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India, officially Republic of India, republic (2015 est. pop. 1,309,054,000), 1,261,810 sq mi (3,268,090 sq km), S Asia. The second most populous country in the world, it is also sometimes called Bharat, its ancient name. India's land frontier (c.9,500 mi/15,290 km long) stretches from the Arabian Sea on the west to the Bay of Bengal on the east and touches Pakistan (W); China, Nepal, and Bhutan (N); Bangladesh, which forms an enclave in the northeast; and Myanmar (E). New Delhi is India's capital and Mumbai (formerly Bombay) its largest city.


The southern half of India is a largely upland area that thrusts a triangular peninsula (c.1,300 mi/2,090 km wide at the north) into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west and has a coastline c.3,500 mi (5,630 km) long; at its southern tip is Kanniyakumri (Cape Comorin). In the north, towering above peninsular India, is the Himalayan mountain wall, where rise the three great rivers of the Indian subcontinent—the Indus, the Ganges, and the Brahmaputra.

The Gangetic alluvial plain, which has much of India's arable land, lies between the Himalayas and the dissected plateau occupying most of peninsular India. The Aravalli range, a ragged hill belt, extends from the borders of Gujarat in the southwest to the fringes of Delhi in the northeast. The plain is limited in the west by the Thar (Great Indian) Desert of Rajasthan, which merges with the swampy Rann of Kachchh to the south. The southern boundary of the plain lies close to the Yamuna and Ganges rivers, where the broken hills of the Chambal, Betwa, and Son rivers rise to the low plateaus of Malwa in the west and Chota Nagpur in the east.

The Narmada River, south of the Vindhya hills, marks the beginning of the Deccan. The triangular plateau, scarped by the mountains of the Eastern Ghats and Western Ghats, is drained by the Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri rivers; they break through the Eastern Ghats and, flowing east into the Bay of Bengal, form broad deltas on the wide Coromandel Coast. Further north, the Mahanadi River drains India into the Bay of Bengal. The much narrower western coast of peninsular India, comprising chiefly the Malabar Coast and the fertile Gujarat plain, bends around the Gulf of Khambat in the north to the Kathiawar and Kachchh peninsulas. The coastal plains of peninsular India have a tropical, humid climate.

The Deccan interior is partly semiarid on the west and wet on the east. The Indo-Gangetic plain is subtropical, with the western interior areas experiencing frost in winter and very hot summers. India's rainfall, which depends upon the monsoon, is variable; it is heavy in Assam and West Bengal and along the southern coasts, moderate in the inland peninsular regions, and scanty in the arid northwest, especially in Rajasthan and Punjab.

The republic is divided into 28 states: Andhra Pradesh; Arunachal Pradesh; Assam; Bihar; Chhattisgarh; Goa; Gujarat; Haryana; Himachal Pradesh; Jharkhand; Karnataka; Kerala; Madhya Pradesh; Maharashtra; Manipur; Meghalaya; Mizoram; Nagaland; Odisha (Orissa); Punjab; Rajasthan; Sikkim; Tamil Nadu; Telangana; Tripura; Uttarakhand; Uttar Pradesh; and West Bengal (see Bengal). There are also nine union territories: the Andaman and Nicobar Islands; Chandigarh; Dadra and Nagar Haveli; Daman and Diu; Delhi (officially the National Capital Territory of Delhi); Jammu and Kashmir (see Kashmir); Ladakh (see Kashmir); Lakshadweep; and Puducherry. Kashmir is disputed with Pakistan and China.

In 1991, India had 23 06/02cities with urban areas of more than 1 million people: Ahmadabad, Bengaluru (Bangalore), Bhopal, Chennai (Madras), Coimbatore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kanpur, Kochi (see under Cochin), Kolkata (Calcutta), Lucknow, Ludhiana, Madurai, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna, Pune, Surat, Vadodara (see under Baroda), Varanasi, and Vishakhapatnam.

People and Culture

India is the world's second most populous nation (after China). Its ethnic composition is complex, but two major strains predominate: the Aryan, in the north, and the Dravidian, in the south. India is a land of great cultural diversity, as is evidenced by the enormous number of different languages spoken throughout the country. Although Hindi (spoken in the north) and English (the language of politics and commerce) are used officially, more than 1,500 languages and dialects are spoken. The Indian constitution recognizes 15 regional languages (Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu). Ten of the major states of India are generally organized along linguistic lines.

Although the constitution forbids the practice of “untouchability,” and legislation has been used to reserve quotas for former untouchables (and also for tribal peoples) in the legislatures, in education, and in the public services, the caste system continues to be influential. About 80% of the population is Hindu, and 14% is Muslim. Other significant religions include Christians, Sikhs, and Buddhists. There is no state religion. The holy cities of India attract pilgrims from throughout the East: Varanasi (formerly Benares), Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad), Puri, and Nashik are religious centers for the Hindus; Amritsar is the holy city of the Sikhs; and Satrunjaya Hill near Palitana is sacred to the Jains.

With its long and rich history, India retains many outstanding archaeological landmarks; preeminent of these are the Buddhist remains at Sarnath, Sanchi, and Bodh Gaya; the cave temples at Ajanta, Ellora, and Elephanta; and the temple sites at Madurai, Thanjavur, Abu, Bhubaneswar, Konarak, and Mahabalipuram. For other aspects of Indian culture, see Hindu music; Indian art and architecture; Indian literature; Mughal art and architecture; Pali canon; Prakrit literature; Sanskrit literature.


Economically, India often seems like two separate countries: village India, supported by traditional agriculture, where tens of millions live below the poverty line; and urban India, one of the most heavily industrialized areas in the world, with an increasingly middle-class population and a fast-growing economy (and also much poverty). Agriculture (about 50% of the land is arable) makes up some 20% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and employs about 60% of the Indian people. Vast quantities of rice are grown wherever the land is level and water plentiful; other crops are wheat, sugarcane, potatoes, pulses, sorghum, bajra (a cereal), and corn. Cotton, tobacco, oilseeds, and jute are the principal nonfood crops. There are large tea plantations in Assam, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. The opium poppy is also grown, both for the legal pharmaceutical market and the illegal drug trade; cannabis is produced as well.

Fragmentation of holdings, inefficient methods of crop production, and delays in acceptance of newer, high-yielding grains were characteristic of Indian agriculture in the past, but since the Green Revolution of the 1970s, significant progress has been made in these areas. Improved irrigation, the introduction of chemical fertilizers, and the use of high-yield strains of rice and wheat have led to record harvests. The subsistence-level existence of village India, ever threatened by drought, flood, famine, and disease, has been somewhat alleviated by government agricultural modernization efforts, but although India's gross food output has been generally sufficient for the the needs of its enormous population, government price supports and an inadequate distribution system still threaten many impoverished Indians with hunger and starvation.

India has perhaps more cattle per capita than any other country, but their economic value is severely limited by the Hindu prohibition against their slaughter. Goats and sheep are raised in the arid regions of the west and northwest. Water buffalo also are raised, and there is a large fish catch.

India has forested mountain slopes, with stands of oak, pine, sal, teak, ebony, palms, and bamboo, and the cutting of timber is a major rural occupation. Aside from coal, iron ore, mica, manganese, bauxite, and titanium, in which the country ranks high, India's mineral resources, although large, are not as yet fully exploited. The Chota Nagpur Plateau of S Jharkhand and the hill lands of SW West Bengal, N Odisha, and Chhattisgarh are the most important mining areas; they are the source of coal, iron, mica, and copper. There are workings of magnesite, bauxite, chromite, salt, and gypsum. Despite oil fields in Assam and Gujarat states and the output (since the 1970s) of Bombay High offshore oil fields, India is deficient in petroleum. There are also natural-gas deposits, especially offshore in the Bay of Bengal.

Industry in India, traditionally limited to agricultural processing and light manufacturing, especially of cotton, woolen, and silk textiles, jute, and leather products, has been greatly expanded and diversified in recent years; it employs about 12% of the workforce. There are large textile works at Mumbai and Ahmadabad, a huge iron and steel complex (mainly controlled by the Tata family) at Jamshedpur, and steel plants at Rourkela, Bhilainagar, Durgapur, and Bokaro. Bengaluru has computer, electronics, and armaments industries. India also produces large amounts of machine tools, transportation equipment, chemicals, and cut diamonds (it is the world's largest exporter of the latter) and has a significant computer software industry. Its large film industry is concentrated in Mumbai, with other centers in Kolkata and Chennai. In the 1990s the government departed from its traditional policy of self-reliant industrial activity and development and worked to deregulate Indian industry and attract foreign investment. Since then the service industries have become a major source of economic growth and in 2005 accounted for more than half of GDP; international call centers provide employment for an increasing number of workers.

Most towns are connected by state-owned railroad systems, one of the most extensive networks in the world. Transportation by road is increasing, with the improvement of highways, but in rural India the bullock cart is still an important means of transportation. There are international airports at New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai. The leading ports are Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Kochi, and Vishakhapatnam. The leading exports are clothing and textiles, gems and jewelry, engineering products, chemicals, leather goods, computer software, cotton thread, and handicrafts. The chief imports are crude oil, machinery, gems, fertilizers, and chemicals. India's major trade partners are the United States, China, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Great Britain, and Switzerland.


India is a federal state with a parliamentary form of government. It is governed under the 1949 constitution (effective since Jan., 1950). The president of India, who is head of state, is elected for a five-year term by the elected members of the federal and state parliaments; there are no term limits. Theoretically the president possesses full executive power, but that power actually is exercised by the prime minister (head of the majority party in the federal parliament) and council of ministers (which includes the cabinet), who are appointed by the president. The ministers are responsible to the lower house of Parliament and must be members of Parliament.

The federal parliament is bicameral. The upper house, the Council of States (Rajya Sabha), consists of a maximum of 250 members; the great majority are apportioned by state—each state's delegates are chosen by its elected assembly—and 12 members are appointed by the president. In addition, one member represents the union territory of Puducherry. Members serve for six years, with one third retiring every other year. The lower house, the People's Assembly (Lok Sabha), is elected every five years, although it may be dissolved earlier by the president. It is composed of 545 members, 543 apportioned among the states and two chosen by the president. There is a supreme court consisting of a chief justice and 25 associate justices, all appointed by the president.

Administratively, India is divided into 29 states and seven union territories. State governors are appointed by the president for five-year terms. States have either unicameral or bicameral parliaments and have jurisdiction over police and public order, agriculture, education, public health, and local government. The federal government has jurisdiction over any matter not specifically reserved for the states. In addition the president may intervene in state affairs during emergencies and may even suspend a state's government.


The historical discussion that follows deals, until Indian independence, with the Indian subcontinent, which includes the regions that are now Bangladesh and Pakistan, and thereafter concentrates on the history of India.

From the Indus Valley to the Fall of the Mughal Empire

One of the earliest civilizations of the world, and the most ancient on the Indian subcontinent, was the Indus valley civilization, which flourished c.2600 B.C. to c.1900 B.C. It was an extensive and highly sophisticated culture, its chief urban centers being Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. While the causes of the decline of the Indus Valley civilization are not clear, it is possible that the periodic shifts in the courses of the major rivers of the valley may have deprived the cities of floodwaters necessary for their surrounding agricultural lands. The cities thus became more vulnerable to raiding activity. At the same time, Indo-Aryan peoples were migrating into the Indian subcontinent through the northwestern mountain passes, settling in the Punjab and the Ganges valley.

Over the next 2,000 years the Indo-Aryans developed a Brahmanic civilization (see Veda), out of which Hinduism evolved. From Punjab they spread east over the Gangetic plain and by c.800 B.C. were established in Bihar, Jharkhand, and Bengal. The first important Aryan kingdom was Magadha, with its capital near present-day Patna; it was there, during the reign of Bimbisara (540–490 B.C.), that the founders of Jainism and Buddhism preached. Kosala was another kingdom of the period.

In 327–325 B.C., Alexander the Great invaded the province of Gandhara in NW India that had been a part of the Persian empire. The Greek invaders were eventually driven out by Chandragupta of Magadha, founder of the Mauryan empire (see Maurya). The Mauryan emperor Aśoka (d. 232 B.C.), Chandragupta's grandson, perhaps the greatest ruler of the ancient period, unified all of India except the southern tip. Under Aśoka, Buddhism was widely propagated and spread to Sri Lanka and SE Asia. During the 200 years of disorder and invasions that followed the collapse of the Mauryan state (c.185 B.C.), Buddhism in India declined. S India enjoyed greater prosperity than the north, despite almost incessant warfare; among the Tamil-speaking kingdoms of the south were the Pandya and Chola states, which maintained an overseas trade with the Roman Empire.

Indian culture was spread through the Malay Archipelago and Indonesia by traders from the S Indian kingdoms. Meanwhile, Greeks following Alexander had settled in Bactria (in the area of present-day Afghanistan) and established an Indo-Greek kingdom. After the collapse (1st cent. B.C.) of Bactrian power, the Scythians, Parthians, Afghans, and Kushans swept into NW India. There, small states arose and disappeared in quick succession; among the most famous of these kingdoms was that of the Kushans, which, under its sovereign Kanishka, enjoyed (2d cent. A.D.) great prosperity.

In the 4th and 5th cent. A.D., N India experienced a golden age under the Gupta dynasty, when Indian art and literature reached a high level. Gupta splendor rose again under the emperor Harsha of Kanauj (c.606–647), and N India enjoyed a renaissance of art, letters, and theology. It was at this time that the noted Chinese pilgrim Hsüan-tsang visited India. While the Guptas ruled the north in this, the classical period of Indian history, the Pallava kings of Kanchi held sway in the south, and the Chalukyas controlled the Deccan.

During the medieval period (8th–13th cent.) several independent kingdoms, notably the Palas of Bihar and Bengal, the Sen, the Ahoms of Assam, a later Chola empire at Tanjore, and a second Chalukya dynasty in the Deccan, waxed powerful. In NW India, beyond the reach of the medieval dynasties, the Rajputs had grown strong and were able to resist the rising forces of Islam. Islam was first brought to Sind, W India, in the 8th cent. by seafaring Arab traders; by the 10th cent. Muslim armies from the north were raiding India. From 999 to 1026, Mahmud of Ghazna several times breached Rajput defenses and plundered India.

In the 11th and 12th cent. Ghaznavid power waned, to be replaced c.1150 by that of the Turkic principality of Ghor. In 1192 the legions of Ghor defeated the forces of Prithivi Raj, and the Delhi Sultanate, the first Muslim kingdom in India, was established. The sultanate eventually reduced to vassalage almost every independent kingdom on the subcontinent, except that of Kashmir and the remote kingdoms of the south. The task of ruling such a vast territory proved impossible; difficulties in the south with the state of Vijayanagar, the great Hindu kingdom, and the capture (1398) of the city of Delhi by Timur finally brought the sultanate to an end.

The Muslim kingdoms that succeeded it were defeated by a Turkic invader from Afghanistan, Babur, a remote descendant of Timur, who, after the battle of Panipat in 1526, founded the Mughal empire. The empire was consolidated by Akbar and reached its greatest territorial extent, the control of almost all of India, under Aurangzeb (ruled 1659–1707). Under the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal empire a large Muslim following grew and a new culture evolved in India (see Mughal art and architecture); Islam, however, never supplanted Hinduism as the faith of the majority.

The Arrival of the Europeans

Only a few years before Babur's triumph, Vasco da Gama had landed at Calicut (1498) and the Portuguese had conquered Goa (1510). The splendor and wealth of the Mughal empire (from it comes much of India's greatest architecture, including the Taj Mahal) attracted British, Dutch, and French competition for the trade that Portugal had at first monopolized. The British East India Company (see East India Company, British), which established trading stations at Surat (1613), Bombay (now Mumbai; 1661), and Calcutta (now Kolkata; 1691), soon became dominant and with its command of the sea drove off the traders of Portugal and Holland. While the Mughal empire remained strong, only peaceful trade relations with it were sought; but in the 18th cent., when an Afghan invasion, dynastic struggles, and incessant revolts of Hindu elements, especially the Marathas, were rending the empire, Great Britain and France seized the opportunity to increase trade and capture Indian wealth, and each attempted to oust the other. From 1746 to 1763, India was a battleground for the forces of the two powers, each attaching to itself as many native rulers as possible in the struggle.

India under British Rule

Robert Clive's defeat of the Nawab of Bengal at Plassey in 1757 traditionally marks the beginning of the British Empire in India (recognized in the Treaty of Paris of 1763). Warren Hastings, Clive's successor and the first governor-general of the company's domains to be appointed by Parliament, did much to consolidate Clive's conquests. By 1818 the British controlled nearly all of India south of the Sutlej River and had reduced to vassalage their most powerful Indian enemies, the state of Mysore (see Haidar Ali and Tippoo Sahib) and the Marathas. Only Sind and Punjab (the Sikh territory) remained completely independent.

The East India Company, overseen by the government's India Office, administered the rich areas with the populous cities; the rest of India remained under Indian princes, with British residents in effective control. Great Britain regarded India as an agricultural reservoir and a market for British goods, which were admitted duty free. However, the export of cotton goods from India suffered because of the Industrial Revolution and the production of cloth by machine. On the other hand, the British initiated projects to improve transportation and irrigation.

British control was extended over Sind in 1843 and Punjab in 1849. Social unrest, added to the apprehensions of several important native rulers about the aggrandizing policies of Governor-General Dalhousie, led to the bloody Indian Mutiny of 1857. It was suppressed, and Great Britain, determined to prevent a recurrence, initiated long-needed reforms. Control passed from the East India Company to the crown. The common soldiers in the British army in India were drawn more and more from among the Indians, and these troops were later also used overseas. Sikhs and Gurkhas became famous as British soldiers. Native rulers were guaranteed the integrity of their domains as long as they recognized the British as paramount. In 1861 the first step was taken toward self-government in British India with the appointment of Indian councillors to advise the viceroy and the establishment of provincial councils with Indian members. But the power of Britain was symbolized and reinforced when Queen Victoria was crowned empress of India in 1877.

India Moves toward Independence

With the setting up of government universities, an Indian middle class had begun to emerge and to advocate further reform. Among the leaders who organized the Indian National Congress in 1885 were Allan Octavian Hume, retired from the Indian Civil Service, Dadabhai Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta, and W. C. Bonnerjee. Later in the century, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Surendranath Banerjea, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Rabindranath Tagore, and Aurobindo Ghose also rose to prominence. The nationalist movement had been foreshadowed earlier in the century in the writings of Rammohun Roy.

Popular nationalist sentiment was perhaps most strongly aroused when, for administrative reasons, Viceroy Curzon partitioned (1905) Bengal into two presidencies; newly created Eastern Bengal had a Muslim majority. (The partition was ended in 1911.) In the early 1900s the British had widened Indian participation in legislative councils (the Morley-Minto reforms). Separate Muslim constituencies, introduced for the first time, were to be a major factor in the growing split between the two communities. Muslim nationalist sentiment was expressed by Sayyid Ahmad Khan, Muhammad Iqbal, and Muhammad Ali.

At the outbreak of World War I all elements in India were firmly united behind Britain, but discontent arose as the war dragged on. The British, in the Montagu declaration (1917) and later in the Montagu-Chelmsford report (1918), held out the promise of eventual self-government. Crop failures and an influenza epidemic that killed millions plagued India in 1918–19. Britain passed the Rowlatt Acts (1919), which enabled authorities to dispense with juries, and even trials, in dealing with agitators. In response, Mohandas K. Gandhi organized the first of his many passive-resistance campaigns. The massacre of Indians by British troops at Amritsar further inflamed the situation. The Government of India Act (late 1919) set up provincial legislatures with “dyarchy,” which meant that elected Indian ministers, responsible to the legislatures, had to share power with appointed British governors and ministers. Although the act also provided for periodic revisions, Gandhi felt too little progress had been made, and he organized new protests.

Imperial conferences concerning the status of India were held in 1930, 1931, and 1932, and led to the Government of India Act of 1935. The act provided for the election of entirely Indian provincial governments and a federal legislature in Delhi that was to be largely elected. In the first elections (1937) held under the act, the Congress, led by Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, won well over half the seats, mostly in general constituencies, and formed governments in 7 of the 11 provinces. The Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, won 109 of the 485 Muslim seats and formed governments in three of the remaining provinces. Fearing Hindu domination in a future independent India, Muslim nationalists in India began to argue for special safeguards for Muslims.

World War II found India by no means unified behind Great Britain. There was even an “Indian national army” of anti-British extremists, led by Subhas Bose, which fought in Myanmar on the Japanese side. To procure India's more wholehearted support, Sir Stafford Cripps, on behalf of the British cabinet, in 1942 proposed establishing an Indian interim government, in which Great Britain would maintain control only over defense and foreign policy, to be followed by full self-government after the war. The Congress adamantly demanded that the British leave India and, when the demand was refused, initiated civil disobedience and the Quit India movement. Great Britain's response was to outlaw the Congress and jail Gandhi and other leaders. Jinnah gave conditional support to the war but used it to build up the Muslim League.

Independence and the India-Pakistan Split

The British Labour government of Prime Minister Attlee in 1946 offered self-government to India, but it warned that if no agreement was reached between the Congress and the Muslim League, Great Britain, on withdrawing in June, 1948, would have to determine the apportionment of power between the two groups. Reluctantly the Congress agreed to the creation of Pakistan, and in Aug., 1947, British India was divided into the dominions of India and Pakistan. The princely states were nominally free to determine their own status, but realistically they were unable to stand alone. Partly by persuasion and partly by coercion, they joined one or the other of the new dominions. Hyderabad, in S central India, with a Muslim ruler and Hindu population, held out to the last and was finally incorporated (1948) into the Indian union by force. The future of Kashmir was not resolved.

Nehru became prime minister of India, and Jinnah governor-general of Pakistan. Partition left large minorities of Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan and Muslims in India. Widespread hostilities erupted among the communities and continued while large numbers of people—about 16 million in all—fled across the borders seeking safety. By 1948 more than a million people had been killed in the disorders. Gandhi was murdered by a Hindu fanatic in Jan., 1948. The hostility between India and Pakistan was aggravated when warfare broke out (1948) over their conflicting claims to jurisdiction over the princely state of Kashmir.

India became a sovereign republic in 1950 under a constitution adopted late in 1949. In addition to staggering problems of overpopulation, economic underdevelopment, and inadequate social services, India had to achieve the integration of the former princely states into the union and the creation of national unity from diverse cultural and linguistic groups. The states of the republic were reorganized several times along linguistic lines. India consolidated its territory by acquiring the former French settlements (see Puducherry) in 1956 and by forcibly annexing the Portuguese enclaves of Goa and Daman and Diu in Dec., 1961. In 1987, Goa became a separate state and Daman and Diu became a union territory. In world politics, India has been a leading exponent of nonalignment.

Problems on India's Borders

The republic's major foreign problems have been a border dispute with China that first surfaced in 1957 and continual difficulties with Pakistan. The Chinese controversy climaxed on Oct. 20, 1962, when the Chinese launched a massive offensive against Ladakh in Kashmir and in areas on the NE Indian border. The Chinese announced a cease-fire on Nov. 21 after gaining some territory claimed by India. In the late 1960s there was friction with Nepal, which accused India of harboring Nepalese politicians hostile to the Nepalese monarchy. In Aug., 1965, fighting between India and Pakistan broke out in the Rann of Kachchh frontier area and in Kashmir. The United Nations proclaimed a cease-fire in September, but clashes continued. India's Prime Minister Shastri, who succeeded Nehru after the latter's death in 1964, and Pakistan's President Ayub Khan met (1966) under Soviet auspices in Tashkent, USSR (now in Uzbekistan), to negotiate the Kashmir problem. They agreed on mutual troop withdrawals to the lines held before Aug., 1965.

Shastri died in Tashkent and was succeeded, after bitter debate within the Congress party, by Indira Gandhi, Nehru's daughter. The Congress party suffered a setback in the elections of 1967; its parliamentary majority was sharply reduced and it lost control of several state governments. In 1969 the party split in two: Mrs. Gandhi and her followers formed the New Congress party, and her opponents on the right formed the Old Congress party. In the elections of Mar., 1971, the New Congress won an overwhelming victory. Rioting and terrorism by Maoists, known as Naxalites, flared in 1970 and 1971. The situation was particularly serious in West Bengal.

In Pakistan, attempts by the government (dominated by West Pakistanis) to suppress a Bengali uprising in East Pakistan led in 1971 to the exodus of millions of Bengali refugees (mostly Hindus) from East Pakistan into India. Caring for the refugees imposed a severe drain on India's slender resources. India supported the demands of the Awami League, an organization of Pakistani Bengalis, for the autonomy of East Pakistan, and in Dec., 1971, war broke out between India and Pakistan on two fronts: in East Pakistan and in Kashmir. Indian forces rapidly advanced into East Pakistan; the war ended in two weeks with the creation of independent Bangladesh to replace East Pakistan, and the refugees returned from India. India's relations with the United States were strained because of U.S. support of Pakistan.

India in the Late Twentieth Century

In mid-1973, India and Pakistan signed an agreement providing for the release of prisoners of war captured in 1971 and calling for peace and friendship on the Indian subcontinent. Also in 1973, India's ties with the USSR were strengthened by a new aid agreement that considerably increased Soviet economic assistance; at the same time, relations with the United States improved somewhat. In 1974, India became the world's sixth nuclear power by exploding an underground nuclear device in the Thar Desert in Rajasthan state. Also in 1974, Gandhi's position was put under intense pressure by opponents who criticized her government for abusing its powers and in 1975 her 1971 election to the Lok Sabha was invalidated.

Despite the declaration of a state of emergency and the initiation of several relatively popular public policy programs, the opposition campaign and the growing power of her son Sanjay Gandhi contributed to a 1977 election defeat for Gandhi and the New Congress party at the hands of a coalition known as the Janata (People's) party. The Janata party soon became fractured, however, and in Jan., 1980, Indira Gandhi and her new Congress (Indira) party won a resounding election victory. Less than six months later Sanjay Gandhi, expected by many to be his mother's successor, was killed in a plane crash.

In 1982, Sikh militants began a terrorism campaign intended to pressure the government to create an autonomous Sikh state in the Punjab. Government response escalated until in June, 1984, army troops stormed the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the Sikh's holiest shrine and the center of the independence movement. Sikh protests across India added to the political tension, and Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh members of her personal guard in October. The resulting anti-Sikh riots (some incited by local Congress party leaders) prompted the government to appoint Indira's eldest son, Rajiv Gandhi, prime minister. Rajiv moved quickly to end the rioting and thereafter pursued a domestic policy emphasizing conciliation among India's various conflicting ethnic and religious groups. In 1989 he was defeated by the Janata Dal party under the leadership of Vishwanath Pratap Singh.

While India's economic performance was generally stable in the 1980s, it experienced continuing problems politically, including border and immigration disputes with Bangladesh, internal agitation by Tamil separatists, violent conflicts in Assam, strife caused by the Sikh question, and continued antagonism between Hindus and Muslims. From 1987 to 1990, the Indian military occupied the northern area of Sri Lanka in an unsuccessful attempt to quell the Tamil separatist insurgency.

In 1990, Singh resigned as prime minister; Chandra Shekhar, leader of the Samajwadi Janata party (a Janata Dal splinter party), became prime minister with Congress's support, but he resigned after several months and elections were called. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during an election rally in 1991 and was succeeded as head of the Congress party by P. V. Narasimha Rao. The Congress party won the ensuing election and Rao became prime minister. He immediately instituted sweeping economic reforms, moving away from the centralized planning that had characterized India's economic policy since Nehru to a market-driven economy, greatly increasing its foreign investment and trade.

Religious conflict sparked by militant Hindus and exploited by Hindu political parties was a persistent problem in the 1980s and led to bloody riots in 1992. In early 1996 a bribes-for-favors corruption scandal dating back to the early 1990s, described by some as the worst since independence, hit the Rao administration. Several ministers were forced to resign, and the Congress party, which had governed the country for all but four years since 1947, found itself in crisis. Rao himself was rumored to be involved in the scandal, and the main opposition political group, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), was also implicated.

The May, 1996, general elections proved a debacle for the Congress party, which finished third, its worst ever electoral showing. The BJP won the most parliamentary seats but fell well short of a majority, and the government it formed lasted for less than two weeks. An uneasy coalition government of leftist, regional, and lower-cast parties was then formed under the prime ministership of H. D. Deve Gowda. In Deve Gowda's United Front government, lower-caste Indians, southerners, and religious minorities assumed more important roles than ever before, but the coalition was dependent on the tacit support of the Congress party. Less than a year later, in Apr., 1997, the leadership changed hands again, and I. K. Gujral became prime minister; he resigned seven months later. Following elections held early in 1998, the BJP and its allies won the most seats and BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee was named prime minister. His government fell after losing a vote of confidence in Apr., 1999, but following a solid victory in the elections in September, he formed a new coalition government.

In May, 1998, India detonated three underground nuclear explosions, after which the United States imposed economic sanctions. Two more blasts followed, and Pakistan followed suit by conducting its own nuclear tests. In May, 1999, India launched a military campaign against Islamic guerrillas who were occupying strategic positions in the Indian-held part of Kashmir, and who India denounced as being sponsored by Pakistan; the rebels withdrew by the end of July. Portions of W Gujarat (in W India) were devastated by an earthquake early in 2001.

Talks in July, 2001, between Vajpayee and Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's military ruler, ended sourly, without any progress concerning Kashmir. In September the economic sanctions imposed by the United States were removed, as the Bush administration pursued closer relations with India. Relations with Pakistan, in contrast, were further aggravated by the suicide bombing of Kashmir's state assembly building by Pakistani-supported militant Muslim guerrillas in October, and reached a crisis point and diplomatic break in December after guerrillas launched a terror attack on the Indian parliament. India insisted the Pakistan end all such attacks. The border with Pakistan was closed, and Indian troops were mobilized along it.

Tensions eased somewhat when Pakistan moved to shut down the groups responsible for most terror attacks in India (although most arrested militants were later released) and Musharraf subsequently announced (Jan., 2002) that Pakistan would not tolerate any groups engaging in terrorism. Localized Hindu-Muslim violence, centered mainly in Gujarat and unrelated to events in Kashmir, erupted in early 2002, and BJP members and the BJP government there was accused of complicitiy in the riots.

War with Pakistan again loomed as a possibility in May, 2002, when attacks by Muslim guerrillas once again escalated. The chance that such a conflict might turn into a nuclear confrontation prompted international efforts to defuse the crisis. A pledge by Musharraf to stop infilitration across the line of control in Kashmir led to the apparent end of active government sponsorship of such infilitration, although it did not stop it. The move eased the crisis, and in October the two nations began a troop pullback. Diplomatic relations were restored in May, 2003, and situation slowly improved during the rest of 2003 and the following year. Also in 2003, India signed a border pact with China that represented an incremental improvement in their relations; a new agreement two years later called for the two nations to define their disputed borders through negotiations.

Indian parliamentary elections in the spring of 2004 resulted in an unexpected victory for the Congress party, which subsequently formed a 20-party coalition government. Sonia Gandhi, Congress's leader, declined to become prime minister, perhaps in part because of concerns over her foreign birth. Instead, Manmohan Singh, a technocrat and former finance minister, led the new government. In Dec., 2004, India's SE coast and Andaman and Nicobar Islands were devastated by an Indian Ocean tsunami. More than 14,000 people died, and hundreds of thousands were made homeless. Maoist rebels, largely insignficant since the 1980s, became an increasing problem for the government in E India, especially in Chhattisgarh and neighboring states, beginning in 2004.

By Apr., 2005, relations with Pakistan had improved to the point that Pakistani president Musharraf visited India, and during the subsequent months the two nations increased cross-border transport links, including in Kashmir, and improved intergovernmental cooperation and trade relations. Although the devastation from the Oct., 2005, earthquake in N Pakistan was much greater there, Indian Kashmir, where more than 1,300 died, and other parts of India were also affected by the temblor. After the earthquake India and Pakistan eased border crossing restrictions in Kashmir.

In Mar., 2006, India reached an agreement with the United States that ended a U.S. moratorium on reactor fuel and components sales to India. Under the pact India agreed to open most of its nuclear reactors to international inspections for the first time. U.S. critics of the deal pointed out, however, that the Indian military was permitted to retain uninspected control of fast-breeder reactors, enabling it to increase its production of plutonium for nuclear weapons. The Communist allies of the Congress party also objected to the deal on the grounds that it infringed on India's sovereignty, and their objections to it threatened to bring down the government in 2007.

A series of bomb attacks on the Mumbai rail system on July 11, 2006, killed some 200 people and injured 700; it was initially unclear who mounted them, though the police suspected a Muslim terror group. The attack was the worst of several in 2006 and 2007. India-Pakistan peace talks were suspended as a result of the attack. In Sept., 2006, Indian police said that Pakistan's intelligence agency was involved in planning the attack, a charge Pakistan denied, but the Indian prime minister said the he would provide Pakistan with evidence of the agency's involvement. The peace talks resumed in Nov., 2006, and in Feb., 2007, an agreement intended to prevent an accidental nuclear war between the two nations was signed. The monsoons of 2007 brought serious flooding in parts of India, especially Assam, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. Assam was particularly hard-hit, experiencing three waves of flooding that affected some 12 million people. The same states were hit by serious monsoon flooding in 2008 as well.

The first negotiations with Pakistan since a civilian government came to power there occurred in May, 2008, but after a July terror attack against its embassy in Afghanistan India accused Pakistan of continuing to support terrorist violence against it. In July, 2008, the Communists withdrew from the governing coalition after the prime minister decided to proceed with the nuclear pact signed with the United States. With the support of the pro-business Samajwadi party, other small parties, and independents, the Congress-led minority government survived a confidence vote later in July, ending months of indecision on the pact. The opposition, however, accused the government of attempting bribery to win the relatively close vote. In September the International Atomic Energy Agency approved lifting a ban on nuclear trade with India, and the U.S. Congress ratified the nuclear agreement with India.

In 2008 India again experienced a series of terrorist bombings in which a number of cities were struck several times in one day; those attacks were apparently the work of Indian Islamic militants. In November, however, Islamic terrorists from Pakistan attacked several sites in Mumbai, killing more that 170 people. India demanded that Pakistan take action against those it said were linked to the attacks, leading to increased tensions with Pakistan.

Maoist rebels, which by 2009 were operating over a large area in E and central India, launched significantly more serious attacks in 2009, leading the government to begin a major counterinsurgency offensive against them later in the year. In Feb., 2009, Pakistan acknowledged that the Mumbai attack was partially planned in and launched from Pakistan, and said that it had arrested of number of individuals in connection with the attack; in 2010 the Indian government accused Pakistan intelligence agency of being involved in the planning of the attack. Congress and its allies won an increased plurality in the May, 2009, parliamentary elections, and again formed a coalition government with Singh as prime minister.

Beginning in 2010, the government was tarnished by a series of scandals, including one involving the 2010 Commonwealth Games and another involving telecommunications licenses in which Singh was queried by the supreme court concerning what it termed months of alleged inaction. The situation led to protests in 2011, including a hunger strike in August by activist Anna Hazare, in favor of stricter anticorruption legislation, but political divisions stymied attempts to pass legislation before the end of the year. A bill ultimately was passed in Dec., 2013. Meanwhile, India and Pakistan agreed in Feb., 2011, to resume formal peace talks, which had been suspended since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, and in Apr., 2012, Pakistan's President Zadari made an unofficial visit to India.

A massive electrical power outage in July that affected half of India (the north, northeast, and east grids) highlighted the nation's generating capacity shortage; the nation's north grid failed two days in a row. In August a new scandal, concerning the sale of government coal fields on the basis of recommendations by the states, broke; the national auditor asserted that the government had lost large sums as a result of questionable sales. In Sept., 2012, the government launched reforms designed to increase investment in the economy.

Unseasonably early heavy rains in June, 2013, led to flash flooding and landslides that killed some 6,000 people in Uttarakhand state, in N India; more than 100,000 people were stranded and needed to be evacuated. The April–May, 2014, parliamentary elections resulted in a landslide victory for the BJP and its electoral alliance; the BJP alone won a majority of seats in what was the largest electoral victory since 1984. Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, became prime minister. A lack of an upper house majority, however, subsequently hindered enactment of proposed tax and land acquisition changes.

In Dec., 2015, Modi made a surprise visit to Pakistan, but hopes for a warming with India's neighbor were tempered in Jan., 2016, when Kashmiri separatists widely regarded as sponsored by Pakistan's intelligence agency attacked India's Pathankot air force base in Punjab. An attack against a base in Kashmir in September further aggravated the situation with Pakistan, and there were recurring exchanges of fire between Indian and Pakistani forces in Kashmir until late May, 2018. In July, 2016, violent civilian protests erupted in Kashmir after security forces killed a militant Muslim separatist leader there, and heightened tensions continued in Kashmir through 2018. In Nov., 2016, the government abruptly invalidated and replaced the bulk of India's banknotes to fight corruption and tax evasion, but the move disrupted the country's largely cash-based economy.

Tensions flared with China in mid-2017 after Bhutan accused China of building a road in a strategic (and disputed) area on the W Bhutan border in contravention of a 2012 agreement. Bhutan sought India's aid, and a three-month standoff between Indian and Chinese forces resulted. A suicide bombing in Kashmir in Feb., 2019, that killed 46 Indian paramilitary police led to a retaliatory air strike against an alleged terrorist base in Pakistan; Pakistan then responded with air attack of its own. There also was significant skirmishing between the two countries in Kashmir.

In the Apr.–May, 2019, parliamentary elections, the popular Modi led the BJP's electoral alliance to an increased majority. In Aug., 2019, Modi abolished the constitutionally guaranteed semiautonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir state and divided it into two federally administered union territories (effective in October), creating the newly established Ladakh from the eastern districts of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir. At the same time the Indian government imposed a severe military clamp down on the area and restricted communications. This and the supreme court decision to permit construction of a Hindu temple in Ayodhya contributed to a sense among many Muslims that they were becoming second-class citizens. A proposed national register of citizens (already in place in Assam, where it largely but not exclusively affected Muslims from Bangladesh) and passage of a citizenship law making it easier for non-Muslims from Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan to secure citizenship further aggravated the situation. After enactment of the law in December, there were demonstrations against it in many areas, and protests continued into Jan., 2020; there were deadly Hindu-Muslim clashes in Delhi in February.

In March, Modi imposed a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19. Some of the restrictions on industry and farming were eased in April. Concerns over the negative economic effects of the lockdown led to its end in June; the economy contracted by 24% in the second quarter and went into the first recession in more than two decades in the third quarter. Subsequently, India became one of the nations with largest number of cases, with numbers rising dramatically in July–September and then continuing to climb but at a steadily easing rate. States imposed localized lockdowns. A second wave of COVID-19 occurred beginning in April 2021, with India posting the highest daily rates of new infections in the world for several weeks. India's healthcare system was overwhelmed by new cases, and supplies of oxygen and other medical equipment became dangerously low. International aid has poured into the country as death rates have exploded.

Meanwhile, tensions escalated with China along the Kashmir border in April, with a particularly deadly clash in June before both sides pulled their troops back. There also were tensions with Nepal over India's construction of a road in an area under India's control but long claimed by Nepal. Agricultural legislation passed in September was touted by the government as a reform but regarded by many small farmers as putting them at the mercy of the market. In November, farmers began demonstrating outside New Delhi, blocking main roads into the city; the demonstrations continued into 2021, leading the supreme court to suspend the legislation while a committee it appointed sought a solution.


See J. Nehru, The Discovery of India (1946, repr. 1989); O. H. K. Spate et al., India and Pakistan: A General and Regional Geography (rev. ed. 1972); D. N. Majumdar, Races and Cultures of India (4th ed. 1961, repr. 1973); A. L. Basham, ed., A Cultural History of India (1984); J. Brown, Modern India (1985); V. E. Smith, The Oxford History of Modern India (3d ed. 1985); G. Johnson et al., ed., The New Cambridge History of India (23 vol., 1987–2013); S. Muthiah, ed., A Social and Economic Atlas to India (1987); A. Singh, The Origins of the Partition of India, 1936–1947 (1987); P. Moon, The British Conquest and Dominion of India (1989); J. Heitzman and R. L. Worden, ed., India: A Country Study (5th ed. 1996); S. Khilnani, The Idea of India (1998); L. James, Raj: The Making and Unmaking of British India (1999); D. Gilmour, The Ruling Caste (2006); Y. Khan, The Great Partition (2007); S. D. Sharma, China and India in the Age of Globalization (2009); I. Talbot and G. Singh, The Partition of India (2009); S. Wolpert, India and Pakistan (2010); P. French, India: A Portrait (2011); A. Giridharadas, India Calling (2011); R. Guha, ed., Makers of Modern India (2011); A. Vajpeyi, Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India (2012); S. P. Cohen, Shooting for a Century: The India-Pakistan Conundrum (2013); J. Dreze and A. Sen, An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions (2013); N. Hajari, Midnight's Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India's Partition (2015); T. R. Trautman, India: Brief History of a Civilization (2d. ed., 2015); J. Wilson, The Chaos of Empire (2017); D. Gilmour, The British in India (2019).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(in Hindi, Bharat; official designation, Republic of India).

India is a state in South Asia located in the Indian Ocean basin. It is situated along the most important air and sea routes linking the countries of South and Southeast Asia with Europe and Africa. The maximum length of the territory from north to south is 3,200 km, and from west to east 2,700 km. In the north the territory of India is bounded by the Himalayas. In the west its shores are washed by the waters of the Arabian Sea, and in the east by the Bay of Bengal. The territory of India includes the Laccadive and the Amindivi islands in the Arabian Sea and the Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal. Land borders, approximately 15,000 km long, predominate. The sea border is more than 5,500 km in length (as the crow flies). India borders on Pakistan and Afghanistan in the northwest, on China and Nepal in the north, on Bangladesh in the northeast, and on Burma in the east; it also borders on Bhutan and Sikkim. (The latter became part of India in 1974–75.) India has an area of 3, 268,100 sq km (according to the United Nations) and a population of more than 547 million people (1971). The capital city is Delhi.

Administratively, India is divided into states and union territories (see Table 1). States are divided into districts, and the latter are divided into talukas or tahsils.


Table 1. Administrative divisions
1The Union territory of Mizoram was separated from the state of Assam in 1972.2State formed in 1960 as a result of the partition of territories belonging to the former state of Bombay.3Former administrative center of the state is the city of Ahmadabad.4State formed in 1966 by partition of the territories of the state of Punjab.5State formed in 1971.6Population of the part of the state not controlled by Pakistan.7Became a state in 1972.8State formed in 1970 within the territory of the state of Assam.9State formed in 1961 by separating territory from the state of Assam.10Chandigarh, a Union territory, is also the common capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana.11Under administrative control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of India.
Source: Census of India, 1971, Paper No. 1—Supplement, “Provisional Population Totals.” New Delhi, 1971.
 Area (sq km)Population (1971)Administrative center
Andhra Pradesh . . .277,00043,400,000Hyderabad
Assam1 . . . . . . .100,00014,900,000Shillong
Bihar . . . . . . . .174,00056,300,000Patna
Gujarat2 . . . . . .196,00026,700,000Gandhinagar3
Haryana4 . . . . . .44,00010,000,000Chandigarh
Himachal Pradesh5 .56,0003,400,000Simla
Jammu and Kashmir222,0004,600,0006Srinagar
Madhya Pradesh444,00041,600,000Bhopal
Maharashtra2 . . . . . . .308,00050,300,000Bombay
Manipur7 . .22,4001,100,000Imphal
Meghalaya8 . . . .22,000980,000Shillong
Karnataka . . . . . . .192,00029,300,000Bangalore
Nagaland9 . . . . . . .17,000500,000Kohima
Orissa . . . . . . . . . . .156,00021,900,000Bhubaneswar
Punjab . . . . . . . . . . .50,00013,500,000Chandigarh
Rajasthan . . . . . . .342,00025,700,000Jaipur
Tamil Nadu (until 1969, Madras)130,00041,100,000Madras
Tripura710,4001 ,500,000Agartala
Uttar Pradesh . . . .294,00088,400,000Lucknow
West Bengal . . . . .88,00044,400,000Calcutta
Union territories
Andaman and Nicobar Islands . . . . . . .8,300110,000Port Blair
Chandigarh10. . . .100260,000
Dadra and Nagar Haveli . . . . . . .50070,000Silvassa
Delhi . . . . . . . . . .1,5004,000,000Delhi
Goa, Daman, and Diu3,800860,000Panaji
Laccadive, Amindivi Islands and Minicoy3030,000
Mizoram . . . . . . .Aijal
Northeast Frontier Agency11 . . . . .81,400400,000Shillong
Pondicherry (pudducheri) . . . . . . .500500,000Pondicherry

India is a federative republic (a union of states). The acting constitution went into effect Jan. 26, 1950. The head of state is the president, who is elected for a term of five years by an electoral college consisting of all the elected members of parliament and of the legislatures of the states. The president is given broad powers. He appoints the prime minister and, upon the recommendation of the latter, other members of the government and the supreme court. The president has the right to dissolve the House of the People (the lower house of parliament), to issue emergency decrees between sessions of parliament, and to declare states of emergency. He is also the Supreme Commander in Chief of the armed forces.

The highest organ of legislative authority is the parliament, consisting of the president and two chambers—the House of the People and the Council of States. The House of the People (1972) has 521 deputies, 518 of whom were elected for terms of five years through direct and universal suffrage by secret ballot based on a relative majority system; three deputies are appointed by the president. The Council of States has 240 members, 228 of whom are elected by the elected members of the state legislatures on the basis of proportional representation; 12 members are appointed by the president. Each member of the Council of States serves for six years. Every two years there are elections for one-third of the council’s seats. The right to vote belongs to all citizens who have reached the age of 21.

The government of India—that is, the Council of Ministers—is formed by the parliamentary faction of the party that wins in the elections to the House of the People.

Although according to the constitution of India (art. 74) the government is purely a deliberative body, in fact the prime minister and the government have considerable authority.

In the states the chief of executive power is the governor, appointed by the president to a term of five years. The greater part of the governor’s authority is carried out in practice by the Council of Ministers, which consists of a chief minister and subordinate ministers. Each state has a legislature consisting of a governor and one or two chambers elected by the population to terms of five years.

Union territories are governed directly by the president or by chief commissars who are subordinate to the president.

Officials (commissars or collectors) are designated as chief authorities in districts, as are village elders in villages. There are also elected bodies (panchayats) in the villages that control public property, forests, and field areas and are responsible for sanitation, water supply, and so forth. District councils consisting of not less than six members are elected to three-year terms in districts. In cities municipal councils are elected.

The judicial system includes a supreme court, which is also an organ of constitutional supervision, state higher courts, and a number of lower-level district courts.


The territory of India includes the Hindustan Peninsula, part of the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges, the eastern part of the Indo-Gangetic Plain (east of the Sutlej River), and several groups of islands in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.

Coasts. The length of the coastline is approximately 12,000 km. The coasts are generally low-lying, sandy, slightly jagged, and there are many lagoons on them. There are few convenient natural harbors. Many large ports either are found at the estuaries of rivers (Calcutta) or have been built artificially (Madras). The southern part of the western shorelines of the Hindustan Peninsula is called the Malabar Coast; the southern part of the eastern shoreline, the Coromandel Coast.

Topography. Nearly three-quarters of the territory of India consists of plains and plateaus. The larger part of the Hindustan Peninsula is occupied by the Deccan plateau, which is divided by faults into low- and middle-altitude mountains with smooth summits and tabular or rolling plateaus, above which rise conical or rounded hills and mesas with precipitous slopes. In the west a plateau rises up to form the Western Ghats, the western slope of which descends to the sea with steep escarpments; the eastern slope rolls gently and is breached by the valleys of large rivers (the Krishna, Godavari, Mahanadi, and others). The southern continuation of the Western Ghats is found in the horst massifs of the Nilgiri (heights up to 2,633 m), Anaimalai, and Cardamom hills with their edged summits, steep slopes, and deep gorges. In the northwest there are the Aravalli Mountains (altitudes up to 1,722 m), consisting of an old folded chain characterized by short parallel ridges, powerfully disintegrated through erosion, with smooth summits and an abundance of rock debris. In the north the Deccan is bounded by the Vind-hya Mountains (heights up to 881 m), which form the southern precipitous edge of the basalt Malwa Plateau. The latter is crossed by many river valleys and does not form a continuous chain. The middle-altitude rocky Satpura, Mahadeo, and Maikal ranges, composed of gneisses, crystalline schists, and other rocks, are situated in the northern part of the plateau. Broad lava plateaus are located between these ranges. The Chota Nagpur Plateau (average height approximately 600 m), above which individual tower-like crests of dense sandstone ascend to heights of 1,366 m, is found in the northeast. The plateau descends in the north to the Ganges River valley in a series of stages. The Eastern Ghats (heights up to 1,680 m), divided by rivers into separate massifs, form the eastern edge of the Deccan. The flat Indo-Gangetic Plain, gently descending to the deltas of the Indus and the Ganges, is situated to the north of the Hindustan Peninsula. Here the monotony of the relief is broken by ravines carved into steep cliffs of terraces 45–60 m high, oxbow lakes, and dried river beds. The Himalayas and the more northerly Karakoram—the highest mountain systems in the world (Nanga Parbat in the Himalayas is 8,126 m high)—rise in three sharp stages over the plain from the north. The different belts of the Himalayas— the Siwalik Range (800–1,200 m), the Lesser Himalayas (2,500–3,000 m), and the Great Himalayas (5,500–6,000 m and higher)—are divided by a chain of intermontane basins. The Lesser and Great Himalayas have alpine forms of topography and are deeply cut by rivers.


Geological structure and mineral resources. A large part of India is found within the area of the ancient Indian (Hindustan) Platform, which forms the Hindustan Peninsula and the Indo-Gangetic Plain, which is contiguous to it in the north. The territory of India also includes a stretch of the Himalayas (Simla, Jammu, and Kashmir). Various Precambrian complexes contributed to the structure of the platform foundation, which over a large area protrudes to the surface. These complexes include “peninsula gneisses” (more than 2.7–3.0 billion years old); the Dharwar folded system (1.9–2.3 billion years old) of metamorphosed volcanic and sedimentary rock along with granites; the Eastern Ghat system of gneisses and crystalline schists (1, 5002,585 million years old); and the Satpura system (in central India) of crystalline schists, manganic rock (gondites), and igneous rock along with veined series with many rare minerals (0.9–1.0 billion years old). In the northwest emerges the Aravalli system of crystalline schists, along with a narrow stretch of Upper Proterozoic schists and sandstone of the Delhi system.

In places the foundation is covered by sandstone, dolomite, limestone, and other rocks of sedimentary cover (Cuddapah and Vindhya series of the Upper Proterozoic).

The platform is crossed by a system of latitudinally deep and narrow fault troughs filled with dense, mainly continental, deposits (Gondwana series—Upper Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, and Jurassic). Glacial, carboniferous, and volcanic rock masses are distinguished in the composition of the platform. Marine Upper Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Paleocene layers form a mantle along the edges of the platform, in part along the ocean coast. A dense series (more than 2,000 m) of Cretaceous-Eocene basalts (traps) covers an enormous area, forming the Deccan. Neocene continental deposits of great thickness (Molasses), with bones of extinct vertebrates (Siwalik fauna), fill the deep piedmont depressions of the Himalayas. The Himalayas consist of a very complex folded mountain area that completed its formation during the Neocene. Crystalline schists and gneisses of the Precambrian and low-thickness rocks of the Paleozoic, Triassic, and Jurassic, in places alongside abundant fauna, played an important role in structuring the Himalayas. A narrow stretch of complexly crushed Cretaceous-Paleocene lavas and flysch series, along with basic and ultrabasic intrusions, extends along the enormous breaks of the upper reaches of the Indus River. Powerful thrusts with southward shifts of covers also had a considerable influence on the geological formation of India.

Numerous deposits are associated with the platform foundation: iron ores (hematite and quartz-magnetite—Bihar, Orissa, Karnataka, and others; overall reserves total 21.6 billion tons); chromite and manganese ores (190 million tons, including 30 million tons verified and probable) and copper ores (Singh-bhum); gold (Kolar Gold Fields; 3,100 m); high-grade mica; and rare and precious stones. Diamonds are limited to conglomerates of the Vindhya series. Large deposits of hard coal (general reserves are approximately 136 billion tons), in particular coking coal (Raniganj, Jharia), are found in the Gondwana series. Numerous deposits of bauxites (general reserves total approximately 250 million tons) are associated with the Cenezoic residuum, and there are oil and gas deposits.


Climate. India’s climate is subequatorial and monsoonal; in the north it is tropical. There are three distinct seasons. The first is hot and humid, with a prevailing southwest monsoon (June to October); the second is dry and relatively cool, with a prevailing northeast trade wind (November to February); and the third is very hot and dry, with transitional weather (March to May). On the average, more than 80 percent of the annual precipitation falls during the humid season. The windward slopes of the Western Ghats and the Himalayas get the most moisture (up to 5,000–6,000 mm per year). The rainiest place on earth is the slopes of the Shillong massif (nearly 12,000 mm). The driest regions are the northwestern part of the Indo-Gangetic Plain (in certain areas less than 100 mm of precipitation per year and a dry period of nine to ten months) and the central part of the Hindustan Peninsula (300–500 mm and a dry period of eight or nine months). The amount of precipitation fluctuates greatly from year to year. In January the average temperature in the northern plains areas is approximately 15°C, and in the south it goes as high as 27°C. In May the temperature throughout India is 28°–35°C, rising at times to 45”–47°C. During the humid season the average temperature equals 27°–28°C over a large part of India’s territory. In the mountains at altitudes of 1,500 m the temperature in January is −1°C and in July it is 23°C; at altitudes of 3,500 m the temperature is correspondingly −8°C and 18°C.

Glaciation. In India nearly 40,000 sq km of territory are covered by perennial snow and glaciers. The basic centers of glaciation are concentrated in the north of India, in the Karakoram and on the southern slopes of the Zaskar range in the Himalayas. The glaciers are fed mainly by snowfalls during summer monsoons and drifting snow carried from mountain slopes. The average height of the snow line is approximately 5,300 m in the west and 4,500 m in the east. Many glaciers are receding.

Inland waters. In terms of feeding, the rivers of India are divided into the following categories: “Himalayan,” with mixed snow-glacial and rain feeding, deep-water throughout the entire year; and “Deccan,” with primarily rain and monsoon feeding, significant fluctuations in runoff, and flooding from June through October. In summer, sharp increases in water level are observed in all the large rivers, and floods occur. The most important rivers are the Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Godavari, Krishna, Narmada, Mahanadi, and Cauvery, most of which are extremely important as sources of irrigation. There are few large lakes. These are limited to mountain regions, primarily of glacial or tectonic origin. The largest is Wular Lake in the Vale of Kashmir. There are dammed lakes that emerged through landslides, cave-ins, and morainic formations. Lonar Lake, which is of volcanic origin, is found in the Deccan.

Soils. Laterite soils have developed over a large part of India’s territory. On the crystalline rocks of the slopes of the Western Ghats reddish yellow ferrolite soils are found. In the central area of the Hindustan Peninsula and in the northwestern part of the Indo-Gangetic Plain there are the reddish brown soils of dry savannas and reddish brown soils of sunken savannas, and in the northeastern part of the Hindustan Peninsula there are the red ferrolite soils of tallgrass savannas. Traps of the Deccan are covered with automorphous and redeposited black, frequently compact, soils of the seasonally dry tropics (regurs). In the Indo-Gangetic Plain and in coastal lowlands gray, grayish brown, brown, and various meadow soils, almost entirely plowed up, are distributed in alluvial deposits. Bog soils are found in river deltas and in certain other coastal areas. In the Himalayas a lower belt is formed by mountainous brown soils in the west and yellow soils in the east. Above this belt are found mountainous brown forest soils, podzolic soils, and mountain-meadow soils. With the exceptions of regurs and certain alluvial deposits the soils of India are not fertile, and they require fertilizers in many regions, as well as irrigation and drainage. Due to sharp seasonal changes in the humidity there is frequent erosion of soil.

Vegetation. The natural vegetation of the Hindustan Peninsula and the Indo-Gangetic Plain is primarily represented by savannas of acacia, spurge, palm, and banyan, as well as by monsoon shrubs and forests of teak, sandalwood, bamboo, Terminalia, and Dipterocarpaceae. In the northeastern area of the peninsula deciduous mixed forests grow, with a predominance of sal trees. Evergreen mixed forests are found on the windward slopes of the Western Ghats and in the deltas of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra. Altitude zones are clearly seen in the Himalayas and the Karakoram. The Terai (which is swampy with strongly hewed-out forest and shrubs) is located at the foot of the Western Himalayas. Above 1,200 m there are monsoon forests, mountain pine forests with evergreen underbrush, and dark coniferous forests with evergreen and deciduous trees. Mountain meadows and steppes begin at heights of approximately 3,000 m. In the east, damp tropical evergreen forests are found up to heights of 1,500 m. At greater heights there are mountain forests along with subtropical varieties, dark coniferous forests, and mountain meadows. The natural vegetation of India has been greatly altered by man. Monsoon forests have been preserved over only 10 to 15 percent of their original area. Almost no natural vegetation has remained in the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Secondary savannas, sparse growths of trees, and prickly shrubs prevail in the Hindustan Peninsula.

Fauna. The fauna of India is that of the Indo-Malaysian Region. The most common mammals are monkeys (macaques, langurs, gibbons), deer (spotted deer, sambars, and black bucks), antelope, and bulls (gaurs, water buffalo, and pygmy buffalo). Indian elephants, tigers, panthers, and Asiatic black bears are encountered. The lion, leopard, and Kashmir deer have been almost completely exterminated. There is a rich fauna of birds, reptiles, and fish.

In India there are many game reserves and national parks. The largest of these are the Gir forest in Gujarat (where the Asiatic lion is being preserved), Kaziranga in Assam, and Jaldapara in West Bengal (where the Indian rhinoceros is being preserved).

Natural regions. The Himalayas are a high-altitude mountain region with alpine topography deeply cut through by rivers, with a wide development of glaciation. The southern windward slopes are ‘abundantly showered during the southwestern monsoons and are covered for considerable distances by dense evergreen forests. The northern slopes facing Tibet are covered mainly by mountainous steppes and deserts. Tropical terrains predominate in the western part of the Himalayas, and subequatorial terrains in the east.

The Indo-Gangetic Plain is an alluvial lowland falling in altitude to the southwest and southeast. The western part of the plain, the Indian Punjab, is the part most divided by erosion. In certain areas there are hills composed of crystalline rock. Precipitation amounts to 350–500 mm per year, and dry steppes and semideserts prevail. The sandy Thar Desert is situated in the southwest. Here annual precipitation is less than 100 mm. Further south is the Kutch peninsula, with low sandstone ridges in its central area surrounded by sandy plains with dunes and terrains of dry savannas. The central part of the Indo-Gangetic Plain is the Ganges Valley, with broad terraces that are divided in certain places by ravines that occasionally create a “badlands” relief. Annual precipitation ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 mm. A large part of the valley has been plowed up. The delta of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra is a flat surface swamped in certain areas. It is crossed by a dense network of rivers and canals and covered primarily by mangrove and evergreen damp tropical forests.

The Hindustan Peninsula is characterized by an alternation of tall stepped plains, broad lava plateaus, gneiss peneplains, and block mountains. Annual precipitation varies from 500 to 1,200 mm in interior regions and from 5,000 to 6,000 mm on the western slopes of the Western Ghats. Savannas, sparse growths of trees, and shrubs of anthropogenic origin predominate on the plains of the inner regions of the peninsula. Monsoon forest massifs have been preserved in the mountains. The coastal area of the eastern shore is swampy in places and is sparsely settled.

Assam is the most humid area in northeastern India. It includes the massive peneplain Shillong, covered primarily by undergrowth; the folded Indo-Burmese mountains, divided by deep valleys with dense damp tropical forests; and the Brahmaputra River valley, with tallgrass savannas and damp tropical forests, swampy along its lower course.


Krishnan, M. S. Geologiia Indii i Birmy. Moscow, 1954. (Translated from English.)
Gansser, A. Geologiia Gimalaev. Moscow, 1967. (Translated from English.)
Riabchikov, A. M. Priroda Indii. Moscow, 1950.
Spate, O. H. K. Indiia i Pakistan. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from English.)
Physiography of India. Edited by S. P. Chatterjee. New Delhi, 1965.
India: Regional Studies. Edited by R. L. Singh. Calcutta, 1968.


India is one of the largest multinational countries in the world. There are several hundred nations, peoples, and tribal groups speaking different languages (845 languages and dialects were identified in the census of 1951) and living at different stages of socioeconomic development and ethnic community development. The central and northern areas of the country are populated by peoples speaking languages of the Indo-Aryan group of the Indo-European language family (72 percent of the entire population): speakers of Hindustani (many related local groups with a total population of 168 million; all figures cited are for 1971), Marathi (47 million), Bengali (44 million), Bihari (40 million), Gujarati (27 million), Oriya (20 million), Rajasthani (20 million), Punjabi (14 million), Assamese (8.5 million), the Pahari languages (including Kumaoni and Garhwali; these are spoken by 4 million people altogether), and Bhili (3 million). Kashmiri (spoken by 2.5 million) belongs to the Daidic language group. Southern India is principally populated by speakers of Dravidian languages (spoken by 94.6 percent of the entire population): Telugu, or Andhra (48 million); Tamil (40 million); Kannada, or Kanarese (23.5 million); Malayalam (22 million); and Gond, Oraon, Kui (Kandh), and other minor languages (a total of 5 million). In the mountain regions of central India languages of the Munda family are spoken, among them Santali, Mundari, Ho, Savara, and Korku (a total of 5.7 million speakers). In the north and northeast, along the borders of Nepal, China, and Burma, there are mountain peoples and tribes speaking Tibeto-Burmese languages: Garo, Bodo, Tripura, Mikir, Naga, Balti, Kiranti, Kanawari, and others (altogether more than 3 million speakers). Khasi (spoken in the state of Assam) and Nicobarese (on the Nicobar Islands) belong to the Mon-Khmer language family. Andamanese and Burushaski are isolated languages.

The state language of India is Hindi. English is considered to be temporarily a second state language. The official languages of the states are Assamese (Assam), Bengali (West Bengal, Tripura), Gujarati (Gujarat), Hindi (Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana), Kannada (Karnataka), Kashmiri (Jammu and Kashmir), Malayalam (Kerala), Marathi (Maharashtra), Oriya (Orissa), Punjabi (Punjab), Tamil (Tamil Nadu), Telugu (Andhra Pradesh), Khasi (Meghalaya), Manipuri (Manipur), and English (Nagaland). Sanskrit, a dead language preserved as a religious tongue, and Urdu, widespread mainly among Muslims, are also considered official languages.

The religion of the overwhelming majority of the population (more than 83 percent) is Hinduism. Islam (chiefly the Sunnite teaching) is practiced by more than 10 percent of the entire population, Christianity by 2.4 percent, Sikhism by approximately 1.8 percent, Buddhism by more than 1.7 percent, and Jainism by approximately 0.5 percent. There are small numbers of Zoroastrians and Jews. Some mountain peoples have preserved ancient religious beliefs such as ancestor worship or worship of the forces of nature.

On Mar. 22, 1957, the Indian national calendar from the Saka era was adopted in India. (Its 1, 892nd year corresponds to the period of Mar. 22,1970 to Mar. 21, 1971.) The year begins after the vernal equinox on the first day of the month of Chaitra (March 21 or 22). The Gregorian calendar is used concurrently.


Population dynamics are basically determined by natural growth. During certain periods foreign migrations have had a significant effect. During the partition of India in 1947, the population exchange between India and Pakistan was massive in nature. In 1971, in conjunction with the armed conflict unleashed by Pakistani military powers in East Pakistan, the flow of refugees into India from this region constituted an extraordinary phenomenon. After the capitulation of Pakistani forces and the formation of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the refugees returned to their homeland.

Between the 1951 and 1961 censuses the population of India grew by 21.5 percent, or 78 million persons; between 1961 and 1971 by 24.7 percent, or 108.3 million persons. High birth rates and a gradual reduction in mortality ensure a high natural growth rate of.the population. From 1960 to 1965 the average annual growth rate was 25 persons per 1,000 (with an average annual birth rate of 41 persons and a mortality rate of 16 per 1,000). A state policy of birth control is being implemented in India. Males constitute 51.7 percent of the population, and females 48.3 percent (1971). The number of young people is large: two-fifths of all people are under 15 years of age, and three-quarters of the population are under 35.

The economically active population, according to the census of 1961, comprised 43 percent of the overall population, or 188 million people (129 million men and 59 million women). Of all those employed, 71.9 percent were engaged in agriculture and 12.1 percent in industry and construction (including 6.4 percent in domestic industry and 4.2 percent in industrial manufacture). A new definition of employment has been adopted according to the census of 1971, on the basis of which the economically active population comprised 33.5 percent of the entire population of the country, or 184 million persons.

Despite measures for economic development of the country that have been undertaken by the government of India, the problem of unemployment remains an extremely acute one. The basic portion of the population consists of the peasantry. The working class is relatively small, although the number of workers is consistently growing. Landowners and big capitalists constitute the group of exploiters, and the national bourgeoisie occupies a prominent position.

India is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The average population density is approximately 170 people per sq km (1971). The highest population density is found in the territories where agricultural centers were formed in ancient times, as well as the regions that were most closely allied with foreign markets during the colonial period. There are two areas of great population concentration that stand out: the northern (the Indo-Gangetic Plain) and the southern (the coastal regions of Hindustan). Almost two-fifths of the entire population of the country is concentrated in the northern area. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal are the states with the highest population density (300–500 per sq km). In the southern area, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are most densely populated. Outlying mountain and desert territories, as well as certain interior regions of the Deccan, are less densely populated (30–100 per sq km).

The majority of the population lives in rural areas. There is a preponderance of large villages with an average population of 500 each. (Sometimes one of these villages will have a population of several thousand.)

The percentage of the population that is urban is small—approximately 20 percent (1971). The cities are settled areas with populations exceeding 5,000 (and with population density not lower than 400 per sq km) and a preponderance of nonagricul-tural employment. There are many small cities (with less than 20,000 residents); in 1971 there were more than 1,900 such cities out of a total of 2,900. These small cities are primarily commercial and handicraft centers. The population of large multifunctional cities is rapidly growing. In 1971 there were 142 cities with populations over 100,000; these cities contained more than one-half of the total urban population. Nine cities that form urban complexes have populations of more than 1 million each: Calcutta (7.0 million in 1971), Bombay (5.9 million), Delhi (over 3.6 million), Madras (2.5 million), Hyderabad (1.8 million), Ahmadabad (1.6 million), Bangalore (1.6 million), Kanpur (1.3 million), and Poona (1.1 million). In many cities there are sharp contrasts between the “old” and the “new” city. The former has narrow streets and one- and two-story houses that are overcrowded and without utilities; the latter has broad streets with considerable greenery and well-built European-type houses, frequently multistoried. The spontaneous growth of large urban complexes as a result of the influx of rural residents has been accompanied by a deterioration in housing and the conditions of daily life, an increase in transportation difficulties, and other problems. Efforts are being made for the state regulation of further urban development and the construction of housing.


Narody Iuzhnoi Azii. Moscow, 1963.


Ancient times (to the fifth century A.D.). Archaeological discoveries testify to the existence of human society in India as early as the Stone Age. Stone tools of the Chellean-Acheulian type have been found in deposits of this age. These Paleolithic tools were replaced by Mesolithic and then Neolithic implements. The first dated remains of the bronze culture, discovered in the Indus River valley, go back to the beginning of the third millennium B.C. It is believed that the oldest class society existed in the Indus valley in the second half of the third millennium B.C. and the first half of the second millennium B.C. (the Harappa civilization) and lasted somewhat longer in Gujarat. The penetration of India by the so-called Aryans, who settled first in the Punjab and later in the Ganges valley, commenced from the northwest in the second half of the second millennium B.C. The Vedas (a collection of ancient Indian religious hymns and invocations) sketch a picture of the life of these tribes, who lived by cattle-raising and agriculture, knew various trades, and engaged in commerce. In the society of the Vedic Aryans there was private ownership of cattle, movable property, slaves, and household plots. There was a tribal aristocracy that gained increasing power over the common members of the tribe.

During the first half of the first millennium B.C., a number of slaveholding states emerged in North India. The history of India of this period has not yet been adequately studied, and many of the conclusions historians have reached are still subject to debate, including answers to such cardinal questions as the economic structure and social relations of ancient India and the chronological limits of the slaveholding structure.

In the sixth century B.C., the majority of slaveholding states were situated in the eastern part of North India in the river basins of the Ganges and Yamuna—for example, the states of Anga, Magadha, Vrjji, Kasi, Kosala, Pancala, Vatsa, and Kuru States situated to the northwest and south of these are mentioned in source materials, including Gandhara and Avanti.

The free population of these slaveholding states consisted of four estates (varnas): Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Su-dras, of which the first two occupied positions of privilege. The state, in the person of the king, exacted a tax from farmers: one-sixth to one-twelfth of the crop. The king also had the right to use the labor of craftsmen (one day a month) and to exact various requisitions and duties. Farmers lived in familial or neighborly communes. Members of the commune were the collective owners of the land and the structures (for irrigation and so forth) they had built through their collective labor. Private land ownership also developed; this process proceeded unevenly in the different parts of India. Slavery was basically of a patriarchal nature. Slave labor was used mainly in the household. Cities appeared and became the capitals of slaveholding states.

The economic progress achieved during the sixth to fourth centuries B.C. introduced significant changes into the living conditions of ancient Indian society. There is evidence that in certain regions of India, particularly in Magadha, patriarchal slavery no longer met society’s needs. The labor of slaves and hired workers was used in agriculture, crafts, and the mining of ore. The development of commodity-monetary relations in India (attested to by the appearance of copper and silver money) facilitated the spread of slavery. Evidently, by the middle of the fourth century B.C. well-developed slaveholding relations had evolved in Magadha, and the state itself was converted into a powerful slaveholding despotism. The class of slaveholders grew considerably stronger. The basic labor product created by society entered into the hands of the Brahman and Kshatriya slaveholding aristocracy. The merchant class also grew and acquired economic weight. It became the most influential stratum of the varna of Vaisyas. At the same time, other Vaisyas were deprived of many previous social privileges. The position of the Sudras, many of whom were hired workers, deteriorated considerably. The exploitation of slaves employed in the mines, agriculture, crafts, and construction work was increased. All of these changes aggravated class contradictions. The growth of social contradictions gave rise to a religious-sectarian movement, in which Buddhism and Jainism were prominent.

The demand for slaves and resources for irrigation and other construction apparently stimulated the predatory Magadha wars. As early as the middle of the fourth century B.C., during the rule of the Nanda dynasty, almost the entire Ganges valley was under the authority of Magadha. During the period of the rise of Magadha, a part of the Indus River valley was conquered by the Achaemenids. From 327 to 325 B.C. the forces of Alexander of Macedon invaded India but went only as far as the Beas River. The expansion of Magadha continued under the Maurya dynasty, founded by Chandragupta, who overthrew the Nandas in 317 B.C. (the date is generally referred to as 322 B.C. in the literature). In approximately 305 B.C. the founder of the state of the Seleucids, Seleucus I Nicator, was forced to recognize the hegemony of Chandragupta over lands that Alexander of Macedon had seized during his march into India. During the reign of King Asoka the Mauryas ruled nearly all of India, as well as part of present-day Afghanistan. The Mauryas created a strong administrative and military apparatus. Magadha engaged in commerce with its western neighbors, and from the capital, Pataliputra, the Mauryas built an excellent road to the northwestern border of their state.

Internal contradictions and an invasion of India by the Bactrian Greeks undermined the power of the Mauryas, and their state began to collapse. From the second century B.C. to the first century A.D., numerous dynasties of Bactrian Greeks, Parthians, and Sakas ruled in the western area of North India. At approximately the same time the state of Satavahanas began to grow in the Deccan. In the first century A.D. a large part of North India was under the power of the Kushans. From the first to the third century A.D., India conducted lively trade with Rome. Commercial links with countries situated to the east of India all the way to China were also broadened. In the fourth century, after the fall of Kushan power in North India, the state of Magadha began to grow again. During the reign of the Guptas a large area of North India was under Magadha rule (from the Bay of Bengal in the east to Punjab and the Kathiawar Peninsula in the west). At this time there were several states in the Deccan, including Vakataka, Pallava, and Ganga. The empire of the Guptas reached its greatest geographical dimensions during the reign of Chandragupta II (fourth to fifth century A.D.).

Literary works that have come down to us from the period of the second to fourth centuries A.D. contain evidence that during this period the system of slaveholding entered into a phase of dissolution. Prohibitions on converting free men into slaves are established in collections of precepts. Slaves employed on government lands and, later, slaves employed on private landholdings as well were provided with plots of land and began to tend their own farms, giving part of their crop to the owner of the land. In communes the process of dividing the property of large families among individual families was reinforced. A logical consequence of this process undoubtedly was the general spread of private property, the development of property differentiation among commune members, and the appearance in communes of rich families who lived by the exploitation of the labor of impoverished members of the commune; the latter fell into servitude and paid the wealthy a portion of their crop. In such a fashion forms of exploitation characteristic of feudal society began to develop. The awarding of tax and administrative immune lands to private individuals and religious institutions by kings became widespread. The first such document dates to the second century A.D. During the Gupta period entire villages were awarded to private individuals, complete with various immunities and rights to unpaid forced labor of commune members. As a result of such awards, free commune members were turned into feudally dependent peasants. This process was especially intensified after the collapse of the Gupta state (sixth century).

Feudal period (fifth to mid-18th century). Soviet historians trace the beginning of the feudal period in India to the fifth and sixth centuries. During the sixth and the seventh centuries, the majority of the agricultural population was subjected to feudal exploitation and numbered among the lowest estate of Sudras. The most powerful feudal landowners were rulers of states, who dispersed lands to high servants of the state apparatus as payment for service; such lands were also awarded to temples and to all who won favor with the rulers. Peasants lived in communes by means of a subsistence economy. During the feudal period there was a considerable growth of cities, which served as administrative centers of feudal states and as port cities. Urban craftsmen, like peasants, were dependent on feudal lords. Craftsmen, whose products went to feudal lords and were used for foreign trade, passed along their professions through inheritance within their own castes. As the division of labor increased, there was a corresponding increase in the number of castes. A divided hierarchical caste structure reinforced by Hinduism emerged in Indian feudal society. The religious-sectarian bhakti movement, which spread during the 12th century among the merchants and craftsmen in the cities, is evidence of the class struggle of the feudally oppressed working masses.

From the sixth to the 12th century many states existed in India. Constant wars were waged, concluding with the rise and fall of various dynasties. In North India many states were conquered during the first half of the seventh century by one of the North Indian rulers, Harsha. Between the eighth and the tenth centuries the states of the Palas and the Gurjara-Pratiharas were the most powerful of the North Indian states. Many of them were ruled by Rajput families. In the Deccan there was alternate rule of the Early Chalukyas (from Badami), the Pallavas, the Rashtrakutas, the Late Chalukyas (from Kalyani), and the Cholas. In the early eighth century, Sind was conquered by the Arabs. In the early 11th century Mahmud of Ghazna, ruler of the Ghaznavid state, repeatedly attacked North India. He seized a considerable part of the Punjab.

At the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th, North India was conquered by Muhammad, the ruler of the state of Ghor. After Muhammad’s death his vicegerent in the Ganges valley declared himself to be the autonomous ruler of India and created his own state, with the capital in Delhi. The formation of the Delhi sultanate marked the strengthening of the spread of Islam in India, propagated by Muslim conquerors of India from the Middle East.

The Delhi sultans were able to repulse the offensive of the Mongols and, in the early 14th century under Alauddin Khilji, to attack the politically divided Deccan and subjugate it almost entirely. The conquerors declared all land to be the property of the sultan. A land tax that was received by the sultans irrespective of who owned the lands (an exception was made only for feudal lords who had received tax immunity from the sultan) served as the economic realization of this land ownership. Moreover, the sultan received a poll tax (jizya) from non-Muslims, as well as tariffs and sales taxes. The basic form of feudal ownership of lands that prevailed during the sultanate of Muslim feudal aristocracy was the iqta, which in the second half of the 14th century under Firuz Shah Tughlak was declared hereditary.

The period of existence of the Delhi sultanate was marked by a considerable growth of productive forces, in particular the construction by Firuz Shah of large irrigation structures, and by the development of handicrafts and domestic and foreign trade. At the same time there was increased exploitation of peasants and artisans. Feudal oppression caused large peasant uprisings and disturbances in the cities. By the beginning of the 15th century, as the result of a defeat inflicted by Timur (Tamerlane) on the Delhi sultanate in 1398 and because of feudal revolts, the Delhi sultanate essentially collapsed. Only the Delhi region and the Punjab remained under the power of the sultans. A large portion of the Ganges valley was added to the sultanate under the sultans of the Afghan dynasty of Lodi (1451–1526). During the 14th and 15th centuries, besides the principalities of Raj-putana, where the power of the Hindu rajas was preserved, the independent states of Jaunpur, Bengal, Gujarat, and Malwa were formed in North India, and the Bahmani sultanate was formed in the northern part of the Deccan; this, in turn, disintegrated at the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th and became the states of Ahmadnagar, Bidar, Bijapur, Berar, and Golconda. The large state Vijayanagar existed south of the Krishna River from the 14th century to the first half of the 17th century. In this state all power was in the hands of Hindu feudal lords. The rulers and feudal lords of Vijayanagar received enormous incomes, not only through exploitation of peasant commune members and craftsmen, but from commerce as well, especially foreign trade, which was conducted through ports on the western and eastern shores of India. In 1565 the troops of the ruler of Vijayanagar were smashed at the Krishna River by a coalition of Muslim lords of the Deccan. The capital city was destroyed, and the Vijayanagar power began to collapse. By the middle of the 17th century a number of independent principalities were formed, among them Madura [present-day Madurai] and Mysore.

The first colonial oppressors, the Portuguese, appeared in India at the end of the 15th century. During the first half of the 16th century they consolidated their position in a number of coastal areas (Goa, Daman, and Diu) and not only ousted Indians from maritime trade but also carried out colonial exploitation of the population of the seized territories.

The piracy of the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean led more feudal lords and members of the merchant class of North India to use trade routes through Iran and Afghanistan. As a result, the economic significance of the Punjab grew. Major cities, for example Lahore and Multan, were turned into large centers of handicraft and commerce. The necessity of ensuring the security of the caravan routes along which North India’s trade proceeded, the need for further development of domestic commerce, and the striving of feudal lords (mainly those with low or middle-level authority) for strongly centralized power (capable of defending them not only from the peasantry but from the powerful feudal aristocracy as well) posed the objective task of eliminating political division and feudal anarchy. The unification of North India was carried out by the dynasty of Great Moguls, whose founder was Zahir ud-Din Baber, ruler of Kabul. Having vanquished the Delhi sultan Ibrahim Lodi at the Battle of Panipat (1526), Baber conquered the Delhi sultanate. The Afghan ruler Sher Shah governed in North India from 1540 to 1545.

The power of the Muslim dynasty of Moguls was decisively established by Akbar, who ruled between 1556 and 1605. The centralization of government that he undertook, as well as his policy of winning over the Hindu feudal lords and the merchant class to the side of the conquerors, aided the further development of North India. However, under Akbar’s immediate successors—Jahangir (ruled 1605–27), Shah Jahan (ruled 1627–58), and especially Aurungzeb (ruled 1658–1707)—the power of the Great Moguls began to decline. In the first half of the 18th century it collapsed.

In the early 17th century, European commercial capital appeared in India, represented by the British East India Company and the Dutch United East Indies Company (established in 1600 and 1602 respectively). These companies seized the monopoly on sea trade with India from the Portuguese and set up a network of trading posts throughout the country. (The first English trading post was established in 1613 in Surat.) Trading posts of the French East India Company (founded in 1664) appeared in India in the second half of the 17th century. With the assistance of Indian merchants the English, Dutch, and French bought up products of Indian manufacture and exported them not only to Europe but also to Iran, Indonesia, Japan, China, and other countries.

The growth of domestic and foreign trade in India was accompanied by a deterioration of the position of the Indian peasantry. The plundering of the peasantry was conducted by feudal lords along with Indian usurers, who farmed taxes and made loans to peasants at very high interest rates for payment of feudal quit-rent. Using their power in the cities as well, feudal lords raised city and sales taxes and took from artisans the fruits of their labors for almost nothing in return.

The masses oppressed by feudal lords responded to their increased exploitation with uprisings. The largest popular movements of the 17th and early 18th centuries were the revolt of the peasants and urban lower classes in the Punjab, in which the sect of Sikhs played a leading role; the revolt of jatis and the Satnami sect, which united the poorest strata of the crafts population and “untouchable” castes in a region southwest of Agra; and finally, the uprising of the Marathas against the oppression of the Great Moguls, under the leadership of the gifted military commander Sivaji (second half of the 17th century).

After a difficult struggle the Marathas succeeded in creating their own state, the ruler of which became Sivaji, who in 1674 accepted the title of raja. After the death of Sivaji in 1680, Aurungzeb inflicted a defeat on the Marathi state, seized the states of Bijapur and Golconda, and became the sovereign of nearly all of India. However, continuous wars against this insurrectionist people and rebel vassals weakened the state of the Great Moguls. In 1739, Nadir Shah invaded India from Iran and occupied Delhi. He plundered the city and took away enormous riches that had been kept in the coffers of the Moguls. In 1747, Ahmad Shah Durani, the ruler of Afghanistan, began his marches into India, as a result of which he won recognition from the Great Moguls of his rights to the Punjab. Between 1720 and 1740 the Great Moguls lost control of Rohilkhand, Bengal, and the Deccan. Marathi feudal lords made use of the weakening of Mogul power. Balaji Visvanath, chief minister (peshwa) of the Marathi state, was able to eliminate internal discord at the price of considerable concessions to the Marathi feudal lords. Having interfered in the struggle of the Great Moguls with their vicegerents in the Deccan, he received a firman (mandate) that permitted the Marathas to exact a tribute from these Mogul regions. Succeeding peshwas independently ruled the Marathi state from their residence in the city of Poona. Under the peshwa Balaji Baji Rao (ruled 1740–61), the Marathas seized Delhi and in 1758 invaded the Punjab. The Marathas’ seizure of the Punjab brought them into conflict with Ahmad Shah Durani. In 1761 the Marathi army was routed by Afghan forces at the city of Panipat. The Marathi state was converted into a confederation of essentially independent principalities: Gwalior, under the rule of the Sindhia family; Baroda, under the Gaekwar family; Nagpur, under the Bhonsla family; Indore, under the Holkar family; and finally, Maharashtra, under the peshwas.

British colonial rule (mid-18th century to 1947).CONQUEST BY GREAT BRITAIN AND CONVERSION INTO AN AGRARIAN APPENDAGE AND SOURCE OF RAW MATERIALS FOR THE MOTHER COUNTRY; DEVELOPMENT OF CAPITALISM ON A NATIONWIDE SCALE (MID-18TH CENTURY TO END OF 19TH CENTURY). Unceasing wars between the states that inherited the Mogul empire created a favorable setting for the British and French East India companies’ shift from trade to military expansion in India. The struggle between Great Britain and France for world supremacy involved the territory of India. In the course of nearly continuous war between the two East India companies from 1746 to 1763 in South India, the British utterly routed their rivals, seized Bengal, and placed Karnataka and Oudh in vassal dependency. During the four Anglo-Mysore wars (1767–99) a considerable portion of South India was added to the holdings of the British East India Company, and Hyderabad and certain other principalities whose territories were curtailed were turned into British vassals. In 1801 a significant part of the Yamuna-Ganges interfluve was taken away from Oudh. After the seizure of Delhi in 1803, the Great Moguls became puppets of the British East India Company.

As a consequence of three Anglo-Marathi Wars (1775–1818) the English colonizers eliminated the state of the peshwas. Part of their territory was annexed, and certain principalities were placed in vassal dependency. Between 1814 and 1826 the southern piedmont area of the Himalayas and Assam were annexed, in 1843 Sind was annexed, and in the course of the two Anglo-Sikh Wars (1845–49) the Punjab was annexed.

British colonial conquest had a profound effect on the economic and social development of India. By means of a farming system, as well as a feudal administrative tax apparatus that had evolved over time, the East India Company appropriated an enormous share of land rent tax, the rates of which had been significantly increased. The export of Indian trade production bought up at compulsory low prices and its sale on European markets was one of the main sources of colonial plunder. Another important source of colonial tribute was direct robbery from the annexed principalities (valuables from the palaces of the feudal aristocracy, from temples, and from large commercial houses).

Resources entering Great Britain from India constituted one of the basic sources of the primary accumulation of British capital. As a result of a struggle within the ruling classes of Great Britain for access to the colonial exploitation of India, the first act governing British holdings in India was adopted in 1773. The act placed the activities of the East India Company under the control of the British Parliament. In 1774, W. Hastings (who ruled until 1785) was appointed the first governor-general. In 1813 the East India Company’s monopoly on trade with India was broken up. The final victory of the British industrial bourgeoisie in their struggle with the commercial-financial bourgeoisie for the Indian market was signaled by the abolition of the East India Company as a commercial organization in 1833. However, the company preserved certain functions in the colonial rule of the country. The export of Indian agricultural raw materials began directly after the import of British industrial goods began. India was gradually being changed into an agrarian appendage of Great Britain and a supplier of raw materials to it, and nonequivalent exchange as a form of colonial plunder of the country was intensified. The competition of British industrial goods led to the collapse of handicrafts production in the cities and the crafts centers. At the end of the 18th century and in the first third of the 19th, land tax systems—zamindari, ryotwari, and mahalwari—were introduced into India. By means of these systems, feudal exploitation of the peasantry was adapted to the demands of colonial enslavement of the country.

Colonial exploitation evoked resistance among the peoples of India. Beginning in the 1870’s, uprisings of peasants and craftsmen flared up in various parts of the country. Massive anti-colonial movements acquired religious forms (for example, the sannyasis and the Wahhabis). A movement for the reform of orthodox Hinduism emerged among the Bengali feudal intelligentsia, and the first societies appeared that were predecessors of bourgeois national sociopolitical organizations. Rammohan Roy (1772–1833) was a pioneer in this movement.

British capital functioned in India through a system of British commercial houses and banks, which controlled import-export trade and some of the domestic commerce. A stratum of the Indian comprador commercial bourgeoisie that controlled most domestic trade and industry was developing concurrently. In 1851 the first Indian cotton mill began to operate in Bombay, and in 1854 an English jute factory was founded in Calcutta. The construction of railroads and irrigation installations and the cultivation of tea plantations began. A capitalist structure began to develop in India. The development of capitalist production relations and the spreading of a European-style education among the elite of Indian society provided a basis for the bourgeois-nationalist movement that took root in the second third of the 19th century. Hatred and open resistance to the colonialists grew among the popular masses. From the 1830’s to the 1850’s, several mass uprisings occurred in Central and West India in regions of settlement of the Bhil, Santal, and other tribes. By the end of the 1850’s the domestic political situation was exacerbated by the discontent of certain princes and landowners with the annexation of some principalities, which was being carried out according to the doctrine of escheated estates advanced by Governor-General Dalhousie (ruled 1848–56).

The consequences of colonial exploitation of the country were particularly acute for peasants and artisans living in the Yamuna-Ganges interfluve and in Bengal. A powerful popular uprising occurred in this region (1857–59), and it also encompassed the center of the country. The revolt had a deep impact on the further development of India, particularly on British colonial policy. By 1858 the East India Company was abolished and India was placed under the direct control of the British Crown.

At the end of the 19th century, in conjunction with the development of British industrial capitalism into imperialism, India became an ever-increasing object of investment for British capital, principally in railroad and irrigation construction, plantations, and the textile and coal industries. At the same time there was a rather rapid growth of national capital, chiefly in the cotton industry and domestic commerce. The British bourgeoisie, backed by the colonial state apparatus and tariff and tax policies, as well as the system of colonial banks and other institutions that it had created, retarded in every possible way the independent economic development of India.

The aggravation of class and national contradictions gave rise to a number of mass popular movements between the 1860’s and the 1880’s. These movements were of an antifeudal and anticolonial nature (the uprisings of the Bengali peasantry in 1859–61 and 1872–73, the Marathi peasantry in 1873–75 and 1878–79, and the Telugu peasantry in 1879–80; and the revolts of tribes in central, northwestern, and northeastern India). Popular movements were spontaneous, local, and frequently religious-sectarian in form (the Wahhabis among the Muslims and the Namdharis among the Sikhs). Anti-British actions took place in the principalities as well; the largest was in Manipur in 1891. An uprising in 1879 in Maharashtra, led by V. B. Priadke, was the first serious attempt to link the activities of revolutionary democrats to a spontaneous popular movement.

By the beginning of the 1880’s, spontaneous popular uprisings, combined with the first strikes of the nascent Indian proletariat and with a widespread bourgeois-nationalist movement, posed a significant threat to British hegemony in India. The viceroy, George Robinson, first marquess of Ripon (governed 1880–84), was forced to make certain concessions to the bourgeois-landlord opposition. Local bourgeois-landlord organizations emerged between 1860 and the early 1880’s in Bengal and Bombay, and later in other provinces as well. In 1885 these organizations formed the Indian National Congress.

Two currents appeared in the nationalist movement: the liberal and the radical. Leaders of the radical current, including B. Tilak and B. Chatterji, set up young people’s sporting organizations and clubs, which subsequently were turned into centers of conspiratorial anti-British activity. They began to work in the first working-class organizations of the bourgeois-philanthropic variety, which appeared in the 1880’s in Bombay. In the economic sphere, they defended most consistently a program of protecting national capitalist free enterprise. In the 1870’s a movement to support native manufacturing (swadeshi) emerged. Liberals such as D. Naoroji, M. G. Ranade, and S. Banerjea did not go beyond moderate opposition to the colonial regime.

The struggle between the two currents had a unique effect on the activities of religious-reform and educational organizations that had been established to disseminate new sociopolitical ideas in Indian society, which was permeated with religious beliefs and caste customs. Some of the religious reformers and Hindu educators, as well as certain leaders of Muslim organizations (D. Tagore, K. C. Sen, Sayyid Ahmad Khan), were close to the liberal wing of the nationalists, and others (Dayananda Saras-vati, Mohammad Kasmi) had more in common with the radical wing.

The colonial authorities began to exploit the arousal of Hindu-Muslim religious discord in their struggle against the nationalist movement.

THE BEGINNING OF AN ORGANIZED, MASSIVE LIBERATION MOVEMENT (1900–18). The conversion of India into an agrarian appendage and source of raw materials for Great Britain was completed by the beginning of the 20th century. The export of British capital facilitated the development of capitalist relations in India. However, under colonial conditions capitalism developed in an extremely one-sided fashion. (Only in the cotton industry was there a preponderance of Indian capital.) Weak industrial development of the country led to agrarian overpopulation, which, in turn, meant the maintenance of feudal-usurer exploitation of the peasantry. Under predominant conditions of feudal vestiges, supported by the colonial regime, the development of commodity-money relations in the countryside gave rise to the degradation of agriculture. In the cities overpopulation resulted in extremely low prices for manpower, and the demand for the latter lagged considerably behind supply. The development of national capitalism led to the aggravation of contradictions between the national bourgeoisie and British imperialism.

By the beginning of the 20th century conditions had ripened for the development of a national liberation movement. The policies of Viceroy George Curzon (governed 1899–1905), who carried out measures that strengthened the positions of British capital and limited the political and social rights of the Indians, facilitated the growth of popular discontent. Implementing a policy of “divide and rule,” Curzon in 1905 divided Bengal into East Bengal (with a Muslim population) and West Bengal (with a Hindu population). The protest campaign against the partition of Bengal served as the beginning of the rise of the national liberation movement, which occurred under the direct influence of the Russian Revolution of 1905–07. The chief slogans of the movement were “swaraj” (home rule) and “swadeshi” (home industry).

The British imperialists, attempting through repression to stifle the revolutionary movement, strove at the same time to broaden their social base in India and to aggravate Hindu-Muslim enmity. With their assistance, the Muslim League, a communal organization of Indian Muslims, was established in 1906. The same year, a communal Hindu organization, Hindu Mahasabha (Great Union of Hindus), emerged as a counterweight to the Muslim League. The proletariat played an active role for the first time in the movement of 1905–08. The Bombay strike of 1908 was particularly important.

In 1914, India was dragged into World War I on the side of the mother country. Needing the materiel and manpower of India (which supplied the British forces in the Middle East), Great Britain conducted a policy that to a certain degree objectively facilitated the strengthening of the economic position of the Indian national bourgeoisie. During the war years there was a strengthening of conspiratorial petit bourgeois revolutionary organizations, which had been established in the early years of the 20th century (mainly in North and East India) and were associated with centers of Indian revolutionary emigration in the USA and Western Europe. These organizations, however, functioned chiefly through methods of individual terror, and their attempts to overthrow the colonial regime were unsuccessful (for example, the Ghadr movement and “the silk letter conspiracy”).

During the war period the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League grew closer together. A movement for home rule was begun. Economic and political preconditions were created in the country for a new upsurge of the anti-imperialist struggle.

UPSURGE OF A MASS MOVEMENT UNDER THE SLOGAN OF INDIAN INDEPENDENCE (1918–39, UP TO WORLD WAR II). World War I worsened the position of the broad working masses. The cost of living increased rapidly in the cities. The peasants suffered under the burden of military taxes and landlord-usurer exploitation. Under the influence of the mass struggle initiated in India after World War I and after the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, the National Congress, standing at the head of the liberation movement, changed its policy. Attempting to achieve Indian independence, the Congress deliberately undertook a program of development of the mass movement, trying to confine it within peaceful, nonviolent forms. The form of nonviolent resistance (satyagraha) advocated by M. Gandhi most closely corresponded to the interests of both the national bourgeoisie and the petit bourgeois strata. In the postwar period Gandhi became the recognized leader of the National Congress. His teaching (Gandhism) became the official ideology of this party. Gandhi won broad popularity throughout the country.

The Montagu-Chelmsford reform of 1919, which fixed the colonial status of the country, and the Rowlatt Act of the same year, directed against participants in the national liberation struggle, gave considerable impetus to the development of the liberation movement. These actions of the colonial government elicited a broad protest campaign throughout India. The events at Amritsar in 1919 (known as the Amritsar Massacre), which stirred up all of India, were of particular significance. In December the National Congress decided to launch a campaign of civil disobedience. Between 1918 and 1922 the activity of the working class increased considerably; all the industrial centers were caught up in strikes. In the course of the strike movement the first trade unions appeared, and in 1920 the All-India Trade Union Congress was formed. The first Communist groups were established in 1920–22 as a direct response to the Great October Socialist Revolution. The years 1918–22 were marked by the large sweep of the peasant movement. The militant actions of the workers and the sharpening of the class struggle perturbed the leaders of the National Congress. In 1922 it ceased its campaign of civil disobedience.

The years 1923–27 are characterized by a temporary decline of the nationalist movement. Frightened by the growth of influence of the Communists, the colonial powers in 1924 organized the first anticommunist trial in India, the Kanpur trial. In spite of repression, the Communists continued their work. In December 1925 the Communist Party of India (CPI) was formed. In 1927 a left wing developed in the Congress, uniting those who favored activizing the anti-imperialist struggle. It was led by J. Nehru and S. C. Bose.

The world economic crisis of 1929–33 resulted in a new rise of the anti-imperialist movement, which began in 1928. The working class was an initiator and active participant in a series of large anti-imperialist campaigns of 1928–29. The trade union movement was broadened. The colonial authorities staged one of the largest anticommunist trials in Meerut in 1929–33 as a reprisal against the workers’ movement. In 1929 the first split in the All-India Trade Union Congress occurred. As a result, the Indian National Trade Union Federation was formed. In 1931, after a second split, the Red Trade Union Congress was formed.

In 1930 the National Congress declared a new campaign of civil disobedience under the leadership of Gandhi. This nonviolent campaign was accompanied by militant anti-imperialist actions of the workers (uprisings in Sholapur, Peshawar, and Chittagong, and antifeudal actions of the peasantry in the principalities of Kashmir and Alwar). In March 1931 the leadership of the Congress entered into an agreement with the colonial authorities (the Delhi Pact, or the Gandhi-Irwin Pact). In 1932, after Gandhi’s unsuccessful negotiations with the colonial authorities for concessions, a campaign of civil disobedience was again initiated. It ended in 1934.

The British Parliament passed the Government of India Act in 1935. According to this law the autonomous rights of provinces were somewhat increased. Governments were established in the provinces that were responsible to the provincial legislative assemblies. The electorate was somewhat enlarged, but electoral bodies were set up on the basis of religious affiliation. As in the past, all power remained in the hands of the British colonialists. A campaign of protest against the reactionary act unfolded throughout the country. The existing proportions of class forces during this period created the objective conditions for the organization of a unified anti-imperialist front in India. In 1936 the National Congress advanced this as one of its primary tasks. Indian Communists actively participated in the struggle for a united front, as did members of the Socialist Party Congress, which emerged within the Congress in 1934. However, the creation of a united front was impeded by the fight waged by the national bourgeoisie inside the Congress, in the trade union movement, and in the organized peasant movement against Communists and revolutionary democrats for preservation of the bourgeois monopoly of the leadership of the national movement. The strengthening of left-wing forces was manifested in the reunited trade union movement (in 1935 the Red Trade Union Congress was reunited with the All-India Trade Union Congress; in 1938 it was joined by the Indian National Trade Union Federation) and in the creation of an All-India Peasants’ League in 1936.

In early 1937, on the basis of the constitutional Act of 1935, elections were held for provincial legislative assemblies. The National Congress was victorious in eight of 11 provinces and formed Congress ministries in these provinces. These ministries attempted to carry out a number of local reforms of a progressive nature.

The struggle against the reactionary constitution and the election campaign provided a basis for a new rise of the national liberation movement. The working class had an important part in this, acting as the initiator of large political strikes (for example, the Bombay strike of 1938). The peasant movement had considerable scope, especially in Bengal, Andhra, the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, Bihar, and Kerala. An antifeudal movement in the principalities was a new feature of the liberation struggle (Hyderabad, Travancore, Mysore, Kashmir, and the principalities of Rajputana, Kathiawar, and Orissa).

WORLD WAR II; AGGRAVATION OF THE CRISIS OF THE COLONIAL REGIME. In September 1939, India was dragged into the war. This placed enormous burdens on the population of the country. The degradation of agriculture was intensified. Famine broke out in a number of regions, especially in Bengal. At the same time, certain industrial sectors (military, textile) were developed during the war years. The favorable military juncture strengthened the position of national capital.

Basic classes and political groups related to the war in different ways. The national bourgeoisie, on the one hand, used the favorable military juncture to enrich itself and eagerly cooperated with the’British bourgeoisie on various committees and commissions for army supply. On the other hand, the same national bourgeoisie, exploiting Great Britain’s difficulties, strove to win home rule for India. The working class and the peasantry, whose positions sharply deteriorated, continued to struggle against imperialism. The Communist Party, which was banned in 1934 and remained illegal until the summer of 1942, posed the task of using the military crisis to achieve independence for India. Landlords, princes, and communal-religious parties fully supported Great Britain during the war years. The Muslim League, which at its congress in Lahore (1940) had passed a resolution on the formation of the Muslim state of Pakistan, began to propagandize the partition of India into two states.

The attack of fascist Germany on the USSR in June 1941 altered the political situation in India. The National Congress expressed its sympathy with the Soviet Union. Antifascist feelings were intensified in India. The war in the Pacific, begun by an attack by Japan on territories of the USA and Great Britain (December 1941), threatened India with an invasion by Japan. The British imperialists, however, were afraid to allow the Indian people to organize their own defense. Negotiations between Indian political leaders and British colonial authorities (the Cripps mission) were fruitless. In August 1942 the All-India Committee of the National Congress adopted a resolution to initiate a campaign of civil disobedience. Authorities arrested the leadership of the Congress. This resulted in a powerful anti-British movement that for the most part was spontaneous. (In early 1944 most of the leaders of the National Congress were freed.) A new, decisive phase of the struggle for India’s liberation from colonial oppression began.

REVOLUTIONARY UPSURGE OF 1945–47 AND THE ACHIEVEMENT OF INDEPENDENCE. Economic and political contradictions between India and British imperialism were greatly aggravated by the end of the war. A new rise in the national liberation movement began in India. In early 1946 mass anti-British actions took place in the army, navy, and air force. The uprising of navy sailors in Bombay (Feb. 18–23, 1946) was the high point of revolutionary upsurge. The British bourgeoisie was compelled to make concessions. As a result of negotiations with leaders of the nationalist movement, the British government in the spring of 1946 announced a decision to grant India dominion status. In August 1946 a provisional government headed by J. Nehru was formed in India. Meanwhile, the liberation movement spread throughout the countryside and principalities (the Telengana Revolt, the movement in Kashmir, and so forth). The expansion of the front of the national liberation struggle compelled the British colonialists to leave India. On Aug. 15, 1947, two new independent states appeared on the territory of India: the dominions of India and Pakistan. J. Nehru, leader of the National Congress, became the prime minister of the government of independent India.

Independent India (since 1947). During the first years after the achievement of independence, the government of the National Congress began to carry out measures aimed at surmounting economic difficulties caused by the partition of the country. Native cotton and jute bases were gradually set up, transport operations were restructured, and a state tractor organization for the development of new lands was established. However, difficulties with foodstuffs and industrial raw materials had an unfavorable effect on the economic situation. The problem of unemployment was aggravated by the need to find employment for millions of Hindu refugees from Pakistan. The situation in India was complicated by a military conflict with Pakistan over Kashmir (October 1947 to Jan. 1, 1949). Relations with Pakistan also deteriorated over a number of other issues linked with the economic consequences of the partition of India into two states. Both states carried on an open trade war until the spring of 1950.

Between 1947 and 1949 the dominion of India incorporated 555 Indian principalities (out of 601); the remaining principalities were incorporated into the dominion of Pakistan. The Indian government carried out a reform of the principalities and eliminated many of them. Small principalities were either joined with states (former provinces of British India) or joined to each other to form new states. Between 1947 and 1949 the Indianization of the administrative apparatus was essentially completed.

Under the influence of the struggle of the peasantry and the working class, governments of a number of provinces began preparing democratic reforms. The development of land reform programs began in 1948. In the same year laws were passed on minimum wages, social insurance, and other such issues. The workers’ movement continued to develop under difficult conditions; to a large extent this was because of a split in the trade union movement. In 1947 a number of organizations left the All-India Trade Union Congress and formed the Indian National Trade Union Congress under the auspices of the National Congress. Then two other trade union centers, directed by the socialists, were established (the Indian Labor Association in 1948 and the United Trade Union Congress in 1949). At the same time the Communist Party of India (CPI) was struck by police repression. Between 1948 and 1950 the activities of the CPI and its mass organizations were actually banned.

India was proclaimed a republic in accordance with a new constitution that was adopted on Nov. 26, 1949. The constitution went into effect on Jan. 26, 1950. (This day has been declared a state holiday, Republic Day.)

The National Congress, which had consolidated its power, began to follow a course of more consistent implementation of bourgeois-democratic liberties. By the end of 1951 the legal activities of the CPI and of the trade unions and peasant unions directed by it were resumed. In the first general elections to the parliament and the state legislative assemblies (late 1951 and early 1952) the National Congress received an absolute majority in the parliament and in 18 out of 22 state legislative assemblies. The CPI came in second in terms of the number of mandates in the parliament and in legislative assemblies of the largest states.

Under the pressure of the peasant movement, as well as through economic necessity, state governments in 1952–53 began to implement laws passed by the legislative assemblies on agrarian reform. According to these laws the majority of lands owned by zamindars were expropriated from them for ransom (and were worth more than 6 billion rupees). In certain states rental rates, which were now paid directly to the state in the form of a land tax, were reduced. At the same time, rent laws were passed limiting landlord exploitation of tenants and facilitating the purchase of lease rights by the peasant elite. The implementation of agrarian reforms reinforced bourgeois elements in the countryside and strengthened the process of class stratification of the peasantry. The growth of capitalist relations in the countryside was also assisted by the realization of a complex of state capitalist measures through cooperative societies and a system of “communal projects” designed to organize capitalist credit and sales in the countryside and to raise the agrotechnical level of agricultural management.

State declarations defining the policy of the state in the sphere of industrial development were published in 1948 and again in 1956. The main sectors of heavy industry and the power industry were declared to be exclusively or primarily spheres of government enterprise. Transportation and communications were nationalized, as well as the two largest banks, some insurance companies, and enterprises of metallurgy, metalworking, electric power, chemistry, hydroelectric power, and irrigation systems; these constituted the basis of the state sector. (Construction of hydroelectric power plants and irrigation systems began in the mid-1950’s.) At the same time the state extended financial and organizational support to private enterprise. Five-year plans for economic development, which determine the growth of the state sector and aid industrialization, became the clearest expression of state capitalist policy.

While the economic power of the Indian national bourgeoisie increased—particularly the power of its monopoly elite—the material position of the toiling masses improved only slightly over what it had been in the colonial period. Ever-increasing direct and indirect taxation remained the basic domestic source of financing for economic development plans.

Further polarization of political forces occurred after the first general elections. The influence of Communists and the forces supporting them grew, especially in the trade union movement and among the radically inclined intelligentsia. Under the pressure of the left wing and in order to maintain an influence among the masses, a program for “construction of a society of the socialist pattern” was adopted at a session of the Congress in Awadh (Avadi; 1955). This program, however, did not foresee the elimination of private ownership of the means of production. Different classes of Indian society that were represented at the Congress assigned different interpretations to the concept of “society of the socialist pattern.”

Reinforcement of the position of the local bourgeoisie resulted in the strengthening of the movement for restructuring administrative-territorial divisions on a national basis, as opposed to the old, artificial administrative division of India imposed by the colonialists. In conjunction with this an administrative reform was carried out in 1956, as a result of which the borders of new, consolidated states basically coincided with the boundaries of the regions settled by the largest nationalities. Subsequently, under pressure of the mass movements, the boundaries of certain states were reviewed. Thus, in 1960 the state of Bombay was divided into Maharashtra and Gujarat, and in 1961 Nagaland was formed from part of Assam.

The shift to the left that gradually occurred in political life was clearly seen during the second general elections in the spring of 1957. The CPI received twice as many votes as it had in 1952, and in the state of Kerala it received a majority in the legislative assembly and made up the government (1957–59).

In the sphere of international relations the Nehru government pursued a policy of nonalignment with military-political blocs. It established friendly economic and political cooperation with the USSR and other socialist countries. The Nehru government actively protested policies of colonialism and neocolonialism in Asia and Africa. Thus it condemned the Anglo-Franco-Israeli aggression against Egypt in 1956, the US aggression against Lebanon in 1958, and the aggression of Great Britain against Jordan in 1958. India became a signatory of the 1963 Moscow treaty prohibiting the testing of nuclear weapons in three spheres.

There were increasing struggles between the different groups of the Indian national bourgeoisie to determine trends of national development. Under pressure from the left wing of the National Congress, a party session in Nagpur (January 1959) adopted a program for the three-year implementation of laws on maximum land plots and on development of rural cooperative societies for the purpose of converting to peasant production cooperation. This program, however, was not realized. The consolidation of reactionary forces led to the emergence in 1959 of the Swatantra Party, which offered a program of bourgeois development of the country on the basis of private capitalist enterprise and a pro-Western foreign policy. The border conflict with the People’s Republic of China, which began in September 1959, was widely exploited by reactionary forces to attack the foreign policy of the Nehru government.

In 1961 the regular conference of the All-India Trade Union Congress, the anniversary session of the All-India Peasants League, and later, the Sixth Congress of the CPI charted a course for the development of a mass struggle to introduce general democratic transformations of an antifeudal nature and to unify on the basis of these transformations all democratic forces in order to repulse the reactionary offensive.

In 1961, Indian forces liberated Goa, Daman, and Diu from the Portuguese colonialists. These areas were declared a union territory of India on Mar. 6, 1962. Pondicherry, Karikal, Ya-nam, and Mahe were freed from French colonial rule, and on Aug. 17, 1961, France officially returned them to India. Right-wing forces, unsuccessful in their attempts to alter the foreign policy of India, exerted increasing pressure on the domestic policy of the National Congress. In the 1960’s the party began to make certain concessions to big capital. Private enterprise was allowed in a number of sectors previously declared monopolies of the state. Supervision of prices and distribution was weakened, and privileged conditions for foreign capital investors were introduced. The decisions of the Nagpur session of the National Congress (1959) on the second stage of agrarian reform (establishment of a maximum of private land ownership) were implemented by states in such a way that in fact most of the land was retained by the landlords and the rich peasants. The situation in the National Congress was complicated in May 1964 by the death of J. Nehru.

The exacerbation of domestic tensions, aggravated by the India-China armed conflict of 1962, was seen in the intensification of the class struggle. The CPI conducted a mass campaign to collect signatures on a petition sent to parliament in 1963 demanding general democratic transformations (for example, the nationalization of foreign capital and banks and the implementation of radical agrarian reform). Between 1962 and 1966 the number of people participating in strikes increased from 705,000 to 1, 206,000, and the number of lost man-days increased from 6.12 million to 13.8 million. In the summer of 1964 the CPI along with other left-wing parties conducted political strikes (bandh), as well as a great satyagraha—massive strikes and picketing of government offices. However, a split in the CPI had a negative effect on the activities of the democratic forces. The split came into the open in late 1962 and concluded in 1964 with the formal departure of a group of members from the National Council of the CPI and with the holding of a congress of the Parallel CPI. The Indo-Pakistani conflict that occurred in the fall of 1965 was a result of unresolved issues dating back to the colonial past of these states. This conflict gave rise to an armed clash that complicated India’s economic and political position. The peaceful initiative of the Soviet government led to the signing of the Tashkent Declaration of 1966, which provided a basis for the settlement of disputed questions between India and Pakistan.

Economic difficulties were aggravated in 1966 and 1967 by an acute shortage of foodstuffs following two years of crop failures. An economic decline began in the country. Imperialist forces, particularly the USA, exploited India’s economic and diplomatic difficulties and tried to force the Indian government to abandon the progressive aspects of foreign and domestic policy formulated by Nehru. In 1966 the Indian rupee was devalued, which led to a deterioration of the position of the working people and small businessmen and a significant strenthening of the position of foreign and Indian monopolies.

After the death of Prime Minister L. B. Shastri in January 1966 (he had headed the government since 1964) Nehru’s daughter, I. Gandhi, became the prime minister, with the support of the centrist and left-wing groupings of the Congress.

Continuing Nehru’s foreign policy of neutrality (or a policy of “positive neutrality”) in the international arena, I. Gandhi’s government came to the defense of the state sovereignty of the countries of Asia and Africa in the face of imperialist aggression. The Indian government repeatedly condemned American aggression in Vietnam (which began in 1964) and Israel’s aggression against the Arab nations and its occupation of Arab territories in 1967.

In late 1965 there were new upsurges in the strike and peasant movements, with nationwide strikes in 1966 and 1967. These mass movements, however, were complicated by increasing conflicts on national, religious, and caste grounds (for example, the movement in Tamil Nadu in 1966 against the establishment of Hindi as a state language; Hindu-Muslim clashes in Madhya Pradesh in 1960 and 1964, West Bengal in 1964, and Bihar in 1967). On Nov. 7, 1966, the right-wing party Jan Sangh organized a march on parliament of religious fanatics demanding the prohibition of the slaughter of sacred cows. The march was accompanied by devastation of the government offices. The struggle of national minorities for administrative autonomy in the states of Assam and Bihar was intensified. After a long struggle the state of Punjab was divided into two states, Punjab and Haryana (1966).

After the fourth general elections in 1967 (the third were held in 1962) the National Congress temporarily lost its political monopoly. In nine out of seventeen states, power was attained by non-Congress coalition governments, which as a rule represented a broad confederation of political parties in opposition to the National Congress. The polarization of political life was accelerated. Both the organized and the spontaneous struggles of the working people were intensified. In 1968 the All-India Union of Agricultural Workers was established. However, the continuing ideological struggle in the Communist movement weakened the activity of the mass workers’ organizations. In order to disorganize the mass movement, the forces of communalism, favoring religious-communal isolation, began in earnest to provoke clashes on the basis of caste (particularly in South India) and religion (the largest Hindu-Muslim devastations took place in Gujarat in October 1969 and in Maharashtra in April 1970). The struggle in the National Congress between the group of right-wing leaders (the Syndicate) and the left-centrist grouping headed by I. Gandhi was also intensified. Gandhi’s grouping, with the support of the activated left-wing within the National Congress (“Young Turks”) and of left-wing forces outside the Congress, was able to defeat its right-wing opponents by nationalizing the 14 largest banks in 1969 and by achieving the election of the candidate of the progressive forces, V. Giri, to the presidency of India, succeeding Z. Husain (president 1967–69), who had died in 1969. A law was passed prohibiting stock companies from financing political parties.

At the end of the 1960’s, India entered into a period of class conflicts and political upheavals as a result of broad-based developments: on the one hand, the revival in 1967–69 of economic activity and the strengthening of capitalist elements in the city and particularly in the countryside; on the other hand, the rise of a mass movement and the regrouping of political forces. In late 1969 the Indian National Congress underwent a split. A right-wing grouping abandoned the Congress and formed a separate party. As a result of the split the Congress lost its parliamentary majority. By the end of 1970, National Congress governments existed in only eight out of 19 states. Mass struggles were intensified: in the countryside, the land movement (for the right of landless peasants and farmhands to use surplus land owned by large landholders without preliminary permission); and in the cities, strikes of textile workers and railroad employees and actions by Indian youth, especially students, supporting general democratic demands.

Against a background of growing social and political tensions in the country, the government of I. Gandhi began to implement certain points from the program of socioeconomic transformations formulated by the left-centrist wing of the Indian National Congress as early as 1967 and detailed at the Bombay congress of the party in December 1969. In 1970, laws were passed strengthening state supervision of the activities of monopolies, and the state sector in foreign trade was significantly broadened. The policy of financing industry was altered in favor of the state sector and small businessmen. As a result, the position of the Congress was strengthened; in its struggle against reactionary forces and for the implementation of progressive measures, it received the support of the CPI and a number of other parties. In preterm elections to the House of the People in 1971 the National Congress won a majority of votes (350 out of 515). On Aug. 9, 1971, the government of India concluded a treaty of peace, friendship, and cooperation with the USSR. The treaty provided a firm basis for the further development of friendly relations between India and the USSR. The latter is participating in the construction of Indian plants, electric power stations, mines, and other projects, as well as in geological surveys. Economic and technical assistance from the USSR represents an important contribution to the struggle of the Indian people for economic independence.

Having received a stable parliamentary majority, the government of I. Gandhi continued its progressive measures. A constitutional amendment was passed easing the process of nationalization of private enterprises. State controls were established for private insurance and for a number of enterprises of the mining industry. Former princes were deprived of pensions and other privileges.

In 1971, tensions in Indo-Pakistani relations were increased by the flood of refugees pouring into India from East Pakistan because of the armed terror unleashed by the Pakistani authorities. India’s position was one of sympathy for the liberation movement in East Pakistan, so an anti-India campaign was incited by authorities in Pakistan and an increasing number of incidents occurred on the Indo-Pakistani border. A two-week Indo-Pakistani war began on Dec. 3, 1971, with an attack on India by the Pakistani air force. In the course of the military actions, Indian armed forces along with Bengali partisan detachments liberated the territory of East Bengal. After the capitulation of the Pakistani armed forces the Indian government declared the cessation of military actions on Dec. 17, 1971. The Pakistani government accepted the Indian proposal for a truce. India recognized the Republic of Bangladesh, which was formed in East Bengal. The regularization of Indo-Pakistani relations was begun at I. Gandhi’s meeting with the Pakistani president Z. Bhutto in Simla (July 1972).

The socioeconomic policies of the Indian government between 1969 and 1971 and the Indian victory in the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971 significantly raised the popularity of the Congress and of I. Gandhi personally. As a result of elections to the legislative assemblies of the states in 1972 (including preterm elections held in five states from 1969 to 1971), the Congress formed governments in 16 states and entered into a coalition government led by the Communists in Kerala.

As a result of the socioeconomic policies of the Congress, between 1969 and 1972 the state sector was strengthened, monopolies were put under tighter control, and more favorable conditions were created for the development of small and medium-size enterprises. However, there was no improvement in the conditions of the overwhelming mass of the working class and peasantry. The rich peasantry, which had grown stronger because of the so-called green revolution (a system of agrotechnical measures of the 1960’s), furiously resisted attempts to implement a new round of land reforms.

Progressive forces in India are struggling for radical reforms and for the expansion and extension of democracy, in order to effect changes in the relationship of class and political forces that would open the way to profound socioeconomic transformations in the interests of the popular masses.


Works by the founders of Marxism-Leninism
Marx, K. “Formy, predshestvuiushchie kapitalisticheskomu proizvodstvu.” In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd end., vol. 46, part 1, pp. 461–508.
Marx, K. [Materialy In-ta marksizma-leninizma pri TsK KPSS. Iz neopublikovannykh rukopisei Karla Marksa.] Sovetskoe vostokovedenie, 1958, nos. 3–5.
Marx, K. Kapital, vol. 1. In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 23, pp. 351–52, 369–72.
Engels, F. Anti-Dühring. Ibid., vol. 20.
Marx, K. “Britanskoe vladychestvo v Indii.” Ibid., vol. 9.
Marx, K. “Ost-Indskaia kompaniia, ee istoriia i rezul’taty ee deiatel’-nosti.” Ibid.
Marx, K. “Budushchie rezul’taty britanskogo vladychestva v Indii.” Ibid.
Marx, K. Kapital, vol. 3. Ibid., vol. 25, part 2, pp. 353–54.
Marx, K. Khronologicheskie vypiskipo istorii Indii (664–1858 gg.). Moscow, 1947.
Engels, F. Marksu, 24 maia 1853 g. (Letter.) In K. Marx and F. Engels, Izbrannye pis’ma. Moscow, 1953.
Marx, K. Engel’su, 2 iiunia 1853 (Letter.) In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 28.
Engels, F. Marksu, 6 iiunia 1853 g. (Letter.)Ibid.
Marx, K. Engel’su, 14 iiunia 1853. (Letter.)Ibid.
Marx, K. F. Engel’su, 14 ianv. 1858. (Letter.)Ibid., vol. 29.
Marx, K. N. F. Daniel’sonu, 19 fevr. 1881. (Letter.) Ibid., vol. 35.
Marx, K., and F. Engels. O natsional’no-osvoboditel’nom vosstanii 1857–59 g. v Indii. Moscow, 1959.
Lenin, V. I. “Goriuchii material v mirovoi politike.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 17.
Lenin, V. I. “Sobytiia na Balkanakh i v Persii.” Ibid.
Lenin, V. I. “Kul’turnye evropeitsy i dikie aziaty.” Ibid., vol. 23.
Lenin, V. I. “Probuzhdenie Azii.” Ibid.
Lenin, V. I. “Imperializm, kak vysshaia stadiia kapitalizma.” Ibid., vol. 27, pp. 303–72.
Lenin, V. I. “Indiiskoi revoliutsionnoi assotsiatsii.” Ibid., vol. 41.
Lenin, V. I. “Pervonachal’nyi nabrosok tezisov po natsional’nomu i kolonial’nomu voprosam.” Ibid.
Lenin, V. I. “Luchshe men’she, da luchshe.” Ibid., vol. 45.
General works.
Obshchestvenno-politicheskaia i filosofskaia mysl’ Indii: Sb. statei. Moscow, 1962.
Sinha, N. K., and A. C. Banerjee. Istoriia Indii. Moscow, 1954. (Translated from English.)
Nehru, J. Otkrytie Indii. Moscow, 1955. (Translated from English.) Bibliografiia Indii. Moscow, 1965.
Panikkar, K. M. Ocherk istorii Indii. Moscow, 1961. (Translated from English.)
Kasty v Indii. (Collection of articles.) Moscow, 1965.
The History and Culture of the Indian People, vols. 1–6, 9–10. Edited by R. C. Majumdar and A. D. Pusalker. Bombay, 1951–67.
The Cambridge History of India, vols. 1, 3–6. Cambridge, 1922–37.
Nilakantha Sastri, K. A. History of India, vols. 1–3. Madras, 1950.
Majumdar, R. C. History of the Freedom Movement in India, vols. 1–3. Calcutta, 1962–63.
Basham, A. The Wonder That Was India. London, 1954.
Ancient and medieval history. Bongard-Levin, G. M., and G. F. Il’in. Drevniaia Indiia: Istoricheskii ocherk. Moscow, 1969.
Osipov, A. M. Kratkii ocherk istorii Indii do X veka. Moscow, 1948.
Kosambi, D. D. Kul’tura i tsivilizatsiia drevnei Indii. Moscow, 1968.
Shchetenko, A. Ia. Drevneishie zemledel’cheskie kul’tury Dekana. Leningrad, 1968.
Istoriia Indii v srednie veka. Moscow, 1968.
Ashrafian, K. Z. Agrarnyi stroi Severnoi Indii (XIII-seredina XVIII v.). Moscow, 1965.
Alaev, L. B. luzhnaia Indiia: Sotsial’no-ekonomicheskaia istoriia XIV-XVIII vekov. Moscow, 1964.
Antonova, K. A. Ocherki obshchestvennykh otnoshenii i politicheskogo stroia MogoTskoi Indii vremen Akbara (1556–1605). Moscow, 1952.
Reisner, I. M. Narodnye dvizheniia v Indii v XVII-XVIII vv. Moscow, 1961.
Chicherov, A. M. Ekonomicheskoe razvitie Indii pered angliiskim zavoevaniem (remeslo i torgovlia v XVI-XVIII vv.). Moscow, 1965.
Mookerji, Radhakumud. Hindu Civilisation, 4th ed. Bombay, 1963.
Thapar, R. A History of India, vol. 1. Baltimore [1968].
Ruben, W. Die Entwicklung der Produktionsverhallnisse im alien Indien [Die gesellschaftliche Entwicklung im alten Indien.] Berlin, 1967.
Nizami, K. A. Studies in Medieval Indian History and Culture. Allahabad, 1966.
Sharma, R. S. Indian Feudalism, 300–1200 A.D. Calcutta, 1965.
Malialingam, T. V. Economic Life in the Vijayanagar Empire. Madras, 1951.
Modern and contemporary history.Novaia istoriia Indii. Moscow, 1961.
Noveishaia istoriia Indii. Moscow, 1959.
Narodnoe vosslanie v Indii 1857–59: Sb. statei. Moscow, 1957.
Antonova, K. A. Angliiskoe zavoevanie Indii v XVIII v. Moscow, 1958.
Natsional’no-osvoboditel’noe dvizhenie vlndii i deiatel’nost’B. G. Tilaka. Moscow, 1958.
Gol’dberg, N. M. Ocherki po istorii Indii. Moscow, 1965.
Liusternik, E. Ia. Russko-indiiskie ekonomicheskie, nauchnye i kul’turnye sviazi v XIX v. Moscow, 1966.
Raikov, A. V. Probuzhdenie Indii. Moscow, 1968.
D’iakov, A. M. Indiia vo vremia i posle vtoroi mirovoi voiny (1939–49). Moscow, 1952.
Gordon, L. A. Iz istorii rabochego klassa Indii. Moscow, 1961.
Beauchamp, J. Angliiskii imperializm v Indii. Moscow, 1935. (Translated from English.)
Nezavisimaia Indiia: Sb. statei. Moscow, 1958.
Deviatkina, T. F. Likvidatsiia kniazhestv v sovremennoi Indii. Moscow, 1961.
Egorova, M. N. Trudovoe zakonodatel’stvo v Indii. Moscow, 1962.
D’iakov, A. M. Natsional’nyi vopros v sovremennoi Indii. Moscow, 1963.
Gordon, L. A., and M. N. Egorova. Rabochii klass nezavisimoi Indii. Moscow, 1968.
Kotovskii, G. G., A. M. Mel’nikov, and N. I. Semenova. Klassovaia bor’ba v sovremennoi indiiskoi derevne (1947–65). Moscow, 1969.
Buchanan, D. H. The Development of Capitalistic Enterprise in India. London, 1966.
Desai, A. R. Social Background of Indian Nationalism. Bombay [1954].
Chaudhuri, S. B. Civil Disturbances During the British Rule in India (1765–1857). Calcutta, 1955.
Dutt, R. C. The Economic History of India, vols. 1–2. [Delhi, I960].
Punekar, S. D. Trade Unionism in India. New Delhi, 1948.
Ranga, N. G. Revolutionary Peasants. New Delhi [1949].
Raghuvanshi, V. P. S. Indian Nationalist Movement and Thought, 2nd ed. Agra [1959].
Dange, S. A. On the Indian Trade Union Movement. Bombay, 1952.
Menon, V. P. The Transfer of Power in India. [Bombay] 1957.
Mukerjee, H. India and Parliament. [New Delhi, 1962.]
Weiner, M. The Politics of Scarcity. [Chicago, 1962.]
Kaul, J. M. Problems of National Integration, New Delhi, 1963.
The historical survey is based on articles by the following authors: A. M. Osipov (up to the mid-18th century, published in the Soviet Encyclopedia of History); G. G. Kotovskii (mid-18th to late 19th centuries); L. V. Shaposhnikov (early 20th century to 1945); and G. G. Kotovskii (post-1945).

Political parties. The most influential national parties of India are the following:

The Indian National Congress was founded in 1885. Numbering approximately 12 million members in 1973, the party expresses the interests of various groups of the Indian national bourgeoisie, landlords, and certain strata of the petite bourgeoisie. Construction of a “society of the socialist pattern” is advanced as a goal in program documents of the Indian National Congress. In 1969 a right-wing grouping split from the Congress and formed the Indian National Congress (Opposition) Party.

Swatantra was founded in 1959. The party is an extreme right-wing bourgeois-landlord grouping. It openly opposes progressive aspects of the domestic and foreign policy of the Indian government and calls for cooperation with the imperialist powers.

Jan Sangh was founded in 1951. Numbering 2.5 million members in 1970, it is a religious chauvinist party. It reflects the views of the ultranationalistic strata of the bourgeoisie, specifically the middle-level and petite bourgeoisie and the landlords. The party is essentially the political wing of the militarized semifascist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a communal religious Hindu organization.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) was founded in 1925. Its membership exceeded 356,000 in 1974. The Parallel Communist Party of India emerged in 1964 when an oppositional “left-wing grouping” broke from the CPI and at its own congress in Calcutta (1964) announced the creation of a new party, which took the name Communist Party of India (Marxist). It had approximately 100,000 members in 1970.

The Socialist Party of India has existed under that name in 1948–52, 1955–64, and since 1971.

Trade unions. The largest trade union associations are the following:

The Indian National Trade Union Congress was founded in 1947. The union is under the leadership of the Indian National Congress. In 1974 it united about 1,150 trade unions, with more than 2 million members. It belongs to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

The All-India Trade Union Congress was founded in 1920. Under the leadership of the CPI, it is a member of the World Federation of Trade Unions. In 1974 it united 3,019 trade unions with more than 2 million members.

The Hind Mazdoor Sabha (Union of Indian Workers) was founded in 1948. It is under the leadership of the Praja Socialist Party. In 1967 it united 507 trade union organizations with 812,942 members. It belongs to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

The United Trade Union Congress was founded in 1949. It is under the leadership of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, a regional party in West Bengal. In 1966 it united 374 trade union organizations with a membership of 221, 462.

The Hind Mazdoor Panchayat was founded in 1948. It is under the leadership of the Socialist Party. In 1967 it united more than 200 trade union organizations with approximately 190,000 members.

The All-India Kisan Sabha (Peasants’ League) was founded in 1936. After a split in 1968 two organizations emerged with the same name. One of them is under the influence of the CPI (1.6 million members in 1970), and the other is under the control of the Communist Party (Marxist; 1.2 million members in 1970).

Social organizations. The All-India Peace Council was founded in 1951. The All-India Association for Solidarity with Nations of Asia and Africa was founded in 1955.

The National Federation of Indian Women held its first conference in 1954. In 1968 it had a membership of 50,000. It is a member of the International Democratic Federation of Women (1957). The All-India Women’s Conference was founded in 1927, and its membership was approximately 80,000 in 1968. It is under the leadership of the Indian National Congress.

The Indian Youth Congress was founded in 1952. Its membership was 800,000 in 1970. It also is under the direction of the Congress. Bharat Yuvak Samaj was founded in 1955. Its membership was approximately 400,000 in 1970. Its aim is to work among broad strata of youth, mainly in the rural areas of the country. It is considered to be a nonparty organization, but in reality it is under the control of the Congress. The All-India Youth Federation was founded in 1959; its membership was nearly 300,000 in 1970. It is part of the World Federation of Democratic Youth. The All-India Student Federation was established in 1936. In 1970 it had a membership of approximately 100,000. The federation is under the direction of the CPI. It belongs to the World Federation of Democratic Youth and the International Union of Students.

General state of the economy. India is an agrarian-industrial country that inherited from British rule the economic structure characteristic of colonial countries. But unlike the majority of colonies, India had a number of separate, comparatively well-developed sectors of manufacture. For example, on the eve of its independence, India was second only to the USA in the production of cotton fabrics. India provided more than 50 percent of the world production of jute goods. The processing of agricultural raw materials was well developed (sugar, tea, tobacco, and other branches of the food industry; leather tanning), as was mining (the extraction of coal, manganese, iron ores, and mica). The absence or extreme weakness of key sectors of heavy industry—metallurgy, machine building, chemistry, the petroleum industry, and electric power—was acutely felt. The need to import the majority of means of production and almost complete dependence on foreign industries and science and engineering were the major factors in India’s economic dependence on imperialist states, primarily Great Britain.

The agricultural situation in colonial India was an extremely difficult one, and the acute agrarian problem still exists to a considerable degree in independent India. Agrarian relations were characterized by a complex interweaving of feudal and capitalist forms of exploitation that gave rise to great agrarian overpopulation (25–30 percent of the economically active rural population). The prevalence of large-scale landlord ownership of property by the zamindars (who made up 2 percent of the country’s population and owned 70 percent of the land) and the extensive development of leasing and subleasing, as well as of usury, had resulted in the extreme poverty and lack of rights of the overwhelming majority of peasants and the stagnation of agriculture. Furthermore, natural disasters such as droughts and floods recurrently wiped out food crops over vast areas, bringing starvation and death to millions of people.

The general economic backwardness can be seen in the extremely low per capita income (265 rupees per year in 1950, which was 11 times lower than in Great Britain and 28 times lower than in the USA). India’s economic structure is characteristically diversified. Precapitalist and early capitalist economic structures were widespread in both the cities and the country. Petty commodity production yielded the highest share of the earned national income. On the whole, however, the level of India’s capitalist development has been considerably higher than the level of most other former colonies. The capitalist economic structure has been more highly developed in industry than in agriculture, although the latter also has experienced capitalist development through the penetration of commodity-monetary relations. A distinctive feature of India has been the existence of big national capital at the different stages of its development into monopoly capital. Foreign capital, which has been responsible for approximately 40 percent of the overall investments in industry (particularly jute and mining), tea plantations, and foreign trade, has had a strong position in the economy of India.

After winning political independence, the state, in order to ensure economic independence, followed a course of creating new sectors of public production, developing agriculture, resolving the food problem, and efficiently distributing the productive forces.

Since the second half of the 1950’s a program of industrialization has been implemented—development of heavy industry (especially metallurgy, machine-building, chemistry, and electric power). India’s share in world industrial production is small, amounting to 1.3 percent (1967). From 1950 to 1969 industrial production has increased by 2.6 times (the capacity of electric power stations by 10 times) and agricultural production by 1.6 times. Nationalization of the largest private banks and insurance companies and abolition of the system of managing agencies (an important instrument of centralization of capital under the control of big business) were progressive actions of considerable importance.

An important role in the implementation of these measures is assigned to the state sector of the economic system and to state regulation of the private capitalist sector (licenses, supervision of prices and distribution of the most important commodities, head taxes, financing of private enterprises, and tariff systems). Economic development plans (1950/51–1955/56; 1956/571960/61; 1961/62–1965/66; and 1969/70–1973/74) have provided for growth of capital accumulation and investment, creation of an infrastructure and basic industrial sectors, growth in employment, and expansion of the domestic and foreign markets. The share of the state sector in the national product increased from 15 percent in 1950/51 to 35 percent in 1965/66. From 1955/56 to 1966/67 the share of the state sector in the mining industry increased from 10 to 30 percent, and in factory processing from 2 to 25 percent. The state had monopoly control or a predominant position in the following areas: railroad and aviation transport; communications; defense and nuclear industry; gold mining; manufacture of railroad passenger cars, diesel and electric locomotives, and telegraph and telephone equipment; shipbuilding; and life insurance. By the end of the 1960’s the state sector accounted for 70 percent of the capacities of electric power stations, 75 percent of the oil extraction, 54 percent of the smelting of steel, more than 80 percent of the production of nitrate fertilizers, 43 percent of the production of petroleum products, 50 percent of the machine tools, 22 percent of the extraction of coal, and 20 percent of merchant marine tonnage. Approximately 70 percent of all imports are made through state organizations, but the share of the state in exports is still insignificant. Since 1969 the state has controlled 85 percent of commercial banking. At the same time, private capital has expanded. In the mid-1960’s about 125 of the largest Indian and foreign groups and monopolies controlled approximately 70 percent of the overall assets of private stock companies registered in India, thereby occupying a dominant position in a number of leading economic sectors. The strengthening of the position of Indian monopoly capital was accompanied by a spillover of capital investments into the sphere of heavy industry, development of conglomerates, and increased ties with foreign monopolies. Although foreign capital was deprived of command positions in the country, there was, nevertheless, an increase in the total volume of private foreign capital investments (from 2.6 billion rupees in 1948 to 12.3 billion rupees in 1967). By 1967 about 37 percent (as opposed to 9 percent in 1948) of all foreign investments were assigned to metallurgy, machine-building, and chemistry. In the early 1970’s nearly 80 percent of the financial resource requirements for economic development needs were paid for by India itself; the remaining 20 percent was provided through foreign assistance. In 1967 the volume of state foreign loans and subsidies stood at 73.7 billion rupees, with the USA accounting for 49.6 percent, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) for 6.6 percent, and Great Britain for 5.7 percent. In the private sector there was an increase in investments from the USA, the FRG, and Japan. The share of British capital declined. With the assistance of imperialist states Indian monopolistic circles are striving to counter the strengthening of the state sector and the implementation of democratic socioeconomic transformations.

Because of state support, small enterprise in the cities has been growing. Agrarian reform and state measures for the organization and development of agricultural production have led to important social shifts in the countryside. The dominance of feudal and semifeudal forms of production relations has been undermined, and capitalist relations are growing stronger. The implementation of agrarian reform has run into the resistance of landlords, former princes, and monopolists.

The accelerated economic development of India has been attended by an extension of territorial and social division of labor, intensification of processes of regional formation, and surmounting of the colonial structure of distribution of productive forces. Greater attention has been paid to problems of regional planning and economic districting, development of backward regions, and decentralization of industry (thus, for example, the overall proportion of industrial workers in the industrially developed state of West Bengal was reduced from 32.7 percent in 1948 to 21.0 percent in 1965, and in Maharashtra and Gujarat from 34.7 percent to 28.4 percent). During the course of industrialization the importance of the old economic regions leading to the largest ports has increased. The nuclei of new economic regions are emerging in remote, backward territories rich in natural resources. Large, Complex hydraulic power projects and new heavy industry construction sites usually serve as the basis for development of these regions. The USSR is extending considerable assistance to India in the formation of key branches of heavy industry in the state sector (metallurgy, the petroleum industry, machine building, electric power, and so forth).

Agriculture. Agriculture accounts for 44.1 percent (using prices of 1960/61) of the national income of India (1969/70). Implementation of agrarian reform in localities by the governments of individual states did not result in fundamental changes in agrarian relations. After the establishment of limits for land ownership (which vary greatly from state to state—for example, in Kerala from 2.4 to 8 hectares [ha]; in West Bengal up to 10 ha; in Andhra Pradesh 10.8 to 129.6 ha; in Uttar Pradesh 16 to 32 ha; and in Maharashtra 7.2 to 50.4 ha), only about 1 million ha of land were declared to be “surplus.” (About 1.7 million ha surrendered voluntarily turned out to be unsuitable for cultivation.) Small farms predominate in the Indian countryside. In 1959/60,63 percent of the farms with land plots of up to 2 ha accounted for only 19 percent of cultivated lands. Five percent of the farms with land plots of more than 10 ha occupied 31 percent of cultivated lands. Officially registered leases began to be widely replaced by hidden leases. In the early 1960’s, rent of all kinds accounted for not less than one-third of cultivated lands. Large resources invested by the state in “communal projects” and programs of “national development aid” (such as the introduction of progressive agrotechnical methods and the building of roads, wells, and small irrigation systems) are being used mainly by the prosperous peasantry. Class stratification in rural areas is on the rise. The proportion of agricultural workers among the employed population increased from 16.7 percent in 1961 to 25.8 percent in 1971. A variety of not yet resolved aspects of the agrarian problem lies at the heart of India’s agricultural difficulties.

The wooden plow (approximately 40 million in 1966) remains the basic labor tool of the majority of Indian peasants. The number of iron plows increased from 900,000 in 1951 to 3.2 million in 1966. The tractor pool is growing (54,000 in 1966 as opposed to 8,000 in 1952), and the use of mineral fertilizers is increasing. Improved agricultural crops began to be introduced in the 1960’s. (This is known as the green revolution.) By 1969 they accounted for 9.2 million ha of land, belonging mainly to large landowners.

India is a country with a great deal of plowed land. Areas under cultivation (163.7 million ha in 1967/68, including 138 million ha of sown areas proper) constitute more than one-half of the overall territory of India. The proportion of grazing lands is less than 5 percent of the total area (14.8 million ha). Irrigation is a basic element of Indian agriculture. Year-round farming is possible because of an abundance of warm weather throughout almost the entire territory of India (with the exception of high-mountain regions). However, because of lack of water during dry periods only about 15 percent of the crop areas are seeded more than once. Irrigated crop areas increased from 22.6 million ha in 1950/51 to 36 million ha in 1968/69. Almost 40 percent of the lands are irrigated by canals (in the Indo-Gangetic Plain and in large river deltas of the peninsula area), approximately 30 percent by wells (most widespread in north and northwest India), and the remaining areas (mainly in south India) by artificial water tanks and other installations. In the Indo-Gangetic Plain, on the Coromandel Coast, and in the deltas of the Krishna, Godavari and Kaveri rivers, irrigated lands comprise more than 35–45 percent of crop areas; in central India, Maharashtra, and West Rajasthan, less than 5 percent. Powerful state irrigation systems are being constructed, many of which are components of combination hydrosystems: the Bhakra-Nangal on the Sutlej River (irrigation potential of 1.5 million ha), the Hirakud on the Mahanadi River (300,000 ha), the Tungabhadra (500,000 ha), and the Chambal (120,000 ha). The Rajasthan irrigation canal, 680 km in length, is under construction (1972). “Small” irrigation systems have been developed in an accelerated fashion since the second half of the 1960’s.

Indian agriculture has a clearly expressed bias toward plant cultivation. In farming, the production of grain crops predominates. These crops occupy about 68 percent of the overall sowing area and account for more than 60 percent of the costs of plant cultivation. While remaining primarily a rice-growing country, India is expanding its production of wheat and maize.

India is the capitalist world’s largest producer of rice (almost a third of the world crop). The main rice-growing regions of the country are extremely humid territories—the alluvial plains of northeast India (almost one-third of total production) and the coastal lowlands of south India (about a third of the crop). Millet crops predominate in inland arid regions with extensive dry farming: jowar (sorghum; about a third of it harvested in the state of Maharashtra), bajra (state of Rajasthan), and raggee (state of Karnataka) are the most widespread. Wheat is the most important crop of the winter season (rabi crop). It is generally cultivated on irrigated lands (principally in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana, which account for approximately two-thirds of the overall crop). Maize harvests are increasing rapidly because of the introduction of high-yield hybrid strains (north, northwest, and central India). Legumes play an important role in the primarily vegetarian diet of the Indian population (almost a third are harvested in Uttar Pradesh and approximately two-fifths in the Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan). The production of a number of industrial crops is increasing. Oil-bearing plants are being grown in all areas, the chief ones being peanuts (a quarter of the crop is harvested in the state of Gujarat), mustard, rape, and linseed. Approximately half of the overall harvest of castor-oil plants comes from the district of Nalgonda in Andhra Pradesh. (India is second only to Brazil in production and export of castor oil.) Production of sugarcane is increasing. The significance of the main sugarcane-producing region, the Ganges Valley, has undergone a relative decline and now accounts for half of the overall crop, whereas the role of Maharashtra and south India has grown stronger. Summer is the main sowing season (kharif crops).

Of all industrial crops, cotton production is increasing at the fastest rate, although India still has to import long-fibered cotton. The great cotton belt of the Deccan regurs constitutes the world’s largest area of nonirrigated cotton cultivation; Maharashtra and Gujarat yield more than half of the total harvest. Northwest India (Punjab and Haryana) is an area of irrigated cotton production that provides a fifth of the crop. Jute is grown mainly in West Bengal, which produces two-thirds of the crop. India yields only to the USA and China in the harvesting of tobacco. Almost half of the sowing areas are concentrated in the deltas of the Krishna and Godavari rivers (the Guntur district), where high-quality Virginia strains are being grown for export. Tea is the main plantation and leading export crop of India, although India’s share in world production fell from 55 percent in 1948 to 46 percent in 1965. India’s tea harvest is the largest in the world. Tea plantations are concentrated (three-quarters of the crop) in the upper area of the Brahmaputra River valley and in the piedmont areas of the Eastern Himalayas (the Darjeeling region). An increasing quantity of tea is being consumed within the country. India’s share in world production of coffee is very small (about 2 percent), but coffee plantations are being expanded rapidly. They are mainly found on the slopes of the Western Ghats in areas of Karnataka, which produces 70 percent of the total harvest. (See Table 2.) Natural rubber is yielded by hevea plantations distributed throughout the lower escarpments of the Western Ghats in Kerala (60,000 ha between 1949 and 1952; 157,000 ha in 1965/66; production of natural rubber was 92,000 tons in 1970/71). India meets more than 40 percent of its requirements for rubber through imports.

Table 2. Sowing areas and yields of leading farm crops
1Average per year2Unpolished
CropsSowing area (in ha)Yield (in tons)
Rice . . . . . . .30,035,00037,700,00021,462,00062,500,000
Millet . . . . . . .31,700,00039,230,00011,629,00019,400,000
Wheat . . . . . . .9,547,00016,626,0006,245,00020,093,000
Maize . . . . . . .3,244,0006,000,0001,950,0006,500,000
Barley . . . . . . .3,151,0002,765,0002,332,0002,716,000
Legumes . . . . . . .19,120,0008,198,00012,236,000
Peanuts . . . . . . .4,412,0008,000,0003,316,0006,400,000
All oil-bearing plants except for peanuts . . . . . . .10,703,0005,056,0007,600,000
Sugarcane . . . . . . .1,684,0002,718,00056,286,000131,223,000
Cotton . . . . . . .5,721,0007,900,000520,000954,000
Jute . . . . . . .603,000800,000369,0001,080,000
Tobacco . . . . . . .335,000434,000246,000338,200
Tea . . . . . . .314,000353,000277,000403,700
Coffee . . . . . . .91,00023,50063,500

India is traditionally one of the world market’s largest suppliers of spices, including black pepper (a yield of 26,000 tons in 1970/71, or more than one-third of the world export), red chili pepper (a yield of 487,000 tons in 1967/68, mainly consumed domestically), cardamon (85 percent of the world output and export), ginger, cloves, and turmeric. The coconut palm, which is widespread along the coasts (approximately 900,000 ha, two-thirds of them in Kerala), is of economic importance in several ways. Copra, the dried pulp of ripe nuts, is a source of oil, and from the coirs (fibers) wrapped around the shells of the nuts, yarn and other kinds of goods are manufactured. India enjoys favorable natural conditions for growing almost all fruits and vegetables of the tropical and temperate zones, including citrus fruits (1.4 million tons) and bananas (more than 3 million tons, or more than 10 percent of the world crop). Some of them are exported.

LIVESTOCK. Besides an enormous stock of cattle, India has a fifth of the world’s stock of goats and is second only to the Commonwealth of Australia in sheep.

Much of the cattle stock is poorly provided with fodder bases. Meadows and pastures are very much depleted. Only 4.5 percent of cultivated lands are planted with forage crops. Cattle are bred in almost all regions. Nearly 65 percent of the costs of livestock production comes from the milk. (More than half is water buffalo milk.) The milk yield of cows is very low, averaging 450 kg of milk per cow annually. Uttar Pradesh and the northwestern states are the main suppliers of milk. Clarified butter (ghee) comes mainly from the state of Rajasthan. Suburban dairy farms are being established near large cities, mainly on a basis of cooperative societies. The largest is Anand, in the south of Gujarat. Hog breeding is a traditional agricultural sector only for certain tribes. Wool production has been developed in Rajasthan (supplying about 40 percent of all wool), as well as in the inland arid territories of the Deccan and in the Himalayas. (See Table 3.) Carpet wool and products from it are exported, and fine wool is imported. India also exports bones, bristles, and the skins of snakes, crocodiles, and lizards. The Hindu religious prohibition against slaughtering cows results in economic losses. Poultry totals about 116.5 million units, and eggs 2.2 billion (1969/70).

Table 3. Composition of livestock
1Average per year2Excluding the water buffalo
Cattle2 . . . . . . . . . . .155,239,000176,057,000176,450,000
Cows (only) . . . . . . . .49,893,00054,570,00054,900,000
Water buffalo . . . . . . .40,831,00052,920,00054,200,000
Hogs . . . . . . . . . . .3,910,0004,975,0004,800,000
Sheep . . . . . . . . . . .36,824,00042,014,00042,600,000
Goats . . . . . . . . . . .45,155,00064,566,00067,500,000
Horses and mules . . .1,571,0001,223,0001,085,000
Donkeys . . . . . . . . . . . .1,249,0001,054,0001,000,000
Camels . . . . . . . . . . . . .638,0001,028,0001,120,000
Table 4. Livestock production (in tons)
1Average per year2Beef, mutton, pork3Average per year, 1961-65
Meat2 . . . . . . . . . . .469,000567,000581,000
Poultry . . . . . . . . . . .450,000690,000690,000
Milk . . . . . . . . . . .17,406,00020,375,000321,360,000
Butter . . . . . . . . . . .447,000444,000448,000
Wool (unwashed/ washed) . . . . . . . . . . .256,000/180,000326,000/204,0003354,000/221,000

SILKWORM BREEDING. The production of natural silk increased from 900 tons in 1951/52 to 2,800 tons in 1969. More than half of the silk is produced in Karnataka and West Bengal (mainly the finest varieties, the mulberries). In Assam, eria and muga silk are produced; and in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, tussah silk.

FISHING. In 1969 the fish catch totaled 1.6 million tons, approximately two-thirds of which came from the sea. Shrimp, chiefly from Kerala, and jerked and dried fish are mainly reserved for export.

FORESTRY. Predatory destruction of forests has undermined the timber industry of India and had a ruinous effect on the condition of land areas, a quarter of which are suffering from erosion. There are shortages of firewood and commercial timber in India. The major timber regions are the Himalayas, the mountain-forest territories of central India, and the Western Ghats. Forests are widely used for grazing and stocking of fodder for cattle. From 1961 to 1969, over an area of 400,000 ha, teak and other valuable kinds of trees were planted. The most important timber industry product is lac, from which shellac is made for export (three-quarters of world production).

Industry. The proportion of the gross national product coming from industry amounted to 23.2 percent in 1969/70. Factory and plant manufacture increased from 38 percent of the total costs of net production of processing industry in 1950/51 to 59 percent in 1967/68. The share of domestic and small-scale industry was correspondingly reduced from 62 to 41 percent. A qualitative change in the structure of industry is taking place. Petroleum, chemical, and aluminum industries and most sectors of machine building were virtually created anew. There has been a sharp increase in the production of ferrous metals. The output of heavy industry sectors is equal to approximately half of overall industrial production.

MINING AND EXTRACTING. India has considerable mineral and energy resources. Between 1951 and 1966 the production value of mining (not including the extraction of oil) increased by three times, and the number of employed by 50 percent. Coal accounts for more than 70 percent of the total value of extracted mineral resources. Nearly three-quarters of coal mining is concentrated in the Damodar valley, with deposits at Raniganj, Jharia, and elsewhere. Coal mining is being expanded (mainly through development of the state sector) in central India and in the basin of the Godavari River. Almost half of the country’s coal reserves, including all coking coal, is found in the Damodar coal field. New oil- and gas-producing regions, discovered with the assistance of the USSR, are being exploited in western India (for example, Anklesvar) and in the old oil-producing state of Assam.

Table 5. Extraction of mineral resources
Coal . . . . . . . . . . .35,000,00056,100,00069,500,00073,700,000
Oil . . . . . . . . . . .270,000510,0003,020,0006,800,000
Iron ore4,200,00018,700,00023,700,00031,400,000
Manganese ore . . . . .1,400,0001,400,0001,600,0001,700,000
Bauxites . . . . .68,000476,000707,0001,360,000
Mica . . . . . . .10,00028,00024,00018,0001

Since India attained independence, it has begun to provide for nearly 40 percent of the capacities of the oil-refining industry with its own raw materials. Using oil from Assam, an oil-refinery is operating in Digboi (500,000 tons; it is owned by British capital), as are state plants in Nunmati (1.25 million tons), built with Rumania’s help, and in Barauni (2 million tons), established with the USSR’s help. Oil is delivered along the oil pipeline Nahorkatiya-Nunmati-Barauni (1,150 km). Between 1954 and 1957 the American ESSO company and the British firm Burma Shell built oil-refining plants in Bombay (Island of Trombay) and the American company Caltex Oil built one in Vishakhapatnam; these plants operated with imported oil. In 1965 a state oil-refining plant (2 million tons) was built with the USSR’s assistance in the oil region of Koyali (near Baroda). By early 1970, state oil-refining plants went into operation at the ports of Cochin (Kerala) and Madras. Plants are under construction in Haldia (the outer harbor of Calcutta) and Bongaigaon (Assam). Atomic raw materials are being mined (for example, uranium ore on the Chota Nagpur Plateau and monazite sand on the coast of Kerala).

Approximately half of the mined iron ore is exported. Mining is primarily concentrated in the states of Orissa (deposits at Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj), Bihar (Singhbhum and elsewhere), Madhya Pradesh (Bailadila), Karnataka (Hospet-Bellary), and Goa. Manganese ore is principally mined in central India, near Nagpur, in Orissa, and in Karnataka. Mica is extracted in Bihar (Hazaribagh), which accounts for 80 percent of the national total, as well as in Andhra Pradesh (Nellore) and Rajasthan. Bauxite is chiefly mined in Bihar, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh. Deposits of gold are being mined in Karnataka (Kolar, Hatta), diamonds in Madhya Pradesh (Panna), copper ore in Bihar (Singhbhum), and lead-zinc ores in Rajasthan (near Udaipur). Mining of halite, limestone, fireclay, chromite, magnesite, kya-nite, barite, and corundum is also of considerable importance. (See Table 5.)

POWER. Thermal electric power plants (capacity 2.4 million kilowatts [kW] in 1950, 8.2 million kW in 1969) produce approximately 53 percent of India’s electric power; hydroelectric plants (6 million kW in 1969) produce 46 percent; the remainder is accounted for by diesel electric power plants (overall capacity of 300,000 kW). The USSR is giving India considerable assistance in developing its energy potential. The largest thermal electric power plants are concentrated in the Damodar basin. The total capacity of the Durgapur thermal electric power plants is about 1 million kW. A number of such plants were under construction in 1972, including the Patratu (400,000 kW; with help from the USSR), the Chandrapura (420,000 kW), and the Bandel (330,000 kW). Thermal electric power plants are being constructed on the basis of local, low-quality coal deposits. A thermal plant has been set up with the aid of the USSR on the basis of Neyveli lignites south of Madras (with a capacity of 600,000 kW). Thermal plants with capacities of 250,000–300,000 kW are under construction in Singrowli, Korba, Satpura, and Talcher. Thermal plants are being expanded in large cities such as Calcutta, Delhi, Madras, and Kanpur. Thermal plants that use byproducts of petroleum refining and casing-head gas are being constructed in petroleum-refining centers of Bombay (340,000 kW), Dhuvaran (530,000 kW) in Gujarat, and Nahorkatiya (70,000 kW) in Assam. Hydroelectric power plants are component parts of powerful hydroengineering complexes, such as Bhakra-Nangal on the Sutlej River (1.2 million kW), Hirakud (270,000 kW), Chambal (300,000 kW), and Tungabhadra and Nagarjunasagar in South India. High-efficiency hydroelectric power plants are being built, including Koyna (860,000 kW), Sharavathi (890,000 kW), and Iddiki (520,000 kW). Atomic power plants are being constructed in regions with very acute fuel and power shortages. In 1972 the Tarapur atomic power plant (two reactors with individual capacities of 200,000 kW) went into operation in an area on the border between Maharashtra and Gujarat. Construction of the Ranapratapsagar atomic power plant is now being completed in the state of Rajasthan. The Kalapakkam atomic power plant (400,000 kW) is under ponstruction south of Madras.

MANUFACTURING. According to the 1961 census, 8 million people were then employed in centralized manufacturing and 12 million in small household industry. Factory and plant industry registered in the census (engine-based enterprises with 50 or more workers and nonengine-based enterprises with 100 or more workers) numbered 13,500 enterprises and 4 million employees. (See Table 6.)

Table 6. Structural changes in manufacturing industry1 (percent)
1 Computed according to data from industry censuses published in The Economic Times on Mar. 24, 1968.
 Work forceProductive (instrumental) capitalNet value of production
Electric power; production and distribution of gas . .
Ferrous metallurgy . . . . . .5.47.714.917.57.49.6
Nonferrous metallurgy . . . .
Machine building and metalworking . . . . . . . . . . .12.818.112.413.014.720.7
Chemical industry . . . . . . . .
Cement industry . . . . . . . .
Paper industry . . . . . . . .
Textile industry . . . . . . . .38.629.720.29.530.422.2
Sugar industry . . . . . . . .
Other sectors of food and tobacco industry . . . . . . . .
Printing, publishing, etc. . . .
Other sectors . . . . . . . . . . .

Metallurgy. Implementing a program of industrialization, the government concentrated its efforts on the establishment of ferrous metallurgy in the state sector. At the end of the 1950’s three state metallurgical combines, built in Bhilai (with USSR aid), Durgapur (with technical assistance from Great Britain), and Rourkela (with help from the Federal Republic of Germany), went into operation. In the late 1960’s the construction of a powerful state combine was begun at Bokaro with the USSR’s help. Private metallurgical combines are also in operation, such as TISCO (Tata Iron and Steel Company) in Jamshed-pur and IISCO (Indian Iron and Steel Company) near Asansol (placed under state control in 1972). Ferrous metallurgy is concentrated in the northeast peninsula area of the country, which has a unique combination of mineral and raw-material resources. Ferrous metallurgy combines were under construction in South India in 1972 in the cities of Vijayanagar (Karnataka), Visha-khapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), and Salem (Tamil Nadu). By the early 1970’s, India imported 10 percent of its ferrous metals (while at the same time exporting certain types of rolled metal, for example, rails) and approximately 70 percent of its specialized varieties of steel. Three-quarters or more of India’s requirements for copper and other nonferrous metals are met through imports. The aluminum industry is being developed in regions that are sources of cheap hydroelectric power—Hirakud, Rihand, Salem, and Koyna. In 1972 the USSR was helping in the construction of a state aluminum combine (100,000 tons) in Korba.

Machine building and metalworking have been very successful. India has begun to export freight cars and small electrical equipment (electric fans, pumps, and small motors), as well as diesels, bicycles, and sewing machines. Transport machine building is developing rapidly. Related plants have been set up in various cities, including locomotive works in Chittaranjan, a diesel-locomotive plant in Varanasi, a freight-car construction plant in Perambur (a suburb of Madras), and an aircraft plant in Bangalore. The production of locomotives, freight cars, and motor vehicles is increasing in both the state and private sectors. The state has built plants for heavy machinery in Ranchi and heavy mining equipment in Durgapur (with Soviet assistance), as well as plants for heavy-duty power equipment in Bhopal, Hyderabad, and other large cities. The manufacture of machine tools and instruments is developing. The largest cities—Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, and Bangalore—are major centers for the development of machine building. Heavy machine building with high consumption of metal tends to the main coal-metallurgical base in the Damodar basin. Centers of machine building are emerging also in remote regions, such as Kota and Rishikesh.

Chemical industry. India has a rich raw-material base for the production of alkalis (limestone and halite). Soda ash production increased from 45,000 tons in 1950/51 to 314,000 tons in 1968/69 (mainly in Gujarat), and caustic soda from 12,000 to 314,000 tons (in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Gujarat). Considerable importance is attributed to increasing the maufacture of fertilizers. (As recently as 1967/68, India imported approximately 70 percent of its mineral fertilizers.) The largest mineral fertilizer enterprises are state nitrogenous fertilizer combines in Sindri and Nangal. Organic chemistry is developing—petrochemistry and production of artifical and synthetic fibers, medicines, and insecticides. The cement industry has also been developed.

Textiles and food seasonings are traditional branches of Indian industry. In terms of output, India’s cotton industry has maintained a leading position in the world. In 1969/70 factory enterprises manufactured 4.2 billion m of cotton fabrics, and household enterprises 3.6 billion m. More than half of the factory-produced cotton fabrics are manufactured in the Bombay-Ahmadabad industrial region, although the region’s role is being reduced. The other largest centers of the cotton industry are Coimbatore, Madurai, and Madras in south India; Kanpur and Delhi in north India; and Nagpur, Indore, and Ujjain in central India. There is increased use of artificial and synthetic fibers (particularly in west and south India), from which nearly a billion meters of fabrics were manufactured in the year 1968/69. The cities of Mysore, Surat, and Srinagar are traditional centers of production of raw silk fabrics. The wool industry has been developed in Kanpur and the cities of northwest India. Kerala specializes in the manufacture of goods from coconut fibers (coir industry); the chief center of this production is Alleppey. Like Bangladesh, India is one of the world’s largest producers of jute goods. Almost the entire jute industry is concentrated in Calcutta and its environs (about 100 enterprises employing 256,000 people). The jute industry operates mainly for export, but the share of domestic consumption is growing (from 15.7 percent in 1947/48 to 31.8 percent in 1965/66).

Sugar production is the leading branch of the food industry. More than half of the sugar plant output comes from Uttar Pradesh. The sugar industry is developing rapidly in Maharashtra and south India. Milling (chiefly household enterprises) and the extraction of plant oils are found almost everywhere. The tobacco industry (largest center is Guntur) and cashew-nut processing (Kollam and other cities in Kerala) are very important in terms of export. India is one of the world’s leaders in the production and export of tanning goods, skins of small livestock (mainly goatskins, produced largely by household enterprises), and footwear. The leading centers of the leather-footwear industry are Kanpur, Calcutta, Madras, and Agra. (See Table 7.)

Table 7. Manufacture of different types of industrial production
Production1950/511960/611965/661969/701973/74 (planned)
Electric power (billion kW-hr) . . . . . . . . .5.920.136.851.485.0
Steel ingots (million tons) . . . . . . . . .1.473.486.536.410.8
Aluminum (thousand tons) . . . . . . .4.018.362.1135.1220.0
Petroleum-refining products (million tons)
Machine tools (million rupees) . . . . . . . . .3.470.0294.3300.0650.0
Cement (million tons) .
Sulfuric acid (thousand tons) . . . . . . . . .101.0368.0662.01,197.02,500.0
Nitrate fertilizers (fixed nitrogen; thousand tons) . . .9.0101.0232.0716.02,500.0
Jute products (thousand tons) . . . . . . . . .837.01,097.01,399.0944.01,400.0
Cotton yarn (thousand tons) . . . . . . . . .534.0801.0907.01,150.0
Sugar (million tons) . . .

India has one of the world’s largest motion-picture industries and occupies a leading position in terms of number of films produced. (See below: Motion pictures.)

The government is supporting the development of small and household industry. In this area such industries as metalworking and chemistry are being developed rapidly. In 1970 state governments created approximately 400 “industrial estates” providing small businessmen with production facilities, communications equipment, and various kinds of infrastructure under privileged conditions. Manual work with yarn, in particular hand weaving, is found nearly everywhere. Rural economy is diversified, including the manual processing of rice and other grain crops, cottage production of sugar (gur and brown sugar), pottery-making, processing of leather and hides, and production of matches. Crafts have maintained their importance in the economic system, with the production of jewelry, carpets, and shawls, the engraving of metal, and the carving of wood and ivory among the important activities.

Transport. Three-quarters of all freight shipments and most passenger travel is done by rail. Since independence, a great deal of progress has been achieved in developing automotive, air, and sea transport as well.

India has an extensive railroad network in terms of length. However, the interests of national economic development demand increased capacities of the densest freight routes and the construction of access routes and railroads in areas of large state building projects. The railroads have various-gauge track; approximately 48 percent are wide-gauge, and the rest are meter-gauge (44 percent) and narrow-gauge (8 percent). More than 60 percent of all shipments are implemented over 18 percent of wide-gauge railroad. By 1947 only 300 km were electrified (suburban lines of Bombay and Madras), but by 1969 more than 3,000 km were. The proportion of automotive transport in freight shipments between 1950/51 and 1968/69 increased by more than 200 percent. (See Table 8.)

Table 8. Development of transport
Highways (length, km) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54,80059,600
Railroads (length, km) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157,000325,000
Railroad freight transport turnover (billion ton-km)44.1125
Automotive freight transport turnover (billion ton-km) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5.540
Seaport freight turnover (million tons) . . . . . . . .23.763
Cabotage freight turnover (million tons) . . . . . . .2.514

River navigation is conducted over a distance of 13,500 km altogether, of which 8,500 km extend through the basin of the Brahmaputra River.

Overall tonnage of the merchant marine was 2.3 million tons gross weight in 1970. The fleet itself handles only about 20 percent of seagoing foreign trade shipments. Seventeen million tons of freight are processed in Bombay; 9 million in Calcutta; 8 million in Marmagao; and 5–6 million in Vishakhapatnam, Madras, and Cochin. Two new ports, Kandla and Paradip, are among the largest.

All of the most important centers are connected by airlines. International airports are found in Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, and Madras.

Foreign trade. By the early 1970’s, India’s share in world trade was valued at less than 1 percent. India has a negative balance of payments, although the size of the negative balance is tending to decline. Thus in 1967 exports totaled 12 billion rupees and imports 20.1 billion; in 1968, 13.6 and 19.1 billion rupees respectively; and in 1969, 14.1 and 15.7 billion respectively. The main items traditionally exported are jute products, tea, cotton, and cotton fabrics. Export growth is occurring through the expansion of export of non-traditional goods, especially production from heavy industry—metals and metal products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, and mineral raw materials such as iron ore (third in Indian exports after jute products and tea), manganese ore, and mica. More than a third of India’s imports are machinery, equipment, and metal goods. Imports of grain and grain products are being reduced. Basic metals, oil and petroleum products, mineral fertilizers, chemicals, and chemical raw materials are other major import items.

The USA accounted for 29.3 percent of India’s imports and 17 percent of its exports in 1969, and Great Britain for 6.4 and 11.6 percent respectively. The Federal Republic of Germany plays a significant role in India’s imports (5.3 percent), but it receives only 2.2 percent of India’s exports. Foreign trade ties with Japan are rapidly growing (4.3 percent of India’s imports and 12.7 percent of its exports); Japan is the main consumer of Indian iron ore and other raw materials. Indian trade with the USSR and other socialist states is growing. Indian imports from the USSR increased from 0.3 percent of India’s imports in 1954/55 to 10.9 percent in 1969, and exports to the USSR increased from 0.4 percent of all India’s exports to 12.5 percent. As a whole, the socialist countries account for 20 percent of India’s exports. The importance of other forms of economic relations between India and the USSR and other socialist countries has been growing also. This is particularly helpful in strengthening the role of the state sector in the Indian economic structure. India’s trade turnover with the developing countries is increasing. In 1969, India was visited by 244,700 foreign tourists. The monetary unit is the Indian rupee, which is equal to 100 paisa. According to the official rate of exchange of the USSR State Bank in February 1972,100 rupees equaled 11.39 rubles.

Internal differences. The northeast (West Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa; 13.7 percent of the area and 22.4 percent of the population of India) is the largest rice-growing and jute region, with a considerable amount of sugarcane on the left bank of the Ganges and tea in the piedmont areas of the Himalayas. The region is the country’s chief coal and metallurgical base, with rapidly developing heavy machine building. The northeast yields a third of the net value of national factory and plant industry (including the important contributions of the jute and food industries). The region is rich in natural resources (80 percent of all coal mining). Machine building specializes in the manufacture of metallurgical and mining equipment, as well as equipment for light industry. The backbone of the region is the clearly defined Calcutta-Damodar industrial zone. The complex development of the Damodar River basin under the direction of an autonomous state organization, the Damodar Valley Corporation, is an important undertaking. The inland areas of Bi’ r and Orissa remain among the country’s economically most backward territories.

The far northeast (Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, and Manipur; 7.7 percent of the area and 3.6 percent of the population of India) is primarily a mountain region that is backward economically. Approximately half of the country’s tea plantations are concentrated in the Brahmaputra Valley and the territory of Tripura. About a fifth of the total jute crop grows along the lower reaches of the Brahmaputra. Rice is a basic food crop, and citrus plantings are found in piedmont areas and on plateaus. Hog breeding is part of the economy. The region yields half of the oil extracted in the country (deposits at Digboi, Moran, and Nahorkatiya in the Brahmaputra Valley). Oil is refined in Digboi and Nunmati.

The north-central region (Uttar Pradesh; approximately 9 percent of the area and one-sixth of the population of India) is situated principally in the central area of the Ganges Valley. The region provides about a fifth of the total grain harvest, mainly wheat (a third of the overall crop), barley (more than half), maize (a fifth), and legumes (more than a third). It is the leading sugar-producing region (approximately 47 percent of the sugarcane crop) and a large producer of oil-bearing plants—mustard, rape, sesame, and flax. It produces a fifth of the country’s oil-bearing plants. The region produces only about 7 percent of India’s factory-made goods. Traditional industries are cotton production (found mainly in large cities such as Kanpur, Varanasi, Agra, Allahabad, and Lucknow) and sugar production. Crafts and domestic manufacture are widespread. Machine building and chemistry are growing in the old industrial centers, and new industrial centers are being established. The country’s only synthetic rubber plant is operating in Bareilly. A state plant for heavy electrical equipment (in Hardwar) has been built in the northwest in the piedmont areas of the Himalayas with the assistance of the USSR. The Yamuna and Ramganga hydroelectric power plants are under construction. In the far southeast of the region a hydroelectric power plant and two thermal electric power stations have been built at Rihand Dam. An aluminum combine is in operation.

The central region (Madhya Pradesh; 13.6 percent of the area and 7.6 percent of the population of India) is an agricultural grain region. Grains are exported to other areas of the country from the central region. The leading industrial crop is cotton (8 percent of the overall harvest). The central region contains more than 25 percent of the forest area of India. It is here that the Dandakaranya Project for the development of barren lands is being implemented. Only about 3 percent of India’s industrial production (mainly cotton fabrics) is done in this region. The Bhilai Iron and Steel Works has become the basis for economic development of the area. Korba, the coal-mining center, is growing because of its close ties with the Bhilai Works. A state aluminum plant is under construction in Korba. The large iron-ore deposit of Bailadila has been mined since 1966, and manganese is also mined. The country’s only center for mining diamonds is found in Panna. Other state construction projects of national importance are a plant for heavy power equipment in Bhopal and a paper mill in Nepanagar.

The northwest (Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and the union territory of Delhi; approximately 22 percent of the area and 11.2 percent of the population of India) is the country’s largest producer of wheat and legumes (more than a third of the total yields), as well as high-quality cotton. (Punjab and Haryana produce more than a fifth of total output.) It is the leading livestock region. There is breeding of cattle, sheep, and camels. Animal husbandry and forestry have been developed in the mountains, and horticulture in the valleys. The northwest accounts for about 7 percent of the value of net production of factory and plant industry. The region specializes in production of cotton (Delhi, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Hisar, Ajmer), silk (Amritsar, Srinagar), and wool (Ludhiana, Gurdaspur, Ambala, Bikaner) fabrics. Metalworking is developing, as is the manufacture of machinery and tools (in Delhi and environs, Chandigarh, and other cities). New industrial centers have emerged near bases of large hydropower construction projects: for example, Bhakra-Nangal (a nitrate fertilizer combine and a heavy-water plant) and Kota, which is connected with the Chambal hydroengineering complex (chemistry, machine building). A nuclear power plant (400,000 kW) is under construction in Rana Pratap Sagar. There is mining of lead-zinc ore, mica, and halite. India’s largest cement plant is found in Sawai Madhopur.

The west (Maharashtra, Gujarat, and the union territories of Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Goa, Daman, and Diu; 16.2 percent of the area and 14.2 percent of the population of India) is a leading industrial region and an agricultural area of predominantly nonirrigated farming. It is the chief cotton base of the country and the leading producer of peanuts (40 percent of total output). The areas sown with sugarcane are expanding. The main food crops are millet (jowar and bajra) and rice. Gujarat is one of the leading tobacco-farming and livestock-breeding states (for dairy and wool products). Horticultural specialties are mandarins, mangoes, and.bananas. The region accounts for about a third of the net production of national industry. The west is one of India’s chief cotton-industry areas. It is a supplier of nearly three-quarters of all halite, almost one-quarter of the mined bauxites, and a considerable proportion of manganese, coal, and iron ore (more than 6 million tons from Goa). The west is becoming a leading region of oil extraction (Anklesvar), petroleum refining, petrochemistry (Bombay and Koyali), diversified chemical production, and machine building.

South India (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala; the union territories of Pondicherry, the Andaman and Nicobar islands, and the Laccadive, Amindivi, and Minicoy islands; one-fifth of the area and one-fourth of the population of India) is an important region of plantations, rice paddies, oil-bearing plants (peanuts, castor-oil plants, and others), coconut trees, tobacco farms, and cotton (almost a fifth of the total harvest). In the southern mountain massifs and their piedmont areas there are plantations sown with tea, black pepper, coffee, and rubber plants (hevea). It is leading area for sea fishing. The traditional industrial specializations are cotton spinning, leather processing, the dairy and tea industries, and the processing of cashew nuts (Kerala). The greatest proportion of magnesites comes from South India. There is also mining of iron and manganese ores, gold, monazite, and mica. The following industries are growing: machine building and chemical industries (in the large cities of Madras, Bangalore, Coimbatore, and Hyderabad), high-grade metallurgy (Bhadravati), and aluminum production (Al-waye, Salem, and the area of the Sharavathi hydroelectric power station). The coastal centers using imported oil for petroleum refining are growing (Vishakhapatnam, Cochin, and Madras).



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India’s armed forces consist of the army, air force, and navy. The president is commander in chief, and immediate direction of the armed forces is implemented through the minister of defense. The army, air force, and navy are manned through recruitment of volunteers. There is no military draft. Officers are trained in military schools as well as in the national cadet corps. Some of the officers of special forces receive training abroad. There are four military districts: western, central, eastern, and southern. The strength of the armed forces stood at about 980,000 men in 1971. In addition, there are territorial forces, security forces, and the Jammu-Kashmir militia (totaling more than 100,000 men). The army (approximately 860,000 men) consists of 23 infantry and mountain-infantry divisions, one armored division, ten separate brigades, and separate units and subdivisions of special forces (signal, engineer, and so forth).

The air force (about 80,000 men) consists of air force command headquarters, which include aviation wings. There are approximately 625 combat aircraft. The navy (about 40,000 men) is divided into western and eastern commands. The navy includes one aircraft carrier, two cruisers, three destroyers, 14 patrol vessels, four submarines, and auxiliary vessels. The naval air force has more than 60 planes and helicopters. The major naval bases are Calcutta, Cochin, and Madras. Armaments and combat equipment are mainly of foreign manufacture; certain types of artillery, small arms, and ammunition are produced by India’s own military industry.

Medicine and public health. In 1968 births per 1,000 persons totaled 42.8, and mortality 16.7. There are no precise statistics for infant mortality. The average life expectancy is 52 years. Infectious pathology predominates. The following disorders are widespread throughout India: intestinal infections, helminthiasis (ancylostomiasis, ascariasis), trachoma (responsible for 60-80 percent of all cases of blindness), tuberculosis (5 million people need treatment and 1 million die annually), and children’s infections. In India approximately 2.5 million people have leprosy. Cholera is characteristic of the region. Outbreaks of smallpox are registered each year. Diseases caused by arboviruses (dengue, chikungunya, Kyasanur forest disease, and Japanese and West Nile encephalitis) and rickettsial disease (tsutsugamushi) are encountered. Filariasis is an endemic disease in regions inhabited by 122 million people. Extremely high morbidity of cancer of the mouth cavity and nasopharynx is typical. From 1955 to 1960 measures were undertaken to eliminate infectious diseases. Morbidity of malaria has been sharply reduced as a result of successful antimalaria measures. In 1962 mortality rates from malaria totaled 0.29 per 1,000 people, as opposed to 8.79 in 1944. The incidence of malaria is still rather high in the northeastern area of the Deccan and in piedmont regions of the Himalayas. Classic cholera is endemic to the Ganges River valley, the plains area of the Brahmaputra River, and the deltas of the Cauvery, Krishna, and Godavari rivers on the eastern coast of the Hindustan Peninsula. Helminthiasis, kala azar, and filariasis are also widespread in these regions. Ancylostomiasis, ascariasis, and filariasis are common on the western and eastern coasts of Hindustan. Filariasis caused by worms of the genus Brugia is endemic to the state of Kerala. Breeding grounds for the plague are found in the dry regions of the central Deccan and in western India. Dermal leishmaniasis, trachoma, and dracunculiasis are also widespread in these regions.

The Central Ministry of Health and Family Planning is in charge of medical education and the activities of research institutions. The ministry directs state public health offices in ports, airports, and other public places. The general directions and planning for national public health are implemented by the government through a higher consultative organ, the Central Health Council, which consists of the health ministers of all the states, with the union health minister as chairman.

In 1967 there was a total of 15,700 hospitals, 325,500 hospital beds (0.6 beds per 1,000 persons), 1,500 polyclinics at hospitals, 4,400 health clinics, and 10,500 dispensaries. The medical work force in 1970 consisted of 112,000 doctors (one doctor per 4,910 persons), 9,000 dentists, 51,000 pharmacists, and approximately 120,000 paramedical personnel. Folk medicine also is widely practiced in India. (The number of folk doctors cannot be calculated.) Medical cadres are trained in 81 medical and 13 dental colleges, in 11 other medical educational institutions, and in 480 schools for training paramedical personnel. In 1963/64 expenditures for public health represented 5.6 percent of the state budget.

There are many mineral water springs and hill stations in India. The major types of mineral springs are thermal and hyper-thermal springs with gaseous hydrosulfide waters (Kava Gan-dhvani, 35°C; Duari, 45°; Surai Kund, 87°C), mixed carbonate hydrosulfide waters (Harak, 38°C; Tatle, 60°C), and carbonate waters (Bhimbard Springs, 64°C; and Rishikund, three groups of springs with water temperatures ranging from 40°C to 46°C). Of 47 radon springs, nine in Bihar are highly radioactive (among them Patalsur, Kava Gandhvani, and Brahmakund). Ten springs are highly radioactive (two of them are Sahna in Punjab and Akvikund in Bengal); seven are of average radioactivity; and 21 are of low radioactivity.

The Indian towns referred to as hill stations display considerable diversity in their natural therapeutic properties. Simla, situated in the Himalayas at an altitude of 2,100 m, is popular for treatment of exhaustion and anemia. Tuberculosis patients are cared for at Jarmpur (1,500 m), Hakra Tar (2,100 m), Almora (1,800 m), Quetta in Baluchistan (1,550 m), Coonoor, and Kotagiri (1,800 m). One of India’s finest health resorts is Okalamund in Madras (2,200 m). Here patients are treated for exhaustion, anemia, and inflamed gastric disorders. Two well-known coastal health resorts are Waltair on the eastern coast (treatment of tuberculosis of the lungs and catarrh of the upper respiratory passages) and Puri near Calcutta (treatment of hypertonic disease, chronic kidney diseases, and catarrh of the upper respiratory passages).


Veterinary services.. Preconditions for the spread of numerous infectious and infestation diseases among animals in India are the high density of agricultural livestock, an acute shortage of fodder, a large number of species of bloodsucking arthropodan carriers and the limited nature of prophylactic immunization. Foot-and-mouth disease is very widespread (19,564 new foci in 1968/69). In 1969, India registered the following new foci of disease: rabies, 348; cattle plague, 359; emphysematous carbuncle, 7, 144; cattle and goat smallpox, 844; Newcastle disease, 1, 903; hemorrhagic septicemia, 7, 006; and trypanosomiasis, 193. The following diseases are also widespread: leptospirosis, anthrax, brucellosis, and tuberculosis among horned cattle; smallpox and respiratory mycoplasma among fowl; epidemic pneumonia among cattle (old foci in the Assam region); infectious agalactia of sheep and goats; and pseudotuberculosis, scrapie, and catarrhal fever among sheep. Various helminthiases, blood-parasite diseases, and diseases caused by an insufficiency of microelements, vitamins, and mineral substances are also common among animals in India. Veterinarians are trained in 19 veterinary colleges. There were more than 9,000 veterinarians in India in 1970. Veterinary service is provided on a territorial basis. There are veterinary laboratories and stations. The most important center of veterinary scientific research is the one at Izatnagar, which has a branch in Mukteswar.

Nearly 200 years of British colonial rule left India with an unfortunate legacy in the field of education. Up to the moment of India’s liberation there was no unified system of education for the entire country. In 1946 only 18.24 million people out of a total population of 296.1 million studied at any level. After independence had been proclaimed, the Constitution of 1950 introduced compulsory free education for all children up to the age of 14, to be achieved by 1960. (This deadline was later postponed until 1985.) By 1971 the literacy level of the population had reached 29.4 percent. Education is directed by the state ministries of education, which function under the supervision of the Union Ministry of Education.

The modern educational system of India is complex in structure, consisting of preschool institutions for children three to six years old (there are few of these, mainly private), primary and junior basic schools for children six to 11 years old, incomplete secondary schools and senior basic schools (11-14 years old), and complete, or higher, secondary schools (11-17 years old). The principles of a “basic” education were formulated by M. Gandhi in 1937. The fundamental element of education, according to him, should be children working without distinctions of caste, class, or religion, all of which are very important in India. Basic schools provide general education and prepare graduates for practical life.

The number of primary school pupils increased from 14.11 million in 1946/47 to 55 million in 1968/69 (77.3 percent of the age group). The number of pupils in incomplete secondary schools increased from 6.7 million students in 1960/61 to 12.27 million in 1968/69 (32.3 percent of the age group). The number of pupils receiving a complete secondary school education increased from 3.03 million in 1960/61 to 6.58 million in 1968/69 (19.3 percent of the age group). Because of various social factors, education of girls lags behind that of boys. In 1968/69 only 20.56 million girls (37.1 percent) were enrolled in primary schools; girls constituted 28.6 percent of the pupils in incomplete secondary schools and 24.8 percent in complete secondary schools. Education is free in the state primary schools. Teaching is conducted in the native language, and in multiethnic regions it is conducted in the regional language. Tuition is required in private primary schools (25 percent of the schools), as well as in most secondary schools. In 1967 what is known as the three-language formula was introduced into the school system. Three languages are studied in schools of the non-Hindi-speaking states—the regional language, Hindi, and English. In schools of the Hindi-speaking states, one of the regional languages is studied in addition to Hindi and English. In 1967 an operation was begun to review programs, write new textbooks, and improve the equipping of schools.

Training of skilled workers for industry is carried out in vocational schools requiring two or three years of study in addition to a partial secondary school education. In 1965/66, 2.8 million students were enrolled in 266,000 vocational schools. There are approximately 200,000 schools of Indian music and dance, fine arts, and home economics, attended by about 2 million students.

Higher education in India is represented by universities, colleges (some of which are parts of universities), and institutes. At the beginning of 1972 there were in India 83 universities, nine institutes with the standing of universities, and nine national institutes (approximately 2.6 million students, 23 percent of whom were women). A higher education requires tuition. The course of study lasts five or six years. Universities are divided into three types: affiliating universities, or organizational centers that only prepare curricula, conduct examinations, and award degrees to graduates of colleges under their jurisdiction; unitary universities, which are only educational institutions; and federal universities, which direct both the educational and organizational functions of component colleges. A large proportion of students major in the humanities (41.4 percent in 1967-69), although about 50,000 humanities graduates are unable to find work each year. The oldest universities are the University of Calcutta, the University of Bombay, and the University of Madras.

Technical education is governed by the All-India Council on Technical Education. The largest technical institutes are Kha-ragpur, Bombay (built with the assistance of the USSR), Madras, and Kanpur, which have the status of national institutes. Besides basic educational functions, technical institutes are responsible for organizing the retraining of engineering cadres and conducting scientific work on contemporary problems of technology. During 1968/69,25,000 students were enrolled in 137 technical institutes, and 50,000 students were enrolled in 284 technical schools.

The largest libraries are the National Library in Calcutta (founded in 1902; more than 1.2 million titles), the Public Library in Delhi (founded in 1951; more than 400,000 titles), the Connemara Central Public Library in Madras (founded in 1896; 197,000 titles), and the Library of Oriental Literature in Patna (founded in 1924; 69,000 titles).

Leading museums are the National Museum in New Delhi (founded 1949), the Indian Museum in Calcutta (1814), the National Art Gallery in Madras (1951), the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi (1954), the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in Delhi, the Gandhi Memorial Museum in Delhi, and the State Museum in Madras (1851). Valuable historical and architectural monuments in Agra, Mahabalipuram, Jaipur, and many other areas are also being preserved by the state.


Natural and technical sciences.ANCIENT TIMES AND THE MIDDLE AGES. Even in early antiquity the population of the Indus River basin established a highly developed culture that equalled such centers of world civilization as Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, and in a number of ways was even superior to them. Excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, leading cities of early Indian civilization, have demonstrated the advanced level of urban construction. The sewage system was one of the best developed in the ancient East. Certain hydroengineering structures in ancient India were prototypes for modern constructions in Europe and America. For example, a multiarched dam near Hyderabad served as the prototype for modern reinforced-concrete dams.

The Harappa culture (third and second millennia B.C.) was a Bronze Age culture; both bronze and copper played an important role in economy and crafts. A variety of tools and weapons were made from these metals. Smelting, forging, and casting of metals were known.

There is very little information about science in India during the first millennium B.C., although there are certain data about the knowledge of mathematics and astronomy during the period. Priests conducted systematic observations of the movement of the sun and the moon. Arithmetic operations included elementary fractions. The Ayur-Veda (ninth to third centuries B.C.) is a valuable source for studying the ancient medicine of India. Anatomy, therapeutics, and surgery achieved high levels. The outstanding doctors and surgeons of their time were Jivaka (sixth/fifth centuries B.C.) and Charaka (first century A.D.). The handbooks Charaka-samhita and Susruta-samhita were translated later into Arabic. The art of surgery attained a particularly high level. (More than 200 surgical instruments were created.) Sanskrit medical treatises taught how to use a lancet and how to clean and dry wounds. Anaesthetization was used during operations, and doctors knew how to remove cataracts, trepan skulls, make cesarean sections, and perform other kinds of operations. Indian medical experience and surgical practices were widely known in the Graeco-Roman world.

The first millennium A.D., especially the period of the Guptas (fourth to sixth centuries), witnessed the flourishing of ancient Indian culture. Creation of the decimal number system was an extremely important contribution to world science. The sine table for computing locations of the planets was also an outstanding achievement of Indian science. The astronomical and mathematical treatises, the Siddhantas, summarized the knowledge of the time. The most prominent astronomer and mathematician was Aryabhata (born A.D. 476; year of death unknown). He was the author of the Aryabhatiam (499 A.D.), a treatise in verse on astronomy and mathematics, and he was one of the first to solve a linear equation with two unknowns in positive integers.

Astronomical concepts of this period held that the earth is stationary and that the sun, moon, planets, and stars revolve around it in circular orbits. Aryabhata voiced the idea that the earth is a sphere that revolves around its own axis. The movement of celestial bodies, as well as their positions in relation to the ecliptic and the celestial equator, were calculated rather precisely. The difference in length between day and night at various meridians was known. Many treatises on astronomy of Indian scientists were later translated into Arabic.

Brahmagupta (seventh century) developed some of Arya-bhata’s propositions. His solution in positive integers of the equation y2 = ax2 + b was an outstanding achievement in number theory. Varahamihira (sixth century), Sridhara (ninth/tenth centuries), and Bhaskara (12th century) made important contributions to the development of mathematics and astronomy. The last-named devised a theory of epicycles.

In the field of medicine of this period the following names are well-known: Vagbhata, author of the medical treatise Ashtanga-hridaya, who probably worked during the sixth and seventh centuries at the Buddhist university in Nalanda; Sadhavakara, author of a work on pathology; and Bhaskara Bhatta, who compiled the anatomical treatise Sariranadmini (c. 1000 A.D.).

The accumulation and systematization of knowledge in other areas of the natural sciences are closely linked with the development of medicine. Classifications of plants appeared, because plants used as medicines were important.

Knowledge of chemistry was also associated with pharmacology. Initial descriptions are encountered in sections devoted to preparation of medicines. In addition to medicine, the technology of preparing dyes, perfumes, cements, and steel, which had already achieved an advanced level in ancient India, was an important source of information on chemistry. The first written works directly devoted to problems of alchemic theory and practice date to the fifth century. Their appearance was significantly influenced by Chinese science. Among later works, those of Govindabhagavata (11th century) and Somadeva (12th/ 13th centuries) are considered important. The treatises list classifications for substances of mineral and organic origin and describe various chemical processes and equipment. A method of obtaining certain substances (particularly, lunar caustic) was known to Indian chemistry long before it was learned by Europe. Metallurgy was also highly developed. (An iron column in Delhi, cast in the early fifth century and preserved to the present time in uncorroded condition, is evidence of this development.) Indian masters knew about many ferrous metal alloys and chemical compounds used in soldering jewelry and in processing leather. They knew how to make various stable mineral and plant dyes used in painting and textile manufacture. A red dye extracted from the madder plant and used on fabrics and a blue dye extracted from the indigo plant were exported to other countries.

Astronomy achieved great successes during the period of the empire of the Great Moguls. Observatories were established in Delhi, Jaipur, and other cities. Astronomical instruments consisted of stone architectural structures.

BRITISH COLONIAL RULE (MID-18TH TO THE FIRST HALF OF THE 20TH CENTURY). The British colonial authorities in India only assisted the development of those spheres of knowledge that were of service to the colonial economy. Research was conducted on India’s flora and fauna, its mineral resources, and its climate. A considerable number of the scientific institutions depended on the philanthropy of Indian princes or millionaire patrons of the sciences.

A number of British scientists who lived and worked in India for a long time made important contributions to the development of Indian science. The establishment of the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal (Calcutta) in 1784 was an important event for the development of Indian science during the new period. The British Orientalist W. Jones played an important part in the society in the 18th century. Initially it studied the history of the peoples and nature of Asia, and in the mid-19th century it began to publish works on the natural sciences, which, along with zoology and botany, included physics, chemistry, geology, medicine, and meteorology. In 1787 a botanical garden was established in Calcutta, and in 1792 an observatory was built in Madras. The latter was used not only for astronomical observation but also for research on meteorology and navigation.

The first universities were founded in 1857 (in Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras). The organization of India’s geological and botanical services dates back to this period. Scientific laboratories were established at certain universities. The British scientists T. Oldham and W. Blanford made important contributions to geological research in India. P. Bose was the first Indian geologist. Topographic research was conducted by the British scientists W. Lambton and G. Everest and the Indian scientist Radhanath. Anthropological and archaeological services were set up. The first census of the Indian population, affording rich material for demographic analysis, was conducted in 1871 and 1872. In 1875 the British scientists H. Blanford and J. Elliot organized an Indian meteorological service.

Natural science and technical societies emerged at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. These included the Engineering Association in Calcutta (1895), medical societies in Ahmadabad (1902) and Bombay (1904), the Mathematical Society in Delhi (1907), and the Indian Association for Development of Science in Calcutta (1909). The activities of these societies played an important role in focusing the attention of the Indian intelligentsia on scientific research.

The Russian doctor V. Khavkin made an outstanding contribution in the fight against epidemics. In 1896 he established a special institute, now called the Khavkin Institute (in Bombay), as a research center on bubonic plague in India.

In 1921 the Madras Geographical Association was established (now called the Indian Geographical Society), and in 1935 the Bombay Geographical Association was established.

Colonial authorities organized medical and clinical research institutes, which studied mainly tropical diseases. Agricultural problems were also studied in scientific institutions of India prior to World War II. There was practically no industrial research.

At the end of the 19th century and during the first third of the 20th, India did not have significant national cadres in many areas of science. Only in the last decades of the 19th century did India’s first scientists appear—mathematicians and physicists, the geometer A. Mukerjee, and the physicist, biophysicist, and plant physiologist J. C. Bose.

Despite extremely limited opportunities for scientific research, a number of Indian scientists during the first half of the 20th century made important contributions to world science. Such scientists include the mathematician S. Ramanujan, who did research on analytic theory of numbers and elliptical functions; Nobel Prize winner (1930) C. V. Raman, who discovered combination light scattering (the Raman effect) in 1928 concurrently with the Soviet scientist L. I. Mandel’shtam; C. Bose, one of the forefathers of quantum statistics; the very prominent theoretical physicist H. Bhabha; M. Saha, a leading scientist in the field of plasma physics; the creator of Indian paleobotany, S. Sahni; and the geologists D. Wadia and M. Krishnan (director of the Indian Geological Service, 1972).

INDEPENDENT INDIA. After India gained independence in 1947, scientific research began to be closely associated with the resolution of practical problems. Science has been assigned an important role in the attainment of Indian economic independence and in raising the people’s standard of living. Scientific research is being conducted on an ever-increasing range of problems of a fundamental nature—nuclear physics, solid state physics, elementary particle physics, the chemistry of natural compounds, and electronics.

Scientific research in universities and scientific centers is directed toward effective use of India’s natural resources and development of new materials and technological processes based on local resources. Attempts are being made to find replacements for scarce raw materials in order to reduce the nation’s dependence on imports.

The efforts of Indian scientists in agriculture are directed toward solving the problem of providing food to the Indian population. Because of large-scale research in breeding high-yield varieties of rice, wheat, maize, millet, and sorghum, and because of the broader application of fertilizers and contemporary technology (called the green revolution), India sharply increased its gross output of grain in the second half of the 1960’s and by 1972 was on the verge of solving the food problem. Operations are being conducted for selection of vegetables, fruits, and cotton, and there are also projects in animal husbandry, fishing, forestry, and veterinary affairs. Important research has been done in soil science under the direction of Raychaudhuri. A broad range of problems is being dealt with through research in industrial laboratories—metallurgy, coal and oil, polymers, applied electronics, electrical and power engineering, and textiles.

Universities and a number of special centers are engaged in medical research. The most important problems relate to studies of pellagra and virus diseases, methods of fighting cholera epidemics, cancer disease research, and problems of neurophysiology. The most prominent scientific medical institutions are the All-India Institute for Hygiene and Public Health (Calcutta), the Malaria Institute (Delhi), the Central Research Institute in Kasauli, the Cancer Institute (Bombay), the All-India Institute of Psychiatry in Bangalore, the Leprosy Institute in Tamil Nadu, and the Khavkin Institute in Bombay.

Works by the physiologist A. S. Ukil, the surgeon A. Baliga, and the pathologist, oncologist, and foreign member of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR B. R. Khanolkar have achieved broad recognition.

Research studies in natural sciences are principally based in universities and science centers, the largest of which are the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research in Bombay and the Bhabha Atomic Research Center.

At the universities of Lucknow, Delhi, and Varanasi (Benares), mathematical research is concerned with classical and functional analysis, differential equations, differential and algebraic geometry, topology, and number theory.

In the field of physical sciences, work is being conducted in theoretical physics, astrophysics, high-energy physics, nuclear physics, solid-state physics, cosmic rays, microelectronics, and microwave engineering. A group headed by M. Menon is working with great success on cosmic ray physics and the study of neutrinos and high-energy muons. The world’s deepest gold mines in the Kolar Gold Fields (south India), as well as sounding balloons launched from a specially established station in Hyderabad, are used in studying cosmic rays. Certain types of lasers and various electronic meters have been designed in the national physics laboratory. Important research in physics is being conducted at universities in Delhi (low temperature physics and astrophysics; astrophysics research is under the direction of D. S. Kothari), Madras (theoretical physics, biophysics, crystal-lophysics), and Andhra (acoustics and spectroscopy).

Important research is being done in astronomy. In 1970 a unique radio telescope went into operation. It was built by the Institute for Fundamental Research in south India (the city of Ootacamund) and intended for the study of radio-frequency-emitting galaxies, weak sources of radio waves and radio-frequency emission of planets (Jupiter, in particular) and pulsars.

The Atomic Research Center is working on solutions for problems in nuclear and applied physics, designing of electronic instruments, radiation safety, chemical engineering, radio-chemistry, and use of isotopes in medicine, agriculture, and metallurgy. The creation of the Atomic Research Center and the Institute for Fundamental Research and their development into leading scientific centers in the fields of physics, mathematics, and astronomy are inseparably linked with the name of the prominent organizer of Indian science H. Bhabha.

Geophysical research is being conducted in institutions of the Department of Meteorology and in the National Geophysical Research Institute (Hyderabad). Problems in the following areas are being studied: seismology, gravimetry, geomagnetism and terrestrial electricity, oceanography, rock mechanics, paleomag-netism, theoretical geophysics, geophysical surveying, and designing of geophysical instruments. The development of geophysical methods of searching for underground water is one of the important directions of geophysical research.

Five geographic associations in India are working on problems of regional, historic, and economic geography. Very important work is being conducted by the Organization for Compilation of a National Atlas of India under the direction of S. P. Chatterjee (president of the Geographical Society of India). The Institute for Himalayan Geology was founded in 1968.

In the field of chemistry the National Chemical Laboratory in Poona is a leading research center. Work is being done on applied problems of solid state chemistry, physical chemistry, biochemistry, organic and inorganic chemistry, polymer chemistry, and chemical engineering. Particular attention is being devoted to natural compounds; India occupies a leading position in world science in the study of such compounds. Plants used in medicine and plants containing ethereal oils are being studied. Problems of extracting, defining, and synthesizing alkaloids, dyes, ter-penes, terpenoids, and steroids are being specially researched. New dyes and preparations have been introduced into the perfume industry. A study of dyes is being headed by a prominent specialist of the field, K. Venkataraman. In university chemistry laboratories, considerable attention is accorded to problems of industrial significance that relate primarily to studies of plants used in medicine, insecticides, ethereal oils, antibiotics, and so forth. A school established by T. R. Seshadri at the University of Delhi is effectively conducting research on natural oxygen-containing heterocycles, flavonoids, natural quinine-type pigments, lichenic acids, and natural insecticides. Physicochemical research in the universities tends to focus on colloids, chemistry of surfaces, chemistry of silicates, polymerization, synthetic resins, and chemical kinetics. There is a great deal of research being done on analytical chemistry, nuclear chemistry, and radiation chemistry. Indian scientists are actively working in the field of electrochemistry.

For a long time botanical research in India amounted to the collecting and describing of plants. In the early 20th century Indian scientists began to study the morphology, ecology, and anatomy of plants, and in the 1940’s work on the physiology and genetics of plants also began. Problems of genetics and the growing of plants are generally studied in agricultural educational and research institutions, and taxonomy is studied in institutions of the Indian Botanical Service. The University of Madras is an important center of botanical research in India’s system of higher education. In its botanical laboratory effective studies of algae were conducted under the direction of M. O. Iyengar; T. S. Sadasivan has been the head of the laboratory since 1944. The school that he created received international recognition for research on plant pathology, particularly the interactions of parasites with the organism of the host plant, as well as research on biochemical processes occurring in fungi. The results of this research are being applied in agriculture. Virology, cytology, and mycology are also among the most popular areas of botanical research in universities.

The most advanced research in the field of zoology is being conducted at the University of Delhi. Special attention is being paid to problems of entomology, cytology, and endocrinology. Problems of marine biology are being studied at the University of Anamalai, where the task of combining quantitative morphological and physicochemical methods of researching marine fauna is being effectively resolved.

The Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleobotany, founded in 1946 by S. Sahni (well known for his works on botany, paleobotany, and geology), is a leading center in the field of biology. The institute is engaged in the study of paleoflora of India and, in particular, problems of paleozoic botany and paleontology of oil.

Research on mathematical statistics conducted in the Indian Statistical Institute, a leading scientific center, is very important. The founder of this institute was P. C. Mahalanobis, a well-known scientist and specialist in mathematical statistics and economics. On the assignment of the Indian government, the institute participated in the preparation of the five-year national economic development plans.


Social sciences.PHILOSOPHY. The most ancient period of Indian philosophy may be characterized as an attempt at philosophical understanding of religious texts, the Vedas. Interpreting the sacred terms and acts, thinkers of this period devised the philosophical concepts of rita (impersonal universal world order), tapas (universal source of psychoenergy), purusha (spiritual essence of society and, simultaneously, its anthropomorphic image), and Vac (the idea of divine speech). In the beginning of the first millennium B.C., schools of systematic commentary on the Vedas evolved among Brahman priests. The following philosophical problems evolved in the course of this commentary: the nature of existence (which was perceived as a unified spiritual essence penetrating the Universe); the nature of truth and the possibility of cognition; truthfulness as identification of an individual cognitive principle with a universal spiritual essence; ethical behavior (organization of consistency of actions to maintain a world, social, and emotional order corresponding to the religious rank, social status, sex, and age of the individual); the essence of freedom and possibility of liberation (by means of special efforts such as yoga, anchoritism, asceticism, or cultivation of secret knowledge, efforts which are supposed to result in the disappearance of ties of material, “profane” existence); and philosophy of language. (Ancient Indian thinkers believed that things emerge as a result of their designation by the creator of the world or that ideas of things are possible as a result of their being named.) These philosophical problems formed the basis of the ideology of Brahmanism, which was subsequently transmitted in the form of oral texts in Sanskrit—the Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads.

The content of the Upanishads is characteristic of subsequent Indian philosophy. Existence, truth, and well-being as higher goals and forms of spiritual existence are united in the concept of Brahma, and individual thoughts, words, and actions in striving toward this goal are united in the concept of Atman. In the Upanishads the most ancient yoga practices are viewed as psychic activity affording a practical opportunity for cognition of Brahma-Atman. Both spirit and nature are believed to be similarly not created. A system of social rights and responsibilities is depicted in conjunction with a mythological world order. Thus, the individual recognizes his social status as some kind of natural position in the cosmos, and ethical principles are a set of instructions for the individual’s discovery of an appropriate place in the spiritual hierarchy. In this belief lie the sources of caste ideology, which grew out of the varna principle of organic division of society, well known even in the period of the Vedas.

The Upanishads record, step by step, three concepts (possibly under the influence of pre-Vedic cults and mythology) that had an enormous influence on the subsequent development of Indian philosophical and religious thought. (1) The concept of reincarnation and karma means that after the death of a living being his soul transfers to another body. This process has no beginning. In each new body the soul undergoes suffering and pleasure, depending on the good and bad actions that it committed during previous incarnations. The mechanism linking each existence of the soul to the sum of previous actions is conditioned and regulated by the law of karma, which determines not only where and when the soul will be reincarnated, but its biological rank, sex, social status, psychological type, and ethical and intellectual level as well. (2) The concept of dharma is that of a norm and model of behavior, of the ethical, social, and psychological existence of a living being; it is a prototype of one’s conscious existence, understood as universal moral laws existing independently of individual manifestations. (3) Guna refers to the basic types of orientation in material, psychic, and mental reality. There are three gunas: tamas (natural inertness, psychic passivity, and unconsciousness), rajas (natural activeness, energy, and a tendency to manifest active and-decisive principles), and sattva (organic nature, steadiness, self-identifying rationality). These three concepts are linked with the basic idea of Brahma-Atman: karma is active existence with abstracting from the subjective aspect of consciousness, dharma is consciousness that becomes existence because of the mechanism of karma, and gunas are basic forms to link existence and consciousness in terms of correlating kar-mic activity with the reality of dharma.

During the period of the seventh to fourth centuries B.C., the integration of heterogeneous social and ethnic groups inhabiting Hindustan reached a level that made it possible for the first time to speak of the unity of Indian culture. Systematic, organized schools and currents of philosophical thought developed that were opposed to Brahman Vedic ideology: Lokayata, Jainism, Bhagavata, early Sankhya, Ajivika, and Buddhism.

The legendary Brihaspati, who proposed the thesis of the independent and eternal principle of svabhava (nature) as the basis of all existence, is considered to be the initiator of Indian materialism (lokayata). The followers of lokayata criticized the principle of causality and denied the authenticity of all sources of knowledge except immediate sensory perception. According to lokayata, consciousness disappears with the destruction of the organism. Material bodies were viewed as combinations of four basic elements: earth, water, air, and fire. These elements were united through the force of svabhava. Proceeding from this, the principle of karma was rejected in the ethics of lokayata; offerings were declared unnecessary; concepts of good and evil, relative; and the idea of dharma, not demonstrable. In the latest form of lokayata—the teaching of the Charvakas—the philosophical elements proper recede into the background and give way to purely hedonistic appeals. The materialistic ideas of lokayata had a stimulating influence on many schools of Indian philosophy.

The basic concept of Jainist teaching is the idea of the pluralism of individual atomic souls (j’va) opposed by inanimate nature (ajiva). The highest ideal of Jainism is a soul fully liberated from the flow of inanimate matter. Jainism does not recognize identity of the individual soul with an absolute spiritual principle and therefore holds liberation (moksha) to be the result of purely individual action.

Krishna Vasudeva, the legendary founder of Bhagavata, combined religious, ethical, and philosophical ideas of a non-Vedic character that were widespread among the educated stratum of ancient Indian society in a teaching of a special type of individual behavior (the ideal warrior as a “genuine yogi”). The basis of his outlook consisted of the Kshatriya ethic of dispassionate action as a way of secular service to religious ideals. This ethic had a profound effect on the formation of ancient and early medieval Indian society, insofar as it isolated for the first time a specifically social, caste consciousness, distinct from the early varna understanding of society as an organism. Therefore, at later stages of Indian history ideologists of caste society repeatedly refer to the inheritance of Bhagavata.

In the teaching of Ajivika, attributed to the ascetic Gosalo Makkhaliputto, the existence of spiritual substance is completely negated. Consciousness is viewed as the unique result of hy-perfine fusions of matter.

Early Sankhya, ascribed to the mythical sage Kapila, is a dualistic philosophical system based on the opposition of independent bases—cognitive, nonactive subject (purusha) and active, natural substance (prakriti). The process of cognition, identified with stages or acts of nature’s being, begins with the intention of purusha to be a spectator and the readiness of prakriti to demonstrate the play of various forms of activity (gunas). As a result, purusha understands its extraneousness to the world of phenomena and recognizes itself as a free subject. In Sankhya, as in Bhagavata, the opposition of the demonstrated conditions of existence (vyaktd) and the nondemonstrated ones (avyakta), which was noted previously in the Upanishads, was developed.

In all these teachings there was an attempt to analyze and verify the Brahmanist world of the spiritual absolute through real experience. The idea was affirmed that paths of self-knowledge have not been prepared, and each person must discover them for himself. This led to the unprecedented interest in psychology and in methods of objective description and substantiation of the reality of subjective experience. These tendencies were most fully expressed in Buddhism, which for the first time clearly contrasted the method of free critical analysis of experience with traditional dogmatic commentary, affirming at the same time the primacy of yoga practices over religious a priority. The basic method of Buddhism consisted of the following: absolute existence (both individual and general) is viewed as a psychic phenomenon, which is then seen in the form of an ontological schema. Thus there is a principally two-aspect view of any problem in Buddhism, in which any object of the world may be correlated with a specific psychic state, and any subjective psychic state during the process of yogic contemplation and trance is experienced as object. Having appeared on the basis of traditional Indian philosophizing, Buddhism displayed its fundamental opposition to the spirit of this philosophizing, since the latter was constructed on the principal impossibility of functioning without a personal or universal spiritual basis.

Six orthodox (in the sense of devotion to the Vedas) philosophical systems evolved during the early classical period of development of Indian philosophy (fourth to first centuries B.C.). The basic form of the primary text for all of these systems was the sutra, a set of aphoristic statements summarizing the fundamental positions of the teaching. In succeeding centuries, based on interpretations, refinements, and concretization of the sutras, commentaries were written, with different orders of succession and coordination. In their totality they represent a body of philosophical literature unified by the integrity of a philosophical position (darshana)—that is, by a system. Systems, in turn, were grouped according to their proximity to one another. The philosophical traditions of Nyaya and Vaiseshika, Sankhya and Yoga, and Mimamsa and Vedanta proved to be historically interrelated and complementary. In Vaiseshika, ontological principles of pluralistic realism were developed and a system of categories was created. This system was subsequently interpreted by Nyaya as a teaching about cognition. This permitted Nyaya to formally provide a logical and semantic substantiation of Vaiseshika. Classical Sankhya supplied Yoga with a system of epistemology and appeared, in relation to Yoga, as a generalized philosophical understanding. Yoga, in turn, supplemented the spiritualistic philosophy of Sankhya with a naturalistic psychophysiology. Mimamsa was a result of maximum development of interpretation of the Vedas in their ritual aspect. With its sharp criticism of all attempts to resolve problems of cognition and ethics, attain freedom, and construct an ontology outside of the framework of the authoritative instructions of the Vedas, Mimamsa facilitated the refinement of basic principles of Vedanta metaphysics. A philosophy of language developed by Mimamsa became part of the Vedanta semantic analysis. On a social level Mimamsa represents a completed model of communal ideology that affirms the eternal nature and immutability of the traditional organization of Indian society. Having developed on the basis of interpreting the basic theses of the Upanishads in a spirit of absolute monism, Vedanta defended the absolute identification of Atman and Brahma, affirming the unreality of individual experience and existence. It thereby cast doubt upon the possibility of unorthodox speculation—in the spirit of Buddhism, for example—and proposed a theoretical substantiation of the authority of the Vedas.

The six cited systems of Indian philosophy, taken as a whole, fully characterize the ideology of Hinduism in its philosophical aspect. They are drawn together by a clearly defined range of problems posed. The basic problem is that of realism. All of these systems in varying degrees emerged as adherents of the absolute reality of existence, spiritual or material. Next is the problem of selection of reliable means of cognition, based on which the reality of at least one source of knowledge (perception, logical conclusion, authority of the Vedas, or intuition) would follow from the reality of primary principles. In essence, the very contrasting of these orthodox systems (astika) with nonorthodox systems (nastika) occurred virtually on the level of methodology and theory of cognition. The Jains completely denied the authority of the Vedas; the Buddhists, the authority of the Vedas and the reality of the world; and the Ajivikas and materialists, the reality of the Vedas and the authenticity of all means of cognition except sensory perceptions.

In the late classical period of development of Indian philosophy (first to eighth centuries A.D.) the basic theses of the six orthodox systems crystallized and the latest forms of philosophical Buddhism were developed. By the beginning of the Common Era, Buddhist sutras had been systematized in the Praj-naparamita, in which problems of ontology were seen in an isolated form. Sunyata (“emptiness”) was declared to be absolute existence. From the point of view of sunyata, no psychic or objective existence could be viewed as real. This idea was developed in two main directions: in the teaching of Nagarjuna (second century A.D.), the Madhyamika, where the absolute nature of ontological emptiness is linked with the dialectical nature of human cognition, and in the teaching of Vijnanavada (Yogacara, third to fifth centuries A.D.), in which consciousness itself in an objectivized form emerges as the single absolute reality. Both of these currents had already appeared in Mahayana, a branch of Buddhism. At about this time two purely scholastic forms of Hinayana Buddhism appeared: Sautrantika and Vaibhasika. Buddhaghosa, the commentator of the early Buddhist canonical texts, was the most important representative of the latter. The creation of the main treatises of Mahayana Buddhism is associated with the names of Asvaghosa, Asanga, Vasubandhu, Dignaga, and Dharmakirti. Dignaga was the first in Indian philosophy to construct a model system of critical analysis of means of cognition as forms of spiritual activity. Dharmakirti formalized his system, relating this spiritual activity to the totality of intellectual procedures. He completes the most important period of development of Buddhist philosophy, supplementing an ontology that is isolated as a subject with a specific subject—methodology (pratnanavada). In conjunction with this, beginning in the sixth and seventh centuries philosophical contradictions between the orthodox schools and Buddhism were aggravated. The clear superiority of the methods of Buddhism forced the former (Nyaya and Vedanta first) to devise their own systems, taking into account new methodological resources.

The beginning of the medieval period of Indian philosophy (eighth to 17th centuries) was characterized by the outstanding figure Shankara, who synthesized the entire previous tradition of orthodox philosophy and perfected it by application of the method of Buddhist dialectics. The system that he created of nondualistic Vedanta served as a theoretical basis not only for subsequent Hindu philosophical and religious thought, but for Hindu social organization itself (caste society). Up to the present time, the tradition of Shankara remains the most influential in India. The system proposed by Shankara (not distinguishing individual spirit from absolute subject and not distinguishing absolute subject from supreme reality) was a maximum logical basis for many later systems of philosophical and religious speculation. Madhya (ninth century) created a Vedanta of “dualism-nondualism,” or dialectical dualism. Ramanuja (11th and 12th centuries) developed the Vishnu Vedanta of limited nondualism, based on the idea of identifying god with absolute reality and the concomitant ethic of personal emotional fidelity (bhakti). Other important Vedantists were Vallabha (15th century), who developed the teachings of Nimbarka (11th century) on three forms of distinguishing the nature of the absolute, and Madhava (15th century), author of a philosophical compendium on the history of all schools. The school of Navya-Nyaya (12th to 17th centuries), founded by Gangesa Upadhyaya, was the last outstanding achievement of Indian philosophy of this period. This school devised a complete system (prior to the 20th century the world’s only complete system) of intentional formal logic of relations, and it also created a critical methodology for analysis of theories of truth.

The end of the Middle Ages was marked by the figures of Chaitanya, Nanak, and Kabir (15th and 16th centuries), who strove to create synthetic systems of religion and philosophy. Chaitanya’s ideal was the image of a simple person, inexperienced in terms of the nuances of philosophy and dogma, who sought truth and god. Nanak was the founder of a commune of Sikhs that joined together Muslim and Hindu elements. Kabir started a broad religious movement based on the idea of rejecting communal and caste ideology.


In the 18th and early 19th centuries, educational ideas, closely associated with traditions of religious idealism, predominated in philosophy. The poet-thinker Vemana, “herald of the new era,” synthesized in the form of idealistic monism of rajayoga the principles of a number of religious-philosophical systems of ancient and medieval India. He advocated the “purification” of religion, meaningful religious practice, and humane ethics. Vemana rejected asceticism, anchoritism, and so forth. The Muslim thinker Shah Wali Allah also defended the ideas of the reformation of religion. Rammohan Roy, who in 1828 established the Brahma Somaj society, was an outstanding educator of the early 19th century. The ideology of this society was based on the principles of objective idealism of a Vedantist direction. Leaders of this society referred to studies of European philosophy, which had never been done before in India. In the teachings of H. Derozio, who was a leader of the Young Bengal society, ideas of religious reformation were combined with materialistic tendencies. Materialistic ideas were also propagated by his successor Akshay Kumar Dutt.

The development of philosophy in the second half of the 19th century is linked with the search for paths to the national liberation of India from British rule. The Arya Samaj society, established in 1875 by D. Sarasvati, advanced the slogan “Back to the Vedas!” and at the same time advocated rationalism, monotheism, “activism” of personality, and ideas of social progress. Say-yid Ahmad Khan emerged among Muslims with ideas of education and religious reform. The reformation of Hinduism was strongly reflected in the teaching of Ramakrishna Parama-hamsa, according to whom all religions are true and lead to cognition of the single god. His humanistic ideas of service to one’s fellow man as an act of service to god and his condemnation of caste inequality became popular. In the field of philosophy he was a Vedantist. He attempted to synthesize Dvaita, Advaita, and Vishishtadvaita.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, philosophical thought in India developed under the influence of the outstanding educator S. Vivekananda, who strove to awaken the masses. His starting point was the Hindu religion, and Vedanta served as the basis of his philosophy. He also developed a theory of “universal religion.” In the 20th century the religious and philosophical teaching and the sociopolitical teaching of M. Gandhi became widespread and served as the ideology of the Indian national liberation movement.

In 1925 the Indian Philosophical Congress was created on the initiative of R. Tagore and S. Radhakrishnan. Important problems relating to the development of Indian philosophy were discussed at annual sessions of the Congress. In the 1920’s a pleiad of researchers of Indian philosophy came to the fore, including M. Hiriyanna, B. Das, S. Dasgupta, and Radhakrishnan. Great importance is attached to the “integral Vedanta” of A. Ghose, the teachings of M. Iqbal and K. C. Bhattacharya, and, in the sphere of aesthetics, the views of R. Tagore and A. Coomaraswamy. The attention of 20th-century bourgeois philosophy, idealistic as a whole, was focused on social, ethical, and national problems. After independence was won, the “academic” systems of Radhakrishnan, T. M. P. Mahadevan, G. R. Malkani, P. T. Raju, P. R. Damle, and others were created on the basis of national traditions of religious idealism. These systems were joined by the teachings of S. Sivananda, S. Bon Maha-raj, S. Ranganathananda, and S. Jnanananda. Mystical-intuitive currents were opposed by rationalistic tendencies. The 1950’s witnessed the formation of the “philosophy of science” school (P. J. Chaudhury, C. T. K. Chari). Social and humanistic problems were awarded an important position in bourgeois philosophy and sociology (R. Mukerjee, G. S. Ghurye, and R. N. Saksena). These problems were also addressed by ideologists of the Indian National Congress Party (such as J. Nheru and Sam-purnanand), particularly so as to substantiate the concept of a “society of the socialist pattern.”

The Communist Party of India emerges as the bearer of Marxist-Leninist ideology. The essence of Indian materialism, Buddhist philosophy, and ancient Indian philosophical systems is analyzed in the works of the Indian Marxists D. Chattopadhyay, M. Roy, B. Sen, R. Sankrityayan, Balaramamurti, and R. B. Sarma. The development of Indian philosophy during the modern period is reviewed in the works of A. Sen, N. Kaviraj, and H. Mukerjee; the ideology of Gandhism is analyzed. Cardinal problems of the socioeconomic and political development of India are treated in works and papers by A. K. Ghosh, S. A. Dange, G. S. Sardesai, G. Adhikari, and other figures from the Communist Party of India.

Philosophical institutions include the Indian Philosophical Congress (founded in 1925) and the Indian Institute of Philosophy in Amalner; the Indian Philosophical Association in Nagpur and the Indian Academy of Philosophy in Calcutta (general organ is the Journal of the Philosophical Association, Nagpur); the Institute of Oriental Philosophy in Vrindaban (organ is Indian Philosophy and Culture); the Center for Scientific Research in Metaphysics at the University of Visva-Bharati in the city of Santiniketan (publishes the Visva-Bharati Journal of Philosophy); the Center for Scientific Research in Philosophy at Hindu University in Varanasi (Benares); and the Center for Scientific Research on Advaita and Related Philosophical Systems at the University of Madras. Marxist journals include Indian Studies: Past and Present and Horizons, the organ of the Kerala Institute for Marxist Studies in the city of Tiruvanantapuram.


HISTORICAL SCIENCE. The birth of historical science in India dates back to ancient times, when, in addition to the epos and religious and philosophical works, itihasa (“histories”) were written. The oldest Indian chronicle—the Rajatarangini of Kal-hana (12th century)—narrates the history of Kashmir. During the 13th and 14th centuries, historical chronicles in the Persian language were compiled in the courts of Muslim rulers. The most important chronicles were those of Barani and Afifi (14th century), Abul Fazal, Nizamuddin Ahmad, Badauni (16th century), and Muhammad Kasim Ferishta (17th century).

Modern historical science in India emerged during the colonial period as part of British historiography, although it had specific national features. (For example, particular attention was given to the cultural inheritance of the country, and a critical attitude toward the British colonial regime was expressed.) The educator Ram Mohun Roy was the first Indian to undertake a study of ancient monuments. Sayyid Ahmad Khan studied the history of Muslims in India. R. L. Mitra, who in 1885 became the first Indian chairman of the Asian Society in Calcutta, was a leading specialist in Sanskrit and Vedic and Buddhist literature. Indian historians did prodigious work in studying and publishing ancient and medieval literary masterpieces (H. P. Sastri, D. R. Bhandarkar, Samasastri, and K. P. Jayaswal) and in identifying, publishing, and studying epigraphies (Krishna Sastri and D. C. Sircar). During the 1920’s, R. D. Banerji played an important part in the discovery of the cultures of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. The public figures D. Naoroji and M. G. Ranade, as well as many historians (including B. D. Basu and R. C. Dutt), revealed the economic consequences of British rule in India. J. Sarkar was a prominent Indian historian. His works, published mainly in the 1930’s and 1940’s, are primarily devoted to the 17th and 18th centuries. In the works of many Indian historians of the first half of the 20th century it was stated that India’s political and social institutions were in no way inferior to European ones in their development, or were even superior to them. During the course of this research very valuable historical material was obtained.

After India gained independence in 1947 the scale of archaeological excavation and the study of source material were expanded. New documents written in Persian and in Indian languages were circulated, and new historical journals were published. There is a systematic study being made of the history of the struggle for independence, particularly the activities of the Indian National Congress and M. K. Ghandi. In Delhi and in the capitals of many states, books are published in the series “India’s Struggle for Freedom.” These books contain a great amount of factual material, but most works on the national liberation movement (by P. Sitaramayya, G. N. Singh, V. P. S. Raghuvanshi, K. K. Datta) do not reveal the socioeconomic reasons for the movement and do not identify the role of the different classes in it. In many histories of India written by Indian authors (S. Iyengar, C. S. Ramaswami, 1948-52; C. S. Srinivasachari, R. Iyengar, 1947-52; Nilakanta Sastri, 1950— 52), and particularly in the major work History and Culture of the Indian People (foreword by K. M. Munshi, chief editor R. C. Majumdar; eight of a planned ten volumes were issued), attempts are made to explain the contribution of the Indian peoples to world history and to substantiate the thesis of the specific and unique nature of Indian history. Although the primary attention of Indian historians is still focused on political events and cultural questions, increasing importance is being assigned to socioeconomic research. Works by K. M. Ashraf and M. Yasin on the social structure of “Muslim” states, research by K. M. Gupta, A. Appadorai, and T. V. Mahalingam on the economic history of South India, and writings by A. Bose, A. S. Altekar, R. C. Sharma, L. Gopal, and P. Niyogi on social relations in North India prior to the 13th century have all significantly broadened understanding of the deep-rooted processes in India’s past. Many monographs have been published on the history of individual regions (for example, R. D. Choksey on Maharashtra and A. V. R. Rao on Andhra).

In India there are three main schools of historiography. The objectivist school, a moderate nationalistic ideology, is the largest. This school is characterized by strict adherence to facts, exaggerated attention to political history and the activities of historic personalities, and adherence to the traditions of British bourgeois historiography. The works of another group of historians are permeated by a striving to exalt everything Hindu by criticizing everything colonial (and European in general) and by minimizing the role of non-Hindu groups and religious communities in India’s history (in particular, the role of the Muslims). Tendentious use of sources and a nonhistoric, apologetic approach to figures of the past are characteristic of this group. The third school is currently represented by a few authors striving for a materialist explanation of history. They include Communist Party leader S. A. Dange, who has made an attempt to provide a Marxist analysis of the problem of the emergence of class society in India; D. D. Kosambi, who has studied the socioeconomic aspects of ancient and medieval India; R. S. Sharma; and L. Gopal. Irfan Habib, Satish Chandra, and T. Raychaudhuri are researching the social structure of India during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries from materialist positions. S. C. Gupta is studying agrarian history of the 19th and 20th centuries from a similar position. A Marxist analysis of the national liberation struggle is contained in the works of H. Mukerjee, N. Kaviraj, and L. Natarajan.

The most important centers for the study of history are the Indian History Research Institute in Bombay; the Institute for Historical Research in Calcutta; and the largest universities, such as Delhi and Bombay. There are numerous historical societies. Leading periodical publications are Journal of Indian History (1921), Indian Historical Quarterly (1925), and The Quarterly Review of Historical Studies (1961).


ECONOMIC SCIENCE. The rudiments of economic teachings are discerned in the ancient Indian treatise Artha Shastra and in chronicles of the feudal period. After India’s conquest by the British colonialists (mid-18th century to first half of the 19th), representatives of Indian economic thinking shared various ideas of the European bourgeois school of economics, especially the ideas of British classical bourgeois political economy. The Indian national school of bourgeois economists began to evolve in the late 19th century under conditions of the development of the Indian national movement. D. Naoroji and M. G. Ranade, figures in the national movement, are considered to be the founders of this school. Naoroji believed that the causes of India’s economic backwardness lay in the system of colonialist exploitation. In his book Poverty and Un-British Rule in India (1901), he made the first attempt to calculate the national income of India and the dimensions of the colonial economy. Ranade, who devoted considerable attention in his writings to the agrarian problem, championed the abolition of colonialist ownership of the land and affirmed the principle of bourgeois ownership. G. K. Gokhale, R. C. Dutt, and R. Mukerjee also engaged in critical analysis of the colonial economy.

After India gained independence in 1947, the range of economic problems being studied was considerably broadened. New research appeared, mainly having to do with the practical requirements of forming and developing an independent national economic structure. The most important aspects of the new research were development of theoretical and methodological bases of planning and regulation, economic policy, problems of population and employment, and the agrarian question. Significant progress is being made in the study of planning and practical use of economic models and intersector balances (S. Chakravarty, A. K. Sen, P. C. Mahalanobis, M. Mukerjee, B. S. Minhas, P. N. Mathur, D. Gadgil, A. Vaidyanathan, and P. Pant). Considerable attention is also given to general socioeconomic research (K. N. Raj and V. K. R. V. Rao), questions of concentration and centralization of production and capital (R. K. Hazari), determination of positions of foreign capital (K. M. Kurian), and the position and potential for development of the state sector (R. K. Nigam). Marxist economic thought is directed toward treatment of India’s socioeconomic problems and economic policies (A. Ghosh and Mohit Sen).

Centers of economic science include the Delhi School for Economic Research, the Institute for Economic Development, the National Council of Applied Economic Research, the Central Statistical Organization, the Delhi division of the Indian Statistical Institute (Delhi), the Economics Department of the University of Bombay, the Reserve Bank of India, the Chamber of Commerce Center for Economic Research, the Demographic Center, the Tata Research Institute (Bombay), the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (Poona), the Indian Statistical Institute (Calcutta), and the economics department of the University of Calcutta. Scientific centers are associated with the state organizations that manage problems of economic development. These include the National Planning Commission, the Ministry of Finance, departmental ministries, and the Bureau of State Enterprises. The National Planning Commission also does a considerable amount of analytical work.

Economic journals and newspapers include Economic Review (1949), an organ of the National Congress; and Economic and Political Weekly (1966), Eastern Economist (1943), Capital (1888), and Commerce (1910), all organs of big business.


LEGAL SCIENCE. The emergence of legal science in India dates back to the second and first centuries B.C. The compiling of an ancient Indian collection of instructions—the laws of Manu—is assigned by researchers to approximately this period. During the precolonial period, jurists were occupied with the basic interpretations of norms of traditional law, first Hindu and then Muslim. During the colonial period the forced introduction of British legal institutions and concepts was accompanied by the appearance of works written by Englishmen and by Indians who had received an education in Great Britain.

India’s winning of independence in 1947 and the creation of its own legal system resulted in the development of legal science. Adoption of many British legal institutions and a certain influence of British legal thinking could not deprive Indian legal science of specific national features. In the first years after 1947, legal works were mainly commentative in nature. Original works began to appear in the 1960’s. The internal structure of legal science has been determined by the complexity of India’s legal system, which is linked with the federative form of state structure and with the preservation of traditional legal systems used by various religious communities. Using the method of comparative jurisprudence, scholars created a considerable number of works on important problems of political science and contemporary international law. The authors of greatest importance in the area of constitutional law are M. G. Gupta, A. Nandish, B. M. Sharma, I. D. Sharma, R. N. Agarwal, M. Balasubrahmanyam, D. N. Banerjee, Durgadas Bose, and V. D. Mahajan. Leading authors in the field of criminal law and criminal trial law are R. L. Gupta, S. N. Bagga, B. N. Banerjee, Bool Chand, and B. K. Bhattacharya. Questions of civil law are being studied by D. V. Kital, D. N. Guha, and O. P. Agarwal. A considerable number of original works have been written in the areas of administrative, commercial, land, treaty, family, and financial law, as well as in common law, law of equity, and Hindu law. Practicing lawyers and other legal personnel are trained at law schools of many universities, as well as in specialized centers— the Indian School of Synthetic Jurisprudence in Bombay, the College of Law in Patna, the Indian Law Institute in New Delhi, the Administrative College in Hyderabad, the Indian Institute for Public Administration in Bombay, with branches in other cities, and the All-India Institute of Local Self-Government in Bombay. Approximately 30 national and local law journals are published, including Criminal Law Journal (1904), Delhi Law Times (1965), Gujarat Law Reporter (1960), Indian Journal of International Law (1959), Indian Law Institute Journal (1958), International Journal of Legal Research (1966), and Journal of Constitutional and Parliamentary Studies (1967). A. A. Mishin

LINGUISTICS. Grammatical and etymological analysis of the texts of the Vedas served as a catalyst for Indian linguistics, which emerged in the first millennium B.C. The goal of this analysis was to preserve the traditional reading of the sacred hymns. The ancient Indian tradition of grammatical generalizations constituted the basis of the scientific description of language in the grammatical system of Panini (fourth century B.C.). The grammatical commentaries of Katyayana and Patanjali (third century B.C.), which were based on the language of works written in classical Sanskrit, explained and supplemented a number of Panini’s rules. Subsequent compilers of Sanskrit grammars followed his method and system. The elementary grammar Katantra by Sarvavarma (first century A.D.) served as a model for the grammars of the Pali and Dravidian languages. The classical grammar Tolkappiyam, written in southern India (after Panini’s time), laid the foundation for Tamil grammatical tradition.

Panini’s system was also adopted by the authors of Prakrit grammars, who made the first steps in comparative historical linguistics by establishing phonetic correlations between Old and Middle Aryan languages. Development of general linguistic problems in ancient and medieval Indian linguistics also includes semantic theory of words (sabdasakti), analyzed by theoreticians of poetics and logicians, and theory of sphota in the Vakyapadiya of Bhartrihari (seventh century A.D.).

The beginning of Indian lexicography dates to glossaries that were drawn up for the Vedas (nighantu). The most important Sanskrit dictionaries were the Amarakosha by Amara Sinha (sixth to eighth centuries) and the Abhidhanakintamani by Hemacandra (12th century). The latter also wrote the original Prakrit dictionary Desinamamala.

In the 19th century a new period of contemporary Indian (Indo-Aryan and Dravidian) linguistics began, developing as a branch of world linguistics. R. G. Bhandarkar (who in 1877 read a series of lectures at Bombay University “On Sanskrit and Languages Originating From Sanskrit”), as well as English scholars who had long lived and worked in India, R. Caldwell (author of Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South Indian Family of Languages, 1856) and J. Beames (author of the three-volume Comparative Grammar of the Modern Aryan Languages of India, 1872-79), were the initiators of scientific studies of modern Indian languages. After World War I the development of the national liberation movement and the growth of national consciousness aided Indian scholars in their study of living languages. Literature, journalism, scientific literature, and the press all experienced growth. The importance of national languages in schools and universities increased. In conjunction with this, grammars, large dictionaries (for example, Hindi Sab-dasagara, 1908-28), and encyclopedias were written. A department of comparative philology was founded at the University of Calcutta in 1913. In 1917 the department was chaired by I. J. Taraporewala, and from 1922 to 1952 by S. K. Chatterji, who elevated Indian linguistics to an international level. His major two-volume work Origin and Development of the Bengali Language (1926) and works on the phonetics of Bengali facilitated the appearance of monographs by Indian scholars on the history and phonetics of national languages and dialects. The monumental Linguistic Survey of India (1903-28) by the British scholar G. A. Grierson broadened the scope of linguistic research, particularly in relation to unwritten and little-known languages and dialects.

Along with producing an increased quantity of works on modern languages, linguists and philologists are continuing research on Vedic language, Sanskrit, and Middle Indo-Aryan languages. Materials for an exhaustive Sanskrit dictionary are being assembled at Deccan College under the direction of S. M. Katre. At another lexicographic center, the Vedic Research Institute in Hoshiarpur, indexes to the Vedas, Brahmanas, and Vedanta are being prepared.

In the study of the Prakrits and Apabhransa, the works of S. K. Chatterji, S. M. Katre, B. J. Sandesara, H. D. Velankar, Sukumar Sen, A. M. Ghatge, M. A. Mehendale, and G. V. Tagare are well known.

Linguists are developing diachronic and synchronic description of phonological and grammatical structure, doing lexicological and etymological research, creating bilingual and explanatory dictionaries, and doing research on substratum influence and the results of language interference and on the similarities and dissimilarities of languages. They are also developing norms for the state language and for scientific and technical terminology and studying questions about the role and potential of the English language in India.

Leading scholarly institutions and societies for linguistics are the Deccan College Research Institute in Poona (founded in 1939; publishes the Bulletin of the Deccan College Research Institute); the Linguistic Society of India in Poona (founded in 1928; has published the journal Indian Linguistics since 1931); the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, a center for the study of Sanskrit and the Prakrits at the University of Poona (founded in 1917; publishes Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute); the Institute for Study of the Vedas in Poona; the Annamalai University Center for Dravidian Linguistics in Annamalainagar (founded in 1929); the department of comparative philology at the University of Calcutta (founded in 1913); the Philology Society of Calcutta (founded in 1959; has published the Bulletin of the Philology Society of Calcutta since 1959); the Oriental Institute of the University of Baroda (founded in 1915; publishes the Journal of the Oriental Institute, University of Baroda); linguistics departments at Delhi and other universities; the Central Institute of Indian Languages in Karnataka (has published the bulletin Vartavaha since 1969); the Central Hindi Institute in Agra; and the Council for Development of Research of the Tamil Language in Madras, the center for Tamil studies (founded in 1959).


Scientific institutions. Government institutions responsible for scientific research in India include the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Atomic Energy Commission, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the Indian Council of Medical Research, the Defense Research and Development Organization, and the University Subsidy Committee. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (founded in 1942) directs scientific research, planning, and coordination of research activity in the area of industry. It finances individual research programs (mainly applied) at a number of universities and institutes. The president of the council is the prime minister of India. Thirty scientific centers (including laboratories) are under the direct authority of the council. The Atomic Energy Commission is responsible for the H. Bhabha Atomic Research Center, the Experimental Land Station for Satellite Communication, the Center for Space Science and Technology, the equatorial rocket sounding range in Thumba, and the Cancer Research Institute. The commission also finances research into theoretical problems in nuclear physics that is conducted at major scientific centers. The Defense Research and Development Organization under the Indian Ministry of Defense (founded in 1958) directs 35 research and design institutions and laboratories engaging in studies of armaments problems, engineering equipment, transportation facilities, electronics, and other areas. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (founded in 1929) administers 24 research institutions, including institutes, laboratories, and stations. Leading scientific centers of agriculture are the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (founded in 1905) with many branches, the Central Research Institute of Arid Zones (founded in 1959), and the Central Rice Research Institute (founded in 1946). The Indian Council of Medical Research is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Public Health and Family Planning. The council directs the activities of the following: the Cholera Research Center (founded in 1962); the National Institute of Nutrition (founded in 1918), the National Institute of Occupational Diseases (founded in 1966), the Virus Research Center (founded in 1952), and centers for the study of individual diseases such as leprosy, trachoma, and tuberculosis. Scientific research on geography and geology is coordinated by the Committee of Natural Resources in Delhi.

India has many scientific societies and associations, as well as several academies of sciences. The Indian National Academy of Sciences (prior to 1970, the National Institute of Sciences of India, founded in 1935) is the largest public scientific organization. The academy does not have its own research centers. In 1971, B. R. Seshachar was elected president of the Indian National Academy of Sciences.

The largest scientific society of India is the association of the Indian Scientific Congress (founded in 1914). Any Indian scientist may become a member of the congress. Its activities include the organization of annual sessions at which papers on various developments in scientific research are read and discussed.

Scientific ties with foreign countries play an important part in the development of Indian science. Thus, through UNESCO the USSR helps India in organizing scientific work at its universities. Many Indian scientists have done probationary work at Soviet scientific institutions, and Soviet scientists have given lecture series at Indian universities (academicians N. N. Bogoliubov, N. P. Dubinin, N. V. Belov).

India has concluded intergovernmental agreements for cultural and scientific exchange with certain countries, including the USSR. There are, moreover, a number of interdepartmental agreements on the exchange of scientists. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has standing agreements with organizations in Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, Poland, Hungary, Yugoslavia, the Federal Republic of Germany, and Great Britain. In 1970 an agreement on scientific cooperation between the Indian National Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Sciences of the USSR was signed. The agreement called for joint research in geophysics, chemistry of natural compounds, chemistry of cotton, and other fields.

India suffers considerably from the emigration of Indian scientists and technical specialists who leave the country in search of more favorable employment conditions (the so-called brain drain). According to UNESCO data, about 8,000 Indian scientists—mathematicians, physicists, chemists, biologists, and engineers—are working in the USA, the Federal Republic of Germany, Great Britain, and other Western countries.



Shcherbatskii, F. I. “Nauchnye dostizheniia drevnei Indii.” In Otchet o deiatel’nosti Rossiiskoi akademii nauk za 1923. Leningrad, 1924.
Ray, P. History of Chemistry in Ancient and Medieval India. Calcutta, 1956.
Iushkevich, A. P., and B. A. Rozenfel’d. “Matematika v stranakh Vostoka v srednie veka.” In the collection Iz istorii nauki i tekhniki v stranakh Vostoka. Moscow, 1960.
Strashun, I. D. “U drevnikh istokov meditsiny (Indiia i Egipet).” Ibid.
Nesteruk, F. Ia. “Vodnye resursy Indii i ikh ispol’zovanie.” Ibid. Prakash, Satya. Founders of Sciences in Ancient India. New Delhi, 1965.
Basham, A. L. The Wonder That Was India, 3rd ed. London [1967].
Korneev, S. G. Nauchnye sviazi Akademii nauk SSSR so stranami Azii i Afriki. Moscow, 1969.
Miiller, M. Shest’ sistem indiiskoi filosofii. Moscow, 1901.
Chatterjee, S., and D. Datta. Vvedenie v indiiskuiu filosofiiu. Moscow, 1955. (Translated from English.)
Radhakrishnan, S. Indiiskaia filosofiia, vols. 1-2. Moscow, 1956-57. (Translated from English.)
Piatigorskii, A. M. Materialy po istorii indiiskoi filosofii. Moscow, 1962.
Ideologicheskie techeniia sovremennoi Indii. Moscow, 1965.
Drevneindiiskaia filosofiia: Nachal’nyi period. Moscow, 1963. (Translated from Sanskrit.)
Anikeev, H. P. O materialisticheskikh traditsiiakh v indiiskoi filosofii. Moscow, 1965. (Antiquity and early Middle Ages.)
Chattopadhyaya, D. P. Istoriia indiiskoi filosofii. Moscow, 1966. (Translated from English.)
Deussen, P. Allgemeine Geschichte der Philosophic 4th ed., vol. 1, parts 1-3. Leipzig, 1920.
Masson-Oursel, P. Esquisse d’une histoire de la philosophic indiennc Paris, 1923.
Strauss, O. Indische Philosophic Munich, 1925.
Crousset, R. Les philosophies indiennes: Les systemes, vols. 1-2. Paris [1931].
Hiriyanna, M. Outlines of Indian Philosophy. London [1932].
Belvalkar, S. K., and R. D. Ranade. History of Indian Philosophy, vols. 2, 7. Poona [1927-33].
Guenon, R. Introduction generate a I’etude des doctrines hindoues, 4th ed. Paris, 1952.
Bhattacharya, H., ed. The Cultural Heritage of India[2nd ed.], vol. 3 (“The Philosophies”). Calcutta [1953].
Dasgupta, S. N. A History of Indian Philosophy, vols. 1-5. Cambridge, 1922-55.
Frauwallner, E. Geschichte der indischen Philosophicvols. 1-2. Salzburg [1953-56]
Sinha, J. A History of Indian Philosophy, vols. 1-2. Calcutta [1956]
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Mishra, M. U. History of Indian Philosophy, vol. 1. London, 1957
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Glasenapp, H. von. Die philosophic der Inder, 2nd ed. Stuttgart [1958].
Sanghavi, S. Advanced Studies in Indian Logic and Metaphysics. Calcutta, 1961.
Conze, E. Buddhist Thought in India. London, 1962.
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Edgerton, F. The Beginnings of Indian Philosophy. Cambridge, Mass., 1965.
Dasgupta, S. Development of Moral Philosophy in India. London, 1965.
Srivastava, R. S. Contemporary Indian Philosophy. Delhi, 1965.
Spratt, P. Hindu Culture and Personality. Bombay, 1966.
Dutt, K. G. Hindu Sadhana. Bangalore, 1966.
Alaev, L. B. “Nekotorye problemy feodalizma v trudakh indiiskikh istorikov.” Narody Azii i Afriki, 1964, no. 4.
Osipov, A. M. “Zametki o nekotorykh sovremennykh rabotakh po drevnei istorii Indii.” Ibid. ,1963, no. 1.
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In 1971 in India there were 11,036 periodical publications, including 650 daily newspapers. Publications appeared in 49 languages, in a total edition of 29.3 million copies (2,694 Hindi-language publications, 2,247 English-language, and 898 Urdu-language). The press is controlled by a group of monopolies, the largest of which are the Indian Express, the Hindustan Times, the Times of India, Statesman Limited, Amrita Bazar Patrika, and Free Press.

The policies of the Indian National Congress party are expressed or supported by the following daily newspapers (circulations are for 1974): National Herald (in English, founded in 1938, circulation of more than 30,000), Amrita Bazar Patrika (published in English, Bengali, and Hindi, founded in 1868, circulation 122,000), Jugantar (in Bengali, founded in 1937, circulation 183,000), and Free Press Journal (in English, founded in 1930, circulation 90,000). The politics of the newspaper Hindu (in English, founded in 1878, circulation 181,000) are similar to those of the Indian National Congress.

The interests of the middle-level and big bourgeoisie (and on a number of issues, of the bourgeoisie in general) are expressed by the following daily newspapers: Hindustan Times (in English, founded in 1923, circulation 143,000), Hindustan (in Hindi, founded in 1933, circulation more than 150,000), Indian Express (in English, founded in 1932, circulation more than 440,000), the Times of India (in English, founded in 1838, circulation more than 250,000), and Nav Bharat Times (in Hindi, circulation c. 250,000). The interests of foreign monopolies and the Indian feudal-landlord elite are represented by the daily newspaper Statesman (in English, founded in 1875, circulation 191,000).

The policies of the largest of the extremely reactionary parties are reflected by the daily newspapers Swarajya (in English, published since 1956, circulation 17, 800; organ of the Swatantra Party) and Organiser (in English, published since 1947, circulation 40,000; organ of the Jan Sangh Party).

The communist press is represented by the newspapers New Age (in English, founded in 1953; central organ of the Communist Party) and People’s Democracy (in English, central organ of the Parallel Communist Party, or Communist Party [Marxist]). Both parties publish newspapers in local languages in the different states.

There are a number of papers known as independent periodical publications, including the progressive weekly Blitz (in English, Hindi, and Urdu, founded in 1941, overall circulation more than 200,000) and the progressive daily newspaper Patriot (in English, founded in 1963, circulation 30,000). The largest information agency is the Press Trust of India, founded in 1949.

The first radio station went into operation in 1927 in Bombay. In 1932 the India state service of All-India Radio was founded. In 1968 this system included 36 basic stations, 28 auxiliary stations, and 28 centers conducting parallel broadcasts of popular programs. Radio broadcasting is under the direction of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Television service began in Delhi in 1959. Delhi has a television center, and relay broadcasting stations are found in Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, and Kanpur.


Ermoshkin, N., and I. Suchkov. Pechat’, radio, televidenie respubliki Indii. Moscow, 1971.

India’s literary tradition of more than 3,000 years begins with the Vedas (end of the second millennium and first half of the first millennium B.C.)—religious hymns in Sanskrit that contain embryonic forms of lyric, epic, and dramatic genres. During approximately the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. the nuclei of two long epic poems, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, developed in oral creations in the Prakrits, popular languages. These poems took their final form in Sanskrit during the first few centuries A.D. In the second half of the first millennium B.C., Buddhist literature was recorded in Pali and in the Prakrits. This literature included the Jatakas, in which religious didactics were combined with folklore themes. During the fourth and third centuries B.C. the genuine ancient Tamil literature evolved in the Dravidian southern part of the country. Early monuments of this literature (such as Ten Songs) are generally secular in character. The Pancatantra, a popular collection of folk tales written in Sanskrit (third and fourth centuries A.D.), began the genre of the “framed story.” A transition to individual creativity is noted at the outset of the Common Era. Independent literary forms and aspects evolve: the Prakrit lyric of Hala (approximately fourth century), the Sanskrit dramas of Asvaghosa (about the second century) and Bhasa (fourth century), and Tamil lyric-epic poetry (for example, “The Jeweled Anklet” attributed to Ilangovadigal, seventh to ninth century). In the work of Kalidasa (about the fifth century) and Dandin (sixth and seventh centuries) mythological themes became means of expressing humanistic ideas. These have been recorded in Sanskrit and are almost entirely without religious coloring. Tirukkural, a book of aphorisms by Tiruvalluvar (fourth and fifth centuries) describing the ideal image of a wise ruler, was the acme of ancient Tamil literature.

The history of medieval literature begins around the seventh century. Along with literature in Sanskrit and Tamil, literatures emerge in other languages as well—Dravidian and new Indo-Aryan. Later the outlines of Kashmiri and Sindhi literature appear, as well as those of Indian literature in Pashto. The creation of states with ruling Muslim elites and the broad spread of Islam resulted in the formation of an Indian literature in Persian, with writers such as Amir Khosrow of Delhi (12531325) and Mirza Bedil (1644-1721). The centuries-old economic, political, and cultural ties of all the peoples of India provided a unified basis for the Indian literary process.

The popular antifeudal movement, which operated under the religious slogan of bhakti, contributed to the flourishing of literature during the period of developed feudalism (15th to 17th century). The literature was directed against class and caste oppression and religious-sectarian discord. Departing from the canons of Sanskrit, writers turned to the poetics of folklore. Such authors included the Kannada poet Purandaradasa (c. 14801564), the Bengali Chandidas (14th and 15th centuries), and the Hindu poets Kabir (15th and 16th centuries) and Sur Das (c. 1483-1563). The conservative wing of the movement tried to combine ideas of bhakti with preaching about the stability of the caste system (the Hindu poet Tulsi Das, c. 1532-1624). Popular revolts in the 17th century against the Mogul power inspired bards of freedom, such as the Marathis Tukaram (1608-49) and Ram Das (1608-81) and the Punjabi Govind Singh (1666-1708).

India’s conquest by Great Britain and the preservation of feudal relations by the colonialists predetermined the 18th-cen-tury decline of Indian literature and the strengthening of epigone tendencies. But by the 19th century, particularly its second half, enlightened ideas began to appear in certain areas of Indian literature, reflecting the struggle of the democratic “third-estate” and feudal culture. (Some Indian scholars call this period the Indian renaissance.) Enlightened realism aided the development of the accusatory social novel in Bengali and other literatures (Pet of a Wealthy Household by the Bengali writer Perichandra Mitra, 1814—83). Romanticism also developed, for example, in the historical novels of the Bengali writer B. C. Chatterji (183894). The play Indigo Mirror is filled with anticolonialist sentiment (1860). Written by the Bengali playwright D. Mitra (1829-74), the play describes a protest by Indian peasants against the arbitary actions of British planters.

The struggle for national independence is a central theme of Indian literature in the 1920’s, and in the mid-1930’s a movement of progressive writers emerged. The goal of the movement was the consistent democratization of literature and its harmonization with life. In 1936, on the initiative of Prem Chand (18801936), M. R. Anand (born 1905), and Sajjad Zaheer (1905-73), the Association of Progressive Writers of India was formed. Gandhism, the dominant ideological current of the Indian national liberation struggle, had a profound effect on literature. A revolutionary romantic school was formed (the Urdu poet Josh Malihabadi, born 1898). The highest stage of development of critical realism is expressed in the creative work of Prem Chand andR. Tagore (1861-1941; recipient of the Nobel Prize in 1913). The poetry of M. Iqbal (1877-1938), who wrote in Urdu and Persian, glorifies the man of action and strong will. The impact of the literature of socialist realism aided in the formation of socialist verbal art in India. This literature is represented by the political poetry and intimate lyric work of the Urdu poet E. H. A. Wafa (1900-36), the novels of the Bengali writer G. Haldar (born 1902), and the prose and journalism of the Hindu writer Yashpal (born 1903). Poetic forms were renewed, and prose was intensively developed. At the same time, decadent schools appeared, represented by the Freudian novel Lajja by the Hindu writer I. Joshi (born 1902) and the mystical poetry of the Hindu woman poet M. Varma (born 1907).

India’s attainment of independence in 1947 contributed to the growth of progressive literature, brought social themes to the fore, and aided the consolidation of national literary unity (with each literature retaining its distinctive features). The struggle between progressive and reactionary currents was considerably aggravated. The tragedy of human existence in a capitalist world became a major literary theme. Critical realists showed a heightened interest in depicting men of labor and fighters against social injustice: for example, the Kannada prose writer Niranjana (born 1923) and the Malayalam Thakazhi S. Pillai (born 1914). Writers of the religious-chauvinist school (such as the Hindu writer Gurudatta) found themselves in the camp of reaction. Existentialist philosophy is reflected in the creative work of the Hindu writer Agyen (born 1911) and the Telugu romanticist B. Krishna Rao (1918-62). Searches for new forms and means of artistic expression become ends in themselves in the literature of the Hindu poet D. Bharati (born 1926) and the Marathi poets B. S. Mardhekar (1907-56) and S. Muktibodh (born 1921).

The struggle to overcome the consequences of colonialism and to implement economic growth facilitated the development of a number of previously backward literatures and the formation of new literatures (such as Maithili, Bhojpuri, and Dogri).


Along with the literatures of national languages, there has been a development of Indian literature in the English language, which for a long time was the basic language of state institutions and institutions of higher education. The influence of English romanticism is felt in the verse of the first English-language poets (H. L. V. Derozio, 1809-31; K. Ghosh, 1809-73; and T. Dutt, 1856-77). Appeals for the national liberation of India are found in the poetry of the late 19th century and early 20th century (A. Ghose, 1872-1950; S. Naidu, 1879-1949; and H. Chat-topadhyaya, born 1898). English prose emerges during the 1930’s. Its most important representatives are M. R. Anand, R. K. Narayan (born 1906), and H. Chattopadhyaya.


Literary criticism.. Interest in a theoretical understanding of literature is already seen in the works of the early Indian grammarians Panini (fourth century B.C.) and Patanjali (second century B.C.). In the second half of the first millennium A.D., the theory of literature took on an independent meaning. The following became objects of research: artistic-descriptive methods (alankara), categories of aesthetic perception (rasa) and artistic associations (dhvani), the tasks of literature, and the psychology of creativity. Literary investigations of these themes are reflected in the following works: Bhamaha’s Kavyalamkara (Poetic Embellishments; seventh century), Dandin’s Kavyadarsa (Mirror of Poetry; sixth or seventh century), Vamana’s Kavya-lamkararasutra (A Sutra on Poetic Embellishments; eighth or ninth century), Udbhata’s Commentary on the Kavyalamkara of Bhamaha (ninth century), Anandavardhana’s Dhvanyaloka (On the Theory of Suggestion in Poetry; ninth century), the Natyasas-tra (a treatise on ancient Indian dramaturgy; ninth-century manuscript attributed to Bharata), and Kshemendra’s Auchitya vicharcha charcha (A Dissertation on Appropriateness; 11th century). Statements indicating attempts at an historic approach to the development of literature are encountered in prologues and introductions to works by Kalidasa, Bana, and Dandin. During the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries, detailed treatment of aesthetic categories and normative systematization of genres continued. Literary criticism acquired a predominantly scholastic character, completely devoid of historicism. During the first stages of the development of national literatures, classical Sanskrit poetics fettered independent literary thought. Its dominant influence was retained in the 19th century as well, at a time when textual criticism began to develop most intensively. In the mid-19th century there emerged a tendency to think of individual national literatures, particularly Bengali and Hindi, as independent literary communities. Modern literary criticism of an objec-tivist and positivist nature appeared. During the 1930’s and 1940’s, Indian literary critics approached an understanding of the social and historical determinancy of the literary process (S. K. De, S. N. Dasgupta), and certain critics gained a Marxist understanding as well (D. Kosambi).

After India gained national independence in 1947, the volume and level of research increased sharply. A number of national and local scholarly organizations were established, both governmental (the Literary Academy in Delhi and its branches, the Punjab Language Department) and public (the Central Union of Punjabi Literary Workers, the Union of Tamil Culture Workers). The following individuals occupy prominent positions in contemporary Indian literary criticism: H. Dvivedi, V. Rag-havan, N. Singh, B. Upadhyay, K. M. George, K. Chaitanya, G. Haldar, Nagendra, K. N. Subrahmaniam, A. Bose, P. Machwe, P. Padmaraju, and C. D. Narasimhaiah.

The attention of comtemporary Indian literary criticism is focused on problems of the national literary tradition, formation and development of the Indian national literatures, the differentiation of schools, relationship of traditional Indian poetics to contemporary literary theories, and the Indian literary process in relationship to the world literary process. Contacts between Indian and Soviet literary critics are being strengthened, and joint publications of India and the USSR are appearing (the collection Rabindranath Tagore: A Centenary Volume, Moscow, 1961).



Literatury Indii. Moscow, 1958.
Dramaturgiia i teatr Indii. Moscow, 1961.
Poeziia narodov Indii. Moscow, 1962.
Sovremennaia Indiiskaia proza. Moscow, 1962.
Kul’tura sovremennoi Indii. Moscow, 1966.
Rabinovich, I. S. Sorok vekov indiiskoi literatury. Moscow, 1969.
Istoriia indiiskikh literatur. Moscow, 1964. (Translated from English.)
Literatura Vostoka v srednie veka, part 1. Moscow, 1970.
Literatura Drevnego Vostoka. Moscow, 1971.
Winternitz, M. A History.of Indian Literature, vols. 1-2. Calcutta, 1927-33.
Literatures in Modern Indian Languages. Delhi, 1957.
Kane, P. V. History of Sanskrit Poetics. Delhi, 1961.
Srinivasa Iyengar, K. R. Indian Writing in English. New York, 1962.
Chatterji, S. K. Languages and Literatures of Modern India. Calcutta, 1963.
Krishnamoorthy, K. Essays in Sanskrit Criticism. Dharwar, 1964.
Derrett, M. E. The Modern Indian Novel in English. Brussels, 1966.
Fiction and the Reading Public in India. Mysore, 1965.
Literary Criticism: European and Indian Traditions. Mysore, 1968.
The Novel in India. Edited by T. W. Clarke. London [1970].

The sources of Indian artistic culture date back to the oldest civilizations that emerged on the shores of the Indus and Ganges rivers. These civilizations also served as a basis for development of the artistic culture of Pakistan. The large cities of Sanghol (located in the region of Patiala) and Lothal (on the Kathiawar Peninsula) were part of the highly developed Harappa civilization (middle of third to approximately middle of second millennium B.C.). These cities were characterized by orderly planning, well-organized water supply and sewage systems, multistory structures of baked brick, and pools for public ablutions. There have been discoveries of painted ceramic vessels, stone and terracotta statuettes, and amulets with signs of written language and depictions of animals printed on them.

Literary sources (the Vedas and others), as well as sculpture and painting from later periods, make it possible to assess the culture of North India from the middle of the second to the middle of the first millennium B.C. Structures were built from wood, clay, and reeds. Their forms and types (a rounded house with semispherical or conical roofing, a hall-type building for public meetings with an arched wooden roof, and so forth) were used as architectural bases for stone temples and other structures in succeeding centuries. Orderly planning was characteristic of the cities of Pataliputra and Mathura, centers of slaveholding states that were formed in the middle of the first millennium B.C. Settlement in these cities was arranged by blocks in accordance with Brahmanism’s sacred division of society into varnas. This principle of urban settlement was preserved in India right up to the late Middle Ages. One of the reasons for the stable continuation of artistic traditions in India was the existence, since early antiquity, of guild-building organizations called “sreni” (fixed by the caste system) and a unified system of canons and rules for building and applied art called Silpa-sastra.

Indian art flourished with the formation of the powerful slave-holding state of Maurya (fourth to second centuries B.C.), which absorbed cultural elements from the Mediterranean countries and Persia. Large complexes of fortresses, palaces (the palace of the sovereign Asoka in Pataliputra, third century B.C.), and other structures were erected in cities.

The spread of Buddhism under Asoka (third century B.C.) resulted in massive construction of temples (chaityas) and fnon-asteries, which included both chaityas and monastic dwellings (viharas—square halls that were surrounded by cells); memorial structures (stupas) and columns (stambhas) were also built. The earliest preserved structures of the above types are represented by Stupa No. 1 in Sanchi (third or second century B.C.) and a complex of monastery structures (small and almost totally without decoration) carved into the mountains of Barabar (third century B.C). Characteristic monuments of sculpture from the Maurya period include the stambha capital of Asoka in Sarnath (the “Lion Capital,” approximately 243 B.C.) with stylized figures of four lions and a statue of Yakshi (goddess of fertility) in Didarganj (sandstone, probably from the second century B.C.), distinguished by its realistically interpreted heavy forms.

The flourishing of Indian art reached its highest point during the second and first centuries B.C., under the slaveholding states of Andhra in the Deccan and Sunga in North India. Large complexes of monasteries cut out of the rocks of Bhaja, Nasik, Karli, and other areas date to this period. Sculpture was used much more widely than before in finishing the monastery interiors. The most significant rock structure is that of a chaitya in Karli (first century B.C.), distinguished by special clarity of tectonics and spatial resolution. The idea of the affirmation of life and its inexhaustibility permeates intricate multifigure reliefs depicting legends of the Buddha on the wall and gates (toran) of the stupa in Bharhut (second century B.C.) and on the gates of Stupa No. 1 in Sanchi, erected in the first century B.C. In comparison with the flat reliefs at Bharhut, those at Sanchi are richer and have greater plasticity.

During the first several centuries A.D. the Kushan Kingdom existed in northwest India. One of the first anthropomorphic depictions of the Buddha appeared in the Mathura school of art, which was associated with this dynasty.

With the formation of the powerful state of the Guptas (fourth to sixth centuries) in India’s northern and central regions, Indian art of the slaveholding age experienced its final growth. Palaces, monasteries, and temples were built. At Sanchi and other sites, the monuments that have been preserved include early ground temples viewed as divine dwelling places (for example, Temple No. 17, at Sanchi, fifth century). A cubic sanctuary with an inner area for the deity and an entrance portico was the nucleus of these temples, which were built from cut stone. At this time, the depiction of Buddha received its final, canonical form (sandstone statues of the Buddha at Sarnath and bronze statues at Sultan-ganj; both are fifth century).

The cultural inheritance of the Gupta age was developed in the early medieval feudal states of the Deccan (the Calukyas, sixth to 12th century; the Rashtrakutas, eighth to tenth century), South India (Pallavas, flourishing in the seventh century and existing up to the ninth century), and North India (Harsha, seventh century). Stupas, rock-cut temples, and monasteries continued to be built; although under the influence of the dominant ideas of Hinduism, traditional forms of these structures were given a new content. The chaitya variety became obsolete, and from a monastic dwelling the vihara was essentially converted into a temple. Some time in the sixth century, rock-cut Brahman and Jain temples began to appear that were similar to Buddhist temples in form.

The most important rock structures of this period are found in Ajanta and Ellora. Ajanta is renowned mainly for its murals of Buddhist monasteries (second century B.C. to seventh century A.D.). Painted on themes of Buddhist legends, the murals essentially present a broad picture of Indian public life and, along with the architecture and sculpture, create a festive decorative ensemble. The temple complexes at Ellora (built from the sixth to the tenth century) are famous for their sculpture, which since the early Middle Ages has enjoyed a dominant position in temple decor. The walls display bas-relief compositions with depictions of Buddhist and Brahman gods and mythological heroes. Compared to canonical figures of the Buddha, characterized by rigid and static forms, the depictions of Brahman gods are richly modeled and intensely dynamic. The grandeur of images and compositional boldness distinguish the reliefs and gigantic three-faced bust of Siva in the rock temple on Elephanta Island (eighth century).

During the sixth and seventh centuries two basic types of ground temples were established—the northern (Indo-Aryan) and the southern (Dravidian). In temples of the southern type a sikhara crown in the form of a stepped pyramid with a false cupola characteristically hung over the sanctuary. The northern temples had sikharas that were parabolic in form and topped by discs (amalakas). The principles of South Indian temple architecture were incorporated in the temples of Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram. Unique monolithic temples (rath) cut from boulders—prototypes of the sanctuary and above-gate towers (gopu-ras) of the South Indian temple—have been preserved in Mahabalipuram. A masterpiece of South Indian sculpture has also been preserved there—the gigantic multifigure bas-relief Descent of the Ganges (seventh century). A temple complex was built at Kanchipuram (Kailasanatha, first half of the eighth century), which was the basis for the development of the South Indian temple as a whole. Its rectilinear courtyard, girded from within by rows of recesses with statues of deities, included a main sanctuary, separated by a sikhara, and a multicolumned hall for worshippers (mandapa). The composition of this complex was repeated in the Ellora mandapa temple (mid-eighth century). Plastic art of the early Middle Ages achieved its greatest success in this grandiose complex hewed from rock and marked by the sharp, dramatic nature of its images and the dynamics of its intricate compositions, with its multicolumned halls, galleries, monumental statues, and reliefs.

Beginning in the tenth and 11th centuries, with the strengthening of feudalism in India, cities grew rapidly. The building of temples spread. Urban construction and architecture of this period developed basically according to the principles set forth in the Silpa-sastra. Civil structures were not preserved, since they were built mainly from short-lived materials such as wood, brick, reeds, and clay. Temple architecture became more luxurious and decorative, volume-spatial compositions more complex, and plans more sophisticated. Sculpture, inseparably merging with architecture, assumed a decorative character.

Between the tenth and 13th centuries a number of temples emerged in the capitals of various Indian states. The diversity of local architectural schools was demonstrated in their construction. The temples of Orissa, which were clearly pronounced northern types (the Lingaraja temple at Bhubaneswar), generally consist of separate, contiguous architectural areas (halls for worshipers, ritual dancers, and offerings), with a separate sanctuary crowned by the tallest sikhara. The sculpture at Orissa, which decorates only the exteriors of the temples, preserves the monu-mentality of forms and the lifelike detail of the depictions (sculptures of horses and figures of dancers and musicians at the temple of the sun god Surya in Konarak, mid-13th century).

The temples of Khajraho, considered to be of the northern type (Kandariya, c. A.D. 1000), are characterized by compactness of composition (achieved by merging architectural spaces) and an abundance of sculptural decor on both the inner and outer wall surfaces.

The temples of Karanataka (Chenna Kesava at Belur, Hoy-saleswar at Halebid; both 12th century), which have strongly pronounced horizontal divisions, are distinguished by their high quality of execution of carved, jewelry-thin decor.

During the tenth and 11th centuries temples were built in South India (the Great Temple of Brahadeswar at Thanjavur, 11th century); architectural composition that had already crystallized in the eighth century at Kanchipuram was perfected in these temples. The sikhara acquires a clarity of silhouette; the decor, restrained and modeled, is strictly subject to the architectonics of the building.

Bronze modeling developed in South India during the tenth, 11th, and 12th centuries. Among the statues and statuettes of Hindu deities the depiction of the god Siva in the form of a multihanded Nataraja, or god of dance, predominates.

The conquest of North India in the late 12th century and early 13th century by Muslim feudal lords brought new cultural traditions into India from Middle Asia and the Middle East. Islam became the dominant religion. Various constructional elements (arches, cupolas, and domes) and types of structures (mosques, minarets, madrasahs, and mausoleums) became widespread in India. The construction of palace-fortress ensembles achieved unprecedented development. In addition, a heavy blow was dealt to the development of sculpture and painting, because the religious laws of Islam prohibited the depiction of living beings. In applied decorative art, plant and geometric designs were developed.

During the period of consolidation of the Delhi sultanate (early 13th century to mid-14th century) the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque (begun in 1193) with the minaret Qutb Minar was built in Delhi. The minaret preserved features of Indian architecture, such as plasticity of architectural masses and use of traditional local ornamentation. Cities with powerful fortress walls were also constructed—Siri, Jahanpannah, Tughlakabad, and Firoza-bad (all 14th century; now situated in the territory of Delhi) and Daulatabad (14th century, Deccan).

With the decline of the Delhi sultanate, the country’s artistic forces were dispersed throughout different feudal states. During the Gujarat sultanate, structures were built based on local traditions of wooden civil and stone-temple architecture. These were distinguished by strict architectonics in form and by the contrast between the smooth surfaces of facade walls and the refined designs of the decor (the Sidi Sayyid mosque in Ahmadabad, approximately 1515). Unique structures appeared in Bengal, combining the use of brick and bamboo architecture with that of fretted terra-cotta in the decor (the Adina mosque in Pandya, approximately 1360). From the 14th to the 17th century, buildings combining engineering achievements of Muslim architecture with local architectural traditions were erected in the Deccan states (the mausoleum of Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur).

With the formation of the empire of the Great Moguls (1526), Indian art experienced new growth, achieving its highest development under Akbar. During his rule (1556-1605) remarkable examples of the art of urban construction and fortification were created: the fortress in Agra, the fortress city of Fatehpur Sikri (1569-84), which has been preserved in the same form in which it was conceived, and the forts at Ajmer (1570) and Allahabad. A classic type of central-cupola mausoleum surrounded by an orderly garden evolved (the Humayun mausoleum in Delhi, 1565). Increasing ornamentation is seen in the architecture created under Shah Jahan (17th century). There is a greater emphasis on luxury. Marble, frequently encrusted with semiprecious stones, became a favored material. Traditional forms of the mausoleum were perfected in the Taj Mahal burial vault at Agra. Mogul structures of the 18th century (the sepulcher of Safdar Jang in Delhi, 1745-53) are marked by features of decline (vulgarity and lack of new creative designs).

The art of Rajasthan preserved local traditions and continued to develop on a high level. The centuries-old tradition of stone fortress construction influenced majestic palace-fortress complexes organically united with nature (Gwalior, 16th century; Datia, 17th century; Udaipur, 16th to 18th centuries). These structures were characterized by contrasts between massive lower floors and tracery-work upper floors with small pavilions, cupolas, and spires. Jaipur (founded in 1728), the capital of Rajasthan, with its orderly planning, is one of the best examples of the city complex in world urban construction. The use of the same forms of cornice, arch, cupola, and oriel is the basic method for achieving artistic unity in the Jaipur structures. Paintings (frequently mineral paints on dry plaster) depicting everyday motifs and battle scenes are found on facades and in the interiors of homes in the cities of Rajasthan.

During the period of Muslim feudal rule in North India, traditional temple architecture and sculpture developed only in the far south, where, as before, Brahman priests held authority. New walls with overhanging towers (gopuras) covered with sculpture were erected around the old temples. In the course of centuries, the number of walls grew and the temple complex was converted into a fortress city, which included courtyards with multicolumned open galleries (mandapas) and pools for ablutions (temple complexes in Chidambaram, Rameswaram, and Madurai). Huge sculptures of rearing horses and fantastic figures were frequently attached to columns in the mandapas.

Miniature painting developed in India during the medieval period. The Gujarat school (11th to 16th centuries) is well-known among the early schools of Indian miniatures. Used mainly as illustrations for the religious books of the Jains, Gujarat miniatures are distinguished by flat, stylized depictions of human figures and locally obtained colors. The Mogul miniature school emerged in the 16th century, demonstrating a striving for authenticity of depiction. This contrasted with traditional flatness and ornamentation. Illustration of historic treatises developed as well as pictures of animals and portraits.

Many traditions of the Mogul miniature school were adopted by the Deccan school, which flourished during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Rajasthan miniature school appeared in the mid-16th century, and later the Pahari school appeared (conventionally classified by some researchers as part of the Rajput miniature school). Miniatures of both the Rajasthan and Pahari schools (more conventional than Mogul miniatures) are religious-mythological in theme and are distinguished by sonorous color, elegant linear rhythm, and lyrical feeling.

India was penetrated by the influence of European culture during the period of British colonial rule (18th century to 1947). National culture went into decline. The port cities of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay underwent rapid growth; as early as the 17th century, forts, docks, and Christian churches had been built by the British in these cities. New cities appeared as centers of growing industry, and alongside them, structures new to India arose: plants, railroad stations, and municipal buildings. Newly created cities were divided into districts: European (built well, with administrative buildings, private residences, and parks) and Indian (with chaotic structures, consisting of workers’ huts and rental houses). New Delhi (built between 1912 and the 1930’s) is a model of urban construction of the colonial period. Its streets are geometrically ordered and lined mainly by private residences and government buildings. From the 18th century until the mid-19th century forms of British classicism prevailed in the architecture of administrative and commercial buildings and private residences. Later, neo-Gothic forms predominated. Indian fine arts, gradually losing their ancient traditions, entered into a time of deep crisis during the colonial period. Several art schools, founded in the 1850’s and using the European system of education, aided the formation of a new professional art. R. Varma is well known among professional artists of the second half of the 19th century. In his genre paintings, executed in the spirit of Western European academism, Varma undertook a portrayal of the life of the Indian people.

A stylization based on traditional forms of Indian architecture (the University of Hyderabad, 1918) developed in the Indian architecture of the final quarter of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. This parallels the development of the national liberation movement and an awakened interest in national culture. At the turn of the century a group of Indian artists, headed by A. Tagore and the art critic E. B. Havell, initiated a new school, the Bengali Renaissance. The goal of this school was to create a new national art based on old traditions of Indian murals and miniatures (mainly Mogul), as well as Chinese and Japanese painting. Scenes of rural life and mythological composition by the masters of the Bengali Renaissance (N. Bose, S. Gupta, and S. Ukil) were distinguished by lyrical delicacy and the play of stylized lines, but they were far removed from the problems of modern existence. For this reason, the potentials of the Bengali Renaissance itself were quickly exhausted. At the same time, this movement revitalized the artistic life of India, awakened interest in its cultural traditions, and had a powerful effect on future directions of Indian art. In the 1920’s the art school in Santiniketan (near Calcutta) became a center for the new course of Indian art, based on the principle of combining traditions of Indian art with specific achievements of the latest Western currents. The artist G. Tagore was associated with this art school. In the 1930’s and 1940’s the artists A. Sher-Gill and J. Roy were prominent. The former, in works devoted to the life of the Indian people, organically joined the traditions of Ajanta painting and Postimpressionism. Roy, in his creative work, drew on the traditions of the Bengali popular print. This same period is marked by the emergence of the most important representatives of the realistic school—the painter A. Bose, the sculptor and painter D. P. Roy Chowdhury, and the sculptor V. P. Karmarkar. The creativity of these artists was revealed with vitality in the 1950’s.

After the gaining of independence, construction on a grand scale, which was mainly a result of the industrialization of the country, commenced. During the 1950’s and 1960’s, with the assistance of Soviet and other foreign specialists, there was construction of hydraulic power complexes (Bhakra-Nangal is the largest), metallurgy combines (in Bhilai the first line was built between 1956 and 1961, and construction of the second line was begun in 1962), and machine-building plants (Ranchi, 1961-63). Towns and settlements sprang up around large enterprises. Thus, during the 1950’s and 1960’s approximately 500 new cities came into existence, each with orderly planning of streets lined by low apartment buildings of various degrees of comfort with inner courtyards and gardens (Gandhidham, 1948, architect O. Konigsberger; Chandigarh, 1951-56, a group of Indian and foreign architects headed by Le Corbusier; and Bhilai, 1963, a group of Indian architects). Old cities are also developing (Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras). They are lined with four- and five-story apartment buildings in new regions and by 12-20-story towering public buildings in downtown areas. On the outskirts of most large cities the huts of workers and the urban poor are still squeezed together. Apartments and public buildings in large cities are built eclectically, employing forms of Western European contemporary styles (chiefly, functionalism; for example, the bank in Calcutta, 1969, architect A. Gupta), as well as a style combining traditional and modern building materials, technical devices, and volume-spatial solutions (the Gandhi Museum in Ahmadabad, 1960-63, architect C. Correa; the Indology Institute in Ahmadabad, 1960-63, architect B. Doshi; the Institute of Technology in Kanpur, 1963, architect A. Kanvinde). In small provincial towns and villages, construction as a rule is based on local architectural traditions, which are unusually diversified. At the same time, the layout of buildings around an inner, open courtyard is typical for housing in all areas of India.

Many directions and schools exist in the fine arts of independent India. B. Ukil and others are continuing the traditions of the Bengali Renaissance. Realistic currents are represented by sculptor and painter S. Khastagir and graphic artist H. Das. The painters and graphic artists K. K. Hebbar, S. Chavda, S. Mukerji, and S. Gujral and the sculptors C. Kar and P. D. Gupta support the principle of combining traditional Indian and 20th-century European art. At the end of the 1950’s currents imitating Western modernism (abstractionism and “pop art”) intensified. Modernism was followed by the artists M. F. Hus-sain, S. Chavda, S. Gujral, and C. Kar.

In the applied decorative art of modern India, there is intensive development of many ancient forms of crafts production, including weaving; carving of wood, bone, and stone; metal-working; manufacture of lacquers; and pottery production.


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Rao Ramachandra, P. R. Contemporary Indian Art. Hyderabad [1969].

The peoples of India are the bearers of an ancient, unique musical culture. Its sources are found in popular and religious ceremonies, associated with diverse labor and spiritual activities of the people. The birth of music in India is traditionally linked with the Sama Veda (second millennium B.C.), one of the earliest literary monuments, which contains incantation hymns rendered in a singsong voice during sacrificial ceremonies. The Natyasas-tra (written in the first few centuries A.D.), a treatise on theater, music, and dance, leads us to believe that long before it was recorded the Indians had a highly developed musical system that was profoundly distinct and original.

Improvisation is characteristic of Indian music. Any work, instrumental or vocal, is improvised on the basis of one of the traditional melody-rhythm designs, or ragas. Indian music uses seven main tones, corresponding to the European scale of seven tones. In addition to the main tones, sounds that form intervals less than a halftone are distinguished. Because of this, an octave is divided into 22 unequal intervals, or srutis (from the word “to hear, to distinguish”). Twelve srutis form a raga, which consists of five, six, or seven tones. (The remaining ones are introduced through improvisation as the musical theme is developed.) The raga is one of the basic concepts of Indian musical aesthetics. Each one is deeply thought out and poeticized. Each raga bears a specific artistic image. Thus the raga-vasanta symbolizes spring; the xaga-kamala, the lotus; and the xaga-megha, a cloud bringing rain. The raga-santi is associated with a condition of calm, the vaga-sringara with a feeling of love, and the raga-hasya with joy. Ragas are played only at certain times of day or on certain days of the year. (There are morning, evening, and midday melodies.)

Classical musical composition has a three-part structure. It begins with an alap, a slow, emotional presentation of the theme. The alap is replaced by intricate melodic rhythmic variations accompanied by percussion instruments. The composition concludes with the gat, intricate melodic variations on the theme arranged in refined ornamental patterns. The playing of long pieces composed in this style continues for hours. Rhythm is one of the strongest elements of Indian music. The music by nature is one-voiced. Therefore, the role of rhythm in creating and developing a musical image is very important.

After feudal empires were founded in India by nationals of Asia Minor and Middle Asia (Muslims), Indian music entered into close contact with the musical tradition of the Muslim East. As a result, a new musical style emerged, synthesizing the traditional art of Hindus and Muslims. (It has been referred to as North Indian, or Hindustani, art, as opposed to South Indian, or Carnatic). One of the most popular of the many vocal styles is dhrupad (rooted in ancient temple singing, it has a four-part structure: sthtai, antara, sanchari, and abhog). Another is kheyal, a later style, which emerged as a result of dhrupad’s association with Persian music. There is also a lively, richly decorated composition with two parts, sthai and antara. Thumri (an elegant lyric song about the joys and woes of earthly love) and tappa (a lyrical work based on expressive folk songs of Punjab) are also widespread vocal styles. Bhajan and kirtana are similar to patterns of Bengali folk music.

Although professional music finds its beginning in folklore, the genres of classical and folk music are essentially distinct. The folk songs of each region reflect local features. Natural, gentle intonation and social coloring are characteristic features of folk songs.

Interest in national folklore among Indian musicians intensified in the early 20th century under the influence of a growing national liberation struggle. This enthusiasm was clearly demonstrated in the creative work of R. Tagore, the outstanding public figure, playwright, poet, and musician, and it attracted many followers.

New opportunities for development of musical culture appeared after India’s attainment of independence. Several institutions and ensembles were established: the National Academy of Dance, Drama and Music (Sangeet Nataka Akademi, 1953), the All-India National Radio Orchestra (1952), choral groups of radio centers in Delhi, Bombay, and other cities, as well as musical periodicals. Since 1954 there have been conferences on Indian song (Sangeet Sammelan), and discussions and symposia are held on problems of musical creativity—symphonization and harmonizing of national music, reforms in musical education, and problems of notation.

The music of the Indian cinema is one of the newest developments in the musical-culture life of modern India. The concept of modern, light Indian music is associated with this development. Its most distinctive feature is the synthesis of Eastern and Western patterns of musical art. The leading composers of this school include A. Biswas (the films Munna and Hamdard the Comforter) and N. Ali (Baiju Bavra and Didar).

Indian musical theater, existing since early antiquity, is represented by diverse forms of a synthetic nature, which incorporate dance, pantomime, and speech in addition to musical means of expression. The most important of these are jatra, tamasha, and yaksagana. On national and folk holidays troupes that give musical dance performances are formed. Experiments have been successfully conducted between the 1950’s and the early 1970’s for the purpose of finding new forms of national musical theater. The theater repertoire is being supplemented with interesting new works by the composers Anil Biswas, Sheila Vats, Bahudur Husein Khan, Ghulam Haidar, and Ravi Shankar.


Siniaver, L. Muzyka Indii. Moscow, 1958.
Kul’tura sovremennoi Indii. Moscow, 1966.
Mukerji, D. P. Indian Music: An Introduction. [Bombay, 1945.]
Daniélou, A. Northern Indian Music, vols. 1-2. [London-Calcutta] 1949-54.
Sambamoorthy, P. South Indian Music, 5th ed., vols. 1-5. Madras, 1951-56.
Sanyal, A. N. Ragas and Ragiuis. Bombay [1959].


Popular theatrical presentations originated in early antiquity in the form of diverse tribal ceremonies, games, and dances. Many forms of popular theater have lasted to the present (perhaps almost unaltered).

Stage performances of the ancient epic poems Ramayana and Mahabharata are a basic element of most popular theatrical presentations. Indian plays, in which many thematic peripetia are not only acted out but narrated as well, do not require special stage areas, scenery, or a large number of props. The major attention is focused on the performer. His repertoire consists of declamation, dance, pantomime, singing, and frequently the talents of a circus professional. Numerous styles and local varieties of dance that developed into classical schools of national choreography are some of the most powerful and expressive resources of traditional theater (bharata natya, kathakali, kathak, and manipuri). The choreography of the majority of theatrical presentations in the south of India is based on bharata natya (one of the oldest forms, structured on a literary theme associated with the cult of the god Siva) and kathakali. In the north of India, leading forms are kathak and manipuri. Despite differences in the specifics of structure, internal organization, and style, each of the classical schools, as well as Indian choreography as a whole, is characterized by combined forms of dance and song, sophisticated pantomime, and skilled dramatics. Many forms and variations maintain their synthetic nature, which remains unchanged.

The most celebrated forms of popular presentations in the north of India are the Ram Lila and the Krishna Lila, which are performed on national and religious holidays for periods of 14 days (and sometimes more than a month). They are staged by amateurs in urban or village areas. The performance, as a rule, is directed by an individual who is experienced and professionally trained. Themes of the Ram Lila and Krishna Lila are based on episodes from the lives of the epic heroes Rama and Krishna. Interludes using everyday themes (somas) not directly linked with the subject of the play are performed between scenes.

The jatra presentation is well known in the western areas of Bengal and in Orissa. The performance begins with an address to the audience by the main singer (bibek), who then comments on the stage action. A choir and a small orchestra accompany the performance. The yaksagana, a theatrical presentation of South India, involves a highly developed system of gestures and strictly prescribed makeup and costumes for each performer.

Popular theater is presented in other regions of India: for example, the tamasha in Maharashtra, the jashei in Kashmir, and the swang in Rajasthan.

Popular theatrical forms have had a profound effect on classical Indian theater, which developed in India between the fifth and first centuries B.C. Questions of dramatic composition, the art of acting, and the architecture of theater buildings are treated in detail in the ancient Indian work Natyasastra. Aesthetics of classical theater are based on teachings about emotion (bhava ) and its stage representation (rasa). The rules of acting are strictly canonized; a criterion of theatrical mastery is perfect execution of these rules. The content of classical drama is associated with a rich treasure trove of popular mythology.

Leading dramatis personae are gods, saints, sages, rulers, and court officials. Ancient treatises on theater art prohibit the stage representation of social conflicts and tragic situations, such as popular revolts, the siege of a city, the overthrow of a ruler, or the death of a hero.

The flourishing of classical Indian drama and theater is associated with the creative work of Bhasa, Kalidasa, and Sudraka between the fourth and sixth centuries. Proceeding from traditional structures, plays by India’s greatest dramatists showed the life of ancient India in all its diversity.

A profound social crisis coupled with a seizure of power by Muslim dynasties, which essentially prohibited theater on religious grounds, resulted in the decline of classical drama. During the 12th and 13th centuries it completely disappeared. However, Indian theater art and its original national traditions continued to develop in the form of popular creative works.

During the second half of the 19th century the stormy growth of the national liberation movement and national consciousness brought to life a theater of the European type—dramatic composition in the new Indian languages of Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, and others. One of the first troupes was a group of Bengali actors, established in 1795 in Calcutta by the Russian scholar G. S. Lebedev. In 1872 the Bengali playwright G. Ghosh founded the National Theater, which had a significant effect on broad circles of Indian society. Social drama was developed in Hindi, Marathi, and other languages. Appeals to struggle for liberation from colonial oppression, sharp criticism of systems established in the country by the British colonial administration, and a tremendous public response to the activities of the Ghosh theater impelled the British in 1876 to issue a law on dramatic presentations, which introduced rigid police censorship.

In the 1940’s, Indian theater life became considerably more active. Professional and amateur theatrical groups emerged to call for a liberation struggle against colonial oppression. The Association of Popular Theaters (founded in 1943) united many progressive Indian theater groups and organizations. In the early 1950’s the Little Ballet, the troupe of the dancer and choreographer U. Shankar (organized in 1952 by S. Bardhan), gained fame, as did other troupes.

After independence was won, national culture, including theater art, was reborn. The founding of the Academy of Dance, Drama, and Music in 1953 was of great importance. The academy has seven branches, as well as organizations in all of the states. The best-known theaters are found in Calcutta— Bahurupi, Minerva, Star, Rangmahal, and the Theatrical Center. Permanent theaters also operate in Delhi, Allahabad, Madras, Bombay, Varanasi, and Poona. In the 1960’s there were more than 30 professional theater companies. The first state theater school was founded in Delhi in 1959 as part of the Academy of Dance, Drama, and Music. The Indian Art Center (opened in 1958) is also part of the academy.

Theater life of the early 1970’s has been characterized by an attempt to synthesize traditional national theater with forms and methods of Western European drama, as well as by the creation of new professional troupes. In 1971 in Bombay alone, 22 professional groups were performing. Some of the most popular newly formed troupes are the New Theater (Delhi), Tarun Opera (Calcutta), and Dramatic Wint (Bombay). The repertoire of the Tarun Opera includes the play Lenin-jatra, based on J. Reed’s book Ten Days That Shook the World.

Puppet theater is one of the oldest forms of drama. In present-day India greatest popularity is enjoyed by marionette theater in Rajasthan and Orissa; shadow theater in Andhra, Kerala, and Orissa; and hand puppet theater in Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.


Dramaturgiia i teatr Indii. Moscow, 1961. (A collection of articles.)
Gupta, Chandra Bhan. The Indian Theatre. Varanasi, 1954.
Gargi, Balwant. Theater und Tanz in Indien. Bombay, 1960.
Benegal, S. A Panorama of Theatre in India. [New Delhi, 1968.]

Film production in India began in 1913 with Raja Haris-chandra, directed by D. G. Phalke. In the 1920’s expansion of the Western European and especially the American film industry retarded the development of Indian cinematography. Basic production consisted of commercial films on mythological subjects, as well as melodramas and pseudohistorical films. In 1931, Alatn Ara directed by A. Irani, the first Indian film with sound, was produced. In the 1930’s, during the period of vital growth of the national liberation movement, films containing progressive social tendencies were produced. Such productions included Dev-das (1935, directed by P. S. Barua), They Didn’t Wait (1936, directed by V. Shanta Ram), and Neighbors (1939, directed by V. Shanta Ram). During the second half of the 1940’s, particularly after the gaining of independence (1947), there was an opportunity to create a national cinematography. In 1947 the Department of Cinematography was organized under the Ministry of Information and Radio Broadcasting. The first films realistically reflecting the life of the people appeared— Children of the Earth (1946, directed by H. A. Abbas) and The Unfortunates (1949, directed by N. Ghosh). A number of films produced in the 1950’s were also devoted to social problems of modern times, including Fellow Traveler (1953, directed by Abbas), Two Bikha of Land (1953, directed by B. Roy; the film describes the struggle of deprived peasants for their rights to land), and, to a certain degree, Awara (1951, directed by R. Kapoor). The film trilogy by director S. Ray— On the Road (1955), The Unvanquished (1957), and The World of Apu (1959)—was a phenomenon noted not only by Indian cinematography but by the international film world as well.

The first wide-screen film, Paper Flowers (directed by G. Dutt), was shown in 1959. The new solution of an acute social problem (the possibility of marriage between members of different castes) characterizes the films Chemeen (1966, directed by R. Kariat) and Kanku (1969, directed by K. Rathod). The film The Quiet River Krishna (1968, directed by M. Pathak) shows a clash between the leaders of a rural commune and reactionary landowners. The growth of the Indian national liberation movement in the early 1940’s is depicted in the film Sagina Mahato (1970, directed by T. Sinha). Detailed portrayal of everyday life and customs and unhurried development of action are characteristic of Indian films. Musicals, particularly those dealing with his-toricalsubjects.occupyanimportantpositioninlndianfilmproduc-tion. In many musicals excessive attention is given to songs and dances that have no relation to the content of the film. Documentaries comprehensively reflecting Indian life are being produced.

In 1960 the Institute of Cinematography was founded in Poona. The institute offers courses for training of directors, scriptwriters, camera operators, and sound specialists. In 1964 the National Film Archive was established in Poona. The All-India Film Festival has been conducted annually since 1954 in Bombay. Film journals include Filmindia (since 1935), Filmfare (since 1952), Indian Film (since 1959), and the Mirror (since 1963). Well-known film actors include B. Sahani, D. Anand, D. Kumar, R. Kapoor, Nargis, S. Sen, M. Kumari, B. Ran, W. Rehman, S. Tagore, and S. Kapoor. More than 400 films are being produced each year (1971) in Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, and other languages of India. More than 7,000 motion-picture theaters were operating in India in 1971.


Garga, B. D., and B. Gargi. Kino Indii. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from English.)
Panna, Shah. Indiiskoe kino. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from English.)
Kolodiazhnaia, V. S. Kino Indii. Moscow, 1959.
“Indiiskomu kino 55 let.” Indiia, 1970, no. 1.
Malik, A. “Indiiskoe kino.” Ibid, no. 3.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.



India is the birthplace of many world religions, most notably Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Indians have speculated extensively about the significance of dreams, often coming to much the same conclusion as other cultures. For instance, they have a tradition of regarding dreams as messages from the gods. One of the unique aspects of this tradition is a record of these speculations from as early as the Vedic period (three or four thousand years ago, when the Vedas were composed). In the Atharva-Veda, for instance, dream elements indicating good or bad omens are discussed. Also discussed in the same text are rites for counteracting bad omens.

Where India outstrips other cultural traditions is in the development of the theme of this life or this world as a kind of dream. According to mainstream Hindu religious thought, the individual soul is trapped in the sufferings involved with life in this world, and, because of reincarnation, even death does not release one from this world. In most of the religious traditions of southern Asia, release or liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth is the ultimate goal of the spiritual life. A metaphor often used to describe the insight that leads directly to liberation is awakening from a dream. Especially in the philosophical tradition of Advaita Vedanta, this metaphor is developed to stress the dreamlike quality—and hence the unreality—of the world as we experience it in our normal state of consciousness. The doctrine of the ultimate unreality of this world is referred to as maya.

Regarding the classification of dreams, the simplest division into auspicious and inauspicious dreams seems to be very ancient, in that the key words for good dreams and bad dreams have stayed constant from the earliest lists down to the twelfth-century work by Jagaddeva. In the Hindu view, during sleep a subtle body that is the basis for dream consciousness can detach itself from the physical body and wander. This view is very similar to that of many traditional tribal peoples, who regard dreams as resulting from the experiences of the wandering soul.

In the Atharva-Veda, men are said to have one of three temperaments: bilious, phlegmatic, or sanguine. Dreams of arid land and burning objects are attributed to bilious persons, dreams of nature’s splendor and burgeoning life are attributed to the phlegmatic, and dreams of racing clouds and forest creatures running in terror are attributed to sanguine persons. In the Questions of King Milinda (an early Indian Buddhist work), it is said that persons who dream are either under the influence of a deity, under the influence of their experiences, or under the influence of prophecy. The basic Jaina classification, by way of contrast, is into seen, unseen, and inscrutably seen (that is, both seen and unseen). According to some Indian medical texts, dreams are merely past experiences just now being apprehended, while others are considered wish fulfillments.

The classical schools of Indian philosophy offer two different interpretations of dreams. The terminology presentative theory explains dream cognition as perception of the mind itself in retirement when the external sense organs have ceased to function. Representative theory holds that dream consciousness amounts to a false recollection. Both positions view the mind as a sixth sense. The dream is the object of this sense, since the five external sense organs cease to function during sleep and thus cannot contribute to its perception.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


Official name: Republic of India

Capital city: New Delhi

Internet country code: .in

Flag description: Three equal horizontal bands of saffron (subdued orange) (top), white, and green with a blue chakra (24-spoked wheel) centered in the white band

National anthem: “Jana-gana-mana” by Rabindranath Tagore (“Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people,” Tagore’s translation of first line)

National animal: Tiger (Panthera tigris)

National bird: Indian peacock (Pavo cristatus)

National flower: Lotus (Nelumbo Nucipera Gaertn)

National fruit: Mango

National song: “Vande Mataram” by Bankimchandra Chatterji (first line translated by Sri Aurobindo: “I bow to thee, Mother”)

National tree: Indian fig tree or banyan tree (Ficus ben­galensis)

Geographical description: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan

Total area: 1.27 million sq. mi. (3,287,590 sq. km.)

Climate: Varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north

Nationality: noun: Indian(s); adjective: Indian

Population: 1,129,866,154 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mon­goloid and other 3%

Languages spoken: Hindi (official) 30%, English (official) widely spoken, and 14 other official languages: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kan­nada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit

Religions: Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other (including Buddhist, Jain, Parsi) 1.8%, unspecified 0.1%

Legal Holidays:

Gandhi's BirthdayOct 2
Independence DayAug 15
Republic DayJan 26
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


a republic in S Asia: history dates from the Indus Valley civilization (3rd millennium bc); came under British supremacy in 1763 and passed to the British Crown in 1858; nationalist movement arose under Gandhi (1869--1948); Indian subcontinent divided into Pakistan (Muslim) and India (Hindu) in 1947; became a republic within the Commonwealth in 1950. It consists chiefly of the Himalayas, rising over 7500 m (25 000 ft.) in the extreme north, the Ganges plain in the north, the Thar Desert in the northwest, the Chota Nagpur plateau in the northeast, and the Deccan Plateau in the south. Official and administrative languages: Hindi and English; each state has its own language. Parts of the SE coast suffered badly in the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. Religion: Hindu majority, Muslim minority. Currency: rupee. Capital: New Delhi. Pop.: 1 081 229 000 (2004 est.). Area: 3 268 100 sq. km (1 261 813 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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