The Religious Transformative Odyssey of Bharat (Part 1): Nationalism or Democracy

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 16 Oct 2023

Prof Hoosen Vawda – TRANSCEND Media Service

“The Government of Bharitiya Janata Party, in India, is practicing Islamic cleansing and Hindu Nationalism under the guise of a pseudo-democracy on 1.3 billion citizenry resulting in significant Peace Disruption.” [1]

Kailasa Temple is one of the largest monolithic structures in the world carved out of a single rock. It is the 16th rock-cut temple and the largest one of all in the Ellora Caves that are spread out for two kilometers in Maharashtra, India.
 It was built by Kannadiga kings of the Rashtrakuta Dynasty from 756 to 773 CE based on the epigraphs found. However, some parts of the temple were completed later by other dynasties, the Pallavas and Chalukyas.

This paper, Part 1, in the series on India and its transformative process to a nationalistic state, discusses the origins, etymology of the name, India and socio-political background of India from antiquity, to a bustling economic giant in the 21st century. This is against an oppressive and exploitative background during the nearly 200 years of British occupation[2] and subjugation of the subcontinent, to the resounding success in the independence struggle in 1947.  However, Peace was indeed short-lived, only to encounter another form of peace disturbance, based on inter-religious violence, commencing during The Partition[3] and ongoing to this day, with Islamophobia and marginalisation of the minority Muslim community in India[4].

A general Map of the Indus River Valley Civilisation in India

It is necessary to contextualise, “The Indus River Valley Civilisation”, in relation to the present-day country of India.  This is also known as the Harappan Civilisation and is recorded to be one of the world’s earliest urban civilisations.  It is considered one of the cradles of human civilisation. Some of the key aspects of the Indus River Valley Civilisation are:

 

Location: The civilisation was located in what is now modern-day Pakistan and northwest India. Its heartland was situated in the basins of the Indus River and its tributaries, including the Ghaggar-Hakra River[5].

 

Time Period: The Indus Valley Civilisation[6] existed from approximately 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE. It was contemporaneous with ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilisations in antiquity.

 

Urban Centres: The civilisation had well-planned cities and towns, including the cities of Harappa[7] and Mohenjo-Daro.[8] These cities featured advanced urban planning with grid-like street layouts, drainage systems, and well-organised housing.

 

Agriculture: The Indus River Valley people were accomplished farmers who cultivated a variety of crops, including wheat, barley, rice, and cotton. They used an efficient irrigation system to support agriculture.

 

Trade and Economy: The civilisation was engaged in long-distance trade with regions as far away as Mesopotamia, presently, in modern Iraq. They traded in goods such as textiles, pottery, and metal objects.

 

Writing System: The Indus script, a writing system of the civilisation, remains undeciphered. This script is found on seals, pottery, and other artefacts.

 

Art and Culture: The civilisation produced distinctive art and pottery, with depictions of animals and human-like figurines. They also had a religion with possibly the worship of deities or symbols, although much of their religious beliefs remain unclear.

 

Decline and Disappearance: The reasons for the decline of the Indus River Valley Civilisation are not definitively known, but factors such as environmental changes, natural disasters, or possible invasions have been proposed. The civilisation gradually declined, and by 1300 BCE, it had largely disappeared.

 

Legacy: The Indus River Valley Civilisation’s legacy can be seen in the cultural and technological contributions it made to later Indian civilisations. Some elements of their culture, such as certain symbols and pottery styles, appear to have influenced subsequent Indian cultures.

 

Archaeological Discoveries: The first evidence of the civilisation was discovered in the early 20th century. Extensive archaeological excavations have provided valuable insights into its history and culture.

 

The Indus River Valley Civilisation is a testament to the early advancements in urban planning, agriculture, and trade. While much remains unknown about the civilisation due to the undeciphered script and other mysteries, it holds an important place in the history of South East Asia and human civilisation as a whole.  The ancient city of Mohenjo-Daro is closely associated with the Indus River Valley Civilisation. It was one of the major urban centres of this ancient civilisation. Some key points about Mohenjo-Daro’s connection to the Indus River Valley Civilisation are:

 

Significance: Mohenjo-Daro is one of the most significant archaeological sites of the Indus River Valley Civilization. The name “Mohenjo-Daro” means “Mound of the Dead” in Sindhi, a language spoken in the Sindh region of Pakistan. It is believed to have been an important cultural, religious and economic city of the ancient civilisation.

 

Urban Planning: Like other cities of the Indus River Valley Civilisation, Mohenjo-Daro exhibited advanced urban planning. The city was laid out in a grid-like pattern, with streets and buildings constructed on a north-south and east-west axis. It featured well-organised residential areas, public baths, and a complex drainage system.

 

Architecture: The city’s architecture included well-constructed houses made of fired brick, with multiple rooms and private bathing areas. The buildings had flat roofs and were designed to stay cool in the hot climate.

 

Trade and Artefacts: Mohenjo-Daro was a centre for trade within the civilisation and with other regions. Archaeological excavations at the site have uncovered a variety of artefacts, including pottery, metal objects, seals, and figurines, many of which are important for understanding the culture and trade of the Indus Valley people.

 

Decline: Like the rest of the Indus Valley Civilization, Mohenjo-Daro also faced a decline, and the reasons for its abandonment are not definitively known. Environmental changes, such as shifts in river courses, natural disasters, and other factors, have been proposed as possible causes.

 

Archaeological Discoveries: The ruins of Mohenjo-Daro were rediscovered in the early 20th century during British colonial rule in India. Subsequent archaeological excavations have provided insights into the city’s history, architecture, and culture.

 

Mohenjo-Daro, along with the city of Harappa, is one of the most iconic sites associated with the Indus Valley Civilization. The preservation of its urban planning and artefacts offers a valuable glimpse into the life of an ancient urban civilization that existed over four millennia ago.

 

The name “India”, has an ancient etymology and is believed to be derived from the River Indus, which has played a significant role in the region’s history. The name “India” is thought to have originated, as follows:

 

Indus River: The name “India” is believed to be derived from the Indus River, which flows through what is now Pakistan and into India. The Indus River is one of the longest rivers in Asia and played a crucial role in the development of ancient civilisations in the region.

 

Sanskrit[9] Origins: The name “India” is thought to have its roots in the Sanskrit language. In Sanskrit, the Indus River is referred to as “Sindhu.” Over time, as languages evolved and phonetic changes occurred, the term “Sindhu[10]” transformed into “Hindu” or “Indu” in various ancient languages.

 

Persian Influence: The Persians, who had contact with the Indian subcontinent in ancient times, used the term “Hindu” to refer to the people and land beyond the Indus River. The Persian term “Hindu” eventually became “Hind” or “Hindustan” and referred to the region of the Indus River and its surroundings.

 

Greek and Latin Influence: The name “India” as we know it today has its origins in the Greek and Latin languages, as well. The ancient Greeks referred to the region as “Indikē” (Ἰνδική), and the Latin name “India” was derived from the Greek term.

 

Historical Usage: The name “India” has been used for centuries to describe the Indian subcontinent. It became a common term in Western languages and is now the internationally recognised name for the country.

 

It is important to note that the term “India” is an exonym, meaning it is a name applied by outsiders to the people and land of the Indian subcontinent. The various languages spoken within India have their own names for the country, such as “Bharat” in Hindi and “Bharatavarsha” in Sanskrit. These names have their own cultural and historical significance. The etymology of the name “India” reflects the complex history of the region and its interactions with various cultures and civilisations over millennia. Therefore it is correct to state that the Indus civilisation was originally Sindus or Hindus and Islam was introduced by Islamic invaders to India. The Indus Valley Civilisation, predates the arrival of both Hinduism and Islam in the Indian subcontinent. It existed from approximately 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE, while the religious and cultural developments associated with Hinduism and Islam occurred later in history.  It is to be noted that the Indus River Valley Civilisation was a Bronze Age urban civilization that thrived in the Indus River basin. It was a pre-Aryan and pre-Vedic civilisation and existed well before the emergence of Hinduism as a major religious tradition. The religious and cultural practices of the Indus Valley people are not fully understood due to the limited decipherment of their script and other factors.

 

Hinduism: Hinduism, one of the world’s oldest religions, gradually developed over centuries and incorporated a wide range of beliefs and practices. It did not have a single founder or a specific point of origin. Some of its early sacred texts, such as the Vedas, predate the Indus Valley Civilisation. The term “Hinduism” itself is believed to have been derived from the term “Sindhu” (Indus) and was initially used to refer to the people living in the region around the Indus River. Hinduism evolved into a complex and diverse religious tradition with various deities, rituals, and philosophies.

 

Islam: Islam was introduced to the Indian subcontinent through the expansion of the Islamic empire and the arrival of Islamic rulers and traders. The spread of Islam in the Indian subcontinent began in the 7th century CE and continued over several centuries. It was significantly influenced by interactions with the existing religious and cultural traditions, including Hinduism and Buddhism. Over time, various Islamic dynasties established themselves in different parts of India, leading to the coexistence of diverse religious and cultural influences.

 

In summary, the Indus River Valley Civilization, while geographically related to the region where later developments in Hinduism and Islam took place, was a distinct and much earlier civilisation. The religious and cultural landscape of the Indian subcontinent evolved over millennia, with Hinduism and Islam emerging at different points in history and significantly influencing the region’s cultural and religious diversities.

 

Interestingly, the Kailasa Temple, also known as the Kailasanatha Temple or the Kailash Temple, is situated in the Ellora Caves complex in Maharashtra, India. The Kailasa Temple is renowned for being a monolithic structure, carved out of a single solid rock, from the top down. It is a remarkable example of ancient Indian rock-cut architecture and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The key features of the Kailasa Temple are:

 

Monolithic Structure: The Kailasa Temple is considered one of the largest monolithic rock-cut structures in the world. It is an astonishing architectural achievement as the entire temple complex, including the main shrine, courtyard, pillars, and sculptures, was excavated vertically from the top of a hill rather than horizontally from the side.

 

Huge Open Courtyard: The temple is surrounded by a vast open courtyard, which is also carved out of the solid rock. The courtyard features intricate carvings, pillars, and a massive Nandi (bull) sculpture in front of the main shrine.

 

Vertical Excavation: The builders of the Kailasa Temple, starting from the top, worked their way down into the rock, chiselling out intricate carvings and structures. The entire temple complex is connected through a network of staircases, halls, and chambers.

 

Pillar “Off the Ground”: One of the most astonishing features is a massive stone pillar located in the courtyard. This pillar appears to be “off the ground” because it is suspended and not directly connected to the bedrock beneath it. The exact engineering technique used to achieve this feat is still a subject of debate and curiosity. Even today, tourists are enthralled by this pillar, at which a tourist is asked for a scarf, by the guide on a conducted tour, which is then inserted under this massive stone pillar to demonstrate that it is “off the ground”  Often such engineering skills of the craftsmen involved in the construction of this ancient temple is attributed to “Aliens”.

 

Intricate Carvings: The temple is adorned with intricate carvings, including depictions of Hindu deities, mythological scenes, and architectural details. The carvings showcase the craftsmanship and artistic skills of the artisans who created the temple, eons ago from a single, solid bedrock.

 

Dedication to Lord Shiva: The Kailasa Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and it is believed to have been constructed in the 8th century under the patronage of the Rashtrakuta King, Krishna I. It is a place of worship and pilgrimage for devotees of Lord Shiva, even in the 21st century.

 

The Kailasa Temple is not only an architectural marvel but also a significant religious and cultural site in India. It is part of the Ellora Caves complex, which includes other rock-cut temples and monasteries dedicated to various religious traditions. The Ellora Caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are a testament to the rich heritage of ancient Indian art and architecture.  The temple is estimated to be around 1,200 to 1,300 years old.  It is important to note that the dating of ancient monuments and temples can sometimes have a degree of uncertainty, and scholars and archaeologists use various methods, including historical inscriptions and architectural features, to estimate their ages. The Kailasa Temple is considered one of the most remarkable achievements of ancient Indian architecture and continues to be a site of cultural and historical significance.  As for its use by devotees in Hinduism, the Kailasa Temple continues to be a place of worship and pilgrimage. Devotees visit the temple to pay their respects to Lord Shiva and to experience the religious and cultural significance of this remarkable heritage site. While it is not used as a traditional temple with daily rituals and priests, it remains an important religious and historical site that draws visitors and devotees from around the world.  The temple complex, including its stunning architectural features and sculptures, serves as a living testament to ancient Indian art and Hindu culture. It continues to be a source of inspiration for those interested in history, art, and spirituality.

 

At this juncture, it is relevant to define a large number of Indegenous individuals specifically found in India.  These are the Sadhus, Swamis, Ascetics, Mystics, Alims Sufis, Muftis, Brahmins. Saints Masters etc. These terms have specific meanings and roles in the cultural and religious contexts of India.  A brief definition of each term is warranted:

 

Sadhu: A “sadhu” is a Hindu ascetic or holy person who renounces material possessions and worldly attachments in pursuit of spiritual goals. Sadhus often lead a nomadic or hermit-like lifestyle and are commonly associated with meditation, religious rituals, and devotion.

 

Swami: “Swami” is a title used to address spiritual teachers, monks, or ascetics in Hinduism. It’s a term of respect and can be used as a prefix to their names.

 

Ascetic: An “ascetic” is an individual who practices severe self-discipline and often renounces material comforts and pleasures for spiritual or religious reasons. Ascetics can be found in various religious traditions in India.

 

Mystic: A “mystic” is someone who seeks direct experiences of the divine or transcendent through meditation, contemplation, or other spiritual practices. Mysticism is present in many Indian religious and philosophical traditions.

 

Alims: “Alims” are Islamic scholars who are well-versed in Islamic law and jurisprudence. They are knowledgeable about religious texts and provide guidance on religious and legal matters within the Islamic tradition.

 

Sufis: “Sufis” are Islamic mystics who seek a direct and personal experience of God’s presence. Sufism emphasizes spiritual practices, including music and dance, to attain spiritual closeness to God.

 

Muftis: A “mufti” is an Islamic legal scholar qualified to issue legal opinions or religious rulings (fatwas) based on Islamic law. Muftis are consulted on matters of Islamic jurisprudence.

 

Brahmins: “Brahmins” are members of the highest varna (caste) in the traditional Hindu caste system. They are traditionally scholars, priests, and teachers, responsible for performing religious rituals and maintaining sacred knowledge.

 

Saints and Masters: “Saints” and “Masters” are individuals who are revered for their spirituality, wisdom, and teachings. They can be found in various religious traditions and are often regarded as spiritual guides and exemplars of a religious or philosophical path.

 

In addition, there is a rather esoteric group, the people who eat partially cremated bodies in Varanasi along the banks of Ganges. The practice is known as “Maha Jiva,” “Aghori,” or “Aghorpanthi.” These individuals are ascetics who follow an unconventional and often misunderstood sect within Hinduism. They are primarily found in and around Varanasi, a sacred city on the banks of the Ganges River in India.  Aghoris believe in the liberation of the soul and seek to transcend conventional societal norms and attachments. While their practices can be seen as unorthodox, it is important to note that they are a small and controversial minority within the broader Hindu tradition. Some of their practices, such as consuming human remains, are intended to challenge the boundaries of human experience and transcend dualities.

 

It is important to recognise that the practices of Aghoris are not representative of mainstream Hinduism or the Hindu population as a whole. Most Hindus do not engage in or support such practices, and they are often viewed with scepticism and concern. Varanasi, being a city with deep spiritual and cultural significance, for all Hindus globally, attracts a diverse range of individuals, including both traditional religious practitioners and those who follow more unconventional paths.  The Aghori sect’s practices have been a subject of curiosity and sometimes controversy, and they are not reflective of the beliefs and practices of the broader Hindu community in India.

 

The often, unique, above terminology represents a wide range of roles and spiritual paths in India, reflecting the country’s rich religious and philosophical diversity. The meanings and practices associated with these terms can vary across different regions, cultures, and religious traditions in India.

 

Therefore, to recapitulate, India has the origins of its name in antiquity, with its precursor based on the Indus River Valley Civilisations having derived its name from a combination of Greek, Sanskrit and the unique, civilisation of Mohenjo Daro. The emergence of Hinduism led to the naming of present day “India” as Bharat in Hindi a “Bharatavarsha”[11] in Sanskrit.  It is also noteworthy, that under the oppressive British Raj, the country was called India, a name which the subcontinent retained, even after the partitioning of India subsequent to gaining independence from the British colonialism in 1947, The traditional “India” was divided in to three sectors based on the religious compositions of its citizens, a strategic “punishment” and exit plan for the departing British imperialists, after independence.  India was literally and arbitrarily cut up into West and East Pakistan, as Islamic territories and the main bulk of the original India, retained as India, principally constituted of Hindus.   Needless to note that the Partition was the largest internal migration and mass displacement of humanity after World War 11 and granting of Independence. The participation, led to an enormous bloodbath, with inter-communal riots between Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, who lived peacefully, with great degree of social cohesion and interfaith tolerance, until independence and the arbitrary division of the nation, based on religious belief, by the British.

 

As a final, attempt, at rekindling the Hindu nationalistic fervour by the leader of the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi, just on the day of the national banquet, afforded to the world leaders attending the G20 summit, hosted by India, the invitations sent out, had the name India removed from the official invites, and replaced by the term “Bharat” as the original name of the State.

 

The Religio-Historical Significance of why is India also called Bharat

 

India is called “Bharat” in Hindi and several other Indian languages due to its historical and cultural significance. The name “Bharat” has its origins in ancient Indian texts and mythology, and it’s one of the two official names of the country, the other being “India.”

 

The reasons why India is also called Bharat:

 

Historical and Hindu Scriptural Roots: “Bharat” is derived from the ancient Indian epic, the “Mahabharata.” According to Hindu scriptural texts, Bharat was one of the sons of King Dushyanta and Queen Shakuntala, and he is regarded as an illustrious ancestor of the Kuru dynasty. The name “Bharat” was associated with the lineage of Indian kings and, over time, came to symbolise the entire subcontinent.

 

Linguistic Connection: The name “Bharat” is deeply rooted in the Sanskrit language, which is one of the oldest languages of the Indian subcontinent. “Bharat” is derived from the Sanskrit word “Bharata,” which means “to be maintained” or “to be cherished.” This name carries a sense of cultural and national identity.

 

Cultural Significance: “Bharat” represents a more indigenous and culturally significant name for the country. It emphasizes the deep historical and cultural roots of the Indian subcontinent and its unity as a nation.

 

Constitutional Recognition: The name “Bharat” is officially recognized in the Constitution of India. Article 1 of the Indian Constitution mentions that “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.” This dual nomenclature reflects the diverse linguistic and cultural heritage of the country.

 

While “Bharat” is commonly used in Hindi and some other Indian languages, “India” is the internationally recognized name for the country. Both names are used interchangeably, and the choice of name often depends on the language, context, and the preference of the speakers or the authors.

 

If the population statistics are examined, according to the 2011 Census of India, the total population of India was approximately 1.3 billion people. However, these figures are based on the 2011 census data, and more recent population figures suggest that the population of India is now 1,428,627,663 people[12].  The current population of India is 1,432,341,097 as of Friday, October 13, 2023, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data. India 2023 population is estimated at 1,428,627,663 people at mid-year. India population is equivalent to 17.76% of the total world population. India ranks number 1 in the list of countries (and dependencies) by population. The population density in India is 481 per Km2 (1,244 people per mi2). The total land area is 2,973,190 Km2 (1,147,955 sq. miles) 36.3 % of the population is urban (518,239,122 people in 2023). The median age in India is 28.2 years.[13]  Data on ethnicity is not collected by the Indian census, although the CIA World Factbook estimates the population is 72% Indo-Aryan, 25% Dravidian, and 3% Mongoloid and other.[14] Hinduism is the most common religion in India, accounting for about 80% of the population. Islam is the second-largest religion at 13% of the population. Other major religious groups in India are Christians (2.3%), Sikhs (1.9%), Buddhists (0.8%) and Jains (0.4%). People who claimed no religion are officially recorded under ‘other’ by the census. In 2011, 0.9% of Indians selected the ‘No Religion’ category.

 

While the number of Indians living in urban areas has increased over the last two decades, about 67% of people still live in rural areas. In 2011, India had a literacy rate of 74%: 82% for men and 65% for women. The literacy rate varies wildly by state. Bihar is the least literate with a rate of 63.82%.

 

The population of India uses numerous languages to converse across the county. These languages include English, Hindi, and Tamil along with many additional tongues and dialects; however, the former two languages (English and Hindi) are the official languages of the Indian Government. Additionally, 44% of the population uses Hindi as their mother tongue.

 

As of the 2011 Census of India, the population of India had the following approximate age distribution:

 

Geriatric Population (60 years and above): The geriatric population constituted around 8.6% of the total population.

 

Children (0-6 years): Children in the 0-6 age group, often referred to as “the child population,” comprised about 13.1% of the total population.

 

Youth (15-24 years): The youth population in the 15-24 age group was approximately 19% of the total population.

 

These figures are based on the 2011 census data, and demographic patterns can change over time due to factors such as birth rates, mortality rates, and migration.

 

The current ranking of India’s quality of life is 49 out of 66, giving it a quality of life index of 121.61. The health care ratio is 68.04, and the cost of living index is 23.81.[15]  The first comprehensive nationwide census was carried out under the auspices of Lord Ripon, the British Viceroy of India at the time, and counted a population of 288 million in 1881. Since then, a census has been held every ten years in India.  As of the 2011 Census of India, the total population was approximately 1.3 billion. The approximate breakdown of the population by gender, is total Male Population: Approximately 623.7 million and Total Female Population: Approximately 586.5 million.

 

The average life expectancy in India, China, and the USA in the 21st century can be compared as follows:

 

India: The average life expectancy in India has been steadily increasing in the 21st century but is generally lower compared to many developed countries. As of my last update, it was around 68-69 years.

 

China: China has experienced a significant increase in life expectancy in the 21st century due to improvements in healthcare, living standards, and other factors. As of my last update, the average life expectancy in China was around 76-77 years.

 

USA: The United States has had a relatively high average life expectancy compared to many other countries. As of my last update, the average life expectancy in the USA was around 76-78 years.

 

These figures are approximate and based on data available up to the last census. Life expectancy can vary within countries based on various factors such as socioeconomic status, access to healthcare, and lifestyle. It is important to note that life expectancy can change over time due to advancements in healthcare, changes in lifestyle, and other factors.

 

India is an incredibly diverse country with a rich tapestry of ethnicities, languages, and cultures. The population of India is composed of various ethnic and linguistic groups. Some of the major ethnic and linguistic groups in India include:

 

Indo-Aryans: Indo-Aryans are the largest ethnic group in India, and they speak various Indo-Aryan languages. Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, and Marathi are some of the languages spoken by Indo-Aryan communities.

 

Dravidians: Dravidians are primarily found in the southern part of India and speak Dravidian languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam.

 

Bengalis: The Bengali ethnic group is prominent in the state of West Bengal and parts of Bangladesh. They primarily speak the Bengali language.

 

Punjabis: The Punjabi community is concentrated in the northern state of Punjab and primarily speaks the Punjabi language.

 

Gujaratis: Gujaratis are from the western state of Gujarat and speak the Gujarati language.

 

Marathas: Marathas are mainly found in the state of Maharashtra and speak Marathi.

 

South Indian Ethnicities: South India is home to a diverse range of ethnic groups, including Tamils, Telugus, Kannadigas, and Malayalis. These groups have distinct languages and cultures.

 

North-eastern Ethnicities: The north-eastern region of India is incredibly diverse, with numerous ethnic groups and languages. Some well-known ethnicities in the northeast include Assamese, Nagas, Mizos, and Manipuris.

 

Tribal Ethnicities: India is also home to numerous tribal communities, each with its own distinct culture, languages, and traditions. Some of the prominent tribal groups include Gonds, Santhals, and Bhils.

 

Other Ethnic Groups: India has a multitude of smaller ethnic communities, including Sikhs, Jains, Jews, Parsis (Zoroastrians), and Buddhists.

 

It is important to note that India’s diversity extends beyond ethnicity to include religion, caste, and regional identities. This diversity is one of the defining features of India and contributes to the country’s rich cultural heritage. The Indian government officially recognizes many of these groups, particularly through the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes categories, which are designed to provide affirmative action and representation to historically disadvantaged communities.

 

India is a religiously diverse country with a rich tapestry of religious traditions. The major religions practiced in India include:

 

Hinduism: Hinduism is the largest religion in India, with the majority of the population identifying as Hindus. It is a complex and diverse religious tradition with a wide range of beliefs, practices, and deities.

 

Islam: Islam is the second-largest religion in India. It is followed by a significant portion of the population, and India has one of the largest Muslim populations in the world.

 

Christianity: Christianity has a significant presence in India, with a sizeable Christian population. Various Christian denominations and sects are practiced across the country.

 

Sikhism: Sikhism originated in the Punjab region of India, and it has a significant following in northern India, particularly in the state of Punjab.

 

Buddhism: India is the birthplace of Buddhism, and while it has a relatively small number of adherents in India today, it is still an important religious tradition in the country.

 

Jainism: Jainism, an ancient religion that emphasizes non-violence and asceticism, has a significant following in India, particularly in the western state of Gujarat and some other regions.

 

Other Religions: India is also home to a variety of other religions and belief systems, including Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and various tribal and indigenous faiths.

 

It is important to note that religious diversity is a hallmark of India, and there are numerous sects, subgroups, and syncretic traditions within each major religion. Additionally, India has a long history of religious tolerance and pluralism, with followers of different faiths coexisting and often participating in each other’s religious and cultural festivals.

 

The religious demographics in India can change over time, and the country’s religious landscape is characterised by a wide range of beliefs and practices.

 

India has a significant and diverse expatriate community. However, the exact percentage of expatriates in the Indian population can vary widely depending on how one defines “expatriate” and the time frame of reference.

 

Expatriates in India include a variety of individuals, such as:

 

Foreign nationals residing in India for work, study, or other purposes.

People of Indian origin (often referred to as “Non-Resident Indians” or NRIs) who have returned to India or are living in India temporarily.

Individuals from neighbouring countries (e.g., Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh) who may live and work in India.

The percentage of the population constituted by expatriates may be relatively small compared to the overall population, but it can still be significant in certain areas or cities with a high concentration of international businesses, educational institutions, and diplomatic missions.

 

India has a multi-party political system with a wide range of political parties at the national and state levels. Some of the prominent political parties in India include:

 

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP): The BJP is one of the two major national parties in India and is currently in power at the central government. It is often associated with right-wing and Hindu nationalist ideologies.

 

Indian National Congress (INC): The INC is one of the oldest political parties in India and has a long history of involvement in Indian politics. It is considered a center-left party.

 

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP): The BSP primarily represents the interests of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and is known for its focus on social justice and empowerment.

 

Samajwadi Party (SP): The SP is a regional party with influence in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It has a socialist and secular agenda.

 

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP): The AAP is a relatively new political party with a strong presence in Delhi. It emphasizes anti-corruption and good governance.

 

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK): The DMK is a prominent party in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, advocating for Tamil regional interests.

 

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK): AIADMK is another major political party in Tamil Nadu with a significant presence in state politics.

 

Shiv Sena: The Shiv Sena is a regional party based in the state of Maharashtra. It primarily advocates for the interests of the Marathi-speaking population.

 

Trinamool Congress: This party is influential in the state of West Bengal and is known for its regional and secular stance.

 

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP): The NCP is a political party with a significant presence in Maharashtra and other states. It was formed by former members of the INC.

 

Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M): These are two of the major communist parties in India and have a presence in several states.

 

Telugu Desam Party (TDP): The TDP primarily operates in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, advocating for regional interests.

 

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD): The RJD is a political party with influence in the state of Bihar.

 

Biju Janata Dal (BJD): The BJD is a regional party in the state of Odisha, focusing on regional development.

 

Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)): JD(U) is a political party with influence in the state of Bihar.

 

These are just a few of the many political parties in India. The political landscape in India is highly dynamic, with parties at the national and state levels, and new parties can emerge or existing ones can change their positions and alliances over time.

 

 

The Indian National Congress (INC) was the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament. The official opposition in the Lok Sabha is typically the political party or coalition with the second-largest number of seats in the house.

 

However, the specific composition of the opposition can change with each election, and other parties may also play a significant role in the opposition.  The last general election in India was held in April and May 2019. This election determined the composition of the 17th Lok Sabha (the lower house of the Indian Parliament). The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies secured a majority, and Narendra Modi was re-elected as the Prime Minister of India. These elections occur every five years to choose the members of the Lok Sabha.  Since India holds an election, every five years, the next election is scheduled for 2024.

 

In the 2019 Indian general elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured victory by forming alliances with other political parties under the umbrella of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The NDA is a coalition of several parties, with the BJP as the largest and leading member.

 

While the BJP itself won a significant number of seats, it was in coalition with other parties, including the Shiv Sena, Janata Dal (United), and others, that the NDA secured a majority in the Lok Sabha. The BJP and its allies together won a majority of seats, allowing the BJP to form the government, and Narendra Modi was re-elected as Prime Minister. The NDA secured a total of 353 out of 545 seats in the Lok Sabha.

 

The Lok Sabha is the lower house of the Parliament of India. It is one of the two houses of India’s bicameral legislature, with the other being the Rajya Sabha, which is the upper house. Here’s what the term “Lok Sabha” means:

 

Name and Origin: “Lok Sabha” is a Hindi term that translates to “House of the People” in English. It reflects the idea that members of the Lok Sabha represent the people of India.

 

Composition: Members of the Lok Sabha are directly elected by the eligible voters of India. The number of seats in the Lok Sabha is fixed at 545 (as of my last knowledge update), with 543 seats for elected members and 2 seats for nominated members from the Anglo-Indian community. The allocation of seats to various states and union territories is based on population, as determined by the decennial census.

 

Functions: The Lok Sabha plays a crucial role in the legislative process in India. It is responsible for passing laws, scrutinizing and amending bills, and providing oversight of the executive branch (the government). The Lok Sabha also has the power to remove the Prime Minister and other members of the Council of Ministers through a vote of no confidence.

 

Duration: The Lok Sabha’s term is five years, but it can be dissolved earlier and elections called before the completion of its term. This can occur in the event of a vote of no confidence, the Prime Minister’s advice to the President, or the President’s discretion.

 

Leadership: The Lok Sabha[16] is presided over by the Speaker, who is elected by its members. The Speaker is responsible for maintaining order during debates, deciding who may speak, and ensuring that parliamentary rules and procedures are followed.

 

The Lok Sabha is a key institution in India’s democratic system, and it represents the will of the people. It is where most legislative business and debates take place, and it plays a central role in the governance and law-making processes of the country.

 

The “upper house” in the Indian Parliament is known as the Rajya Sabha. It is one of the two houses of India’s bicameral (two-chamber) legislature, with the other being the Lok Sabha, which is the lower house. The Rajya Sabha serves as the upper house, or the Council of States, while the Lok Sabha is known as the lower house, or the House of the People.

 

Here are some key features of the Rajya Sabha:

 

Composition: Members of the Rajya Sabha are not directly elected by the public. Instead, they are chosen by the elected members of the State Legislative Assemblies. The President of India can also nominate up to 12 members with expertise in various fields, such as literature, science, art, and social service.

 

Role and Functions: The Rajya Sabha plays a vital role in India’s federal system. It represents the interests of the states and union territories in the national legislative process. It reviews and revises legislation initiated by the Lok Sabha and provides a forum for in-depth debates on various issues.

 

Duration: Members of the Rajya Sabha [17]have a six-year term, and one-third of its members retire and are replaced every two years. This system provides for continuity and ensures that not all members are elected at the same time.

 

Leadership: The Rajya Sabha is presided over by a Vice President of India, who is also the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. In the absence of the Vice President, the Deputy Chairman presides over the proceedings.

 

Powers: While the Rajya Sabha has legislative and deliberative powers similar to the Lok Sabha, it has certain distinct powers, such as the power to initiate and amend bills related to specific subjects listed in the Constitution’s Seventh Schedule.

 

The Rajya Sabha is an essential part of the Indian parliamentary system and provides for a thorough examination of proposed legislation. It serves as a forum for experienced lawmakers and experts to contribute to the law-making process and scrutinize the actions of the executive branch of government.

 

In the Indian parliamentary system, both houses of Parliament, the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States), play important roles in the legislative process, similar to the United States Congress and the Senate. However, there are some key differences in their roles:

 

Lok Sabha (House of the People): The Lok Sabha is the lower house of the Indian Parliament and is often considered the primary legislative body. It has several crucial legislative powers, including:

 

Introducing, debating, and passing bills related to most subjects.

Initiating and passing the budget.

Passing motions of no confidence against the government.

Participating in legislative committees to scrutinize and amend bills.

Passing money bills, which only require Lok Sabha approval.

The Lok Sabha is directly elected by the people, and it represents the will of the people on most legislative matters.

 

Rajya Sabha (Council of States): The Rajya Sabha is the upper house of the Indian Parliament. Its role in the legislative process is primarily as a revising chamber. Its functions include:

 

Reviewing and amending bills passed by the Lok Sabha. It cannot veto bills indefinitely but can delay them for a limited time.

Discussing and debating important national and international issues.

Bringing a fresh perspective to legislation by representing the interests of states and union territories.

The Rajya Sabha is composed of members chosen by State Legislative Assemblies and nominated members. It represents the interests of the states in the national legislative process.

 

In summary, both houses of the Indian Parliament contribute to the legislative process, but the Lok Sabha holds more authority in initiating and passing most bills. The Rajya Sabha serves as a revising chamber, offering a platform for in-depth debates and allowing for the consideration of bills from the perspective of the states and other stakeholders. Together, they make up the Indian Parliament, which is equivalent to the United States Congress.

The New Parliament Building New Delhi, adjoining the Old Parliament Complex in India, was inaugurated on 28th May 2023 by Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi..

 Evaluating the economic progress of a country under a particular political party or government can be complex and multifaceted. India’s economic performance is influenced by a wide range of factors, including domestic and global economic conditions, policies, and structural changes. While the Bharatiya Janata Party [18](BJP) has been in power for various terms at the central government level, the overall assessment of India’s economic progress can vary depending on the time frame and the specific economic indicators considered. Here are some key points to consider:

 

Economic Growth: India has experienced significant economic growth in the 21st century, and this growth has continued during periods of BJP rule. India’s GDP has expanded, and it has become one of the world’s largest economies. However, the rate of growth has fluctuated over time.

 

Economic Reforms: The BJP-led government has introduced economic reforms and policy initiatives, such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the “Make in India” campaign, and initiatives to improve the ease of doing business.

 

Fiscal Policies: The government’s fiscal policies, including budgetary decisions and tax reforms, have played a role in shaping India’s economic landscape.

 

Infrastructure Development: The BJP government has focused on infrastructure development, including highways, railways, and digital infrastructure.

 

Foreign Investment: India has attracted foreign investment in various sectors, which has contributed to economic growth.

 

Challenges: Despite progress, India faces challenges such as income inequality, poverty, unemployment, and disparities in regional development.

 

It is essential to note that the assessment of economic progress can be a matter of debate, and the impact of government policies on the economy can take time to fully materialize. Additionally, external factors, such as global economic trends, can influence a country’s economic performance.

 

Various global organizations and rating agencies had provided assessments of India’s economy. Here are some key points from that time:

 

GDP Growth: India’s economy had faced challenges in the preceding years, including the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there were signs of economic recovery, and India’s GDP growth rate was expected to rebound. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other organizations projected moderate growth for India in 2021.

 

Reforms: The Indian government had initiated economic reforms, particularly in areas like ease of doing business, taxation (e.g., the Goods and Services Tax), and labor laws, to improve the business and investment climate.

 

Challenges: India faced challenges such as high unemployment, income inequality, and the need for substantial infrastructure development. The agricultural sector was also undergoing changes, including farmer protests and discussions on agricultural reforms.

 

Global Ranking: India was ranked as one of the world’s largest economies, and it remained an attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI).

 

Inflation: Inflation rates in India were being monitored closely, as they could have implications for economic stability.

 

Government Debt: The government’s fiscal policies and levels of public debt were being analyzed in the context of fiscal consolidation.

 

It is important to note that economic conditions can change rapidly, and the situation can evolve over time. The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy added an extra layer of complexity.

 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in India has implemented various economic policies and reforms with the aim of improving the country’s economy. While the assessment of the impact of these policies can vary, here are some of the key initiatives and measures that the BJP government has undertaken to address economic challenges and promote economic growth:

 

Goods and Services Tax (GST): The introduction of the GST, a comprehensive indirect tax reform, aimed to simplify the tax system, reduce tax evasion, and create a common market across India. This was one of the most significant tax reforms in India’s history.

 

Make in India: The “Make in India” initiative was launched to promote manufacturing and boost domestic production. It aimed to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and make India a global manufacturing hub.

 

Digital India: The “Digital India” program focused on digital infrastructure development, expanding internet connectivity, and promoting e-governance. It aimed to foster a digital economy and improve access to government services.

 

Startup India: The “Startup India” campaign was initiated to support and promote entrepreneurship and innovation. It included measures to ease regulations for startups and provide funding and support for new businesses.

 

Financial Inclusion: The Jan Dhan Yojana aimed to promote financial inclusion by providing banking services to unbanked and underbanked populations. Other initiatives, such as the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, provided credit to small and micro-enterprises.

 

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): The government liberalized FDI policies in several sectors, including defense, insurance, and retail. This was intended to attract foreign investment and boost economic growth.

 

Infrastructure Development: The government focused on infrastructure development, including highways, railways, airports, and smart cities. Investments in infrastructure were seen as critical for economic growth.

 

Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India): The government introduced the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative to promote self-reliance and reduce dependence on imports. This included various policy measures and incentives to boost domestic manufacturing and production.

 

Simplification of Labour Laws: The government embarked on labor law reforms with the aim of simplifying and modernising labour regulations, making it easier for businesses to operate.

 

Banking Sector Reforms: Measures were taken to address issues in the banking sector, including recapitalization of public sector banks and initiatives to tackle non-performing assets (NPAs).

 

Agricultural Reforms: The government introduced reforms in the agricultural sector, including the Farm Acts, with the intention of liberalizing agricultural markets, increasing farmers’ income, and improving supply chains.

 

It is important to note that the impact of these policies can be subject to debate, and the effectiveness of these measures can vary. Economic reforms often take time to yield results, and the broader economic context, both domestic and global, plays a significant role in shaping India’s economic performance. Assessing the overall impact of these policies on India’s economy is a complex and ongoing process that involves a range of economic data. The Farmers’ Strike in India, often associated with the protests against the three agricultural reform laws passed by the government, began in 2020 and continued into 2021. These protests were driven by several factors, and they have led to widespread discussions and debates. Here are some key reasons behind the farmers’ strike [19]and their opposition to the agricultural reforms:

The nationwide Farmers Strike in India which began on 26th November, 2020

 Concerns About Minimum Support Price[20] (MSP): One of the major concerns among farmers was that the new laws could potentially undermine the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system. The MSP is the price at which the government purchases certain crops from farmers, ensuring them a minimum income for their produce. Farmers feared that the new laws might lead to the dismantling of the MSP system, which could leave them vulnerable to market fluctuations.

 

Lack of Legal Protections: Farmers were apprehensive about the lack of legal protections in the new laws, which they believed could expose them to exploitation by agribusinesses and corporations. They expressed concerns about unequal bargaining power and contracts that could be skewed in favor of buyers.

 

Monopoly of Corporations: Some farmers were worried that large corporations might dominate the agricultural sector, squeezing out small and marginal farmers. The fear was that these companies might dictate terms and conditions that would be unfavorable to farmers.

 

Procedural Concerns: Farmers also expressed grievances about the hasty manner in which the laws were passed and felt that their voices and concerns were not adequately considered during the legislative process.

 

Cultural and Regional Context: Agriculture is a significant part of India’s cultural and economic identity. Many of the farmers participating in the protests come from agricultural backgrounds and felt that the reforms could disrupt their traditional way of life and farming practices.

 

Political Factors: The protests also had political dimensions, with different political parties supporting or opposing the reforms. The protests were not solely driven by economic factors but were also influenced by political considerations.

 

The farmers’ strike led to extensive discussions between the government and protesting farmer groups. While there were attempts to find common ground and address some of the farmers’ concerns, a comprehensive resolution had not been reached.

 

India, like many other countries, maintains complex diplomatic and strategic relationships with various nations. The concept of “perceived or genuine enemies” can be nuanced and dependent on various factors, including geopolitical dynamics, historical conflicts, and regional interests. Here are some countries and entities that have, at times, been sources of concern or have had contentious relationships with India:

 

Pakistan: India has had a long history of conflict and tension with Pakistan, primarily due to disputes over the region of Jammu and Kashmir. The two countries have fought several wars and have had ongoing issues related to terrorism and cross-border conflicts.

 

China: India shares a contested border with China, and both countries have experienced border disputes and conflicts, including the Sino-Indian War of 1962. While economic and diplomatic ties exist, there are also geopolitical rivalries and competition in the region.

 

Terrorist Groups: India has been targeted by various terrorist organizations and insurgent groups, some of which operate from neighboring countries. This has raised concerns about security threats and has led to conflicts with these groups and their supporters.

 

Historical Adversaries: India has had historical conflicts with certain countries, including the United Kingdom (during the period of British colonial rule), but these conflicts are generally resolved or not active sources of animosity in the present day.

 

Geopolitical Rivalries: India’s foreign policy and strategic considerations can sometimes lead to differences of interest with countries like the United States, Russia, or Iran. However, these differences do not necessarily make these countries “enemies.”

 

Non-State Actors: Cyberattacks, economic espionage, and other security challenges can come from non-state actors or entities, making it challenging to attribute responsibility to a particular country.

 

It’s important to note that international relations can be complex and multifaceted. Countries can have both cooperative and contentious relationships with various nations based on different issues and priorities. India, like other countries, engages in diplomatic efforts to manage conflicts, build partnerships, and promote its national interests.

 

India’s foreign policy focuses on pursuing friendly and cooperative relations with most nations, and it is actively involved in international organizations and forums to address global challenges. India has also developed strong ties with many countries, including the United States, Russia, and regional partners in South Asia and Southeast Asia.

 

India has diverse and multifaceted relationships with countries and regions across the world. Its foreign policy focuses on strategic partnerships, economic cooperation, and diplomatic engagement with a wide range of nations. Here’s an overview of India’s relationships with the countries and regions you mentioned:

 

United States (USA): India-U.S. relations have strengthened significantly in recent years. Both countries have engaged in extensive diplomatic, economic, and security cooperation. Areas of collaboration include defense and security ties, trade and investment, counterterrorism, and people-to-people exchanges. The U.S. is one of India’s top trading partners, and the two nations have a strategic partnership that encompasses various areas of cooperation.

 

Europe: India has diplomatic and economic relations with individual European countries and the European Union (EU) as a whole. Trade and investment ties are substantial, and there is cooperation on a wide range of issues, including climate change, technology, and counterterrorism.

 

South Africa: India has historically enjoyed friendly relations with South Africa, with ties dating back to their shared history of anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggles. The two countries collaborate on various issues, including trade, investment, defense, and cultural exchanges. They are also part of international groupings like BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa).

 

China: India-China relations are complex, characterized by cooperation and competition. The two countries have significant economic ties and are members of BRICS. However, they also have historical border disputes and strategic rivalries. Managing these differences while cooperating on global and regional issues is a priority for both nations.

 

Arab Block: India maintains strong diplomatic and economic ties with Arab countries. The relationship is driven by energy trade, economic cooperation, and the Indian diaspora in the Gulf region. India has also supported the Palestinian cause and has been a traditional advocate of a two-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict.

 

Israel: India-Israel relations have strengthened over the years, with cooperation in various sectors, including defense, technology, agriculture, and counterterrorism. The two countries have also built strong people-to-people ties and are important partners in the defense and security sector. In fact India has sent ten thousand workers to Israel, to help the existing workforce, building houses for Israeli settlers in the occupied territories in Israel. This is an ongoing source of peace disruption.

 

India’s foreign policy is characterised by strategic autonomy, non-alignment, and a focus on multipolarity. It seeks to engage with countries and regions based on its national interests, and its diplomatic efforts encompass a wide range of global issues, including climate change, sustainable development, and security cooperation. The specifics of India’s relationships with these countries can evolve over time, influenced by changing geopolitical dynamics and the priorities of the Indian government.

 

India is a diverse country with a wide range of cultural, religious, and social groups. Marginalisation in India can affect various communities and individuals based on a range of factors, including caste, religion, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geographical location. Some of the marginalized groups in India in the 21st century include:

 

Scheduled Castes (Dalits): Members of the Scheduled Castes, often referred to as Dalits, have historically faced social discrimination and exclusion. Despite legal protections and affirmative action measures, Dalits continue to experience social and economic marginalization.

 

Scheduled Tribes (Adivasis[21]): Adivasis are indigenous and tribal communities in India. They often live in remote and economically disadvantaged areas and face challenges related to land rights, displacement, and access to education and healthcare.

 

Religious Minorities: Religious minority communities, such as Muslims and Christians, can face religious discrimination, social prejudice, and, in some cases, communal violence.

 

Women: Gender-based discrimination and violence against women continue to be significant challenges in India. Gender disparities persist in various aspects, including education, employment, and political representation.

 

LGBTQ+ Community: While there have been some legal advancements related to LGBTQ+ rights in India, stigma and discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity remain issues.

 

Rural and Agricultural Communities: Farmers and agricultural laborers in rural areas often face economic and social marginalization. Issues related to land rights, access to credit, and agricultural reforms are of concern.

 

Disabled and Differently-Abled Individuals: People with disabilities may experience social and economic exclusion due to a lack of accessibility and opportunities. Advocates and organizations work to promote inclusivity and rights for this group.

 

Urban Poor and Slum Dwellers: Many individuals and families living in urban slums face inadequate housing, limited access to clean water and sanitation, and a lack of basic services.

 

Migrant Workers: Migrant workers often face precarious working conditions, limited legal protections, and difficulties accessing social welfare and healthcare when they move to urban areas in search of employment.

 

It is important to note that marginalisation can manifest differently across regions and states in India. While legal and policy measures have been put in place to address some of these issues, the effectiveness of these measures can vary, and challenges persist in ensuring equality and inclusivity for all segments of the population. Social and economic disparities in India are the subject of ongoing discussions, advocacy, and policy efforts to promote greater social justice and equity.

 

India has migrant settlements, and they are commonly referred to as “migrant camps” or “migrant colonies.” These settlements are typically found in various urban and peri-urban areas throughout the country. Migrant settlements are established by individuals and families who have migrated from rural areas to cities or towns in search of employment, better economic opportunities, and improved living conditions. The reasons for rural-to-urban migration in India are diverse and may include factors such as agricultural distress, lack of employment opportunities in rural areas, and the desire for better educational and healthcare facilities.

 

Key characteristics of migrant settlements in India include:

 

Informal Housing: Migrant settlements often consist of informal and makeshift housing, such as temporary shanties, huts, or slum-like dwellings. These structures may lack basic amenities like clean water, sanitation facilities, and electricity.

 

Limited Services: Migrant settlements typically have limited access to public services like healthcare, education, and social welfare programs.

 

Low-Income Workforce: Many residents of these settlements work in low-wage and informal sector jobs, including construction labor, domestic work, and street vending.

 

Lack of Legal Rights: Migrants often lack legal rights to land and property in the areas where they settle, and they may be at risk of eviction or displacement.

 

Social and Economic Vulnerability: Migrants may face social and economic vulnerability, including exploitation, discrimination, and challenges related to health and safety.

 

Efforts have been made by governments, non-governmental organizations, and civil society groups to address the needs and rights of migrants in India. These efforts include providing access to basic services, improving housing conditions, and advocating for the rights of migrant workers. However, challenges related to rural-to-urban migration and migrant settlements continue to be complex and multifaceted issues in India.

 

Migrant settlements in India primarily consist of internal migrants who have moved from one part of the country to another in search of better economic opportunities. While there are different factors driving this internal migration, such as economic distress in rural areas or the pursuit of better livelihoods, it is distinct from external migration, which involves individuals or communities moving across international borders to other countries.

 

These internal migrants may be motivated to move due to factors like agricultural distress, unemployment in rural areas, and the desire for better education and healthcare facilities. However, internal migration in India is primarily related to economic and livelihood considerations rather than being driven by climate change, regional conflict, or forced displacement in the same way that external migration or refugees often are.

 

That said, India does have its share of climate-induced displacement, and some regions within the country face environmental challenges, such as coastal erosion and natural disasters. These environmental factors can contribute to the displacement of vulnerable communities, particularly in low-lying and disaster-prone areas. While this may lead to some internal displacement, it is generally distinct from the larger phenomenon of internal rural-to-urban migration, which is often driven by economic factors.

 

It is important to recognize that the drivers of migration and displacement can be complex and multifaceted, and they can vary significantly from one region to another. In the case of climate change-induced displacement or forced displacement due to conflict, specific government policies, disaster response, and international frameworks may be applied to address the unique challenges faced by affected communities.

 

Colonialism had a profound and enduring impact on India. British colonial rule, which lasted for nearly two centuries, significantly shaped the country’s social, economic, political, and cultural landscape. Here are some key ways in which colonialism affected India:

 

Economic Exploitation: The British colonial administration extracted substantial wealth and resources from India, primarily through land revenue and taxation. This economic exploitation had a detrimental impact on the Indian economy and contributed to poverty and underdevelopment.

 

Land Ownership and Agriculture: The British introduced a land revenue system that altered traditional landownership patterns and often resulted in the dispossession of Indian landholders. This disrupted agrarian society and made agriculture less stable and productive for many.

 

Deindustrialization: The British policies and trade practices led to the decline of India’s indigenous industries, particularly textiles, and the growth of British manufacturing at the expense of Indian enterprises. India’s manufacturing sector was marginalized in favor of British goods.

 

Infrastructure Development: The British colonial administration did invest in some infrastructure, such as railways, roads, and irrigation systems. While these projects were intended to facilitate the movement of goods and personnel, they also had some positive economic and social consequences.

 

Social and Cultural Impact: Colonialism influenced Indian society and culture. The spread of Western education and values, as well as the introduction of English as a language of administration and education, had a lasting impact on India’s intellectual and cultural traditions.

 

Political Transformation: The British introduced a centralized administrative structure that replaced traditional forms of governance. India’s political institutions and legal system were transformed under British rule.

 

Nationalism and Independence Movement: The experience of colonialism fueled a sense of Indian identity and fostered a nationalist movement, which ultimately led to the struggle for independence. Key leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and others played pivotal roles in the movement for self-determination.

 

Partition and Legacy of Communalism: The partition of India in 1947 into India and Pakistan was a traumatic outcome of colonialism, resulting in the displacement and violence affecting millions of people. It also left a legacy of communal tensions between religious communities.

 

Legacy of Divide and Rule: The British employed a “divide and rule” strategy, which exploited existing social, religious, and regional divisions in India to maintain control. This left a legacy of division and conflicts that India has grappled with in its post-independence history.

 

Democratic Governance: The colonial experience influenced the development of India’s democratic institutions and legal framework. India adopted a parliamentary system of government, a written constitution, and a commitment to pluralism and secularism.

 

It is essential to recognize that the impact of colonialism on India was multifaceted, encompassing both negative and positive aspects. While colonialism left deep scars, it also played a role in shaping India’s modern political and cultural identity, contributing to the nation’s emergence as an independent and democratic state in 1947.

 

India’s independence in 1947 marked a significant turning point in the country’s history, bringing about profound changes and shaping its political, social, economic, and cultural landscape in various ways. Here are some of the key ways in which independence affected India:

 

End of Colonial Rule: Independence brought an end to nearly two centuries of British colonial rule. India regained its sovereignty and became a self-governing nation, free from external colonial domination.

A Sikh carrying his wife atop his shoulders during the mass internal displacement and migration during the Partition in India.

Creation of Two Nations: The process of independence also involved the partition of India into two separate nations, India and Pakistan, in 1947. This partition was based on religious lines and led to significant demographic changes, population exchanges, and the establishment of two distinct countries.

 

Democratic Republic: India adopted a democratic system of government, with a parliamentary system, a written constitution, and universal adult suffrage. The adoption of a democratic republic marked a significant shift in India’s political organization.

 

Social Justice and Inclusion: The Indian Constitution, which came into effect in 1950, enshrined principles of equality, social justice, and fundamental rights. It introduced affirmative action policies to address historical injustices and inequalities, particularly for Scheduled Castes (Dalits) and Scheduled Tribes.

 

Land Reforms: Many states in India implemented land reforms to address historical land inequities and redistribute land to landless laborers and marginalized communities.

 

Economic Development: The Indian government pursued policies of economic development, industrialization, and planning through the Five-Year Plans. India’s economy shifted from a primarily agrarian one to a mixed economy with growing industrial and service sectors.

 

Secularism and Pluralism: The Indian Constitution established a secular state that guarantees freedom of religion and equal treatment for people of all faiths. It also embraced the principles of pluralism and diversity.

 

Foreign Policy: India adopted a foreign policy of non-alignment, which sought to maintain neutrality and independence in global politics. It played a significant role in the decolonization and anti-colonial movements.

 

Cultural and Intellectual Growth: India’s independence was accompanied by a flourishing of its cultural and intellectual traditions. The nation’s literature, arts, and academic achievements experienced a renaissance.

 

Nehruvian Legacy[22]: India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, played a critical role in shaping the country’s early post-independence policies. His emphasis on secularism, socialism, and a mixed economy left a lasting legacy.

 

Challenges and Conflicts: Independence also brought various challenges, including regional conflicts, social divisions, and economic disparities that the country continues to grapple with. It faced and continues to face issues related to poverty, caste, and regional imbalances.

 

Emergence as a Global Power: Over the decades, India has risen as a major player in international affairs, with a prominent role in various global forums, including the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, and regional organisations.

 

Cultural Diplomacy: India’s independence allowed it to assert and promote its cultural heritage, such as yoga, Ayurveda, and Indian arts, on the global stage.

 

Overall, India’s independence represented a momentous achievement, heralding a new era of self-determination and nation-building. It set the stage for a democratic and diverse country to grapple with the challenges of governance, development, and social justice while embracing the principles of secularism and pluralism. India’s experience of independence continues to be a source of inspiration and learning for countries around the world.

 

The Partition of India in 1947 had profound and far-reaching effects on the Indian subcontinent. It was a significant event in the history of the region, with both positive and negative consequences. Some of the key effects of the Partition are:

 

Creation of Two Nations: The most immediate and fundamental effect of the Partition was the creation of two separate nations: India and Pakistan. India became a predominantly Hindu-majority nation, while Pakistan was established as a separate state for Muslims. This led to significant demographic changes and the drawing of new international borders.

 

Mass Migration and Displacement: The Partition resulted in one of the largest migrations in human history, with millions of people moving across borders. Hindus and Sikhs from West Pakistan (now Pakistan) migrated to India, while Muslims from India moved to Pakistan. The process was marred by violence and communal clashes, leading to the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives.

 

Communal Violence: The Partition was marked by widespread communal violence between Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims. This violence had a lasting impact on inter-community relations and left deep scars on the collective memory of both countries.

 

Kashmir Conflict: The state of Jammu and Kashmir became a major point of contention between India and Pakistan, leading to a conflict that continues to this day. The region has been a source of tension and conflict, with both countries claiming it in its entirety.

 

Legacy of Communalism: The Partition left a legacy of communalism and religious divisions in both India and Pakistan. It reinforced religious identities and had implications for the relationship between religious communities in the subcontinent.

 

Challenges of Minority Rights: Both India and Pakistan had to grapple with the challenges of safeguarding the rights of religious minorities within their territories. This led to complex issues related to citizenship and minority rights.

 

Bilateral Relations: The relationship between India and Pakistan has been marked by periods of conflict, including wars and border disputes, as well as attempts at diplomacy and dialogue.

 

Secularism in India: The trauma of the Partition played a role in shaping India’s commitment to secularism and religious pluralism. The Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and equal treatment for people of all faiths.

 

Cultural and Economic Impact: The Partition had cultural and economic consequences, as regions that had been closely connected were divided. It disrupted trade, agricultural practices, and cultural exchange.

 

Displacement and Rehabilitation: The governments of India and Pakistan had to address the rehabilitation and resettlement of millions of displaced people, which was a complex and challenging process.

 

The effects of the Partition continue to influence the politics, society, and culture of India, Pakistan, and the broader South Asian region. The trauma of the events surrounding the Partition remains a significant aspect of the shared history and memory of the subcontinent.

 

The Bottom Line is that in spite of multiple challenges of repeated occupation by colonial forces, India has progressed economically, enduring the brutal effects of The Partition. In Part 2of this publication the author will elaborate on the rise in Hindu Nationalism, post-Independence and India has reached a state whereby, The country has become a pseudo democracy with marginalization of all minorities in India, especially, the Islamic community.  The general, government sentiments against the Muslim community in India is that “India is for Hindus”. [23]

References:

[1] Personal quote by author, October 2023

[2] https://thediplomat.com/2018/12/how-the-british-ascended-in-india-200-years-ago/

[3] https://www.bing.com/search?q=the+partition+of+india&qs=MT&pq=the+partition+&sc=6-14&cvid=2EC515F374C24860BB52D5890C76E580&FORM=QBRE&sp=1&ghc=1&lq=0

[4] https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/india-muslims-marginalized-population-bjp-modi

[5] https://www.bing.com/alink/link?url=https%3a%2f%2fwww.ias.ac.in%2fcurrsci%2foct25%2farticles20.htm&source=serp-local&h=bIq6otmXpU80pA%2f1JJswrJvDBM6Q5Iq4WtxZcSHIM%2fk%3d&p=lw_gbt&ig=C6E87BDF6E644B42A109080082C9CA55&ypid=YN4070x18031024663924266370

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indus_Valley_Civilisation

[7] https://www.bing.com/search?q=harappa&filters=dtbk:%22MCFvdmVydmlldyFvdmVydmlldyFlYWM3NzZhNC00OTczLTRlZjktNmQ4ZS01MGQxNTg1MzUzYmE%3d%22+sid:%22eac776a4-4973-4ef9-6d8e-50d1585353ba%22+tphint:%22f%22&FORM=DEPNAV

[8] https://www.bing.com/search?q=mohenjo-daro&filters=dtbk:%22MCFvdmVydmlldyFvdmVydmlldyFjOWU1MzZmZi1lZDgwLTBmZTItNmIxZS0xMTgyMzkzMjcxYTc%3d%22+sid:%22c9e536ff-ed80-0fe2-6b1e-1182393271a7%22+tphint:%22f%22&FORM=DEPNAV

[9] https://www.bing.com/search?q=sanskrit&filters=dtbk:%22MCFvdmVydmlldyFvdmVydmlldyFmMmI1NzJlYS1mNjE0LTRlM2ItYjk0ZC04NmNmNzk0NDFhZWE%3d%22+sid:%22f2b572ea-f614-4e3b-b94d-86cf79441aea%22+tphint:%22f%22&FORM=DEPNAV

[10] https://letslearnslang.com/origin-of-the-name-sindhu/

[11] https://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/bharatavarsha

[12] https://www.bing.com/search?pglt=41&q=what+is+the+current+population+of+india+2023&cvid=a9422598e6aa4f08aa4abe0fd9e15174&gs_lcrp=EgZjaHJvbWUqBAgBEAAyBAgAEAAyBAgBEAAyBAgCEAAyBAgDEAAyBAgEEAAyBAgFEAAyBAgGEAAyBAgHEAAyBAgIEAAyBwgJEEUY_FXSAQkxNzk5MGowajGoAgCwAgA&FORM=ANNAB1&PC=U531

[13] https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/india-population/

[14] https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/india-population

[15] https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/india-population#:~:text=The%20current%20ranking%20of%20India%27s%20quality%20of%20life%20is%2049%20out%20of%2066%2C%20giving%20it%20a%20quality%20of%20life%20index%20of%20121.61.%20The%20health%20care%20ratio%20is%2068.04%2C%20and%20the%20cost%20of%20living%20index%20is%2023.81.

[16] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/lok-sabha-election-2024-sonia-gandhi-wants-congress-to-get-more-seats-to-contest-in-tamil-nadu-in-dmk-alliance-sources-say/articleshow/104423305.cms

[17] https://www.mondaq.com/india/sales-taxes-vat-gst/444030/recommendations-of-the-rajya-sabha-select-committee

[18] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bharatiya_Janata_Party

[19] https://www.bing.com/news/search?q=Farmers+Strike+India&qpvt=farmers+strike+india&FORM=EWRE

[20] https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/minimum-support-price/

[21] https://minorityrights.org/publications/the-adivasis-of-india-january-1999/

[22] https://www.insightsonindia.com/2021/11/15/insights-into-editorial-the-enduring-relevance-of-nehrus-legacy/#:~:text=Four%20principal%20pillars%20of%20Nehru%E2%80%99s%20legacy%20to%20India%3A,vision%20of%20Indianness%20that%20is%20fundamentally%20challenged%20today.

[23] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindus

______________________________________________

READ: PART 2 – PART 3

Professor G. Hoosen M. Vawda (Bsc; MBChB; PhD.Wits) is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment.
Director: Glastonbury Medical Research Centre; Community Health and Indigent Programme Services; Body Donor Foundation SA.

Principal Investigator: Multinational Clinical Trials
Consultant: Medical and General Research Ethics; Internal Medicine and Clinical Psychiatry:UKZN, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine
Executive Member: Inter Religious Council KZN SA
Public Liaison: Medical Misadventures
Activism: Justice for All
Email: vawda@ukzn.ac.za


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 16 Oct 2023.

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