What is India like is a question comes to the minds of all those who are not Indians and have only learnt about this country from newspapers, television or internet. India is a huge country in Asia that is the size of a subcontinent. It is the seventh largest country in terms of area, but it is second only to China in terms of population. India has an ancient civilization and a vibrant culture with people of different religions living in it. It is the largest democracy of the world. This article attempts to provide a clearer picture of India to the outside world.
Geography and location of India
India lies in south Asia, but it is separated from the rest of the continent by the Himalayas. It shares its boundaries with China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma and Bhutan. It is surrounded by Arabian Sea on its west and the Bay of Bengal on the west. Indian Ocean lies to the south of this vast country. The northernmost part of the country is covered with snow clad mountains while the country has a vast coastline that continues from its western parts to its eastern parts including the south. From its northern most part where India shares boundary with China, there is a vast expanse of land that measures more than 2000 miles down to the southern tip of the country. India is a union of 29 states having their distinct culture.
Climate of India
Because of the huge size and geographical features, India has a wide variety of climatic conditions. The climate of India is greatly influenced by the presence of The Thar Desert in its west and the mighty Himalayas in its north. Large mountain ranges on its northern border keep weather conditions cooler in North India, but they also act as a barrier to prevent chilly and icy winds coming from Central Asia. It is these mountains that keep large parts of India warm and sunny throughout the year. Climate of India depends upon the location and the time of the year. In general, the country has three seasons that are labeled as summer, rainy and winter. In between summer that starts in March and continues till the end of June and winter that sets in by October end and continues till March, there is a rainy season called Monsoon. This spell of rain brings relief from the scorching heat during the summer season. Winter sets in by the time Monsoon recedes.
Culture of India
India has a population of more than a billion people speaking many different languages and following different cultures. However, there are similarities deep within to underline a single unifying culture that evolved from an ancient civilization. Hindus are the dominant religious group though there are also Muslims, Christians, Jains, Sikhs, and even Buddhists in sizeable numbers in India. In fact, Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism are the religions that were founded in this vast stretch of land. Despite following different religions, people of India live in harmony presenting a picture of unity in diversity.
Life in India
Religion plays a significant role in the lives of the people of India and its influence can be seen in all aspects of life. Religion has also helped in keeping family values intact with people respecting their elders and living in joint families even today. Families get together during festivals and other celebrations and important events in the life of an individual are celebrated with great zeal and fervor. Among the majority Hindu population, the age old caste system still prevails though these distinctions have blurred a great deal with the passage of time. Belief in afterlife and the belief in past acts affecting one’s present are still held by a majority of the population. In general, most people in India are god fearing and have a behavior that can be best described as happy go lucky. Indians are habitual savers and the rate of saving in India is one of the highest in the world. However, the present generation is copying the people in the west by spending most of their income on gadgets and appliances as they want to live a better lifestyle without worrying about their future.