Indian people or Indians are people who are citizens of India, which forms a major part of South Asia, containing 17.31% of the world's population. The Indian nationality consists of many regional ethno-linguistic groups, reflecting the rich and complex history of India. India, in its current boundaries, was formed out of a number of predecessors. Because he thought he had found a sea route to India instead of discovering the Americas, Christopher Columbus was mistaken when he thought Native Americans were Indians.
Populations with Indian ancestry, as a result of emigration, are somewhat ubiquitous, most notably in Southeast Asia, South Africa, Australia, United Kingdom, Middle East and North America. Population estimates vary from a conservative 12 million to 20 million diaspora.12
Basu et al. (2006) emphasize that the combined results from mtDNA, Y-chromosome and autosomal markers suggest that "(1) there is an underlying unity of female lineages in India, indicating that the initial number of female settlers may have been small; (2) the tribal and the caste populations are highly differentiated; (3) the Austroasiatic tribals are the earliest settlers in India, providing support to one anthropological hypothesis while refuting some others; (4) a major wave of humans entered India through the northwest; (5) the Tibeto-Burman tribals share considerable genetic commonalities with the Austroasiatic tribals, supporting the hypothesis that they may have shared a common habitat in southern China, but the two groups of tribals can be differentiated on the basis of Y-chromosomal haplotypes; (6) the Dravidian tribals were possibly widespread throughout India before the arrival of the Indo-European-speaking nomads, but retreated to southern India to avoid dominance; (7) formation of populations by fission that resulted in founder and drift effects have left their imprints on the genetic structures of contemporary populations; (8) the upper castes show closer genetic affinities with Central Asian populations, although those of southern India are more distant than those of northern India; (9) historical gene flow into India has contributed to a considerable obliteration of genetic histories of contemporary populations so that there is at present no clear congruence of genetic and geographical or sociocultural affinities."10
Modern anthropologists classify Indians as belonging to one of four major ethno-racial groups, which overlap significantly because of racial admixture: Caucasoids, Australoids, Mongoloids and Negritos. The Caucasoids are largely confined to the north and generally speak Indo-Aryan languages and extends till the plains of Assam Valley; Australoids are found in the south and generally speak Dravidian languages; Mongoloids are largely confined to the hills of Northeastern region of the country and for the most part, speak Tibeto-Burman languages; and Negritos are found on the Andaman Islands located on the southeastern side of the country. These speak a language known simply as Great Andamanese, a linguistic isolate not related to any known language. And finally, Austroasiatic languages are spoken by only tribals or Adivasis, who can be of either Australoid or Mongoloid racial stock.11
According to a major 2009 study published by Reich et al. using over 500,000 biallelic autosomal markers, the modern Indian population is composed of two genetically divergent and heterogeneous populations which mixed in ancient times (about 1,200–3,500 BC), known as Ancestral North Indians (ANI) and Ancestral South Indians (ASI). ASI corresponds to the Dravidian-speaking population of southern India, whereas ANI corresponds to the Indo-Aryan-speaking population of northern India.1213
Genetic evidence provides proof that modern day Indian population was derived from two major ancestral populations — ancestral north Indians (ANI) and ancestral south Indians (ASI), and they both don't have major genetic differences.Till 4,200 years ago, the two populations grew independently and produced many more groups but there was no admixture between them. But during the time period between 1,900 years and 4,200 years, the ANI-derived populations and ASI-derived populations mixed together to form the modern day population.The ANI population is related to West Eurasians (people of Central Asia, the Middle East, the Caucasus and Europe); the ASI population is distinctly related to the indigenous Andaman Islanders.14 The admixture of the populations between the two ancestral groups was rampant for an extended period before endogamy became the norm.The period of admixture coincides with increasing population density in the central and downstream portions of the Gangetic system, and deurbanisation of the Indus civilization.Caste, which came later, drastically reduced the chances of admixture making it nearly zero .15
India has more than two thousand ethnic groupscitation needed and every major religion is represented, as are four major families of languages (Indo-Aryan – a branch of the larger Indo-European language group –, Dravidian, Austroasiatic, and Tibeto-Burman) as well as a language isolate (the Nihali language16 spoken in parts of Maharashtra). India's castism history is extremely complex; nevertheless, distinct racial divisions between peoples still exist as established by modern anthropologists, despite the fact that the national Census of India does not recognize racial or ethnic groups within India,17 but recognizes many of the tribal groups as Scheduled Castes and Tribes (see list of Scheduled Tribes in India).
India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, collectively known as Indian religions.19 Indian religions, also known as Dharmic religions are a major form of world religions along with Abrahamic ones. Today, Hinduism and Buddhism are the world's third- and fourth-largest religions respectively, with over 2 billion followers altogether,202122 and possibly as many as 2.5 or 2.6 billion followers.2023 India is also the birthplace for the Jain, Lingayat, and Ahmadiyya faiths.
India is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world, with some of the most deeply religious societies and cultures. Religion still plays a central and definitive role in the life of most of its people.
The religion of 80.5% of the people is Hinduism. Islam is practiced by around 13% of all Indians.24 Sikhism, Jainism and especially Buddhism are influential not only in India but across the world. Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and the Bahá'í Faith are also influential but their numbers are smaller. Despite the strong role of religion in Indian life, atheism and agnostics also have visible influence along with a self-ascribed tolerance to other people.
Hinduism is the majority in most states; Kashmir and Lakshadweep are Muslim majority; Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya are Christian majority; Punjab is mainly a mixture of both Hindus and Sikhs. It is to be noted that while participants in the Indian census may choose to not declare their religion, there is no mechanism for a person to indicate that he/she does not adhere to any religion. Due to this limitation in the Indian census process, the data for persons not affiliated with any religion may not be accurate. India contains the majority of the world's Hindus, Zoroastrians, Sikhs, Jains and Bahá'í. India is also home to the third-largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia and Pakistan. Muslims are the largest religious minority.
|Other religions & persuasions||6,639,626||0.6%|
|Religion not stated||727,588||0.1%|
The music of India includes multiple varieties of folk, popular, pop, classical music and R&B. India's classical music tradition, including Carnatic and Hindustani music, has a history spanning millennia and, developed over several eras, it remains fundamental to the lives of Indians today as sources of spiritual inspiration, cultural expression and pure entertainment. India is made up of several dozen ethnic groups, speaking their own languages and dialects, having very distinct cultural traditions.
Three best-known hindu deities, Shiva, Kali, Ganesha and Krishna, are typically represented dancing. There are hundreds of Indian folk dances such as Bhangra, Garba and special dances observed in regional festivals. India offers a number of classical Indian dance forms, each of which can be traced to different parts of the country. The presentation of Indian dance styles in film, Bollywood, has exposed the range of dance in India to a global audience.
The Indian caste system describes the system of social stratification and severe social restrictions in India in which social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups, often termed jātis or castes. Within a jāti, there exist exogamous groups known as gotras, the lineage or clan of an individual. In a handful of sub-castes such as Shakadvipi, endogamy within a gotra is permitted and alternative mechanisms of restricting endogamy are used (e.g. banning endogamy within a surname).
The Indian caste system involves four castes and outcasted social groups.26 Caste barriers have mostly broken down in large cities,27 though they persist in rural areas of the country, where 72% of India's population resides.
Bharat Mata (Hindi, from Sanskrit भारत माता, Bhārata Mātā), Mother India, or Bhāratāmbā (from अंबा ambā 'mother') is the national personification of India as a mother goddess. She is usually depicted as a woman clad in an orange or saffron sari holding a flag, and sometimes accompanied by a lion.
The image of Bharat Mata formed with the Indian independence movement of the late 19th century. A play by Kiran Chandra Bandyopadhyay, Bhārat Mātā, was first performed in 1873.
The British Indian community had grown to number over one million. According to the 2001 UK Census, 1,053,411 Britons had full Indian ethnicity (representing 1.8% of the UK's population). An overwhelming majority of 99.3% resided in England (in 2008 the figure is thought to be around 97.0%). In the seven-year period between 2001 and 2009, the number of Indian-born people in the UK increased in size by 38% from 467,634 to around 647,000 (an increase of approximately 180,000).28
There are over 1 million Indian people in Canada, the majority of which live in Greater Toronto and Vancouver. 3% of the total Canadian population is of Indian ancestry, a figure higher than both the United States and Britain.
More than a million people of Indian descent live in South Africa, concentrated around the city of Durban.
According to the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau, the Indian American population in the United States grew from almost 1.67 million in 2000 to 3.1 million in 2010 which comprises as the third-largest Asian American community in the United States after Chinese Americans and Filipino Americans.
- Lists of people from India by state
- Non-resident Indian and person of Indian origin
- South Asian ethnic groups
- Ethnic groups in Asia
- South Asia
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