India  lies  at  the north of the equator between 8° 4′ and 37° 6′ north latitude and 68° 7′ and 97° 25′ east longitude. It is bounded on the South  West by the  Arabian Sea & on the South East by the Bay of Bengal. On the North, North East & North  West lie the Himalayan ranges. The southern tip, Kanyakumari is washed by the Indian Ocean. India measures 3214 km from North to South & 2933  km  from  east  to  west with a total land area of 3,287,263 It has a land frontier  of  15,200 km & a coastline of 7516.5 km.  Andaman & Nicobar Islands in  the Bay of Bengal & Lakshadweep in the  Arabian Sea are parts of India. India shares its political borders with Pakistan and  Afghanistan on the  West and Bangladesh and Burma on the East. The Northern boundary is made up of the Sinkiang province of China, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan.

India has Seven major Physiographic regions
  1. Northern Mountains including the Himalayas and mountain ranges in the North-East. 
  2. The Indo-Gangetic plain 
  3. Central Highlands 
  4. Peninsular plateau 
  5. East Coast 
  6. West Coast 
  7. Bordering seas and islands.

India has Seven principal Mountain ranges
  1. the Himalayas 
  2. the Patkai and other ranges bordering India in the North & North East 
  3. the  Vindhyas, which separate the IndoGangetic plain from the Deccan Plateau 
  4. the Satpura 
  5. the Aravalli 
  6. the Sahayadri, which covers the Eastern fringe of the  West Coast plains and the Eastern Ghats, irregularly scattered on the East Coast and, forming the boundary of the East Coast plains.
  7. Himalayas, the highest mountain – system in the world, is also one of the world’s youngest mountain ranges.

National EMBLEM
The State Emblem of India  is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of  Asoka as preserved in the Sarnath Museum. The Government adopted the emblem on 26th January, 1950, the day when India became a Republic. In the State Emblem adopted by the Government, only three lions are visible, the fourth being hidden from view.  The wheel appears in relief in the centre of the abacus with a bull on the right and a horse on the left and the outlines of the other wheels on the extreme right and left. The bell-shaped lotus has been omitted. The Words, Saytameva Jayate from the Mundaka Upanishad meaning ‘Truth alone triumphs’ are inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script.

National FLAG
The National Flag is a horizontal tri-colour  of deep saffron (Kesari) at the top, white in the middle and dark green at the bottom in equal proportion. The ratio of the width of the flag to its length is two to three. In the centre of white band is a wheel, in navy blue, which represents the Charkha (Khadi Spinning Wheel). Its design is that of the wheel (Chakra) which appears on the abacus of  the Sarnath Lion Capital of Asoka. Its diameter approximates the width of the white band. It has 24 spokes. The design of the National Flag was adopted by the Constituent  Assembly of India on 22nd July, 1947. Its use and display are regulated by a code. Rabindranath  Tagore’s song, Jana-gana-mana was adopted by the Constituent  Assembly as the National Anthem of India on 24th January 1950. The first stanza (out of 5 stanzas) of the song, forms the National Anthem.
National Calendar
The  Saka  year  has  the  normal  365  days  and begins with Chaitra as its  first month. The days of the Saka calendar have permanent correspondence with the dates of the Gregorian Calendar, Chaitra 1 falling on March 22 in  a  normal  year and on March 21 in a Leap Year.  The  National  Calendar  commenced  on   Chaitra 1  Saka,  1879 corresponding to March 22, 1957  A.D.

National Song
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s Vande Mataramwhich was a source of inspiration to the people in theirstruggle for freedom, has an equal status with Jana-gana-mana. The first political occasion on which it wassung was the 1896 session of the Indian NationalCongress.
India-Religious Communities
The major religious communities of India are theHindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jainsand Parsis.

  • Hindus ::  Four Vedas, The Bhagwad Gita, TheRamayana, The Puranas, TheMahabharat, The Upanishads, TheRamcharitmanas
  • Muslims ::  The Holy Quran
  • Sikhs  :  Guru Granth Sahib
  • Christians  : The Bible
  • Parsis  : Zend Avesta

India – Principal Languages
India has 18 officially recognised languages(Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali were added to theofficial list of 15 in 1992). The 1961 and 1971 censushad listed 1652 languages as mother tongues spoken inIndia. The Indian languages of today have evolved from different language families.
They may be grouped into 6 groups asunder :
1. Negroid
2. Austric
3. Sino-Tibetan
4. Dravidian
5. Indo-Aryan
6. Other Speeches
These languages have interacted on one anotherthrough the centuries and have produced the majorlinguistic divisions of modern India. Among the majorgroups, the Aryan and the Dravidan are the dominatingfamilies. Indo-Aryan, the Indic branch of the Indo-European family, came into India with the Aryans. It isthe biggest of the language groups in India, accountingfor about 74 % of the entire Indian population. 
Theimportant languages in this group are : WesternPunjabi, Sindhi, Eastern Punjabi, Hindi, Bihari,Rajasthani, Gujarati, Marathi, Assamese, Bengali, Oriya,Pahari, Kashmiri and Sanskrit. Sankrit, the classicallanguage of India, represents the highest achievementof the Indo-Aryan languages. Although hardly spokennow-a-days, Sanskrit has been listed a nationally accepted language in the VIII Schedule to theConstitution. Dravidian languages form a group bythemselves, and unlike the Aryan, Austric or Sino-Tibetan speeches,  have no relations outside theIndian subcontinent, that is, India, Pakistan andBangladesh. The  Dravidian  family is the secondlargest group in India, covering about 25% of the totalIndian   population. The Dravidian language came intoIndia centuries before the Indo-Aryan.
The  outstanding  languages of theDravidian groups are :
  • (a)Telugu, the State language of Andhra Pradesh,numerically the biggest of the Dravidian languages
  • (b)Tamil, the State language of Tamil Nadu, apparentlythe oldest and purest branch of the Dravidianfamily
  • (c)Kannada, the State language of Karnataka, anotherancient Dravidian language that has developedindividually
  • (d)Malayalam, the State language of Kerala, thesmallest and the youngest of the Dravidianfamily.

Of the 1652 mother tongues listed in the census,33 are spoken by people numbering over a lakh. Withindependence, the question of a common languagenaturally came up.The Constituent Assembly could not arrive at aconsensus in the matter. The question was put to voteand Hindi won on a single vote-the casting vote of thePresident. 
Hindi however was only one of the manyregional languages of India.The Indian National Congress had advocated theformation of linguistic provinces. The acceptance ofthis policy involved the statutory recognition of all themajor regional languages. The Constitution thereforerecognised Hindi in Devanagari script as the officiallanguage of the Union (Art.343) and the regionallanguages as the official langugaes of the Statesconcerned (Art.345).English was recognised as the authoritativelegislative and judicial language (Art 348). The 8thSchedule was added to the Constitution to indicate allregional languages statutarily recognised.
The Schedule originally contained 15languages as follows :
By the 71st Amendment to the Constitution,Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali were added to thelist in 1992. Hindi, numerically the biggest of theIndo-Aryan family is the official language of theGovernment of India. This was originally spokenin Delhi and some Western UP districts. OfficialHindi is written in Devanagiri script.Tamil, the oldest of the Dravidian languages, isthe State language of Tamil Nadu. Tamil literaturegoes back to centuries before the Christian era.The language is spoken by 74 million or more andjudging by its modern publications, it is advancingat a faster pace.

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