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India's Location in Asia
GNU Free Documentation LicenseIndia's Location in Asia - Credit: Ssolbergj
Himalyas - India's Northern Border
GNU Free Documentation LicenseHimalyas - India's Northern Border - Credit: Ajar

At the heart of South Asia, India is the second-most populous country in the world after China. It is a peninsula bounded by the Indian Ocean to the south, the Arabian Sea to the west, and the Bay of Bengal to the east. The northern border is defined by the Himalayan mountain range. India is a country of wide cultural diversity and religious tolerance, with more than 122 regional languages. Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, Jainism and Buddhism as just some of its national religions.


Map of Indian Empire 1909
Public DomainMap of Indian Empire 1909

 Midnight’s Children charts the turbulent history of India and its challenging journey towards independence. From 1858 until 1947, India was under colonial rule as part of the British Empire, following around one hundred years of governance by the British East India Trading Company. The British Raj covered all regions of present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma; at the turn of the 20th century British India consisted of eight provinces, each overseen by a British Governor: Burma, Bengal, Madras, Bombay, Uttar Pradesh, Central Provinces, Punjab and Assam.

Trams in British India 1915 (240 * 163)
Public DomainTrams in British India 1915

During this period India saw rapid development of its infrastructure and technologies. Railways, roads and telegraph links were built. However while these projects were funded by Indian revenues, very little skilled employment was made available for Indians. The colonisation led to much hostility among Indian people, and pockets of civil unrest became widespread across the country.

Mahatma Gandhi and Jarawahal Nehru in Mubai 1946
Public DomainMahatma Gandhi and Jarawahal Nehru in Mumbai 1946

A growing Independence movement developed, headed by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawarhalal Nehru of the Indian National Congress. They encouraged Indians to resist British rule using non-violent protest. The movement led to the independence of India in 1947. Although Gandhi sought a united India, partition along Hindu/Muslim lines soon followed, and the separate Islamic state of Pakistan was born on 14 August 1947. In 1971, following a civil war, the area that was known as East Pakistan seceded as independent Bangladesh.

A detailed history of India >>