lahul and Spiti to the south, Kashmir to the west, and Central Asia to the north.

Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and Buddhist culture which was established as early as the 2nd century. This has given rise to the appellation "Little Tibet", as it has strongly been influenced by the culture of Tibet. In the past, Ladakh gained from its strategic location at the crossroads of important trade routes, but since the Chinese authorities closed the borders into Tibet and Central Asia in the 1960, international trade has dwindled. Since 1974, the Indian Government encouraged tourism in Ladakh. The largest town of Ladakh is Leh. A majority of Ladakhis are Tibetan Buddhist, with most of the rest being Shia Muslims. The people of Ladakh have in recent times called for the creation of a new Indian union territory because of its religious and cultural differences with predominantly Muslim Kashmir.


Lage Raho Munna Bhai is a 2006 Bollywood comedy directed by Rajkumar Hirani and produced by Vinod Chopra Productions. It is the second film of the Munna Bhai series, preceded by Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. Apart from having the same main characters, the film bears little relation to the previous edition and does not continue the plot in a sequel format. It stars Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi, Vidya Balan, Boman Irani, Dilip Prabhavalkar, and Dia Mirza.

In this movie, Munna Bhai (a bhai or a Tapori, a leader in the Mumbai underworld) meets the ghost of Mahatma Gandhi who teaches him the principles of Gandhian philosophy. Inspired by these ideals, he and his sidekick, Circuit are start promoting Gandhism, which Munna Bhai calls "Gandhigiri". This particular use of an underlying moral is a tradmark of Vidhu Vinod Chopra and has distinguished it from other Bollywood films. The movie was a major hit in India and was ranked #1 on the box office for a period of eight weeks since its release. (more...)


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Lothal was one of the most prominent cities of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. Located in the state of Gujarat in India, it was discovered in 1954, and its existence dates from 2400 BCE. Lothal's dock—the world's earliest—made the city a vital centre of trade between Harappan cities, West Asia and Africa. The dock, its wharf, lock-gate system, and sophisticated drainage system are unusual marvels of engineering. Lothal yielded the most important Indus-era antiquities in modern India. Its scientists divided the horizon and sky into 8–12 whole parts, pioneering the study of stars and advanced navigation. (more...)


Mahabharata is one of the two major ancient Sanskrit epics of India, the other being the Ramayana. Traditionally ascribed to Vyasa, it is the longest literary epic poem in the world. The title may be translated as "History of the Great India" or, more accurately, "the Great Bharata Dynasty" . The work is part of the Hindu itihaasas, literally "that which happened", along with the Puranas. The core story of the work is that of a dynastic struggle for the throne of Hastinapura, the kingdom ruled by the Kuru clan. The two collateral branches of the family that participate in the struggle are the Kauravas and the Pandavas. The struggle culminates leading to the Great battle of Kurukshetra, and the Pandavas are ultimately victorious. It also marks the beginning of the Hindu age of Kali (Kali Yuga), where the great values and noble ideas have crumbled, and man is speedily heading toward the complete dissolution of right action, morality and virtue. Some of the most noble and revered figures in the Mahabharat end up fighting on the side of the Kauravas, due to allegiances formed prior to the conflict. (more...)


Mahatma Gandhi(Gujarati: મોહનદાસ કરમચંદ ગાંધી; Hindi: मोहनदास करमचंद गांधी was the charismatic intellectual and mass-movement leader who brought the cause of independence for British colonial India to world attention. His ideas, especially the satyagraha model of non-violent protest, have influenced both nationalist and internal movements throughout the world. By means of non-violent civil disobedience, Gandhi helped bring about India's independence from British rule, inspiring other colonial peoples to work for their own independence and ultimately dismantle the British Empire and replace it with the Commonwealth of Nations. Gandhi's principle of satyagraha ('"truth force"), often roughly translated as "way of truth" or "pursuit of truth," has inspired other democratic activists, including Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela. He often stated his values were simple, drawn from traditional Hindu beliefs: truth (satya), and non-violence (ahimsa). (more...)


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Malwa (Malvi:माळवा) is a region in western India occupying a plateau of volcanic origin in the western part of Madhya Pradesh state and the south-eastern part of Rajasthan. The region had been a separate political unit from the time of the Aryan tribe of Malavas until 1947. The plateau that forms a large part of the region is named the Malwa Plateau, after the region. Most of the region is drained by the Chambal River and its tributaries; the western part is drained by the Mahi River. Ujjain was the capital in ancient times, and Indore is presently the largest city. The culture of the region has had influences from Gujarati, Rajasthani and Marathi cultures. Malvi is the most commonly used language, especially in rural areas, while Hindi is widely understood in cities. The first significant kingdom in the region was Avanti, an important power in western India by around 500 BCE, when it was annexed by the Maurya empire. The fifth-century Gupta period was a golden age in the history of Malwa. The region has given the world prominent leaders in the arts and sciences, including the poet Kalidasa and the polymath king Bhoj. (more...)


Muhammad Ali Jinnah was an Indian Muslim politician and statesman who led the All India Muslim League and founded Pakistan, serving as its first Governor-General. While celebrated as a great leader in Pakistan, Jinnah remains a controversial figure, provoking intense criticism for his role in the partition of India. As a student and young lawyer, Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress, expounded Hindu-Muslim unity, shaped the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Congress and the Muslim League, and was a key leader in the All India Home Rule League. Differences with Mohandas Gandhi led Jinnah to quit the Congress; he then took charge of the Muslim League and proposed a fourteen-point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslim in a self-governing India. Disillusioned by the failure of his efforts and the League's disunity, Jinnah would live in London for many years. Several Muslim leaders persuaded Jinnah to return to India in 1934 and re-organise the League. Disillusioned by the failure to build coalitions with the Congress, Jinnah embraced the goal of creating a separate state for Muslims as in the Lahore Resolution. The failure of the Congress-League coalition to govern the country prompted both parties and the British to agree to partition. (more...)


Muhammad Iqbal

Muhammad Iqbal was an Indian poet, philosopher and politician, whose poetry in Persian and Urdu is regarded as one of the greatest in modern times. Also famous for his work on religious and political philosophy in Islam, he is credited with first proposing the idea of an independent state for Indian Muslims, which would inspire the creation of Pakistan. After studying in England and Germany, Iqbal established a law practise, but he primarily concentrated on religious and philosophical subjects, writing scholarly works on politics, economics, history, philosophy and religion. He is best known for his poetic works, which include the Asrar-e-Khudi, in honour of which he was knighted by the British government. Scholars have hailed his poetry in Persian as some of the best in modern times. Iqbal was a strong proponent of the political and spiritual revival of Islamic civilisation across the world, but specifically in India. He is commemorated as the national poet of Pakistan. (more...)


Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra and the most populous Indian city. Mumbai is located on an island off the west coast of India. The city, which has a deep natural harbour, is also the largest port in western India, handling over half of India's passenger traffic. Mumbai is the commercial capital of India, and houses important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange and the corporate headquarters of many Indian companies. Owing to the immense business opportunities available in Mumbai and relatively high standard of living, it has attracted migrants from all over India and South Asia, making the city a potpourri of various communities and cultures. Within Mumbai is located Bollywood, the epicentre of the country's Hindi film and television industry, producing the world's highest number of films annually. Mumbai is also one of the rare cities to accommodate a National Park within its municipal limits. (more...)


The stairway in Nathu La

Nathu La Pass is a mountain pass in the Himalayas mountain ranges. It is located on the Indo-China border connecting the Indian state of Sikkim with Yadong County in Tibet Autonomous Region of People's Republic of China. The pass, at 4,508 m (14,790 ft) above mean sea level, forms part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road. The name Nathu literally means "listening ears", and La means "Pass" in Tibetan. It can also spelled Ntula, Natu La, Nathula, or Natula.

Nathu La is one of the three trading border posts shared between China and India. Closed after the 1962 Sino-Indian War, the pass was re-opened in 2006 following numerous bilateral trade agreements. The opening bolstered the economy of the region and is expected to play key role in the Sino-Indian trade. The pass is used for export of 29 goods from Indian side and 15 goods from Chinese side. The opening of the pass also shortens the travel distance to important Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites. (more...)


Norman Borlaug in 2003

Norman Borlaug is an American agricultural scientist, humanitarian, Nobel laureate, and the father of the Green Revolution. During the mid-20th century, Borlaug led the introduction of his grain and modern agricultural production techniques to Mexico, Pakistan, and India. As a result, Mexico became a net exporter of wheat by 1963. Between 1965 and 1970, wheat yields nearly doubled in Pakistan and India, greatly improving the food security in those nations. These collective increases in yield have been labeled the Green Revolution, and Borlaug is often credited with saving over a billion people from starvation. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food supply. More recently, he has helped apply these methods of increasing food production to Asia and Africa. Borlaug has continually advocated the use of his methods and biotechnology to decrease world famine; although his work has faced environmental and socioeconomic criticisms, he has repudiated most of those accusations. In 1986, he established the World Food Prize to recognize individuals who have improved the quality, quantity or availability of food around the globe. (more...)



The political integration of India established a united nation for the first time in thousands of years from a plethora of princely states, colonial provinces and possessions. Despite partition, a new India arose above demographic distinctions to unite peoples of various geographic, economic, ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds. India was transformed after independence through political upheaval and ethnic discontent, and continues to evolve as a federal republic natural to its diversity. The process is defined by sensitive religious conflicts between Hindus and Muslims, diverse ethnic populations, as well as by geo-political rivalry and military conflicts with Pakistan and China. When the Indian independence movement succeeded in ending British Raj on August 15, 1947, India's leaders faced the prospect of inheriting a nation fragmented between medieval-era kingdoms and provinces organized by colonial powers. Under the leadership of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of India's most respected freedom fighters and the Minister of Home Affairs, the new Government of India employed frank political negotiations backed with the option of military action to weld a nation. (more...)

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore (May 7, 1861 – August 7, 1941), also known by the sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali poet, Brahmo (syncretic Hindu monotheist) philosopher, visual artist, playwright, composer, and novelist whose avant-garde works reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A celebrated cultural icon of Bengal, he became Asia's first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature.

A Calcuttan Pirali Brahmin by birth, Tagore began writing poems at the age of eight; he published his first substantial poetry — using the pseudonym "Bhānusiṃha" ("Sun Lion") — in 1877 and wrote his first short stories and dramas at age sixteen. His home schooling, life in Shelidah, and extensive travels made Tagore an iconoclastic pragmatist; however, growing disillusionment with the British Raj caused the internationalist Tagore to back the Indian Independence Movement and befriend Mahatma Gandhi. Despite the loss of virtually his entire family and his regrets regarding Bengal's decline, his life's work — Visva-Bharati University — endured. (more...)


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Rail transport is the most commonly used mode of long distance transportation in India. Rail operations throughout the country are run by the state-owned company, Indian Railways. The rail network traverses through the length and breadth of the country, covering a total length of 63,140 km (39,200 miles). It is one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world, transporting over 5 billion passengers and over 350 million tonnes of freight annually. Its operations covers twenty-seven states and three Union territories and also links the neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Railways were first introduced to India in 1853, and by 1947, the year of India's independence, it had grown to forty-two rail systems. In 1951 the systems were nationalised as one unit, to become one of the largest networks in the world. (more...)


Ram breaking bow during swayamwar

The Ramayana (Devanagari: रामायण) is an ancient Sanskrit epic attributed to the poet Valmiki and is an important part of the Hindu canon (smṛti). The name Ramayana is a tatpurusha compound of Rama and ayana "going, advancing", translating to "the travels of Rama". The Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses in seven cantos (kandas) and tells the story of a prince, Rama of Ayodhya, whose wife Sita is abducted by the demon (Rakshasa) king of Lanka, Ravana. The Ramayana had an important influence on later Sanskrit poetry, primarily through its establishment of the Sloka meter.

One of the most important literary works on ancient India, the Ramayana has had a profound impact on art and culture in the Indian subcontinent. Starting from the 8th century, the colonisation of Southeast Asia by Indians began. Because of this, the Ramayana became popular in Southeast Asia and manifested itself in text, temple architecture and performance, particularly in Indonesia (Java, Sumatra and Borneo), Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Laos. (more...)

Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling was a British author and poet, born in India. He is best known for the children's story The Jungle Book (1894), the Indian spy novel Kim (1901), the poems "Gunga Din" (1892) and "If—" (1895), and his many short stories. He was also an outspoken defender of Western imperialism, and coined the phrase "The White Man's Burden." The height of his popularity was the first decade of the 20th century; in 1907 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. In his own lifetime he was primarily considered a poet, and was even offered a knighthood and the post of British Poet Laureate—though he turned them both down. (more...)


Location of Kottayam in Kerala

Red rain in Kerala was a phenomenon observed sporadically from 25 July to 23 September 2001 in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Heavy downpours occurred in which the rain was primarily red, staining clothes and appearing like blood. Yellow, green, and black rains were also reported.

It was initially suspected that the rains were coloured by fallout from a hypothetical meteor burst, but the Government of India commissioned a study which found the rains had been coloured by spores from a locally prolific aerial algae. Then in early 2006, the coloured rains of Kerala suddenly rose to worldwide attention after media reports of an extraordinary theory that the coloured particles are extraterrestrial cells, proposed by Godfrey Louis and Santhosh Kumar of the Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam. (more...)



Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was an Indian freedom fighter, senior political leader and statesman. Inspired by the work of Mohandas Gandhi, Patel organized the peasants of Kheda and Bardoli in Gujarat in non-violent mass civil disobedience against the oppressive tax policies imposed by the British Raj. He served as the President of the Indian National Congress in 1931, and rose to the forefront of rebellions and political events — helping lead Indians into the Salt Satyagraha and the Quit India movement. Becoming the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India, Patel took charge of the task to forge a united India from a plethora of semi-independent princely states, colonial provinces and possessions. Patel employed an iron fist in a velvet glove diplomacy — frank political negotiations backed with the option (and the use) of military action to weld a nation that could emancipate its people without the prospect of divisions or civil conflict. His leadership obtained the peaceful and swift integration of all 565 princely states into the Republic of India. Patel's initiatives spread democracy extensively across India, and re-organized the states to help transform India into a modern federal republic with states autonomy. He was also well known as Iron Man of India. (more...)


Satyajit Ray (May 2, 1921 – April 23, 1992) was an Indian film director, regarded as one of the greatest auteurs of twentieth century cinema for his subtle, austere and lyrical style of film-making. Born in a prominent Bengali family of arts and letters, Ray studied in Kolkata and at the Visva-Bharati University, Shantiniketan. After completing his education, Ray took up visual design, before turning to film direction. Ray's cinematic debut, Pather Panchali (1955) is a milestone of humanist filmmaking and changed the course of Bengali and Indian cinema. Ray directed thirty-seven films, comprising features, documentaries and shorts. Apart from being a film-maker, he was also a fiction writer, publisher, illustrator, graphic designer and film critic. Ray received many major film and movie awards in his career, including an Academy Award for lifetime achievement in 1991 shortly before his death in Kolkata. (more...)



Sikhism is a religion that found its genesis in sixteenth century Northern India with the teachings of Nānak and nine successive Gurus. This system of religious philosophy and expression has been traditionally known as the Gurmat (literally the teachings of the Gurus) or the Sikh Dharma. Sikhism comes from the word Sikh, which in turn comes from the Punjabi word sikkh. Sikkh comes from its Sanskrit root śiṣya meaning "disciple" or "learner", or śikṣa meaning "instruction", via the equivalent Pāli word sikkhā.

The principal belief in Sikhism is faith in one God — Vahigurū — represented using the sacred symbol of ik ōaṅkār. The followers of Sikhism are ordained to follow the teachings of the Ten Sikh Gurus and the select works of fifteen earlier bhagats as scripted in the Gurū Granth Sahib. The text was decreed by Gōbind Siṅgh as the final guru of the Ḵẖālsā Panth. A dharmic religion, Sikhism advocates the pursual of salvation through disciplined, personal meditation on the name and message of God. The religion shares its philosophy with that of the Bhakti movement and Sūfīsm. Some consider Sikhism to be a syncretic religion, although this is not a widespread belief held by Sikhs; the Sikh gurus maintained that their message had been revealed directly by God. Sikhism's traditions and teachings are distinctly associated with the history, society and culture of the Punjab. Adherents of Sikhism are known as Sikhs (Students or Disciples) and number over 23 million across the world. Sikh scriptures are written in the Punjabi language, and the most sacred institutions are located in the Punjab region now divided between India and Pakistan. (more...)


The Himalayan mountain range in North Sikkim.

Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state nestled in the Himalayas. It is the least populous state in India, and the second smallest. Sikkim was an independent state ruled by the Chogyal monarchy until 1975, when a referendum to make it India's twenty-second state succeeded. The thumb-shaped state borders Nepal in the west, Tibet to the north and east, and Bhutan in the south-east. The Indian state of West Bengal borders Sikkim to its south. The official language is Nepali, and the predominant religions are Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Gangtok is the capital and largest town. Despite its small size, Sikkim is geographically diverse, owing to its location at the Himalayan foothills. Terrain ranges from tropical in the south to tundra in the north. Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest peak, is located in Sikkim, straddling its northern border with Nepal. Sikkim has become one of India's most visited states owing to its reputation for untouched scenic beauty and political stability. (more...)



South India is a region of India that traditionally includes the entire Indian Peninsula, south of the Vindhya ranges. The Narmada and Mahanadi rivers form the northern boundaries of the region, while the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal form the region's western, southern and eastern boundaries respectively. The southernmost point of the region, and therefore of mainland India, is Kanyakumari. South India as a cultural and linguistic entity, comprises the four southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry, whose inhabitants are referred to as South Indians. Ethnically, South Indians are primarily linked by the Dravidian origin of their languages, although some communities such as the Konkani-speaking population of Karnataka retain distinct identities.

South India is a geographically diverse region, encompassing two mountain ranges — the Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats and a plateau heartland. The Tungabhadra, Kaveri, Krishna and Godavari rivers are important non-perennial sources of water. Historically, a number of dynasties including the Cholas, Pandyas, Cheras, Hoysalas and Vijayanagara ruled over different parts of South India prior to the British conquest of India. Agriculture is the single largest contributor to the regional net domestic product. Information technology (IT) is a rapidly growing industry in South India, whose main cities constitute some of India’s major IT hubs. South India's diverse culture varies from the cultures of other parts of India. Politically, South India is dominated by regional political parties rather than by the larger national political parties. (more...)



Tamil is a classical language and one of the major languages belonging to the Dravidian language family. It is predominantly spoken in South India and Sri Lanka, with smaller communities of speakers in many other countries. As of 1996, it was the 18th most spoken language in the world with over 74 million speakers worldwide.

As one of the few living classical languages, Tamil has an unbroken literary tradition of over two millennia. The written language has changed little during this period, with the result that classical literature is as much a part of everyday Tamil as modern literature. Tamil schoolchildren, for example, are still taught the alphabet using the átticúdi, an alphabet rhyme written around the first century CE.

The name 'Tamil' is an anglicised form of the native name தமிழ் (IPA /tæmɪɻ/). The final letter of the name, usually transcribed as the lowercase l or zh, is a retroflex r believed to only exist in Tamil and Malayalam. In phonetic transcriptions, it is usually represented by the retroflex approximant. (more...)


The Tamil people are an ethnic group from South Asia with a recorded history going back almost two millennia. The oldest Tamil communities are those of southern India and north-eastern Sri Lanka. Unlike many ethnic groups, the Tamils have at no time been governed by a single political entity; Tamil̲akam, the traditional name for the Tamil lands, has always been under the rule of more than one kingdom or state. Despite this, the Tamil cultural identity has always been strong. Historically, this identity has been primarily linguistic, with Tamils being those whose first language was Tamil. In recent times, however, the definition has been broadened to also include emigrants of Tamil descent who maintain Tamil traditions, even when they no longer speak the language. Tamils are ethnically, linguistically and culturally related to the other Dravidian peoples of South Asia. There are an estimated 74 million Tamils around the world. Most Indian Tamils live in the state of Tamil Nadu, which includes the major part of the former Madras Presidency. Morover, Tamils are in a clear majority in the union territory of Puducherry, a former French colony which is a subnational enclave situated geographically within Tamil Nadu. (more...).


Technopark campus

Technopark Kerala, located at Thiruvananthapuram (formerly Trivandrum), India, is India's first and largest industrial park dedicated to electronics, software, and other Information Technology (IT) ventures. Started in 1990, the park currently has 3.2 million square feet (310,000 square meters) of built-up space. The park is home to over 110 companies, which employ more than 15,000 professionals. The companies include one CMMI level 5 and PCMM level 5 company, four CMM Level 5, two CMM Level 3 and several ISO 9001 certified companies. Technopark is promoted by the Government of Kerala, with a mandate to promote entrepreneurship and employment in the region. The policy of economic liberalisation initiated by the Government of India in 1991 and the rapid growth of the global software industry during the 1990s has substantially contributed to the growth of Technopark. Over 70% of Kerala's IT exports are from Technopark.

The units in the park include domestic firms, joint ventures and subsidiaries of foreign companies engaged in a wide variety of activities which include embedded software development, smart card technology, enterprise resource planning (ERP), process control software design, engineering & computer-aided design software development, IT Enabled Services (ITES), process re-engineering, animation and e-business. (more...)


Trivandrum Central

Thiruvananthapuram (Malayalam: തിരുവനന്തപുരം), formerly known as Trivandrum, is the capital of the Indian state of Kerala and the headquarters of Thiruvananthapuram District. It is located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland.It is characterized by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills with wide, clean roads and busy commercial alleys. India's Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi had referred and designated this lovely beach side city built on hills as the "Ever Green City of India". With almost 745,000 inhabitants at the 2001 census, the city itself is the largest and most populous city in Kerala; the wider urban agglomeration has a population of about one million.

The city is the State Capital and houses several Central and State Government offices, organizations and companies. Apart from being the political nerve center of Kerala, it is also a major academic hub and is home to several premier educational institutions including the Kerala University, and to many science and technology institutions, the most prominent being the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). The city also has the first Information technology park of its kind and first Biotechnology Center, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) of its kind in India. Situated near Kazhakoottam, Technopark is home to many of the world's leading technology companies. (more...)


West Bengal (Bengali: পশ্চিমবঙ্গ, Poshchimbôŋgo) is a state in eastern India. With Bangladesh, which lies on its eastern border, the state forms the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. To its northeast lie the states of Assam and Sikkim and the country Bhutan, and to its southwest, the state of Orissa. To the west it borders the state of Jharkhand and Bihar, and to the northwest, Nepal.

The region that is now West Bengal was a part of a number of empires and kingdoms during the past two millennia. The British East India Company cemented their hold on the region following the Battle of Plassey in 1757 CE, and the city of Kolkata, then Calcutta, served for many years as the capital of British India. A hotbed of the Indian independence movement through the early 20th century, Bengal was divided in 1947 into two separate entities, West Bengal - a state of India, and East Pakistan belonging to the new nation of Pakistan.

Following India's independence in 1947, West Bengal's economic and political theatres were dominated for many decades by intellectual Marxism, Naxalite movements and trade unionism. From late 1990s, economic rejuvenation led to a spurt in the state's economic and industrial growth. An agriculture-dependent state, West Bengal occupies only 2.7% of the India's land area, though it supports over 7.8% of Indian population, and is the most densely populated state in India. West Bengal has been ruled by the CPI(M)-led Left Front for three decades, making it the world's longest-running democratically-elected communist government. Many notable poets, writers, artists and performers are native to West Bengal. (more...)

Harbhajan Singh

Harbhajan Singh (born: 3 July 1980 in Jalandhar, Punjab, India) is an Indian cricketer and India's most successful off spin bowler.

Harbhajan made his Test and One-Day International (ODI) debuts in early 1998. His career was initially beset by investigations into the legality of his bowling action and disciplinary incidents that raised the ire of cricket authorities. However in 2001, with leading leg spinner Anil Kumble injured, Harbhajan's career was resuscitated after Indian captain Sourav Ganguly called for his inclusion in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy team. In that series victory over Australia, Harbhajan established himself as the team's leading spinner by taking 32 wickets and becoming the first Indian bowler to take a hat trick in Test cricket.

A finger injury in mid 2003 sidelined him for much of the following year, allowing Kumble to regain his position as the first choice spinner. Harbhajan reclaimed a regular position in the team upon his return in late 2004, but often found himself watching from the sidelines in Test matches outside the Indian subcontinent with typically only one spinner, Kumble, being used. Despite unremarkable Test performances in 2006, which led to speculation about his lack of loop and his waning value as a strike bowler, he remains India's first-choice ODI spinner. (more...)

Extent of Vijayanagara Empire

The Vijayanagara Empire was a South Indian empire based in the Deccan. Established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I, it lasted until 1646 although its power declined after a major military defeat in 1565 by the Deccan sultanates. The empire is named after its capital city of Vijayanagara, whose impressive ruins surround modern Hampi, now a World Heritage Site in modern Karnataka, India. The writings of medieval European travelers such as Domingo Paes, Fernao Nuniz and Niccolò Da Conti and the literature in local vernaculars provide crucial information about its history. Archaeological excavations at Vijayanagara have revealed the empire's power and wealth.

The empire's legacy includes many monuments spread over South India, the best known being the group at Hampi. The previous temple building traditions in South India came together in the Vijayanagara Architecture style. The mingling of all faiths and vernaculars inspired architectural innovation of Hindu temple construction, first in the Deccan and later in the Dravidian idioms using the local granite. Secular royal structures show the influence of the Northern Deccan Sultanate architecture. Efficient administration and vigorous overseas trade brought new technologies like water management systems for irrigation. The empire's patronage enabled fine arts and literature to reach new heights in the languages of Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Sanskrit, while Carnatic music evolved into its current form. The Vijayanagara Empire created an epoch in South Indian history that transcended regionalism by promoting Hinduism as a unifying factor. (more...)

Kazi Nazrul Islam

Kazi Nazrul Islam (b. May 25, 1899 — d. August 29, 1976) was a Bengali poet, musician, revolutionary and philosopher who is best known for pioneering works of Bengali poetry. He is popularly known as the Bidrohi KobiRebel Poet — as many of his works showcase an intense rebellion against oppression of humans through slavery, hatred and tradition. He is officially recognised as the national poet of Bangladesh and commemorated in India.

Born in a poor Muslim family, Nazrul received religious education and worked as a muezzin at a local mosque. He learned of poetry, drama, and literature while working with theatrical groups. After a stint in the Indian Army, Nazrul established himself as a journalist in Kolkata (then Calcutta). He assailed the British Raj and preached revolution through his poetic works, such as "Bidrohi" ("The Rebel") and "Bhangar Gaan" ("The Song of Destruction"), as well as his publication "Dhumketu" ("The Comet"). While in prison, Nazrul wrote the "Rajbandir Jabanbandi" ("Deposition of a Political Prisoner"), intensifying his criticism of imperialism. Nazrul condemned Muslim religious fundamentalism and explored the lives of downtrodden masses in India. He remained active in political organisations and literary, art, and music societies.

Nazrul's writings explore themes such as love, freedom, and revolution; he opposed all bigotry, including religious and gender. His impassioned patriotic stance (during British India) often earned him prison time. He wrote short stories, novels, and essays but is best-known for his poems, in which he pioneered new forms such as Bengali ghazals. Nazrul wrote and composed music for his nearly 3000 songs which are collectively known as Nazrul Sangeet (Nazrul songs) and widely popular today. At the age of 43 (in 1942) he began showing the signs of an unknown disease, losing his voice and memory. Suffering from Pick's Disease, as later diagnosed by Dr. Hans Hoff in Austria (Vienna), Nazrul gradually yielded to incurable mental illness, which forced him to live in isolation for many years. Invited by the Government of Bangladesh, Nazrul and his family moved to Dhaka in 1972, where he died four years later. (more...)

Syed Ahmed Khan

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan Bahadur, GCSI (October 17, 1817 – March 27, 1898), commonly known as Sir Syed, was an Indian educator and politician who pioneered modern education for the Muslim community in India by founding the Muhammedan Anglo-Oriental College, which later developed into the Aligarh Muslim University. His work gave rise to a new generation of Muslim intellectuals and politicians who composed the Aligarh movement to secure the political future of Muslims in India.

Born into Mughal nobility, Sir Syed earned a reputation as a distinguished scholar while working as a jurist for the British East India Company. Personally affected by the turmoil of the Indian rebellion of 1857, he penned the booklet Asbab-e-Bhaghawath-e-Hind (The Causes of the Indian Mutiny) — a daring critique, at the time, of British policies that he blamed for causing the revolt. Believing that the future of Muslims was threatened by their orthodox nature and outlook, Sir Syed began promoting Western-style scientific education by founding modern schools and journals and organising Muslim intellectuals. Inspired by the functioning of British colleges, Sir Syed founded the Muhammedan Anglo-Oriental College in 1875 with the aim of promoting social and economic development of Indian Muslims.

One of the most influential Muslim politicians of his time, Sir Syed was suspicious of the Indian independence movement and called upon Muslims to loyally serve the British Raj. He denounced nationalist organisations such as the Indian National Congress, instead forming organisations to promote Muslim unity and pro-British attitudes and activities. Sir Syed promoted the adoption of Urdu as the lingua franca of all Indian Muslims, and mentored a rising generation of Muslim politicians and intellectuals. Although hailed as a great Muslim leader and social reformer, Sir Syed remains the subject of controversy for his views on Hindu-Muslim issues. (more...)

Hoysala temple at Somanathapura

Hoysala architecture (Kannada: ಹೊಯ್ಸಳ ವಾಸ್ತುಶಿಲ್ಪ) is the building style developed under the rule of the Hoysala Empire between the 11th and 14th centuries, in the region known today as Karnataka, a state of India. Hoysala influence was at its peak in the 13th century, when it dominated the Southern Deccan Plateau region. Large and small temples built during this era remain as examples of the Hoysala architectural style, including the Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and the Kesava Temple at Somanathapura. Other examples of fine Hoysala craftsmanship are the temples at Belavadi, Amruthapura, Hosaholalu, Mosale, Arasikere, Basaralu, Kikkeri and Nuggehalli. (more...)

Map of the Bengal region: West Bengal and Bangladesh

Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast of South Asia. Today it is mainly divided between the independent nation of Bangladesh (East Bengal), and the Indian federal republic's constitutive state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous kingdoms of Bengal (during local monarchial regimes and British rule) are now part of the neighboring Indian states of Bihar, Tripura and Orissa. The majority of Bengal is inhabited by Bengali people who speak the Bengali language.

The region of Bengal is one of the most densely populated regions on earth, with population density exceeding 900/km². Most of the Bengal region lies in the low-lying GangesBrahmaputra River Delta or Ganges Delta, the world's largest delta. In the southern part of the delta lies Sundarbans— world's largest mangrove forest and home to the famed Bengal tiger. Though the population of the region is mostly rural and agrararian, two megacities, Kolkata (previously Calcutta) and Dhaka, are located in Bengal. The Bengal region is notable for its contribution to the socio-cultural uplift of Indian society in the form of Bengal Renaissance, and revolutionary activities during the Indian independence movement. (more...)

Portrait of Babur

Zāhir ud-Dīn Mohammad, commonly known as Bābur (February 14, 1483 – December 26, 1530), was a Muslim Emperor from Central Asia who founded the Mughal dynasty of India. He was a direct descendant of Timur, and believed himself to be a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother. Following a series of set-backs he succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal Empire. (more...)

An Atlantique plane

The Atlantique Incident was a major event in which a Pakistan Navy Breguet Atlantic (Breguet Br.1150 Atlantique) plane, flight Atlantic-91, was shot down by the Indian Air Force citing violation of airspace. The episode took place in the Rann of Kutch on August 10, 1999 just a month after the Kargil War, creating a tense atmosphere between India and Pakistan. This was the Pakistani Navy's first and only loss of an airplane to hostile fire. (more...)

Indian Climatic Zones

The climate of India comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a vast geographic scale and varied topography, making generalisations difficult. Based on the Köppen system, India hosts six major climatic subtypes, ranging from arid desert in the west, alpine tundra and glaciers in the north, and humid tropical regions supporting rainforests in the southwest and the island territories. Many regions have starkly different microclimates. The nation has four seasons: winter (January and February), summer (March to May), a monsoon (rainy) season (June–September), and a post-monsoon period (October–December).

India's unique geography and geology strongly influence its climate; this is particularly true of the Himalayas in the north and the Thar Desert in the northwest. The Himalayas act as a barrier to the frigid katabatic winds flowing down from Central Asia. Thus, North India is kept warm or only mildly cooled during winter; in summer, the same phenomenon makes India relatively hot. Although the Tropic of Cancer—the boundary between the tropics and subtropics—passes through the middle of India, the whole country is considered to be tropical.

As in much of the tropics, monsoonal and other weather conditions in India are unstable: major droughts, floods, cyclones and other natural disasters are sporadic, but have killed or displaced millions. India's long-term climatic stability is further threatened by global warming. Climatic diversity in India makes the analysis of these issues complex. (more...)

Mysore Palace Emblem

The political history of medieval Karnataka spans the 4th to the 16th centuries CE, when the empires that evolved in the Karnataka region of India made a lasting impact on the subcontinent. Before this, alien empires held sway over the region, and the nucleus of power was outside modern Karnataka. The medieval era can be broadly divided into several periods. The earliest native kingdoms and imperialism; the successful domination of the Gangetic plains in northern India and rivalry with the empires of Tamilakam over the Vengi region; and the domination of the southern Deccan and consolidation against Muslim invasion. The origins of the rise of the Karnataka region as an independent power date back to the fourth-century birth of the Kadamba Dynasty of Banavasi, the earliest of the native rulers to conduct administration in the native language of Kannada in addition to the official Sanskrit. This is the historical starting point in studying the development of the region as an enduring geopolitical entity and of Kannada as an important regional language.

In the southern regions of Karnataka, the Western Gangas of Talakad were contemporaries of the Kadambas. The Kadambas and Gangas were followed by the imperial dynasties of the Badami Chalukyas, the Rashtrakuta Dynasty, the Western Chalukya Empire, the Hoysala Empire and the Vijayanagara Empire, all patronising the ancient Indic religions while showing tolerance to the new cultures arriving from the west of the subcontinent. The Muslim invasion of the Deccan resulted in the breaking away of the feudatory Sultanates in the 14th century. The rule of the Bahamani Sultanate of Bidar and the Bijapur Sultanate from the northern Deccan region caused a mingling of the ancient Hindu traditions with the nascent Islamic culture in the region. The hereditary ruling families and clans ably served the large empires and upheld the local culture and traditions. The fall of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565 brought about a slow disintegration of Kannada-speaking regions into minor kingdoms that struggled to maintain autonomy in an age dominated by foreigners until unification and independence in 1947. (more...)

Extent of Rashtrakuta Empire

The Rashtrakuta Dynasty was a royal Indian dynasty ruling large parts of southern, central and northern India between the sixth and the thirteenth centuries. During this period they ruled as several closely related, but individual clans. The earliest known Rashtrakuta inscription is a seventh century copper plate grant that mentions their rule from Manpur in the Malwa region of modern Madhya Pradesh. Other ruling Rashtrakuta clans from the same period mentioned in inscriptions were the kings of Achalapur which is modern Elichpur in Maharashtra and the rulers of Kannauj. Several controversies exist regarding the origin of these early Rashtrakutas, their native home and their language.

The clan that ruled from Elichpur was a feudatory of the Badami Chalukyas and during the rule of Dantidurga, it overthrew Chalukya Kirtivarman II and went on to build an impressive empire with the Gulbarga region in modern Karnataka as its base. This clan came to be known as the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta, rising to power in South India in 753. At the same time the Pala Dynasty of Bengal and the Prathihara dynasty of Gujarat were gaining force in eastern and northwestern India respectively.

This period, between the eight and the tenth centuries, saw a tripartite struggle for the resources of the rich Gangetic plains, each of these three empires annexing the seat of power at Kannauj for short periods of time. At their peak the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta ruled a vast empire stretching from the Ganga River and Yamuna River doab in the north to Cape Comorin in the south, a fruitful time of political expansion, architectural achievements and famous literary contributions. The early kings of this dynasty were Hindu but the later kings were strongly influenced by Jainism. (more...)

Extent of Western Chalukya Empire

The Western Chalukya Empire ruled most of the western deccan, South India, between the 10th and 12th centuries. This dynasty is sometimes called the Kalyani Chalukya after its regal capital at Kalyani, today's Basavakalyan in Karnataka and alternatively the Later Chalukya from its theoretical relationship to the sixth century Chalukya dynasty of Badami. The dynasty is called Western Chalukyas to differentiate from the contemporaneous Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi, a separate dynasty. Prior to the rise of these Chalukyas, the Rashtrakuta empire of Manyakheta controlled most of deccan and central India for over two centuries. In 973, seeing confusion in the Rashtrakuta empire after a successful invasion of their capital by the Paramara of Malwa, Tailapa II a feudatory of the Rashtrakuta ruling from Bijapur[disambiguation needed] region defeated his overlords and made Manyakheta his capital. The dynasty quickly rose to power and grew into an empire under Somesvara I who moved the capital to Kalyani.

For over a century, the two empires of southern India, the Western Chalukyas and the Chola dynasty of Tanjore fought many fierce wars to control the fertile region of Vengi. During these conflicts, the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi, distant cousins of the Western Chalukyas but related to the Cholas by marriage took sides with the Cholas further complicating the situation. It was only during the rule of Vikramaditya VI in the late eleventh century that the Western Chalukya empire convincingly eclipsed the Cholas and reached its peak with territories spreading over most of the deccan. Vast areas between the Narmada River in the north and Kaveri River in the south came under Chalukya control. During this period the other major ruling families of the Deccan, the Hoysalas, the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri, the Kakatiya dynasty and the Southern Kalachuri, were subordinates of the Western Chalukyas and gained their independence only when the power of the Chalukya waned during the later half of the twelfth century. (more...)

Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros in Kaziranga

Kaziranga National Park (Assamese: কাজিৰঙা ৰাষ্ট্ৰীয় উদ্যান, IAST: kājirangā rāstriya uddyāna), is a national park in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam, India. It is a World Heritage Site, and two-thirds of the world's Great One-horned Rhinoceroses live in the park. Kaziranga has the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world and was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006. The park has large breeding populations of elephants, water buffalo and swamp deer. Kaziranga is recognised as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International for conservation of avifaunal species. The park has achieved notable success in wildlife conservation compared to other protected areas in India. Located on the edge of the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot, the park combines high-species diversity and visibility.

Kaziranga is a vast expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland and dense tropical moist broadleaf forests crisscrossed by four major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, and has numerous small bodies of water. Kaziranga has been the theme of several books, documentaries and songs. The park celebrated its centenary in 2005 after its establishment in 1905 as a reserve forest. (more...)


Ganesha also spelled Ganesa or Ganesh and known as Ganapati, Vinayaka and Pillaiyar is one of the best-known and most-worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon; his image is found throughout India. Hindu sects worship him regardless of other affiliations. Devotion to Ganesha is widely diffused and extends to Jains, Buddhists, and beyond India.

Although he is known by many other attributes, Ganesha's elephant head makes him easy to identify. Ganesha is widely revered as the Remover of Obstacles and more generally as Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles (Vighnesha, Vighneshvara), patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect and wisdom. He is honoured at the start of rituals and ceremonies and invoked as Patron of Letters during writing sessions. Several texts relate mythological anecdotes associated with his birth and exploits and explain his distinct iconography.

Ganesha emerged as a distinct deity in clearly-recognizable form in the 4th and 5th centuries CE, during the Gupta Period, although he inherited traits from Vedic and pre-Vedic precursors. His popularity rose quickly, and he was formally included among the five primary deities of Smartism (a Hindu denomination) in the 9th century. A sect of devotees called the Ganapatya, who identified Ganesha as the supreme deity, arose during this period. The principal scriptures dedicated to Ganesha are the Ganesha Purana, the Mudgala Purana, and the Ganapati Atharvashirsa. (More...)



Vithoba is a Hindu god, worshipped predominantly in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. While generally considered a manifestation of the Hindu god Vishnu or his avatar Krishna, he is sometimes associated with the god Shiva, the Buddha or both. Vithoba is often depicted as a dark young boy, standing arms-akimbo on a brick, sometimes accompanied by his main consort Rakhumai (Rukmini). Vithoba is the focus of the monotheistic, non-brahminical Varkari sect of Maharashtra and the Haridasa sect of Karnataka. Vithoba's main temple stands at Pandharpur in Maharashtra, close to the Karnataka border. Vithoba legends revolve around his devotee Pundalik, who is credited with bringing the deity to Pandharpur, and around Vithoba's role as a saviour to the poet-saints of the Varkari faith. The Varkari poet-saints are known for their unique genre of devotional lyric, the abhanga, dedicated to Vithoba and composed in Marathi. Other devotional literature dedicated to Vithoba includes the Kannada hymns of the Haridasa, and Marathi versions of the generic Hindu arati songs, associated with rituals of offering light to the deity. Though the origins of both his cult and his main temple remain subjects of debate, there is clear evidence that they already existed by the 13th century. (more...)


Mangalore Town Hall

Mangalore is the chief port city of the Indian state of Karnataka. Bound by the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghat mountain ranges, Mangalore is the administrative headquarters of the Dakshina Kannada (formerly South Canara) district in southwestern Karnataka. Mangalore developed as a port on the Arabian Sea – remaining, to this day, a major port of India. Lying on the backwaters of the Netravati and Gurupura rivers, Mangalore is often used as a staging point for sea traffic along the Malabar Coast. The city has a tropical climate and lies on the path of the Arabian Sea branch of the South-West monsoons. Mangalore's port handles 75% of India's coffee exports and the bulk of the nation's cashew exports. Mangalore is demographically diverse with several languages, including Tulu, Konkani, Kannada, and Beary commonly spoken, and is the largest city of Tulu Nadu region. The city's landscape is characterized by rolling hills, coconut palms, freshwater streams, and hard red-clay tiled-roof buildings. (more...)

Ram Narayan in 2007

Ram Narayan (born 1927) is an Indian musician who popularized the bowed instrument sarangi as a solo concert instrument in Hindustani classical music and became the first internationally successful sarangi player. Narayan was born in Udaipur and learned to play the sarangi at an early age. He studied under sarangi players and singers and, as a teenager, worked as a music teacher and traveling musician. All India Radio, Lahore, hired Narayan as an accompanist for vocalists in 1944. He moved to Delhi following the partition of India in 1947, but wishing to go beyond accompaniment and frustrated with his supporting role, Narayan moved to Mumbai in 1949 to work in Indian cinema. After an unsuccessful attempt in 1954, Narayan became a concert solo artist in 1956, and later gave up accompaniment. He recorded solo albums and began to tour America and Europe in the 1960s. Narayan taught Indian and foreign students and performed, frequently outside of India, into the 2000s. He was awarded India's second highest civilian honor, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2005. (more...)


Depiction of Aravan, worshiped at Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore

Iravan (Aravan) is a minor character from the Hindu epic of Mahabharata. The son of Pandava prince Arjuna (one of the main heroes of the Mahabharata) and the Naga princess Ulupi, Iravan is the central god of the cult of Kuttantavar and plays a major role in the cult of Draupadi. Both these cults are of South Indian origin, from a region of the country where he is worshipped as a village deity. The Mahabharata portrays Iravan as dying a heroic death in the 18-day Kurukshetra War, the epic's main subject. However, the South Indian cults have a supplementary tradition of honouring Iravan's self-sacrifice to the goddess Kali to ensure her favour and the victory of the Pandavas in the war. The South Indian cult focus on three boons granted to Iravan by the god Krishna in honour of this self-sacrifice. Iravan is also a patron god of well-known Indian transgender communities called Ali. In Koovagam, Tamil Nadu, an 18-day festival holds a ceremonial marriage of Iravan to Alis and male villagers and followed then by their "widowhood" after ritual re-enactment of Iravan's sacrifice. Iravan is also known in Indonesia. Independent Javanese traditions present a dramatic marriage of Irawan to Titisari, daughter of Krishna, and a death resulting from a case of mistaken identity. (more...)