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Indian people
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This article is about Indian people from India. For other uses, see Indian
Flag of India.svg
Flag of India
Total population
c.?1.21 billion[1][2]
2011 Census of India
c.?1.34 billion[3]
2017 estimate
c.?30.8 million[4]
Indian diaspora
Regions with significant populations
Saudi Arabia 4,100,000[5][6]
Nepal 4,000,000[7]
United Arab Emirates 3,500,000[8]
United States 3,456,477[9]
Malaysia 2,012,600[10]
Pakistan 2,000,000[8][11][12][13]
United Kingdom 1,451,862[14]
Canada 1,374,710[15]
South Africa 1,274,867[16]
Myanmar 1,030,000[17]
Mauritius 994,500[4]
Sri Lanka 839,504[18]
Oman 796,001[4]
Kuwait 700,000[19]
Qatar 650,000[20]
Trinidad and Tobago 556,800[4]
Australia 468,800[21]
Thailand 465,000[4]
Bahrain 400,000[4]
Guyana 327,000[4]
Fiji 315,000[4]
France (R�union, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte) 456,470[4]
Singapore 250,300[22]
Italy 197,301[4]
Germany 161,000[23]
The Netherlands 156,000[4]
New Zealand 155,178[24]
Suriname 148,000[4]
Indonesia 120,000[4]
Languages of India, including:
Jainism (historical)
Related ethnic groups
Indian diaspora
Indians are the people who are the nationals or citizens of India, the second most
populous nation containing 17.50%[25] of the world's population. "Indian" refers to
nationality, but not ethnicity or language. The Indian nationality consists of many
regional ethno-linguistic groups, reflecting the rich and complex history of India.
India hosts all major ethnic groups found in the Indian Subcontinent. The diaspora
populations with Indian ancestry, as a result of emigration, are somewhat
widespread most notably in other parts of Asia and North America.[4]

1 Ethnonym
2 History
3 Culture
3.1 Religion
3.2 Family
3.3 Dress
3.4 Cuisine
3.5 Performing arts
3.6 Contribution and discoveries
3.7 National personification
4 Indian diaspora
4.1 Britain
4.2 Canada
4.3 South Africa
4.4 Tanzania
4.5 United States
4.6 Caribbean
5 Genetics
6 See also
7 References
The name Bharata has been used as a self-ascribed name by people of the Indian
subcontinent and the Republic of India.[26] The designation Bharata appears in the
official Sanskrit name of the country, Bharata Ga?arajya. The name is derived from
the ancient Vedic and Puranas, which refer to the land that comprises India as
Bharata var?am and uses this term to distinguish it from other var?as or
continents.[27] The Bharatas were a vedic tribe mentioned in the Rigveda, notably
participating in the Battle of the Ten Kings.[28] India is named after legendary
Emperor Bharata who was a descendant of the Bharatas tribe, scion of Kuru Dynasty
who unified the Indian Subcontinent under one realm.[29]

?????? ???????????? ????????????? ???????? ?

????? ??? ????? ??? ????? ???? ?????? ??
"The country (var?am) that lies north of the ocean and south of the snowy mountains
is called Bharatam; there dwell the descendants of Bharata."[30][31]
In early Vedic literature, the term Aryavarta (Sanskrit: ?????????) was in popular
use before Bharata. The Manusm?ti (2.22) gives the name Aryavarta to "the tract
between the Himalaya and the Vindhya ranges, from the Eastern (Bay of Bengal) to
the Western Sea (Arabian Sea)".[32][33]

While the word Indian and India is derived from Greek ??d?a (Ind�a), via Latin
India. Ind�a in Koine Greek denoted the region beyond the Indus (??d??) river,
since Herodotus (5th century BC) ? ??d??? ????, he Indike chore; "the Indian land",
??d??, Indos, "an Indian", from Old Persian Hindu� and medieval term Hindustani.
[34] The name is derived ultimately from Sindhu, the Sanskrit name of the river
Indus, but also meaning "river" generically.[35]
Main articles: History of India and Greater India

Priest-King, Indus Valley civilisation

Map of the Mauryan Empire 3rd century BC

Buddhist rock-cut architecture, 2nd century BC

Ashoka pillar, erected by Emperor Ashoka in about 250 BC. It has been adopted as
emblem of India.
The history of India includes the prehistoric settlements and societies in the
Indian subcontinent; the blending of the Indus Valley Civilization and Indo-Aryan
culture into the Vedic Civilization; the development of Hinduism as a synthesis of
various Indian cultures and traditions; rise of sixteen oligarchic republics known
as Mahajanapadas; rise of Srama?a movement; birth of Jainism and Buddhism in 6th-
century BCE,[36] and the onset of a succession of powerful dynasties and empires
for more than two millennia throughout various geographic areas of the
subcontinent, including the growth of Muslim dynasties during the Medieval period
intertwined with Hindu powers; the advent of European traders resulting in the
establishment of the British rule; and the subsequent independence movement that
led to the Partition of India and the creation of the Republic of India.

The Indian people established during ancient, medieval to early eighteenth century
some of the greatest empires and dynasties in South Asian history like the Maurya
Empire, Satavahana dynasty, Gupta Empire, Rashtrakuta dynasty, Chalukya Empire,
Chola Empire, Karkota Empire, Pala Empire, Vijayanagara Empire, Maratha Empire and
Sikh Empire.The first great Empire of the Indian people was the Maurya Empire
having Patliputra(currently Patna, Bihar) as its capital, conquered the major part
of South Asia in the 4th and 3rd century BC during the reign of the Indian Emperors
Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka alongside their senior advisor, Acharya Chanakya,
the pioneer of the field of political science and economics in the World. The next
great ancient Empire of the Indian people was the Gupta Empire. This period,
witnessing a Hindu religious and intellectual resurgence, is known as the classical
or "Golden Age of India". During this period, aspects of Indian civilisation,
administration, culture, and Hinduism and Buddhism spread to much of Asia, while
Chola Empire in the south had flourishing maritime trade links with the Roman
Empire during this period. The ancient Indian mathematicians Aryabhata, Bhaskara I
and Brahmagupta invented the concept of zero and the Hindu�Arabic numeral system
decimal system during this period.[37] During this period Indian cultural influence
spread over many parts of Southeast Asia which led to the establishment of
Indianized kingdoms in Southeast Asia.[38]

Maratha Empire: Territory under Maratha control in 1760 (yellow), without its
During the early medieval period the great Rashtrakuta dynasty dominated the major
part of the Indian subcontinent. from the 8th to 10th century and the Indian
Emperor Amoghavarsha of the Rashtrakuta Dynasty was described by the Arab traveller
Sulaiman as one of the four great kings of the world.[39] The medieval south Indian
mathematician Mahavira lived in the Rashtrakuta dynasty and was the first Indian
mathematician who separated astrology from mathematics and who wrote the earliest
Indian text entirely devoted to mathematics.[40] The greatest maritime Empire of
the medieval Indians was the Chola dynasty. Under the great Indian Emperors
Rajaraja Chola I and his successor Rajendra Chola I the Chola dynasty became a
military, economic and cultural power in South Asia and South-East Asia.[41][42]
The power of the Chola empire was proclaimed to the eastern world by the expedition
to the Ganges which Rajendra Chola I undertook and by the occupation of cities of
the maritime empire of Srivijaya in Southeast Asia, as well as by the repeated
embassies to China.[43]

During the late medieval period the great Vijayanagara Empire dominated the major
part of southern India from the 14th to 16th century and reached its peak during
the reign of the south Indian Emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya[44] The medieval Kerala
School of Astronomy and Mathematics flourished during this period under such well
known south Indian mathematicians as Madhava (c. 1340-1425) who made important
contributions to Trigonometery and Calculus, and Nilakhanta (c. 1444-1545) who
postulated on the orbitals of planets.[45]

The Mughal Empire unified much of Indian sub-continent under one realm. Under the
Mughals India developed a strong and stable economy, leading to commercial
expansion and greater patronage of culture. This marked a huge influence in the
Indian society.[46] The Mughal Empire balanced and pacified local societies through
new administrative practices[47][48] and had diverse and inclusive ruling elites,
[49] leading to more systematic, centralised, and uniform rule.[50] Newly coherent
social groups in northern and western India, such as the Marathas, the Rajputs, the
Pathans, the Jats and the Sikhs, gained military and governing ambitions during
Mughal rule, which, through collaboration or adversity, gave them both recognition
and military experience.[51][52][53][54]

The Marathas and Sikhs emerged in the 17th century and established the Maratha
Empire and Sikh Empire which became the dominant power in India in the 18th
century.[55] The Maratha Empire is credited to a large extent for ending the Mughal
rule in India.[56][57][58][59] The empire at its peak stretched from Tamil Nadu in
the south, to Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the north[60] and Bengal and Andaman
Islands in the east.[61]

Main articles: Culture of India and Greater India
India is one of the world's oldest civilisations.[62] The Indian culture, often
labelled as an amalgamation of several various cultures, spans across the Indian
subcontinent and has been influenced and shaped by a history that is several
thousand years old.[63][64] Throughout the history of India, Indian culture has
been heavily influenced by Dharmic religions.[65] They have been credited with
shaping much of Indian philosophy, literature, architecture, art and music.[66]
Greater India was the historical extent of Indian culture beyond the Indian
subcontinent. This particularly concerns the spread of Hinduism, Buddhism,
architecture, administration and writing system from India to other parts of Asia
through the Silk Road by the travellers and maritime traders during the early
centuries of the Common Era.[67][68] To the west, Greater India overlaps with
Greater Persia in the Hindu Kush and Pamir Mountains.[69] During medieval period,
Islam played a significant role in shaping Indian cultural heritage[70] Over the
centuries, there has been significant integration of Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs with
Muslims across India[71][72]

Main articles: Religion in India, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam,
Christianity, and Irreligion in India

Goddess Lakshmi on gold coinage issued under Gupta Empire, c. 380 AD

Holi is a major Indian festival celebrated every spring.

India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, collectively
known as Indian religions.[65] Indian religions, also known as Dharmic religions
are a major form of world religions along with Abrahamic ones. Today, Hinduism and
Buddhism are the world's third- and fourth-largest religions respectively, with
over 1 billion followers altogether,[73][74][75] and possibly as many as 1.5 or 1.6
billion followers.[73][76] Throughout India's history, religion has been an
important part of the country's culture. Religious diversity and religious
tolerance are both established in the country by the law and by custom; the
Constitution of India has declared the right to freedom of religion to be a
fundamental right.[77]

Atheism and agnosticism have a long history in India and flourished within Srama?a
movement.[78] The Carvaka school originated in India around the 6th century BCE and
is one of the earliest form of materialistic and atheistic movement in ancient
India.[79][80][81] Sramana, Buddhism, Jainism, Ajivika and some schools of Hinduism
like Samkhya consider atheism to be valid and reject the concept of creator deity,
ritualism and supernaturalism.[82][83][84] India has produced some notable atheist
politicians and social reformers.[85][86]

According to the 2011 census, 79.8% of the population of India practices Hinduism
and 14.2% adheres to Islam, while the remaining 7.37% adheres to other religions,
mostly Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Christianity.[87] Zoroastrianism and Judaism
each has several thousands of Indian adherents, and also have an ancient history in
India.[88] India has the largest population of people adhering to Zoroastrianism
and Bah�'� Faith in the world, even though these two religions are not native to
India.[89] Many other world religions also have a relationship with Indian
spirituality, such as the Bah�'� Faith which recognises Buddha and Krishna as
manifestations of the God Almighty.[90] Despite the strong role of religion in
Indian life, atheism and agnostics also have visible influence along with a self-
ascribed tolerance to other people. According to the 2012 WIN-Gallup Global Index
of Religion and Atheism report, 81% of Indians were religious, 13% were not
religious, 3% were convinced atheists, and 3% were unsure or did not respond.[91]

Traditionally, Indian society is grouped according to their caste. It's a system in

which social stratification within various social sections defined by thousands of
endogamous hereditary groups are often termed jati or castes. Within a jati, there
exists exogamous groups known as gotras, the lineage or clan of an individuals.[92]
Caste barriers have mostly broken down in cities but still exists in some form in
rural areas.[93]

Hinduism is the majority in most states; Kashmir and Lakshadweep are Muslim
majority; Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya are Christian majority; Punjab is a Sikh
majority with Hindus 37%. It is to be noted that while participants in the Indian
census may choose to not declare their religion, there is no mechanism for a person
to indicate that he/she does not adhere to any religion. Due to this limitation in
the Indian census process, the data for persons not affiliated with any religion
may not be accurate. India contains the majority of the world's Hindus, Jains,
Sikhs, Zoroastrians and Bah�'�. Christianity is widespread in the Northeast India,
parts of southern India, particularly in Kerala and among various populations of
Central India. Muslims are the largest religious minority. India is also home to
the third-largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia and Pakistan.[94]


Indian bride in traditional wedding attire

Historically, India had a prevailing tradition of the joint family system or
undivided family. Joint family system is an extended family arrangement prevalent
throughout the Indian subcontinent, particularly in India.[97] The family is headed
by a patriarch, the oldest male, who makes decisions on economic and social matters
on behalf of the entire family. The patriarch's wife generally exerts control over
the household, minor religious practices and often wields considerable influence in
domestic matters. A patrilineal joint family consists of an older man and his wife,
his sons and unmarried daughters, his sons� wives and children. Family income flows
into a common pool, from which resources are drawn to meet the needs of all
members, which are regulated by the heads of the family.[98] However, with
modernisation and economic development, India has witnessed a break up of
traditional joint family into more nuclear families and the traditional joint
family in India accounted for a small percent of Indian households.[99][100]

Arranged marriages have been the tradition in Indian society. Marriage is

considered a union of the two families rather than just the individuals, the
process involved in an arranged marriage can be different depending on the
communities and families. Recent survey study found that fewer marriages are purely
arranged without consent and that the majority of surveyed Indian marriages are
arranged with consent.[101] The study also suggested that Indian culture is
trending away from traditional arranged marriages, they find that the marriage
trends in India are similar to trends observed over last 40 years where arranged
marriages was previously common, particularly in China and Japan.[101]

India's clothing styles have continuously evolved over the course of history.
Cotton was first cultivated in Indian subcontinent around the 5th millennium BC.
[102] Dyes used during this period are still in use, particularly indigo, red
madder, lac and turmeric.[103] Silk was woven around 2450 BC and 2000 BC.[104][105]
In 11th-century BC Rig-veda mentions dyed and embroidered garments known as
paridhan and pesas respectively and thus highlights the development of
sophisticated garment manufacturing techniques during this period.[106] In the 5th
century BCE, Greek historian Herodotus describes the richness of the quality of
Indian textiles.[107] By the 2nd century AD, cotton, muslins and silk textiles
manufactured in India were imported by the Roman Empire and was one of the major
exports of ancient India to other parts of the world along with Indian spices and
Wootz steel.[108] Traditional Indian clothing greatly varies across different parts
of the country and is influenced by local culture, geography and climate. Women
traditionally wear Sari, Gagra Choli, Angarkha, Phiran, Shalwar Kameez, Gharara and
Bandi with Dupatta or Ghoonghat worn over head or shoulder to complete the outfit.
[109] Men traditionally wear Angarkha, Achkan, Kurta, Kameez, Phiran, Sherwani and
Koti for upper garment, lower garment includes Dhoti, Churidar, Shalwar, and Lungi.
Pagri is usually worn around head to complete the outfit.[110] In urban centres,
people often wear western clothing and variety of other contemporary fashion.[111]

Main article: Indian cuisine

Vegetarian thali with naan, daal, raita and papad

Indian food varies from region to region. Staple foods of Indian cuisine include a
variety of lentils (dal), whole-wheat flour (a??a), rice and pearl millet (bajra),
which has been cultivated in Indian subcontinent since 6200 BCE.[112][113] Over
time, segments of the population embraced vegetarianism during Srama?a
movement[114][115] while an equitable climate permitted a variety of fruits,
vegetables, and grains to be grown throughout the year. A food classification
system that categorised any item as saatvic, raajsic or taamsic developed in Yoga
tradition.[116][117] The Bhagavad Gita prescribed certain dietary practices. During
this period, consumption of various types of meat became taboo, due to being
considered sacred or impure.[118][119] Indian cuisines use numerous ingredients,
deploy a wide range of food preparation styles, cooking techniques and culinary
presentation depending on geographical location.[120]

Performing arts
Main articles: Music of India and Dance in India

Kathakali one of classical theatre forms of India

The oldest preserved examples of Indian music are the melodies of the Samaveda
(1000 BC) that are still sung in certain Srauta sacrifices; this is the earliest
account of Indian musical hymns.[121] The Samaveda, and other Hindu texts, heavily
influenced India's classical music tradition, which is known today in two distinct
styles: Hindustani music and Carnatic music. Both the Hindustani and Carnatic music
systems are based on the melodic base known as Raga, sung to a rhythmic cycle known
as Tala. These principles were refined in the natyasastra (200 BC) and the dattilam
(300 AD).[122]

The natyasastrais an ancient Indian treatise on the performing arts, encompassing

theatre, dance and music. It was written during the period between 200 BCE and 200
CE in classical India and is traditionally attributed to the Sage Bharata.[123]
Natya Shastra is incredibly wide in its scope. While it primarily deals with
stagecraft, it has come to influence music, classical dance, and literature as
well. It covers stage design, music, dance, makeup, and virtually every other
aspect of stagecraft.

Indian drama and theatre has a long history alongside its music and dance. One of
the earliest known theatre play is M?cchakatika composed by Sudraka. Followed by
Asvagho?a's Sariputraprakara?a and Bhasa's Swapnavasavadatta and Pancharatra. Most
notable works are Kalidasa's Abhij�anasakuntala, Vikramorvasiya and
Malavikagnimitra. Harsha's Ratnavali, Priyadarsika, and Naganandam, other notable
ancient dramatists include Bhatta Narayana, Bhavabhuti, Vishakhadatta,
Thirayattam[124] and Viswanatha Kaviraja.[125]

Notable fable story-plays Panchatantra, Baital Pachisi, Kathasaritsagara,

Brihatkatha and Jataka tales were performed in folk theatres since ancient period.
[126] Jataka tales has become part of Southeast and East Asian folklore with the
spread of Buddhism. These literature's were also influential in development of One
Thousand and One Nights during medieval period.[127]

Contribution and discoveries

Main articles: List of Indian inventions and discoveries and history of science and
technology in the Indian subcontinent
Indian people have played a major role in the development of the philosophy,
sciences, mathematics, arts, architecture and astronomy throughout history. During
the ancient period, notable mathematics accomplishment of India included
Hindu�Arabic numeral system with decimal place-value and a symbol for zero,
interpolation formula, Fibonacci's identity, theorem, the first complete arithmetic
solution (including zero and negative solutions) to quadratic equations.[128]
Chakravala method, sign convention, madhava series, and the sine and cosine in
trigonometric functions can be traced to the jya and koti-jya.[129] Notable
military inventions include war elephants, crucible steel weapons popularly known
as Damascus steel and Mysorean rockets.[130] Other notable inventions during
ancient period include chess, cotton, sugar, fired bricks, carbon pigment ink,
ruler, lac, lacquer, stepwell, indigo dye, snake and ladder, muslin, ludo, calico,
Wootz steel, incense clock, shampoo, palampore, chintz, and prefabricated home.

Indian cultural aspects, religions, philosophy, arts and architecture have

developed over several millennia and have spread through much of Asia in peaceful
manner.[68] Many architectural structures of India such as Sanchi Stupa, Taj Mahal
and Mahabodhi Temple are UNESCO World Heritage sites today.[131]

In modern times, Indian people have continued to contribute to mathematics,

sciences and astrophysics. Among them are Satyendra Nath Bose, Srinivasa Ramanujan,
Jagadish Chandra Bose, Meghnad Saha, Homi J. Bhabha, Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis
and notable Nobel Prize recipients C. V. Raman, Har Gobind Khorana, Venkatraman
Ramakrishnan and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar who is notable for currently accepted
theory on the later evolutionary stages of massive stars, including black holes.
National personification
Bharat Mata (Hindi, from Sanskrit ???? ????, Bharata Mata), Mother India, or
Bharatamba (from ???? amba 'mother') is the national personification of India as a
mother goddess.

The image of Bharat Mata formed with the Indian independence movement of the late
19th century. A play by Kiran Chandra Bandyopadhyay, Bharat Mata, was first
performed in 1873. She is usually depicted as a woman clad in an orange or saffron
sari holding a flag, and sometimes accompanied by a lion.[133]

Indian diaspora
Main article: Non-resident Indian and person of Indian origin
Although, population groups originating in different parts of the Indian
subcontinent and within the international borders of the modern country of India
had been migrating to south east Asia, far east Asia, central Asia, north Africa
and even along the European mediterranean coast, the Indian diaspora generally
socio-politically or historically refers to those whose families or themselves
migrated to other parts of the world after the British Empire established itself in
India. Population estimates vary from a conservative 12 million to 20 million

Main article: British Indian
The British Indian community had grown to number over one million. According to the
2001 UK Census, 1,053,411 Britons had full Indian ethnicity (representing 1.8% of
the UK's population). An overwhelming majority of 99.3% resided in England (in 2008
the figure is thought to be around 97.0%). In the seven-year period between 2001
and 2009, the number of Indian-born people in the UK increased in size by 38% from
467,634 to around 647,000 (an increase of approximately 180,000).[136]

Main article: Indo-Canadians
There are over 1.5 million people of Indian origin or ancestry in Canada, the
majority of which live in Greater Toronto and Vancouver, with growing communities
in Alberta and Quebec. Nearly 4% of the total Canadian population is of Indian
ancestry, a figure higher than both the United States and Britain. According to
Statistics Canada, Indo-Canadians are one of the fastest growing visible minority
groups in Canada, making up the second largest non-European ethnic group in the
country after Chinese Canadians. The Indo-Canadian community can trace its history
in Canada back 120 years to 1897 when a contingent of Sikh soldiers visited the
western coast of Canada, primarily British Columbia which at the time was very
sparsely populated and the Canadian government wanted to settle in order to prevent
a takeover of the territory by the United States.

South Africa
Main article: Indian South Africans
More than a million people of Indian descent live in South Africa, concentrated
around the city of Durban.

Main article: Indians in Tanzania
About 40,000 people of Indian origin live in Tanzania mostly in the urban areas.

United States
Main article: Indian American
According to the American Community Survey of the US Census Bureau, the Indian
American population in the United States grew from almost 1.67 million in 2000 to
3.1 million in 2010 which is the third-largest Asian American community in the
United States after Chinese Americans and Filipino Americans.
Main articles: Indo-Caribbean, Indo-Caribbean American, British Indo-Caribbean
people, Indo-Canadians � Indians from the Caribbean, Indians in the Netherlands,
and Indian diaspora in France
Indians from the Hindi Belt and other parts of South Asia; primarily the Awadhi,
Bhojpuri, and Purvanchal regions of the Hindi Belt in the present-day states of
Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh in India and the
Terai and Madhesh regions of the Hindi Belt in Provinces No. 2, No. 3, and No. 5 in
Nepal were sent to the Caribbean by the British, French, and Dutch, from the 1830s
to the 1920s as indentured laborers to work on the sugarcane, cocoa, rice, and
coffee estates. There are more than a million Indo-Caribbeans. Many of them live in
Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, and Jamaica, but some live in others parts
of the Caribbean. There are also many Indians living in Guadeloupe and Martinique,
who most are of South Indian descent. Many of them have migrated to the United
States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, the Netherlands, and Ireland, and some of
them have migrated to the neighboring Latin American. A majority of them are
Hindus, while there are some Muslims, Christians, Jains, Sikhs, or another
religion. They are known as the descendants of the jahajis or girmityas.[137]

Main article: Genetics and archaeogenetics of South Asia
Recent genome studies appear to show that South Asians are descendants of two major
ancestral components, one component restricted to South Asia and the other
component shared with Central Asia, West Asia and Europe.[138][139]

See also
Lists of people from India by state
South Asian ethnic groups
Ethnic groups in Asia

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