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IndiaLocation

It's the green bit.

India is a country in South Asia. Due to significant overpopulation, it is the largest democracy in the world. Economic reforms transformed India into a fast growing economy, although 20% of the population live in abject poverty. India is home to many religions causing periodical religious violence with huge loss of life, much of which has declined over time. Corruption is a major problem in India  [1] and the nation's wealth remain concentrated at the hand of some rich industrialists while a significant part of the population cannot earn the money for a two-time meals a day. Malnutrition among children is acute and majority of the people involved in informal labor sector has no social security.

HistoryEdit

The first known permanent human settlements in the region appeared over 9,000 years ago and gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilization.[2] Indus Valley Civilization was one of the world's first urban civilizations. This Indus Valley Civilization existed approximately in 3300 BCE in the western part of the country. After the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization, the Vedic period began. The Vedic period lasted till the 500s BCE. From 550 BCE, several independent kingdoms were established across the country. These are known as the Mahajanapadas. Under the Maurya Empire, which ruled from 322 BCE to 185 BCE, the subcontinent was united. From 180 BCE, several invasion took place in the region by Central Asian powers. The Gupta dynasty ruled most of North India from around 320 CE to 550 CE. During this time, India archived immense progress in the field of science, especially in mathematics and astronomy. This time is know as the "Golden Age of India" of India. In South India, several regional kingdoms emerged including Chalukya dunasty, Pallava dynasty and Chola dynasty.

From the tenth century to twelfth century, Muslim invasion took place and the Delhi Sultanate and later the Mughal Empire was established. The Mughal emperors brought several regions under their control and the border of the subcontinent expanded. From the sixteenth century, European powers established trade relations with India. Notable among them are the Dutch, the Portuguese, the French and and the British. The British gradually shifted their role from trader to ruler. They defeated the Mughal rule, the local kingdoms and turned India into their colony. By 1856, the British East India Company controlled almost all parts of the subcontinent. In 1857, a nationwide rebellion took place against the rule of the British East India Company. But the rebellion was crushed and from then the British monarchy directly ruled India as a colony of the British Empire.

The 20th Century

As India entered the 20th Century the Indian National Congress started the Indian independence movement. From 1920s, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi emerged as an important political figure at national level who introduced a completely new concept of resistance and freedom struggle which was solely based on nonviolence and civil disobedience. The independence movement was divided into two fractions: one stream of the independence movement was led by Gandhi who opposed violent mean. Another fraction rejected the Gandhian path of nonviolence and used violence as a mean to overthrow the British rule. They used to bomb British institutions and assassinated government officials. Thousands of freedom fighters (or terrorists depending on point of view) neglected their own lives and other people's lives for the independence of their country. The Vast majority of them were arrested and a large number were executed during this period. In the 1940s, Subhas Chandra Bose developed a new path for the independence of India. He sought help from foreign nations which were enemies of Britain during the World War II (that looks like the Nazis and their friends) and tried to overthrow the British rule by a military invasion. But his forces were ultimately defeated by the British especially due to the fall of the Axis power at the end of the war. [[Gandhi's peaceful way worked because the British were Colonialists but were in no way as brutal as Hitler. At last in 1947, due to the huge loss in Second World War and growing anti-British movement in India, the British handed over power to the Indian leaders. Also there were cultural changes in Britain and the British people were coming to feel that colonialism is wrong. India was partitioned on the basis of religion and a new country, Pakistan, was formed.

As India became independent in 1947, a new slogan emerged at the political circle - "This independence is a lie". Independence was the truth but many problems remained. There was huge unemployment, poverty and political corruption in post-Independence India. Independent India witnessed several political scandals involving high level government officials and politicians including the Bofors scandal in the 1980s. The People's Republic of China attacked India in 1962 [3] and there were several wars with Pakistan. It has multiple territorial disputes, most notably in Kashmir. In recent times, religion based politics has become typical at the national level. While a huge urban middle class has emerged due to economic reforms the vast mass of the rural population remains illiterate and impoverished.[4]

Government and politicsEdit

The Constitution of India came into effect on January 26, 1950. It is the largest constitution in the world. The constitution is generally considered to be a hodge podge of the constitutions of different countries. The preamble of the constitution defines India as a "sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic". The President of India is the official head of state. However the Prime Minister of India is the de facto head of government. The Parliament of India is divided into the upper house or the Rajya Sabha and the lower house or the Lok Sabha. The Supreme Court of India is the highest court of the nation.

The Indian National Congress (INC), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) are the major political parties in India [citation needed] . Politics of India is closely associated with crime, gangsterism and corruption. The democracy in India is often described as government "of the criminals, by the criminals, for the criminals" [5] directly contradicting the concept which Abraham Lincoln theorized. In recent decades, religion has began to play a major role in national politics with the Hindu nationalists trying to appease the majority Hindu community by oppressing non-Hindus and the pseudo-seculars trying to appease the fundamentalist section among non-Hindus. This goes against what is written in the Constitution i.e. the concept of "secularism" and indicates India is a secular country only in paper.

India's politics is dominated by conservatism. The BJP is a conservative religious fundamentalist organization and INC is a bourgeoisie party. In practise those whom Marxists despise as the Bourgeoisie are the intelligent and well educated people and are the powerhouse of India's rapid economic growth. Liberalism is in a rudimentary stage in India, the general population has no idea about liberalism and there are no liberal political party in the Indian parliament. Liberals in India are pitiful minority and face regular harassment both from the government and from society.[citation needed] [6]

In spite of all the allegations in this article India has one of the highest economic growth rates in the world.

Foreign relations and militaryEdit

During the Cold War, India was part of the Non-Aligned Movement, which adopted a neutral policy instead of being polarized towards the Soviet Union or the United States. Pakistan has always been and is an enemy of India. India fought four wars with Pakistan: the first one was in 1947 in Kashmir, the second war in 1965, the third war in 1971 which resulted in creation of Bangladesh as a nation and the most recent in 1999. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, India shifted its economic policy and made friendly relation with the United States. In recent decades, relation with the neoconservatives have strengthened. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a regarded as a conservative party.

The Indian Armed Forces consists of the Indian Army, the Indian Navy, the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), the Indian Coast Guard and the Paramilitary forces. In terms of total troop, the Indian Army is one of the largest army in the world, the Indian Navy is the world's fifth largest navy [7] and the Indian Air Force is the fourth largest air force in the world [8] behind the United States, the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China. India has several missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads which include medium range ballistic missile Agni-II (2,500 km), intermediate range ballistic missile Agni-III (range 3,500-5,000 km). As any military around the world, the Indian armed forces have been accused of numerous human rights violations most notably in Kashmir.

EconomyEdit

India's economy can be characterized as a mixed economy because certain sectors of the economy are state-controlled and the rest are privatized. In the early 1990s, India abandoned a left wing socialist path, started a massive programme of privatization. As socialism has not worked in any part of the world this is not surprising. Since then the country has transformed from a socialist state to a capitalist state and economic growth accelerated. Privatization is becoming fast to faster with the growth of a new urban middle class. As anywhere in the world where neoliberals exists without any control, income inequality and exploitation of the poor is acute in India. The top 10% of income groups earn 33% of the income of the nation [9] while 27% of the population live on less than $0.4 per day [10].

Corruption is a huge problem in India and bribes are sometimes a requirement, be it a small business or large business. Politicians, government officials, self-employed people - everyone should be bribed to become successful in the country. A portion of the economy is linked with organized crime and organized criminal groups have tremendous influence in some sectors of the economy. Dishonest industrialists are very common and incidents like expired medicinal drugs being reparceled by changing the manufacturing date are occasionally reported in the media. We can only try to guess how often these incidents happen without being found out.

Despite all the allegations above the Indian economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. India also is the third richest in terms of PPP below the United States and China.

India could overtake Britain and have the world's fifth largest economy (GDP) within a decade as the country's growth accelerates, a new report says. If trends continue, India's economy may then surpass the US and be second only to China's by mid-century, the report by investment bank Goldman Sachs says. The report says India's programme of reforms has brought increased competition and efficiency. [1]

India's poor are benefiting from the transformations but not at that rate rich are benefiting.

India's per capita income is currently just below $500 per year. He (Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) argued that by the time India reached a per capita income of between $1,500 and $2,000 the country should have got rid of the "harsh edges of poverty". If we use $1 a day of consumption as a cut-off, and treat those below this to be the ones facing "harsh poverty", we will find about 34% of India in this category. Can this percentage be brought to zero by the time India reaches an income of $1,500-2000? [2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/6294409.stm
  2. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3716736.stm

Demographics and societyEdit

India has approximately 1.13 billion population. India's largest cities include Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. Language of the country is divided into two main categories: Indo-Aryan and Dravidian. India has 21 national language and 40% speak Hindi.

India is home to many religions. Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism - all are present in India. But they cannot live in peace. Religion in India was marked by periodical religious violence during 1940s which has significantly reduced in modern times. Some notable incidents are:

  • Anti-Sikh riots in 1984 - Sikhs were killed during riots in revenge of the killing of Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi [11]
  • Demolition of Babri Mosque - In 1992, sacred Hindu warriors demolished Babri Mosque to save what they believe is the birthplace of Rama [12]
  • Murder of Graham Staines - In 1999 Hindus killed Graham Staines, an Australian missionary working with tribal poor and leprosy patients
  • Gujarat violence in 2002 - Hindus and Muslims clashed in when Muslims burned a train near the town of Godhra in the state with 2000 being martyred. [13]
  • Most of the terrorist violence, however, is directed against Hindus, with 99.3% of the victims of terrorist violence since 2001 being Hindu. [14]

India is not regarded as a human rights concern[1], though there are complaints about police torture and custodial deaths. [15]It is said that this attitude is inherited from the Victorian British rule. This is improving very slowly. [16] A characteristic of Indians is they do not support what they like. For example, Indians do not support legalisation of prostitution, although they like to have sex with them, they don't support legalisation of pornography, but they like to watch pornography.

Taj mahal 01

The Taj Mahal is India's most famous building.

TriviaEdit

Many liberals traveled to India in the 1960's to find enlightenment and ended up stoned on a beach in Goa. Conservatives don't travel to to India because the country is too crowded and there are too many poor people there. They do, however, find it a cost-effective place to build chemical plants because safety regulations are lax and police are easily bribed when accidents do take place.

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