East India Company
The East India Company known as the Honourable East India Company or the British East India Company and informally as John Company, Company Bahadur, or The Company, was an English and British joint-stock company. It was formed to trade in the Indian Ocean region with Mughal India and the East Indies, with Qing China; the company ended up seizing control over large parts of the Indian subcontinent, colonised parts of Southeast Asia, colonised Hong Kong after a war with Qing China. Chartered as the "Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies", the company rose to account for half of the world's trade in basic commodities including cotton, indigo dye, spices, saltpetre and opium; the company ruled the beginnings of the British Empire in India. In his speech to the House of Commons in July 1833, Lord Macaulay explained that since the beginning, the East India company had always been involved in both trade and politics, just as its French and Dutch counterparts had been.
The company received a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth I on 31 December 1600, coming late to trade in the Indies. Before them the Portuguese Estado da Índia had traded there for much of the 16th century and the first of half a dozen Dutch Companies sailed to trade there from 1595; these Dutch companies amalgamated in March 1602 into the United East Indies Company, which introduced the first permanent joint stock from 1612. By contrast, wealthy merchants and aristocrats owned the EIC's shares; the government owned no shares and had only indirect control until 1657 when permanent joint stock was established. During its first century of operation, the focus of the company was trade, not the building of an empire in India. Company interests turned from trade to territory during the 18th century as the Mughal Empire declined in power and the East India Company struggled with its French counterpart, the French East India Company during the Carnatic Wars of the 1740s and 1750s; the battles of Plassey and Buxar, in which the British defeated the Bengali powers, left the company in control of Bengal and a major military and political power in India.
In the following decades it increased the extent of the territories under its control, controlling the majority of the Indian subcontinent either directly or indirectly via local puppet rulers under the threat of force by its Presidency armies, much of which were composed of native Indian sepoys. By 1803, at the height of its rule in India, the British East India company had a private army of about 260,000—twice the size of the British Army, with Indian revenues of £13,464,561, expenses of £14,017,473; the company came to rule large areas of India with its private armies, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions. Company rule in India began in 1757 and lasted until 1858, following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Government of India Act 1858 led to the British Crown's assuming direct control of the Indian subcontinent in the form of the new British Raj. Despite frequent government intervention, the company had recurring problems with its finances, it was dissolved in 1874 as a result of the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act passed one year earlier, as the Government of India Act had by rendered it vestigial and obsolete.
The official government machinery of British India assumed the East India Company's governmental functions and absorbed its navy and its armies in 1858. Soon after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the captured Spanish and Portuguese ships with their cargoes enabled English voyagers to travel the globe in search of riches. London merchants presented a petition to Queen Elizabeth I for permission to sail to the Indian Ocean; the aim was to deliver a decisive blow to the Portuguese monopoly of Far Eastern Trade. Elizabeth granted her permission and on 10 April 1591 James Lancaster in the Bonaventure with two other ships sailed from Torbay around the Cape of Good Hope to the Arabian Sea on one of the earliest English overseas Indian expeditions. Having sailed around Cape Comorin to the Malay Peninsula, they preyed on Spanish and Portuguese ships there before returning to England in 1594; the biggest capture that galvanised English trade was the seizure of the large Portuguese Carrack, the Madre de Deus by Sir Walter Raleigh and the Earl of Cumberland at the Battle of Flores on 13 August 1592.
When she was brought in to Dartmouth she was the largest vessel, seen in England and her cargo consisted of chests filled with jewels, gold, silver coins, cloth, pepper, cinnamon, benjamin, red dye and ebony. Valuable was the ship's rutter containing vital information on the China and Japan trades; these riches aroused the English to engage in this opulent commerce. In 1596, three more English ships were all lost at sea. A year however saw the arrival of Ralph Fitch, an adventurer merchant who, along with his companions, had made a remarkable fifteen-year overland journey to Mesopotamia, the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. Fitch was consulted on the Indian affairs and gave more valuable information to Lancaster. On 22 September 1599, a group of merchants met and stated their intention "to venture in the pretended voyage to the East Indies, the sums that they will adventure", committing £30
Sudurpashchim Pradesh is one of the seven provinces established by the new constitution of Nepal, adopted on 20 September 2015. It borders the Tibet Autonomous Region of China to the north, Karnali Pradesh and Province No. 5 to the east, the Indian states of Uttarakhand to the west and Uttar Pradesh to the south. Known as Province No. 7, the newly elected Provincial Assembly adopted Sudurpashchim Pradesh as the permanent name for the province in September 2018. As per a 28 September 2018 Assembly voting, the city of Godawari has been declared the capital of the Province; the province is coterminous with Nepal. Doti was an ancient kingdom in far western region of Kumaon, formed after the disintegration of the Katyuri Kingdom of Kumaon around the 13th century. Doti was one of eight different princely states Katyuri Kingdom was divided into eight for their eight prince's and became different independent kingdoms. On, the whole land between Ramganga on the west and the Karnali on the east, came under the Raikas after the origin of Raikas of Katyuris in Doti.
"Brahma Dev Mandi" at Kanchanpur District of Mahakali Zone was established by Katyuri king Brahma Dev. Before announcement of new provinces in Nepal, the area of this province was known as Far-Western development region of Nepal. There was no changes made in this province. Niranjan Malla Dev was the founder of Doti Kingdom around the 13th century after the fall of the Katyuri Kingdom, he was the son of Last Katyuris of united Katyuris kingdom. Kings of Doti were called Raikas. On Raikas, after defeating the Khas Malla of Karnali Zone, were able to establish a strong Raikas Kingdom in Far Western Region and Kumaun, Doti. During the period of Akbar's rule in the 16th century, the Mughals had attacked the Raikas of Doti, they invaded capital of the Raika Kingdom. Ajemeru is now in Dadeldhura District of far western region of Nepal. Hussain Khan, army chief of Akbar residing in Lucknow had led the attack. According to `Abd al-Qadir Bada'uni, Indo-Persian historian during Mughal Empire, Mughal Army chief of Lukhnow, Hussian Khan, lured by the wealth and treasures of the kingdom of the Raikas, wanted to plunder the state, this being the motive behind the assault.
The historic place of war between the Doti Kingdom and Nepal during the period of Gorkha Expansion in 1790, according to the history of Nepal, is Nari-Dang, on the bank of the Seti River. The Dumrakot was the base of Doti Kingdom for fighting against the Gorkhalis. Raja Deep Shahi was expelled from Nepal in 1790 A. D and on arriving to Terai of Oudh he established Khairgarh-Singhai State in Khairigarh under British India. Kanchanpur Praganna was the parts of his State or Zamindari, he succeeded in defeating the Banjaras rural of Khairigarh and establishing himself not only in that Pargana but in parts of Bhur. His state was merged with India In 1947 after Indian Independence; the Governor acts as the head of the province while the Chief Minister is the head of the provincial government. The Chief Judge of the Dipayal High Court is the head of the judiciary; the present Governor, Chief Minister and Chief Judge are Mohan Raj Malla, Trilochan Bhatta and Yagya Prasad Basyal. The province has 53 provincial assembly constituencies and 16 House of Representative constituencies.
Sudurpashchim Pradesh has a unicameral legislature, like all of the other provinces in Nepal. The term length of provincial assembly is five years; the Provincial Assembly of Sudurpashchim is temporarily housed at the District Coordination Committee Hall in Dhangadhi. The province is divided into nine districts. A district is administrated by the head of the District Coordination Committee and the District Administration Officer; the districts are further dived to rural municipalities. The municipalities include one sub-metropolitan city and 33 municipalities. There are 54 rural municipalities in the province. Achham District Baitadi District Bajhang District Bajura District Dadeldhura District Darchula District Doti District Kailali District Kanchanpur District The province has a population of 2,552,517, 9.63% of the total population of Nepal. The population density is about 130 persons per square kilometre; the province has a population growth rate of 1.53%. The sex ratio is 912 males for 1000 females, with a total of 1,217,887 males and 1,334,630 females recorded in 2011.
The urban population of the region is 1,504,279 and the rural population is 1,048,238. List of provinces of Nepal List of districts of Nepal
Karnali Pradesh is one of the seven federal provinces of Nepal formed by the new constitution, adopted on 20 September 2015. The total area of the province is 24,453 square kilometres. According to the 2011 Nepal census, the population of the province was 1,570,418, making it the least populous province in Nepal, it borders the Tibet Autonomous Region of China to the north, Gandaki Pradesh to the east, Sudurpashchim Pradesh to the west, Province No. 5 to the south. Birendranagar with a population of 100,458 is both largest city; the province's name is derived from the Karnali River. Karnali is an old civilization of Nepal and it is connected with Karnali River The archaeological sites found in Jumla and Dailekh refers that this area was part of Khasa kingdom, established during 11th century; the capital of the Khas Kingdom was Sinja. The kingdom was expanded to a great extent in 14th century; this kingdom was expanded to Garhwal in the west and Guge regions of Tibet in the north, Gorkha-Nuwakot regions in the east and with Kapilvastu with large areas Terai in the South.
After late 14th century the Khas empire collapsed and divided into Baise Rajya in Karnali-Bheri region. Before unification of modern Nepal, the part of Karnali was an Sanghiya Baise Rajya; the Baise were sovereign, but intermittently allied among themselves until they were annexed during the unification of modern Nepal from 1744 to 1810. Karnali is the largest province of Nepal with an area of 24,453 km2; the province is surrounded by Gandaki Pradesh in east, Province No. 5 in south-east and south, Sudurpaschim Pradesh in the west and Tibet Autonomous Region of China in north. The province has occupied higher mountains land of north and mid-hills of Nepal, it contains Kubi Gangri and Kanjiroba mountains in north. The Shey Phoksundo National Park with Phoksundo lake is the largest national park of Nepal and Rara lake is the largest lake of Nepal which are located in Karnali Pradesh. Karnali River is the biggest river of the province, thought to be longest river of Nepal. Seti River and Bheri River are tributaries of Karnali.
The Governor acts as the head of the province while the Chief Minister is the head of the provincial government. The Chief Judge of the Surkhet High Court is the head of the judiciary; the present Governor, Chief Minister and Chief Judge are Durga Keshar Khanal, Mahendra Bahadur Shahi and Hari Kumar Pokharel respectively. The province has 40 provincial assembly constituencies,12 House of Representative constituencies and eight National Assembly seats. Karnali has a unicameral legislature, like all of the other provinces in Nepal; the term length of provincial assembly is five years. The Provincial Assembly of Karnali is temporarily housed at the Irrigation Division Office in Birendranagar. Karnali is divided into ten districts. Dailekh District Dolpa District Humla District Jajarkot District Jumla District Kalikot District Mugu District Salyan District Surkhet District Western Rukum DistrictA district is administrated by the head of the District Coordination Committee and the District Administration Officer.
The districts are further dived to municipalities or rural municipalities which are further divided into wards. There are 54 rural municipalities in the province; the capital and largest city of the province is Birendranagar. It is only city in the province with a population of over 50,000. List of provinces of Nepal List of districts of Nepal
Ghaghara called Karnali is a perennial trans-boundary river originating on the Tibetan Plateau near Lake Manasarovar. It joins the Sharda River at Brahmaghat in India. Together they form a major left bank tributary of the Ganges. With a length of 507 kilometres it is the longest river in Nepal; the total length of Ghaghara River up to its confluence with the Ganges at Revelganj in Bihar is 1,080 kilometres. It is the largest tributary of the Ganges by volume and the second longest tributary of the Ganges by length after Yamuna. Lower Ghaghara is known as Sarayu river and finds mention in Ramayana. Ayodhya is situated on its right bank, it rises in the southern slopes of the Himalayas in Tibet, in the glaciers of Mapchachungo, at an elevation of about 3,962 metres above sea level. The river flows south through one of the most remote and least explored areas of Nepal as the Karnali River; the 202-kilometre Seti River drains the western part of the catchment and joins the Karnali River in Doti District north of Dundras hill.
Another tributary, the 264-kilometre long Bheri, rises in the western part of Dhaulagiri Himalaya and drains the eastern part of the catchment, meeting the Karnali near Kuineghat in Surkhet. Cutting southward across the Siwalik Hills, it splits into two branches, the Geruwa on the left and Kauriala on the right near Chisapani to rejoin south of the Indian border and form the proper Ghaghara. Other tributaries originating in Nepal are the Kali and the little Gandak, it flows southeast through Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states to join the Ganges downstream of the town of Chhapra, after a course of 1,080 kilometres. Sarayu river is stated to be synonymous as a tributary of it. Karnali River exposes the oldest part of the Sivalik Hills of Nepal; the remnant magnetization of siltstones and sandstones in this group suggests a depositional age of between 16 million and 5.2 million years. The Karnali River Basin lies between the mountain ranges of Dhaulagiri in Nepal and Nanda Devi in Uttarakhand. Dhaulagiri II, elevation 7,751 metres, is the highest point of the entire basin.
In the north, it lies in the rain shadow of the Himalayas. The basin formed by the river has a total catchment area of 127,950 square kilometres, of which 45 percent is in India; the population of the Basin districts in Nepal increased from 1.9 million in 1971 to 4.7 million people in 2001 a 250% increase over three decades. The average population density of the Basin area increased from 53 persons/km2 in 1981 to 87 persons/km2 in 2001. There is a steady growth in the economically active population in the basin districts; the average literacy rate has increased from a mere 7.5% in 1971 to 45% in 2001. The social status of the permanent households increased from 24% in 1991 to 31% in 2001; the basin has a total road length of 2,640 kilometres. Chhoti Gandak is a groundwater-fed meandering river originating near Dhesopool, Maharajganj district of Uttar Pradesh, it travels a distance of about 250 kilometres and joins Ghaghara near Guthani, Siwan district of Bihar. The Chhoti Gandak River Basin is located between 26°00' to 27°20' N latitude and 83°30' to 84°15' E longitude.
Right bank tributaries are Khekhra, Jethan, Duhari and Koilar rivers. The discharge of Chhoti Gandak is controlled by rain, high during the monsoon season and low during the summers, it has been observed that whenever precipitation is high in the catchment areas, there is flood in the downstream part of the Chhoti Gandak River Basin. The region exhibits upland terrace surface, river valley terrace surface, present-day river channel with narrow flood plains, natural levee, point-bar deposits. All these geomorphic features made up of alluvium of different ages; the main tributaries of the Karnali are: the Bheri. In Nepal, Karnali Zone is the largest zone with about 5,000 square miles area, its administrative center is Jumla. The zone is divided into the five districts of Dolpa, Jumla and Mugu; the Karnali zone has the lowest population density in Nepal. There are no large settlements on the banks of the river, only crossed near Chisapani by the Mahendra Highway; this region is now connected by karnali highway.
And now due to various hydro electricity projects this area is being developed. Now a 900 mW project is going to be constructed in this river In India, the administrative districts in the Ghaghra catchment are Ambedkarnagar, Barabanki, Ballia, Deoria, Gonda, Sant Kabir Nagar, Kheri Lakhimpur, Sitapur of Uttar Pradesh and Siwan district in Bihar. Important towns in India include Akabarpur, Ayodhya Faizabad, Barabanki, Deoria, Gonda, Khaililabad, Siddharthnagar, Saint Kabir Nagar, Kamhariya and Tanda in Uttar Pradesh and Chapra and Sonepur in Bihar; the Karnali Basin hosts some of Nepal's famous national parks. The protected area constitutes nearly 14% of the total basin area, including four national parks, one wildlife reserve, one hunting reserve and two buffer zones; the basin and its influence area constitute 27% of the total protected area, 63% of national park, 25% of the buffer zone and 31% of wildlife reserve. The significance of some of the protected areas is summarised below: Shey Phoksundo National Park in Dolpa District, established in
The Terai is a lowland region in southern Nepal and northern India that lies south of the outer foothills of the Himalayas, the Siwalik Hills, north of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. This lowland belt is characterised by tall grasslands, scrub savannah, sal forests and clay rich swamps. In northern India, the Terai spreads from the Yamuna River eastward across Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar; the Terai is part the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands ecoregion. The corresponding lowland region in West Bengal, Bangladesh and Assam in the Brahmaputra River basin is called'Dooars'. In Nepal, the Terai stretches over 33,998.8 km2, about 23.1% of Nepal's land area, lies at an altitude of between 67 and 300 m. The region comprises more than 50 wetlands. North of the Terai rises a narrow but continuous belt of forest about 8 -- 12 km wide. In Hindi the region is called तराई,'tarāī' meaning "foot-hill". In Nepali, the region is called तराइ'tarāi' meaning "the low-lying land, plain" and "the low-lying land at the foot of the Himālayas".
The region's name in Urdu is ترائي'tarāʼī' meaning "lands lying at the foot of a watershed" or "on the banks of a river. The Terai is crossed by the large perennial Himalayan rivers Yamuna, Sarda, Karnali and Kosi that have each built alluvial fans covering thousands of square kilometres below their exits from the hills. Medium rivers such as the Rapti rise in the Mahabharat Range; the geological structure of the region consists of old and new alluvium, both of which constitute alluvial deposits of sand, silt and coarse fragments. The new alluvium is renewed every year by fresh deposits brought down by active streams, which engage themselves in fluvial action. Old alluvium is found rather away from river courses on uplands of the plain where silting is a rare phenomenon. A large number of small and seasonal rivers flow through the Terai, most of which originate in the Siwalik Hills; the soil in the Terai is fine to medium textured. Forest cover in the Terai and hill areas has decreased at an annual rate of 1.3% between 1978 and 1979, 2.3% between 1990 and 1991.
With deforestation and cultivation increasing, a permeable mixture of gravel and sand evolves, which leads to a sinking water table. But where layers consist of clay and fine sediments, the groundwater rises to the surface and heavy sediment is washed out, thus enabling frequent and massive floods during monsoon, such as the 2008 Bihar flood; the reduction in slope as rivers exit the hills and transition from the sloping Bhabhar to the nearly level Terai causes current to slow and the heavy sediment load to fall out of suspension. This deposition process creates multiple channels with shallow beds, enabling massive floods as monsoon-swollen rivers overflow their low banks and shift channels. Many areas show erosion such as gullies. There are several differences between the climate on the western edge of the Terai at Chandigarh in India and at Biratnagar in Nepal near the eastern edge. Moving inland and away from monsoon sources in the Bay of Bengal, the climate becomes more continental with a greater difference between summer and winter.
In the far western Terai, five degrees latitude further north, the coldest months' average is 3 °C cooler. Total rainfall markedly diminishes from east to west; the monsoon arrives is much less intense and ends sooner. However, winters are wetter in the west. In India, the Terai extends over the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal; these are the districts of these states that are on the Indo-Nepal border: Haryana: Panchkula district Uttarakhand: Haridwar district, Udham Singh Nagar and Nainital districts Uttar Pradesh: Pilibhit district, Lakhimpur Kheri district, Bahraich district, Shravasti district, Balrampur district, Siddharthnagar district, Maharajganj district Bihar: West Champaran district, East Champaran district, Sitamarhi district, Madhubani district, Supaul district, Araria district, Kishanganj district West Bengal: Siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling district, Jalpaiguri Sadar subdivision of Jalpaiguri district The Terai in Nepal is differentiated into "Inner" and "Outer" Terai and includes 20 districts.
The Inner Terai consists of five elongated valleys located between the Mahabharat and Shivalik ranges. From north-west to south-east these valleys are: Surkhet Valley in the Surkhet district, north of the Kailali and Bardiya districts. Most of these valleys are 5 -- 10 up to 100 km long; the Outer Terai extends to the Indo-Gangetic plain. In the Far-Western Region, Nepal it comprises the Kanchanpur and Kailali districts, in the Mid-Western Region, Nepal Bardiya and Banke districts. Farther east, the Outer Terai comprises the Kapilvastu, Nawalparasi, Bara, Sarlahi, Dhanusa, Saptari, Sunsari and Jhapa districts. East of Banke the Nepalese Outer Terai is interrupted where the international border swings north and follows the edge of the Siwaliks adjacent to Deukhuri Valley. Here the Outer Terai is in Uttar Pradesh's Shravasti and Balrampur districts. East of Deukhuri the
The Anglo-Nepalese War known as the Gurkha War, was fought between the Kingdom of Gorkha and the East India Company as a result of border disputes and ambitious expansionism of both the belligerent parties. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Sugauli in 1816, which ceded some Nepalese controlled territory to the British; the Shah era of Nepal began with the Gorkha king Prithvi Narayan Shah invading Kathmandu valley, which consisted of the capital of the Malla confederacy. Until that time only the Kathmandu valley was referred to as Nepal; the confederacy requested help from the East India Company and an ill-equipped and ill-prepared expedition numbering 2,500 was led by Captain Kinlock in 1767. The expedition was a disaster; this ineffectual British force provided the Gorkhali with few firearms to arms themselves and make effective use of it. Victory and occupation of the Kathmandu Valley by Prithvi Narayan Shah, starting with the Battle of Kirtipur, resulted in the shift of the capital of his kingdom from Gorkha to Kathmandu, subsequently the empire that he and his descendants built came to be known as Nepal.
The invasion of the wealthy Kathmandu Valley provided the Gorkha army with economic support for furthering their martial ambitions throughout the region. To the north however, aggressive raids into Tibet triggered Chinese intervention. In 1792 the Qianlong Emperor sent an army, expelling the Nepalese from Tibet to within 5 kilometres of their capital at Kathmandu. Acting regent Bahadur Shah appealed to the British Governor-General of India for help. Anxious to avoid confrontation with the Chinese, the Governor-General did not send troops but sent Captain Kirkpatrick as mediator. However, before he arrived the war with China had finished. In 1789, Tibetan government stopped the usage of Nepalese coins for trade in Tibet, citing purity concerns over the copper and the silver coins minted by the Nepalese government, which led to the first Nepal-Tibet war. A resounding victory of Gorkha forces over Tibetans in the first Nepal-Tibet war left the Lhasa Durbar with no choice but to ask for assistance from the Qing Emperor in Peking.
In the immediate aftermath of the Sino-Nepalese War, Nepal was forced to sign the'Treaty of Betrawati' which stipulated that the Government of Nepal was required to make payment of tribute to Qing court in Peking once every five years, after the defeat of Gurkha forces by the Qing army in Tibet. The Tibet affair had postponed a planned attack on the Garhwal Kingdom, but by 1803 the Raja of Garhwal, Pradyuman Shah, had been defeated, he was killed in the struggle in January 1804 and all his land annexed. Further west, general Amar Singh Thapa overran lands as far as Kangra – the strongest fort in the hill region – and laid siege to it. However, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the ruler of the Sikh state in Punjab and drove the Nepalese army east of the Sutlej river by 1809; the British were expanding their sphere of influence at an alarming rate. While the Nepalese had been expanding their empire – into Sikkim in the east and Garhwal in the west and into the British sphere of influence in Awadh, or Oudh as the British called it, in the south – the British East India Company had consolidated its position in India from its main bases of Calcutta and Bombay.
This British expansion had been resisted in India, culminating in three Anglo-Maratha wars as well as in the Punjab where Ranjit Singh and the Sikh Empire had their own aspirations. The economic cause constituted the major cause of conflict with Nepal; the British had made constant efforts to persuade the Nepalese government to allow them their trade to the fabled Tibet through Nepal. Despite a series of delegations headed by William Kirkpatrick, Maulvi Abdul Qader, William O. Knox, the Nepalese Durbar refused to budge an inch; the resistance to open up the country to the Europeans could be summed up in a Nepali precept, "With the merchants come the musket and with the Bible comes the bayonet." Lord Hasting was not averse to exploiting any commercial opportunities that access to the Himalayan region might offer. He knew that these would gratify his employers and silence his critics, because the East India Company was at this time in the throes of a cash-flow crisis, it needed substantial funds in Britain, in order to pay overheads and dividends.
Traditionally the Company had sold it in London. The staple Indian export was cotton goods, demand for these was declining as home-produced textiles captured the British market. So the Company was having to transfer its assets in more complicated and expensive way, it was having to ship its Indian textiles to Canton. So when Hastings told the directors of the Company about an alternative means of remittance, a rare and precious raw material that could and profitably be shipped from India directly to London, they were at once interested; the raw material in question was a superior-quality wool: the exquisitely soft and durable animal down, used since time immemorial to make the famous wraps, or shawls, of Kashmir. This down was found only on the shawl-wool goat, the shawl-wool goat was found only in certain areas of
India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle