India, or Republic of India, a country in southern Asia and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. India is an English word derived from the Sanskrit sindhu, which means river and was originally applied to the part of the Indus River now in Pakistan. In Hindi, the official national language established by the Indian constitution, the nation is called Bharat.

With more than one billion people, representing many language and ethnic groups. India is an extremely diverse country. It is held together largely by centuries-old religious and social customs. India is the home of one of the world's oldest civilizations—dating back more than 3,000 years—and the birthplace of several religions, including Hinduism, still the faith of most Indians, and Buddhism, now little practiced in the land of its origin. A century and a half of British rule, ending with independence in 1947, left its mark in various ways, including widespread use of the English language and a parliamentary system of government.

India in brief