] Tribals constitute 8.1% of the population.cite web |title=Tribes: Introduction |publisher= Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India |url= |accessmonthday=April 12 |accessyear=2007|work= National Informatics Centre]

India's literacy rate is 64.8% (53.7% for females and 75.3% for males). The state of Kerala has the highest literacy rate (91%); [cite web|url=|title=Kerala's literacy rate|publisher=Government of Kerala|accessdate=2007-12-13|] Bihar has the lowest (47%). [cite web|url= Census Statistics of Bihar: Literacy Rates|title=Literacy rate of Bihar|accessdate=2007-12-13|publisher=Government of Bihar] The national human sex ratio is 944 females per 1,000 males. India's median age is 24.9, and the population growth rate of 1.38% per annum; there are 22.01 births per 1,000 people per year.


India's culture is marked by a high degree of syncretism [cite journal |last=Das |first=N.K. |coauthors= |year=2006 |month=July |title=Cultural Diversity, Religious Syncretism and People of India: An Anthropological Interpretation|journal=Bangladesh e-Journal of Sociology |volume=3 |issue=2nd |pages= |id=ISSN 1819-8465 |url= |accessdate= 2007-09-27 |quote=The pan-Indian, civilizational dimension of cultural pluralism and syncretism encompasses ethnic diversity and admixture, linguistic heterogeneity as well as fusion, and variations as well as synthesis in customs, behavioural patterns, beliefs and rituals.] and cultural pluralism. [cite book|last=Baidyanath|first=Saraswati|title=Interface of Cultural Identity Development| edition=1stEdition|url=|accessdate=2007-06-08|isbn= 81-246-0054-6 |chapter=Cultural Pluralism, National Identity and Development|year=2006|pages=xxi+290pp] It has managed to preserve established traditions while absorbing new customs, traditions, and ideas from invaders and immigrants and spreading its cultural influence to other parts of Asia.

Indian architecture is one area that represents the diversity of Indian culture. Much of it, including notable monuments such as the Taj Mahal and other examples of Mughal architecture and South Indian architecture, comprises a blend of ancient and varied local traditions from several parts of the country and abroad. Vernacular architecture also displays notable regional variation.

Indian music covers a wide range of traditions and regional styles. Classical music largely encompasses the two genres – North Indian Hindustani, South Indian Carnatic traditions and their various offshoots in the form of regional folk music. Regionalised forms of popular music include filmi and folk music; the syncretic tradition of the "bauls" is a well-known form of the latter.

Indian dance too has diverse "folk" and "classical" forms. Among the well-known folk dances are the "bhangra" of the Punjab, the "bihu" of Assam, the "chhau" of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa and the "ghoomar" of Rajasthan. Eight dance forms, many with narrative forms and mythological elements, have been accorded classical dance status by India's "National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama". These are: "bharatanatyam" of the state of Tamil Nadu, "kathak" of Uttar Pradesh, "kathakali" and "mohiniyattam" of Kerala, "kuchipudi" of Andhra Pradesh, "manipuri" of Manipur, "odissi" of Orissa and the "sattriya" of Assam.1. [ "South Asian arts: Techniques and Types of Classical Dance"] From: "Encyclopædia Britannica" Online. 12 Oct. 2007. 2. Sangeet Natak Academi (National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama, New Delhi, India). 2007. [ Dance Programmes] . 3. Kothari, Sunil. 2007. [ "Sattriya" dance of the celibate monks of Assam, India] . Royal Holloway College, University of London.]

Theatre in India often incorporates music, dance, and improvised or written dialogue. [Harvnb|Lal|1998] Often based on Hindu mythology, but also borrowing from medieval romances, and news of social and political events, Indian theatre includes the "bhavai" of state of Gujarat, the "jatra" of West Bengal, the "nautanki" and "ramlila" of North India, the "tamasha" of Maharashtra, the "terukkuttu" of Tamil Nadu, and the "yakshagana" of Karnataka. [Harv|Karanth|1997|p=26. Quote: "The "IAST|Yakṣagāna" folk-theatre is no isolated theatrical form in India. We have a number of such theatrical traditions all around Karnataka... In far off Assam we have similar plays going on by the name of "Ankia Nat", in neighouring Bengal we have the very popular "Jatra" plays. Maharashtra has "Tamasa". (p. 26)]

The Indian film industry is the largest in the world.Cite web|url=|title=Country profile: India|accessyear=2007|publisher=BBC] Bollywood, based in Mumbai, makes commercial Hindi films and is the most prolific film industry in the world. [Harvnb|Dissanayake|Gokulsing|2004] Established traditions also exist in Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu language cinemas. [Harvnb|Rajadhyaksha|Willemen (editors)|1999]

The earliest works of Indian literature were transmitted orally and only later written down.Harvnb|MacDonell|2004|p=1-40] These included works of Sanskrit literature – such as the early Vedas, the epics Mahābhārata and Ramayana, the drama "Abhijñānaśākuntalam" (The Recognition of Śakuntalā), and poetry such as the "Mahākāvya" [Harvnb|Johnson|1998, Harvnb|MacDonell|2004|p=1-40, and Harvnb|Kalidasa|Johnson (editor)|2001] – and the Tamil language "Sangam" literature.1. "Encyclopaedia Britannica" (2008), [ "Tamil Literature."] Quote: "Apart from literature written in classical (Indo-Aryan) Sanskrit, Tamil is the oldest literature in India. Some inscriptions on stone have been dated to the 3rd century BC, but Tamil literature proper begins around the 1st century AD. Much early poetry was religious or epic; an exception was the secular court poetry written by members of the "sangam", or literary academy (see Sangam literature)." 2. Harvnb|Ramanujan|1985|p=ix-x [ Quote] : "These poems are 'classical,' i.e. early, ancient; they are also 'classics,' i.e. works that have stood the test of time, the founding works of a whole tradition. Not to know them is not to know a unique and major poetic achievement of Indian civilization. Early classical Tamil literature (c. 100 BC–AD 250) consists of the Eight Anthologies ("Eţţuttokai"), the Ten Long Poems ("Pattuppāţţu"), and a grammar called the "Tolkāppiyam" or the 'Old Composition.' ... The literature of classical Tamil later came to be known as "Cankam" (pronounced "Sangam") literature. (pp. ix-x)"] Among Indian writers of the modern era active in Indian languages or English, Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize in 1913.

Indian cuisine is characterized by a wide variety of regional styles and sophisticated use of herbs and spices. The staple foods in the region are rice (especially in the south and the east) and wheat (predominantly in the north).Delphine, Roger, "The History and Culture of Food in Asia", in Harvnb|Kiple|Kriemhild|2000|p=1140-1151] Spices originally native to the Indian subcontinent that are now consumed world wide include black pepper; in contrast, hot chili peppers, popular across India, were introduced by the Portuguese. [Harvnb|Achaya|1994, Harvnb|Achaya|1997]

Traditional Indian dress varies across the regions in its colours and styles and depends on various factors, including climate. Popular styles of dress include draped garments such as sari for women and dhoti or lungi for men; in addition, stitched clothes such as salwar kameez for women and kurta-pyjama and European-style trousers and shirts for men, are also popular.

Many Indian festivals are religious in origin, although several are celebrated irrespective of caste and creed. Some popular festivals are Diwali, Thai Pongal, Holi, Onam, Vijayadasami, Durga Puja, Eid ul-Fitr, Bakr-Id, Christmas, Buddha Jayanti and Vaisakhi.Cite web|url=|title=18 Popular India Festivals|accessdate= 2007-12-23] India has three national holidays. Other sets of holidays, varying between nine and twelve, are officially observed in individual states. Religious practices are an integral part of everyday life and are a very public affair.

Traditional Indian family values are highly respected, although urban families now prefer the nuclear family structure due to the socio-economic constraints imposed by traditional joint family system.


India's national sport is field hockey, with cricket being its most popular. In some states, particularly those in the northeast and the states of West Bengal, Goa, and Kerala, Association football is also a popular sport.Harvnb|Majumdar|Bandyopadhyay|2006|p=1-5] In recent times, tennis has also gained popularity. Chess, commonly held to have originated in India, is also gaining popularity with the rise in the number of Indian Grandmasters. Traditional sports include kabaddi, kho kho, and gilli-danda, which are played nationwide. India is also home to the ancient martial arts, Kalarippayattu and Varma Kalai. Martial arts practised in neighboring countries are said to have been influenced by this country.

ee also



*cite book
first=Judith M.
title=Modern India: The Origins of an Asian Democracy
publisher=Oxford University Press
location=Oxford and New York
pages= pp. xiii, 474

*cite book
coauthors=Dietmar Rothermund
title=A History of India
series=4th edition
pages=pp. xii, 448

*cite book
coauthors=Thomas R. Metcalf
title=A Concise History of Modern India (Cambridge Concise Histories)
publisher=Cambridge University Press
location=Cambridge and New York
pages=pp. xxxiii, 372

*cite book
title=A History of India
publisher=Penguin Books
location=New Delhi and London
pages=p. 298

*cite book
title=A History of India
publisher=Oxford University Press
location=New Delhi and Oxford
pages=pp. xiv, 432

*cite book
authorlink=Romila Thapar
title=A History of India
publisher=Penguin Books
location=New Delhi and London
pages=p. 384

*cite book
authorlink=Stanley Wolpert
title=A New History of India
publisher=Oxford University Press
location=Oxford and New York
pages=p. 544

*cite book
first= K.R.
coauthors=Joseph E. Schwartzberg
title= Encyclopædia Britannica
accessdate= 2007-09-29
year= 2007
pages= pp. 1-29
chapter= India: The Land

* cite book
last=Government of India
title=India Yearbook 2007
publisher=Publications Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting

* cite book
coauthors=R.L. Worden
title=India: A Country Study
publisher=Library of Congress (Area Handbook Series)
id=ISBN 0-8444-0833-6

*cite book
title=The Living Earth Book of Wind and Weather
publisher=Reader's Digest Association
id=ISBN 0-8957-7625-1

;Flora and fauna
*Harvard reference
authorlink=Salim Ali (ornithologist)
first2=S. Dillon
authorlink2=S. Dillon Ripley
title=A Pictorial Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent
publisher=Mumbai: Bombay Natural History Society and Oxford University Press. Pp. 183, 106 colour plates by John Henry Dick

*Harvard reference
authorlink=Ethelbert Blatter
first2=Walter S.
authorlink2=Walter Samuel Millard
title=Some Beautiful Indian Trees
publisher=Mumbai: Bombay Natural History Society and Oxford University Press. Pp. "xvii", 165, 30 colour plates

*Harvard reference
last2=Sinclair (editors)
title=Indian Wildlife
publisher=Discovery Channel and APA Publications.

*Harvard reference
first1=S. H.
authorlink=Stanley Henry Prater
title=The book of Indian Animals
publisher=Mumbai: Bombay Natural History Society and Oxford University Press. Pp. "xxiii", 324, 28 colour plates by Paul Barruel.

*Harvard reference
first1=Mahesh (editor)
title=Oxford Anthology of Indian Wildlife: Volume 1, Hunting and Shooting
publisher=New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Pp. "xi", 439

*Harvard reference
first1=Mahesh (editor)
title=Oxford Anthology of Indian Wildlife: Volume 2, Watching and Conserving
publisher=New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Pp. "xi", 303

*Harvard reference
first1=Mark F.
title=Wildlife of India
publisher=London: Harper Collins Publishers. Pp. 192

*Harvard reference|last1=Dissanayake|first1=Wimal K.|last2=Gokulsing|first2=Moti|title=Indian Popular Cinema: A Narrative of Cultural Change|year=2004|publisher=Trentham Books, Pp. 161|url=|isbn=1858563291 .
*Harvard reference|last1=Johnson|first1=W. J. (translator and editor)|title=The Sauptikaparvan of the Mahabharata: The Massacre at Night|year=1998|publisher=Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press (Oxford World's Classics). Pp. 192|url=|isbn=0192823618.
*Harvard reference|last1=Kalidasa|first1=|last2=Johnson (editor)|first2=W. J.|authorlink1=Kalidasa|title=The Recognition of Śakuntalā: A Play in Seven Acts|year=2001|publisher=Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press (Oxford World's Classics). Pp. 192|url=|isbn=0192839114.
*Harvard reference|last1=Karanth|first1=K. Shivarama|authorlink1=Shivarama Karanth|year=1997|title=Yakṣagāna|publisher= (Forward by H. Y. Sharada Prasad). Abhinav Publications. Pp. 252|isbn=8170173574.
*Citation| editor-last = Kiple| editor-first = Kenneth F. | editor2-last = Ornelas |editor2-first = Kriemhild Coneè| title = The Cambridge World History of Food| year = 2000| place = Cambridge| publisher = Cambridge University Press| isbn = 0521402166
*Harvard reference
title=Oxford Companion to Indian Theatre
publisher=Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 600

*citation |last=MacDonell |first=Arthur Anthony | authorlink = Arthur Anthony Macdonell|title=A History Of Sanskrit Literature |year=2004 |publisher= Kessinger Publishing|location= |isbn=1417906197.
*Citation |last=Majumdar|first=Boria |last2= Bandyopadhyay|first2=Kausik |title= A Social History Of Indian Football: Striving To Score |year=2006 |month= |publisher=Routledge | isbn=0415348358
*Harvard reference|last=Massey|first=Reginald |last2= |first2=|title= India's Dances |year=2006 |month= |publisher=Abhinav Publications | isbn=8170174341
*Harvard reference|last=Ramanujan |first= A. K.| authorlink = A. K. Ramanujan | title = Poems of Love and War: From the Eight Anthologies and the Ten Long Poems of Classical Tamil | publisher= New York: Columbia University Press. Pp. 329 | year = 1985 | isbn = 0231051077|url =
*Harvard reference|last1=Rajadhyaksha|first1=Ashish|last2=Willemen (editors)|first2=Paul|title=Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema, 2nd revised edition|year=1999|publisher=University of California Press and British Film Institute, Pp. 652|url=|archiveurl=|archivedate=2007-08-06|isbn=0851706696 .
*Harvard reference|last=Vilanilam|first=John V. |title= Mass Communication in India: A Sociological Perspective |year=2005 |month= |publisher=Sage Publications | isbn=0761933727

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