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50 Years of Independence 5000 Years of History The Republic of India possesses tremendous contrasts and enormous ethnic linguistic and cultural diversity Since independence in 1947 the Indian civilization has expanded in every facet - from its increasing population to its to its intertwining cultural and social systems There are over 1600 languages nearly 400 of them are spoken by more than 200 000 people Ethnically the country is comprised of mostly of Indo-Aryans and Dravidians while Hindus are the majority in the religious groups The distinguishing characteristic of India is that is unofficially uses the caste system to differentiate between socio-economic classes and to prevent a fusion of various groups Like the US India is a democratic republic with a federal form of government Geographically India lies east of Pakistan west of Bangladesh south of China and north of the island-country of Sri Lanka Indias population is the worlds second largest continues to grow at a rate faster than that of China threatening to overtake it in the next century Over thousands of years of its history India has been invaded from the Iranian plateau Central Asia and the West The Indian people have absorbed and changed these influences to produce remarkable racial and cultural synthesis US Dept of State 1997 p 3 They have had a continuous civilization since 2500 BC when the inhabitants of the Indus River Valley developed an urban culture based on commerce and agricultural trade Around 2000 BC Aryan speaking tribes migrated from the northwest into the subcontinent As they settled they adapted to the previous Dravidian cultures In the fourth and fifth centuries AD northern India was unified under the Gupta Dynasty During this period know as Indias Golden Age Hindu culture and political administration reached new heights Islam spread over the continent over a period of 500 years In the tenth and eleventh centuries Turks and
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