Indian culture has ancient roots. In classical times
(400 BC – 500 AD), Hinduism gave rise to several
sciences, which often reached very high standards. For
example, in order to carry out a sacrificial ritual
according to the Vedic tradition, one must have
knowledge of astronomy and mathematics. In our day,
India produces more film than any other country, both
serious and more lightweight Bollywood variants.
The Indians invented our "Arabic" numbers like zero,
the symbol of "nothing" which is important in Indian
philosophy. The Indians also invented the decimal
system, and the mathematician Aryabhata (AD 400) was
able to calculate square and cubic roots and the number
pi to 3.14.
Latest population statistics of India, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
Grammar, psychology and medicine were also highly
developed sciences, all of which were compiled and
recorded in the language of Sanskrit.
Sit and table
Music, dance and the arts of love were counted as
sciences. Classical Indian dance is still governed today
by the rules of the book Natya Shastra
from the 20th century BC, as well as myths, legends and
classical literature, but the way of performing the
dance varies between different parts of the country.
Classical Indian music is believed to have originated in
religious poems and songs from the Vedas (1600 BC – 800
BC). Today there is a northern and a southern school
within classical music, but for both, a skilled music
practitioner should be able to improvise. In music and
dance there is also a lively and rich folk tradition.
Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of India. Artists and albums are also included.
The string instrument sits and the
double drum tabla is common. A multiple
award-winning virtuoso on Indian sitar was the musician
and composer Ravi Shankar (1920–2012). He gained
international fame through his collaboration with, among
others, the British pop group The Beatles. In 1998 he
was awarded the Polar Prize.
Extensive religious literature was also written down
in Sanskrit, including the great popular epic
Mahabharata and Ramayana. The
Nobel laureate in literature, Bengal Rabindranath Tagore
(1861-1948), is usually regarded as the foremost among
more modern Indian writers. Tagore was also a skilled
artist. With her breakthrough novel The Midnight
Children (in Swedish 1983), Salman Rushdie
paved the way for a long line of English-language
writers with Indian roots, often living in the West. His
book Clown Shalimar (in Swedish 2006)
has the conflict in Kashmir as a background.
Among those who have gained fame in Rushdie's
footsteps include Bengal Vikram Seth, who with his book
An Appropriate Young Man (in Swedish
1994) gives a good picture of Indian social life. So
does Arundhati Roy in his acclaimed book The God
of Small Things (in Swedish 1998), which takes
place in the southern state of Kerala, as well as
Aravind Adiga in The White Tiger (in
Swedish 2009). Jhumpa Lahiri (now residing in the US)
depicts in Sankmark (in Swedish 2014)
two brothers from Calcutta, where one chooses to join
the Maoist Naxali movement (see Naxali uprising).
A movie-loving country
Film is by far the most popular cultural expression
in India. The film industry is concentrated in Bombay ("Bollywood"),
Calcutta (Kolkata) and Madras (Chennai). The films are
often quite violent thrillers, or on the theme of young
people's love concerns (a supreme real problem in India
with its tradition of arranged marriage) with many song
and dance numbers interwoven.
It also produces more serious films: filmmakers such
as Mrinal Sen, Shyam Benegal, Shekhar Kapur and Mira
Nair have made themselves known in the West as well.
Satyajit Ray, whose early films were heavily inspired by
Italian neorealism, received a special Oscar the same
year he died (1992) as a thank-you for a life-long
filmmaking. At the 2009 Academy Awards, British film
director Danny Boyle took home a big slam with his film
Slumdog Millionaire, which is set in
Bombay, with Indian actors.
The documentary film India's Daughter
(India's Daughter), made for the British BBC, sparked
great upheaval and debate in India in 2015. In it,
filmmaker Leslee Udwin interviews one of the four men
sentenced to death for the group rape in Delhi 2012 (see
Calendar). In the film, the perpetrator shows no remorse
for the crime he committed, but places the entire blame
on the deceased victim. A court stopped the film from
appearing in India and the government launched an
investigation into how the filmmaker managed to get an
interview with the doomed. The film had an international
premiere on Women's Day on March 8, 2015.
About our sources
Eight dead in new attack in Kashmir
On the last day of the year, eight people were killed in connection with an
assault on a semi-military facility outside Srinagar in Indian-controlled
Kashmir. Four of those killed are Indian soldiers while four are resistance men.
It is unclear if the attackers belong to any particular resistance group.
Laws against immediate divorces
Parliament's lower house adopts a law that prohibits the Muslim tradition
that gives men the right to be separated from their wives by saying the word
"talaq" three times. The man who is guilty of this should be able to be
sentenced to prison. The law must also be approved by the upper house before it
can take effect. In August 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that the so-called
"triple talaq" custom violates the Constitution. Indian activists have been
running a campaign to ban the practice. A court case has been run by five Muslim
women who have been left in this way. More recently, it has become increasingly
common for the man to complete the divorce via a text message.
Rebel leader killed in Kashmir
Indian government forces kill Noor Mohammad Tantray, military leader of the
Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammad, who fights India's rule over the
Indian-controlled part of Kashmir. The violence in Kashmir has escalated in
recent years, and the Indian army has launched an offensive to quell the
uprising. 2017 was the deadliest year in a decade when 350 people, including 210
suspected rebels and 57 civilians, lost their lives in clashes with the
India accuses Pakistan of attack
Indian police state that three Indian soldiers were shot dead by Pakistani
military at checkpoint between Pakistani and Indian Kashmir. The Pakistani
authorities do not comment on the information.
Dismissed telecommunications ministers acquitted
An Indian court acquits Andimuthu Raja deposed from all criminal offenses in
connection with a corruption scandal in 2008 (see November 2011). The
co-inheritance was in the multi-billion class and was concerned that the
Minister should have sold telecom licenses at a very low price in exchange for
bribes. A dismissed Minister of Textiles is also acquitted.
Election for BJP in two states
The ruling BJP wins the state elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
Thus, the Hindu Nationalist Party has power in 19 of India's 29 states, while
the largest national opposition party, the secular Congress Party, governs in 4
states. In other states, local or regional parties hold power.
Rahul Gandhi elected President of the Congress Party
As expected, the country's largest opposition party, the Indian Congress
Party, elects Vice President Rahul Gandhi as new chairman. He is the only
candidate for the party leader post. 47-year-old Rahul replaces his mother Sonia
Gandhi, who has been the party's leader for 19 years. Rahul thus carries on the
Gandhi family's tradition of leading the Congress Party. In addition to his
mother, Rahul's father (Rajiv), grandmother (Indira) and grandmother's father
(Jawaharlal Nehru) have also been Congress party leaders.
Over 200 opponents killed in Kashmir so far this year
Indian authorities say that 205 opponents have been killed in Kashmir so far
this year. It is the largest number of killed rebels since 2010. The violence in
Kashmir has increased significantly since July 2016 when government soldiers
killed rebel leader Burhan Wani. His death became the starting point for the
riots against the government forces in which nearly 100 people were killed. This
in turn led to the military launching an offensive against the militant groups.
Murder of a journalist is believed to have been ordered
Investigative crime reporter Sudip Dutta Bhaumik in Bengali-speaking
newspaper Syandan Patrika is shot dead by a soldier during a visit to a military
police station in the state of Tripura in the northeast. The police seize the
perpetrator directly and later also his superior, a high-ranking army commander,
whom Sudip Dutta Bhaumik was investigating for suspected fraud. The police
believe the murder is an order job on the orders of the army commander. The
murder of Sudip Dutta Bhaumik is the third for an Indian journalist in less than
Changes in the new tax system
The Indian government announces that the new tax system introduced on July 1,
2017 should be changed slightly after criticism from entrepreneurs for the
system to make business and entrepreneurship more difficult than to simplify,
which was the purpose of the reform. Among other things, the tax is to be
lowered on the goods that have the highest tax rate of 28 percent, such as
chocolate, shampoo and shaving cream. India's economy has shown signs of slowing
down in the autumn.
Car restriction in Delhi due to smog
Decision makers in Delhi are reintroducing a restriction on the number of
cars that may be in the city at the same time. Such a restriction was put to the
test during a period in 2016. The cause of the measure is the health-threatening
and thick smog that swept over the city in November. Smog occurs when the severe
air pollution found in Delhi is combined with smoke from burning in the adjacent
agricultural area during the fall. The level of air pollution in Delhi is 30
times higher than the threshold set by the World Health Organization WHO.
Delhi's chief minister calls the city a "gas chamber". The car restriction
applies for a few days in the middle of the month.
New trade route to Afghanistan opened
India sends its first cargo (with wheat) along a new trade route passing
through the Iranian port of Chabahar to Afghanistan. Through the new route,
India can trade with Afghanistan without crossing Pakistan. An additional six
shiploads of a total of 1.1 tonnes of goods will be shipped this way in the
Another journalist murdered
Rajesh Mishra, 41-year-old reporter at the Hindi-language newspaper Dainik
Jagran, is shot dead in Uttar Pradesh by three motorcycle perpetrators. Dainik
Jagran is one of India's largest daily newspapers. Mishra was a member of RSS
(Rashtriya Swayamsevak), a right-wing Hindu nationalist organization that has
ties to the ruling BJP party. In September, reputed journalist Gauri Lankesh was
murdered in Bangalore. She had made herself known as a critical reviewer of the
The US wants to deepen its cooperation with India
The US wants to deepen its cooperation with India in light of China's growing
influence in Asia. This is stated by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during
a visit to the think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies in
Washington. Tillerson calls India a "partner" in a "strategic partnership". He
adds that the United States would never have a similar relationship with China,
a "non-democratic society".
Prohibition of sex with a minor wife
The Supreme Court decides that it is no longer legal for men to have sex with
their underage wives. Instead, this should be defined as rape. In the past, it
was allowed for men to have sex with their wife if she turned 15 years old. Now
the lowest age is 18 years.
The death penalty for the train fire in 2002 is transformed into life
The eleven Muslim men sentenced to death for the train fire in Gujarat in
2002 have their sentences converted to life imprisonment by a state court. In
the assassination fire on a train, 59 people were killed, most of whom were
Hindu pilgrims. The fire led to widespread revenge in the form of violent riots
targeting the state's Muslims. More than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims,
were killed in the riots.
Several dead in attack against paramilitary in Kashmir
A post for semi-military forces outside Srinagar International Airport in
Kashmir is attacked by three men with firearms. One soldier is killed and two
injured in the firing. The three perpetrators are shot to death by the police.
It is unclear who or who is behind the attack, but militant Islamist group
Jaish-e-Mohammad takes on the deed.
Two men sentenced to death for bombing 1993
Two men are sentenced to death for participating in the Mumbai bombing in
1993 when 257 people were killed. The bombing was carried out shortly after many
Muslims were killed in riots the same year. A third man is sentenced to ten
years in prison.
Well-known journalist murdered
Reputable and controversial journalist Gauri Lankesh, 55, is shot dead on the
stairs to his residence in Bangalore by unknown motorcycle perpetrators. Gauri
Lankesh was known as a fearless critic of radical Hindu nationalists, including
politicians within the ruling BJP. Politically, she stood to the left and openly
supported the Maoist Naxali uprising. At the time of the murder, Gauri Lankesh
was on leave from the prison where she served a sentence after being convicted
of slander by Hindu nationalist politicians in an article. The motive for the
murder is unknown, but Gauri Lankesh was one of the most high profile
journalists murdered in India in recent years. Hate campaigns against female
reporters in social media are said to have become more common, as well as hate
campaigns against so-called secular debaters advocating that politics and
religion should be kept apart.
Claws erupt when the guru is convicted of rape
The controversial Indian guru Ram Rahim Singh is sentenced to a total of 20
years in prison for two rapes on two female followers. The verdict causes
thousands of guru followers to gather outside his headquarters in the city of
Sirsa in the state of Haryana in protest of the verdict and in support of the
religious leader. Clashes erupt when supporters clash with police, killing 38
people. Two days later, the crowd dissolves into relatively calm forms. Also in
New Delhi and Pachkula, where the verdict is pronounced, violence erupts.
India bans immediate Muslim divorces
The Supreme Court ruled that the Muslim tradition that gives men the right to
be separated from their wives by saying the word "talaq" three times violates
the Constitution. The verdict comes after Indian activists campaigned to ban the
so-called "triple talaq" custom. The case has been run by five Muslim women who
were left in this way as well as two human rights groups. More recently, it has
become increasingly common for the man to complete the divorce via a text
Five killed at the Pakistan border
Military shoots five people trying to cross the border from Pakistan into the
Indian-controlled part of Kashmir. It states the Ministry of Defense that has no
information about which group of attackers belong to. A total of 40 people have
so far this year been killed at the so-called control line between Pakistani and
Protests against Islamist leaders being killed in Kashmir
Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Abu Dujana is killed in Srinagar by
Indian military along with an aide. The action will cause thousands of residents
to protest on the streets and at least 70 people injured in clashes with the
military. Separatists call for a general strike and the authorities respond by
closing all schools and universities.
Dalit is elected president
The ruling party BJP's candidate, Dalit and lawyer Ram Nath Kovind, is
elected as the President of India. He has previously been governor of the state
of Bihar. The BJP's election of a dalit (formerly termed caste) for presidential
candidate is seen by judges as an attempt by the Hindu Nationalist Party to
reach out to minority groups. As Vice President, M Venkaiah Naidu is elected
from the BJP.
Prohibition on trade in cows is stopped
India's highest court decides to suspend an order from the Modi government
for three months to ban trade in cows for commercial slaughter.
Tax reform comes into force
The government is introducing a comprehensive new tax system, which aims to
transform India's economy into a single market instead of a multitude of state
economies and to curb corruption and reduce bureaucratic hassles for business
owners. The idea is that trade should be made easier by having a system, the
so-called GST (Goods and Services Tax), with four different tax levels
applicable throughout the country. For example, basic goods such as vegetables
and milk are not taxed at all, while luxury goods such as tobacco and alcohol
are taxed most.
Nationwide protests against attacks on Muslims
Large demonstrations are held in ten cities in protest of the many attacks
that have taken place on Muslims lately. The attackers accuse the Muslims of
killing cows and eating beef. In connection with the demonstrations, Prime
Minister Modi says the attacks against the Muslims are "unacceptable".
Modi visits the White House
The mood is described as good when Prime Minister Modi meets US President
Donald Trump at the White House in Washington. Sensitive issues such as climate
change and immigration policy are not officially mentioned, while trade, the
economy, the fight against terrorism, defense cooperation and the war in
Afghanistan are in focus. The United States faces sanctions against Syid
Salahuddin, a high-ranking leader of the Kashmiri resistance group
Hezb-ul-Mujahedin, and designates him as a terrorist. The sanctions are a
diplomatic victory for India. Later, in August, the United States also stamped
the entire Hezb-ul-Mujahedin, which prohibits US citizens from engaging with the
group and freezes its possible assets in US-controlled areas.
New flight route to Afghanistan opened
A flight route will be opened between India and Afghanistan on which Afghan
products will be transported to India. The route means that Pakistan is
The price of solar energy is dropping
The price of solar energy in India has decreased by 40 percent compared to
the lowest price in 2016. India is believed to be able to achieve or even exceed
its renewable energy targets in the Paris 2015 climate agreement.
Military offensive in Kashmir
Indian forces launch the largest military offensive against rebel groups in
Jammu and Kashmir in several years. The background is the violent protests in
recent months in the state, as well as several assaults. Thousands of soldiers
block dozens of villages in the pursuit of armed resistance.
Naxalites kill 25 in ambush
The Maoist Naxalites (see Naxali uprising) kill 25 military police who act as
security guards at a road construction in the state of Chhattisgarh. According
to eyewitnesses, the Naxalites use villagers as human shields to prevent the
military police from responding to the fire during the assault.
Boycott of elections in Kashmir
Separatist leaders call for boycott when a filling election is held for the
Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly. According to the Election Commission, 2
per cent of voters vote. In election-related violence, eight people are killed
and over 100 injured. Protesters vandalize more than 150 polling stations.
Indians sentenced to death for espionage
A Pakistani military court sentenced an Indian to death, accused of spying on
the Indian intelligence service's behalf. The Government of India condemns the
decision in harsh terms.
Third largest aviation market
In 2016, India has the world's third largest aviation market, with around 100
million passengers. Only China and the United States have more. The fourth
largest aviation market is Japan.
Lifetime prison for radical Hindus
A Rajasthan court sentenced three radical Hindus to life imprisonment for
their role in blasting the Muslim shrine of Ajmer in 2007, when three people
were killed and a dozen injured. A third man, who was shot dead some time after
the attack, is found guilty posthumously. The man who is considered to be the
brain behind the explosion, Naba Kumar Sarkar (aka Swami Asimanand), is released
from debt. He is a well-known, highly regarded member of the influential Hindu
nationalist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak, who has greatly contributed to
shaping the ideology underlying the BJP ruling party. In India, it is unusual
for radical Hindus to be convicted of similar crimes, and from the outset, the
blame for the blast of Ajmer was blamed on militant Islamists.
Modi appoints controversial chief minister
Modi's Hindu nationalist BJP party wins a big victory in the populous (204
million residents) and important state of Uttar Pradesh. The BJP received a
total of 325 of the 403 seats in the state assembly. It attracts great attention
when Modi appoints Hindu nationalist Yogi Adityanath, who is accused of calling
for violence against Muslims, to be the new chief minister in Uttar Pradesh.
Modi gives economists a snap
Modi rebukes economists who have previously said that the Indian government's
decision to eliminate high denominations of cash would hamper the country's
economic growth. Modi points out that India's GDP growth was 7 percent in the
last quarter of 2016, when cash was taken out of circulation.
Modi is invited by Trump
Just days after taking office as US President, Donald J. Trump calls Modi and
invites him to the White House in Washington later in the year. Modi promises to
work closely with the new US president, and many analysts expect a boost in
Prohibition of election campaigns based on caste, religion or language
The Supreme Court of India states that election winners will have their
results annulled if their election campaigns are based on caste, religion or
language affiliation. The decision has its basis in the Constitution of India
which provides that elections should be " secular ".