Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal Range. Today, it denotes a larger area that includes the Indian-administered territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, Chinese-administered territories of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract. In the first half of the 1st millennium, the Kashmir region became an important centre of Hinduism and of Buddhism. In 1339, Shah Mir became the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir, inaugurating the Salatin-i-Kashmir or Shah Mir dynasty. Kashmir was part of the Mughal Empire from 1586 to 1751, thereafter, until 1820, of the Afghan Durrani Empire; that year, the Sikhs, under Ranjit Singh, annexed Kashmir. In 1846, after the Sikh defeat in the First Anglo-Sikh War, upon the purchase of the region from the British under the Treaty of Amritsar, the Raja of Jammu, Gulab Singh, became the new ruler of Kashmir.
The rule of his descendants, under the paramountcy of the British Crown, lasted until the partition of India in 1947, when the former princely state of the British Indian Empire became a disputed territory, now administered by three countries: India and China. The word Kashmir was referred to as káśmīra; the Nilamata Purana describes the Valley's origin from the waters, a lake called Sati-saras. A popular, but uncertain, local etymology of Kashmira is. An alternative, but uncertain, etymology derives the name from the name of the Hindu sage Kashyapa, believed to have settled people in this land. Accordingly, Kashmir would be derived from either kashyapa-meru; the word has been referenced to in a Hindu scripture mantra worshipping the Hindu goddess Sharada and is mentioned to have resided in the land of kashmira,or which might have been a reference to the Sharada Peeth. The Ancient Greeks called the region Kasperia, identified with Kaspapyros of Hecataeus of Miletus and Kaspatyros of Herodotus.
Kashmir is believed to be the country meant by Ptolemy's Kaspeiria. The earliest text which directly mentions the name Kashmir is in Ashtadhyayi written by a Sanskrit grammarian Pāṇini during 5th century BC. Pāṇini called the people of Kashmir as Kashmirikas; some other early references to Kashmir can be be found in Mahabharata in Sabha Parva and in puranas like Matsya Purana, Vayu Purana, Padma Purana and Vishnu Purana and Vishnudharmottara Purana. Huientsang, the Buddhist scholar and Chinese traveller called Kashmir as kia-shi-milo, while some other Chinese accounts referred Kashmir as ki-pin and ache-pin. Cashmere is an archaic spelling of present-Kashmir, in some countries it is still spelled this way. In the Kashmiri language, Kashmir itself is known as Kasheer. During ancient and medieval period, Kashmir has been an important centre for the development of a Hindu-Buddhist syncretism, in which Madhyamaka and Yogachara were blended with Shaivism and Advaita Vedanta; the Buddhist Mauryan emperor Ashoka is credited with having founded the old capital of Kashmir, now ruins on the outskirts of modern Srinagar.
Kashmir was long to be a stronghold of Buddhism. As a Buddhist seat of learning, the Sarvastivada school influenced Kashmir. East and Central Asian Buddhist monks are recorded as having visited the kingdom. In the late 4th century CE, the famous Kuchanese monk Kumārajīva, born to an Indian noble family, studied Dīrghāgama and Madhyāgama in Kashmir under Bandhudatta, he became a prolific translator who helped take Buddhism to China. His mother Jīva is thought to have retired to Kashmir. Vimalākṣa, a Sarvāstivādan Buddhist monk, travelled from Kashmir to Kucha and there instructed Kumārajīva in the Vinayapiṭaka. Karkoṭa Empire was a powerful Hindu empire, it was founded by Durlabhvardhana during the lifetime of Harsha. The dynasty marked the rise of Kashmir as a power in South Asia. Avanti Varman ascended the throne of Kashmir on 855 CE, establishing the Utpala dynasty and ending the rule of Karkoṭa dynasty. According to tradition, Adi Shankara visited the pre-existing Sarvajñapīṭha in Kashmir in the late 8th century or early 9th century CE.
The Madhaviya Shankaravijayam states this temple had four doors for scholars from the four cardinal directions. The southern door of Sarvajna Pitha was opened by Adi Shankara. According to tradition, Adi Shankara opened the southern door by defeating in debate all the scholars there in all the various scholastic disciplines such as Mīmāṃsā, Vedanta and other branches of Hindu philosophy. Abhinavagupta was one of India's greatest philosophers and aestheticians, he was considered an important musician, dramatist, exegete and logician – a polymathic personality who exercised strong influences on Indian culture. He was born in the Kashmir Valley in a family of scholars and mystics and studied all the schools of philosophy and art of his time under the guidance of as many as fifteen teachers and gurus. In his long life he completed over 35 works, the largest and most famous of, Tantrāloka, an encyclopaedic treatise on all the philosophical and practical aspects of Trika and Kaula. Another one of his important contributions was in the field of philosophy of
Pakistan the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world’s sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212,742,631 people. In area, it is the 33rd-largest country. Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, China in the far northeast, it is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, shares a maritime border with Oman. The territory that now constitutes Pakistan was the site of several ancient cultures and intertwined with the history of the broader Indian subcontinent; the ancient history involves the Neolithic site of Mehrgarh and the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilisation, was home to kingdoms ruled by people of different faiths and cultures, including Hindus, Indo-Greeks, Turco-Mongols and Sikhs. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Alexander III of Macedon, the Seleucid Empire, the Indian Maurya Empire, the Gupta Empire, the Arab Umayyad Caliphate, the Delhi Sultanate, the Mongol Empire, the Mughal Empire, the Afghan Durrani Empire, the Sikh Empire and, most the British Empire.
Pakistan is the only country to have been created in the name of Islam. It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country, with a diverse geography and wildlife. A dominion, Pakistan adopted a constitution in 1956, becoming an Islamic republic. An ethnic civil war and Indian military intervention in 1971 resulted in the secession of East Pakistan as the new country of Bangladesh. In 1973, Pakistan adopted a new constitution which stipulated that all laws are to conform to the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Quran and Sunnah. A regional and middle power, Pakistan has the sixth-largest standing armed forces in the world and is a nuclear power as well as a declared nuclear-weapons state, the second in South Asia and the only nation in the Muslim world to have that status. Pakistan has a semi-industrialised economy with a well-integrated agriculture sector and a growing services sector, it is ranked among the emerging and growth-leading economies of the world, is backed by one of the world's largest and fastest-growing middle class.
Pakistan's political history since independence has been characterized by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with India. The country continues to face challenging problems, including overpopulation, poverty and corruption. Pakistan is a member of the UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the OIC, the Commonwealth of Nations, the SAARC and the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition; the name Pakistan means "land of the pure" in Urdu and Persian. It alludes to the word pāk meaning pure in Pashto; the suffix ـستان is a Persian word meaning the place of, recalls the synonymous Sanskrit word sthāna स्थान. The name of the country was coined in 1933 as Pakstan by Choudhry Rahmat Ali, a Pakistan Movement activist, who published it in his pamphlet Now or Never, using it as an acronym referring to the names of the five northern regions of British India: Punjab, Kashmir and Baluchistan; the letter i was incorporated to ease pronunciation. Some of the earliest ancient human civilisations in South Asia originated from areas encompassing present-day Pakistan.
The earliest known inhabitants in the region were Soanian during the Lower Paleolithic, of whom stone tools have been found in the Soan Valley of Punjab. The Indus region, which covers most of present day Pakistan, was the site of several successive ancient cultures including the Neolithic Mehrgarh and the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilisation at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro; the Vedic period was characterised by an Indo-Aryan culture. Multan was an important Hindu pilgrimage centre; the Vedic civilisation flourished in the ancient Gandhāran city of Takṣaśilā, now Taxila in the Punjab, founded around 1000 BCE. Successive ancient empires and kingdoms ruled the region: the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Alexander the Great's empire in 326 BCE and the Maurya Empire, founded by Chandragupta Maurya and extended by Ashoka the Great, until 185 BCE; the Indo-Greek Kingdom founded by Demetrius of Bactria included Gandhara and Punjab and reached its greatest extent under Menander, prospering the Greco-Buddhist culture in the region.
Taxila had one of the earliest universities and centres of higher education in the world, established during the late Vedic period in 6th century BCE. The school consisted of several monasteries without large dormitories or lecture halls where the religious instruction was provided on an individualistic basis; the ancient university was documented by the invading forces of Alexander the Great, "the like of which had not been seen in Greece," and was recorded by Chinese pilgrims in the 4th or 5th century CE. At its zenith, the Rai Dynasty of Sindh ruled the surrounding territories; the Pala Dynasty was the last Buddhist empire, under Dharmapala and Devapala, stretched across South Asia from what is now Bangladesh through Northern India to Pakistan. The Arab conqueror Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh in 711 CE; the Pakistan government's official chronol
Penance is repentance of sins as well as an alternate name for the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession. It plays a part in confession among Anglicans and Methodists, in which it is a rite, as well as among other Protestants; the word penance derives from Old French and Latin paenitentia, both of which derive from the same root meaning repentance, the desire to be forgiven. Penance and repentance, similar in their derivation and original sense, have come to symbolize conflicting views of the essence of repentance, arising from the controversy as to the respective merits of "faith" and "good works". Word derivations occur in many languages. Protestant Reformers, upholding the doctrine of justification by faith, held that repentance consisted in a change of the whole moral attitude of the mind and soul, that the divine forgiveness preceded true repentance and confession to God without any reparation of "works". Rather, "God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance".
In his Of Justification By Faith, Calvin says: "without forgiveness no man is pleasing to God." Nonetheless, in traditions formed by a Calvinist or Zwinglian sensibility there has traditionally been a stress on reconciliation as a precondition to fellowship. The attitude of penance or repentance can be externalized in acts that a believer imposes on himself or herself, acts that are themselves called penances. Penitential activity is common during the season of Lent and Holy Week. In some cultural traditions, this week, which commemorates the Passion of Christ, may be marked by penances that include flagellantism or voluntary pseudo-crucifixion. Advent is another season during which, to a lesser extent, penances are performed. Acts of self-discipline are used as tokens of repentance. Easier acts of self-discipline include devoting time to prayer or reading of the Bible or other spiritual books. Examples of harder acts of self-discipline are fasting, abstaining from alcohol or tobacco, or other privations.
Self-flagellation and the wearing of a cilice are more used. Such acts have sometimes been called mortification of the flesh, a phrase inspired by Romans 8:13: "If you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Such acts are associated with the sacrament. In early Christianity, public penance was imposed on penitents, the severity of which varied according to the seriousness of the offences forgiven. Today the act of penance or satisfaction imposed in connection with the sacrament for the same therapeutic purpose can be set prayers or a certain number of prostrations or an act or omission intended to reinforce what is positive in the penitent's behaviour or to inhibit what is negative; the act imposed is itself called a epitemia. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, penance is called Sacred Mystery of Confession. In Orthodoxy, the intention of the sacramental mystery of Holy Confession is to provide reconciliation with God through means of healing.
Similar to the Eastern Catholic Churches, in the Eastern Orthodox Church there are no confessionals. Traditionally the penitent stands or kneels before either the Icon of Christ the Teacher or in front of an Icon of Christ, "Not Made by Hands"; this is because in Orthodox sacramental theology, confession is not made to the priest, but to Christ. On an analogion in front of the penitent has been placed a Gospel Book and a Crucifix; the penitent kneels. This is to show humility before Christ. Once they are ready to start, the priest says, “Blessed is our God, always and and unto the ages of ages,” reads the Trisagion Prayers and the Psalm 50; the priest advises the penitent that Christ is invisibly present and that the penitent should not be embarrassed or be afraid, but should open up their heart and reveal their sins so that Christ may forgive them. The penitent accuses himself of sins; the priest and patiently listens asking questions to encourage the penitent not to withhold any sins out of fear or shame.
After the confessant reveals all their sins, the priest offers counsel. The priest may modify the prayer rule of the penitent, or prescribe another rule, if needed to combat the sins the penitent struggles most with. Penances, known as epitemia, are given with a therapeutic intent, so they are opposite to the sin committed. Epitemia are neither a punishment nor a pious action, but are aimed at healing the spiritual ailment, confessed. For example, if the penitent broke the Eighth Commandment by stealing something, the priest could prescribe they return what they stole and give alms to the poor on a more regular basis. Opposites are treated with opposites. If the penitent suffers from gluttony, the confessant’s fasting rule is reviewed and increased; the intention of Confession is never to heal and purify. Confession is seen as a “second baptism”, is sometimes referred to as the "baptism of tears". In Orthodoxy, Confession is seen as a means to procure better spiritual purity. Confession does not involve stating the sinful things the person does.
The approach is holistic, examining the full life of the confessant. The good works do not earn salvation, but are part of a psychotherapeutic treatment to preserve salvation and purity. Sin is treated as a spiritual illness, or woun
Wagah or Wahga is a village and union council located in the Wahga Zone of Lahore, Pakistan. The town is famous for the Wagah border ceremony and serves as a goods transit terminal and a railway station between Pakistan and India. Wagah is situated 600 metres west of the border and lies on the historic Grand Trunk Road between Lahore and Amritsar in India; the border is located 24 kilometres from 32 kilometres from Amritsar. It is 3 kilometres from the bordering village of Attari; the border crossing draws its name from Wahga village, near which the Radcliffe Line, the boundary demarcation line dividing India and Pakistan upon the Partition of British India, was drawn. At the time of independence in 1947, migrants from India entered Pakistan through this border crossing; the Wagah railway station is 100 metres from the border. The Wagah-Attari border ceremony happens at the border gate, two hours before sunset each day; the flag ceremony is conducted by the Pakistan Rangers and Indian Border Security Force, similar to the retreat ceremonies at Ganda Singh Wala/Hussainiwala border crossing and Mahavir/Sadqi International Parade Ground border crossing.
Following India's erection of a 360ft flagpole on their side of the border in Attari, in August 2017, a 400ft flag was installed on the Wagah side. The flagpole in Wagah is considered the tallest in South Asia; the pole in Attari is the largest in India. Wagha railway station Lahore–Wagah Branch Line 2014 Wagah border suicide attack Operation Zarb-e-Azb Khyber Pass Flag-lowering ceremony at Wagah border becomes more peaceful at Wikinews Michael Palin at the India-Pakistan border ceremony on the Pakistani side. BBCWorldwide video on YouTube. Sanjeev Bhaskar at the India-Pakistan border ceremony on the Indian side. BBCWorldwide video on YouTube. Pictures of independence's 60th anniversary celebration at Wagah BorderTemplate:Neighbourhoods of Punjab
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
Guru Nanak was the founder of Sikhism and the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. His birth is celebrated worldwide as Guru Nanak Gurpurab on Kartik Pooranmashi, the full-moon day in the month of Katak, October–November. Guru Nanak travelled far and wide teaching people the message of one God who dwells in every one of His creations and constitutes the eternal Truth, he set up a unique spiritual and political platform based on equality, fraternal love and virtue. Guru Nanak's words are registered in the form of 974 poetic hymns in the holy text of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib, with some of the major prayers being the Japji Sahib, the Asa di Var and the Sidh-Ghost, it is part of Sikh religious belief that the spirit of Guru Nanak's sanctity and religious authority descended upon each of the nine subsequent Gurus when the Guruship was devolved on to them. Guru Nanak was born on 29 November 1469 at Rāi Bhoi Kī Talvaṇḍī near Lahore, his parents were Kalyan Chand Das Bedi, popularly shortened to Mehta Kalu, Mata Tripta.
His father was the local patwari for crop revenue in the village of Talwandi. His parents were both Hindu employed as merchants, he had one sister, Bebe Nanaki, five years older than he was. In 1475 she moved to Sultanpur. Guru Nanak was attached to his sister and followed her to Sultanpur to live with her and her husband, Jai Ram. At the age of around 16 years, Nanak started working under Daulat Khan Lodi, employer of Nanaki's husband; this was a formative time for Nanak, as the Puratan Janam Sakhi suggests, in his numerous allusions to governmental structure in his hymns, most gained at this time. According to Sikh traditions, the birth and early years of Guru Nanak's life were marked with many events that demonstrated that Nanak had been marked by divine grace. Commentaries on his life give details of his blossoming awareness from a young age. At the age of five, Nanak is said to have voiced interest in divine subjects. At age seven, his father enrolled him at the village school. Notable lore recounts that as a child Nanak astonished his teacher by describing the implicit symbolism of the first letter of the alphabet, resembling the mathematical version of one, as denoting the unity or oneness of God.
Other childhood accounts refer to strange and miraculous events about Nanak, such as one witnessed by Rai Bular, in which the sleeping child's head was shaded from the harsh sunlight, in one account, by the stationary shadow of a tree or, in another, by a venomous cobra. On 24 September 1487 Nanak married Mata Sulakkhani, daughter of Mūl Chand and Chando Rāṇī, in the town of Batala; the couple had Sri Chand and Lakhmi Chand. Sri Chand received enlightenment from Guru Nanak's teachings and went on to become the founder of the Udasi sect; the earliest biographical sources on Nanak's life recognised today are the Janamsākhīs. Bhai Gurdas, a scribe of the Gurū Granth Sahib wrote about Nanak's life in his vārs. Although these too were compiled some time after Nanak's time, they are less detailed than the Janamsākhīs; the Janamsākhīs recount in minute detail the circumstances of the birth of the guru. Gyan-ratanavali is attributed to Bhai Mani Singh who wrote it with the express intention of correcting heretical accounts of Guru Nanak.
Bhai Mani Singh was a disciple of Guru Gobind Singh, approached by some Sikhs with a request that he should prepare an authentic account of Guru Nanak’s life. One popular Janamsākhī was written by a close companion of the Guru, Bhai Bala. However, the writing style and language employed have left scholars, such as Max Arthur Macauliffe, certain that they were composed after his death. According to the scholars, there are good reasons to doubt the claim that the author was a close companion of Guru Nanak and accompanied him on many of his travels. Nanak was a Guru, founded Sikhism during the 15th century; the fundamental beliefs of Sikhism, articulated in the sacred scripture Guru Granth Sahib, include faith and meditation on the name of the one creator, unity of all humankind, engaging in selfless service, striving for social justice for the benefit and prosperity of all, honest conduct and livelihood while living a householder's life. The Guru Granth Sahib is worshipped as the Supreme Authority of Sikhism and is considered the eleventh and final guru of Sikhism.
As the first guru of Sikhism, Guru Nanak contributed a total of 974 hymns to the book. Nanak’s teachings can be found in the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib, as a collection of verses recorded in Gurmukhi. There are two competing theories on Guru Nanak's teachings. One, according to Cole and Sambhi, is based on hagiographical Janamsakhis, states that Nanak's teachings and Sikhism were a revelation from God, not a social protest movement nor any attempt to reconcile Hinduism and Islam in the 15th century; the other states, Nanak was a Guru. According to Singha, "Sikhism does not subscribe to the theory of incarnation or the concept of prophethood, but it has a pivotal concept of Guru. He is not an incarnation of God, not a prophet, he is an illumined soul."The hagiographical Janamsakhis were not written by Nanak, but by followers without regard for historical accuracy, contain numerous legends and myths created to show respect for Nanak. The term revelation, clarify Cole and Sambhi, in Sikhism is not limited to the teachings of Nanak, they include all Sikh Gurus, as well as the words of past and future men and women, who possess divine knowledge intuitively through meditation.
A passport is a travel document issued by a country's government, that certifies the identity and nationality of its holder for the purpose of international travel. Standard passports may contain information such as the holder's name and date of birth, photograph and other identifying information. Many countries are moving towards including biometric information in a microchip embedded in the passport, making them machine-readable and difficult to counterfeit; as of January 2019, there are over 150 jurisdictions issuing these e-Passports. Issued passports remain valid until each expires. A passport holder is entitled to enter the country that issued the passport, though some people entitled to a passport may not be full citizens with right of abode. A passport does not of itself create any rights in the country being visited or obligate the issue country in any way, such as providing consular assistance; some passports attest to status as a diplomat or other official, entitled to rights and privileges such as immunity from arrest or prosecution.
Many countries allow entry to holders of passports of other countries, sometimes requiring a visa to be obtained, but this is not an automatic right. Many other additional conditions, such as not being to become a public charge for financial or other reasons, the holder not having been convicted of a crime, may apply. Where a country does not recognise another, or is in dispute with it, it may prohibit the use of their passport for travel to that other country, or may prohibit entry to holders of that other country's passports, sometimes to others who have, for example, visited the other country; some countries and international organisations issue travel documents which are not standard passports, but enable the holder to travel internationally to countries that recognise the documents. For example, stateless persons are not issued a national passport, but may be able to obtain a refugee travel document or the earlier "Nansen passport" which enables them to travel to countries which recognise the document, sometimes to return to the issuing country.
Passports are requested in other circumstances to confirm identification such as checking in to a hotel or when changing money to a local currency. One of the earliest known references to paperwork that served in a role similar to that of a passport is found in the Hebrew Bible. Nehemiah 2:7–9, dating from 450 BC, states that Nehemiah, an official serving King Artaxerxes I of Persia, asked permission to travel to Judea. Passports were an important part of the Chinese bureaucracy as early as the Western Han, if not in the Qin Dynasty, they required such details as age and bodily features. These passports determined a person's ability to move throughout imperial counties and through points of control. Children needed passports, but those of one year or less who were in their mother's care might not have needed them. In the medieval Islamic Caliphate, a form of passport was a receipt for taxes paid. Only people who paid their zakah or jizya taxes were permitted to travel to different regions of the Caliphate.
In medieval Europe, such documents were issued to foreign travelers by local authorities and contained a list of towns and cities the document holder was permitted to enter or pass through. On the whole, documents were not required for travel to sea ports, which were considered open trading points, but documents were required to travel inland from sea ports. King Henry V of England is credited with having invented what some consider the first passport in the modern sense, as a means of helping his subjects prove who they were in foreign lands; the earliest reference to these documents is found in a 1414 Act of Parliament. In 1540, granting travel documents in England became a role of the Privy Council of England, it was around this time that the term "passport" was used. In 1794, issuing British passports became the job of the Office of the Secretary of State; the 1548 Imperial Diet of Augsburg required the public to hold imperial documents for travel, at the risk of permanent exile. A rapid expansion of railway infrastructure and wealth in Europe beginning in the mid-nineteenth century led to large increases in the volume of international travel and a consequent unique dilution of the passport system for thirty years prior to World War I.
The speed of trains, as well as the number of passengers that crossed multiple borders, made enforcement of passport laws difficult. The general reaction was the relaxation of passport requirements. In the part of the nineteenth century and up to World War I, passports were not required, on the whole, for travel within Europe, crossing a border was a straightforward procedure. Comparatively few people held passports. During World War I, European governments introduced border passport requirements for security reasons, to control the emigration of people with useful skills; these controls remained in place after the war, becoming a standard, though controversial, procedure. British tourists of the 1920s complained about attached photographs and physical descriptions, which they considered led to a "nasty dehumanization". In 1920, the League of Nations held