भारत

India
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Context of India

 

India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: Bhārat Gaṇarājya), is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand, Myanmar, and Indonesia.

Modern humans arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa no later than 55,000 years ago. Their long occupation, initially in varying forms of isolation as hunter-gatherers, has made the region highly diverse, second only to Africa in human genetic diversity. S...Read more

 

India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: Bhārat Gaṇarājya), is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand, Myanmar, and Indonesia.

Modern humans arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa no later than 55,000 years ago. Their long occupation, initially in varying forms of isolation as hunter-gatherers, has made the region highly diverse, second only to Africa in human genetic diversity. Settled life emerged on the subcontinent in the western margins of the Indus river basin 9,000 years ago, evolving gradually into the Indus Valley Civilisation of the third millennium BCE. By 1200 BCE, an archaic form of Sanskrit, an Indo-European language, had diffused into India from the northwest. Its evidence today is found in the hymns of the Rigveda. Preserved by a resolutely vigilant oral tradition, the Rigveda records the dawning of Hinduism in India. The Dravidian languages of India were supplanted in the northern and western regions. By 400 BCE, stratification and exclusion by caste had emerged within Hinduism, and Buddhism and Jainism had arisen, proclaiming social orders unlinked to heredity. Early political consolidations gave rise to the loose-knit Maurya and Gupta Empires based in the Ganges Basin. Their collective era was suffused with wide-ranging creativity, but also marked by the declining status of women, and the incorporation of untouchability into an organised system of belief. In South India, the Middle kingdoms exported Dravidian-languages scripts and religious cultures to the kingdoms of Southeast Asia.

In the early medieval era, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism became established on India's southern and western coasts. Muslim armies from Central Asia intermittently overran India's northern plains, eventually founding the Delhi Sultanate, and drawing northern India into the cosmopolitan networks of medieval Islam. In the 15th century, the Vijayanagara Empire created a long-lasting composite Hindu culture in south India. In the Punjab, Sikhism emerged, rejecting institutionalised religion. The Mughal Empire, in 1526, ushered in two centuries of relative peace, leaving a legacy of luminous architecture. Gradually expanding rule of the British East India Company followed, turning India into a colonial economy, but also consolidating its sovereignty. British Crown rule began in 1858. The rights promised to Indians were granted slowly, but technological changes were introduced, and modern ideas of education and the public life took root. A pioneering and influential nationalist movement emerged, which was noted for nonviolent resistance and became the major factor in ending British rule. In 1947 the British Indian Empire was partitioned into two independent dominions, a Hindu-majority Dominion of India and a Muslim-majority Dominion of Pakistan, amid large-scale loss of life and an unprecedented migration.

India has been a federal republic since 1950, governed through a democratic parliamentary system. It is a pluralistic, multilingual and multi-ethnic society. India's population grew from 361 million in 1951 to almost 1.4 billion in 2022. During the same time, its nominal per capita income increased from US$64 annually to US$1,498, and its literacy rate from 16.6% to 74%. From being a comparatively destitute country in 1951, India has become a fast-growing major economy and a hub for information technology services, with an expanding middle class. It has a space programme which includes several planned or completed extraterrestrial missions. Indian movies, music, and spiritual teachings play an increasing role in global culture. India has substantially reduced its rate of poverty, though at the cost of increasing economic inequality. India is a nuclear-weapon state, which ranks high in military expenditure. It has disputes over Kashmir with its neighbours, Pakistan and China, unresolved since the mid-20th century. Among the socio-economic challenges India faces are gender inequality, child malnutrition, and rising levels of air pollution. India's land is megadiverse, with four biodiversity hotspots. Its forest cover comprises 21.7% of its area. India's wildlife, which has traditionally been viewed with tolerance in India's culture, is supported among these forests, and elsewhere, in protected habitats.

More about India

Basic information
  • Currency Indian rupee
  • Native name भारत
  • Calling code +91
  • Internet domain .in
  • Mains voltage 230V/50Hz
  • Democracy index 6.61
Population, Area & Driving side
  • Population 1326093247
  • Area 3287263
  • Driving side left
History
  •  
    Ancient India
     
     
    An illustration from an early-modern manuscript of the Sanskrit epic Ramayana, composed in story-telling fashion c. 400 BCE – c. 300 CE[1]

    By 55,000 years ago, the first modern humans, or Homo sapiens, had arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa, where they had earlier evolved.[2][3][4] The earliest known modern human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago.[2] After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction...Read more

     
    Ancient India
     
     
    An illustration from an early-modern manuscript of the Sanskrit epic Ramayana, composed in story-telling fashion c. 400 BCE – c. 300 CE[1]

    By 55,000 years ago, the first modern humans, or Homo sapiens, had arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa, where they had earlier evolved.[2][3][4] The earliest known modern human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago.[2] After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, and storage of agricultural surplus appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan, Pakistan.[5] These gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation,[6][5] the first urban culture in South Asia,[7] which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India.[8] Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Dholavira, and Kalibangan, and relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilisation engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade.[7]

    During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones.[9] The Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism,[10] were composed during this period,[11] and historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.[9] Most historians also consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west.[10] The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests, warriors, and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labelling their occupations impure, arose during this period.[12] On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation.[9] In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period,[13] as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, and craft traditions.[13]

     
     
    Cave 26 of the rock-cut Ajanta Caves

    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.[14][15] The emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of its exemplar, Mahavira.[16] Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle class; chronicling the life of the Buddha was central to the beginnings of recorded history in India.[17][18][19] In an age of increasing urban wealth, both religions held up renunciation as an ideal,[20] and both established long-lasting monastic traditions. Politically, by the 3rd century BCE, the kingdom of Magadha had annexed or reduced other states to emerge as the Mauryan Empire.[21] The empire was once thought to have controlled most of the subcontinent except the far south, but its core regions are now thought to have been separated by large autonomous areas.[22][23] The Mauryan kings are known as much for their empire-building and determined management of public life as for Ashoka's renunciation of militarism and far-flung advocacy of the Buddhist dhamma.[24][25]

    The Sangam literature of the Tamil language reveals that, between 200 BCE and 200 CE, the southern peninsula was ruled by the Cheras, the Cholas, and the Pandyas, dynasties that traded extensively with the Roman Empire and with West and Southeast Asia.[26][27] In North India, Hinduism asserted patriarchal control within the family, leading to increased subordination of women.[28][21] By the 4th and 5th centuries, the Gupta Empire had created a complex system of administration and taxation in the greater Ganges Plain; this system became a model for later Indian kingdoms.[29][30] Under the Guptas, a renewed Hinduism based on devotion, rather than the management of ritual, began to assert itself.[31] This renewal was reflected in a flowering of sculpture and architecture, which found patrons among an urban elite.[30] Classical Sanskrit literature flowered as well, and Indian science, astronomy, medicine, and mathematics made significant advances.[30]

    Medieval India
     
    Brihadeshwara temple, Thanjavur, completed in 1010 CE
     
    The Qutub Minar, 73 m (240 ft) tall, completed by the Sultan of Delhi, Iltutmish

    The Indian early medieval age, from 600 to 1200 CE, is defined by regional kingdoms and cultural diversity.[32] When Harsha of Kannauj, who ruled much of the Indo-Gangetic Plain from 606 to 647 CE, attempted to expand southwards, he was defeated by the Chalukya ruler of the Deccan.[33] When his successor attempted to expand eastwards, he was defeated by the Pala king of Bengal.[33] When the Chalukyas attempted to expand southwards, they were defeated by the Pallavas from farther south, who in turn were opposed by the Pandyas and the Cholas from still farther south.[33] No ruler of this period was able to create an empire and consistently control lands much beyond their core region.[32] During this time, pastoral peoples, whose land had been cleared to make way for the growing agricultural economy, were accommodated within caste society, as were new non-traditional ruling classes.[34] The caste system consequently began to show regional differences.[34]

    In the 6th and 7th centuries, the first devotional hymns were created in the Tamil language.[35] They were imitated all over India and led to both the resurgence of Hinduism and the development of all modern languages of the subcontinent.[35] Indian royalty, big and small, and the temples they patronised drew citizens in great numbers to the capital cities, which became economic hubs as well.[36] Temple towns of various sizes began to appear everywhere as India underwent another urbanisation.[36] By the 8th and 9th centuries, the effects were felt in South-East Asia, as South Indian culture and political systems were exported to lands that became part of modern-day Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Brunei, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.[37] Indian merchants, scholars, and sometimes armies were involved in this transmission; South-East Asians took the initiative as well, with many sojourning in Indian seminaries and translating Buddhist and Hindu texts into their languages.[37]

    After the 10th century, Muslim Central Asian nomadic clans, using swift-horse cavalry and raising vast armies united by ethnicity and religion, repeatedly overran South Asia's north-western plains, leading eventually to the establishment of the Islamic Delhi Sultanate in 1206.[38] The sultanate was to control much of North India and to make many forays into South India. Although at first disruptive for the Indian elites, the sultanate largely left its vast non-Muslim subject population to its own laws and customs.[39][40] By repeatedly repulsing Mongol raiders in the 13th century, the sultanate saved India from the devastation visited on West and Central Asia, setting the scene for centuries of migration of fleeing soldiers, learned men, mystics, traders, artists, and artisans from that region into the subcontinent, thereby creating a syncretic Indo-Islamic culture in the north.[41][42] The sultanate's raiding and weakening of the regional kingdoms of South India paved the way for the indigenous Vijayanagara Empire.[43] Embracing a strong Shaivite tradition and building upon the military technology of the sultanate, the empire came to control much of peninsular India,[44] and was to influence South Indian society for long afterwards.[43]

    Early modern India

    In the early 16th century, northern India, then under mainly Muslim rulers,[45] fell again to the superior mobility and firepower of a new generation of Central Asian warriors.[46] The resulting Mughal Empire did not stamp out the local societies it came to rule. Instead, it balanced and pacified them through new administrative practices[47][48] and diverse and inclusive ruling elites,[49] leading to more systematic, centralised, and uniform rule.[50] Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic identity, especially under Akbar, the Mughals united their far-flung realms through loyalty, expressed through a Persianised culture, to an emperor who had near-divine status.[49] The Mughal state's economic policies, deriving most revenues from agriculture[51] and mandating that taxes be paid in the well-regulated silver currency,[52] caused peasants and artisans to enter larger markets.[50] The relative peace maintained by the empire during much of the 17th century was a factor in India's economic expansion,[50] resulting in greater patronage of painting, literary forms, textiles, and architecture.[53] Newly coherent social groups in northern and western India, such as the Marathas, the Rajputs, and the Sikhs, gained military and governing ambitions during Mughal rule, which, through collaboration or adversity, gave them both recognition and military experience.[54] Expanding commerce during Mughal rule gave rise to new Indian commercial and political elites along the coasts of southern and eastern India.[54] As the empire disintegrated, many among these elites were able to seek and control their own affairs.[55]

     
    A distant view of the Taj Mahal from the Agra Fort
     
    A two mohur Company gold coin, issued in 1835, the obverse inscribed "William IV, King"

    By the early 18th century, with the lines between commercial and political dominance being increasingly blurred, a number of European trading companies, including the English East India Company, had established coastal outposts.[56][57] The East India Company's control of the seas, greater resources, and more advanced military training and technology led it to increasingly assert its military strength and caused it to become attractive to a portion of the Indian elite; these factors were crucial in allowing the company to gain control over the Bengal region by 1765 and sideline the other European companies.[58][56][59][60] Its further access to the riches of Bengal and the subsequent increased strength and size of its army enabled it to annexe or subdue most of India by the 1820s.[61] India was then no longer exporting manufactured goods as it long had, but was instead supplying the British Empire with raw materials. Many historians consider this to be the onset of India's colonial period.[56] By this time, with its economic power severely curtailed by the British parliament and having effectively been made an arm of British administration, the East India Company began more consciously to enter non-economic arenas, including education, social reform and culture.[62]

    Modern India

    Historians consider India's modern age to have begun sometime between 1848 and 1885. The appointment in 1848 of Lord Dalhousie as Governor General of the East India Company set the stage for changes essential to a modern state. These included the consolidation and demarcation of sovereignty, the surveillance of the population, and the education of citizens. Technological changes—among them, railways, canals, and the telegraph—were introduced not long after their introduction in Europe.[63][64][65][66] However, disaffection with the company also grew during this time and set off the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Fed by diverse resentments and perceptions, including invasive British-style social reforms, harsh land taxes, and summary treatment of some rich landowners and princes, the rebellion rocked many regions of northern and central India and shook the foundations of Company rule.[67][68] Although the rebellion was suppressed by 1858, it led to the dissolution of the East India Company and the direct administration of India by the British government. Proclaiming a unitary state and a gradual but limited British-style parliamentary system, the new rulers also protected princes and landed gentry as a feudal safeguard against future unrest.[69][70] In the decades following, public life gradually emerged all over India, leading eventually to the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885.[71][72][73][74]

    The rush of technology and the commercialisation of agriculture in the second half of the 19th century was marked by economic setbacks and many small farmers became dependent on the whims of far-away markets.[75] There was an increase in the number of large-scale famines,[76] and, despite the risks of infrastructure development borne by Indian taxpayers, little industrial employment was generated for Indians.[77] There were also salutary effects: commercial cropping, especially in the newly canalled Punjab, led to increased food production for internal consumption.[78] The railway network provided critical famine relief,[79] notably reduced the cost of moving goods,[79] and helped nascent Indian-owned industry.[78]

     
    1909 map of the British Indian Empire
     
    Jawaharlal Nehru sharing a light moment with Mahatma Gandhi, Mumbai, 6 July 1946

    After World War I, in which approximately one million Indians served,[80] a new period began. It was marked by British reforms but also repressive legislation, by more strident Indian calls for self-rule, and by the beginnings of a nonviolent movement of non-co-operation, of which Mahatma Gandhi would become the leader and enduring symbol.[81] During the 1930s, slow legislative reform was enacted by the British; the Indian National Congress won victories in the resulting elections.[82] The next decade was beset with crises: Indian participation in World War II, the Congress's final push for non-co-operation, and an upsurge of Muslim nationalism. All were capped by the advent of independence in 1947, but tempered by the partition of India into two states: India and Pakistan.[83]

    Vital to India's self-image as an independent nation was its constitution, completed in 1950, which put in place a secular and democratic republic.[84] Per the London Declaration, India retained its membership of the Commonwealth, becoming the first republic within it.[85] Economic liberalisation, which began in the 1990s, has created a large urban middle class, transformed India into one of the world's fastest-growing economies,[86] and increased its geopolitical clout. Indian films, music, and spiritual teachings play an increasing role in global culture.[87] Yet, India is also shaped by seemingly unyielding poverty, both rural and urban;[87] by religious and caste-related violence;[88] by Maoist-inspired Naxalite insurgencies;[89] and by separatism in Jammu and Kashmir and in Northeast India.[90] It has unresolved territorial disputes with China[91] and with Pakistan.[91] India's sustained democratic freedoms are unique among the world's newer nations; however, in spite of its recent economic successes, freedom from want for its disadvantaged population remains a goal yet to be achieved.[92]

    ^ Lowe, John J. (2017). Transitive Nouns and Adjectives: Evidence from Early Indo-Aryan. Oxford University Press. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-19-879357-1. The term 'Epic Sanskrit' refers to the language of the two great Sanskrit epics, the Mahābhārata and the Rāmāyaṇa. ... It is likely, therefore, that the epic-like elements found in Vedic sources and the two epics that we have are not directly related, but that both drew on the same source, an oral tradition of storytelling that existed before, throughout, and after the Vedic period. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference PetragliaAllchin was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Cite error: The named reference Dyson2018p1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Cite error: The named reference Fisher2018p23 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ a b Coningham & Young 2015, pp. 104–105. ^ Kulke & Rothermund 2004, pp. 21–23. ^ a b Singh 2009, p. 181. ^ Possehl 2003, p. 2. ^ a b c Singh 2009, p. 255. ^ a b Singh 2009, pp. 186–187. ^ Witzel 2003, pp. 68–69. ^ Kulke & Rothermund 2004, pp. 41–43. ^ a b Singh 2009, pp. 250–251. ^ Singh 2009, pp. 260–265. ^ Kulke & Rothermund 2004, pp. 53–54. ^ Singh 2009, pp. 312–313. ^ Kulke & Rothermund 2004, pp. 54–56. ^ Stein 1998, p. 21. ^ Stein 1998, pp. 67–68. ^ Singh 2009, p. 300. ^ a b Singh 2009, p. 319. ^ Stein 1998, pp. 78–79. ^ Kulke & Rothermund 2004, p. 70. ^ Singh 2009, p. 367. ^ Kulke & Rothermund 2004, p. 63. ^ Stein 1998, pp. 89–90. ^ Singh 2009, pp. 408–415. ^ Stein 1998, pp. 92–95. ^ Kulke & Rothermund 2004, pp. 89–91. ^ a b c Singh 2009, p. 545. ^ Stein 1998, pp. 98–99. ^ a b Stein 1998, p. 132. ^ a b c Stein 1998, pp. 119–120. ^ a b Stein 1998, pp. 121–122. ^ a b Stein 1998, p. 123. ^ a b Stein 1998, p. 124. ^ a b Stein 1998, pp. 127–128. ^ Ludden 2002, p. 68. ^ Asher & Talbot 2008, p. 47. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, p. 6. ^ Ludden 2002, p. 67. ^ Asher & Talbot 2008, pp. 50–51. ^ a b Asher & Talbot 2008, p. 53. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, p. 12. ^ Robb 2001, p. 80. ^ Stein 1998, p. 164. ^ Asher & Talbot 2008, p. 115. ^ Robb 2001, pp. 90–91. ^ a b Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, p. 17. ^ a b c Asher & Talbot 2008, p. 152. ^ Asher & Talbot 2008, p. 158. ^ Stein 1998, p. 169. ^ Asher & Talbot 2008, p. 186. ^ a b Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, pp. 23–24. ^ Asher & Talbot 2008, p. 256. ^ a b c Asher & Talbot 2008, p. 286. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, pp. 44–49. ^ Robb 2001, pp. 98–100. ^ Ludden 2002, pp. 128–132. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, pp. 51–55. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, pp. 68–71. ^ Asher & Talbot 2008, p. 289. ^ Robb 2001, pp. 151–152. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, pp. 94–99. ^ Brown 1994, p. 83. ^ Peers 2006, p. 50. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, pp. 100–103. ^ Brown 1994, pp. 85–86. ^ Stein 1998, p. 239. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, pp. 103–108. ^ Robb 2001, p. 183. ^ Sarkar 1983, pp. 1–4. ^ Copland 2001, pp. ix–x. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, p. 123. ^ Stein 1998, p. 260. ^ Bose & Jalal 2011, p. 117. ^ Stein 1998, p. 258. ^ a b Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, p. 126. ^ a b Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, p. 97. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, p. 163. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, p. 167. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, pp. 195–197. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, p. 203. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, p. 231. ^ "London Declaration, 1949". Commonwealth. Retrieved 11 October 2022. ^ "Briefing Rooms: India", Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, 2009, archived from the original on 20 May 2011 ^ a b Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, pp. 265–266. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, pp. 266–270. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, p. 253. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, p. 274. ^ a b Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, pp. 247–248. ^ Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, p. 304.
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Stay safe
  •  
    Stay safe  Holy cow in Pushkar

    As a rule India is quite safe for foreigners, apart from instances of petty crime and theft common to any developing country, as long as certain basic precautions and common sense are observed (i.e. women should be cautious travelling alone at night). You can check with your embassy or ask for local advice before heading to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in northern-most India, and to Northeast India, i.e. (Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh). These areas have had serious law and order problems for a long time, though the situation has improved a lot. The same applies while travelling to what used to be a thickly forested area in East-Central India, which covers the states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, the eastern edge of Maharashtra and the northern tip of Telangana. Though the problem is only in the remote areas of these states and normal areas to visit in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra or Telangana are safe.

    ...Read more
     
    Stay safe  Holy cow in Pushkar

    As a rule India is quite safe for foreigners, apart from instances of petty crime and theft common to any developing country, as long as certain basic precautions and common sense are observed (i.e. women should be cautious travelling alone at night). You can check with your embassy or ask for local advice before heading to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in northern-most India, and to Northeast India, i.e. (Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh). These areas have had serious law and order problems for a long time, though the situation has improved a lot. The same applies while travelling to what used to be a thickly forested area in East-Central India, which covers the states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, the eastern edge of Maharashtra and the northern tip of Telangana. Though the problem is only in the remote areas of these states and normal areas to visit in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra or Telangana are safe.

     A beggar in Kolkata

    Unfortunately theft is quite common in places visited by tourists, but violent thefts hardly ever occur. More likely a thief will pickpocket or break into your room. Take precautions to firmly lock the door while indoors, and be on guard while outside.

    Some people handling your cash will try to shortchange you or rip you off. In Delhi particularly, this is a universal rule adhered to by all who handle westerners' cash. This does not exclude official ticket sellers at tourist sites, employees at prepaid taxi stands, or merchants in all but the most upscale businesses. Count your cash before handing it over, and ensure receiving the correct change.

    It is advisable or better to agree on the fare before getting inside an auto or a taxi. This avoids any further unpleasant fare-related arguments. If you can take the advice of a local friend or someone manning your hotel's front desk to know how much it should cost to travel between two destinations, you will be a smart traveller.

    Overseas visitors are often magnets for beggars, frauds and touts. Beggars will often go as far as touching you and following you, tugging on your sleeve. It does little good to get angry or to say "No" loudly. The best response is to look unconcerned and ignore the behaviour. The more attention you pay to a beggar or a tout, positive or negative, the longer they will follow you hoping for a donation. Begging is criminalised in cities such as Mumbai and Delhi. It is however common in many cities, and in pilgrim cities, there are sadhus who live an ascetic lifestyle of the seeker that requires them to adopt bhiksha-charya (begging vows) only for sustaining the body.

    While hospitality is important in India, it is not common to see people offering to share food or cookies while they eat. Some such offers are genuine and some are not. In case you are travelling by train, you are offered food from a family group, you can take a bite. But if you are offered something by men or even a couple eating a part of it, try avoiding it, as the other part may have sedatives (this may be so that they may loot your belongings when you become unconscious). You can politely say no with a smile; they won't take it personally.

    While travelling in public transport (trains, buses) do not accept any food or drink from any local fellow passenger even if they are very friendly or polite. There have been instances in which very friendly fellow passengers offered food or drinks including tea or coffee that contained substances that put the victim to sleep whilst all their possessions, including even their clothing, were stolen.

    Visitors should not trust strangers offering assistance or services; see Common scams. Be particularly wary of frauds at tourist attractions such as the temples of Kanchipuram, where they prey on those unfamiliar with local and religious customs. If a priest or guide offers to treat you to a religious ceremony, find out what it will cost you first, and do not allow yourself to be pressured into making "donations" of thousands of rupees — simply walk away if you feel uncomfortable. However, don't get too paranoid: foreigners on the train, or Indian families who want to take your picture on their own camera, for example, are often just genuinely curious.

    Same-sex intercourse was decriminalised by a court ruling in 2018. There is a vibrant gay nightlife in metropolitan areas and some (but very few) openly gay celebrities. On the other hand, the law was used as a tool by policemen to harass gays cruising on the streets. You will often see Indian men walking hand-in-hand in the streets, but this is a sign of friendship, not homosexuality.

    Whereas Indian men can be really eager to talk to foreigners, women in India often refrain from contact with men. It is an unfortunate fact that if you are a man and you approach a woman in India for even an innocuous purpose like asking for directions, you are putting her on the defensive usually, especially the ones dressed traditionally. It is better to ask a man if one is available (there usually will be), or be extra respectful if you are asking a woman.

    Black people may encounter prejudices from the police and the general public about being drug dealers. This reaction stems from the fact that more often than not, foreign-born drug peddlers in India are of Nigerian nationality. Indians find it hard to differentiate between Nigerians and other Africans, others of African descent or even their own Siddi (Indians of sub-Saharan African descent) community, and this behaviour is towards the whole race and not just to any specific country. That said, this behaviour is still considered publicly unacceptable when Indians are confronted by Indians themselves. It is hence wise to keep passports handy at all times, avoid going to areas notorious for illegal activities and maintain contact with respective embassies and, if possible, with other support groups that can vouch for you.

    The cow is considered to be a holy animal in Hinduism, and in many Indian states, it is illegal to consume or possess beef or buffalo meat. Non-Hindus suspected of slaughtering cattle or eating beef are also known to have been lynched by fundamentalist Hindu mobs. Prominent exceptions to this taboo are the state of Kerala and the northeastern parts of the country, where the meat of water buffaloes is widely consumed. Beef continues to be rare.

    Driving  A car crash in Kolkata

    As a former British colony, India drives on the left side of the road.

    Driving in India can be dangerous. Irresponsible driving habits, insufficient highway infrastructure development, wandering livestock and other hazards make travelling on the country's roads a sometimes nerve-wracking undertaking.

    More than 150,000 people died on Indian roads in 2019, the highest figure in the world, and that's despite having only 44 cars per 1,000 people. The first encounter with a typical Indian highway will no doubt feature a traffic mix of lumbering trucks, speeding maniacs, blithely wandering cows and suicidal pedestrians, all weaving across a narrow, potholed strip of tarmac. To minimise your risk of becoming a grim statistic, use trains instead of buses, use government bus services instead of private ones (which are more likely to force their drivers into inhuman shifts), use taxis instead of auto-rickshaws, avoid travelling at night, and don't hesitate to change taxis or cars if you feel your driver is unsafe.

    Of significant concern is that much of the road network is significantly underdeveloped. Most roads are very poorly built and they are full of rubble, large cracks and potholes. Most road signs are not very reliable in the country, and in most cases provide drivers with confusing or inaccurate information. If you are in doubt, ask the locals, normally they are very helpful and willingly provide people with appropriate guidance to a location. Of course, the quality of information and willingness to provide it varies, especially in the larger cities.

    Female travellers  Night in Indore

    India is a socially conservative country, and although some Western habits can be perceived as dishonourable for a woman in much of the country, India is coming out of its conservative image rather quickly, especially in big cities. By "conservative", this doesn't mean women are always suppressed because the world's only women-run market, the Ima Market (Manipuri: Ima Keithel) in Imphal, Manipur, is a sign of women empowerment. People usually say "Asia's largest women market" but this 500-year-old market is the "World's only women-run market" and a matter of pride for the whole nation of the world.

    White and/or East Asian females may receive some extra attention (usually in the form of stares) from the locals (particularly men) and in some cases, they may even want to take photographs with you. To a large extent, it's likely that the person who wants to take a photo with you or is staring at you has little to no contact with foreigners. This said it's still possible to encounter someone who may harass you. Don't be afraid to create a scene and don't feel the need to be polite; no Indian woman (or any woman for that matter) would put up with rotten behaviour like that. Being overly friendly and appreciative to Indian men is often seen as a sign of romantic interest. If a man and a woman are seen together or talk to each other quite often, locals may assume that there's something going on between the man and the woman. Make it clear that you are friends or acquaintances; that will usually ward people off. Outside of the larger cities, it is unusual for people of the opposite sex to touch each other in public. Even couples (married or otherwise) refrain from public displays of affection. Therefore, it is advised that you do not shake hands with a person of the opposite sex unless the other person extends his/her hand first. The greeting by a Hindu is to bring their palms together in front of their chest, or simply saying namaste or namaskar or namaskaram in most Indic languages (Indo-Aryan and Dravidian) and khurumjari in Meitei (Manipuri). Both forms are equally polite and correct if a little formal. Almost all people (even if they don't know English) do understand a "hi" or a "Hello". In most parts of northern India and cities, it is quite acceptable to offer a "hello" or "good day" followed by a handshake, regardless of gender. Outside of trendy places or high society, women generally do not smoke. In some rural or tribal areas women do smoke, but discreetly. Places such as discos and dance clubs are less conservative areas. It is good to leave your things at a hotel and head down there for a drink and some light conversation. Only carry as much change as you think you would require since losing your wallet or passport means that you will waste a considerable time trying to get help. People are generally modestly clothed even at the beaches, so be sure to find out what the appropriate attire is for the beach you are visiting. In tourist-oriented places like Goa, where beachgoers are predominantly foreigners, it is permissible to wear bikinis on the beach. However, it is still offensive to walk around in them elsewhere. There are a few beaches where women (mostly foreigners) sunbathe topless, but make sure that it is safe and accepted before you do so. It's not so safe to walk in isolated places if you are a solo female. Especially at night, avoid walking on streets or lanes without many people and be cautious when taking a taxi or auto-rickshaw at night. Avoid clothes such as tight shorts, a miniskirt, sports bra, tank-top or other clothes which expose a lot of skin, as they can attract unwanted attention. There have been some rapes of foreign women and highly publicised rapes of Indian women, some of whom have been murdered. India has been characterised as one of the "countries with the lowest per capita rates of rape" but a large number of rapes go unreported. The willingness to report rape has increased after several incidents received widespread media attention and triggered the widespread public protest. The Indian government of India has also reformed its penal code in relation to crimes of rape and sexual assault. In local and suburban trains, there are usually cars reserved only for women and designated as such on their front. In Delhi Metro trains, it is the first compartment. In most buses (private and public) a few seats at the front or at one side of the bus are reserved for women. Usually, these seats will be occupied by men and, very often, they vacate the place when a female stands near gesturing her intention to sit there. In many parts of the country, women will not share a seat with a man other than her spouse. If you sit near a man, he may stand up from the seat and give his seat also to you; this is a sign of respect, not rudeness. Street parties for holidays are usually filled with crowds of inebriated men. During festivals such as Holi, New Year's Eve, and even Christmas Eve, women can be subjected to groping and sexually aggressive behaviour from a certain section hiding in these crowds. In such an event, just scream or make a scene pointing your finger at the person. People will come to your help. It may be less advisable for women to attend these festivities alone. So-called Eve teasing is a common term used in Indian English to refer to anything from unwanted verbal advances to physical sexual assault. Anything overt should be treated in a firm manner and if needed, ask the local populace (women in particular) to try and get the message across. Avoid confrontation if at all possible. Sticking to such an area is not recommended. It's not disrespectful for a woman to tell a man eager to talk to her that she doesn't want to talk: so if a man's behaviour makes you uncomfortable, say so firmly. If he doesn't seem to get the hint, quietly excusing yourself is a better answer than confrontation. Befriending Indian women can be a wonderful experience for female visitors, although you might have to initiate conversation. An easy topic to get things going is to talk about clothes or food. Dressing in traditional Indian clothes, such as salwaar kameez (comfortable) or saree (more formal and difficult to wear) will often garner Western women more respect in the eyes of locals. The idea is to portray yourself as a normal person, instead of a distanced tourist. Easy clothing is to wear a kurta paired up with jeans or a salwar. They are very comfortable and most of the women do the same. Body searches (such as at the airport) by officers of the opposite sex are not allowed in India. Police officers in VaranasiPolice and other emergency services Like other federal countries, law enforcement is dealt with by various agencies in India: General policing is responsible for the states and union territories, under various state and union territory police forces. Large cities like Mumbai or Bangalore may also have their own police departments, often operating independently from state police forces. The Central government also maintain federal law-enforcement agencies responsible for specific duties, such as railway policing, transport security and border patrol. Unfortunately, corruption and inefficiency are present in all Indian police forces, and the quality of the police force varies by officer. For emergencies, throughout most of India, you can dial 100 for police assistance. Try to speak the words slowly so that the police officer on phone does not have a problem in comprehending your foreign English accent. For non-emergency crimes, go down to the police station to report them, and insist on getting a receipt of your complaint. You should insist the police to make a first information report (FIR) and receive a copy of it if you are reporting any serious crimes, as it is a legal requirement for them to do so. The police will only start the investigation after the FIR is made. The emergency contact numbers for most of India are: 100 (Police), 101 (Fire and rescue), and 102 (Emergency medical service). Dialling to neighbouring major hospitals may also work in case of medical emergencies. In Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kochi and several other cities throughout India, you can dial 108 for all emergencies.Terrorism

    The India-Pakistan conflict, simmering for decades, has manifested in terrorist attacks on India's main cities: since 2007, there have been bombings in Delhi, Mumbai and other big cities. The targets have varied widely, but attacks have usually been aimed at locals rather than visitors. The exception was in 2008, when a shooting spree targeted and killed many foreigners along with Indians, in Mumbai's posh hotels and railway station, etc. All the terrorists involved in this were from Pakistan and were killed in action except one who was captured alive and later hanged. There is little you can do to avoid such random attacks, but keep an eye on the national news and any travel advisories from your embassy.

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Phrasebook

Hello
नमस्ते
World
दुनिया
Hello world
नमस्ते दुनिया
Thank you
आपको धन्यवाद
Goodbye
अलविदा
Yes
हाँ
No
नहीं
How are you?
क्या हाल है?
Fine, thank you
ठीक धन्यवाद
How much is it?
यह कितने का है?
Zero
शून्य
One
एक

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