Howrah–Delhi main line
The Howrah–Delhi main line is a railway line connecting Delhi and Kolkata cutting across northern India. The 1,532 km railway line was opened to traffic in 1866 with the introduction of the "1 Down/2 Up Mail" train; the 1,532 km long trunk line, has been treated in more detail in smaller sections: Howrah–Bardhaman main line Bardhaman–Asansol section Asansol–Patna section Patna–Mughalsarai section Mughalsarai–Kanpur section Kanpur–Delhi section Railway transportation was introduced in India within 30 years of its maiden run in England. The Governor General Lord Dalhousie foresaw a tremendous potential for the speedy means of transport in securing British control over a vast country, not only in moving goods and people but in the movement of the armed forces; the East Indian Railway Company, formed on 1 June 1845, completed its survey for a railway line from Kolkata called Calcutta, to Delhi via Mirzapur in 1846. The company became defunct on refusal of government guarantee, given in 1849. Thereafter, an agreement was signed between East Indian Railway Company and the East India Company, for the construction and operation of an "experimental" line between Kolkata and Rajmahal, which would be extended to Delhi via Mirzapur.
Construction began in 1851. Howrah station was a tin shed and to reach it from Kolkata one had to cross the Hooghly in a ferry. On 15 August 1854, the first passenger train in the eastern section was operated up to Hooghly, 39 km away. On 1 February 1855 the first train ran from Hooghly to 195 km from Howrah; the line was extended up to Rajmahal in October 1859. From Rajmahal, construction progressed moving westward along the banks of the Ganges, reaching Bhagalpur in 1861, Munger in February 1862, opposite Varanasi in December 1862 and on to Naini on the bank of the Yamuna; the work included EIR’s first tunnel at Jamalpur and first major bridge across the Son River at Arrah. During 1863–64, work progressed on the Allahabad–Kanpur–Tundla and Aligarh–Ghaziabad sections; the Yamuna bridge near Delhi was completed in 1864 and EIR established the Delhi terminus. On 1 August 1864, coaches were ferried across the Yamuna at Allahabad to allow the first through train to travel from Kolkata to Delhi; the Yamuna bridge at Allahabad opened on 15 August 1865 and in 1866 Kolkata and Delhi were directly linked.
The 1 Down/2 Up Mail predecessor of the Kalka Mail, started running. With the completion of the 406 km long line connecting Raniganj with Kiul in 1871, a "shorter main line" was in position, it was called the Chord Line. However, as it attracted more traffic it was designated the main line and the original line became the Sahibganj Loop. On 6 December 1906, the Grand Chord line from Sitarampur to Mughalsarai via Gaya, which shortened further the Kolkata–New Delhi distance, was inaugurated by the Earl of Minto, the Viceroy and Governor-General of India, it was thrown open to traffic in 1906. The total Howrah-New Delhi distance, via Grand Chord is 1,448 km, as against 1,532 km of the Main line, 1,686 km via Sahibganj Loop. A pontoon bridge was built across the Hooghly River in 1874 to provide easy access to Howrah Station. EIR constructed the Delhi Junction building in 1903, it had 12 broad gauge and 3 metre gauge platforms. Howrah terminus was rebuilt as the largest railway station in India in 1905.
On 1 January 1925 the British Indian Government took over the management of the East Indian Railway and divided it into six divisions: Howrah, Danapur, Allahabad and Moradabad. On 14 April 1952, Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, inaugurated two new zones of the first six zones of the Indian Railways. One of them, the Northern Railways had the three "up-stream" divisions of East Indian Railway: Allahabad and Moradabad, while the other, the Eastern Railways had the three "down-stream" divisions: Howrah and Danapur and the complete Bengal Nagpur Railway. Eastern Railway had the Sealdah division, which it had acquired from the truncated Assam Bengal Railway at the time of partition. South Eastern Railway was carved out of Eastern Railway on 1 August 1955. East Central Railway was created on 1 October 2002 with separation of three divisions – Dhanbad and Danapur – of Eastern Railway. Except for the Sitarampur-Gaya-Mughalsarai sector called Grand Chord and the Howrah-Bardhaman sector, the Howrah-Gaya-Delhi line shares the rest of the track with Howrah–Delhi main line.
The Howrah-Gaya-Delhi route was the first trunk route in India to be electrified. As a result, most of the Howrah–Delhi main line was electrified earlier than the Sitarampur-Patna-Mughalsarai sector. Around 1927-28 the Howrah-Bardhaman main line was electrified with 3 kV DC traction for Suburban services, converted to 25 kV AC traction in 1957-58; the Bardhaman-Waria sector was electrified in 1964–1966, Waria-Sitarampur sector in 1960–61, the Asansol-Patna sector during the period 1994–95 to 2000–2001, the Patna-Mughalsarai sector in 1999–2002, Mughalsarai-Kanpur sector during the period 1964–65 to 1968–69, Kanpur-Delhi sector between 1968–69 and 1976–77. Most of the Howrah–Delhi main line is classified as ‘A’ class line where trains can run up to 161 km/h but in certain sections speeds may be limited to 120–130 km/h; the Howrah-Bandel-Bardhaman sector and the Sitarampur-Patna-Mughalsarai sector is classified as ‘B’ class line where trains can run up to 130 km/h. Sealdah - Howrah Duranto Express is fastest train on this route it cover this journey in 17 hours and 15 minutes.
While Rajdhani Express via Gaya takes around 16 hour and 55 minutes to
Varanasi known as Benares, Banaras, or Kashi, is a city on the banks of the river Ganga in Uttar Pradesh, India, 320 kilometres south-east of the state capital, 121 kilometres east of Allahabad. A major religious hub in India, it is the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism, played an important role in the development of Buddhism and Ravidassia. Varanasi lies along National Highway 2, which connects it to Kolkata, Kanpur and Delhi, is served by Varanasi Junction railway station and Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport. Varanasi is one of 72 districts in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. At the time of the 2011 census, there were 1329 villages in this district; the main native languages of Varanasi are Bhojpuri. Varanasi grew as an important industrial centre, famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, ivory works, sculpture. Buddha is believed to have founded Buddhism here around 528 BCE when he gave his first sermon, "The Setting in Motion of the Wheel of Dharma", at nearby Sarnath.
The city's religious importance continued to grow in the 8th century, when Adi Shankara established the worship of Shiva as an official sect of Varanasi. During the Muslim rule through Middle Ages, the city continued as an important centre of Hindu devotion, pilgrimage and poetry which further contributed to its reputation as a centre of cultural importance and religious education. Tulsidas wrote his epic poem on Rama's life called Ram Charit Manas in Varanasi. Several other major figures of the Bhakti movement were born in Varanasi, including Kabir and Ravidas. Guru Nanak visited Varanasi for Maha Shivaratri in 1507, a trip that played a large role in the founding of Sikhism. In the 16th century, Varanasi experienced a cultural revival under the Mughal emperor Akbar who patronised the city, built two large temples dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu, though much of modern Varanasi was built during the 18th century, by the Maratha and Brahmin kings; the Kingdom of Benares was given official status by the Mughals in 1737, continued as a dynasty-governed area until Indian independence in 1947.
The city is governed by the Varanasi Nagar Nigam and is represented in the Parliament of India by the current Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, who won the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 by a huge margin. Silk weaving and crafts and tourism employ a significant number of the local population, as do the Diesel Locomotive Works and Bharat Heavy Electricals. Varanasi Hospital was established in 1964. Varanasi has been a cultural centre of North India for several thousand years, is associated with the Ganges. Hindus believe; the city is known worldwide for its many ghats, embankments made in steps of stone slabs along the river bank where pilgrims perform ritual ablutions. Of particular note are the Dashashwamedh Ghat, the Panchganga Ghat, the Manikarnika Ghat and the Harishchandra Ghat, the last two being where Hindus cremate their dead and the Hindu genealogy registers at Varanasi are kept here; the Ramnagar Fort, near the eastern bank of the Ganges, was built in the 18th century in the Mughal style of architecture with carved balconies, open courtyards, scenic pavilions.
Among the estimated 23,000 temples in Varanasi are Kashi Vishwanath Temple of Shiva, the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, the Durga Temple. The Kashi Naresh is the chief cultural patron of Varanasi, an essential part of all religious celebrations. An educational and musical centre, many prominent Indian philosophers, poets and musicians live or have lived in the city, it was the place where the Benares gharana form of Hindustani classical music was developed. One of Asia's largest residential universities is Banaras Hindu University; the Hindi-language nationalist newspaper, Aj, was first published in 1920. Traditional etymology links "Varanasi" to the names of two Ganges tributaries forming the city's borders: Varuna, still flowing in northern Varanasi, Assi, today a small stream in the southern part of the city, near Assi Ghat; the old city is located on the north shores of the Ganges, bounded by Assi. In the Rigveda, an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns, the city is referred to as Kāśī from the Sanskrit verbal root kaś- "to shine", making Varanasi known as "City of Light", the "luminous city as an eminent seat of learning".
The name was used by pilgrims dating from Buddha's days. Hindu religious texts use many epithets to refer to Varanasi, such as Kāśikā, Avimukta, Ānandavana, Rudravāsa. According to Hindu mythology, Varanasi was founded by Shiva, one of three principal deities along with Brahma and Vishnu. During a fight between Brahma and Shiva, one of Brahma's five heads was torn off by Shiva; as was the custom, the victor carried the slain adversary's head in his hand and let it hang down from his hand as an act of ignominy, a sign of his own bravery. A bridle was put into the mouth. Shiva thus dishonored Brahma's head, kept it with him at all times; when he came to the city of Varanasi in this state, the hanging head of Brahma dropped from Shiva's hand and disappeared in the ground. Varanasi is therefore considered an holy site; the Pandavas, the protagonists of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, are said to have visited the city in search of Shiva to atone for their sin of fratricide and Brāhmana
Urdu —or, more Modern Standard Urdu—is a Persianised standard register of the Hindustani language. It is the official national lingua franca of Pakistan. In India, it is one of the 22 official languages recognized in the Constitution of India, having official status in the six states of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, as well as the national capital territory of Delhi, it is a registered regional language of Nepal. Apart from specialized vocabulary, spoken Urdu is mutually intelligible with Standard Hindi, another recognized register of Hindustani; the Urdu variant of Hindustani received recognition and patronage under British rule when the British replaced the local official languages with English and Hindustani written in Nastaʿlīq script, as the official language in North and Northwestern India. Religious and political factors pushed for a distinction between Urdu and Hindi in India, leading to the Hindi–Urdu controversy. According to Nationalencyklopedin's 2010 estimates, Urdu is the 21st most spoken first language in the world, with 66 million speakers.
According to Ethnologue's 2017 estimates, along with standard Hindi and the languages of the Hindi belt, is the 3rd most spoken language in the world, with 329.1 million native speakers, 697.4 million total speakers. Urdu, like Hindi, is a form of Hindustani, it evolved from the medieval Apabhraṃśa register of the preceding Shauraseni language, a Middle Indo-Aryan language, the ancestor of other modern Indo-Aryan languages. Around 75% of Urdu words have their etymological roots in Sanskrit and Prakrit, 99% of Urdu verbs have their roots in Sanskrit and Prakrit; because Persian-speaking sultans ruled the Indian subcontinent for a number of years, Urdu was influenced by Persian and to a lesser extent, which have contributed to about 25% of Urdu's vocabulary. Although the word Urdu is derived from the Turkic word ordu or orda, from which English horde is derived, Turkic borrowings in Urdu are minimal and Urdu is not genetically related to the Turkic languages. Urdu words originating from Chagatai and Arabic were borrowed through Persian and hence are Persianized versions of the original words.
For instance, the Arabic ta' marbuta changes to te. Contrary to popular belief, Urdu did not borrow from the Turkish language, but from Chagatai, a Turkic language from Central Asia. Urdu and Turkish borrowed from Arabic and Persian, hence the similarity in pronunciation of many Urdu and Turkish words. Arabic influence in the region began with the late first-millennium Muslim conquests of the Indian subcontinent; the Persian language was introduced into the subcontinent a few centuries by various Persianized Central Asian Turkic and Afghan dynasties including that of Mahmud of Ghazni. The Turko-Afghan Delhi Sultanate established Persian as its official language, a policy continued by the Mughal Empire, which extended over most of northern South Asia from the 16th to 18th centuries and cemented Persian influence on the developing Hindustani; the name Urdu was first used by the poet Ghulam Hamadani Mushafi around 1780. From the 13th century until the end of the 18th century Urdu was known as Hindi.
The language was known by various other names such as Hindavi and Dehlavi. Hindustani in Persian script was used by Muslims and Hindus, but was current chiefly in Muslim-influenced society; the communal nature of the language lasted until it replaced Persian as the official language in 1837 and was made co-official, along with English. Hindustani was promoted in British India by British policies to counter the previous emphasis on Persian; this triggered a Hindu backlash in northwestern India, which argued that the language should be written in the native Devanagari script. This literary standard called "Hindi" replaced Urdu as the official language of Bihar in 1881, establishing a sectarian divide of "Urdu" for Muslims and "Hindi" for Hindus, a divide, formalized with the division of India and Pakistan after independence. There have been attempts to "purify" Urdu and Hindi, by purging Urdu of Sanskrit words, Hindi of Persian loanwords, new vocabulary draws from Persian and Arabic for Urdu and from Sanskrit for Hindi.
English has exerted a heavy influence on both as a co-official language. There are over 100 million native speakers of Urdu in India and Pakistan together: there were 52 million and 80.5 million Urdu speakers in India as per the 2001 and 2011 censuses respectively. However, a knowledge of Urdu allows one to speak with far more people than that, because Hindustani, of which Urdu is one variety, is the third most spoken language in the world, after Mandarin and English; because of the difficulty in distinguishing between Urdu and Hindi speakers in India and Pakistan, as well as estimating the number of people for whom Urdu is a second language, the estimated number of speakers is uncertain and controversial. Owing to interaction with other languages, Urdu has become localized wherever it is spoken, including in Pakistan. Urdu in Pakistan has undergone changes and has incorporated and borrowed many words from region
Varanasi Tehsil is one of three tehsils in the district of Varanasi. The other two being Pindra and Raja Talab tehsils. Varanasi tehsil consists of Varanasi city rural areas, it has 835 villages. Varanasi Tehsil comprises 38 census towns; the biggest census town is Varanasi Municipal Corporation and smallest is Gaura Kala. Following is the list of all the towns along with the population as per 2011 census. Varanasi Tehsil has 835 villages. Following is the list of all villages in Varanasi tehsil. Pindra Varanasi Varanasi district
Uttar Pradesh is a state in northern India. With over 200 million inhabitants, it is the most populous state in India as well as the most populous country subdivision in the world, it was created on 1 April 1937 as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh during British rule, was renamed Uttar Pradesh in 1950. The state is divided into 75 districts with the capital being Lucknow; the main ethnic group is the Hindavi people. On 9 November 2000, a new state, was carved out from the state's Himalayan hill region; the two major rivers of the state, the Ganga and Yamuna, join at Allahabad and flow as the Ganga further east. Hindi is the most spoken language and is the official language of the state; the state is bordered by Rajasthan to the west, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi to the northwest and Nepal to the north, Bihar to the east, Madhya Pradesh to the south, touches the states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh to the southeast. It covers 243,290 square kilometres, equal to 7.33% of the total area of India, is the fourth-largest Indian state by area.
The economy of Uttar Pradesh is the fourth-largest state economy in India with ₹15.79 lakh crore in gross domestic product and a per capita GDP of ₹57,480. Agriculture and service industries are the largest parts of the state's economy; the service sector comprises travel and tourism, hotel industry, real estate and financial consultancies. President's rule has been imposed in Uttar Pradesh ten times since 1968, for different reasons and for a total of 1,700 days; the natives of the state are called Uttar Bhartiya, or more either Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Bundeli, Kannauji, or Rohilkhandi depending upon their region of origin. Hinduism is practised by more than three-fourths of the population, with Islam being the next largest religious group. Uttar Pradesh was home to powerful empires of medieval India; the state has several historical and religious tourist destinations, such as Agra, Vrindavan and Allahabad. Modern human hunter-gatherers have been in Uttar Pradesh since between around 85,000 and 72,000 years ago.
There have been prehistorical finds in Uttar Pradesh from the Middle and Upper Paleolithic dated to 21,000–31,000 years old and Mesolithic/Microlithic hunter-gatherer settlement, near Pratapgarh, from around 10550–9550 BC. Villages with domesticated cattle and goats and evidence of agriculture began as early as 6000 BC, developed between c. 4000 and 1500 BC beginning with the Indus Valley Civilisation and Harappa Culture to the Vedic period and extending into the Iron Age. The kingdom of Kosala, in the Mahajanapada era, was located within the regional boundaries of modern-day Uttar Pradesh. According to Hindu legend, the divine king Rama of the Ramayana epic reigned in Ayodhya, the capital of Kosala. Krishna, another divine king of Hindu legend, who plays a key role in the Mahabharata epic and is revered as the eighth reincarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, is said to have been born in the city of Mathura, in Uttar Pradesh; the aftermath of the Mahabharata yuddh is believed to have taken place in the area between the Upper Doab and Delhi, during the reign of the Pandava king Yudhishthira.
The kingdom of the Kurus corresponds to the Black and Red Ware and Painted Gray Ware culture and the beginning of the Iron Age in northwest India, around 1000 BC. Control over Gangetic plains region was of vital importance to the power and stability of all of India's major empires, including the Maurya, Kushan and Gurjara-Pratihara empires. Following the Huns' invasions that broke the Gupta empire, the Ganges-Yamuna Doab saw the rise of Kannauj. During the reign of Harshavardhana, the Kannauj empire reached its zenith, it spanned from Punjab in the north and Gujarat in the west to Bengal in the east and Odisha in the south. It included parts of central India, north of the Narmada River and it encompassed the entire Indo-Gangetic plain. Many communities in various parts of India claim descent from the migrants of Kannauj. Soon after Harshavardhana's death, his empire disintegrated into many kingdoms, which were invaded and ruled by the Gurjara-Pratihara empire, which challenged Bengal's Pala Empire for control of the region.
Kannauj was several times invaded by the south Indian Rashtrakuta Dynasty, from the 8th century to the 10th century. After fall of Pala empire, the Chero dynasty ruled from 12th century to 18th century. Parts or all of Uttar Pradesh were ruled by the Delhi Sultanate for 320 years. Five dynasties ruled over the Delhi Sultanate sequentially: the Mamluk dynasty, the Khalji dynasty, the Tughlaq dynasty, the Sayyid dynasty, the Lodi dynasty. In the 16th century, Babur, a Timurid descendant of Timur and Genghis Khan from Fergana Valley, swept across the Khyber Pass and founded the Mughal Empire, covering India, along with modern-day Afghanistan and Bangladesh; the Mughals were descended from Persianised Central Asian Turks. In the Mughal era, Uttar Pradesh became the heartland of the empire. Mughal emperors Humayun ruled from Delhi. In 1540 an Afghan, Sher Shah Suri, took over the reins of Uttar Pradesh after defeating the Mughal king Humanyun. Sher Shah and his son Islam Shah ruled Uttar Pradesh from their capital at Gwalior.
After the death of Islam Shah Suri, his prime minister Hemu became the de facto ruler of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, th
Central Public Works Department
The Central Public Works Department of India referred to as the CPWD, is a premier Central Government authority in charge of public sector works. The Central Public Works Department, under the Ministry of Urban Development now MoHUA, deals with buildings, bridges, complicated structures like stadiums, laboratories, border fencing, border roads, etc. CPWD came into existence in July 1854 when Lord Dalhousie established a central agency for execution of public works and set up Ajmer Provincial Division, it has now grown into a comprehensive construction management department, which provides services from project concept to completion, maintenance management. It is headed by the Director General, the Principal Technical Advisor to the Government of India; the regions and sub-regions are headed by Special DGs and Additional DGs while the zones in all state capitals are headed by Chief Engineers. Nowadays, a new post of Chief Project Manager has been created to head major prestigious projects of CPWD.
CPMs are equivalent to the rank of Chief Engineers in CPWD. With country wide presence, the strength of CPWD is its ability to undertake construction of Complex Projects in difficult terrains and maintenance in post construction stage, it is the prime engineering department of Government of union of India and its specifications and manuals are followed by local public works departments and engineering wing of other departments. CPWD consists of three wings in execution field: 1) B&R 2) E&M 3) Horticulture Centralized public works in India can be traced to efforts of Lord Dalhousie and Sir Arthur Cotton in the mid 19th century. Sir Arthur Cotton sums up the early policy of the East India Company rulers thus, Public works have been entirely neglected throughout India; the motto hitherto has been: Do nothing, have nothing done, let nobody do anything. Bear any loss, let the people die of famine, let hundreds of lakhs be lost in revenue for want of water or roads, rather than do anything. – Arthur Cotton Lord Dalhousie established the Central Public Works Department, irrigation projects were among the earliest to be started.
Public Works Department was formally established in the year 1854 in the sixth year of Lord Dalhousie's tenure as Governor General. In the minutes of meeting held on 12 July 1854 the Governor General resolved that a central agency be provided by creating an office of Secretary to the Government of India in Department of Public Works; the note recorded by Lord Dalhousie was as under: “The organization of the Department of Public Works in the Indian Empire will be incomplete unless it shall be provided for the Supreme Government itself come agency by which it may be enabled to exercise the universal control confided to it over public works in India with the best of scientific knowledge with authority and system. The Government of India shall no longer be dependent on expedients, but should be provided with a permanent and qualified agency to assist in the direction of this important branch of public affairs. I have, now to propose that such an agency should be provided by creating an office of the Secretary to Government of India in the Department of Public Works.
The person who holds it should always be a qualified officer of the Corps of Engineers.” Colonel W. E. Baker of the Bengal Engineers was accordingly appointed first Secretary to the Department of Public Works, this is the genesis of the Central Public Works Department. CPWD has PAN India presence and has ability to undertake construction of complex projects in difficult terrain and maintenance in post construction stage. CPWD had been involved in construction of stadiums and other infrastructure requirements for Asian Games 1982 and Commonwealth Games 2010. Zeal and spirit of endeavour of CPWD officers have taken the organization beyond national boundaries. CPWD had constructed the Afghan Parliament Building. Following are the core functions of CPWD Design and maintenance of Central Government non- residential buildings other than those for Railways, Communications,Atomic Energy, Defense Services, All India Radio and Airports. Construction and maintenance of residential accommodation meant for Central Government Employees.
Construction works for Central Police Organizations i.e. CRPF, CISF, BSF, ITBP as well as maintenance of assets of CRPF and CISF assigned to CPWD. Construction works for establishments under SIB etc.. Construction works for public sector undertakings not having their engineering organization, other Government Organisations, Autonomous bodies and institutions as deposit work. “Deposit Works” are such works, which are undertaken at the discretion of the Director General, CPWD for which the outlay is provided wholly or in part from a) Funds of a public nature but not included in the financial estimates and accounts of the Union of India. B) Contributions from the public. Providing consultancy services in planning and construction of civil engineering projects, as and when required by public undertaking and other autonomous bodies. Construction of Embassy and other buildings / projects abroad at the request of Ministry of External Affairs and other Ministries. Defence / Security related works assigned by the government such as border fencing & flood lighting works and Indo China Border Road Works.
Construction of roads under PMGSY and RSVY programme. To undertake works under PPP/Alternate Funding mode. Delhi PWD The Public Works Department of Government of Delhi is manned by officers of CPWD, who are engaged in construc
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