With over one billion residents, the Republic of India is in second place in the world after the PR China. Around 15% of the world’s people live in India today. They have 2.4% of the earth’s surface at their disposal. With almost the same north-south (3214 km) and west-east (2933 km) extension, the Republic of India covers an area of 3.29 million km², which is roughly 9 times the size of Germany.
India stretches from the Himalayas over the lowlands of Ganges and Brahmaputra, the highlands of Dekhan to the plains of the Indian Ocean. India has a tropical monsoon climate with wet summer and dry winter monsoons. Economic development since independence has resulted in some improvements in life for all people. At the same time, the social differences have intensified. While 30% of Indians still live below the poverty line, 20% belong to the rich and super-rich. The “green revolution” and the development of industry in recent decades have not yet led to the solution of social problems.
Short for IN on ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG, the Republic of India consists of 28 federal states and 7 union territories. The capital is New Delhi with almost 11 million residents.
The Republic of India was founded in 1950 as a parliamentary democratic republic. It emerged from the Hindu Dominion India, which was formed in 1947 by the division of the British Crown Colony of India according to the Mountbatten Plan. The other part was the Islamic Dominion Pakistan, which included what is now Pakistan and what is now Bangladesh. This division was associated with great unrest among the population, which found expression in the flight of eight million Hindus from Pakistan to India, of around the same number of Muslims from India to Pakistan and in about 500,000 deaths. The Kashmir conflict, which continues to this day, also has its starting point in the division.
The Republic of India occupies most of the peninsula in southern Asia, which is located between the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. It is referred to as the Indian subcontinent and also as South Asia. In addition to the Republic of India, there are also Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (Fig. 1).
Important data about the country
|Population density:||328 residents / km²|
|Growth of population:||1.5% / year|
|Life expectancy:||63 years|
|Form of government:||Parliamentary republic|
|Languages:||Hindi as the official language, English, 17 regional languages (Bengali, Tamil Punjabi, Gujarati and others)|
|Religions:||Hindus 80%, Muslims 12%, Christians 2.4%, Sikh 2%|
|Climate:||tropical monsoon climate with rainy season from June to September; subtropical in the north, desert climate in the northwest|
|Land use:||Arable land 57%, pasture land 4%, forest 23%|
(share of GDP)
|Agriculture 22%, Industry 27%, Services 51%|
|Export goods:||Textiles, tea, coffee, iron and other ores, precious stones, leather products, spices|
|Gross domestic product:||$ 600,637 million (2003)|
|Gross National Product:||US $ 540 per resident (2003)|
The Republic of India has a share in three major landscapes: the high mountains of the Himalayas, the Indus-Ganges lowlands and the highlands of Dekhan, which are entirely located in India (Fig. 2). In the north, like Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and China, it is part of the Himalayas, the highest mountains on earth, and the Karakoram. The highest peaks in India are the K 2 (Mount Godwin Austen) at 8,610 m, which, however, lies in the area to which Pakistan also claims, and the Kanchenchunga at 8,586 m on the Indian-Nepalese border in Sikkim.
The width of the 2500 km long high mountains of the Himalayas ranges from 150 km in the east to 280 km in the northwest. It consists of several mountain ranges running parallel to each other. From south to north these are the Sivalik Range (up to 1300 m altitude), the Pre-Himalayas (up to 4000 m altitude), the Main Thimalaya (average heights around 6000 m high, eight-thousanders) and the Transhimalaya (up to 7088 m high), which is already in Tibet is located.
The Himalayas, which are part of the Earth’s Alpine folds, are the result of the collision of two continental lithosphere plates, the Eurasian plate and the Indo-Australian plate.
Immediately south of the Himalayas are wide plains, which are particularly pronounced as low plains in the area of the great rivers Ganges and Brahmaputra. To the west, the Ganges plain rises over 200 m, reaches 215 m at Delhi and then gradually merges into the further west adjoining lowland on the Indus, which is mostly in Pakistan. These plains are mainly filled with sediments deposited by the great rivers and are therefore referred to as alluvial plains. The greater part of India adjoining the Ganges plain to the south belongs entirely to the highlands of Dekhan. It is criss-crossed by some mountains and ditches and has bulges on the edges, the western ghats and the eastern ghats. These drop off steeply to the seas. In front of them are more or less wide coastal plains that reach the Arabian Sea and the Bengal Sea on the Malabar Coast in the west and on the Coromandel Coast in the east.
The Dekhan plaice is part of the Indo-Australian plate and was part of the Gondwanaland. It is formed from the oldest rock formations on earth. The tensions that arose during the collision with the Eurasian plate not only led to fault lines, but also to the deposition of thick basaltic coverings in the western part (see Fig. 2), which were cut up again by weathering and erosion. The erosion has also led to the fact that in some places old plutons, i.e. deep rock bodies consisting of solidified granitic magma, are visible on the surface. In the northwest forms the Aravalli Mountains, the foothills of which extend to the gates of Delhi, the rugged delimitation of the highlands of Dekhan opposite the industrial lowlands. The Aravalli Mountains are the oldest fold mountains on earth.
The Ganges and Brahmaputra are very rich in water and have water all year round. This has to do with the fact that they are fed both by the extraordinarily high rainfall on the southern steep drop of the Himalayas and by the meltwater from the huge glaciers of the Himalayas.
In Bengal the rivers form the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta. Its eastern part, however, belongs to Bangladesh. Numerous other rivers follow the west-east slope of the highlands of Dekhan and break through z. The eastern Ghats, with some impressive valleys. In parts of India, for example in the northwest, the water flow in smaller rivers tends to zero in the dry season.
India lies in the subtropical and tropical climates of the earth. Its climate is determined by the monsoons (Arabic Mausim = season).
In summer (June to October), the warm, humid southwest monsoon blows , which has absorbed moisture over the Indian Ocean. The pronounced summer rainy season brings about 90% of the annual precipitation, although it is distributed differently from region to region (Fig. 4).
In the congestion of the Western Ghats and on the precipice of the Himalayas high precipitation falls, with 11850 mm, which was measured in one place in Assam, probably the highest precipitation on earth (for comparison: Berlin 587 mm). To the west of the Aravalli Mountains, the summer monsoon with its precipitation has only very little influence, as it does not reach this north-western part of the country directly from the Arabian Sea, but via a detour via the highlands of Dekhan. As a result, it is very dry there.
In the months of November to February, the monsoon winds turn northeast. The winter monsoon coming from Inner Asia is quite cool and dry depending on its area of origin. He brings the country a dry season.
Until the summer monsoon arrives again, there is a very hot and dry third season in India from March to May with hardly any winds. In it, the air is heated by the almost unhindered solar radiation, and temperatures of over 45 °C regularly occur.
The rainy areas of India in the northeast and the Western Ghats on the southwest coast carry humid tropical monsoon forests. Today, however, forest only covers a fifth of the original area, as the transformation into arable land and pastures began centuries ago.
Deciduous tropical dry forests grow on the areas of the highlands of Dekhan with less precipitation . They were also pushed back by agricultural use. In the arid regions of the northwest, the vegetation consists of thorny shrubs and trees. It goes westward into the desert vegetation of the Thar.
Extensive forests of mangroves grow at most of the estuaries. The Sunderbans at the mouth of the Ganges are even one of the largest mangrove swamps in the world with an area of 4000 km².
The species-rich flora and fauna of India is only preserved in its original state in game reserves and national parks. An example of this is the 392 km² Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, 100 km southeast of the city of Jaipur. Some specimens of the Bengal tiger are still at home in it.
More than 60% of working Indians are employed in agriculture, which accounts for almost 30% of GDP. This classifies India as a decidedly agricultural country .
India is often referred to as the “land of the villages” because more than three quarters of the people live in the approximately 640,000 rural settlements. Thanks to the “ green revolution ” in the 1960’s, India can meet its own food needs, except in years of drought when the summer monsoon is absent. Through the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides and machines, the expansion of the irrigation areas and the breeding of high-yielding varieties, the agricultural yields have increased significantly.
On the other hand, this progress is connected with a number of problems:
Only the wealthy farmers could and can still afford the progress financially. Many small farmers, on the other hand, went completely into debt and had to give up their land. In addition, there were ecological problems, such as the increasing salinization of the soil as a result of intensive irrigation of the fields.
Indian agriculture essentially produces staple foods for the population and vegetable raw materials for local industry (Fig. 7):
Rice is grown in the Ganges plain, millet in north-west and central India, wheat in the north and corn, which thrives almost everywhere, to meet the needs of the local population.
India is also one of the world’s most important producers of potatoes and sugar cane.
The most important industrial crops are cotton, which is mainly grown in the highlands of the Dekhan, and jute. Jute is mainly cultivated in Bengal and in the South and East Indies.
In addition, India is one of the most important tea producers. World-famous teas especially thrive in the mountain regions of Assam and Bengal.
At the beginning of independence in 1947, the country was still not industrially developed. Above all, there was a wide range of crafts that had a long tradition and reached an extraordinarily high level in many areas. In addition to building trades, this also included the manufacture of carpets, goldsmithing and the execution of marble inlays. Today India is one of the ten strongest industrialized countries in the world, although the majority of the people work in agriculture and the country has a GNP of US $ 460 per resident. is one of the poorest countries in the world. The wealth of natural resources was and is a favorable basis for the development of industrial production .
Above all hard coal and lignite, iron, copper, manganese and chrome ores as well as bauxite are mined.
The raw material deposits, especially those on the Dekhan Plateau, often have such favorable geological conditions that they can be mined in open-cast mining.
India can also meet more than two thirds of its oil needs from its own resources. After independence, the Indian state lacked capital, energy, skilled workers and know-how. With strong foreign financial aid, key industries such as iron and steel production in the north-east of the country or the oil industry, which are in state hands, have been expanded.
In the private sector, companies in the processing industry and consumer goods production emerged. Five-year plans have been drawn up to control the economy since 1951. Since then, mechanical engineering, the petrochemical and processing industries have developed dynamically. Today the country is no longer dependent on foreign industrial products in many areas. There was a special development in Bangalore in South India.
An Indian “Silicon Valley” has emerged here since the 1980’s. The high-tech industry is based on English-speaking computer scientists and programmers who are excellently trained at Indian elite universities. They develop software and hardware solutions for wages that are low by Western standards or process information for foreign companies.
Well-known foreign industrial companies (Siemens, Hewlett-Packard, IBM or Microsoft) also increasingly invested in order to gain the favor of the locations of the Indian software industry to use. The economic boom has brought some improvements in life for all people. These include free hospital stays, the introduction of a widow’s pension, a warm lunch for schoolchildren or free school attendance, during which the children often learn three languages (Bengali, Hindi, English) from year one. 200 new cars are registered in Delhi every day. At the same time, the social differences have intensified. While 30% of Indians still live below the poverty line, 20% belong to the rich and super-rich, among them the (politically disempowered) Maharajas and the car manufacturer Tata. One of the many regional differences is the level of literacy. While the overall Indian average is 56.5%,
from 2500 BC Chr.: high culture in the Indus valley
around 500 BC Chr.: Buddhism arises and many great empires arise and disintegrate again.
1156: The Jaisalmer fortress was founded by the Rajput prince JAISAL as protection from the invading Islamic armies from Afghanistan.
1192: The north of the subcontinent is Islamized.
1206: Foundation of the Sultanate of Delhi (until 1210)
1336: A Hindu empire emerges in southern India.
1498: VASCO DA GAMA reaches India by sea.
1526: The Mughal Empire is founded in Northern India, which falls apart again in 1858.
1818: The British East India Company gains supremacy.
1876: Great Britain proclaims the Empire of India.
from 1920: MAHATMA GANDHI (murdered 1948), the “Great Soul”, calls for civil disobedience, which leads to the economic collapse of the British colony.
1947: The British crown colony of India becomes independent and divided into India and Pakistan. Pakistan consists of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (now Pakistan). The Kashmir conflict begins.
1950: The Republic of India is founded.