Indian people or Indians are citizens of India, a populous country in South Asia containing 17.31% of the world's population, and people of Indian heritage. The Indian nationality consists of many regional ethno-linguistic groups, reflecting the rich and complex history of India. India was formed out of a number of predecessor states. The Indian people created during ancient and medieval period some of the greatest Dynasties in South Asian history like the Maurya Empire, Gupta Empire, Rashtrakuta dynasty, Chola dynasty, Vijayanagara Empire and Maratha Empire and the Indian culture and Indian science spread to much of Asia which led to the establishment of Indianized kingdoms in Southeast Asia during ancient and medieval period. According to genetic research, Modern Indians are a mixture of an indigenous Ancestral South Indian group who are genetically related to people on the Andaman Islands and an Ancestral North Indian group who are originally from the Near East." Everyone in India has DNA from both of these groups.
The diaspora populations with Indian ancestry, as a result of emigration, are somewhat widespread most notably in Southeast Asia, South Africa, Australia, United Kingdom, Middle East, Trinidad and North America. Population estimates vary from a conservative 12 million to 20 million diaspora.
The history of the Indian people goes back to the Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from c. 3300 to 1300 BCE in present-day Pakistan and northwest India, was the first major civilization in South Asia. A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture developed in the Mature Harappan period, from 2600 to 1900 BCE. This civilization collapsed at the start of the second millennium BCE and was later followed by the Iron Age Vedic Civilization, which extended over much of the Indo-Gangetic plain and which witness the rise of major polities known as the Mahajanapadas. In one of these kingdoms, Magadha, Mahavira and Gautama Buddha were born in the 6th or 5th century BCE and propagated their Shramanic philosophies. The first great Empire of the Indian people was the Maurya Empire which 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. 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 civilization, administration, culture, and religion (Hinduism and Buddhism) spread to much of Asia, while kingdoms in southern India had maritime business links with the Roman Empire from around 77 CE. The ancient Indian mathematicians Aryabhata, Bhāskara I and Brahmagupta invented the concept of zero and the decimal system during this period. During this period Indian cultural influence spread over many parts of Southeast Asia which led to the establishment of Indianized kingdoms in Southeast Asia. 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 traveler Sulaiman as one of the 4 great Kings of the world. The medieval south Indian mathematician Mahāvīra (mathematician) 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. 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. 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. 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 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. The Indian Maratha people emerged in the 17th century and established the Maratha Empire under the reign of Shivaji Maharaj which became the dominant power in India in the 18th century.
Basu et al. (2006) emphasize that the combined results from mtDNA, Y-chromosome and autosomal markers suggest that "(1) there is an underlying unity of female lineages in India, indicating that the initial number of female settlers may have been small; (2) the tribal and the caste populations are highly differentiated; (3) the Austroasiatic tribals are the earliest settlers in India, providing support to one anthropological hypothesis while refuting some others; (4) a major wave of humans entered India through the northwest; (5) the Tibeto-Burman tribals share considerable genetic commonalities with the Austroasiatic tribals, supporting the hypothesis that they may have shared a common habitat in southern China, but the two groups of tribals can be differentiated on the basis of Y-chromosomal haplotypes; (6) the Dravidian tribals were possibly widespread throughout India before the arrival of the Indo-European-speaking nomads, but retreated to southern India to avoid dominance; (7) formation of populations by fission that resulted in founder and drift effects have left their imprints on the genetic structures of contemporary populations; (8) the upper castes show closer genetic affinities with Central Asian populations, although those of southern India are more distant than those of northern India; (9) historical gene flow into India has contributed to a considerable obliteration of genetic histories of contemporary populations so that there is at present no clear congruence of genetic and geographical or sociocultural affinities."
The Andamanese negritos are found on the Andaman Islands located on the southeastern side of the country. These speak a language known simply as Great Andamanese, a linguistic isolate not related to any known language. And finally, Austroasiatic languages are spoken by only tribals or Adivasis, who can be of either Australoid or Mongoloid racial stock.
According to a major 2009 study published by Reich et al. using over 500,000 biallelic autosomal markers, the modern Indian population is composed of two genetically divergent and heterogeneous populations, known as Ancestral North Indians (ANI) and Ancestral South Indians (ASI). ASI corresponds to the Dravidian-speaking population of southern India, whereas ANI corresponds to the Indo-Aryan-speaking population of northern India. Research by Moorjani et al, published in 2013, shows the two groups mixed extensively in the period from around 2100 BC to 100 AD, at which point a trend towards endogamy precluded any further mixing of the populations.
India has more than two thousand ethnic groups and every major religion is represented, as are four major families of languages (Indo-Aryan – a branch of the larger Indo-European language group –, Dravidian, Austroasiatic, and Tibeto-Burman) as well as a language isolate (the Nihali language spoken in parts of Maharashtra). India's castism history is extremely complex; nevertheless, distinct racial divisions between peoples still exist as established by modern anthropologists, despite the fact that the national Census of India does not recognize racial or ethnic groups within India, but recognizes many of the tribal groups as Scheduled Castes and Tribes (see list of Scheduled Tribes in India).
India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, collectively known as Indian religions. 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 2 billion followers altogether, and possibly as many as 2.5 or 2.6 billion followers. India is also the birthplace for the Jain, Lingayat, and Ahmadiyya faiths.
India is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world, with some of the most deeply religious societies and cultures. Religion still plays a central and definitive role in the life of most of its people.
The religion of 80.5% of the people is Hinduism. Islam is practiced by around 13% of all Indians. Sikhism, Jainism and especially Buddhism are influential not only in India but across the world. Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and the Bahá'í Faith are also influential but their numbers are smaller. 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.
Hinduism is the majority in most states; Kashmir and Lakshadweep are Muslim majority; Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya are Christian majority; Punjab is mainly a mixture of both Hindus and Sikhs. 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, Zoroastrians, Sikhs, Jains and Bahá'í. India is also home to the third-largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia and Pakistan. Muslims are the largest religious minority.
|Other religions & persuasions||6,639,626||0.6%|
|Religion not stated||727,588||0.1%|
Music and dance
The music of India includes multiple varieties of folk, popular, pop, classical music and R&B. India's classical music tradition, including Carnatic and Hindustani music, has a history spanning millennia and, developed over several eras, it remains fundamental to the lives of Indians today as sources of spiritual inspiration, cultural expression and pure entertainment. India is made up of several dozen ethnic groups, speaking their own languages and dialects, having very distinct cultural traditions.
Three best-known hindu deities, Shiva, Kali, Ganesha and Krishna, are typically represented dancing. There are hundreds of Indian folk dances such as Bhangra, Garba and special dances observed in regional festivals. India offers a number of classical Indian dance forms, each of which can be traced to different parts of the country. The presentation of Indian dance styles in film, Bollywood, has exposed the range of dance in India to a global audience.
The Indian caste system describes the system of social stratification and severe social restrictions in India in which social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups, often termed jātis or castes. Within a jāti, there exist exogamous groups known as gotras, the lineage or clan of an individual. In a handful of sub-castes such as Shakadvipi, endogamy within a gotra is permitted and alternative mechanisms of restricting endogamy are used (e.g. banning endogamy within a surname).
The Indian caste system involves four castes and outcasted social groups. Caste barriers have mostly broken down in large cities, though they persist in rural areas of the country, where 72% of India's population resides.
Bharat Mata (Hindi, from Sanskrit भारत माता, Bhārata Mātā), Mother India, or Bhāratāmbā (from अंबा ambā 'mother') is the national personification of India as a mother goddess. She is usually depicted as a woman clad in an orange or saffron sari holding a flag, and sometimes accompanied by a lion.
The image of Bharat Mata formed with the Indian independence movement of the late 19th century. A play by Kiran Chandra Bandyopadhyay, Bhārat Mātā, was first performed in 1873.
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).
There are over 1 million Indian people in Canada, the majority of which live in Greater Toronto and Vancouver. 3% of the total Canadian population is of Indian ancestry, a figure higher than both the United States and Britain.
More than a million people of Indian descent live in South Africa, concentrated around the city of Durban.
About 40,000 people of Indian origin live in Tanzania mostly in the urban areas.
According to the American Community Survey of the U.S. 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 comprises as the third-largest Asian American community in the United States after Chinese Americans and Filipino Americans.
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- South Asian ethnic groups
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