Amitabh Bachchan is an Indian film actor, film producer, television host, occasional playback singer and former politician. He first gained popularity in the early 1970s for films such as Zanjeer and Sholay, was dubbed India's "angry young man" for his on-screen roles in Bollywood. Referred to as the Shahenshah of Bollywood, Sadi ka Mahanayak, Star of the Millennium, or Big B, he has since appeared in over 190 Indian films in a career spanning five decades. Bachchan is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema as well as world cinema. So total was his dominance on the Indian movie scene in the 1970s and 1980s that the French director François Truffaut called him a "one-man industry". Beyond the Indian subcontinent, he has a large overseas following in markets including Africa, the Middle East, United Kingdom and parts of the United States. Bachchan has won numerous accolades in his career, including four National Film Awards as Best Actor and many awards at international film festivals and award ceremonies.
He has won fifteen Filmfare Awards and is the most nominated performer in any major acting category at Filmfare, with 41 nominations overall. In addition to acting, Bachchan has worked as a playback singer, film producer and television presenter, he has hosted several seasons of the game show Kaun Banega Crorepati, India's version of the game show franchise, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. He entered politics for a time in the 1980s; the Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri in 1984, the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015 for his contributions to the arts. The Government of France honoured him with its highest civilian honour, Knight of the Legion of Honour, in 2007 for his exceptional career in the world of cinema and beyond. Bachchan made an appearance in a Hollywood film, Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, in which he played a non-Indian Jewish character, Meyer Wolfsheim. Bachchan was born in Allahabad, his ancestors on his father's side came from a village called Babupatti, in the Raniganj tehsil, in the Pratapgarh district, in the present-day state of Uttar Pradesh, in India.
His mother, Teji Bachchan,was a social activist and Punjabi Sikh woman from Lahore. His father Harivansh Rai Bachchan was a Hindi-speaking Kayastha Hindu poet, fluent in the related Hindustani dialects of Awadhi and Urdu. Bachchan was named Inquilaab, inspired by the phrase Inquilab Zindabad popularly used during the Indian independence struggle. However, at the suggestion of fellow poet Sumitranandan Pant, Harivansh Rai changed the boy's name to Amitabh, according to a Times of India article, means "the light that will never die". Although his surname was Shrivastava, Amitabh's father had adopted the pen name Bachchan, under which he published all of his works, it is with this last name that Amitabh debuted in films and for all other practical purposes, Bachchan has become the surname for all of his immediate family. Bachchan's father died in 2003, his mother in 2007. Bachchan is an alumnus of Nainital, he attended Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. He has Ajitabh, his mother had a keen interest in theatre and was offered a feature film role, but she preferred her domestic duties.
Teji had some influence in Amitabh Bachchan's choice of career because she always insisted that he should "take the centre stage". He is married to actress Jaya Bhaduri. Bachchan made his film debut in 1969, as a voice narrator in Mrinal Sen's National Award-winning film Bhuvan Shome, his first acting role was as one of the seven protagonists in the film Saat Hindustani, directed by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas and featuring Utpal Dutt, Anwar Ali and Jalal Agha. Anand followed, his role as a doctor with a cynical view of life garnered Bachchan his first Filmfare Best Supporting Actor award. He played his first antagonist role as an infatuated lover-turned-murderer in Parwana. Following Parwana were several films including Reshma Aur Shera. During this time, he made a guest appearance in the film Guddi which starred his future wife Jaya Bhaduri, he narrated part of the film Bawarchi. In 1972 he made an appearance in the road action comedy Bombay to Goa directed by S. Ramanathan, moderately successful. Many of Bachchan's films during this early period did not do well, but, about to change.
Bachchan was struggling, seen as a "failed newcomer" who, by the age of 30, had twelve flops and only two hits. Bachchan was soon discovered by screenwriter duo Salim-Javed, consisting of Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar. Salim Khan wrote the story and script of Zanjeer, conceived the "angry young man" persona of the lead role. Javed Akhtar came on board as co-writer, Prakash Mehra, who saw the script as groundbreaking, as the film's director. However, they were struggling to find an actor for the lead "angry young man" role. Salim-Javed soon discovered Bachchan and "saw his talent, he was exceptional, a genius actor, in films that weren’t good." According to Salim Khan, they "strongly felt that Amitabh was the ideal casting for Zanjeer". Salim Khan introduced Bachchan to Prakash Mehra, Salim-Javed insi
Kuchipudi is one of the eleven major Indian classical dances. It originated in a village named Kuchipudi in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Kuchipudi is a dance-drama performance, with its roots in the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text of Natya Shastra, it developed as a religious art linked to traveling bards and spiritual beliefs, like all major classical dances of India. Evidence of Kuchipudi's existence in an older version are found in copper inscriptions of the 10th century, by the 15th century in texts such as the Machupalli Kaifat. Kuchipudi tradition holds that Tirtha Narayana Yati – a sanyassin of Advaita Vedanta persuasion, his disciple, an orphan named Siddhendra Yogi and systematized the modern version of Kuchipudi in the 17th century. Kuchipudi developed as a Hindu god Krishna-oriented Vaishnavism tradition, it is most related to Bhagavata Mela performance art found in Tamil Nadu; the Kuchipudi performance begins with an invocation. Each costumed actor is introduced, their role stated, they perform a short preliminary dance set to music.
Next, the performance presents pure dance. This is followed with by the expressive part of the performance, where rhythmic hand gestures help convey the story. Vocal and instrumental Carnatic music in the Telugu language accompanies the performance; the typical musical instruments in Kuchipudi are mridangam, veena and the tambura. The popularity of Kuchipudi has grown within India, it is performed worldwide. Kuchipudi is named after the village in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh named Kuchipudi – shortened form of the full name Kuchelapuram or Kuchilapuri – where it developed; the name of village, states Ragini Devi, is itself derived from Sanskrit Kusilava-puram, which means "the village of actors". Kusilava is a term found in ancient Sanskrit texts and refers to "traveling bard, newsmonger". Kuchipudi, like other classical dance forms in India, traces its roots to the Sanskrit Natya Shastra, a foundational treatise on the performing arts, its first complete compilation is dated to between 200 BCE and 200 CE, but estimates vary between 500 BCE and 500 CE.
The most studied version of the Natya Shastra text consists of about 6000 verses structured into 36 chapters. The text, states Natalia Lidova, describes the theory of Tāṇḍava dance, the theory of rasa, of bhāva, gestures, acting techniques, basic steps, standing postures – all of which are part of Indian classical dances. Dance and performance arts, states this ancient text, are a form of expression of spiritual ideas and the essence of scriptures; the dance-drama tradition in Andhra Pradesh is of ancient origins, the region is mentioned in the Natya Shastra. Bharata Muni discusses it as Kaishiki vritti; the pre-2nd century CE text calls one raga as Andhri, from Andhra. The Andhri, is related to Gandhari and Arsabhi, is discussed in many other 1st millennium Sanskrit texts. Some, state Bruno Nettle and others, place the origins of Kuchipudi to 3rd century BCE. Dance-drama performance arts related to Shaivism, in Telugu-speaking parts of South India, are evidenced in 10th-century copper inscriptions, these were called Brahmana Melas or Brahma Melas.
The medieval era dance-drama performance artists were Brahmins. This art was adopted by the musical and dancing Bhakti traditions of Vaishnavism which grew in the 2nd millennium, whose devotees were called Bhagvatulus in Andhra region and Bhagvatars in Tamil region of south India. In Andhra, this performance art evolved into Kuchipudi, while in Tamil Nadu it became known as Bhagavata Mela Nataka. According to Saskia Kersenboom, both the Telugu Kuchipudi and Tamil Bhagavata Mela are related to the classical Hindu dance tradition of Yakshagana found in Karnataka, all three involve Carnatic music, but these dance-drama traditions have differences such as in costumes, structure and creative innovations. According to Manohar Varadpande, the Kuchipudi dance emerged in the late 13th century, when Ganga rulers from Kalinga were patrons of performance arts based on the 12th-century Sanskrit scholar Jayadeva the Gita Govinda; this royal sponsorship, states Varadpande, encouraged many poets and dance-drama troupes to adopt Radha-Krishna themes into the prevailing versions of classical Kuchipudi.
These were regionally called Vaishnava Bhagavatulus. The modern version of Kuchipudi is attributed to Tirtha Narayanayati, a 17th-century Telugu sanyasin of Advaita Vedanta persuasion and his disciple, a Telugu Brahmin orphan named Sidhyendra Yogi. Tirtha Narayanayati authored Sri Krishna Leela Tarangini and introduced sequences of rhythmic dance syllables at the end of the cantos, he wrote this work as a libretto for a dance-drama. Narayanayati lived for a while in the Tanjore district and presented the dance-drama in the Tanjore temple. Narayanayati's disciple, Sidhyendra Yogi, followed up with another play, the Parijatapaharana, more known as the Bhama Kalapam; when Sidhyendra Yogi finished the play, he had trouble finding suitable performers. So he went to Kuchelapuram, the village of his wife’s family and present-day Kuchipudi, where he enlisted a group of young Brahmin boys to perform the play. According to the tradition, Sidhyendra requested and the villagers agreed to perform the play once a year, this came to be known as Kuchipudi.
Kuchipudi enjoyed support from medieval era rulers. Copper inscriptions suggest that the dance-drama was seen by the royalty and was influential by 1502 and through the late 16th century; the court records of the Vijayanagara Empire – known for its patronage of the arts – indicate that drama-dance troupes of Bhagavatas from Kuchipudi vil
Girija Devi was an Indian classical singer of the Seniya and Banaras gharanas. She helped elevate the profile of thumri, she died on 24 October 2017. Girija Devi was born in Varanasi, on 8 May 1929, to a zamindar, her father played the harmonium and taught music, had Girija Devi take lessons in singing khyal and tappa from vocalist and sarangi player Sarju Prasad Misra starting at the age of five. She starred in the movie Yaad rahe aged nine and continued her studies under Sri Chand Misra in a variety of styles. Girija Devi made her public debut in 1949 on All India Radio Allahabad, after marrying a businessman circa 1946, but faced opposition from her mother and grandmother because it was traditionally believed that no upper class woman should perform publicly. Girija Devi agreed to not perform for others, but gave her first public concert in Bihar in 1951, she studied with Sri Chand Misra until he died in the early 1960s, worked as a faculty member of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata in the 1980s and of the Banaras Hindu University during the early 1990s, taught several students to preserve her musical heritage.
Girija Devi toured and continued to perform in 2009. Girija Devi sang in the Banaras gharana and performed the purabi ang thumri style typical of the tradition, whose status she helped elevate, her repertoire included the semi-classical genres kajri and holi and she sang khyal, Indian folk music, tappa. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians once stated that her semi-classical singing combined her classical training with the regional characteristics of the songs of Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh. Padma Shri Padma Bhushan Padma Vibhushan Sangeet Natak Akademi Award Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship Maha Sangeet Samman Award Sangeet Samman Award GiMA Awards 2012 TanaRiri Puraskar Mishra, Yatindra. Girija: A Journey Through Thumri. Rupa. ISBN 978-81-291-0857-9. Girija Devi at AllMusic
Indian classical dance
Indian classical dance, or Shastriya Nritya, is an umbrella term for various performance arts rooted in religious Hindu musical theatre styles, whose theory and practice can be traced to the Sanskrit text Natya Shastra. The number of recognized classical dances range from eight to more, depending on the source and scholar; the Sangeet Natak Akademi recognizes eight – Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Sattriya and Mohiniyattam. Scholars such as Drid Williams add Chhau and Bhagavata Mela to the list; the Culture Ministry of the Government of India includes Chhau in its classical list. These dances are traditionally regional, all of them include music and recitation in local language or Sanskrit, they represent a unity of core ideas in a diversity of styles and expression; the Natya Shastra is the foundational treatise for classical dances of India, this text is attributed to the ancient scholar Bharata Muni. Its first complete compilation is dated to between 200 BCE and 200 CE, but estimates vary between 500 BCE and 500 CE.
The most studied version of the Natya Shastra text consists of about 6000 verses structured into 36 chapters. The text, states Natalia Lidova, describes the theory of Tāṇḍava dance, the theory of rasa, of bhāva, gestures, acting techniques, basic steps, standing postures – all of which are part of Indian classical dances. Dance and performance arts, states this ancient text, are a form of expression of spiritual ideas and the essence of scriptures. While the Natya Shastra is the revered ancient text in the Hindu tradition, there are numerous other ancient and medieval Sanskrit dance-drama related texts that further discuss and expand on the classical repertoire of performance arts, such as the Abhinaya Darpana, Abhinaba Bharati, Natya Darpana, Bhava Prakasa and many others; the term "classical" denotes the Natya Shastra-based performing arts. The text Natya Shastra describes religious arts as a form as margi, or a "spiritual traditional path" that liberates the soul, while the folk entertainment is called desi, or a "regional popular practice".
Indian classical dances are traditionally performed as an expressive drama-dance form of religious performance art, related to Vaishnavism, Shaktism, pan-Hindu Epics and the Vedic literature, or a folksy entertainment that includes story-telling from Sanskrit or regional language plays. As a religious art, they are either near it. Folksy entertainment may be performed in temple grounds or any fairground in a rural setting by traveling troupes of artists; the Natya Shastra mentions four Pravrittis of ancient dance-drama in vogue when it was composed – Avanti, Dakshinatya and Odra-Magadhi. Sources differ in their list of Indian classical dance forms. Encyclopædia Britannica mentions six dances; the Sangeet Natak Akademi has given recognition to nine Indian dances. The Indian government's Ministry of Culture includes eleven dance forms. Scholars such as Drid Williams and others include Chhau and Bhagavata Mela to the eight classical Indian dances in the Sangeet Natak Akademi list; the classical dance forms recognised by the Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Ministry of Culture are: Bharatanatyam, from Tamil Nadu Kathak, from Uttar Pradesh and western India Kathakali, from Kerala Kuchipudi, from Andhra Pradesh Odissi, from Odisha Sattriya, from Assam Manipuri, from Manipur Mohiniyattam, from Kerala Chhau, from Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha All major classical Indian dance forms include in repertoire, three categories of performance in the Natya Shastra.
These are Nritta and Natya: The Nritta performance is abstract and rhythmic aspect of the dance. The viewer is presented with pure movement, wherein the emphasis is the beauty in motion, speed and pattern; this part of the repertoire has no interpretative aspect, no telling of story. It is a technical performance, aims to engage the senses of the audience; the Nritya is slower and expressive aspect of the dance that attempts to communicate feelings, storyline with spiritual themes in Hindu dance traditions. In a nritya, the dance-acting expands to include silent expression of words through gestures and body motion set to musical notes; the actor articulates a spiritual message. This part of the repertoire is more than sensory enjoyment, it aims to engage the emotions and mind of the viewer; the Natyam is a play a team performance, but can be acted out by a solo performer where the dancer uses certain standardized body movements to indicate a new character in the underlying story. A Natya incorporates the elements of a Nritya.
All classical dances of India used similar symbolism and rules of gestures in abhinaya. The roots of abhinaya are found in the Natyashastra text which defines drama in verse 6.10 as that which aesthetically arouses joy in the spectator, through the medium of actor's art of communication, that helps connect and transport the individual into a super sensual inner state of being. A performance art, asserts Natyashastra, connects the artists and the audience through abhinaya, applying body-speech-mind and scene, wherein the actors communicate to the audience, through song and music. Drama in this ancient Sanskrit text, thus is an art to engage every aspect of life, in order to glorify and gift a state of joyful consciousness; the communication through symbols is in pantomime set to music. The gestures and
Allauddin Khan known as Baba Allauddin Khan was an Indian sarod player and multi-instrumentalist and one of the most notable music teachers of the 20th century in Indian classical music. Khan was born in Shibpur village in Brahmanbaria, his father, Sabdar Hossain Khan, was a musician. Khan took his first music lessons from Fakir Aftabuddin Khan. At age ten, Khan ran away from home to join a jatra party where he was exposed to a variety of folk genres: jari, baul, bhatiyali and panchali. Khan went to Kolkata, where he met a physician named Kedarnath, who helped him to become a disciple of Gopal Krishna Bhattacharya, a notable musician of Kolkata in 1877. Khan practiced sargam for twelve years under his guidance. After the death of Nulo Gopal, Khan turned to instrumental music, he learned to play many indigenous and foreign musical instruments like sitar, piccolo, banjo, etc. from Amritalal Dutt, a cousin of Swami Vivekananda and the music director of the Star Theatre. He learnt to play sanai, naquara and jagajhampa from Hazari Ustad and pakhawaj and tabla from Nandababu.
Ali Ahmed referred Allauddin to veena player Wazir Khan. Khan became court musician for the Maharaja of Maihar. Here he laid the foundation of a modern Maihar gharana by developing a number of ragas, combining the bass sitar and bass sarod with more traditional instruments and setting up an orchestra. In 1935, he toured Europe, along with Uday Shankar's ballet troupe, also worked at his institute, Uday Shankar India Culture Centre at Almora for a while. In 1955, Khan established a college of music in Maihar; some of his recordings are made at the All India Radio in 1959–60. Khan was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1958 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1971, India's third and second highest civilian honours, prior to that in 1954, the Sangeet Natak Akademi awarded him with its highest honour, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship for lifetime contribution to Indian music. Khan's son Ali Akbar Khan, daughter Annapurna Devi, nephew Raja Hossain Khan and grandson Aashish Khan went on to become musicians, his other disciples include Ravi Shankar, Nikhil Banerjee, Vasant Rai, Pannalal Ghosh, Bahadur Khan, Rabin Ghosh, Sharan Rani, Jotin Bhattacharya, Rajesh Chandra Moitra and W. D. Amaradeva.
Anecdotes about Khan range from throwing a tabla tuning hammer at the Maharaja himself to taking care of disabled beggars. Nikhil Banerjee said that the tough image was "deliberately projected in order not to allow any liberty to the disciple, he was always worried that soft treatment on his part would only spoil them". Ustad Alauddin Khan, a documentary directed by Ritwik Ghatak Raga, directed by Howard Worth. Remastered version released in 2010 by East Meets West Music. Maihar Raag, directed by Sunil Shanbag. A look at Allauddin Khan's crumbling heritage in Maihar, which won the National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Film in 1994. Bhattacharya, Jotin. Ustad Allauddin Khan and his music. Ahmedabad: B. S. Shah Prakashan. OCLC 6015389. Ghosh, Anuradha. Ustad Allauddin Khan: the legend of music. New Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India. OCLC 31815419. Khokar, Ashish. Baba Allauddin Khan. New Delhi: Roli Books. ISBN 978-81-7436-021-2. Shankar, Rajendra. Ustad Allauddin Khan.
Bombay: Kinnara School of Music. OCLC 41971650. McKenzie-McHarg, Sarita; the Great Master of Hindustani Classical Music: Dr Allauddin Khan. Bangalore: Pothi.com. OCLC 868824639. Shankar, Ravi. My Music, My Life. San Rafael, CA: Mandala Publishing. Media related to Allauddin Khan at Wikimedia Commons Ustad Baba Allaudin Khan, Detailed Biography and images at California Institute of the Arts Raga at East Meets West Music
Kumar Gandharva, known as Shivaputra Siddharamayya Komkalimath was an Indian classical singer, well known for his unique vocal style and his refusal to be bound by the tradition of any gharana. The name Kumar Gandharva is a title given to him. Gandharva was born in Sulebhavi near Belgaum, India in a Kannada speaking Lingayat family. By the age of five he showed signs of musical genius, appearing on stage at the age of 10; when he was 11, his father sent him to study music under the well-known Classical teacher, B. R. Deodhar, his mastery of technique and musical knowledge was so rapid that Gandharva himself was teaching at the school before he had turned 20. By his early 20s, Gandharva was praised by critics, he married Bhanumati Kans, another vocal teacher at Deodhar's school, in April 1947. Soon after, he was stricken with tuberculosis, was told by doctors that he would never sing again, he was advised to move to the drier climate of Madhya Pradesh for his health. For the next six years, Gandharva endured a period of silence.
Doctors told him that trying to sing could be fatal, that there was little hope of recovery. Stories of Gandharva in this period depict a man lying in bed and listening to the sounds of nature around him: birds, the wind, passing street-singers, they detail how he would hum to himself inaudibly. Hess speculates that this was the beginning of Gandharva's radical new conception of the nirguni bhajan, which celebrates a formless divinity. In 1952, streptomycin emerged as a treatment for tuberculosis, Gandharva began to take it. Helped by excellent medical support and care from wife Bhanumati, he recovered and began singing again. However, his voice and singing style would always bear the scars of his illness: one of his lungs had been rendered useless, so he had to adapt to singing with a single lung, his first concert after recovery from his illness took place in 1953. The illness affected Kumar's singing in years – he was to be known for powerful short phrases and his high voice. Kumar experimented with other forms of singing such as Nirguni bhajans, folk songs, with both ragas and presentation going from fast to slow compositions in the same raga.
He is remembered for his great legacy of innovation, questioning tradition without rejecting it wholesale, resulting in music in touch with the roots of Indian culture the folk music of Madhya Pradesh. His innovative approach towards music led to the creation of new ragas from combinations of older ragas, his style of singing attracted considerable controversy. Veteran singer Mogubai Kurdikar did not consider his vilambit singing interesting and his own teacher Deodhar criticised some aspects of Kumar's singing but their relationship was strained from the 1940s when Kumar Gandharva married Bhanumati. According to Pandharinath Kolhapure's book on Kumar Gandharva, Deodhar was against the match, but the criticism centred on his vilambit gayaki. His singing in faster tempos his mastery over madhya-laya, was revered. Kumar Gandharva's first son, Mukul Shivputra, was born in 1956. After Bhanumati's death in 1961 during second child's birth, Kumar married Vasundhara Shrikhande, another of his fellow-students at Deodhar School.
Vasundhara Komkali formed a memorable duo with him in bhajan singing. She sometimes provided vocal support to his classical renditions, their daughter Kalapini Komkalimath would accompany both her parents on tanpura. Some of Kumar Gandharva's ideology is carried forward by his son and daughter, as well as students such as Madhup Mudgal, Vijay Sardeshmukh, Satyasheel Deshpande. Kumar Gandharva Foundation Mumbai has been formed by his student Paramanand Yadav which works in development of Hindustani and Carnatic Music. Kumar Gandharva's grandson Bhuvanesh has made a name for himself as classical singer. For a long spell, Kumar Gandharva's activities as a musician were managed by his friend and tabla accompanist Vasant Acharekar. Acharekar was Vasant Desai's assistant in the 1950s but devoted himself to his role as an accompanist to classical singing until his death in the late 1970s. Kumar Gandharva had friendly relations with noted Marathi literary couple Pu La Deshpande and Sunita Deshpande. Kumar Gandharva was a musicologist as well.
During his period of illness, when he was advised complete rest, he used to spend time contemplating on different aspects of music. He had his own thoughts about many different ragas, styles of rendition and different types of composition. Kumar Gandharva was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1977 and India's second highest civilian honour the Padma Vibhushan in 1990; the 4th movie in the series of 4 movies in the Kabir Project by Shabnam Virmani features the life of Gandharva and his disciples, his career and his journey into "Nirgun" singing. His song'Sunta Hai' forms the title of the movie'Koi Sunta Hai'.'Hans Akela' is a 78 minutes documentary on Pandit Kumar Gandharva made by Films Division Govt. of India with interviews with various people – wife, students.'Mukkam Vashi' is a book made on notes collected during a two-day workshop of the same name. It collected together the thoughts of Kumar Gandharva on the nature of music at a fundamental level. Raghava R. Menon; the Musical Journey of Kumar Gandharva.
Vision Books. ISBN 978-81-7094-475-1. Hess, Linda. Singing Emptiness: Kumar Gandharva performs the poetry of Kabir. Seagull Books. Vamana Hari Deshapande. Between Two Tanpuras. Popular P
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