King Shashanka created the first separate political entity in the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent, called the Gauda Kingdom and is a major figure in Bengali history. He reigned in 7th century AD, some historians place his rule between 590 AD and 625 AD, he is of Bhaskaravarman of Kamarupa. His capital was in present-day Murshidabad in West Bengal; the development of the Bengali calendar is attributed to Shashanka because the starting date falls within his reign. There are several major contemporary sources of information on his life, including copperplates from his vassal j, copperplates of his rivals Harsha and Bhaskaravarman, the accounts of Banabhatta, a bard in the court of Harsha, of the Chinese monk Xuanzang, coins minted in Shashanka's reign. While Shashanka was known and referred to as the Lord of Gauda, his kingdom included more than just that region. By the end of his reign, his domain stretched from Vanga to Bhuvanesha while in the east, his kingdom bordered Kamarupa. Prior to Shashanka, Bengal was divided into three regions, Banga and Gauda and was ruled by a feeble ruler belonging to the Later Gupta dynasty, Mahasenagupta.
Shashanka was one of his chieftains. After the death of Mahasenagupta, Shashanka drove the Guptas and other prominent nobles out of the region and established his own kingdom with a capital at Karnasubarna. A 12th century text states that Shashanka destroyed the Buddhist stupas of Bengal and was an oppressor of Buddhism. Shashanka is reputed to have cut the Bodhi tree where the Buddha found enlightenment, in the Mahabodhi Temple of Bodh Gaya. Ramesh Chandra Majumdar states that this account is doubtful because it was written centuries after the alleged persecution, that it is "unsafe to accept the statements recorded in this book as historical". Radhagovinda Basak states that there is no reason to believe that this 12th century Buddhist author had cherished any ill feeling about Shashanka, he may have had reasons to describe the events as they occurred in the 7th century. Shashanka and his allies fought a major war with the emperor of Thanesar and his allies; the result of the battle was inconclusive as Shashanka is documented to have retained dominion over his lands.
The king of Malwa, Devgupta had an enmity with the ruler of Kannauj, Grahavarman, the brother-in-law of the Vardhan princes, by his marriage with the princess of Thanesar, Rajyashri. Devgupta killed Grahavarman in the battle and imprisoned his wife Rajyashri. Rajyavardhana had become king in Thanesar upon the death of his father, Prabhakarvardhana. Rajyavardhana marched towards Kannauj to avenge the death of his brother-in-law; the battle was followed by the sudden assassination of Rajyavardhana. No conclusive evidence exists but it is possible that Shashanka, who joined the battle as an ally of Devgupta, murdered him; the only source available in this matter is the Harshacharita by Bāṇabhaṭṭa, a childhood friend and constant companion of Harsha. Harsha succeeded his brother as ruler of Thanesar and he once again gathered the army and attacked Kannauj. Though the results are not known but it is evident that Devgupta and Shashanka had to retreat from Kannauj. Shashanka continued to rule Gauda with frequent attacks from Harsha which he is known to have faced bravely.
Following his death, Shashanka was succeeded by his son, who ruled the kingdom for eight months. However Gauda was soon divided amongst Harsha and Bhaskaravarman of Kamarupa, the latter managing to conquer Karnasuvarna. List of rulers of Bengal R. C. Majumdar, History of Bengal, Dacca, 1943, pp 58–68 Sudhir R Das, Calcutta, 1962 P. K. Bhttacharyya, Two Interesting Coins of Shashanka, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, London, 2, 1979
The Chalukya dynasty was a Classical 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 individual dynasties; the earliest dynasty, known as the "Badami Chalukyas", ruled from Vatapi 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 rose to prominence during the reign of Pulakeshin II. After the death of Pulakeshin II, the Eastern Chalukyas became an independent kingdom in the eastern Deccan, they ruled from Vengi until about the 11th century. In the western Deccan, the rise of the Rashtrakutas in the middle of the 8th century eclipsed the Chalukyas of Badami before being revived by their descendants, the Western Chalukyas, in the late 10th century; these Western Chalukyas ruled from Kalyani until the end of the 12th century. The rule of the Chalukyas marks an important milestone in the history of South India and a golden age in the history of Karnataka.
The political atmosphere in South India shifted from smaller kingdoms to large empires with the ascendancy of Badami Chalukyas. A Southern India-based kingdom took control and consolidated the entire region between the Kaveri and the Narmada rivers; the rise of this empire saw the birth of efficient administration, overseas trade and commerce and the development of new style of architecture called "Chalukyan architecture". Kannada literature, which had enjoyed royal support in the 9th century Rashtrakuta court found eager patronage from the Western Chalukyas in the Jain and Veerashaiva traditions; the 11th century saw the patronage of Telugu literature under the Eastern Chalukyas. While opinions vary regarding the early origins of the Chalukyas, the consensus among noted historians such as John Keay, D. C. Sircar, Hans Raj, S. Sen, Kamath, K. V. Ramesh and Karmarkar is that the founders of the empire at Badami were native to the modern Karnataka region. A theory that they were descendants of a 2nd-century chieftain called Kandachaliki Remmanaka, a feudatory of the Andhra Ikshvaku was put forward.
This according to Kamath has failed to explain the difference in lineage. The Kandachaliki feudatory call themselves Vashisthiputras of the Hiranyakagotra; the Chalukyas, address themselves as Harithiputras of Manavyasagotra in their inscriptions, the same lineage as their early overlords, the Kadambas of Banavasi. This makes them descendants of the Kadambas; the Chalukyas took control of the territory ruled by the Kadambas. A record of Eastern Chalukyas mentions the northern origin theory and claims one ruler of Ayodhya came south, defeated the Pallavas and married a Pallava princess, she had a child called Vijayaditya, claimed to be the Pulakeshin I's father. However, according to the historians K. V. Ramesh and Sastri, there are Badami Chalukya inscriptions that confirm Jayasimha was Pulakeshin I's grandfather and Ranaraga, his father. Kamath and Moraes claim it was a popular practice in the 11th century to link South Indian royal family lineage to a Northern kingdom; the Badami Chalukya records.
While the northern origin theory has been dismissed by many historians, the epigraphist K. V. Ramesh has suggested that an earlier southern migration is a distinct possibility which needs examination. According to him, the complete absence of any inscriptional reference of their family connections to Ayodhya, their subsequent Kannadiga identity may have been due to their earlier migration into present day Karnataka region where they achieved success as chieftains and kings. Hence, the place of origin of their ancestors may have been of no significance to the kings of the empire who may have considered themselves natives of the Kannada speaking region; the writing of 12th century Kashmiri poet Bilhana suggests the Chalukya family belonged to the Shudra caste while other sources claim they were Kshatriyas. The historians Jan Houben and Kamath, the epigraphist D. C. Sircar note the Badami Chalukya inscriptions are in Sanskrit. According to the historian N. L. Rao, their inscriptions call them Karnatas and their names use indigenous Kannada titles such as Priyagallam and Noduttagelvom.
The names of some Chalukya princes end with the pure Kannada term arasa. The Rashtrakuta inscriptions call the Chalukyas of Badami Karnatabala, it has been proposed by the historian S. C. Nandinath that the word "Chalukya" originated from Salki or Chalki, a Kannada word for an agricultural implement. Inscriptions in Sanskrit and Kannada are the main source of information about Badami Chalukya history. Among them, the Badami cave inscriptions of Mangalesha, Kappe Arabhatta record of c. 700, Peddavaduguru inscription of Pulakeshin II, the Kanchi Kailasanatha Temple inscription and Pattadakal Virupaksha Temple inscription of Vikramaditya II provide more evidence of the Chalukya language. The Badami cliff inscription of Pulakeshin I, the Mahakuta Pillar inscription of Mangalesha and the Aihole inscription of Pulakeshin II are examples of important Sanskrit inscriptions written in old Kannada script; the reign of the Chalukyas saw the arrival of Kannada as the predominant language of inscriptions along with Sanskrit, in areas of the Indian peninsula outside what is known as Tamilaham.
Several coins of the Badami Chalukyas with Kannada legends have been found. All this indicates. Travelogues of contemporary foreign travellers have provided useful information about the Chalukyan
Bengal is a geopolitical and historical region in South Asia in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Geographically, it is made up by the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta system, the largest such formation in the world. Politically, Bengal is divided between Bangladesh and the Indian territories of West Bengal and Assam's Barak Valley. In 2011, the population of Bengal was estimated to be 250 million, making it one of the most densely populated regions in the world. Among them, an estimated 160 million people live in Bangladesh and 91.3 million people live in West Bengal. The predominant ethnolinguistic group is the Bengali people, who speak the Indo-Aryan Bengali language. Bengali Muslims are the majority in Bangladesh and Bengali Hindus are the majority in West Bengal and Tripura, while Barak Valley contains equal proportions of Bengali Hindus and Bengali Muslims. Outside Bengal proper, the Indian territories of Jharkhand and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are home to significant communities of Bengalis.
Dense woodlands, including hilly rainforests, cover Bengal's eastern areas. In the littoral southwest are the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest and home of the Bengal tiger. In the coastal southeast lies Cox's Bazar, the longest beach in the world at 125 km; the region has a monsoon climate. At times an independent regional empire, Bengal was a leading power in Southeast Asia and the Islamic East, with extensive trade networks. In antiquity, its kingdoms were known as seafaring nations. Bengal was known to the Greeks as Gangaridai, notable for mighty military power, it was described by Greek historians that Alexander the Great withdrew from India anticipating a counterattack from an alliance of Gangaridai. Writers noted merchant shipping links between Bengal and Roman Egypt; the Bengali Pala Empire was the last major Buddhist imperial power in the subcontinent, founded in 750 and becoming the dominant power in the northern Indian subcontinent by the 9th century, before being replaced by the Hindu Sena dynasty in the 12th century.
Islam was introduced through trade with the Abbasid Caliphate. The Islamic Bengal Sultanate, founded in 1352, was absorbed into the Mughal Empire in 1576; the Mughal Bengal Subah province became a major global exporter, a center of worldwide industries such as cotton textiles, shipbuilding, 12% of the world's GDP, larger than the entirety of western Europe. Bengal was conquered by the British East India Company in 1757 by Battle of Plassey and became the Bengal Presidency of the British Raj, which experienced deindustrialization under British rule; the Company increased agriculture tax rates from 10 percent to up to 50 causing the Great Bengal famine of 1770 and the deaths of 10 million Bengalis. Bengal played a major role in the Indian independence movement, in which revolutionary groups were dominant. Armed attempts to overthrow the British Raj began with the rebellion of Titumir, reached a climax when Subhas Chandra Bose led the Indian National Army allied with Japan to fight against the British.
A large number of Bengalis died in the independence struggle and many were exiled in Cellular Jail, located in Andaman. The United Kingdom Cabinet Mission of 1946, split the region into India and Pakistan, popularly known as partition of Bengal, opposed by the Prime Minister of Bengal Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy and nationalist leader Sarat Chandra Bose, they campaigned for a independent nation-state of Bengal. The initiative failed owing to British diplomacy and communal conflict between Hindus. Pakistan ruled East Bengal becoming the independent nation of Bangladesh by Bangladesh War of Independence in 1971. Bengali culture has been influential in the fields of literature, shipbuilding, architecture, currency, commerce and cuisine; the name of Bengal is derived from the ancient kingdom of Banga, the earliest records of which date back to the Mahabharata epic in the first millennium BCE. Theories on the origin of the term Banga point to the Proto-Dravidian Bong tribe that settled in the area circa 1000 BCE and the Austric word Bong.
The term Vangaladesa is used to describe the region in 11th-century South Indian records. The modern term Bangla is prominent from the 14th century, which saw the establishment of the Sultanate of Bengal, whose first ruler Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah was known as the Shah of Bangala; the Portuguese referred to the region as Bengala in the Age of Discovery. The modern English name Bengal is an exonym derived from the Bengal Sultanate period. Most of the Bengal region lies in the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta, but there are highlands in its north and southeast; the Ganges Delta arises from the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Meghna rivers and their respective tributaries. The total area of Bengal is 232,752 km2—West Bengal is 88,752 km2 and Bangladesh 147,570 km2; the flat and fertile Bangladesh Plain dominates the geography of Bangladesh. The Chittagong Hill Tracts and Sylhet regions are home to most of the mountains in Bangladesh. Most parts of Bangladesh are within 10 metres above the sea level, it is believed that about 10% of the land would be flooded if the sea level were to rise by 1 metre.
Because of this l
Shiladitya is the title of an Indian king mentioned in the writings of the Chinese traveler Xuanzang. Xuanzang mentions him as a Buddhist king of Kie-Jo-Kio-She-Kwo. Upon assuming the throne, Shiladitya gathered an army of 50,000 foot soldiers, 5000 elephants and 2000 cavalry, he subdued the five regions of India, built "several thousand" stupas on the banks of the Ganges, each about 100 feet high. Xuanzang states that every five years, Shiladitya held an assembly called "Moksha", he gave away his treasury in charity, replenished by his vassals. He describes such a ritual held in the empire's Po-lo-ye-kia kingdom as follows: To the east of the capital, between the two confluents of the river, for the space of 10 li or so, the ground is pleasant and upland; the whole is covered with a fine sand. From old time till now, the kings and noble families, whenever they had occasion to distribute their gifts in charity came to this place, here gave away their goods. At the present time Shiladitya-raja, after the example of his ancestors, distributes here in one day the accumulated wealth of five years.
Having collected in this space of the charity enclosure immense piles of wealth and jewels, on the first day he adorns in a sumptuous way a statue of Buddha, offers to it the most costly jewels. Afterwards he offers his charity to the residentiary priests. Shiladitya is identified with Harsha by many scholars. According to this theory, Kie-Jo-Kio-She-Kwo is Kanyakubja. Xuanzang mentions another king named Shiladitya, of "Mo-la-po" kingdom; this king is variously identified with a king of Malwa or Shiladitya I of Vallabhi
Thanesar is a historic town and an important Hindu pilgrimage centre on the banks of the Ghaggar river in the state of Haryana in northern India. It is located in Kurukshetra district 160 km northwest of Delhi, Kurukshetra’s urban area now merges with Thanesar. Prabhakarvardhana was a ruler of Thanesar in the early seventh-century CE and was succeeded by his sons and Harsha; the name Thanesar is derived from its name in Sanskrit, Sthanishvara which means Place/Abode of the Lord. The present town of Thanesar is located on an ancient mound; the mound 1 km long and 750 m wide known as "Harsh ka Tila", west of Sheikh Chilli's Tomb complex in Thanesar. It has ruins of structures built during the reign of Harsha, 7th century CE. Amongst the archaeological finds from the mound include Painted Grey Ware shards in the pre-Kushana levels and Red Polished Ware from post Gupta period. In the post-Gupta period, the ancient city of Sthanishvara was the capital of the Vardhana dynasty, which ruled over a major part of North India during the late-6th and early-7th centuries.
Prabhakarvardhana, fourth king of Vardhana dynasty and successor Adityavardhana, had his capital at Thanesar. After his death in 606 CE, his eldest son, ascended the throne. Not long after, Rajyavardhana was murdered by a rival, which led to Harsha ascending to the throne at age 16. In the following years, he conquered much of North India, extended till Kamarupa, made Kannauj his capital, ruled till 647 CE, his biography Harshacharita written by Sanskrit poet Banabhatta, describes his association with Thanesar, besides mentioning the defence wall, a moat and the palace with a two-storied Dhavalagriha. The town was sacked by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1011. During Mughal era, the Battle of Thanesar known as Battle of the Ascetics took place in summer of 1567, between Mughal Emperor Akbar and Rajputs near Thanesar on the banks of the Sarsawati Ghaggar River, it was part of the Cis-Sutlej states province from 1809 to 1862. Thanesar was an obscure village until the 1950s. After the partition of India, a large refugee camp was set up here, which became the nucleus of a bustling commercial city.
It grew so much that on 23 January 1973, a new district named Kurukshetra district was created, of which Thanesar was the main town. Now Thanesar is a Municipal Council. Thanesar is a Legislative Assembly of Haryana constituency within the Kurukshetra. People now tend, erroneously, to refer to Thanesar town as "Kurukshetra". Thanesar was sacked and many of its temples were destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni. Firishta records the most sacred Hindu place, in the kingdom of Hindoostan, it had reached the ears of the King that Thanesar was held in the same veneration by idolaters, as Mecca by the faithful. Mahmood having reached Punjab, according to the subsisting treaty with the Hindu Shahi king Anandpal, that his army should not be molested on its march through his country. An embassy was accordingly sent to inform the Raja of his intentions, desiring him to send safety guards into his towns and villages, which he would take care to be protected from the followers of his camp. Anandpal the Shahi king, agreeing to this proposal, prepared an entertainment for the reception of the King, at the same time issuing orders for all his subjects to supply the camp with every necessity of life.
The Raja's brother, with 2,000 horses was sent to meet the army and to deliver the following message: "My brother is the subject and tributary of the King of Gazni, but he begs permission to acquaint his Majesty, that Thanesar is the principal place of worship of the inhabitants of the country: that if it is required by the religion of Mahmood to subvert the religion of others, he has acquitted himself of that duty, in the destruction of the temple of Nagrakote. But if he should be pleased to alter his resolution regarding Thanesar, Anandpal Tuar promises that the amount of the revenues of that country shall be annually paid to Mahmood, that a sum shall be paid to reimburse him for the expense of his expedition, besides which, on his own part, he will present him with fifty elephants, jewels to a considerable amount." Mahmood replied, "The religion of the faithful inculcates the following tenet: ‘That in proportion as the tenets of the Prophet are diffused, his followers exert themselves in the subversion of idolatry, so shall be their reward in heaven.
“How should he spare Thanesar?"This answer was communicated to Raja Anandpal Tuar of Delhi, resolving to oppose Sultan Mahmood, sent messengers throughout Hindoostan to acquaint the other rajas that Mahmood, without provocation, was marching with a vast army to destroy Thanesar, now under his immediate protection. He observed, that if a barrier was not expeditiously raised against this roaring torrent, the country of Hindoostan would be soon overwhelmed, that it behooved them to unite their forces at Thanesar, to avert the impending calamity. Mahmood, having reached Thanesar before the Hindus, had time to take measures for its defence. According to Hajy Mahommed Kandahary, a ruby was found in one of the temples weighing 450 miskals, it was allowed by everyone. About the atta
Parvati or Gauri is the Hindu goddess of fertility, beauty, marriage and devotion. Known by many other names, she is the gentle and nurturing aspect of the Supreme Hindu goddess Adi Parashakti and one of the central deities of the Goddess-oriented Shakta sect, she is the Mother goddess in Hinduism, has many attributes and aspects. Each of her aspects is expressed with a different name, giving her over 100 names in regional Hindu stories of India. Along with Lakshmi and Saraswati, she forms the trinity of Hindu goddesses. Parvati is the wife of the Hindu god Shiva – the protector, the destroyer and regenerator of the universe and all life, she is the daughter of the mountain king queen Mena. Parvati is the mother of Hindu deities Ganesha, Ashokasundari; the Puranas referenced her to be the sister of the preserver god Vishnu. She is the divine energy between a woman, like the energy of Shiva and Shakti, she is one of the five equivalent deities worshipped in Panchayatana puja of the Smarta Tradition of Hinduism.
With Shiva, Parvati is a central deity in the Shaiva sect. In Hindu belief, she is the recreative energy and power of Shiva, she is the cause of a bond that connects all beings and a means of their spiritual release. In Hindu temples dedicated to her and Shiva, she is symbolically represented as the argha, she is found extensively in ancient Indian literature, her statues and iconography grace Hindu temples all over South Asia and Southeast Asia. Parvata is one of the Sanskrit words for "mountain". King Parvat is considered the personification of the Himalayas. Parvati is known by many names in Hindu literature. Other names which associate her with mountains are Shailaja, Adrija or Nagajaa or Shailaputri, Devi Maheshwari, Girija or Girirajaputri, she is called Narayani because she is the sister of Narayana. The Lalita sahasranama contains a listing of 1,000 names of Parvati. Two of Parvati's most famous epithets are Aparna; the name Uma is used for Sati in earlier texts, but in the Ramayana, it is used as a synonym for Parvati.
In the Harivamsa, Parvati is referred to as Aparna and addressed as Uma, dissuaded by her mother from severe austerity by saying u mā. She is Ambika, Mataji, Durga, Bhavani, Urvi or Renu, many hundreds of others. Parvati is the goddess of love and devotion, or Kamakshi; the apparent contradiction that Parvati is addressed as the golden one, Gauri, as well as the dark one, Kali or Shyama, as a calm and placid wife Parvati mentioned as Gauri and as a goddess who destroys evil she is Kali. Regional stories of Gauri suggest an alternate origin for Gauri's complexion. In parts of India, Gauri's skin color is golden or yellow in honor of her being the goddess of ripened corn/harvest and of fertility; the word Parvati does not explicitly appear in Vedic literature. Instead, Ambika and others are found in the Rigveda; the verse 3.12 of the Kena Upanishad dated to mid 1st millennium BCE contains a goddess called Uma-Haimavati, a common alternate name for Parvati. Sayana's commentary in Anuvaka, identifies Parvati in the Kena Upanishad, suggesting her to be the same as Uma and Ambika in the Upanishad, referring to Parvati is thus an embodiment of divine knowledge and the mother of the world.
She appears as essential power, of the Supreme Brahman. Her primary role is as a mediator who reveals the knowledge of Brahman to the Vedic trinity of Agni and Varuna, who were boasting about their recent defeat of a group of demons, but Kinsley notes: "it is little more than conjecture to identify her with the goddess Satī-Pārvatī, although texts that extol Śiva and Pārvatī retell the episode in such a way to leave no doubt that it was Śiva's spouse.." Sati-Parvati appears in the epic period, as both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata present Parvati as Shiva's wife. However, it is not until the plays of Kalidasa and the Puranas that the stories of Sati-Parvati and Shiva acquire more comprehensive details. Kinsley adds that Parvati may have emerged from legends of non-aryan goddesses that lived in mountains. While the word Uma appears in earlier Upanisads, Hopkins notes that the earliest known explicit use of the name Pārvatī occurs in late Hamsa Upanishad. Weber suggests that just like Shiva is a combination of various Vedic gods Rudra and Agni, Parvati in Puranas text is a combination of wives of Rudra and Agni.
In other words, the symbolism and characteristics of Parvati evolved over time fusing Uma, Ambika in one aspect and the more ferocious, destructive Kali, Nirriti in another aspect. Tate suggests Parvati is a mixture of the Vedic goddesses Aditi and Nirriti, being a mountain goddess herself, was associated with other mountain goddesses like Durga and Kali in traditions. Parvati, the gentle aspect of Devi Shakti, is represented as fair and benevolent, she wears a red dress (
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