India is a vast country, more or less a subcontinent, with an ancient civilization, nearly 5000 years old. This country has produced four world religions of to-day; Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism and given shape to a culture on the foundation of a spirituality that emerged from the interaction between the theology and philosophy of various religions. The main characteristics of this culture are non-violence (Ahimsa) and religious tolerance. The hallmark of Indian nationhood is unity in diversity. No other nation in the world confronted such diversities of race, religion, language, culture, traditions, history, arts, weather, dress, food habits etc. as India had. This country with a chequered history has attracted many conquerors to plunder the wealth and rule this peace-loving nation for several centuries.

By 1200 AD North India came under Turkish Muslims. Another Muslim wave came with the Mughals who reigned from 1526-1707. This was followed by the Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British invasions and rule till 1947 when India became independent. Even in olden days, this nation has contributed in a very large measure to science, in the fields of Mathematics, Astronomy, Health care, Linguistics, Metallurgy and so on. To-day, India is a sovereign democratic republic with parliamentary system of Government working for the last 52 years as a federation of 28 States and 7 Union Territories as at present within the framework of a unique Constitution, neither unitary nor federal and neither flexible nor rigid. The Constitution guarantees fundamental rights of citizens, rights of religious and linguistic minorities, independence of judiciary, freedom of press, adult franchise, rights and powers of the Union and the State Governments and above all the rule of law. In spite of all these privileges and advantages, the country remains undeveloped with 32% of people living below the poverty line, 34.6% illiterate, per capita income Rs. 17,768/- and 72.2 million people living in Villages with no drinking water, no communication facilities and either unemployed or underemployed.

Next