The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word was the historical local appellation for the Indus River.
The geographical term Bharat pronounced
which is recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country,is used by many Indian languages in its variations. It is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India.
Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India. It was introduced into India by the Mughals and widely used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety. Currently, the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The British Indian Empire, from the 1909 edition of The Imperial Gazetteer of India. Areas directly governed by the British are shaded pink; the princely states under British suzerainty are in yellow.
Historians consider India’s modern age to have begun sometime between 1848 and 1885. The appointment in 1848 of Lord Dalhousie as Governor General of the East India Company set the stage for changes essential to a modern state. These included the consolidation and demarcation of sovereignty, the surveillance of the population, and the education of citizens. Technological changes—among them, railways, canals, and the telegraph—were introduced not long after their introduction in Europe. However, disaffection with the company also grew during this time, and set off the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Fed by diverse resentments and perceptions, including invasive British-style social reforms, harsh land taxes, and summary treatment of some rich landowners and princes, the rebellion rocked many regions of northern and central India and shook the foundations of Company rule. Although the rebellion was suppressed by 1858, it led to the dissolution of the East India Company and the direct administration of India by the British government. Proclaiming a unitary state and a gradual but limited British-style parliamentary system, the new rulers also protected princes and landed gentry as a feudal safeguard against future unrest In the decades following, public life gradually emerged all over India, leading eventually to the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885.
The 2011 census reported that the religion in India with the largest number of followers was Hinduism (79.80% of the population), followed by Islam (14.23%); the remaining were Christianity (2.30%), Sikhism (1.72%), Buddhism (0.70%), Jainism (0.36%) and others (0.9%). India has the world’s largest Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Zoroastrian, and Bahá’í populations, and has the third-largest Muslim population—the largest for a non-Muslim majority country.