The Andamanese are the various indigenous peoples of the Andaman Islands, part of India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands union territory in the southeastern part of the Bay of Bengal in Southeast Asia. The Andamanese peoples are among the various groups considered Negrito owing to their dark skin and diminutive stature. All Andamanese traditionally lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, appear to have lived in substantial isolation for thousands of years; the Andamanese settled the Andaman Islands around the latest glacial maximum, around 26,000 years ago. The Andamanese peoples included the Great Andamanese and Jarawas of the Great Andaman archipelago, the Jangil of Rutland Island, the Onge of Little Andaman, the Sentinelese of North Sentinel Island. At the end of the 18th century, when they first came into sustained contact with outsiders, an estimated 7,000 Andamanese remained. In the next century, they were wiped out by diseases and loss of territory. Today, only 400–450 Andamanese remain, with the Jangil being extinct.
Only the Jarawa and the Sentinelese maintain a steadfast independence, refusing most attempts at contact by outsiders. The Andamanese are a designated Scheduled Tribe; until the late 18th century, the Andamanese culture and genetics were preserved from outside influences by their fierce reaction to visitors, which included killing any shipwrecked foreigners, by the remoteness of the islands. The various tribes and their mutually unintelligible languages thus are believed to have evolved on their own over millennia. According to Chaubey and Endicott, the Andaman Islands were settled less than 26,000 years ago, by people who were not direct descendants of the first migrants out of Africa. According to Wang et al....the Andaman archipelago was settled by modern humans from northeast India via the land-bridge which connected the Andaman archipelago and Myanmar around the Last Glacial Maximum, a scenario in well agreement with the evidence from linguistic and palaeoclimate studies. It was assumed that the Andaman ancestors were part of the initial Great Coastal Migration, the first expansion of humanity out of Africa, via the Arabian peninsula, along the coastal regions of the Indian mainland and toward Southeast Asia and Oceania.
The Andamanese were considered to be a pristine example of a hypothesized Negrito population, which showed similar physical characteristics, was supposed to have existed throughout southeast Asia. The existence of a specific Negrito-population is nowadays doubted, their commonalities could be the result of evolutionary convergence and/or a shared history. A research suggest that the Andamanese people are the result of a mix including native Negritos and a male-dominated East-Asian line. Dental characteristics group the Andamanese between Negrito and East-Asian samples; the Andamanese's protective isolation changed with the first British colonial presence and subsequent settlements, which proved disastrous for them. Lacking immunity against common infectious diseases of the Eurasian mainland, the large Jarawa habitats on the southeastern regions of South Andaman Island were depopulated by disease within four years of the initial British colonial settlement in 1789. Epidemics of pneumonia and influenza spread and exacted heavy tolls, as did alcoholism.
In the 19th century, the measles killed 50% of the Andamanese population. By 1875, the Andamanese were "perilously close to extinction," yet attempts to contact, subdue and co-opt them continued unrelentingly. In 1888, the British government set in place a policy of "organized gift giving" that continued in varying forms until well into the 20th century. There is evidence that some sections of the British Indian administration were working deliberately to annihilate the tribes. After the mid-19th century, British established penal colonies on the islands and an increasing numbers of mainland Indian and Karen settlers arrived, encroaching on former territories of the Andamanese; this accelerated the decline of the tribes. Many Andamanese succumbed to British expeditions to avenge the killing of shipwrecked sailors. In the 1867 Andaman Islands Expedition, dozens of Onge were killed by British naval personnel following the death of shipwrecked sailors, which resulted in four Victoria Crosses for the British soldiers.
In the 1940s, the Jarawa were bombed by Japanese forces for their hostility. In 1974, a film crew and anthropologist Triloknath Pandit attempted friendly contact by leaving a tethered pig, some pots and pans, some fruit, toys on the beach at North Sentinel Island. One of the islanders shot the film director in the thigh with an arrow; the following year, European visitors were repulsed with arrows. On 2 August 1981, the Hong Kong freighter ship Primrose grounded on the North Sentinel Island reef. A few days crewmen on the immobile vessel observed that small black men were carrying spears and arrows and building boats on the beach; the captain of the Primrose radioed for an urgent airdrop of firearms so the crew could defend themselves, but did not receive them. Heavy seas kept the islanders away from the ship. After a week, the crew were rescued by an Indian navy helicopter. On 4 January 1991, Triloknath Pandit made the first known friendly contact with the Sentinelese; until 1996, the Jarawa met most visitors with flying arrows.
From time to time, they attacked and killed poachers on the lands reserved to them by the Indian government. They killed some workers building the Andaman Trunk Road, which traverses Jarawa lands. One of the earliest peaceful contacts with the Jarawa occurred in 1996. Settlers found; the boy was i
Caste system in India
The caste system in India is the paradigmatic ethnographic example of caste. It has origins in ancient India, was transformed by various ruling elites in medieval, early-modern, modern India the Mughal Empire and the British Raj, it is today the basis of educational and job reservations in India. It consists of two different concepts and jati, which may be regarded as different levels of analysis of this system. Vaidyanathan argues that the caste system had existed at the village level to serve the needs of its people, however It was the method in which the 1881 census was carried out in India by the British Raj which institutionalized the caste system on a much larger and national scale which resulted in being detrimental to Indian society; the caste system as it exists today in, is thought to be the result of developments during the collapse of the Mughal era and the rise of the British colonial regime in India. The collapse of the Mughal era saw the rise of powerful men who associated themselves with kings and ascetics, affirming the regal and martial form of the caste ideal, it reshaped many casteless social groups into differentiated caste communities.
The British Raj furthered this development, making rigid caste organisation a central mechanism of administration. Between 1860 and 1920, the British segregated Indians by caste, granting administrative jobs and senior appointments only to Christians and people belonging to certain castes. Social unrest during the 1920s led to a change in this policy. From on, the colonial administration began a policy of divisive as well as positive discrimination by reserving a certain percentage of government jobs for the lower castes. In 1948, negative discrimination on the basis of caste was banned by law and further enshrined in the Indian constitution, however the system continues to be practiced in India with devastating social effects. Caste-based differences have been practised in other regions and religions in the Indian subcontinent like Nepalese Buddhism, Islam and Sikhism, it has been challenged by many reformist Hindu movements, Sikhism, by present-day Indian Buddhism. Each religion in India continues to have a hierarchy based on castes, thus dalits exist among Hindus, Christians as well as Sikhs, wherein all manual scavengers and pig herders in most villages in Punjab are Dalit Sikhs.
New developments took place after India achieved independence, when the policy of caste-based reservation of jobs was formalised with lists of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Since 1950, the country has enacted many laws and social initiatives to protect and improve the socioeconomic conditions of its lower caste population; these caste classifications for college admission quotas, job reservations and other affirmative action initiatives, according to the Supreme Court of India, are based on heredity and are not changeable. Discrimination against lower castes is illegal in India under Article 15 of its constitution, a few departments in the government of India tracks violence against Dalits nationwide. Varna means type, colour or class and was a framework for grouping people into classes, first used in Vedic Indian society, it is referred to in the ancient Indian texts. The four classes were the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas, Shudras; the varna categorisation implicitly had a fifth element, being those people deemed to be outside its scope, such as tribal people and the untouchables.
Jati, meaning birth, is mentioned much less in ancient texts, where it is distinguished from varna. There are four varnas but thousands of jatis; the jatis are complex social groups that lack universally applicable definition or characteristic, have been more flexible and diverse than was often assumed. Some scholars of caste have considered jati to have its basis in religion, assuming that in India the sacred elements of life envelop the secular aspects; this view has been disputed by other scholars, who believe it to be a secular social phenomenon driven by the necessities of economics and sometimes geography. Jeaneane Fowler says that although some people consider jati to be occupational segregation, in reality the jati framework does not preclude or prevent a member of one caste from working in another occupation. A feature of jatis has been endogamy, in Susan Bayly's words, that "both in the past and for many though not all Indians in more modern times, those born into a given caste would expect to find marriage partner" within his or her jati.
Jatis have existed in India among Hindus, Muslims and tribal people, there is no clear linear order among them. The term caste is not an Indian word, though it is now used, both in English and in Indian languages. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is derived from the Portuguese casta, meaning "race, breed" and "'pure or unmixed". There is no exact translation in Indian languages, but varna and jati are the two most approximate terms; the sociologist G. S. Ghurye wrote in 1932 that, despite much study by many people, we do not possess a real general definition of caste, it appears to me that any attempt at definition is bound to fail because of the complexity of the phenomenon. On the other hand, much literature on the subject is marred by lack of precision about the use
Indo-Aryan peoples are a diverse Indo-European-speaking ethnolinguistic group of speakers of Indo-Aryan languages. There are over one billion native speakers of Indo-Aryan languages, most of them native to the Indian subcontinent and presently found all across South Asia, where they form the majority; some of the theories proposed in the 20th century for the dispersal of Indo-Aryan languages are described by linguist Colin Masica in the chapter, "The Historical Context and Development of Indo-Aryan" in his book, The Indo-Aryan Languages. A recent Indo-Aryan migration theory—proposed by anthropologist David W. Anthony and by archaeologists Elena Efimovna Kuzmina and J. P. Mallory—claims that the introduction of the Indo-Aryan languages in the Indian subcontinent was a result of a migration of people from the Sintashta culture through the Bactria-Margiana Culture and into the northern Indian subcontinent; these migrations started 1,800 BCE, after the invention of the war chariot, brought Indo-Aryan languages into the Levant and Inner Asia.
It was part of the diffusion of Indo-European languages from the Proto-Indo-European homeland at the Pontic steppe, which started in the 5th to 4th millennia BCE, the Indo-European migrations out of the Eurasian steppes, which started 2,000 BCE. The theory posits that these Indo-Aryan speaking people may have been a genetically diverse group of people who were united by shared cultural norms and language, referred to as aryā, "noble." Diffusion of this culture and language took place by patron-client systems, which allowed for the absorption and acculturalisation of other groups into this culture, explains the strong influence on other cultures with which it interacted. The Proto-Indo-Iranians, from which the Indo-Aryans developed, are identified with the Sintashta culture, the Andronovo culture, which flourished ca. 1800–1400 BCE in the steppes around the Aral sea, present-day Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The proto-Indo-Iranians were influenced by the Bactria-Margiana Culture, south of the Andronovo culture, from which they borrowed their distinctive religious beliefs and practices.
The Indo-Aryans split off around 1800-1600 BCE from the Iranians, whereafter the Indo-Aryans migrated into the Levant and north-western India. This scenario is disputed by the scholars who argue that Indo-Aryan culture is result of the Indus Valley culture, forming the basis for the Indo-Aryan culture that developed later; the alternate Indigenous Aryans theory places the Indo-Aryans languages as being indigenous to the Indian subcontinent and they spread outside the subcontinent. Horseplay at Harappa - People Fas Harvard - Harvard University A tale of two horses - Frontline
The Maldives the Republic of Maldives, are an Asian country, located in the Indian Ocean, situated in the Arabian Sea. The country lies southwest of Sri India, about 1,000 kilometres from the Asian continent; the chain of 26 atolls stretches from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to the Addu City in the south. Comprising a territory spanning 298 square kilometres, the Maldives is one of the world's most geographically dispersed sovereign states as well as the smallest Asian country by land area and population, with around 427,756 inhabitants. Malé is the capital and a populated city, traditionally called the "King's Island" for its central location; the Maldives archipelago is located on the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, a vast submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean, which forms a terrestrial ecoregion, together with the Chagos Archipelago and Lakshadweep. With an average ground-level elevation of 1.5 metres above sea level, it is the world's lowest country, with its highest natural point being the lowest in the world, at 5.1 metres.
Due to the consequent risks posed by rising sea levels, the government pledged in 2009 to make the Maldives a carbon-neutral country by 2019. Islam was introduced to the Maldivian archipelago in the 12th century, consolidated as a sultanate, developing strong commercial and cultural ties with Asia and Africa. From the mid-16th-century, the region came under the increasing influence of European colonial powers, with the Maldives becoming a British protectorate in 1887. Independence from the United Kingdom was achieved in 1965 and a presidential republic was established in 1968 with an elected People's Majlis; the ensuing decades have been characterised by political instability, efforts at democratic reform, environmental challenges posed by climate change. The Maldives is a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, it is a member of the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Non Aligned Movement. The World Bank classifies the Maldives as having an upper middle income economy.
Fishing has been the dominant economic activity, remains the largest sector by far, followed by the growing tourism industry. Maldives is rated "high" on the Human Development Index, with its per capita income higher than other SAARC nations; the Maldives was a Commonwealth republic from July 1982 until its withdrawal from the Commonwealth in October 2016 in protest of international criticism of its records in relation to corruption and human rights. The name "Maldives" may derive from මාල දිවයින in Sinhala; the Maldivian people are called Dhivehin. The word theevu means "island", Dhives means "islanders"; the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle Mahawamsa refers to an island called Mahiladiva in Pali, a mistranslation of the same Sanskrit word meaning "garland". Jan S Hogendorn, Grossman Professor of Economics, theorises that the name Maldives derives from the Sanskrit mālādvīpa, meaning "garland of islands". In Tamil, "Garland of Islands" can be translated as Malai Theevu. In Malayalam, "Garland of Islands" can be translated as Maladweepu.
In Kannada, "Garland of Islands" can be translated as Maaledweepa. None of these names is mentioned in any literature, but classical Sanskrit texts dating back to the Vedic period mention the "Hundred Thousand Islands", a generic name which would include not only the Maldives, but the Laccadives, Aminidivi Islands and the Chagos island groups; some medieval travellers such as Ibn Battuta called the islands Mahal Dibiyat from the Arabic word mahal, which must be how the Berber traveller interpreted the local name, having been through Muslim North India, where Perso-Arabic words were introduced to the local vocabulary. This is the name inscribed on the scroll in the Maldive state emblem; the classical Persian/Arabic name for Maldives is Dibajat. The Dutch referred to the islands as the Maldivische Eilanden, while the British anglicised the local name for the islands first to the "Maldive Islands" and to "Maldives". Garcia da Orta writes in his conversational book first published in 1563 as follows: "I must tell you that I have heard it said that the natives do not call it Maldiva but Nalediva.
In the Malabar language nale means diva island. So that in that language the word signifies "four islands," while we, corrupting the name, call it Maldiva." The first Maldivians did not leave any archaeological artifacts. Their buildings were built of wood, palm fronds and other perishable materials, which would have decayed in the salt and wind of the tropical climate. Moreover, chiefs or headmen did not reside in elaborate stone palaces, nor did their religion require the construction of large temples or compounds. Comparative studies of Maldivian oral and cultural traditions and customs confirm that the first settlers were people from the southern shores of the neighboring Indian subcontinent, including the Giraavaru people mentioned in ancient legends and local folklore about the establishment of the capital and kingly rule in Malé. A strong underlying layer of Dravidian population and culture survives in Maldivian society, with a clear Tamil-Malayalam substratum in the language, which appears in place names, kinship terms, poetry and religious beliefs.
Malabari seafaring culture led to
Garhwali people are an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group who live in the Garhwal Himalayas of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand and speak the Indo-Aryan Garhwali language. Any person who has ancestral Garhwali roots or lives in Garhwal and has a Garhwali heritage is called a Garhwali. There are around 8.1 million Garhwali people worldwide. They include all those who speak the Garhwali language or any of its numerous dialects, living in Dehradun, Tehri Garhwal, Pauri Garhwal, Uttarkashi and Rudraprayag districts of Uttarakhand, India. Significant communities of Garhwali diaspora live in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra along with a sizable population overseas. According to various estimates, there are at least 2.5 million Garhwali migrants living in Delhi and the National Capital Region. In modern usage, "Garhwali" is used to refer to anyone whose linguistic and ancestral or genetic origins are from the Garhwal Himalayas, their ethnonym is derived from the word ‘Garhwal’ or'Gadwal'.
The exact origin of the word Garhwal is unknown, though it is believed to be derived from the title ‘Garh-wala’ given to the ruler Mayal, said to have consolidated 52 principalities to form the kingdom in the 14th century. After this conquest the domain under Mayal is said to have been called ‘Garhwal’ due to the numerous forts in the region; the name of the region and its people prior to Mayal is unknown though some historians like Atkinson have alluded to ‘Khas-des’ and Sircar has stated that ‘Stri-Rajya’ as the ancient name of Garhwal and Kumaon. However, we have no proof to corroborate these claims; the earliest reference to places in this region are in the Skanda Purana as Kedar Khand and in the Mahabharata as'Himvat' to describe the area that contained Gangadwar, Badrinath and Kailash. The Kingdom of Garhwal was founded by Mayal Rajputs nearly 1000 years ago at a place called Pauri Gadwal. Earlier Gadwal used to have 52 principalities called Garhs. Garh was ruled by a Chief, one of these chiefs, Ankit Bhardwaj ruler of paudi Gadwal from Mayal dynasty, reduced all the minor principalities under his own sway with the power of his sword, founded the Garhwal Kingdom.
He and his descendants ruled over Garhwal in an uninterrupted line till 1803, when the Gurkhas invaded Kumaon and Garhwal, driving the Garhwal chief into the plains. For twelve years the Gurkhas ruled the country with a rod of iron, until a series of encroachments by them on British territory led to the Anglo–Nepalese War in 1814. At the termination of the campaign, Garhwal Kingdom and Kumaon Kingdom were converted into British districts, while the Tehri principality was restored to a son of deceased king Pradyumn Shah, King Sudarshan Shah. Another part taken by British was called British Garhwal and had an area of 5,629 mi2. Garhwal advanced in material prosperity. Two battalions of the Indian army were recruited in the district, which contained the military cantonment of Lansdowne. Grain and coarse cloth were exported, salt, borax and wool were imported, the trade with Tibet was considerable; the administrative headquarters were at Pauri. It was an important mart, as was Kotdwara—the terminus of a branch of the Oudh and Rohilkhand railway from Najibabad.
It was part of the Punjab Hill States Agency of British India, consisting of the present day Tehri Garhwal district and most of the Uttarkashi district and acceded to the Union of India in 1949. The Garhwali language is spoken by the Garhwali people of the north-western Garhwal Division from the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand in the Indian Himalayas; the Garhwali language is classified as a Central Pahari language belonging to the Northern Zone of Indo-Aryan languages. Garhwali is one of the 325 recognised languages of India spoken by over 2,267,314 people in Tehri Garhwal, Pauri Garhwal, Chamoli, Dehradun and Rudraprayag districts of Uttarakhand. Garhwali was the official language of the Kingdom of Garhwal since the 8th century. Garhwal was always a semi-sovereign kingdom under the Garhwali Kings. Garhwali was the official language of the Garhwal Kingdom for hundreds of years under the Panwar Kings and before them, until the Gurkhas captured Garhwal and subsequently the British occupied part of Garhwal, which came to be called British Garhwal.
The language has many regional dialects including: Srinagari, Badhani, Lohbya, Majh-Kumaiya, Nagpuriya, Salani, Parvati, Gangadi, Chandpuri. Srinagari dialect is the literary standard while Pauri is regarded as the sweetest. However, due to a number of reasons, Garhwali is one of the languages, shrinking rapidly. UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger designates Garhwali as a language, in the unsafe category and requires consistent conservation efforts. Chandrabadni Devi Temple: this place is in Tehri garhwal and one can reach the temple either from Kandikhal en route Srinagar-Tehri, from where it is an 8 kilometres walk to the temple or from Jamnikhal en route Dev Prayag-Tehri via a link road up to Jurana and take a bridle path up to the temple. A big fair is held in April every year. Adding to the various religious and culture performances, the view of the snowcapped Himalayas is soul lifting. A visit to the shrine is an experience to cherish. Umra Narayan: placed betwe
Bengalis rendered as the Bengali people and Bangalees, are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group native to the Bengal region in South Asia in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, presently divided between Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal, Assam's Barak Valley, who speak Bengali, a language from the Indo-Aryan language family. The term "Bangalee" is used to denote people of Bangladesh as a nation. Bengalis are the third largest ethnic group in the world, after Han Chinese and Arabs. Apart from Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal, Assam's Barak Valley, Bengali-majority populations reside in India's union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well as Bangladesh's Chittagong Hill Tracts, with significant populations in Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Uttarakhand; the global Bengali diaspora have well-established communities in Pakistan, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, South Korea, Malaysia and Italy. They have four major religious subgroups: Bengali Muslims, Bengali Hindus, Bengali Christians, Bengali Buddhists.
In modern usage, "Bengali" or "Bangali" is used to refer to anyone whose linguistic, family ancestral or genetic origins are from Bengal. Their ethnonym is derived from Bangla; the exact origin of the word Bangla is unknown, though it is believed to be derived from the Dravidian-speaking tribe Bang/Banga that settled in the area around the year 2500 BCE. Other accounts speculate that the name is derived from Venga, which came from the Austric word "Bonga" meaning the Sun-god. According to the Mahabharata, the Puranas and the Harivamsha, Vanga was one of the adopted sons of King Vali who founded the Vanga Kingdom, it was either under Kalinga Rules except few years under Pals. The Muslim accounts refer that a son of Hind colonised the area for the first time; the earliest reference to "Vangala" has been traced in the Nesari plates of Rashtrakuta Govinda III which speak of Dharmapala as the king of Vangala. The records of Rajendra Chola I of the Chola dynasty, who invaded Bengal in the 11th century, speak of Govindachandra as the ruler of Vangaladesa.
Shams-ud-din Ilyas Shah took the title "Shah-e-Bangla" and united the whole region under one government. An interesting theory of the origin of the name is provided by Abu'l-Fazl in his Ain-i-Akbari. According to him, "The original name of Bengal was Bung, the suffix "al" came to be added to it from the fact that the ancient rajahs of this land raised mounds of earth 10 feet high and 20 in breadth in lowlands at the foot of the hills which were called "al". From this suffix added to the Bung, the name Bengal arose and gained currency". Archaeologists have discovered remnants of a 4,000-year-old Chalcolithic civilisation in the greater Bengal region, believe the finds are one of the earliest signs of settlement in the region. However, evidence of much older Palaeolithic human habitations were found in the form of a stone implement and a hand axe in Rangamati and Feni districts of Bangladesh; the origin of the word Bangla ~ Bengal is unknown, though it is believed to be derived from a tribe called Bang that settled in the area around the year 1000 BCE.
Kingdoms of Pundra and Vanga were formed in Bengal and were first described in the Atharvaveda around 1000 BCE as well as in Hindu epic Mahabharata. Anga and Magadha expanded to include most of the Bihar and Bengal regions, it was one of the four main kingdoms of India at the time of Buddha and was one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas. Under the Maurya Empire founded by Chandragupta Maurya, Magadha extended over nearly all of South Asia, including parts of Balochistan and Afghanistan, reaching its greatest extent under the Buddhist emperor Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BCE. One of the earliest foreign references to Bengal is the mention of a land ruled by the king Xandrammes named Gangaridai by the Greeks around 100 BCE; the word is speculated to have come from Gangahrd in reference to an area in Bengal. From the 3rd to the 6th centuries CE, the kingdom of Magadha served as the seat of the Gupta Empire. One of the first recorded independent kings of Bengal was Shashanka, reigning around the early 7th century.
After a period of anarchy, Gopala came to power in 750. He founded the Bengali Buddhist Pala Empire which ruled the region for four hundred years, expanded across much of Southern Asia: from Assam in the northeast, to Kabul in the west, to Andhra Pradesh in the south. Atisha was a renowned Bengali Buddhist teacher, instrumental in the revival of Buddhism in Tibet and held the position of Abbot at the Vikramshila university. Tilopa was from the Bengal region; the Pala Empire enjoyed relations with the Srivijaya Empire, the Tibetan Empire, the Arab Abbasid Caliphate. Islam first appeared in Bengal during Pala rule, as a result of increased trade between Bengal and the Middle East; the Pala dynasty was followed by a shorter reign of the Hindu Sena Empire. Islam was introduced to Bengal in the twelfth century by Sufi missionaries. Subsequent Muslim conquests helped spread Islam throughout the region. Bakhtiar Khalji, a Turkic general of the Slave dynasty of Delhi Sultanate, defeated Lakshman Sen of the Sena dynasty and conquered large parts of Bengal.
The region was ruled by dynasties of sultans and feudal lords under the Bengal Sultanate for the next few hundred years. Islam was introduced to the Sylhet region by the Muslim saint Shah Jalal in the early 14th century
North India is a loosely defined region consisting of the northern part of India. The dominant geographical features of North India are the Indus-Gangetic Plain and the Himalayas, which demarcate the region from the Tibetan Plateau and Central Asia; the term North India has varying definitions—the Ministry of Home Affairs in its Northern Zonal Council Administrative division included the states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan and Union Territories of Delhi, Chandigarh. While the Ministry of Culture in its North Culture Zone includes the state of Uttarakhand but excludes Delhi whereas the Geological Survey of India includes Uttar Pradesh and Delhi but excludes Rajasthan and Chandigarh. Other states sometimes included are Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. North India has been the historical centre of the Mughal, Delhi Sultanate and British Indian Empires, it has a diverse culture, includes the Hindu pilgrimage centres of Char Dham, Varanasi, Mathura, Vaishno Devi and Pushkar, the Buddhist pilgrimage centres of Sarnath and Kushinagar, the Sikh Golden Temple as well as world heritage sites such as the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Khajuraho temples, Hill Forts of Rajasthan, Jantar Mantar, Bhimbetka Caves, Sanchi monuments, Qutb Minar, Red Fort, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri and the Taj Mahal.
The languages that have official status in one or more of the states and union territories located in North India are Hindi, Urdu and English. Different authorities and sources define North India differently; the Northern Zonal Council is one of the advisory councils, created in 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act to foster interstate cooperation under the Ministry of Home Affairs, which included the states of Chandigarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan. The Ministry of Culture established the North Culture Zone in Patiala, Punjab on 23 March 1985, it differs from the North Zonal Council in the omission of Delhi. In contrast, the Geological Survey of India included Uttar Pradesh and Delhi in its Northern Region, but excluded Rajasthan and Chandigarh, with a regional headquarters in Lucknow; the Hindu newspaper puts Bihar and Uttar Pradesh related articles on its North pages. Articles in the Indian press have included the states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal in North India as well.
The Tropic of Cancer, which divides the temperate zone from the tropical zone in the Northern Hemisphere, runs through India, could theoretically be regarded as a geographical dividing line in the country. Indian states that are above the Tropic of Cancer are Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and most of North East Indian states; however that definition would include major parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal and minor regions of Chhattisgarh and Gujarat. In Mumbai, the term "North Indian" is sometimes used to describe migrants from eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar using the term bhaiya along with it in a derogatory sense, however these people are not considered North Indian by the inhabitants of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan. In Punjab, people from the same region are referred to as Purabias, or Easterners; the Government of Bihar official site places the state in the eastern part of India. Within Uttar Pradesh itself, "the cultural divide between the east and the west is considerable, with the purabiyas being clubbed with Biharis in the perception of the westerners."
The empires and dynasties that have ruled parts or all of North India include: Maurya Empire, 326 – 187 BCE Indo-Greek Kingdom, c.150 BCE – 10 CE Northern Satraps, 1st century BCE to 1st century CE Gupta Empire, during the reign of Samudragupta, c.335 – c.550 CE Empire of Harsha, 606 to 647 CE Pala Empire, 770 to 810 CE Pratihara Empire, mid-7th to the 11th century Delhi Sultanate, 1206–1526 Mughal Empire, 1526–1540 1555–1857, interrupted by the Sur Empire, Sur Empire 1540–1556 Sikh Empire 1799–1849 Maratha Empire 1761–1818 British Indian Empire 1858–1947The Delhi Sultanate and British Indian Empires had Delhi as their capital for some or all of their rule. One demarcation between northern and southern nations has been the Vindhya mountain range. In centuries past this sometimes formed a border during periods of imperial expansion, such as the one ruled by the Gupta emperor Samudragupta; the Vindhyas find mention in the narrative of Rishi Agastya as a dividing feature between North and South India.
The Manusmṛti describes the southern limit of Aryavarta as being defined by the Vindhya range. Several sources consider sizable Muslim populations and deep-seated Islamic, Central Asian and Afghan influences to be defining characteristics of North Indian culture, both linguistically and culturally; some of these influences are pre-Islamic, such as the Bactrian-originated Kushan Empire that maintained twin capitals in Mathura and Peshawar, as well as the Hun confederacies that periodically asserted their rule over large parts of North India. North India lies on continental India, north of peninsular India. Towards its north are the Himalayas which define the boundary between the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan plateau. To its west is the Thar desert, shared between North India and Pakistan and the Aravalli Range, beyond which lies the state of Gujarat; the Vindhya mountains are, in some interpreta