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India’s rich history can be traced back to at least 2500 BC when the first known civilization settled along the Indus River. India is a mystical land of seductive images. Hinduism and its religious rites are woven into everyday life. It is also India’s vastness that challenges the imagination, being home to one sixth of the world’s population.

There was an influx of Moghuls in the 1520s from Central Asia, who maintained effective control of the north until the mid 18th century. At the end of that century, as the Moghul Empire declined, the British took control of the complete subcontinent, and the whole of India was administered by a single alien power.

The Indian National Congress was formed in 1885, but made little progress on independence until Mahatma Gandhi began the policy of non-cooperation with the British. But the congress itself was split on the issue of Hindus and Muslims. The Muslims, under Muhammad Ali Jinnah, claimed a separate homeland and in August 1947 the independent states of India and Pakistan came into being. Since this time, India has been a democratic republic.

One fascinating aspect of India is the mixture of ancient and modern; centuries of history rubbing shoulders with the computer age; and Bangalore’s ‘Silicon Valley’ is as much a part of the world’s largest democracy as its remotest village.

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