India

Air India is the flag carrier airline of India. It is part of the government owned Air India Limited (AIL). The airline operates a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft serving Asia, Europe and North America. Its corporate office is located at the Air India Building at Nariman Point in South Mumbai. Air India has two major domestic hubs at Indira Gandhi International Airport and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

Geography


India, officially the Republic of India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world.
Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Burma and Bangladesh to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; in addition, India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

 

 

Economy

According to the World Bank, as of 2011, the Indian economy is nominally worth US$1.848 trillion; it is the tenth-largest economy by market exchange rates, and is, at US$4.457 trillion, the third-largest by purchasing power parity. With its average annual GDP growth rate of 5.8% over the past two decades, and reaching 6.1% during 2011–12, India is one of the world's fastest-growing economies. However, the country ranks 140th in the world in nominal GDP per capita and 129th in GDP per capita at PPP. India's recent economic model is largely capitalist. India has been a member of WTO since 1 January 1995.

The 487.6-million worker Indian labour force is the world's second-largest, as of 2011. Major agricultural products include rice, wheat, oilseed, cotton, jute, tea, sugarcane, and potatoes. Major industries include textiles, telecommunications, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, food processing, steel, transport equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, and software. In 2011, India was the world's tenth-largest importer and the nineteenth-largest exporter. Major exports include petroleum products, textile goods, jewelry, software, engineering goods, chemicals, and leather manufactures. Major imports include crude oil, machinery, gems, fertiliser, and chemicals.

 

Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India

Manmohan SinghManmohan Singh is the 13th and current Prime Minister of India. A renowned economist, he is the only Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to return to power after completing a full five-year term, and the first Sikh to hold the office.
Born in Gah (now in Punjab, Pakistan) in 1932, Singh's family migrated to India during its partition in 1947. After obtaining his doctorate in economics from Oxford, Singh worked for the United Nations in 1966–69. He subsequently began his bureaucratic career when Lalit Narayan Mishra hired him as an advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Over the 70s and 80s, Singh held several key posts in the Government of India, such as Chief Economic Advisor (1972–76), Reserve Bank Governor (1982–85) and Planning Commission head (1985–87). [read more...]

 

Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, President of India

Pranab Kumar MukherjeePranab Kumar Mukherjee is the 13th and current President of India, in office since July 2012. In a political career spanning six decades, Mukherjee was a senior leader of the Indian National Congress and occupied several ministerial portfolios in the Government of India. Prior to his election as President, Mukherjee was Union Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012, and the Congress party's top troubleshooter.
Mukherjee got his break in politics in 1969 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi helped him get elected to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India's Parliament, on a Congress ticket. Following a meteoric rise, he became one of Indira Gandhi's most trusted lieutenants, and a minister in her cabinet by 1973. [read more...]

 

Culture

Cuisine

Very fine meals that suit the various taste buds of people all over the world are prepared in India. Strict vegetarianism is mostly confined to the South. Beef, from the holy cow is strictly taboo for the Hindus and Pork is equally taboo for the Muslims.
In the north, much meat is eaten and cooking is often of the "Mughal style" which bears relation to that of the Middle East and central Asia. The emphasis is more on spices and less on curry heat. In the north more grains and breads are eaten and less rice. In the South, more rice is eaten and the curries tend to be hotter. Another peculiarity of Southern vegetarian food is that it has to be eaten by hand and not by fork and spoons.

 

Crafts

in India like many other developing countries it is the main source of employment for a vast majority of the population, next to agriculture.
Handicrafts can be defined simply as objects made by the skill of the hand and which carry a part of the creator as well as centuries of evolutionary tradition. It can range from the simple clay- lamps to the diamond -studded jewellery items like tungsten rings. Handicrafts consists of objects created by skilled people for religious rituals, like wedding and celebrations and for personal use as well as luxurious ones created by specialized craftsmen for specific requirements. Handicrafts bring a great sense of grace to every home be it the poor hut or the opulent star hotel. There is a timeless quality in these craft objects, for they have evolved over centuries and continue to be made even today with the same sentiment.

 

Folk Crafts

People for their personal use, or for a limited client base create folk crafts. Folk embroideries done by the village women folk of India are a good example. There are craftsmen who are specialized in creating textiles or jewellery which meet the criteria set up by a particular group of people, usually a particular caste or community. They have their own distinctive designs and styles.

 

Religious Crafts

Religious crafts are developed around religious centers and themes. These craft items are connected with religious institutions and relevant ceremonies. Various religious places in India are specialized in particular craft items. For example, Varanasi and Kanchipuram in Tamilnadu specialize in weaving clothes for religious ceremonies, particularly silk materials. Similarly Puri in Odisha, which is a big pilgrim center, is connected with crafts like patacharita- a painting on cloth and wood and stone carvings.

 

Commercial Crafts

Specialized craftsmen of a particular group who are specialized in a particular skill and who can completely master the craft do commercial crafts. They even have sub groups, which work for particular groups, and their tools and techniques may vary. The Weavers, the Dyers, the Printers, the Goldsmiths and the Carpenters are some of the commercial craftsmen.

 

 

Festivals

There are said to be more number of festivals in India, than there are days in a year. The religious and national ones are celebrated with great gaiety. The cultural ones attract many great artists from all over India. Hardly a day passes without a festival taking place somewhere in India. They range from small one-day village or temple functions to weeklong art functions.

Only a few of the festivals take place on a particular date. Most of them follow the lunar calendar and hence the exact date of the festivals varies from year to year. Muslim holidays and Muslim festivals follow the Islamic calendar. Most of the cultural festivals take place during the winter season. Most of the days of the festivals are not determined by the pre-set dates of a linear calendar, but according to the waxing and the waning of the moon. Fairs and festivals are moments of remembrance and commemoration of the birthdays and the deeds of great gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines, gurus, prophets and saints. Seasonal or secular festivals underline the unity that draws together seemingly diverse groups.

For the men, festivals mean display of valour and virility through various races like the boat races of Kerala, or wrestling matches and animal fights. For the women it means cleaning the house and decorating it according to their artistic inclinations and proving their culinary skills to satisfy their wards and their hubbies. For the children, it is a time to be away from the tedious schools, with savories to munch all the time, new costumes and plenty of free time to roam around with their friends. Festivals also reinforce the presence of God in the life of the individual, the family and the community as a whole.

 

Religion

Indian religions, also known as dharmic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. These religions are also classified as Eastern religions. India's major religion, Hinduism, is followed by approximately 80% of the population. Hinduism is another name for what is known as Sanatana Dharma or the Religious Prennis. The Hindu religion has three basic practices. They are Puja or worship, The cremation of the dead and The rules and regulations of the caste system.

There are four main castes in Hinduism; the Brahmin or priest caste, the kshatriyas or soldiers and governors, the Vaisyas or trades people and farmers, and the sudras or menial workers and craftspeople. Beneath all these castes lie those called Harijans or untouchables, the lowest class in society.