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Indian Association of Columbus

Background India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the west, and the Bay of Bengal on the east, India has a coastline of 7,517 kilometers (4,671 mi).It is bordered by Pakistan to the west; People's Republic of China (PRC), Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Indonesia in the Indian Ocean.

Home to the Indus Valley Civilization and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history. Four major world religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism originated there, while Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam arrived in the first millennium and shaped the region's diverse culture. Gradually annexed by the British East India Company from the early eighteenth century and colonized by the United Kingdom from the mid-nineteenth century, India became an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by widespread nonviolent resistance.

India is a republic consisting of 28 states and seven union territories with a parliamentary system of democracy. It has the world's twelfth largest economy at market exchange rates and the fourth largest in purchasing power. Economic reforms since 1991 have transformed it into one of the fastest growing economies.
People India stands second in terms of population (about 1.12 billion). India has as many as 18 languages. English and Hindi are the official languages. Approximately 80% of the population practice Hinduism, Islam is followed by about 13% of the population. Some of the other religions are Christianity, Buddhism, and Sikhism.
Customs, Traditions & Celebrations “Diwali” or “Deepawali" in Sanskrit literally means a row (awali) of lamps (deepa). Diwali is celebrated to commemorate the victory of good over evil. According to the popular mythology of north India, King Rama (reincarnate of Lord Vishnu) killed the demon king Ravana who had kidnapped his wife Sita. The people of his kingdom in Ayodhya decorated the entire city with rows of lights to celebrate his homecoming after 14 long years. The South Indian mythology celebrates the victory of Lord Krishna (another reincarnate of Lord Vishnu) over the demon king Narakasura.

Diwali is celebrated during October and/or November on the Gregorian calendar. On the Hindu calendar it is centered on the new moon day that ends the month of Ashvini and begins the month of Kartika. People light lamps, wear new clothes, exchange sweets with friends and neighbors, light firecrackers, and offer prayers to God.

Lifestyle Some values that are part of India's cultural heritage are:

  • Living peacefully and respecting each other's rights.
  • Never ever compromising on integrity for the purpose of prosperity.
  • Maintain strong bonds with the family members as well as relatives.
  • Being hospitable to everyone who comes to your home, irrespective of his caste, creed, financial position or status.
  • Treating guest as God i.e. 'Atithi Devo Bhava'.
  • Remembering and bowing to God first thing in the morning.
  • Indulging in yoga and meditation.
  • Always taking the advice of elders in case of any important decision.
North Indian cuisine is distinguished by the proportionally high use of dairy products; milk, paneer, ghee (clarified butter), and yogurt are all common ingredients. Gravies are typically dairy-based. Other common ingredients include chilies, saffron, and nuts.

North Indian cooking features the use of the "tawa" (griddle) for baking flat breads like roti and paratha, and "tandoor" (a large and cylindrical charcoal-fired oven) for baking breads such as naan, and kulcha; main courses like tandoori chicken also cook in the tandoor. Other breads like puri and bhatoora, which are deep fried in oil, are also common. Goat and lamb meats are favored ingredients of many northern Indian recipes.

South Indian cuisine is distinguished by a greater emphasis on rice as the staple grain, the ubiquity of sambar and rasam, a variety of pickles, and the liberal use of coconut and particularly coconut oil and curry leaves. Curries called Kozhambu are also popular and are typically vegetable stews cooked with spices, tamarind and other ingredients. The dosa, poori, idli, vada, bonda and bajji are typical South Indian favorites. These are generally consumed as part of breakfast. Other popular dishes include Kesaribath, Upma, Pulao, Puliyodharai and Thengai Sadham. Hyderabadi biryani, a popular type of biryani, reflects the diversity of south Indian cuisine. South Indian cuisine obtains its distinct flavours by the use of tamarind, coconuts, lentils, rice and a variety of vegetables.

Sports and Recreation
Field Hockey is India’s national sport. Cricket has become a religion. Tennis and football (Soccer) are some sports that are popular in India.

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